Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How my daddy has given me a reason to be joyful today!

Psalm 145...
along with "Alisha's Personal Paraphrase" typed in pink font.

I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
I'll keep talking about you.

2Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
I'll probably just keep talking about you until the day I die actually.

3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.

Nobody on the planet is as cool as you, and nobody can explain away how cool you are.


4 One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.

One generation tells the next how awesome you are, and then they tell the next and on and on it goes, until infinity.


5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.[b]

Each generation takes time expressing and dwelling on how incredible you are, and instilling the power of your name into the next generation.


6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.

They talk about how powerful you are and all the super miraculous ways you have worked in the lives of other people.


7 They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

They celebrate the fact that you are a good God that loves them and provides for them and sing joyfully of your righteousness.

8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.

YOU are gracious and compassionate! YOU are slow to anger and rich in LOVE!! HOW wonderfully and magnificently brilliant of you! Such wonderful attributes for a father to possess!!!

9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.

YOU are good to all!!!! YOU have compassion on all you have made!!!! WOW!!!! What a delight you are LORD!!! I'm Speechless. Truly, you are a merciful God.


10 All your works praise you, LORD;
your faithful people extol you.

We praise you LORD.


11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,

We tell of the glory of your kingdom and we speak of your might.


12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

so that everyone who knows us can know about you and about your kingdom.


13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

We tell them that Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and that Heaven is their safe home for eternity, free from all the hardships they face here on earth.

The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.[c]

YOU, LORD, are trustworthy in ALL YOU promise and YOU are faithful in all YOU do, which is so just so hard to come by these days, so we thank you for that.


14 The LORD upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.

YOU, LORD, uphold us when we fall down and YOU, LORD, lift us up when we bow down. What a beautiful picture. We humbly bow before you, Lord.


15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.

The eyes of all look to you to provide for them and you provide for them exactly what they need exactly when they need it.

16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. (What precious words!!!)

17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.

YOU, LORD, are righteous in ALL YOUR ways, and faithful in ALL YOU do! (Amen.)


18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.

YOU, LORD, are close to the one who is calling out to you right now!!! You are NOT distant!! Your hear each desperate plea, and you are CLOSE! Thank you Lord, for that promise!!! (Somebody needed to hear that today!)


19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.

YOU, LORD, fulfill the desires of those who fear YOU and you hear their cries and you save them from where they are at. THANK YOU LORD!!! YOU ARE A GOOD GOD!!!


20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

YOU, LORD, watch over all who love YOU.

21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.

I will praise YOU, LORD today. I will join with all of the other creatures and praise YOU because YOU has given me a reason to be JOYFUL both now, and forever! AMEN.

The Father's Love Letter

An Intimate Message From God To You.

My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.

Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.

Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.

Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.

John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.

1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.

1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.

Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.

Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.

Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.

Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.

Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.

Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.

Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.

Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.

John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.

Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.

1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.

Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.

1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.

Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.

Luke 15:7

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.

Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child?

John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad Almighty God

Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications
©
1999-2011 www.FathersLoveLetter.com


I found this "letter" at www.fathersloveletter.com and I liked it and wanted to share.
You can click here to check out the site, and what other resources it has to offer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Prayer of an impulsive mommy learning to "seek wisdom".

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground."

Psalm 143: 8, 10



Monday, August 29, 2011

Belt out your battlecry before you go out into battle.

Empower yourself!!! Seriously, it works!! Crank up some Cece Winans when no one is looking, hold up your hands and belt out the chorus. This is a powerful song. May you be infused with that power when you sing this song.



There. Now don't we feel better? ;)


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Step Two: Meditate on and Memorize scriptures that remind us of God's love.

This post is a back up post to the one entitled:
Go from talking about God's love to experiencing it.
You can click here to get to that post.

IF there was ever an enemy of your soul, who wanted to snatch away any self-worth you could possibly possess that could transform you and empower you to do good for the kingdom, these verses are the kind of ammunition that the enemy would work hard to keep you from so I wanted to make it really easy for you to get to by putting them all in one post.
Use these as your weapon against the enemies attacks on your mind.
Meditate on these. Memorize them until they seep into your brain and into your heart.

The Bible is the living word and it is your weapon against the attacks of Satan so choose to arm yourself.




Here are just a few verses you can choose to memorize, as a reminder of the love that God has for you.

Psalm 90:14
"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."

Zephaniah 3:17
"The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Lamentations 3:22-23
"Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."

Ephesians 3:18-19
"may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Psalm 89:2
"I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself."

Psalm 36:5
"Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies."

Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Isaiah 62:5

As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.

Isaiah 43:4
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.

John 6:35
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
(To this one Becky adds, "Notice the word, 'comes'. Jesus is saying "don't just come once; keep on coming.")

Oh, yeah, and how can I forget Isaiah 49:15...the one that makes all the teenage boys wish they could hide in their shirt collars because it mentions a mom's boob. HEY! It's in the Bible! It's free game! Look, if the message wasn't so stinkin' powerful I wouldn't use it, but it is, so.... :)

Isaiah 49:15
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!"
(Becky adds, "My children needed to come to me for milk as soon and as often as they were hungry. So it is with us and our need for God's love. We need to return again and again, hungrily drinking from His love.") AND I think that is a GREAT note to end on.

