Whether you call them divine appointments, chance encounters, miracles or coincidences you know when you have had one, it is that moment that seemed surreal, that either changed the direction of your life or someone else’s, that unexplained happening that you just cannot wrap your analytical mind around and leaves you shaking your head. I have had many, and wanted to be able to share with you, as I start putting them all to paper. For me, as a follower of the Way, I call them miracles and divine appointments. The memory fades, but stories live longer. So, today I want to share one that really stands out in my mind, and to this day I am in awe of the happenings of that cold afternoon, as I was working in the Happy Thoughts clothing store on Mooney Boulevard, in the small town of Visalia, Ca. It had been a very slow day, and not many customers had come into our gently used clothing store. I was training one of the young ladies from the Thunderbolt youth program skills on how to work in retail, to help her in her job quest. It was towards the end of the day when a young man walked into the store. He looked rough, like gang style rough. He smelled of smoke and meth, and was dirty, as if he was living on the streets.  I heard a whisper in my ear to send the young girl working in the store home, NOW! Since it was the end of the day, I told the worker to go ahead and call it a day, she would get full credit. As the young man wandered aimlessly throughout the store, the worker’s ride arrived to pick her up. As soon as she was gone, this young man got my full attention. I sized him up and took him to the men’s clothing area. I noticed his shoes had holes and he had no jacket in this cold weather. We found the perfect fit in both for him. One of our stores policies were if we saw a need, fill it. We went through the gently worn clothes looking for his treasures. As we talked, I learned he was from Tulare, had gotten out of jail a month before, had just found a place to live and had no job. He took his finds and went to change his clothes in the bathroom. As he was changing in the bathroom, I was impressed to gather some of the new toys we had gotten in, unopened, for a toddler. I stacked these together and wrapped a beautiful ribbon around them, placing a bow on top, all ready to give to a little one. A few moments later he came out of the bathroom, and the transformation was amazing. He had washed his face and hands and wet back his hair. He could not have been more than 18. He mentioned only having a dollar or two. I told him there was no charge for today. He looked totally surprised and then suspicious. I asked him if he had any children. He said yes and that was the reason he came in, to find something for his child. He looked over at what I had on the counter and said something to the effect of if I had the money that is what I would like to get. I told him that the Lord had already put on my heart to gather together the toys and put a ribbon and a bow on them, so he could give the gift to his child. His eyes got real big and he trembled. He said well I can take the shoes but was acting real cagey. I do not remember him ever telling me his name, but at that moment I knew it and called him by it and told him there was no charge for the clothes he had on, the jacket or the toys, that they were a gift from Jesus. That boy broke and started crying, said he was addicted to drugs and had come in to rob me to buy drugs and buy his baby a gift. He wanted to know who was this person that cared about him enough to get his baby a present and give him clothes. He said he wanted to be free. I told him about Jesus, how he had taken our sins upon himself and died and rose again and sits by His Father in heaven, so that we could be free and live a life with Him. That young man repented from his sins and asked the Lord Jesus into his heart and asked him to set him free from drugs. As he opened his eyes, he smiled and said I feel like I can breathe and so light, like there is nothing on my shoulders. We laughed and hugged and celebrated his decision. He asked if I could please throw away all his old things, he was a new man. I assured him I would. We had an extra bible, so I gave him that and contacts in Tulare at a church I knew who would love him and help him in his new walk. As I locked the door of the business that night it hit me, this young man was going to rob me and maybe kill me (no money taken in that day, $20 in the till). Instead, God had a plan that was so much bigger than even I could imagine. God allowed me to be a tiny part in the eternity of another person’s soul.   God is not concerned about what we did yesterday as much as He is about this moment, today.  Nothing is too big, too bad, or too unforgivable for God.

Do you know Jesus?  You can experience that same freedom and new life this young man did.  You can have real, lasting peace today through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

God loves you and has a plan for you, a plan for your life.  The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”—a complete life full of purpose (John 10:10). But here’s the problem, man is sinful and separated from God.  We have all done, thought or said bad things, which the Bible calls “sin.” And says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that the result of sin is death, spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23).

