Persevere

Days can be hard. We have no idea what is going to happen next. The Texas shooting is so surreal, my heart and prayers are with the parents, families, town, and anyone who lost a loved one. Stories will be coming out. I imagine the teachers were heroes as human shields. Texas you are not alone, the entire country is with you. 

I remember the Columbine high school shooting over 22 years ago, I was working at the Level 1 trauma center in Denver at that time. I was speaking at the other Littleton High school in the auditorium. It was the beginning of this mess. Children should feel safe and protected. 

My words are few in this blog post except to say, We need Jesus! We need love, not rage. We need compassion, not destruction. But there is a hope to hold onto when days seem dark.

white petaled flowers on a sunny day
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There will be brighter days, we must hold onto Jesus and believe He has the beginning and the ending figured out. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning and the end. We grieve with Texas as I believe the Father in heaven does.

Revelation 1:8  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Matthew 11:28 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

Here’s a song to encourage you, “Just As Good” by Chris Renzema and Ellie Holcomb. Be blessed and hug your family members a little tighter. 

Do you want healing?

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Who designed the earth, heaven, and stars? Who created each of us? Who is the only One who can heal our hurts, care for our burdens and bring us hope? It is the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Lord.

Do you want to be healed? This was a question to a man who was unable to walk due to paralysis.

In scripture, Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be healed? It is the same question for us. Do You want to be healed?

John 5: 1- 15

 Afterward, Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, 10 so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!”

11 But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”

12 “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.

13 The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. 14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” 15 Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.

There may be those around you that do not want you to heal of physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual brokenness because when you do you will be a force to be reckoned with. We are stronger when our faith will be in Christ alone and not in our own strength.

Greater is the Lord in you than He who is in the world. Jesus will give you strength, peace, and healing. You must believe He is Lord and Savior, repent of sins in the past and take your healing. He is the triune God: Father, Son ( Jesus), and Holy Spirit. When you let Him into your life He will bring good, including hope and a future ( Jeremiah 29:11). Take your brokenness to Him!!

I really loved this song, The Healing, by Blanca and Dante Bowe. We are all broken, some cracks can be seen on the outside, and some inside hurts are not as visible. He can heal you. As you praise and dance to this worship song, step into your healing!!

Father God, You never change. You love Your children and You have plans to bless their lives. Lord, sometimes we feel alone and unworthy of healing due to our sins. Help us to turn to You before it’s too late. Help us to believe in Your unfailing love. We need healing from our brokenness. You are Jehovah Rapha, our Healer. Help whoever reaches out to You feel Your Presence. Draw them to Yourself. In the Name above all names, Jesus!

God so loves

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There was a time in my life when God was not the focus, instead, it was about a checklist. I felt I was a good person, not one to cause conflict, and did the Christmas and Easter church thing.

However, I felt an empty space in my heart. I had a solid career as a mentor emergency trauma nurse and trained paramedics. My husband and I joined the land of mortgages, a solid career I loved, our first dog, with an expectation of a baby.

Screech went the brakes for this standard list of western expectations. Infertility without a cause and I had no control of my barren body which drove me to seek Jesus.

I had my final infertility treatment and took a memorable trip out of state. After a near-death experience on a Colorado rafting trip, I saw life from a different vantage point. I wore a crash helmet and tightly zipped life vest as the guides gave instructions on body position should a tourist end up in the frigid, springtime, mountain river. I was thrown from the raft at a point in the river called Cardiac Corner ( Class 4 – 5 rapids).

As my body and head were crashing into boulders and trees skirting the river and I was stuck in the swells and sucking water, I cried out to the Lord. I felt as if I would drown, but almost as soon as I called out Jesus, help me! I felt a warmth surround my body, even though my hands especially my fingers were bluish and numb, I felt no pain. I felt the river was a metaphor for life. Would I trust God with the details and take a ride in the rapids or crash and die?

I chose to trust God, rest in what felt like the huge, warm hand of God, and lived. My husband and I relocated to Colorado within six months. My first Colorado friend took me to my first Bible Study. The book of Romans 5 showed me a new beginning and I learned after dedicating my life to Jesus that I will let Him drive my future plans.

One of my favorite scripture Romans 5: 1- 8 was an epiphany.

Romans 5:1-11 NLT
[1] Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. [2] Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

[3] We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. [4] And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. [5] And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. [6] When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. [7] Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. [8] But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

I no longer saw my infertility as a failure instead I saw the need to trust God with everything. After infertility procedures, giving myself shots, waiting on God while caring for children at work in illness and trauma, relocating, and subsequently, the unknown of adoption. I realized I wanted to be a mom and trust the Lord to orchestrate the details.

