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. 

Communication in this Age

As I sit at the coffee shop, I see a class of teens being treated to an end of the year coffee / fruit drink. This teacher apparently comes every year and treats the students for a job well done. Now that’s a teacher who knows how to reach their students. She is being a reflection of love and God is love.

The whole class is polite, respectful and shows gratitude. This is the next generation of leaders. They are shown compassion and direction by this amazing teacher. It is refreshing, we can all reflect hope and love like this relationship.

Yes, they take out their cellphones for a bit of additional communication, however, they are in person carrying on conversation. There is laughter, smiles, and companionship.

There is hope!

They are valuing the most important thing, relationships in respect, love, common interests and they will likely succeed in the future as a result. This is the future!

Psalm 145:12-17 MSG
[12] Letting the world know of your power for good, the lavish splendor of your kingdom. [13] Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal; you never get voted out of office. GOD always does what he says, and is gracious in everything he does. [14] GOD gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit. [15] All eyes are on you, expectant; you give them their meals on time. [16] Generous to a fault, you lavish your favor on all creatures. [17] Everything GOD does is right- the trademark on all his works is love.

Where is your sphere of influence? Make a difference to encourage and love others it’s a trademark of God who loves and can impact generations.

Mother’s Day hard?

Psalm 145:3-4 MSG
[3] GOD is magnificent; he can never be praised enough. There are no boundaries to his greatness. [4] Generation after generation stands in awe of your work; each one tells stories of your mighty acts.

As a women of infertility, I understand the challenges of observing Mother’s Day. I have learned that God’s family is formed in many ways. Before I became a mom of adoption, He allowed me to feed into the lives of thousands of kids to teens as a nurse and public speaker for injury prevention. He also, gave me places to mentor foster kids as a big sister. There are other places the Lord can use your love and care beyond a biological child. You can make a difference to generations.

You are loved by Jesus

Mother’s Day is a day of multiple emotions; joy, peace, love, grief, loss, and regret. As a mom blessed through adoption, I think of the sacrifice of our birth families along with my love for our children. I think of their loss and willingness to place ( not abandon) their children to my husband and my arms. I know they each ponder, as Mary did in the Bible regarding Jesus, the life of their biological child. Yet their love for their child, according to their own hearts expressed to me and my husband, even in grief and loss, lead them to choose their forever parents. I have a tender heart that grieves with them even in my blessing every year at Mother’s Day.

I extend greetings on Mother’s Day and I receive communication that affirms, a mom never forgets their child and they have communicated appreciation for our loving care. We are the family of extended adoption. We are blessed. It is not easy. It can be emotionally hard for all in the adoption triad (child, birth and adoptive parents). However, spiritually we all must lean on Jesus for closing the holes in our hearts that only He can fill. I share with our children the same message, no mom or dad can fill the space in our hearts meant for Jesus!

It takes trust in God above all (even though in our human emotion it seems impossible). It is hope for our children’s future holding the hand of Jesus for wisdom. It is unfailing love for our children who are created in the image of God.

Psalm 145:8-21 MSG
[8] GOD is all mercy and grace- not quick to anger, is rich in love. [9] GOD is good to one and all; everything he does is suffused with grace. [10-11] Creation and creatures applaud you, GOD; your holy people bless you. They talk about the glories of your rule, they exclaim over your splendor, [12] Letting the world know of your power for good, the lavish splendor of your kingdom. [13] Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal; you never get voted out of office. GOD always does what he says, and is gracious in everything he does. [14] GOD gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit. [15] All eyes are on you, expectant; you give them their meals on time. [16] Generous to a fault, you lavish your favor on all creatures. [17] Everything GOD does is right- the trademark on all his works is love. [18] GOD’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it. [19] He does what’s best for those who fear him- hears them call out, and saves them. [20] GOD sticks by all who love him, but it’s all over for those who don’t. [21] My mouth is filled with GOD’s praise. Let everything living bless him, bless his holy name from now to eternity!