The good news is that God sent His Son to die for your sins.  Jesus died in our place, so we could have a relationship with God and be with Him forever. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). But it didn’t end with His death on the cross. He rose again and still lives! “Christ died for our sins. … He was buried. … He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).

We can’t earn salvation; we are saved by God’s grace when we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. All you must do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins, don’t do them anymore—that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty.   If you would like to Know this Jesus and accept Him as your Savior, right where you are, pray this prayer:

 

“Dear God,
I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died
for my sin and that you raised Him to life.
I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord,
from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

 

Did you pray this prayer? Do you have questions? You can reach me at radiantscribes@gmail.com

As we begin 2018, with some of the biggest issues that face us as humanity and as a nation, I have heard nothing but negativity from all the major news networks. It makes me question, where is the good news, those things that are happening all around us, that show the consideration and kindness of man to each other. Why is the news so hell-bent on painting glum and gloomy reports with their own political slants, instead of giving us balanced news and views? What can we gather from all of this? Is there hope and peace amid chaos?

I believe it depends on what our perception is, and whether we choose to live in an attitude of gratitude or complaint. It is proven, through science, that our attitude is 100% controlled by us, how we choose to look at things is also our choice. We choose how we will process the news. We choose whether to believe in God or not. We choose whether to believe the Bible or not. We choose whether to judge others by our standards or love. I am not saying everyone will accept one another’s choices. I believe it is up to us to leave that judgement with the only One who has the right to, and that is not us. Whatever choice we make, it is a free choice. I will not demand someone must see things my way. Not that I didn’t try for so many years. That is, until it dawned on me, I need to live my life to the best of my ability, to choose wisely and to share what I have learned throughout my journey.

So today, with all this gloomy reporting. I choose to have an attitude of gratitude. I choose to share on my blog, what I have found to be relevant and helpful in my life, in the hope it may bring some cheer, hope or joy to another. I choose, to share from my perspective, to anyone who might be interested.

So, where was I? Ahhh, yes…
Today, the New Year has arrived, it is 2018 on the west coast of North America. I am curious and have a question for you. Did you make that one all-important New Year’s resolution you thought about for the past three months? You know the ones, to lose weight, to get healthy, to start fresh… To be honest, I really did not know where to start with myself and I needed a revelation as to which area needed more work than another, because there are so many areas.  Last year, I was determined not to make one, that way I did not have to feel guilty about not doing it!!! So, be honest, how many of you just laughed or snickered silently to yourself? Yeah, me too. I thought, before I started sharing, I probably should check what the words resolution and revelation really meant before making a resolution. So many times, I have had what I understood a word to mean to find I was way off.

So, I went to Webster’s Dictionary to find the meanings. For the word “resolution”, Webster’s includes: to make an announcement or declaration, determination, boldness, courage, pluck, guts, fortitude, moxie, heart, purposefulness, spunk, spirit, tenacity, stubbornness, willpower, dedication, earnestness, to stand firm and perseverance. I had no idea that this word carried so many meanings. The word “revelation”, according to Webster’s Dictionary, also has many meanings. It is defined as: a special Divine direction, a special order from Heaven, a bringing to light that which was previously hidden, an enlightening or astonishing disclosure, divine truth and making something evident. Wow, if I put both these two words meanings together I get some amazing combinations like: perseverance in Divine truth, moxy and pluck in bringing to light what was previously hidden, standing firm in a Divine direction, using willpower and having purposefulness when faced with an astonishing disclosure, or courage, boldness and dedication in following a heavenly order.