Keep coming back to His love!!!! There is MORE than enough! DRINK IT UP and never thirst again!!! ;)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Just in case if you REALLY need a reason to laugh today.

This post is just for fun, because I felt like it. This one makes me deep-down-in-the-bottom-of-my-gut-laugh every single time I watch it. So funny. Hope it makes your day a little brighter. ENJOY. Comedian TIM HAWKINS, everyone...



"No wonder they don't want to go to bed at night. My parents used to pray this with me in the dark as a kid...." -Tim Hawkins

oh fun. Tim Hawkins is THE BEST!! OH!! And Have a great day! Maybe I'll see ya later, maybe I won't. Can't say for sure. 50/50. I can't guarantee anything. :)

Real quick exciting announcement!!!

(Isn't she adorable by the way...like something torn right off of one a them there Pregnancy magazine covers? Just sayin'. She is so cute!!! I KNOW!!! I try to let her know that I am not mad at her for being that cute, but I am not sure if she believes me or not.) Okay, enough being silly. She is cute, but that is not why am writing today. Read on. ;)

I posted a guest post on BeComforted back on July 28 that was written by one of my sweet dear friends from college, Diane 'Slusher' Amoroso who had struggled getting pregnant. If you did not get a chance to read that you may do so here. This is a guest post follow-up. I know that post meant a lot to many of my readers and hit close to home for many of you, so I wanted to bring you up to speed and let you on the latest and greatest.

Diane was actually a very strong 36 weeks into her pregnancy, and on the mend of what had been a very hard season of her life, when I posted her guest post and am happy to announce and she and her husband just recently delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS DIEGO AND DIANE!!!!!


We are very, very, very happy for you and rejoice right along with you!!!
May God bless you and your family today and into the future.
Many, many more blessings to come for you, Diane!





Thursday, August 25, 2011

My prayer for my sweet brokenhearted friends who feel like they have hit rock bottom.

Lord,
Today I lift up to you the one who is feeling not just a little weak, not just slightly knocked down, but pushed beyond what they can handle all the way to what they would consider to be their "rock bottom". Wrap your loving arms around your precious child Lord. Overwhelm them with a strong sense of your deep, and intense love for them right where they are at. Infuse your supernatural strength into them there. Rebuild, restore, renew, empower, and give new focus and lay it thick on their hearts like only you can. Do a miracle in the lives of your children when they cry out to you asking for your help and comfort today. Fill them up with YOU, and your glorious righteousness, and then pour out your love through them so they can feel the blessing of being a part of your bigger picture. Bless them with deep satisfaction in the depths of their hearts as they pour out their lives to you, Lord. To you be the glory forever and ever. I pray this in your holy and powerful name. Amen.

I will follow YOU.

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them."

Isaiah 42:16



tag: Johanna, Katie, Jenifer ;) Love you three.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The prayer of an old broken down momma...


Lord,
I apologize for the areas of my life I have I left unattended and grossly neglected. I'm sorry for the many areas of my life that have been seemingly broken and left un-repaired, as I continued on in my hurried pace trying to keep up with what I thought to be important. I am sorry for neglected areas in my life that I have yet to even discover because I did not want to face how hard it might be, so I remained distracted by lesser things.

Have mercy on me, Lord for the ways I continued to grow weaker and weaker and did not come to you for strength over these past few years. Give me a heart that breaks for the things that your heart breaks for. I'm intentionally slowing down now Lord, trying to tune everything else out, leaning into you more, so you can build me back up. I'm breathing in your air more deeply now, giving you permission to break me down and build me back up. Rebuild me Lord. Make me stronger into who you created me to be. A vessel that confidently moves forward in obedience to You, Lord. Take this time, Lord, to rebuild me up into a strong woman of faith who is unwaveringly and undeniably your girl. Bless this time Lord. Rebuild my energy and strength. Restore any relationships that have gone by the wayside that need to be restored. Renew my spirit until it is better than I can even imagine it ever being, please with a cherry on top. ALL FOR YOUR GLORY LORD. ALWAYS FOR YOUR GLORY. Amen.


Another vivid dream I had.

I had a strange dream last night. (It happens a lot actually) My husband always says he can't remember his dreams. I always remember mine. I used to be flying in my dreams a lot. I mean, like Superman, but without the cape. :) I am usually not flying anymore, so that makes me happy. I used to always think that meant I was a crazy person and belonged in a crazy house. Last night I was in a car. Cars are for normal people. I like that I was driving in my dream last night. Normal people drive in cars. :)

MY DREAM
It was getting late and I needed to get gas in my car. There were lots of people out this particular night...truckers, teens, families, all kinds of different people, different ethnicities, ages, the whole bit. There were several gas stations all lined up, one right after another. Everyone needed gas--as if this was the normal routine. No one was out just for a drive, everyone was buckling down for the night and was needing a fill up, so the question became "where were you going to fill up?"