I love this Message version of scripture, Psalm 145. No matter who you are, a single person, a single mom or dad, married, divorced, God sticks by all who love Him, those who fear Him in respect, seek Him, repent from sins and believe He is Lord. Call to Him and feel His love extend to all, moms or not!

Listen

Listen to Him

Life has many seasons. Seasons of joy, progress and trials. Seasons of unexpected victories, healthy relationships and moments of pure bliss. There are also seasons of desert, dry, weary moments that seem to extend to the horizon, as far as our eyes can see. We can feel parched, dried up and isolated.

I feel as though it is in the dry desert times I am more willing to listen to that still, small yet powerful voice of wisdom, Jesus. Yes, I feel amazed when life is joyful and progresses as I think it should. However, I can consider my participation more valuable than the behind the scenes God appointed moments of joy and peace.

The human condition of self reliance puts our works for our lives ahead of His provisions. When that happens, my ears are too busy seeking the admiration of the world, the likes, the compliments that puff up my chest. It can bring the toddler attitude of “I did this myself, I can do it, leave me alone.”

This is attitude blocked gratitude and is prideful and blocks my ears from hearing the still, small powerful voice of Jesus that says, “ Here is the way to go, hold my hand and let’s travel together.”

Matthew 6 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Jesus doesn’t have a selfish motive, It is not in Him, He is all the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self control. These fruits are something we must work through in order to be like Jesus. Each trait takes time, and effort. Some days I feel confident in one, then another one challenges me. It’s ok, we are works in progress. Jesus will guide the completion of our journey.

This is a common theme on my blog lately, I need to be transformed to the mind of Christ. Am I listening for his voice? Are you listening? Where are your steps leading you? He wants to bless.

Isaiah 30:18-23 NLT
[18] So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. [19] O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries. [20] Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. [21] Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. [22] Then you will destroy all your silver idols and your precious gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, “Good riddance!” [23] Then the LORD will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your livestock.

Let it rain on you and prepare for a future harvest with the Master Gardener, the Lord. He did create you with two ears and one mouth to listen more.

He is the Same God

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The same God that freed captives in the Bible is the same God that can transform your life. He is filled with kindness, wisdom, and understanding. He knows you He wants to fill you up with His riches of grace, unfailing love, and joy.

Will you take a risk and reach out to Him? Past disappointments with a human father may give you fear or cause distrust of your Creator God. He is good and He is able to guide your life. Will you let Him?

He wants to adopt you into His family, but He gives you a free will choice. As a mom blessed through adoption, this amazing gift of adoption into the Lord’s family takes on another level of love and awe. He wants a relationship with you.

Ephesians 1:3-11 NLT [3] All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. [4] Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. [5] 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. [6] So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. [7] He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. [8] He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. [9] God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ-which is to fulfill his own good plan. [10] And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ-everything in heaven and on earth. [11] Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

Same God” is a wonderfully moving message of the unfailing love and commitment of God to His children. Elevation Worship and Jonsal Barrientes really bring this promise to a beautiful place. Listen to the lyrics. Be amazed at this amazing God.

May this song impact you as much as it did me. He is the same God from the beginning of time to now.

Holy Spirit Come

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Every day is an exercise in endurance. Trusting in God with the uncertain future, with our relationships, and our emotions require thinking outside our own control.

There are moments I want to be a child again, putting adult decisions and responsibilities down. Guess what, we can put down our worries and concerns. We can give them to a God who extends His hand to us, saying come, my child! Jesus actually spoke these words in Matthew 11 as He spoke to people about seeking faith in God.

Matthew 11: 25-26 Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”
Matthew 11:28 - 30   (The Message) “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Holy Spirit Come by Patrick Mayberry

Patrick Mayberry sings of going to the Lord in our distressed times, singing, “Holy Spirit Come.” I love to play this song when I feel weary and burdened. I sing loud and feel the love of Jesus pour over me. Sweet moments of peace are there for the taking just sing or call Him. Come Holy Spirit and refresh your children.

