Monday, July 30, 2012

Label Makers

We are a society of labelers. We have a label (or name) for everything. I think sometimes we put labels on things and people so that we can better understand them. But often we put labels on things and people so that we can avoid them. Many do it to be hurtful.

It's that whole, "You say tomato, I say tomahto" thing. But which is right? Are they both? Or is one more correct than the other? One says one thing. Someone else says another. Both think they're right. So what's the point? 

The point is this: We need to be careful what we say and do because that will eventually catch up with us.

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." ~Galatians 6:7-8 (emphasis mine)

I have been labeled many things throughout my life. Some were very hurtful. But those who have labeled me have not really known me. Because of their own opinions, or something they were told by someone else, they gave me a label. Many of them I carried them with me for years. 

The night God healed me of all the hurts, intimidation, and oppression in my life, there were a lot of things that happened to me. I have labeled it many things myself, not knowing exactly what to call it. But the fact remains that I was healed, this much I KNOW.

When God healed me though, He not only removed all those things, but the Holy Spirit came rushing in and filled all those places in me that had been causing so much damage before. He removed intimidation, oppression, depression, hurt, anxiety, and the old labels that had been placed on me over the years, and replaced them with more of the Holy Spirit. It was like what happened in Acts chapter 2. Sure, I was a Christian before it happened. Afterward I was still a Christian, but a healed one, a different one, a better one. Not perfect. Just different. I had (and still have) a new outlook, a new lease on life, and a new calling.

Have you been labeled? Are you bogged down with so many that you don't even know who you are anymore? Let me encourage you to have a face-to-face encounter with God. Throw everything to Him and ask Him to heal you, and let go of the past things that have caused you so much hurt in your life. Let HIM remove your labels and give you the only one that matters: "Child of God."

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. ~Isaiah 43:1(b) (emphasis mine)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Empty Nesters? Are you kidding!

After 29 years of marriage and raising three kids, we have come to the point in our marriage journey of having an empty nest. Yep, we've become "Empty Nester's." Whatever that means. I guess it means that our little birds have flown the coop. 

Rachel, Logan, & Katie

When our kids were growing up, I wanted to be the "Cool Mom" on the block. You know, the one where all the neighborhood kids wanted to come to our house to play because we had Kool-Aid, cookies, snacks, and an abundance of games and cartoons. I think I got my wish. June Cleaver I'm not, but my kids would run in and out all year yelling, "Hi, Mom!" as they passed, bringing their friends with them, who also yelled,"Hi, Mom!" I remember looking and counting, thinking that one's not mine, that one's not mine, either. But, oh well! The kids were happy, playing, and the house was booming with excitement.

As the kids grew older, the house grew quieter. Occupied rooms and loud music were replaced by ear buds and cars. Lights were left on at night on purpose to give light to the late-night child, returning home from a date or outing with friends.

As time went on, boxes were packed, rooms vacated, weddings performed, and one by one, the kids left. First Rachel, off to college. Then her wedding to Jake, and eventually their own home. Then it was Katie. Married to Brett. Into their own home. And our family got smaller...but yet bigger, if that makes any sense. 
Jake, my little "Peep-eye" Abraham, & Rachel

Brett & Katie

Even though the girls married and moved out, our family grew with the addition of two more boys. Then one day the phone rings and it's Katie. "Hey Mom, I just wanted to tell you that you're going to be a Nonney!" Radley came along in 2006. And our family grew again!

Then four years later, for Valentine's Day, Rachel and Jake announce, "We're going to have a baby!" Another addition. Abraham came along in 2011. Our family grew again.

My little sweetheart, Radley

So even though our girls got married and left home, they supplied us with more babies, growing our family even bigger. We were fine, because OUR baby, Logan, was still at home. Even though he visited his friends and his girlfriend often, he still came home at night. So the night light was still left on. Then Logan announces, "Rhiannon and I are going to get married!" Another addition...but another one left the nest, making us the Empty Nester's. Or did it really? Because I've seen Logan more since he got married than I did when he lived here!