I was looking at each of the signs at each of the gas stations noticing the price differences on each one. $2.46, $3.42...some were off by a couple of pennies and some were off by quite a lot. Everyone was lining up for the cheaper gas stations, of course, but the prices were changing, which made it just that much more confusing and frustrating. I was feeling the pressure of the moment. I was having a hard time knowing which place to plug in at....which line to get into. I was looking around at everyone else to see what they were doing.

People who were in the line with the cheap gas were really excited when they realized they went to the right gas station. Others were bummed when they realized they spent their money at a gas station that was slightly pricier when they could have gone to a cheaper one down the way.

I felt like God was showing me three things from this dream, none of them having anything to do with gas prices, because God knows I don't care about gas prices:

1. Everyone NEEDS to be filled up. (spiritually) Everyone gets knocked down and needs to get filled back up. I may think that I am alone for feeling that way but the truth is as long as we are here (on Earth) we are all going to have hurts, pains, and questions that we have to bring back to the one who made us and knows everything about us (and the world around us) so that we can be renewed again. EVERYONE needs a daily fill-up (this is a universal need)...not unique just to you or me.

2. It matters where we go to get that fill up. It matters if we get the cheap counterfeit version of a fill-up (on facebook, TV, a boyfriend, at a bar, magazine, the dad you can never quite seem to please, a group of friends, etc.), of if we go to GOD to get a genuine peace in the depth of our soul. It may be easier, quicker, more instantly gratifying to hear what I want from a human or from some other source, but I have got to get it from my God if it is going to TRULY transform me from the inside out. There may be a whole line up of gas stations out there, but I gotta know that there is only one for me and keep going back and plugging in to that ONE.

3. In a world where everything changes and you can't seem to count on anything, you can count on the love and acceptance of your Lord to remain the same in your life day after day after day. Amen? YOU are LOVED unconditionally. Let that fact dig deep down into the depths of your being and fill you up until your tank says FULL. You are loved unconditionally.
Application Question: It just dawned on me that it's Wednesday when I am posting this. Our church does a Wednesday night church. Does yours? What can you INTENTIONALLY do to FILL up your spiritual tank today?

One other side note: I do not make a big deal out of EVERY dream I have, but there have been SOME dreams that have rocked my boat a little and I felt inclined to share them on my blog. Here are two of them:
Getting the alligator out of the mansion
The boy who cried for help

Monday, August 22, 2011

We eat our own. We would probably be more effective if we stopped doing that.


I was taking some time tonight to listen to Susie Larson's "Live the Promise" Faith Radio show online. It has become one of my favorite ways to relax at the end of an exhausting day lately. I can just pop the laptop open and turn her on while I sort laundry or do the dishes or whatever else I am doing. She is so rich with wisdom. I just can't get enough lately. Her show today was done with author Lisa Bevere, who wrote a book called, "Lioness Arising". I have not read the book myself, but it sounds like a really incredible call to women to step it up and boldly make a difference for the Lord. Here are just a few things that Lisa said that I thought were interesting. She likened Christians to Lionesses, and gave a few descriptions of ways that we SHOULD be like the lionesses. Here they are:

THINGS WE CAN LEARN FROM THE LIONESSES
  • Each of us has a skill that we are supposed to hone to a magnificent perfection to the benefit of the whole group.
  • When we work together as a STRATEGIC team we can (AND WILL) take down the enemy.
  • We have an enemy.
  • We need to be dangerous to the enemy.
  • Right now we are really just dangerous to each other. (OUCH, huh?) Read the next line for more into this one.
  • We're doing a lot of his (the enemy's) works for him by judging, gossip, and slander, and just not being who we were created to be.
  • God created us to be beautifully dangerous...to be wildly compassionate and strategic.
  • We need to greet and groom each other. What does not look good on Lisa does not look good on Susie. We need to help each other get to the spots that we cannot see on ourselves. We need to build each other up, training one another.
  • Your truest beauty is not judged by what you see in the mirror but by what is reflected back at you in the lives you impact. (OH, I LOVED THAT LINE!! PLEASE, LORD, LET THAT BE SO)
So, that was shortened and bullet-pointed because it was taken from their longer interview. Some things were left out that were said between each point so it makes sense to me, but if it does not make complete sense to you I apologize. You can go here to listen to the interview in its entirety.

I just love how Lisa hit that point about us doing the enemy's work, rather than teaming up to fight the enemy off. I'm visual, so that works for me. I hope that helps someone else too. For any guys that come to this site I have also heard it said this way:

ALISHA'S FOOTBALL VERSION FOR THE MEN FOLK:
It would be as if we were gearing up for a football game. We get our pads and helmets on, get all ready for the game. We get out on the field, and so does the opposing team...both teams ready for a win! But, our team's focus is not actually on the win once the game gets going because each player, in turn, get distracted with lots of other things--feuds between one another--and we decide to deal with those instead. Meanwhile, the other team stays clearly focused on winning...and winning only. They are running their plays strategically and solidly, laughing at the ease at which they were winning.