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.

Wind

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The wind has been blowing at hurricane forces with red flag warnings covering my state for over a week. Wind escalades consuming fires; causes dust storms, and blows the tumbling weed you may have seen in Wild West movies. Those weeds can grow into the size of house doors. I have a friend who shared seeing an entire front of a house covered by them, with a senior citizen needing help.

I have been meditating on the wind, the Hebrew word for wind is Ruach. Strongs Concordance definition: Ruach means breath, wind, spirit with its’ phonetic spelling is (roo’-akh). Johnathan Cahn, a Messianic Jewish author shares his interpretation in his “Book of Mysteries”. The Holy Spirit, the breath of life along the wind are synonymous with the power of the Lord. Have you ever thought of this concept?

The Bible supports this premise, as I did research I found the wind described in Genesis through Revelations. It was an amazing read I will share some scriptures.

Genesis, the first book of the Bible, describes God’s action to blow across the earth and dry land after the flood.

Genesis 8:1    But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede.

The Lord used the wind to bring a holy fear to enemies in war just by its sound in Leviticus, wind cleared locusts and brought quail to the hungry Israelites in Numbers 11.

2 Samuel 22 describes how the Lord heard the cries of David and David saw Him in the storm clouds. What a visual? I choose to believe the same is true today. We may have other noises or busy lists drowning out this revelation.

2 Samuel 22:11
Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew,
  soaring on the wings of the wind.

Elijah described being worn out and feeling alone as He continued to serve the Lord even though many peers thought he was crazy and stupid. In 1 Kings 19, we are reminded that despite the noise around us the Lord speaks in whispers. Are we spending time with our Lord? It is hard to hear His whispers when we aren’t listening for them. I am guilty as charged at times.

1 Kings 19: 11-12   11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and 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. 12 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.

At one point, Job was rebuked by the Lord for his rantings. The Lord reminded Job where all things began, with Him. Job 38:24 Where is the path to the source of light? Where is the home of the east wind?

In Psalm 28, the Lord is increasingly frustrated as His children are not walking with Him, the Lord says in verse 26: He released the east wind in the heavens, and guided the south wind by his mighty power.

My time hearing the winds, seeing the trees sway, watching the tumbleweeds, not being able to walk a straight line outside, eating dust, and sneezing from the wind, made me consider the Lord made the wind and it holds the majesty of His power.

Matthew 8:26-27 is one of my favorite stories of Jesus calming the storm at sea while his buddies freaked out. Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” The winds were out of control and Jesus rebuked the winds. It was a defining moment because they were in awe that even the winds obeyed Jesus. Sadly, I can be like the disciples! But I don’t have to stay in that place.

Psalm 104 describes the majesty of the Lord and his creation of sky, heavens, clouds, and wind.

Psalm 104: 1- 4   
1 Let all that I am praise the Lord. O Lord my God, how great you are! You are robed 
with honor and majesty. 
2 You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens; 
3  you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds. You make the clouds your 
chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind. 
4  The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants.

Ah, another windy day, red flag warning in case of fires, the earth is so dry, just a spark of flame will light up the pastures. Isn’t that a metaphor for life, my friends?

Action steps: Meditate on these: Am I walking with the wind, in a sense my Holy Spirit, my Lord? Or am I walking against His instructions with worry, defiance, pride, grumbling, basically, in sin? If I choose the fleshy sin ways, I am dried up, worn out, depressed, anxious and lonely. If I walk with the Lord I allow Him to carry me or at the very least, I let my burdens be directed by His wisdom and the negative mindset to be blown away as I trust Him.

James 1: 5-7       5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

I want to be in control, do you? However, with each passing year, I am learning my need to control is not helpful. I can’t control the future and world events any more than I can control the wind. I am choosing loyalty and a walk with Him.