Rhiannon & Logan

We have raised three kids; two girls and a boy. But we've gained two boys and a girl. We now have three girls and three boys. And we also have two grand-boys. So our empty nest isn't really an empty nest at all. Because even though the kids grew up, got married, and moved out...THEY CAME BACK AND BROUGHT MORE WITH THEM! No one told us that part. But I'm not complaining! No sirree, I'm not complaining!

Having an empty nest is an adjustment, to say the least. But an adjustment I'm learning to deal with. I'm sad that all my chicks have grown up. I miss that a little. But I'm also glad my chicks have had their own chicks, because being a Nonney sure is a blessing! I absolutely love my little grand-chicks! So even though my nest is empty, it's full at the same time...and I'm blessed to be able to experience it. 

Empty Nesters...yeah, right!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Overcoming Fear

"There's no need to fear! Underdog is here!"

My favorite cartoon when I was three. Underdog. I do not know why this was my favorite cartoon, but it was. I loved the music, the characters, and everything about Underdog. Especially the fact that he always yelled, "There's no need to fear!" just before he flew in to save the day. As long as Underdog was here, there was no need for fear. But as I got older, I realized that Underdog was just a cartoon, and there were things in my life that did cause me fear. Things that I did not know how to deal with. 

At age fifteen, I had fallen into the "black hole" of depression so deeply that even a cloud in the sky would scare me to death. I was afraid of everything; storms, clouds, people, school, church. I was even afraid that the world was going to end and I was going to be left behind, all alone, with no one. But I had no idea why I thought the world was going to end, or even why I should be afraid of being left behind. At that time, I didn't know God, nor did I know that He loved me and didn't want to hurt me, but that He had a plan for me.

Not knowing how to get out of the black hole is scary enough. But...fear is something that the enemy puts on us, not God. God does not want us to be afraid. Throughout the Bible, we are told many times not to fear. If it's in there so much, then don't you think God is serious about us not being afraid? I think so, too.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." ~2 Timothy 1:7

When we come to know the Lord, He gives us power, love, and He takes hold of our thoughts, giving us peace. He does not give us fear. I did not know this for such a long time. It's a shame really, how long it took me to figure it out. I spent many years under such oppression and depression, never knowing that the answer to my issues was within praying distance.

However, because God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28), He used the issues buried deep within me to help me find my calling, and my healing. He has helped me conquer my persecution and pain...and He has set me on the course to helping others become conquerors, too.

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." ~Romans 8:37

This is what the Lord did for me. He can do it for you, too. While Underdog saves the day in the cartoon world. God saves the day in the real world. 

There's no need to fear! GOD is here!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Water on the Rocks

Riding through the mountains in North Carolina, we passed many rushing streams and creeks. The water running over the rocks was beautiful. In places it ran quickly, rushing over the various rocks, making little waterfalls. In other places, it ran slower, often just trickling over the rocks. No matter how it was flowing, it was beautiful.

Leaning into one curve, I happened to notice a particular rocky stream with the water rushing quickly over the rocks, and I began to think...the longer that water runs over those rocks, the smoother they will become. I thought about how God designed it and created it. That's about the time it felt as if the Lord whispered in my helmet and said, "I am the Living Water. This is what I am doing with your life."

Wow! How profound a statement! But I understood it. Since He healed me of so many mental and emotional scars, Jesus has been working on smoothing out the rough spots here and there. He patiently works in areas that I have difficulty with, and in areas that are not much of a problem for me, He gently glides over, smoothing away those areas so that I can move on to better things.

I also began to think about how necessary water is in our lives. We need water to live. We drink it to hydrate and heal our bodies, so we can stay healthy. We use it to cook with, to work with, to wash with. Water is necessary for life. We also need Jesus to live. He hydrates our souls, heals our bodies, keeps us healthy, and washes us clean of our imperfections and sins.

Jesus is able to heal us in an instant. But often He uses our imperfections and our rough edges to help us learn and grow. The things in our lives that cause us pain most often are the things the Lord uses to help us help others. If we have gone through it, we can help others who are going through it, too. This is why He has given me the ability and boldness to write about my experiences overcoming oppression and depression.

Although living that way was not fun, and I often wondered why I was suffering and no one else could see it, Jesus saw it and saw the opportunity to use me to help someone else. When He healed me, Jesus, the Living Water, rushed through me, first washing away the unnecessary things. Then, He replaced those rough, jagged edges with a smoothness, giving me something to use to show others that yes, you too can be healed and still survive.