GO! FIGHT! WIN!
WE have GOT to come together! IT'S WAR...but not between me and you. There are bigger fish to fry, and we are a LOT stronger when we work together strategically each of us bringing what we have to the table.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Okay, so awesome song time? SURE! Why not.



PRAYER
Lord, break our hearts for what breaks yours. We come to you for comfort, but we also realize that you call us to pass that comfort on when we are filled up. Let us be a community that loves like you love and rallies together to live out your purposes here on this earth. Amen.

Be still and know. He is GOD.

"...a mighty windstorm hit the mountain.
It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose,
but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake,
but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake there was a fire,
but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper..."
-1Kings 19:11b-12 (NLT)

Where are you at today?

Windstorm whirling around you?
Blast of rocks tumbling down on top of you?
Earthquake throwing all you've known out the window?
Fire burning it all to the ground?
. . . . . . . . .
Wait for the gentle whisper.

It's coming. It's coming. . . shhhhhhhh. . . . listen . . .

Saturday, August 20, 2011

God's Redemptive Work. Part Three

I was reading a blog entry written by Leslie Vernick entitled "Do You Talk to Yourself?" I knew the answer right away because I am really smart like that. ;) In Leslie's post, she points out that the better question is not "DO we talk to ourselves?" but rather, "HOW do we talk to ourselves?" (I knew that too cuz I'm like a frickin' genius over here!) :)

HOW YOU TALK TO YOURSELF MATTERS (but you knew that too, cuz you're like the smartest cookie in the whole batch!)

It is one thing to be set free from sin, and it is quite another to believe you are set free, isn't it? It is one thing to say that I am bigger than my failures, and it is quite another to live a life that exemplifies that belief.

SPECIFIC EXAMPLE

God loves you.

"Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, we know Alisha. You tell us all the time!"

But do you? Cause I tell YOU all the time, because I am really still trying to convince MYSELF! He loves me??? FOR REAL!?! Because I am painfully aware of where I fall on the "loser" scale most days lately so I have to keep coming back to God and let HIM remind me who I am IN HIM.

I'm HIS girl! HIS BELOVED, for crying out loud!

I can choose to stay stuck at "I'm at the bottom of the loser scale" mentality, or I can let out a deep sigh, realize I let myself go there [AGAIN], and turn to God to let HIM tell me who I am... [again].

He offers you (and me) freedom and LOVE. Do you (and I) live like that? Do the words coming out of your (and my) mouth reflect that truth that God loves you (and me) and has forgiven you (and me)? Check out this tiny part from Leslie's entry.

We can only see ourselves truthfully when we place the eyes of our heart on Jesus and not on ourselves and our sins and failures.

Listen to what Paul writes about how God sees us.

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:4-5)

When we focus on Jesus, it’s not that we aren’t aware of our faults and failures, but our attention doesn’t stay on us. Instead it is fixed on the loving, forgiving, and merciful grace of God. Paul’s response to these great truths is, “So we praise God for his glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.“ It is all about Him. This is the gospel, the good news we celebrate and take refuge in.

(She's neat, don't you think?) Are you searching high and low for freedom, purpose, love, attention, etc. and coming up empty? Might it just be that you are looking in the wrong place? The mirror? Facebook? Magazines? TV? A person? Target's candy aisle? :) What? I'm just sayin'. Okay, and let's just be real. Freedom will never be found looking in a mirror, okay?! :) It might not be a bad idea to stop looking at yourself for a while and look to the one who made you and who delights in you.

Stop for a minute. Do you really want freedom? I mean, do you or not?

If you do,

Stop

for

a

m.i..n...u...t....e.

Choose to claim your freedom.

It's yours for the taking.

Might I suggest that you...

Slow your life d o w n.

. . . A l o t. . . .

Let all the other stuff go for a while. Look to the one who loves you unconditionally. Everything is SCREAMING for your attention! God is just whispering. The urgent is DEMANDING your attention while the important is waiting on your attention. The urgent stuff that is demanding for your attention (usually because someone somewhere is going to get money if you pay attention... you know that right?) :) --sometimes you have to make a choice to drop it for a while to tend to the important stuff in your life, right? GOD looks on you with the love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness that you cannot get ANYWHERE else...no strings attached. Do you want that? It's yours for the taking!! Drop everything else. All the baggage you're holding, juggling, balancing, frustratingly trying not to drop. . . it's okay. You can drop it. Lay it at God's feet and rest in HIM. God's REDEMPTIVE and comforting arms are open to you and you may rest in HIM at any time. Let THIS be your time. Let YOUR freedom RING! Right now. Choose to rest in HIM today.

Just a thought. That's all. If you are interested in reading all that Leslie had to say in this topic you may click here.

Okay... AWESOME SONG TIME!






OH! And YOU ARE LOVED!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Winner of the Book Giveaway: A Different Kind Of Blossom

ANNOUNCING the WINNER of OUR BOOK GIVEAWAY!!! :)

And the winner is...

