{Verse of the Day}

{Verse of the Day}:

Monday, September 19, 2016

At the Risk of You Unfriending Me...

Day in and day out I share my art progress posts, my bits of homesteading news, my fun (and not so fun) plans for my day - week- vacation - whatever.
I share my playlists and bits of encouragement (at least I hope I encourage someone).
I share a recipe, a garden photo, a picture of my latest canning project, a quote to uplift of make you think, or just to let you know my mood at the moment.
Social media is great for staying in touch, getting updated, learning something new, making new friends.
And we love...LOVE...the fun quizzes, share & like contests, silly FB stickers and ability to 'poke' each other (until someone has had enough and gets temporarily blocked..hmmm).
We look for the fun and we look for the happy. We don't want to hear the hard truths, the thought provoking statements, we don't want to be asked the questions that make a difference. And it's not just on FB, Twitter, or other social media outlets, it's that way in life in general.

But there's something on my mind and I just have to get it out.
There is no way to word this that someone somewhere will not get offended. It's who we are as a society right now.
We are touchy-feely, overly dramatic about things that do not matter, overly sensitive because we never want someone to say something to us that makes us feel uncomfortable. We want everyone to like us, everyone to be our friend, everyone to accept everything we do as right and good and so.... someone WILL be 'put-off' by this.
I will be unfriended, unfollowed, someone may no longer talk to me. But that's OK.
It's not my intention to offend but it's going to happen regardless.
This is a touchy subject for so many.
It can't be helped.
He said it would be this way.
And it's too important of a topic for me to NOT talk to you about.

So here goes.....
I love you.
I want the best for you.
I want to spend eternity with you.
Have you given your life to Christ?

   Recently a young man, whose Mother attends our church, died. One day, here, the next day hooked to machines, put through tests, a decision had to be made and this young man is now no longer with us.
    Recently a friend's husband was in a horrendous farming accident. Alone in a field during harvest, run over by his own trailer wagon, fearful he would not be found. He is slowly and painfully recovering, but was almost lost.
    A television personality recently, suddenly, lost his life while trying to drive around a slowed vehicle. I'm sure the possibility of dying that day was not what crossed his thoughts as he tried to pass the vehicle in front of him.
    Several bombs and stabbings have happened recently here in the US...and more around the world. These incidents are increasing in frequency and magnitude.
    Earthquakes, storms, flooding, wildfires....people losing lives every day and I wonder how many of them never gave a thought to TODAY being their last on this Earth....

And if something were to happen to you and THIS were to be the last thing you were to read today, I want you to know that being a good person is great, but it's not enough. Being a wonderful mother or father or grandparent, aunt or uncle, or lovely for the short time you are here, but unless you are a Child of God, you will not get to Heaven. That is not my opinion, it is my belief according to God's Word. (Here is a great article to explain it better than I am able to.)

I love you.... I truly want the best for you...even if you hate me for saying this, but I'll risk it.

If you were to die today...where would you spend eternity?

I miss my grandmother something awful. There is not a day goes by that I don't think of her. She was my first and best friend. She introduced me to Christ. She was far from perfect and I am REALLLY far from perfect, but I know that someday she and I will be reunited because she loved the Lord and believed in Him as her Savior...and so do I.
But do you?
Will I see you in Heaven someday?

   Will you see your grandparent, parent, family member or friend who introduced you to Jesus? Or have you rejected Him or simply not taken the time to really get to know who Jesus is as your friend, provider, Savior?
   Will you see your children who you send to Sunday school so they can get a glimpse of Jesus but never think of showing them a fuller picture of who He is by the way you live your life? Maybe they will pursue a relationship with Him, but like me...will long for their parents to know Him and trust Him so that they can someday be together again when our time here is through.
I love my parents and even though I have no solid earthly relationship with them...I am desperately hoping that they already know and accept the Lord or will do so before its too late so I can at least have some relationship with them there in Heaven.

Please believe me....I'm not judging you. Please, know that I am not.
I am a broken person in total need of my Savior's mercy and grace ever single day.
I've lived a past full of selfishness, hurt and regret. I live a life now that feels like it is sometimes dangling by a thread ready to snap, but I know if it does, my Lord will be there to catch me and that has made all the difference. We all sin and make mistakes. I have made SO many in my lifetime and while I try not to, I will sin again. It's in our human nature. But there is grace and forgiveness for us if we turn away from what does not honor Christ..and there is life everlasting with Him and other believers in Heaven for those who choose to accept and follow Him.

The decision is 100% yours to accept or reject a relationship with Christ.
But I so badly want you to know that there is hope and peace outside of this twisted, broken world. I so very much want you to know that while HOW you live your life matters, it's WHO you live it for that matters more.
 I need you to know that those you love and miss and cry over and can only hold in your heart because they are no longer here for you to hold in your arms...if they chose and you choose to live a life for Christ, you WILL see each other again.
And no matter what you've done or how you've lived right up to this very second, it's not too late. Right up to your very last breath, it's not too late to ask the Lord Jesus into your heart and life.
But I hope you won't wait until that last breath to give your life to Him.
I hope you'll decide to get to know Him now...
to trust Him now...
to love Him and to live for Him now...
and to have the opportunity to introduce those around you to Him, too.