As the water in the mountains runs over the rocks in the streams, smoothing out rough edges over time, Jesus does the same thing with us. Sometimes the water is soothing. Sometimes it is rough and rapid. But no matter which runs through your life, if it is Jesus the Living Water, you can bet that you'll come out of the rapids a beautiful, smooth, stone shining like a gem.

How is Jesus smoothing out your life?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Beauty for Ashes

There was a time that I thought my life was nothing but a pile of ashes. I had come so far in depression, oppression, and intimidation, that I truly think there was anything left but the ashes of my despair. Has your life come down to that, too? Let me encourage you today; God wants to give you beauty for your ashes. He does! He wants to turn your ashes into something beautiful. For all the years you've suffered intimidation from others. For all the years you've suffered depression as the result of the oppression pressing you down into the pit of darkness that surrounded you. God can take you out of it and turn your life into the beautiful thing it was meant to be!

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives.......To give them beauty for ashes..." ~Isaiah 61:1-3(a) (emphasis mine)

You are meant for so much more than what you've been allowed to believe of yourself. I don't care who told you that you couldn't do something. God says that you CAN! Want to know how I know this? Because I've been there. I've been sitting in the dark pit of ashes that my life was becoming. I have suffered oppression. I have suffered depression, manipulation, intimidation. I can't tell you enough how many women there have been, who have come in and out of my life, who have been this way to me. I always endured it. Because I was raised that you did not dispute what someone else says to you. But what I wasn't told was that not everyone is right.

I didn't know about the love of Jesus. I had no idea that He wasn't some kind of dictator, on His throne, waiting to "ZAP" me with a great punishment for the bad stuff I've done. Suffering and punishment come in various forms, yes. But just because someone is going through a bad spot, doesn't mean that God is punishing them. Sometimes it's a test of their faith. Sometimes it's an attack of the enemy. Sometimes it's both. What did Job do to deserve all that he went through? Nothing. His faith was being tested. He wasn't being punished. And God ultimately restored him. But my point is that many times people want to focus on the bad stuff and subsequently blame God for their bad lot in life. They want to believe that God is ultimately going to punish them for their sins...even if they've been forgiven.

"I'm just waiting for my punishment," they may say. Well, okay you go right ahead and wait. But I'm going to rejoice in the love and forgiveness of the Lord. People who have lived a life of constantly being intimidated by others who believe they have the right answers, will know what I mean here. God is a fair God. He's just. He's also jealous, and His wrath is something that I don't want to endure. But God's wrath IS coming... for those who never accept Him and never turn from the bad stuff they do.

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." ~2 Chronicles 7:14

I didn't enjoy suffering depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I also didn't enjoy always feeling like everything was my fault and I was always to blame for everyone elses problems. I suffered. Plain and simple. Job suffered so long that he began to question. Have you done the same thing? Have you suffered something that is controlling your life for so long that you're beginning to wonder if God even cares about you? I've done that. I truly thought that God hated me and was going to "zap" me with cancer, just like my mother had, and kill me off! Now THAT is a sad mentality. This is how the enemy tricked me and caused me to believe his lies. I became so afraid of God that I literally thought that He had left me. So one day, He showed me just how that would feel.

I believe that God pulled back just enough to allow me to feel what my life would be like without Him. I have known Him for so long that I just didn't realize that He was there. When He pulled back, the devastation, loneliness, despair, and hopelessness that overcame me was so overwhelming, it literally caused me to cry out for Him. "God! Where are you?! Please don't leave me!" Instantly, those bad feelings disappeared, replaced with peace, comfort, and love. God had been holding me, just like when your kids were small and they would cry for you in the dark. You were there the whole time, but they didn't know it until you touched them.

It took about four years to come out of that mess. But it took another couple of years before we found a church where we could learn and grow...and where Jesus could get a hold of me. That's when God said, "It's time for a complete healing." That's when He did "Spiritual Surgery" on me and healed me of every bit of that mess.

Not everyone's story is going to be like mine. But there are people out there who are suffering needlessly because someone, somewhere told them that God was punishing them. Those are not God's plans for you at all. He has good plans for you and they don't include all. So why not let Him give you beauty for your ashes today?