(drum roll please...)

Tina Worden, who said:

"Love is....(as applied to our children) - that undeniable feeling that you would do anything for them, to include laying down your life for them unconditionally no matter what they have done Just as Jesus did for all of us."

CONGRATULATIONS TINA!!

Thanks for entering our giveaway. May you be blessed as you see how God worked through the lives of Rhonda's family over the last few years, bringing them hope and renewal. He is a good God. I think you are going to love this book. Check your email about where to go from here.

Anyone else interested in reading more about this book, or purchasing a copy of "A Different Kind of Blossom, Essays about our Journey through a Mental Illness", may go to www.adifferentkindofblossom.com.


God's Redemptive Work. Part Two

I've been listening to some of Casting Crown's songs lately because our church just hosted a Casting Crowns concert. I am realizing that I LOVE every single song they have ever written, so that's fun! :) This one, in particular, seemed to tie into the "Redemptive" theme that God brought to my attention yesterday and it SCREAMED comforting so I thought I might share it with you. Hope it blesses you like it blesses me. You are never tied to your past sins. God's message to you is that you may move forward in new freedom knowing that "it" is as far from you as the East is from the West when you ask forgiveness and lay it in God's hands. Lord, teach us to live out that freedom and to honor you with our lives. Amen. Enjoy this beautiful song. You are loved. <3

Thursday, August 18, 2011

God's Redemptive Work.

Inspired while listening to Faith Radio today.

"When someone places a judgment on you they try to place a period on the end of that sentence. God takes that period and puts a new ending on that sentence."
~Susie Larson
Thank you Lord, for your redemptive work on our lives.

God, let us not be held down by our past failures, but be renewed by your sweet cleansing redemption. We need you Lord. We are available to you. Empower us. Speak your truth over us, and transform us into sons and daughters who bless you with our lives, Lord. We put our hope and our trust in you as we move forward in obedience to you. Take each stronghold and replace it with sweet release and freedom. Take each regret and transform it into something new and glorious.
Where we have emptiness give us fullness.
Where we have pain, give us healing.
Where there is sorrow, bring joy.

Amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BOOK GIVEAWAY TIME: A Different Kind Of Blossom


I have not been doing any book giveaways because I have not wanted to mess with them, but THIS one is worth it, and YOU are worth it, so here it is folks!

I have been intentionally building up this book giveaway for some time now because I just love the authors so much and I believe in their message....love, hope, grace, perseverance, etc. etc. I am happy to get this beautiful book into someone's hands. :) Might it be you? Now that you have heard a little bit about Rhonda and her twin sons from the previous couple of posts I have done about them (if you have not checked those out yet you might want to do that) , here's a little tidbit about their book, A Different Kind Of Blossom~

A Different Kind Of Blossom is a book of personal essays about a mother, Rhonda McMillon, who has a mental illness. The book also includes essays by her three sons and their grandmother about how they learned to understand Rhonda’s mental illness. A Different Kind Of Blossom focuses on how individuals with mental illness, like all others, need to be heard, honored, respected, and given unconditional love. It describes how faith in Jesus Christ, love for the family, and understanding mental illness can help relationship between families grow into a beautiful flower.
I believe in the future of this family, and I think you will too, as you read this book. They pour their hearts out onto these pages. They are very genuine about the hardships they have faced, the insecurities, the questions, the doubts, the and the agonizing desperation of not understanding the mental illness that snuck its way into their family. Pick up this book. It's an easy read. It's just a compilation of short essays that allow you to see into the lives of a single mother and 3 her teenage sons and her mother. Read and be a part of their journey as it unfolds as they sort through the pain and questions of a severe mental illness that Rhonda could not control. Then, you have the pleasure of reading the end where Rhonda's mother, Essie, wraps it up with helpful tips and enjoy reading the boys insights about a deeper, clearer understanding of what love is that they only could have learned from this experience with their mother.

Look at me. I'm giving the whole book away!!!! Sign up for the giveaway if you want to know what the book says, for crying out loud!!! :)
---------------------------
Here's how to enter this book giveaway:

Post a comment leaving the following information:
Your name.
A way to contact you. (email?)
Answer this question: Love is...
(Your answer can be fun, short, long, deep,
whatever mood you are in-it counts as an entry)


ONE ENTRY PER PERSON PLEASE.
--------------------------------

WINNER will be chosen at random and will be announced on
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rhonda's boys: Life with a mother who develops a serious mental illness.

