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Archive for July, 2015

When we’re in the middle of a big mess in our lives, it’s hard to see the good in it. We oftentimes “can’t see the forest for the trees.” I’ve spent a lot of time juggling messes, some of my own making – others not. We know that we are “clay in the potters’ hands” and we have to go through the fire to come out looking different; better than before. SWELL … but that doesn’t make it any easier when you’re going through it. Allow me to put a different spin on it for you –

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One day as I was getting ready, God’s still, small voice came to me and this is what He said. “Sandee, I’ve seen every tear you have ever cried, every lost love, every mistake and bad choice. You’ve spent extra time in the fire – you’re stubborn, you needed it. Now I see you as my “showpiece.” You are that interesting, uniquely shaped piece of pottery that draws people into “MY” store. You’ll not be for sale though, you will be strategically placed in a spot that draws others to me. When I am finished with you, I will wrap you in black velvet and tuck you away in a nonperishable container. When I am ready to use you again, out of the container you will come; I will wait patiently for another one of my children to draw unto me.” As I heard that, I melted to the floor in tears.

I will no longer question the adversity to come; we’ve not been promised to get through this life unscathed. What we have been promised is that there is “One who goes through the fire with us.” Not just through the fire, but the book of Daniel tells us that when we come out “we won’t even smell like smoke!” I don’t know about you, but I like them odds!!!

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I have a testimony that I’ve rarely shared, but I get the feeling it’s time. On the morning of March 26, 1992 I received a miracle healing in my foot. I had a condition that I had been praying for over the course of 2 or 3 years. Immediately and out of the blue, I was healed. That evening, there was a knock at my door. Two Sherriff’s standing there informed me that my husband was dead. I’ve never understood why those events unfolded as they did. But I trust God, and I always have. I also know that God is still madly in love with us even in the midst of a tragedy.

Call it strange, I certainly can’t explain it. I suppose if I could that would make me God. Maybe He healed me that particular day because He knew I would be angry at Him for allowing my husband to die. Something I learned as a child was that “God’s ways are always higher than our ways” and “He sees the end from the beginning.”

Maybe God knew that I would have turned my back on Him for the brutal and unnecessary suicide of my husband. God would have never wanted that from me. God is grieved every time one of His own walks away from the faith.

So, I guess I’m here to tell you that the answer to your question is “YES!”  Your questions may sound something like this:

Is God really in the middle of my trial?

Is God really in the middle of my loved ones cancer?

Is God really here when my spouse walked out of me?

Is God really here when my heart is shattered to pieces and falling to the ground?

God knows all and sees all.  He knows exactly where you are and will never leave you or forsake you.  Never give up my friend, Never.  Currently, it is 2015 and I have been married to the love of my life for almost 11 years.  He is my hearts’ desire and if I had given up on God, I wouldn’t be here to enjoy all the things God had in store for me.

You see, in God’s Kingdom, there is always a “PLAN B”.

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I watched a squirrel climb a tree this morning with a nut in his mouth. There was a cat perched under the tree and the squirrel seemed none too happy to be inconvenienced by the cat. As the squirrel went around the cat, it scurried up the tree at lightning speed – when he reached his destination, he began to chatter. It almost sounded like a bark. It lasted until the cat eventually wandered away. I’m assuming he was warning his fellow squirrels about the danger below.

As I was watching the entertaining display of nature in front of me, I began thinking about the natural order of things. The squirrel didn’t try and control his circumstances, he just modified his behavior as he considered the obstacles in his way.

Everything in the animal kingdom survives just as it should. It’s called “Survival of the Fittest.” Every now and then, we’ll see something on TV exploiting poor helpless animals walking to their demise. Eeeks!  I think about how we humans sometimes try and manipulate our circumstances to suit our own needs. When we work so hard to change our circumstances or force something upon someone else, we are blindly stepping into something that could prove to be “our demise.” Let’s take a lesson from the squirrel and just go with the flow. What will be, will be — whether you like it or not. Sometimes we just have to go through until we reach the other side.