If you've not trusted Jesus into your heart and is a prayer you can say to start the conversation with Him. It's not a magic formula, no hocus pocus involved. Just a simple bridge between you and can say it in your own words and in your own way. The Lord knows your heart and will understand you completely.

Dear God in Heaven,
I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.
I believe that your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.
You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we will be saved.
Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.
Thank you, Jesus, for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus, transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.
Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life. AMEN.

I hope to be able to spend more than just bits and pieces of this chaotic life with you.
I hope we can spend eternity together.
It matters so much to me.

Friday, September 2, 2016

No Time for Bitter Cucumbers

I don't know about you, but this year's garden is ....meh.

I planted 4 zucchini plants and 4 yellow squash. I tended to them, weeded around them, made sure they got the right amount of water nothing in return. After a couple months of no return, those plants got yanked.

Out of the 30 carrot seeds I planted, only 4 and a half grew....I have no idea what happened to the other half of that last carrot. We dug for it and never found it.

My cucumbers are holding their own...we have not gotten enough to can a 2nd batch of pickles, but we have had enough to keep my Hubby's cucumber salad addiction in check.
I love cucumbers (maybe not as much as Hubby) and sometimes I get so hungry for a small plate full of sweet crunchy slices...and all I get are bitter bites.
So I try another - peel, trim, slice, crunch...bitter.
I am much more leery when going for a 3rd.
I've heard the bitterness comes from lack of proper watering and too much heat and it has been very hot this summer and we have had little rain...and no hose...and it takes so long to haul water from the house...

So I reach for other veggies because I have no time for bitter cucumbers.

But aren't we sometimes like that?

All sweet and fresh looking on the outside and then WHAM...something goes wrong and bitterness and anger pour out.

I'm sure we could pin a million reasons (and excuses) onto why we act this way: Stress, lack of sleep, hormones...and some of this may be true.
But I'll fess-up...more often than not *I* get this way because of lack of proper care. Much like a garden needs certain nutrients and conditions to thrive, our hearts and souls need tending to - fed with God's Word, freshened by Living Water, taking rest in His presence. Otherwise we struggle, we shrivel, and if you're like me... you might become bitter and angry.
When I have stepped outside of His presence and get wrapped up in my own world of things I easily get overwhelmed. When I am overwhelmed, it affects those around me. And too many "bites" of my bitterness makes others leery to interact with me.
And who can blame them!
I don't even like MYSELF that way!
Today was one of those day...ouch.

It is time for me to retreat to the Garden of His Mercy and Grace where I can be renewed, find rest, be filled, and once again bring sweetness to others.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence].

If you need'll find me out in the Garden.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Been There, Done That Inspite of Myself

I do not practice what I want to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate....

Did you ever catch yourself doing something you knew full well was wrong, but you just went ahead and did it anyway?
That is the story of my entire life.

Time to be brutally honest:
Irresponsibility with money and in parenting, fighting, yelling and screaming, striking out at others, manipulating, drunkenness, sexual immorality, lying, sneaking around, stealing. Outcast, victim, victimizer, rebel.
All of that and

My past is the stuff of gossip magazines, horror stories, and crime dramas all rolled into one.

A child of anger coming from a broken home that was filled with alcohol and abuse. Teenager who lived as rebelliously as she could in every way that she could find. Young adult who lived to only please herself - no matter the cost. All me.

In future posts I'll share specifics, but let's just sum up this one by saying, there is not much you could have done that would shock me or that I can not relate to.

Some would say that it is understandable - given my home-life when I was young - that I would act out in these ways. Actually, I used to say that myself.
But that only holds a little truth to it for so long.
We can't help or control what happens to or around us when we are children, but when we are old enough to know that the reasons we are acting out is because of our surroundings and the people in it, then our actions become choices. 
And I was all about making the wrong ones even when I knew they were wrong...even when the choices I made were the exact OPPOSITE of what I wanted to do!

Maybe your background isn't as severe as mine but have you ever been there? Have you ever done the wrong thing knowing it was the wrong thing all the while wishing you would have just done the right thing and not knowing why you didn't? It's so frustrating isn't it?!
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I would have done things differently. That I would have curbed my tongue and reigned in my actions, that I would have used wholesome common sense and self-control. Do you have regrets that you carry from your past, too?

It's part of our human sin nature to want to call all the shots, to want to be in control of every situation, to want to dictate how others around us behave so that our actions can be justified. Especially when we are living for ourselves and putting ourselves first. We want 'our way' so that we can have comfort, even if it means making those around us uncomfortable or sometimes even down right miserable.
One thing I've learned is that when we try to do what it 'right' and 'good' while still making it all about ourselves, when we compare ourselves to others that seem to have it all together and try to follow societies 'rules' or even God's Laws.....we will continue to fall terribly short. It's just not in us no matter how hard we try.