THERE WAS SOMETHING DIFFERENT ABOUT THEM...
It was something about the way they looked at me when we came into KFC that struck me as different. I came in with my three kids frazzled, as usual, trying to get a quick lunch. I ordered our usual...kid's meals for all the kids and a popcorn chicken for myself...just something to get everyone happy and get through the afternoon. The twins who worked at KFC were hard workers and they were very kind every time we came in. I always felt relieved when they were working because I knew they were going to be nice to me. I didn't know them by name. I just knew their smile, and I knew what their smile meant to me. The last thing I needed was another person looking at me like I was crazy because I couldn't keep my kids under control, because my kids were not well groomed, because I was feeding my kids fast food instead of fruits and veggies, or because my hair was a mess. After my third child, I had become ultra-sensitive to the disapproving looks of those who did not like my "parenting techniques", (the "looks" were EVERYWHERE) so there was something about the way these boys looked at me that meant A LOT to me. It was the look of grace. I stopped getting that look somewhere after my third kid...or rather, I stopped noticing that look because I became too busy obsessing over the next time I would get the glare of disapproval.

WHERE DO THESE BOYS COME FROM?
"These boys are set apart. They will not always work at KFC. They are going to do something with their lives someday," I remember thinking to myself. They were teen-aged boys. They were not your typical teen-aged boys. They worked with integrity even though nobody forced them to. They worked with a 'can-do' attitude and they were very selfless. "How does a parent raise boys to turn into such well-mannered young men who work hard, as if the world does not constantly owe them something?" I wondered. This is actually very rare around where we live. They seemed so refreshingly different from other teenage boys I knew. This is not to blame any other teenage boys...I just couldn't figure these two out. Where do they come from? :)

WAIT!? I KNOW YOU!?
Later, I saw them walking down the hallway of our church with my friend, Rhonda McMillon. (Rhonda just did a guest post for the BeComforted.com site) "WAIT A MINUTE!!!! ARE THESE YOUR BOYS!?!" I was so excited! I was friends with their mom!!! Yay!!! I not only knew their mom, but I was in a Bible Study with their mom! I learned their names...Marcus and Marcellus English. What a privilege it is to call them my brothers in Christ!

IT'S COMING TOGETHER NOW...
As time went on, I started to understand that it was actually hard times that shaped those boys into who they were. It wasn't a bunch of "fluff and stuff". Those boys were strong in their core TODAY because of the fire they had been through YESTERDAY. WOW!!! I had no idea at the time. {This is only meant to be a teaser people...you must read the book to really get to know these boys.} :) I am not going to lay out their whole story here in this post, but I will give you a parenting thought, and we are going to have a book giveaway SOON. :)

NOTE TO PARENTS...
Pray your kids through the hard times. Trust God to be at work in their lives. They ARE going to go through some rough patches from time to time. It's not going to be all fluff and stuff. Those hard times are going to be their "refining" moments. Do not protect them from those times by pulling them away from those times, but rather, pray them through them and be present as they learn to pull through them, teaching your children to cling to God as they learn to pull through to the other side of their trial. How we deal with our trials today will determine how we fair on the other side. Teach your children to take their problems to the one who can help them sort through them in a healthy way and bring healing in their life.


BOOK GIVEAWAY COMING UP...
As I read Rhonda's book, A Different Kind of Blossom, that she wrote along with her sons and mother, I smiled as I read about how her boys did not want to work at KFC. They wanted, instead, to be ordering food from KFC. (that sounds normal) :) I enjoyed reading about how the family gathered around the table to read the Bible together and I imagined how that was probably strength-building for those boys and how it probably gave them focus, hope to cling to, and something bigger to believe in when they were faced with the hardships of seeing their mother go through the process of identifying how to handle life with a very serious mental illness.

I love this family. I know you will too. Next post. A brief paragraph describing A Different Kind of Blossom and a book giveaway so one lucky winner can get their very own copy of her book.

To read Rhonda McMillon's guest post about discovering, and dealing with, a mental illness you may click here.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Post: One Believer's Struggle with Schizoaffective Disorder, Depressive Type

Rhonda McMillon was the beautiful woman who sat across me at the table at church during my Bible Study group a couple of summer's ago. Her words encouraged me in some of my more challenging mothering years (I'm still in them, actually). I found her tone to be comforting and I liked that. The irony of the situation is that in a room full of what she would have considered to be "normal" people she was the one I seemed to most easily bond with in the room. (Don't read into that) ;) Her spirit is warm and inviting, and her personality is fun, yet deep. Through her journey she has embraced God's grace in her life, and she readily offers it to everyone she comes in contact with. Meet author, mother, and my personal friend, Rhonda McMillon...

MY DIAGNOSIS

Schizoaffective Disorder, Depressive Type is the official diagnosis I received in April of 2006. That's what the attending psychiatrist told me the second or third day of my stay in a psychiatric hospital. She went on to inform me that my mental breakdown was due to the above brain disorder; a type of mental illness in which episodes of schizophrenia (hallucination, delusions, and disorganized thinking) overlap with episodes of depression.

After years of my mind being shattered with crazy thoughts of suicide, sleeping all day long and hearing voices of people that were not present, I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, the verse Isaiah 61:1, "He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted," was coming true for me. Here is my story. I hope it will help you to realize that God is there for you in your darkest hours.

MY STORY: Healing For My Broken Heart

After coming home from the psychiatric hospital, I wasn't aware that I was in for a roller coaster ride of seeking diving healing. I asked God to heal my broken heart by completely taking away Schizoaffective Disorder, Depressive Type. I falsely believed that if this mental illness was gone, I wouldn't have any more problems in my life. At the time, I didn't realize I had asked Jesus for something that wouldn't happen.