I was raised in religion, from the age of 6 until 18.  I went to church every week, and had no clue who Jesus really was other than the stories. Being saved was you joined the church. There was nothing about relationships. The words above had no real impact on me as a teenager. When I graduated high school, because of the untruths I had been taught in Bible class, I ran as hard and as fast as I could in the other direction. I was going to make up for lost time for some perceived missed life adventures. As I look back on that time, what did I really miss? Drinking, drugging, sleeping around, which is what all my friends not at my school were doing. So, yes, I ran full at it, drinking as much as I could, passing out more often than not, not really enjoying it. I would party the hardest, with whatever was available in our group and I didn’t care. I would yell at the sky and tell God He could just go take a leap.

I got married, had two children, divorced and decided, fine I cannot have happiness, I am going to party. I would wait till the kids went to their dads for the weekend, and it was on. To this day, I am surprised I did not die, so many times I should have. On one of those party weekends, I was at a park with some friends and we were drinking a couple of kegs and making fun of tele-evangelists and religion. A tall man, with long hair, dressed in dirty clothes and worn shoes made a bee-line for our group. Ignoring everyone else in the group he looked me right in the eyes and said, “I have been sent to tell you, it is time”.  There was something about him,  I listened to him.  His eyes were soft, yet showed so much pain and he spoke gently, like someone begging a child to come home. Then he walked off. We all laughed about it, yet the whole thing just kept nagging at me. What the heck was that all about. The next day as I was cleaning house, I headed upstairs and threw the remote on the couch. I got to about the 4th step when the remote changed the channel and suddenly this pink haired lady, with the most unbelievable makeup, pointed at me and yelled, “This is your last chance, He will not keep asking, it is your choice”. It made no sense to me at the time, but I thought what if it was true? What if the guy yesterday was an angel? What if I was wrong in the way I looked at life and was living? So right there, I knelt and asked Jesus into my heart and asked Him to forgive me as the person on tv said to. The weight just seemed to lift off my shoulders. An old friend called the next day and she asked if she could come over. She spent about two hours and shared her story how she met Jesus.

I have always been more of a realist in viewpoint, so it was hard for me to grasp the reality of belief of what could not be seen, tasted, or felt. However, I was intrigued by Jesus, by His life and death and wanted to know more. This set me on a path of researching everything I could about Jesus, the bible, history, all the pieces. I concluded, after seeing all the historical evidence that proved the basis of the biblical story of Jesus, that He was indeed real and who He said He was.  I knew, factually, Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God and did indeed die for me. I wanted so badly for my heart to embrace what my head knew. It is the shortest distance, and yet one of the most difficult journeys to make. I wanted my heart to feel what He feels, and eyes to see what He sees. What is that old saying, be careful what you ask for?

As I was praying one day, I was overcome with sobbing for no reason. Suddenly, in my mind’s eye, I could see many people who were without hope, who knew about God, but chose to deny Him and His free gift, being dropped into fire and they screamed and screamed. As I looked over, I saw a Father, who wept so hard as each one chose not to receive what He had given, for He had given His Only Son to pay the price required by His laws for the forgiveness of sin, a blood sacrifice. I was overcome by the scene, by the abject loss of life, by the broken heart of the Father and by the amazing and unearned gift that had been given to me through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. At that moment, I knew that my spirit could show my heart how to embrace God’s heart, how to have His eyes to see.  It was not something my mind could figure out. It was not something easily explained or explained away. I chose to embrace the experience and find an explanation. I do not know about you, but there is no way in anything in creation, I would give my children, my grandchildren or my great grandson over to die for you, or anyone else, for that fact. Don’t judge me, I am just being honest with you. My capacity for love, is in process because of His gift to me, and nowhere near what it probably should be.

I continue my journey, day by day, as an imperfect, in process, follower of The Way. Life is not easy, or charmed, or without it’s challenges and trials. Yet, as I look at the definitions of the words resolution and revelation, I am again encouraged. And, once again, I am reminded of one of the stories that impacts me almost every day. It is the story of Abraham and Sarah. They are one of many examples that help me to choose to stand firm in my belief regardless of what comes at me and try my best to not help God.  Jesus spoke highly of Abraham and Sarah, and I thought, if I could have an example, maybe I could discover my path.