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity..." Jeremiah 29:11-14(a) (emphasis mine)

If you have prayer concerns, I would be honored to pray for you. Email me your prayer requests. Click the mailbox in the right column.

Friday, July 13, 2012

When Friendships Fail

Thumbing through the journal that I started on forgiveness, I began to see the journey that God has been leading me through. I began this journal on February 29, 2012. I titled it, "Forgiveness," because it was a topic that kept popping up everywhere I turned. On the radio, on television, in books and articles that I read. Even in my thoughts! So I thought, I better pay attention. I decided to take notes because there was no telling where this was going to lead.

I wrote about how I needed to pay attention because I believed the Lord was telling me something. I even wrote, "I'm going to take a lot of notes because I believe this forgiveness thing is what is going to end up being what I write about. So in admitting that, as I embark on this journey, Lord Jesus, please guide me, be with me, open my heart and my mind and soul to not only be able to give forgiveness but to receive it and then to be able to tell others about it so they too, can be helped."

Little did I know that this small, but profound prayer was not only heard, but it was prophecy into what God was about to do in my life. It was three months later, on May 30, 2012, that I lay in the floor at church.  God had healed me of the oppression that had been weighing me down for years.

Since then, here is the proof of that healing. You have been reading about it on this website. It has become my journey. I write because I know that there are people out there who are suffering inside like I was. You have family, friends, and people you love, who intimidate and oppress you, control you, who are mad at you for one thing or another. And you must find a way to have forgiveness for them, try to restore the relationships, and move out of the pit that you are in. 

Restoring relationships is a difficult adventure. I say "adventure" because of all the things we go through in order to restore one. Many times we cannot restore it, and we just have to move on, continuing in prayer for the one who will not be moved.

You must find a way to have forgiveness for them...                             and move out of the pit that you are in.

As I write this, I have someone in mind, who has seen it as a great injustice to herself, that I didn't do something that she believed in her heart that I should have done. Various things prevented me from following through. But before twenty-four hours had passed, she was angry with me and no longer speaking to me, nor was she any longer my friend. I have tried to apologize to her, to no avail. Phone calls, text messages, and emails have all gone unanswered. The last time I saw her, she would not acknowledge me, nor speak to me. The hate and unforgiveness radiating from her, along with the judgmental attitude were palpable. Others even noticed it and asked me what had happened. I declined to explain. 

How sad she must be, carrying that around with her, disguised as justification. My heart is heavy for her, and yet I wonder just what kind of a friend she really was to me, if she can hate me so thoroughly because of one mistake. I wonder if she really had been my friend at all? I also wonder if I had been a very good friend to her, myself? Because if I had been, shouldn't I have helped to teach her a little better about forgiveness and the importance of not holding a grudge? Thinking back though, at the time, I too, was carrying the weight of years of hurt, oppression, and angst within me that I didn't know how to deal with. This is still no excuse. However, since being healed of it, I can see the damage I have done. What can I do now, but pray that those I have made mistakes with will forgive me. It is not solely my fault for some of the things that have happened in the past. But I shoulder much of the blame in not trying to fix it sooner.

It does not settle things to continually drag the past back up, trying to get over it. Yet many times, the people we surround ourselves with thrive on the past mistakes of others. They take great pleasure in dwelling on that, keeping us in a constant state of strife. I spent way too many years in that stage of continually bringing up past hurts, trying to "talk it out." I would try to reason my way through it, trying to find my justification. My motto was, "God can do more to them than I ever could, so I'm not even going to deal with it." This is a wrong mindset. This attitude will get you into more trouble. Not with others, but with God. So to drag this back up, will only cause more pain.

Since my healing, my journey has been one of learning, of growing, and of laying to rest the things of my past. If I can do that with those whom I have unresolved matters, that's another victory. If I cannot resolve issues with them, then I must move forward and pray that someday they too, will find the forgiveness that I have found.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wisdom in Reconciling

Reading a daily devotion one morning, not only did the title speak to me, but a few things within the devotion as well. The title of the devotion was "Pretending I'm Fine or Proving I'm Right,"  by Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries. In the devotion, Lysa talks about which is the right thing to do when someone says or does something that hurts us. Stay quiet and pretend like nothing is wrong, or confront them with how wrong they were? What is the godly response? I began to wonder, "God, are you trying to tell me something?"