SEARCHING FOR MY HEALING

I hoped to find my solution by writing to prayer ministries on T.V. and asking to receive healing from my mental disability. Also, I stood in prayer lines at churches requesting that this sickness be taken away. I was assured Jesus would answer my diligent prayers. After about a year...nothing.

I remember asking my psychiatrist to please do something for me. She politely told me to continue taking my medication, seeing my counselor, and start attending an Adult Day Treatment program. I did this for a little while...nothing. Devastation closed in around my heart. I didn't consistently follow through with my doctor's treatment plans because inwardly I was embarrassed about having a mental disability. I just wanted it gone-out of my life for good.

I came up with another one of my "solutions". Instead of overcoming my own stigmas about mental illness, I would go back to school to prove I was "normal". My psychiatrist suggested that if I enrolled in school I should take it slow by attending one class at a time. However, I didn't listen. I decided to enroll full time and attended four classes. Also, I talked myself into needing to make straight A's.

I did happen to make excellent grades. However, because of the stress of a full time school schedule, memory lapses and disorganized thinking (symptoms of Schizo-affective Disorder), I couldn't store information in my long term memory. Therefore, I was unable to succeed at a job in the field that I went to school for. This failure only reinforced my fear that I wasn't normal. I was brokenhearted.

My next solution was to get a job. There is nothing wrong with working. Yet, I returned to work because I was feeling worthless and embarrassed about accomplishing nothing. Once I began working, I did experience better self-esteem. However, when I started having episodes of euphoria, I falsely believed that God had healed me and began taking less of my medication until I just came to the point where I stopped using it. Also, I avoided attending my counseling and psychiatric appointments.

In 2009, because I was no longer seeking treatment, I had another mental breakdown. Exhaustion overwhelmed me as I wondered why God hadn't healed me. That's when I gave up and prayed not my will be done, Father, YOUR will be done.

A couple of days after that prayer, my mother called and said she had been praying for me. She peacefully suggested that it was time for me to take my medication and see my doctors again. Also, she lovingly explained that having a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. Needing help is nothing to be embarrassed about.

THE SHIFT HAPPENED IN MY HEART, INSTEAD OF IN MY BRAIN.

At that moment, a shift began to take place in my heart. It was grace and love moving through the core of my being like a soft, warm summer breeze. No, my brain disorder was not healed. Don't get me wrong. I do believe that God does completely take away illnesses from many people. However, this didn't happen to me. I don't know why God has other plans for my life. I can just tell you a healing happened on the inside of my heart.

As I began to see my illness with the eyes of my heart filled with Christ's love, I started my recovery process over. This time I realized that God blessed me with medication and doctors to help me to become stable. As the medication lessened the hallucinations, disorganized thinking and depressive episodes, I began to pray that God bless me with the help, love and grace to accept that I will have this brain disorder for the rest of my life. In December of 2009, my prayer was answered. I was surfing the WEB and came across the site, www.NAMI.org (National Alliance on Mental Illness). This is a support group for people with mental disabilities and their families.

SEEKING SUPPORT OUTSIDE OF MYSELF: MY NAMI MEETINGS.

I was nervous when I attended my first NAMI meeting. However, as people with mental illnesses began to speak up, my embarrassment about myself began to melt away. Now I understand that mental disabilities affect many people from various cultures and classes. A deep peace came from within me as Jesus opened my heart to accept that I have no reason to be ashamed of having a mental illness.

It's now July 26, 2011, five years and three months after I have been diagnosed with Schizo-affective Disorder, Depressive Type. At times I still suffer through trickles of depression and days with my mind cracking like eggshells. It's in these moments that I call out to God to help me to love Him and those around me despite having a mental illness. And God, please help me to be faithful with my doctor's treatment plan for me. Then, I'll sense God's grace settle on me like a soft, warm blanket bringing peace to my heart. That's when I remember some of the many ways Isaiah 61:1 is alive and active in my life.

Instruments God has used to bind up my broken up heart these past few years:
  1. Jesus has blessed me with a wonderful family who support me. He has even healed our relationship to the point where we have written a book about our experience as a family living with a loved one with Schizoaffective Disorder, Depressive Type. The book is titled: A Different Kind of Blossom, Essays about our Journey through a Mental Illness, which is available for purchase at www.adifferentkindofblossom.com
  2. God has surrounded me with a wonderful,caring mentor, Jamie Standefer, and other good friends who love me just as I am, mental illness and all.
  3. Before I had treatment for my mental disability, I wandered from church to church seeking for an authentic, intimate relationship with Christ. Now I am blessed with a church home where I can grow in the love of Christ.
  4. Most of all, God continues to heal my heart into realizing that my worth doesn't come from money, career, or mental ability but from my identity in Christ. The important thing for me to do is to live out His love for me and my love for Him and others. Amen.

