Finishing (rather than going forward without finishing)

I have, from time to time, participated in P31 ministries on-line Bible studies.  As always, I get overwhelmed with life and never seem to finish them – although I am proud to say I did the majority of the last study.  

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The most recent P31 Bible Study – Living So That by Wendy Blight

This was the first book of Wendy’s I ever read – honestly, I must say, this is ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ!  If you’re a reader, you will understand this statement:  Her book FLOWED perfectly!  Every page and chapter made perfect sense, was in the perfect order, and applied to my life (and no doubt, everyone else’s life too)!

I don’t remain consistent with my Bible study, either.  I’m too tired or too busy to get up early and spend time with Him.  It amazes me that EVERY TIME I make time for Him (even if I’m yawning), I am blessed beyond measure.  So, the question of the century, why do I ALWAYS fall short????  In my quiet time this morning, HE provided an answer (to be revealed shortly).

Tomorrow begins a NEW ONLINE STUDY.  I get really excited about NEW THINGS!  So, I started the book already!  I’m here to tell you it’s amazing too!  

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The next P31 Bible Study – Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray

This morning, I picked up our new study and continuted reading where I left off yesterday.  Suddently it dawned on me – I never finished our last study and promised myself I would!  So, I picked up Living So That and went the page I left off a couple of weeks ago.

This was God’s message to me:   Let’s end today with 1 Corinthians 10:13.  Any temptation you face will be nothing new.  But God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can handle.  But He always provides a way of escape so that you will be able to endure and keep moving forward.  (Bold emphasis added)

As long as we live in this world, we will not escape temptation because we have an enemy of our soul who “is prowling around…..like a roaring lion, just waiting, and hoping for the chance to devour someone” (1 Peter 5:8).  And we will never be free of temptation because the source of temptation lives within us….our flesh.  Our flesh is weak.  We give in to temptation when we don’t have the tools to combat it.

Being in the Word is essential to overcoming temptation.  Scripture reveals satan’s lies.  It keeps us alert to his schemes.  If we are not in the Word and not alert, temptation creeps in.  Little by little, it causes us to make little compromises.  The more compromises we make, the easier it becomes to give in, until the temptation finally overtakes us.  

If we compromise long enough we reach something that John of the Cross, sixteenth-century monk and great devotion writer, called “the dark night of the soul.”  We enter into a time of darkness and hopelessness.  The pleasure we once experienced in our relationship with God dissipates.  Feelings of joy and delight vanish.  We feel alone.  God feels distant. We no longer hear His voice.  We no longer sense His presence.

God uses this “dark night” as a purifying place.

Please join me as I end today’s post with a deeply sincere prayer:

Dear Father, I BEG You to help me discover a workable plan to stay in Your Word DAILY!  Not simply reading a few Scriptures, but spending considerable time with You in Your Word.  You are my loving Father and I am your devoted daughter.  Please help me become more disciplined each and every day and devoted to reading Scripture daily.  In Your Son’s Precious Name I Pray, Amen.

Weekend Getaway – A TRIP/MEMORY of a LIFE-TIME!

Last weekend, my husband and I took a trip (the beginning of a new journey) to North Carolina.  Honestly, I don’t travel much, so taking a trip is really momumental for me.  

An amazing lady I know (Carolyn Marshall) shared a fabulous truth with me long ago:  There is a season in life for everything.  I return to this truth over and over again.  THIS SEASON in my life I believe is for FAMILY (old and new)!  I have three amazing, beautiful children and I am HONORED to be their mother.  There is nothing I wouldn’t do for any of them (my daugher-in-law and granddaughter included!).  To further expand on this season of life, I was blessed with an ephiphany several years ago (another life changing event) and I would love to share it with you – I am the ONLY person these three individuals will EVER HAVE in their entire life to call MOTHER.  Suddenly, this often overlooked, unappreciated, “job” became HUGE TO ME!  If you stop and REALLY think about it, it should be HUGE to EVERY MOTHER!  (Another reason I cling to this thought is that I was INCREDIBLY blessed with an AMAZING MOTHER!  Not one single day goes by in my life that I don’t think about her and miss her (and the incredible difference she made in my life in the precious 18 years I had her)!)

Back to our trip to North Carolina – the purpose of this trip scared me more than words can express.  Our trip to North Carolina was for me to meet my sister.  (If you haven’t been following my journey, feel free to go back a few posts – you can catch up pretty quickly.)  I asked permission from my sister prior to disclosing this information on my blog or on Facebook, because, although it’s an amazing blessing to me, I wasn’t sure if it truly was to her – or if she would be willing for me to share our story with the on-line world!  She told me she didn’t mind one bit (she wasn’t worried about anyone knowing we were related or what questions might arise out of the disclosure!)  WOW!  I was PLEASED and SHOCKED beyond words (I’m not really sure why)!

After reading what I wrote above, you might be thinking:  how could “meeting your sister” be scary?  Let me suffice it to say, What if she didn’t like me?  What if she didn’t want to BE my sister?  What if she didn’t want to stay in touch with me (after we met)?  

What I have discovered since April 15, 2014 is this:  Now that I was provided the name and contact information of my birth mother and siblings, what if, after meeting, they don’t like me?  Or don’t want to be “related” to me?  Or don’t want to keep in touch with me?  What if….what if…..what if…..