When God healed me of the many years of oppression, and intimidation that had been weighing me down for so long, there was a great weight that was lifted from within me. I was able, for the first time in many years, to truly feel forgiven and to feel forgiveness for others. But what about down the road, when I have to face my oppressors again? What do I do when I'm faced with someone who has always said negative things to me, or bad-mouth me whether I'm present or not? What do I do then? How do I stay honest, yet maintain my integrity?

We can't go into a confrontation with self-righteousness on the tips of our tongues. It is very important that we seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit before we even open our mouths. Because we know that there are those in our lives who are going to cause issues. So we hand them over to the Lord, and we ask for wisdom to be able to handle the situations that arise.

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy." ~James 3:17 (HCSB)

By focusing on God's wisdom and the godly wisdom He gives us, we will be able to invoke a peaceable reaction to those who seek confrontation. By reacting  in a godly way; with love, peace, a kind word, etc., we can show our oppressors that we aren't going to fight with them.

Sometimes that will be enough to diffuse the situation. Many times though, they are looking for a fight. But if we have prayed about the situation, truly seeking God's wisdom, He will give us the peace-loving, gentle, response we need. We will be able to show mercy to those seeking oppression and confrontation.

Still, there will be times when reconciliation with someone just doesn't come. It is very sad when this happens. There are those whom I have prayed for, for years. The reconciliation has not come. There have been many confrontations, all ending in the other person becoming angry, while I sit calmly, trying to negotiate. They become agitated, yelling and throwing curses my way. It never ends with a calm reconciliation of our relationship. I have not gone into it blaming the other person, but trying very hard to reconcile. Nonetheless, there is never a calm restoration. These are the people that I must, for obvious reasons, stay away from. And it breaks my heart.

Reconciliation is a two-way street. It's a give-and-take. In this situation, the right thing to do is to give it to the Lord and let Him provide the wisdom, discernment, and the reaction that I need. If you have someone in your life that you have not been able to reconcile with, seek the wisdom of the Lord. Pray and ask Him for guidance. Hopefully one day you will be able to reconcile. It's never too late to try.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be give to him, But let him ask in faith, with no doubting..." James 1:5-6(a) (NKJV)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Moving Forward

It's one thing to be healed of the years of oppression and intimidation. The peace that flows through me is amazing. God is more real than He's ever been before. My senses are more attuned to what's going on around me. Sleep comes more easily and it's more refreshing. I'm able to rest once again, without little niggling remarks from the past running through my head, ruining what sleep I would have got. It's easier to wake in the morning. In fact, I do so with anticipation of a new day. It's actually a welcome thing to wake before the alarm, so I can go out to the porch and spend a few quiet moments alone with God and tell Him how wonderful He is, thanking Him for the healing once more, and reading His Word in anticipation of what He wants me to know for this day...

But it's been a few weeks. What do I do now? What do I do AFTER the healing? When the moment is long gone, I've come down off the cloud I was floating on the first few weeks. I've had a couple of undesirable moments with stressful people. I handled it well, but what am I supposed to do now? Is God still listening to me? Am I still listening to God? 

It's time to MOVE FORWARD. 

God healed me for a reason. To help others. To minister to others. He set me on this path of restoration after healing me. He has given me a new purpose in life and a new ministry. I can do nothing more but move forward with it...following Him.

When God heals you of an issue, or several issues, that you've had buried deep within your soul, you come out of it into a new light. At first it's hard to see things around you because it's so bright and clear out here in the open. But gradually things begin to adjust. You're at a sort of stand-still because there's a newness within you. A getting-used-to-this-new-thing kind of feeling that takes a little getting used to. There's excitement. There's a new awareness. Peace, joy, happiness, laughter, all come back to you.

There are also remembered hurts. There are those little aggravating voices, trying to sprout old hurts back into life. But instantly they are squashed back into the pit from whence they came. There is no more dwelling on the issues of the past, because let's face it, they are in the PAST. It's a new day and you're a new you!