The Apostle Paul wrestled with this very thing as seen in this passage from Romans:
Romans 7:15-20 Amplified Bible (AMP)
15 For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled and bewildered by them]. I do not practice what I want to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate [and yielding to my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity]. 16 Now if I habitually do what I do not want to do, [that means] I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good (morally excellent). 17 So now [if that is the case, then] it is no longer I who do it [the disobedient thing which I despise], but the sin [nature] which lives in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity]. For the willingness [to do good] is present in me, but the doing of good is not. 19 For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want to do, I am no longer the one doing it [that is, it is not me that acts], but the sin [nature] which lives in me.
That is a lot to take in, isn't it?
He goes on to further struggle with himself by saying:

21 So I find it to be the law [of my inner self], that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully delight in the law of God in my inner self [with my new nature], 23 but I see a different law and rule of action in the members of my body [in its appetites and desires], waging war against the law of my mind and subduing me and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is within my members. 24 Wretched and miserable man that I am! Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]? 25 Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind serve the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness, my sinful capacity—I serve] the law of sin.
Wow. If I were to stop right there, it would seem that my past filled with all my wrong doings, evil choices, and hate-filled actions against myself and others would define me and my future. It would seem like there is no hope for me...even though I know in my heart I am no longer the person I used to be, that even though I came to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior, that I now place Him before all others and all would still seem like wrong choices are inevitable and that there is flat out just no hope.
I mean, if Paul...chosen to be an Apostle had this issue what chance would there be for ME?!
Thankfully...there is more to Paul's story...and to mine and yours!

Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do [that is, overcome sin and remove its penalty, its power] being weakened by the flesh [man’s nature without the Holy Spirit], God did: He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful man as an offering for sin....
....12 So then, [a]brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but not to our flesh [our human nature, our worldliness, our sinful capacity], to live according to the [impulses of the] flesh [our nature without the Holy Spirit]— 13 for if you are living according to the [impulses of the] flesh, you are going to die. But if [you are living] by the [power of the Holy] Spirit you are habitually putting to death the sinful deeds of the body, you will [really] live forever. 14 For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “[b]Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies and confirms together with our spirit [assuring us] that we [believers] are children of God. 17 And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory.
Again...just WOW! Right there....for each and every one of us....HOPE!
Don't you just love that God the Father knew that this would be our struggle - that no matter our backgrounds, circumstances, wrong choices - that He provided for us, even in THIS.

Friends, we all to some degree struggle with self. We struggle with 'should nots' and 'should haves' and yet we 'did not.' We all have pasts filled with some sort of regrets. With mistakes, with 'wish-we-could-go-backs,' with 'if -I-could-do-it-over-agains.' But that is not who were are meant to be.
 As children of God, we are not to be slaves to our past sins - no matter how big or many. Our past wrong choices do NOT need to define us or our futures.
In Him there is no condemnation (which is not to say that we should willing continue doing wrong and use the excuse of a Grace covering, no way!!!). 
But we can take a fresh breath of hope...right there where we are at.....and make each future moment one that is filled with thankfulness for His provisions, gratefulness for His protections, appreciative for His forgiveness.
And we can be free to forgive ourselves.

Thank you, Abba, thank you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Right Here Where I Am

You'd think that by age 45, I'd know who I am.
Wife, mother of two grown sons, licensed artist with a blossoming career, newly hatched farm girl....all those things make up my life, but on most days I still wonder..."Who AM I?"

From the time I was a child, I allowed myself to be molded into what or who others told me I either was or what I should be.

Worthless, ugly, homely, clumsy, 'a scrapper,' stupid, just a plain scrawny girl who would never amount to much....unloveable...unwanted....failure

Verbal and physical abuse was normal in my growing up years and it stood to reason that I believed that I deserved more of the same (and sometime metered it out myself) in my young adulthood.

These words and actions by many who claimed to love me, pierced me right to my soul and created a multitude of scars that my heart still carries today.
These were the false truths that I claimed and they crowded out any sense of worth that I should have had.
Needless to took broken relationships with relatives, a failed marriage, and ultimately the desire to end it all before God was able to get my full attention by whispering into my ear "Don't you know that you mean something to Me? Don't you know that you were made for so much more? Don't you know I have plans for you? This is not the end of your story."

I heard Him loud and clear on what I was about to turn into the darkest of days.
He met me right there where I the middle of my biggest mess and He embraced me. 
 No words of condemnation, no threats or words of insult. I was screwing up...again...and He showed me love in the middle of it.
I heard His whispers and they ignited a small ember of hope in me that I carried through the next few years of struggle, before allowing it to grow into a tiny flame.
Now, 13 years is becoming a consuming fire, an all passionate NEED to not only know Him that created me, but to know who He created ME to be.

This blog will be the record of my journey, along with stories of my past, as I cling to HIS Word and promises - not the false hopes and hurts from others - but HIS - His alone as I discover the person He intends for me to be.

I'm sure you've heard this said before, but let me tell you I am living proof:
God DOES meet you right there wherever you the middle of your mess, your loneliness, your hurt and frustration.
He met me there and he's waiting there (wherever YOUR "there" is) for you...and He loves us way WAY too much to leave us in the situations we're facing.

I hope my posts here will encourage you on YOUR journey.
Thank you for sharing your time with me.