About the author:

Rhonda McMillon lives in Valparaiso, Indiana where she loves being a mother to her three sons, Marcus, Marcellus, and Nicholas. She, along with her three sons and her mother, Essie McMillon, coauthored the book: A Different Kind of Blossom, Essays about our Journey through a Mental Illness, which is available for purchase at www.adifferentkindofblossom.com

BONUS!!!!

BOOK GIVEAWAY COMING UP!!!

STAY TUNED!!

Are you interested in learning more about Rhonda's story? She joined with her mother and her three sons in creating a book that reaches out to those with a mental illness and the famililes of those with a mental illness. If you loved getting to know Rhonda through this post, you will also love getting to know her family through their book. Check for an upcoming post to find out more about our book giveaway. One lucky winner is going to win their very own copy of Rhonda McMillon's A Different Kind of Blossom Book!!!! It could be you!!! Stay tuned!!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

You know the depths of my heart and you love me the same. YOU are AMAZING God!!!

"Remind me who I am. If I am your beloved help me to believe it."

Those are the well chosen words to a song I just listened to this morning. That's been my prayer over and over and over again this year. I would go into work at the retail shop I used to work at and I would weave between the racks of clothes praying to God, "God, you love me, right?" I mean, sincerely that was my daily prayer, and I can't tell you why. It was just this feeling I couldn't shake.

Have you ever felt like that? It's a humble feeling. It's not a fun-I'm-gonna-call-my-friends-on-a-Friday-night-and-see-what-everybody's-doing-kinda-feeling...it's like a broken down "I guess this is where I'm at sooooo...uhhh....God? You love me, right?" kinda feeling..."

To be in this place is to be in a fragile place-a place of vulnerability. A person hitting this spot in their life is not usually the one seeking out their highest hopes for themselves, living up to their greatest potential, striving to be the next American Idol at all cost. Sarcasm is a way of coping. The idea of American Idol (or other things like that) start to seem humorously ridiculous to someone in this frame of mind. Why would anyone do THAT? :)

Obviously, I have some things to work through. I am. Don't worry. I mean, pray for me, if you feel led, but know that God is dealing with me day by day and I am not at a stand still or I would not be able to write this with such honesty. Someday I will be able to disclose more of my "reality" but today will not be that day.

Today I want to leave you with this:

There was a time when Ecclesiastes was my book--it's the "everything is meaningless" book in the Bible. I could relate to that mindset. I am happy to say that God brought a new book to my attention the other day. I began to relate to the Psalms more...not the ones where David asks God to kill off his enemies and such...the ones where he refers to his relationship with God and what it has meant to him. What a refreshing change of pace!!!!!!!! Here's a little bit from Psalm 139: (along with some of the tidbits I felt like God was trying to say to me specifically that I thought might be beneficial to someone else as well)

PSALM 139
1.You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
(no one else knows you... in fact, even you don't understand yourself to the extent that God does. God knows things about you -your genetic make-up, your history, your future, etc.-that even you can't wrap your mind around)

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
(he knows what you are thinking and why you are thinking it...you may surprise a lot of people by being how "weird", "different", "insensitive", "sinful", etc. you are, but you don't surprise God--He gets you)

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
(He sees what you are up to, He knows why you do what you do. Where a boss might be quick to harp on you for being late, God sees why are late...no explanation necessary...does that make sense?)

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
(Bleh! . . . yiddy dibbiddy. . . see? He knew I was gonna do that?)

5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
(mmm. . . ahhhh. . . . READ that one again!!! Hem me in, and lay your hand upon me--comfort. . . Thank you Lord for your hand of comfort and protection.)

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
(Thank you God for loving me and taking care of me, protecting me, knowing all the different sides of me that make no sense to anyone else and that stuff to me that even I cannot explain if I tried. Your knowledge is too wonderful to me, and gives me reason to trust you all the more)

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

(Thank you that you are always with me...especially on my hard days)

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

(even my genetic make-up...the things that set me apart that make others look at me like I am from another planet...YOU decided to make those things a part of me, so I will choose to embrace those things.)


14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

(I will choose to trust that you only would have made me this way if you wanted me this way, and that if for some reason you wanted me to be some other way that you would have made that happen. I will trust that who I am is what you consider to work well for your plan here on earth.)

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

(I'm not an "Ooops, good enough. I guess that will do" creation, but rather, an "okay, let's see, If I could make anything I wanted ((and I can because I am God)), this is EXACTLY what I would make at EXACTLY this time for EXACTLY this family, etc. etc..")

MY PRAYER

Thank you Lord, for giving us the Psalms to relate to. Thank you for using them to remind me that you know me and get me, so I can rest in your love for me. When I am sensing that I am being judged I can I turn to you and ask, "Who Do YOU say I am, again?" BELOVED!!! OH!!! That's a RICH word. That's a healing word. I need that word today. Thank you Lord, for calling each of us that no matter where we come from. We are not a mistake to you. NOPE. We are your BELOVED!!! Amen.

AWESOME SONG TIME!!!!!!!!!!