So what happens when you finally adjust somewhat and the newness wears off? That's when the moving forward begins. Taking those baby steps, walking steps, then running steps forward. Stay in prayer. Keep reading your Bible. This will keep you grounded. This will help you move forward. We have to move forward in our journey if we are to be successful. If we stay where we are, we end up going back into the black hole. There are always going to be those people who try to keep us from moving forward. 

"Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving." ~Colossians 4:2

Every day I get up and start my day talking to the Lord. I open my Bible and ask Him what He would have me to know today. I just open my Bible & wherever it opens, I read. Guess what? That is exactly where God has a message for me! What I read in there after I've spoken to Him deals with the very things I've talked to Him about...and right there is my answer!

Let me encourage you today. Let God ground you in His presence. In His Word, in His conversation, in everything. When you get grounded, you'll be able to move forward.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Heritage of Love

Today, I'm posting over at The Barn Door.

C'mon over and see what other kinds of quilts you might get to look at!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Make Up Your Mind

Every day is a new adventure in my journey. I learn new things and can literally see how far God has brought me in such a short amount of time. I wonder how I made it this far without ending up in a padded room somewhere, but then realize that although I suffered many years of mental and emotional abuse, God was there the whole time. He also had a plan for me, and He knew just how much I was capable of handling before He got me to where He could mold me into what He needed me to be.

You may be wondering, if God is so loving, then why did He let these things happen? I wouldn't let Him. I didn't know how. I was afraid then of what others might think or say. I would quietly worship God on Sunday, but allow others to dictate how I acted Monday through Saturday...and I hated it the whole time, living in misery, but showing the world a smiling face. I literally hid in my suffering, for years, and years, and years.

Today, I watch others doing the same things. I watch as one person after the other says something about God, praising Him today, then tomorrow they say something with the foulest language or crudest remarks. Still, a few days later, when their lives have taken a turn and something bad comes along they wonder why God is doing this to them. They flit back and forth between God and their misery, never making up their minds.

"Now above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. Your "yes" must be "yes," and your "no" must be "no," so that you won't fall under judgment." ~James 4:12

For years I was made excuses for the mess my life was in. I had no idea that what I felt down in the pit of my soul was the work of the enemy. There was literally a ball of "yuck" inside me that was churning and making me more miserable. I had no idea that it was years of the oppression, verbal and mental abuse, and bullying that I had endured, clear into my adult years. 

An EXCUSE is a LIE disguised as a REASON.

What I needed was for God to take care of ME! I needed a major pruning, and some of the things coming out of me needed to be thrown in the fire.

One night, they were. The night God healed me, He removed every hurt, every foul word ever spoken to me or from me, and He began to patch me up. I was transformed in that one evening and given new wings to fly. I was given a destination and pointed in the right direction to get there. Then God gave me a little push, like giving a little bird a lift to fly, and off I went!

"...but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint." ~Isaiah 40:31

You too, have a calling from God! Believe it or not, you do. He has a plan for you, He has a job for you, and you need to believe that right now. Stop letting the enemy convince you that God is doing these bad things to you. He's not. He loves you very much. So let your "yes" be "yes," and your "no" be "no," and stop playing on the fence. Instead, make up your mind to let God mend your fence and let Him give you the wings to fly off of it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Fireworks over Niagara Falls
Happy 4th of July! Independence Day. A day when we celebrate the independence of our nation. I always loved the fireworks display of our town. Of course, I just love watching fireworks anywhere, especially the big ones! The bright colors, the crackling of the sparklers, and even those stinky, sulphur-smelling smoke bombs and their brightly colored smoke. I loved buying those when I was a kid and setting them off in the yard to see how many colors I could get. Those were some fun times growing up. 

Can you imagine what would be happening in our country if our troops hadn't fought for our freedom? I'm so thankful for, and proud of, all of them.

I'm also extremely thankful for the spiritual freedom that God gave me. Since being healed of the years of mental and emotional abuse that I've endured, I can see things in a whole new light. Gone are the anxieties of the past. Gone are the hateful barbs of those who have picked at me for years. And gone are the feelings of worthlessness that have been drilled into my head by those who wanted nothing but to insult and keep me down.