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Do you feel betrayed? Left behind? Given up for dead? Dying on the vine? I’ve felt all of those during different seasons of my life. In fact, those feelings became my anthem for what seemed like years at a time.

When I was younger, it was a little easier (well it’s NEVER easy!) to let go of and give up my foolish behavior, wrong choices and addictions. I must repeat … it is NEVER easy to crucify your flesh! But when we’re young, we have vision. We have desires, things to look forward to – dreams, plans, goals. Now that I’m older, I’ve lived out most of those dreams.  Goals have been reached, desires fulfilled … now what?

There is this one nagging thing that eats at me.  It’s the scab I pick at over a wound that won’t heal.  It’s the thing I rehearse over and over in my head that will never go away.  It’s the one thing that screams louder than anything in my life.  It outweighs every accomplishment I’ve ever achieved.  It trumps every desire and relentlessly will not let go.

I’m talking about a vision.  It’s not my fault.  God put it in me years ago and He never lets me forget it.  I can try and numb it, but the more I numb it, the louder it screams.  It makes me angry.  It frustrates me.  I want to forget about it, yet it’s the only thing on my mind.  God says His gifts and callings are without repentance.  That means I’m stuck with it.  I didn’t choose it, it chose me.

So what do I do now?  I’ve crucified my flesh to the measure that I feel is more than enough.  I’ve sacrificed a lot of things to follow this urging inside me.  I’ve stood alone in the desert when others have prospered and been promoted.  “What is wrong with me?” you ask yourself.  Then you begin this self-destructive path thinking you’re an outcast and will never measure up.  It is a vicious, unrelenting cycle of self-abuse.  By the time you’re done beating yourself up, you really do become that self-fulfilling prophesy.  You go sit in the corner, isolate yourself, throw up your hands and lick your wounds.

People who are around you that see your pain think they’re doing you a favor by telling you to lighten up, take it off the table and forget about it.  That only makes you madder and more determined than ever to keep after that carrot that dangles in front of you just beyond your reach.

Am I talking to you?  Are you hearing me?  Am I ringing your bell and got your number?  Well, listen.  I HAVE SOME AMAZING NEWS FOR YOU!  When God puts something in you, He will complete it.  You know He will never fail you.  You know he uniquely created you for His purpose.

Destiny doesn’t happen overnight.  If it did, then who would we look up to?  What about Joseph, Daniel, Job, David, Paul and that unruly disciple named Peter?????  We saw what happened when Judas gave up and gave in … whose example are we going to follow?  We have no choice but to go forward.  To go backward is more painful than moving forward.  You know it, you’re stuck – but you’re in good company.

One of these days, your destiny will come to meet you.  You will put it on like a brand new suit that fits you like it was custom made.  It will not arrive with angels blowing trumpets or gold dust gently falling out of the heavens.  It will come.  When it does, you will know it.  Until then – continue in your obedience even when it doesn’t make sense.

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PAIN – the word itself is painful. No one likes to hear it, let alone FEEL it.

I went to the dentist recently and had a tooth pulled. It had been cracked for some time and I knew eventually it would have to go. The process itself was a little uncomfortable, but manageable. The problem wasn’t that I had the tooth pulled, the problem came when my mouth started to heal.

There’s a healing process that comes when we experience pain. I remember having a burn once and as it healed, a scab formed. The scab was almost more of a nuisance than the initial burn. It’s like when you rip a band aid off. It’s going to sting, but you have to open up that wound for some fresh air so it can heal.

When my tooth came out, it left behind a gaping hole where the tooth had been. Initially it bled, my face swelled and I took some pain medicine to keep me comfortable. That lasted a few days and then I was on the mend. However, my teeth began to hurt and my bite was a little off.

I remember having braces when I was young. Before they could put the braces on, I had to have 4 teeth pulled. I had too many teeth and if they had not been removed, the entire process of wearing the braces would have been pointless. I remember my orthodontist putting these little tiny plastic pieces called “spacers” in between a few of my teeth to open them up to accommodate the metal bands. At first, I didn’t feel the little plastic pieces, no big deal. But a few hours later, my mouth was in agony! Everything hurt! I couldn’t eat, bite down and even when my tongue touched my teeth it would feel like someone was taking a hammer to them. Skip ahead two years later … my braces were removed and my smile was worth a million bucks. Even to this day, some say my best feature is my smile.