After a decade of marriage, our first child came to her forever home through adoption six weeks after I accepted Jesus. All three of our children are amazing gifts from God who know more about Jesus as children than I did.

“God so loves”, a song by We the Kingdom brings a vision of joy, and diversity of many beautiful children created in the Image of God. I hope you enjoy it as I did when I saw the band play it live.

I hope you are inspired to realize God so loves. That is the first step of faith in an unknown God. I had to flip out of a white water raft to come to this amazing realization. What will it take for you?

Are you weary? He will strengthen you. You may feel unworthy of His love, He knows but loves you anyway. Bring all your failures. He will direct your life journey. God so loves.

How He Loves

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No matter who we are, or what our life circumstances are, we need oxygen, we need food and drink but more than anything we need love. We need the love of others but more importantly, we need the love of our Savior Jesus.

We need to know that our God will always love us! we don’t need religion we need a relationship with Jesus. We are human and we will make mistakes. We can go to our Jesus and have our minds blown, our hearts filled with the One who loves us most.

We can call on Him, we need only accept His love, believe He is our Savior Jesus, seek His forgiveness for our stupidity and He is faithful to give grace and mercy, even when we feel we don’t deserve it.

Grace and mercy are used interchangeably. It is the unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification. We are blessed when we turn from our sin and reach to Him. Reach to Him, He awaits your hand.

Enjoy this beautiful song, “How You Love Me” by Patrick Mayberry. I was so moved by its lyrics. What amazing love! Throw off the obstacles of the past instead accept his love and grace. It is worth the steps to His peace and, as times get shorter, steps to a new life.

John 3:16   “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Music Matters

I was a teen when MTV was introduced. I love music it brings joy to my day. For this reason, I love to share songs most weeks on my blog that have impacted my life. In our current generation with YouTube, Spotify, Sirius radio, and even the standard FM radio, the access points are endless. I was blessed to see We the Kingdom in concert and they were amazing.

We The Kingdom concert by MM

Music can soothe, can pump ya up as you get ready to play a sport, bring you down with lyrics that express despair, or just get your feet tapping. Music can bring flash photographs of the first times you heard a song or a season of your life. Parenting and music go hand in hand. I love to share my love of music with my kids and remind them the best music was in the 80s :). I use instrumental or classical music for homework or stressful times.

Lyrics to songs add intensity and address the human condition. Somehow the singer expresses your inner emotions better than you could. Sometimes their despair is catching especially when you are a teen in angst. Sometimes their joy can fill your heart and mind with peace.

Did you know there are men and women in the Bible that love music? In fact, we are called to sing songs and dance with joy. When we choose this action, we feel calmer, more energetic, more peaceful. Our bodies were made for the beat.

There are many scriptures that reference music and instruments. 1 Chronicle 13 shares a time David and all Israel celebrated before God in songs and with musical instruments.

1 Chronicle 13:8 David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets.

David was a man after God’s own heart. He was known for his love of music. The Book of Psalms has many of David’s songs written on many human emotions, he is able to express times of hopelessness, depression, sadness, fear, and joy. Psalms is a great place in the Bible to feel a connection to God regardless of the days’ events. You will feel understood and like David you will see how he processed despair and came to the knowledge of the Lord and their amazing loving relationship as the answer.

Psalm 42:8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.

Psalm 66:4 Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs.

Psalm 98 beautifully expresses singing to a new level. It describes victory and love for God’s people and even describes the earth singing and making music. I was in awe as I read this psalm. Take a moment to ponder its words written by David.

Psalm 98

1 Sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known
    and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
    and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.

4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity.

Have you ever wondered why you love music? It started at Creation. It is a God-given gift. Just imagine the sea, the earth, and every living thing praises their Creator.

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Visualize the river clapping in glee. Beautiful creation resonates with their own sounds. I see that smile forming on your face. Find joy, dance if you wish, and Praise Him.

Let me know if you found these amazing scriptures as fascinating as I.

Christmas Paradox

Jesus came for all of us in the most humble way, as a baby in the manger. A gift from God to restore our relationship with our Creator.

We are all worthy of saving broken pieces and all.

Christmas can bring nostalgic feelings of joy or pain, family connections perhaps this time of year brings the opposite isolation with depression. It depends on past experiences. Not all people have been blessed into the traditions depicted in the Hallmark movie reels; continuous smiles, finding love, and family commitment.

For some people poverty, addiction, mental health, and dysfunctional family have brought increased stress and PTSD as the season unfolds. There can be a struggle of comparison traps and (FOMO) Fear of Missing Out leading to more depression, anxiety, isolation with increased substance abuse.