This might sound harsh, but there are those who cannot feel good about themselves unless they are putting someone else down. These are the people I have to stay away from. Some of them are family, some friends, some even women I went to church with. I may love many of them, but I limit my time with them because to be around them for any length of time only causes stress. Some of them I stay away from completely.

I've talked about it before, but this is a healing process. Just because I'm healed of the oppression doesn't mean my life is perfect. It just means I'm on a new journey. This is my "Journey to Forgiveness." Some people aren't going to like it. Some will retaliate. Just like when our troops are fighting for the freedom we get to enjoy in the United States. Our adversaries in other countries don't like it, so they retaliate. It's basically the same way with our spirituality. Our enemy, the devil, is constantly looking for someone to devour (destroy). That's why we have to be on alert so that we can fend him off. 

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." ~1 Peter 5:8-9

But the good news is that I have a God who is bigger than all of that. He has promised me that He will be with me every step of the way. I may have to walk through some rough spots, but I am now better equipped to handle it. There will be no more oppression for me. I may get attacked verbally, but those are just words from people who don't "get it." I don't have to be around them. I have other things to do and can't waste my time letting someone try to trip me up.

Let me tell you what the devil did to me. For most of the life I've lived, there has been someone always putting me down. I'm not whining about it, I'm just stating facts. I never knew how to handle it, and therefore allowed them to oppress me, never defending myself. But let me tell you what the LORD did for me: He came in and took all of that emotional and mental oppression from me and gave me a fresh start! I stand before you today healed, cleansed, and ready to do what the Lord has called me to do. Help others who are suffering the same thing.

I am happy. I am free. I am a brand new person. Freedom isn't free. Someone gave his life so that you and I can live in a free country. Jesus gave His life so that you and I can live eternally. I hope that you all have a happy and safe Independence Day. I also hope you all have an eternity with Jesus, celebrating the independence He gave us!

"But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." ~1 Peter 5:10 (emphasis mine)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Healing Rain

View looking south from my front porch

Standing on the front porch looking out at the back end of our property, I was talking to the Lord. I sometimes stand at the edge of the porch and look toward the woods. If I get there early enough in the morning I can see some deer making their way out of the woods, over to the cornfield which sits right next to us. The woods are home to many a wild animal. I know this because my son-in-law Jake, has strategically placed "Deer Cams" at the end of the field and let me tell you, we have some pretty amazing pictures!

Just the day before, I was jumping around on the front porch, yelling "Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!" while the rains came pouring down...until I got pelted with a couple small pieces of hail, at which time I ran inside. But I was just so excited that God had answered my prayer for rain, that I wanted to tell him! 

It was on the day after the round of thunderstorms came through that I was standing in a puddle of cool rain water, at the end of my porch. Looking out over the field, I stood talking to the Lord. Thanking Him for the healing rain that He gave us, and various other things. Often I find myself talking, and talking, and talking...and then I realize that maybe HE has something to say to ME! Best to zip my lip.

I was holding my Bible close to my heart as I had been praying. I realized that there was something in there that the Lord wanted to say, so I opened it and this is what I read out loud:

"To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul, O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness' sake, O Lord." ~Psalm 25:1-7

Reading it out loud was like proclaiming God's Word, His promise over me. As I read, I realized that He was reminding me that He had heard me. He saw me lift up my soul to Him. He saw me put my trust in Him. He also reminded me that He knows full well of the ones who have treated me badly, and He will deal with them in His time. They won't triumph over me, by putting me down or making remarks about me behind my back. Those things are trivial and of no importance to me, nor to the ministry that God has called me to do. But He also showed me and reminded me that the sins I've committed in the past are just that. In the past. Every day He is teaching me this and helping me to move forward in a new light...HIS LIGHT.

A month before I was beaten down, withdrawn, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually a mess. I had been verbally abused by various women (and some men) throughout my entire life. The only person, other than the Lord, who knew what my potential was, was my husband, Don Athen Wilburn. Thank God that he never gave up on me! Thank God that GOD never gave up on me!

God hasn't given up on you, either. He wants you, just the way you are. He has something for you to do. But you have to trust Him. You have to bring everything within you to Him and just be honest. Be honest with yourself, and with God, and just tell Him; "Okay, I can't do this my way anymore. It isn't working. You know that. So here I am. Forgive me Lord, and use me for whatever it is that You've called me to do."