Walk with the wind not against it! Hold onto your hat, life will be more interesting and less parched.

Happiest place on earth

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I am in a drought. It may sound crazy but my family just returned from Disney World. Originally, two years ago before Covid, we were supposed to travel to Florida then Covid hit and everything was shut down.

We finally went as a family of four last week. My son watched our house and all of our animals. You would think that I would come back feeling refreshed but, instead, honestly, I felt depleted because it was such a world of materialism and really I missed my Jesus time.

Being still with Jesus is what refreshes me. I realize I’m probably more an introvert but can be an extrovert, especially on thrill rides. Filling up my internal reservoir actually comes from the Word of God and my time spent with my Savior Jesus.

Yes, I went on a bunch of rides and screamed with hysteria. Yes, I was one of many in the crowds, yet I am set apart as a daughter of the King. Yes, Disney World is touted as the happiest place on earth.

When I saw sweet families having a blast and sharing memories, it brought back past memories when our kids were young. I had a great time sharing rides and funny moments with our family of four, however, something was lacking.

I saw stressed-out parents, kids asking for more souvenirs, and mega meltdowns. I pondered if perhaps the parents were using their last dime to provide “a happy experience” for the kids and yet looked stressed because of the bills when they get back home.

I realize my eternal joy cannot be filled at Disney World. My peace and the feeling of the presence of the Holy Spirit cannot be completed at Disney World. But the peace and the love of God can be found when I spend time with my Jesus. And that’s what I missed. Oh yes, I did my devotions in the morning and I didn’t check it off the list. Even if it was two in the morning when I couldn’t sleep, I felt the peace of God.

I feel I was given a window into observing people and at times saw frustration and people cutting off people and an unsettledness in that particular place. I felt drawn to act the same way. It is supposed to be the happiest on earth, is it?

I’m not sure if I’m ranting‘s are making any sense. My point, the happiest place on earth is when we spend time with our Jesus who is not superficial but eternal. That’s where joy and a peace that passes all understanding are found.

Ephesians 3:19 NLT
[19] May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Psalm 34:8 NLT
[8] Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

Psalm 16:9-11 NLT
[9] No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. [10] For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. [11] You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

No matter where you travel, seeking the peace of Jesus is just a step away. Seeking Jesus and focused time with His Word is the happiest place to be. As my teen texted, ” Mom, the happiest place is not a place or earth, it’s with God”, from the mouth of Babes.

Deep Breath

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As we watch the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, we must take a deep breath and breathe in the Breathe of Life, our Creator God!!! From the beginning of time, the Bible shares in the first book Genesis: the creation of the earth, water, the sky, animals, birds of the air, ocean creatures, and the human in the physical forms of Adam and Eve.

Genesis 2:7  7 Then the Lord God formed a man[a] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

At these times of uncertainty in the world or even in our personal lives, our first reaction is to freak out and isolate hold or decrease our breathing. Our body is an amazing thing that needs the breath of oxygen and the exchange with carbon dioxide. We don’t even think about this physical exchange, it happens naturally. Our body needs the balance of these two elements.

When we are anxious, in fear or anger, we may tighten our chest, breathe more shallow and become more anxious, fearful, or angry. This sure doesn’t help our circumstances. With less oxygen circulating and less carbon dioxide exchanged, our minds are less clear and we freak out even further.

What would happen if we remembered to Breathe in with the Lord? With every deep breath, meditate on the fact, the Lord is your creator and He is filling you with Life. What awe, what truth, amazing!!!

I was blessed to hear this song from Maverick City Music, “Breathe”, is so filled my mind with hope, lessened my anxious thoughts on world events, and brought me to my Savior again.

Breathe in the Lord! Don’t hold your breath instead Praise the Lord! I believe you will sway with the music and receive the blessings of a moment of peace.