According to the Merriam-Webster definition paradox means something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible. Christmas is relatable to a paradox. We may come from two opposite life experiences and yet what is true and possible is we can find transformation to future generations. We can discover Jesus loves all of His children.

Being an Emergency Department / Trauma Nurse for multiple decades, our patient loads would show the diverse Christmas experiences. It was a challenging time to be a nurse, yet, I tried to treat each patient with compassion, mercy with grace.

Even if patients were in crisis, swearing at me, swinging their fists, suicidal, I had to still believe in Jesus and my ability to care for my patients with Jesus’ love. There were untimely deaths, traumatic accidents with innocent victims, gunshot/stabbing patients, family disturbances. Increased domestic violence occurred, I would love on the patients including kids while they were in my care.

The potential for a tarnished view of life was strong at times, however, I had to dig deep into my relationship with Jesus and lay down, in prayer, my thoughts for the moment. I prayed for patients and families alike. I hoped I reflected Jesus to those who needed Him.

This song by Anne Wilson was released recently, I Still Believe in Christmas really brings a great message of hope and the amazing gift of Jesus. In our lives, we must hold onto hope and grow our faith in the One true King Jesus.

Isaiah 9 :6   For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

No matter what your past experience has been regarding Christmas, there is a wonderful message from Jesus’ birth that can change your life. This baby came to save you from your sin and bring new life. Maybe this year it is time to discover Him.

I still believe in Christmas! May you find Him.

Guard

Fall sunset by Mary Mesikapp

Have you started your day stretching in bed and saying,” this is the day the Lord has made, I will make it a great day.” You flip on your favorite music, do you dance as you get dressed? Next, you grab your favorite beverage, jump in the car, and witness a beautiful sunrise or sunset? I used to work a lot of night shifts. Sunsets and sunrises would send me to work and bring me home with a smile.

However, my mood may change when I turn on the radio and am singing along with a song about broken relationships, depression, anxiety, and other topics that bring me down. Or have you walked into a room with a friend or coworker arguing? The next thing you know, you are feeling less joy. It’s like osmosis, the negative mindset is drawing away your joy.

Guard your heart! There are many voices and visions vying for your attention. It is a constant poke and prod from the enemy to distract. It can be culture, the newest app on your phone, a new entertainment app such as a tv or cable series, and even a new song.

Songs can have a steady, catchy beat, a melody, or percussion that lulls you into a cadence. Before you know it, you are memorizing lyrics and in the groove. Every time the song plays on your favorite radio or music venue you sing along.

You feel connected to the song it doesn’t seem to matter what is the message and thus you are a part of the community, you are trendy. Sometimes you pause to consider lyrics but then the beat picks up again and “who cares, no big deal, it’s just a song….”

Here’s the thing, I have a question, “if Jesus was sitting beside you as you traveled down the road, or danced away in your home, would you still sing the song?”

I find myself more diligent at considering lyrics lately after I heard words from current music. I was blown away at the top hits on multiple music genres. I don’t want to sound like an old curmudgeon, “the music of today, is bad.” Parents of generations past would complain about Elvis, the Beatles, and other classic rock bands were seen as evil. Parents wanted and tried to ban music.

However, Each generation has a need to express themselves. I get it! We have to think for ourselves. We have been given a sound mind. We must use it and not just follow the crowd.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

I think it’s important to teach my kids to learn to discern what comes from their lips in words or songs. I am working through the same needed character development. Yes, I say it again, I am a work in progress.

We must be self-controlled by the Holy Spirit with a sound mind.

Are my words bringing hope or hurt? Am I pausing before I speak? Am I considering the words in songs of my favorite music artists? Those lyrics can affect my emotions and my projection to others. They can speak affirmation or grumble. I believe you can tell by some of my posts, I love music and the messages that they can send to the listener.

Proverbs 4:23 NLT
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

I don’t want to deny my kids music but, instead, I want to come alongside them, teach discernment so they can consider what they see and hear, and does it bring life or death? Is it supportive of honoring men and women or is it describing destruction, abuse, and addiction potential?

It is too easy to become desensitized by the beat of a song. When we dismiss the importance of what we say or in this case sing, we become less bothered by the content.

Does the song edify or honor humans created in the Image of God or demean and insult? It is a choice to make. We can change the radio station or choose different songs on our music app. In our present day, we have options to make our own playlists.

Bad character corrupts even in a song. If we sing about the abuse of women or the joy in alcohol and hooking up, we demean and dishonor the purpose of our fellow humans. God wants each of His children to be loved and respected.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

Music, movies, and yes, even, the news can suck the life out of you. You can choose what fills your mind, your ears, your eyes. Guard your heart! Let your words and songs be filled with life.

Psalm 141:3 NLT
Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.