Don't let others keep you down any longer! Come out of that black hole you've been in and play in the healing rain of God's love

So tell are YOU playing in the rain?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mass Communicating

Surfing on Facebook one morning, Melody Miller, one of the morning radio personalities from WIBI radio station posted a question. I answered that question and it set off a chain of events that would end up taking me to be on the radio. The question was, "So what has God been teaching you lately?"

I could not NOT respond to that! I was also a little bit afraid of what others might think if I did post. Now, that right there was my former fears surfacing. Instantly they were removed and this soothing, peaceful, very small voice said, "Answer her." So I did. My comment went something like this: "So much that I had to start a website to contain it!" I know I put more in there than that, something about being taught forgiveness and healed of many years of oppression, however just that much was enough to send Melody to my website (there are enough links posted on my Facebook page to find it easily). Within a few short minutes, she had made another post, telling people to go read my story. She had posted a link to one of my stories, and within another few minutes I received this comment: "Girl, you need to come do the show with me!" I quickly responded, "I'd love to!"

As soon as I clicked "send" I thought, "WHAT have I DONE?!" By that evening, the date for me to be on A Positive Start to Your Day with Melody was set. I was going to go on June 29, 2012. 

Before that however, the most amazing things were happening around me and within me. Gone was the nervousness. Gone was the anxiety. Gone was the worry that usually accompanied me when knowing that I was about to do something "big." In their places was a confidence in myself that I've never had before. I never worried one time about the show. I never worried about what I would say. I never worried about what Melody might ask me or say to me. There was a peace, a calm, and an assurance that I had never had before. It was all God. It was all the healing that He had given me on May 30. It was all still there. It was all still working.

I have come to realize since my healing experience that when God heals you, He keeps you healed. There's no going back. There's no, "oh you just messed up so you have to start over." There's none of that. Healing is healing and once healed you're sealed. It's the truth. God healed me, then called me out to do the thing I had been praying for years that He'd let me do. Write. It was there the whole time, but I had a lot of junk in the way. Now I was preparing to tell it on the a huge listening area. And I was perfectly calm about it.

Where is the radio station anyway?
Picture ©
The drive to Carlinville, IL, would take about two-and-a-half hours, I would stay overnight in a motel somewhere (about 30 miles from Carlinville - through cornfields) and make sure I was at the station at 7:20 AM to do the show with Melody. DA drove me and we had a very good time getting to spend some time together. 

I have a little confession to make. When I got up the morning of the show, my stomach was a little queasy. But shortly after we left the motel to drive over to the radio station, I received a private message that read: "The devil doesn't want you to break through because he knows that if you do, you will become a world changer.....Joyce Meyer post just now." It was from my aunt. Immediately my nervous stomach went away. I knew that the Lord had sent me to deliver my story to someone out there who needed encouragement...and the enemy didn't like it. Oh well.

My new friend, Melody Miller
Picture ©
Upon arrival, Melody met me at the door with smiles and an abundance of energy that was catching. We hit it off right from the start. She got me acquainted with the station, giving DA and me a tour of the building. Then she sat me down in front of this huge microphone and told me, "We go on the air in ten minutes. Would you like a bottle of water?"

Before I knew it, Melody was welcoming me to the show, telling her listeners that her "new friend" was in the studio today, and we were going to be talking about my amazing journey. Then she asked me a question and away we went!

Going on the air...headsets don't do a think for your hair.
Picture ©

I can't tell you exactly what I said or what she said. But it wasn't long before the phone on her side of the counter started blinking. We had a caller. Then another caller. I was truly amazed by God. Because I gave everything I have into His hands, praying that He would prepare Melody, prepare me, and prepare the listeners, whomever they may be. God gave us the words to say. He gave the listeners the ears and the hearts to hear. And before long, it was ten o'clock and the show was over. Where did the time go?

Everyday life isn't always doing a radio show. I certainly did not go there with the intentions of bringing attention to myself. But I did go there with the intentions of bringing attention to God and how He can turn your life around if you'll just trust Him. He did it for me. 

If you missed the morning show, you can hear the Podcast by going to this link:

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