I would like to take this opportunity to THANK DIANE (in WRITING) for NOT ONLY being the most amazing sister, but for accepting me with OPEN ARMS – JUST LIKE FAMILY!!!!  For anyone reading this post who knew MY FAMILY (I will always refer to my mom, dad and sister, Tammy, as MY FAMILY.  MY NEW family – my birth family, although extremely special to me, will never replace MY FAMILY – and I KNOW they don’t want or expect to).  If you are the type of person who struggles with loving others that aren’t “blood related,” you may have difficulty understanding this. If you are not a Christian, (REAL CHRISTIAN – someone who loves like Jesus did – although not perfectly like He did) you may not be able to understand what I wrote – however, it makes perfect sense to me – and I am able to communicate my thoughts without one bit of hesitation or honesty.

One more time, back to the trip to North Carolina – when we arrived at Diane’s beautiful home, she and her husband were sitting on their front porch, waiting for our arrival.  When I eventually got out of my husband’s car (it’s SO LOW to the ground!) my sister and I immediately embraced and held one another for a few, TIGHT, moments.  I have to say, I have never felt anything so perfectly natural in my entire life.  There was no concern as to what kind of person Diane was, because I already KNEW (deep in my soul).  DIANE WAS MY SISTER!  The rest of the weekend was much like the first moment – I had a WONDERFUL TIME!  Diane and I have SO MUCH in common, it’s hard to believe.  We talked and looked at pictures and “got to know one another” and I KNOW she will be a VERY IMPORTANT part of my life forever!

So, what you’ve been waiting for, PICTURES!!!!  Let me know if you think we look alike?  

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You may be wondering what this photo is all about (if you know ME, you probably think it’s just a normal pose).  Diane showed me a picture of my birth mother (our mother) standing like this.  Although my mother (MY FAMILY) was NOTHING LIKE THIS – I guess the gift of “DRAMA” is in MY BLOOD.

Another thing Diane did, which spoke VOLUMES to me, was purchase luminaries at her Relay for Life (another reason we went down – to help with her huge volunteer responsiblity) for MY FAMILY (both my dad and my sister passed away from cancer – in 1981 and 1996).  I took a picture of those too.

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I will be posting many blogs about this amazing sister (and I hope of my other amazing sister and birth mother-I haven’t met them in person or received their permission-although I have shared many telephone conversations, mailings, and text messages) in the future.  As a matter of fact, Diane and I are planning a trip this summer for me to meet my birth mother and other sister – I already KNOW my life has been (and will be) changed forever!  

To summarize for anyone who doesn’t have faith or believe in God (and his son, Jesus Christ), there is NO DOUBT in my mind that God HAS BEEN and ALWAYS WILL BE in complete charge of my life.   He has blessed me since birth (which I might NOT HAVE BEEN GIVEN if it had not been for the sacrifice of a selfless birth mother) and held my hand the entire way!  I could go on and on – providing NUMEROUS details to support my statement – but would much rather share them over time!  He has GIVEN, taken away, and GIVEN AGAIN!  He has walked this journey with me – and loved me every step of the way.  I am truly grateful!

My favorite place in the world

Many, many years ago, I went to a ladies retreat at Camp Rudolph (http://camprudolph.org/); a camp located in Yale, Virginia.  Our Church, Northside Christian Church (http://northsidecc.org/), has been supporting this camp as far back as I can remember (I started attending Northside in 1992).  As a matter of fact, my son accepted Jesus Christ as his savior at this camp!  He, bless his heart, went to Camp Rudolph PRIOR TO AIR CONDITIONING!  I remember packing a box fan every summer and he would say to me, “Mom, it just blows hot air around the room.”  In other words, it doesn’t help one bit (in keeping me cool)!

Although I’m confident the ladies retreat was AWESOME, that’s not the part I remember most.  I remember, waking very early in the morning (okay, maybe not THAT early – but still early, for a Saturday morning!), and heading outside with my Bible.  I remember sitting not too far from our cabin (I was a little scared), reading His Word in the beauty of His nature surrounding me.  It was a life changing experience.  I’m not sure at what point I made this stunning realization, but when I returned home and looked around my house, I noticed numerous trees in our own yard.  I remember thinking, His beauty in my own yard is no different than His beauty at Camp Rudolph.  What’s stopping me from communing with Him in His nature right here (as often as I want!).  In other words, I didn’t have to travel hours away from my home to enjoy HIM in nature – I had His nature AT HOME!

Although I love nature, I am picky about being IN nature.  In other words, when it’s 100 degrees outside (or even 90), I have NO DESIRE to be outside – SWEATING!  I would much rather be inside in the air-conditioning, looking OUT at nature (perfectly comfortable).  A few years ago, my husband hired someone to enclose our screened in porch so we could utilize the space as an additional year-round room.  Now, THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!!!  The best part about this room is that it’s surrounded by TREES!!!!  That’s right – it’s MY NATURE ROOM!!!!  

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I love to come to MY ROOM early in the morning, before anyone wakes up, and COMMUNE with my Father and His precious Son, Jesus Christ!  For the next few weeks, WE will be enjoying the book Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray.  I started the book this morning and I wish EVERYONE would go GRAB a copy and join me!  I can already tell this is going to be another LIFE CHANGING event!  The very first chapter addresses FEAR, and Pastor Gray hits the ground running!  Just below the Chapter heading, he includes this powerful quote by Nelson Mandela:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not

he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

PLEASE join me on this amazing journey….(click the icon below for details!)

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What Does Community Mean to You?

The latest P31 Bible study, Limitless Life, asked us (if interested in participating) what community means to us…..I have to take a minute to ponder that thought…..

I have realized I tend to isolate myself.  I’m confident it’s to protect myself from being hurt or let down again.  I am doing my best to make a change!  I want to open myself up to freindships/community – even if I get hurt.  I know God placed us here to help one another, share life with one another, encourage one another – and I’m JUMPING IN!!!!

I’m thankful for this on-line Bible study COMMUNITY!  Thank you so much for all your hard work to make a difference in the lives of MANY!