Was it worth it? You bet. Painful? Yes. Extraordinarily painful? Yes. Mad and resentful that my parents made me wear braces? Yes. But think about the end result. Beauty. A smile that people are drawn to. Confidence when I present myself because I remember the pain and what it cost me.

Let’s think about pain in another way. What are you going through now that is causing you pain?   Are you tempted to skip the pain and take the easy way out? Before you do that, please ask yourself “what will I have gained by doing that?” You must remember, there IS a greater plan.

If I had not gotten braces, my teeth would have been overlapping each other, my bite would have been off and I would have probably always been self-conscious about smiling. God had a plan. He knew my smile would invite people in. He also knew that the pain I experienced would pay off. He knew that He could trust me with the pain. He knew I would endure it for the greater good.

You see, you may be feeling the pain now, but you have to keep the end in mind. God knows all and has a plan for you. Don’t let your short sightedness keep you from experiencing the blessing of obedience. Oftentimes the pain we experience isn’t for us, it’s for others.

There’s always someone going through something. There’s always someone you know whose exactly where you’ve been. That doesn’t happen by accident. Allow yourself to experience pain. It’ll be worth it in the end.

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Soooo …. You wanna get married! You’ve got lots of love to give but no one to give it to. You’ve cried out to God for not bringing you a mate. You’ve become bitter, resentful and maybe even (dare I say it – suicidal). You cry alone at night heaving in despair. You’ve given up and feel like your life no longer has meaning because you have no one to share it with. People keep telling you “oh, it’ll happen when you least expect it”, or “God has someone out there for you, just be patient.” YOU WANT TO CHOKE THEM BECAUSE THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR PAIN!!

I invite you to think about Whitney Houston. The first thing that probably comes to mind is how tragic her death was. Now her daughter Bobbi Kristina, lay in a Hospice taking her final breaths. What does this have to do with anything you ask? Whitney married the wrong man. You know it – you’ve heard how tumultuous her relationship was with Bobby Brown. Maybe you don’t even know who Whitney Houston is, I’m old; but she’s worth a Google, look her up. I may be old and she may be dead, but there is one common thread that screams through this story — DON’T MARRY THE WRONG PERSON!

It takes courage to wait for the right one. It means lots of lonely “Saturday night date nights” and lonely “lazy Sunday afternoons.” You will feel the void. However, look at some of your friends. I can bet that a few of them are on their second marriages by now and are maybe even looking to get out of that one. There’s no easy way around it. You have to do the work and heed those “red flags”. A broken heart is the worst feeling in the world; if it makes you feel any better, I’ve had many, and I repeat – MANY. I haven’t always made the right choices and I have paid dearly for that. My heart was shattered and torn from bad choices.

But there is hope!!!! YOU CAN DO THIS, I PROMISE! I’ll be your cheerleader waiting in the wings. But for now, your only choice is to enjoy your singleness, relish your peace and quiet. Take time to develop yourself because the chance is very great that one day you will be married. BE A SUCCESS STORY AND NOT A TRAGEDY.

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Black and White

Have you ever made a decision without knowing all the facts that became detrimental and hurtful to you? With all the pressures in life for tolerance and acceptance — what has been known as black or white can become gray.

I’m going to throw out some words:

Stability, appreciation, forgiveness, justice, peace, and mercy —

Shame, torment, guilt, rejection, stealing, killing.

If I were a bettin’ woman, I’d say that pretty quickly you would categorize them as good or bad, right or wrong. That’s great! You passed the test. You’re normal. HOWEVER, we live in a society where the lines of right and wrong and good and bad are blurred — some decisions are not as easy to make.

Let me help you. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”. Today, as you make decisions, ask God for knowledge and revelation. He is excited to answer you!!

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