Sarah had received a revelation from God’s messenger that she was going to have a son in her old age. You can read that story about God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 15. Like Sarah’s hidden laugh at a promise of a son because of the circumstances with her age, I think we start questioning if the promise given to us by revelation, or special Divine direction, is ever going to come to pass because of circumstances. Many of us have waited 10, 20, 30 or 40 years for the promise to come to pass. I am sure I am not alone when I say that in the passing of time, as we wait, a slight edge of mistrust tries to sneak in, as we lose some of the sparkle and excitement that was evident when the promise was first spoken so long ago.

To me the examples that we are given through characters in the Bible are meant to be like school lessons, if you will.  Sarah eventually does believe her husband, that he will have a son, but she really doesn’t trust God, so she tries to help God by convincing her husband to have a child with her servant. Have you ever found that every time you try to help God things sure become a mess? I know I have.

If God spoke a promise, He will orchestrate it to come to pass. It will take tenacity and patience (resolution) to wait on God.  So, we just need to relax and realize He spoke it, He must do it, it is not our job. Everything has a season and a time under heaven.

We all walk through various tests and trials, firestorms and times of wilderness. Yet, in the midst, when you can take no more, there is the sweet presence of the Lord, if we ask.  I am sure we have all made many resolutions and taken many stands, determined to believe, to hope. We do well, until that storm hits one more time. In the midst of the tears, the shattered dreams, the unbelievable challenges and the broken pieces we find ourselves questioning, did God really say that, did He really promise that? The very next thing that insidiously creeps in is fear; fear of the future, of our circumstances, of failure and of pain. Jesus came to encourage us and give us a revelation of divine truth, for He did not give us this spirit of fear trying to destroy us, but He gave us power, love and a sound mind, for He knows His own and they know Him. (2Tim 2:7, John 10:4). So, kick out that fear that wants to tell you there is no hope because of circumstances, and banish every fear and doubt for His ways are not ours, He has this, He has us. When God makes a promise, He keeps it for he is not a man that He should lie. His covenant promise is established in Jesus, it is a free gift.  All that is required, is to accept it and with it every promise that He has made to us.  For His Word goes out to accomplish everything it was sent to do. Just remember the free gift, it is available to anyone who wants it.  That free gift is this: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that Whosoever (that’s us) believeth on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life, for He (the Father) did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but that that through Him they shall be saved (John 3:16,17).

We must get into our hearts that God is for us, and not against us. We have a very real enemy when we follow Jesus Christ and we must be aware of his tactics and remain fully armed with God’s armor (Eph 6:10-13). You would not go into a gun fight with a knife, unless of course you have a death wish. This battle is no less real or different. Ask any soldier in the military. They understand the enemy has a plan of attack, and he must be able to counter attack to win the war. The plan of the enemy has not changed since the garden of Eden. It is still the same lie; it is still the same question “Has God Said?” Satan asked this of Eve and her response brought destruction and sin into this world because of disobedience and being unaware of the enemy’s plan. Satan wants to hurt the Father’s heart by destroying His creation, that is you and me. In your life, what has God said? What promises are you holding onto, no matter what it looks like or how long it takes? Those broken and shattered dreams that look like they will never be, they are pieces that God will use to build a firm foundation in Him, if you will allow Him to be the Builder, in His timing.

Jesus gave us revelation, the divine truth about His promises and His will for us so that we can go out in joy and peace with great hope. We know the plan of attack, we have been armed and we have the beauty of the revelation. However, this all means nothing without resolution. Are you familiar with the term, “no guts, no glory”? There is another phrase that more clearly defines how we can have a journey, that despite tumultuous times, trials, and challenges, is cushioned by peace, enveloped in trust and crowned with hope. That phrase is “No revelation, no resolution”. We must first ask for, and then determine to obey, divine guidance in our daily lives. We must be courageous and stand firm with tenacity to hold onto that revelation. What we speak does make a difference. It is not about manipulating God, but lining ourselves in agreement with the word. We become what we say and think about most. We have a choice to make, whether to stand firm or fold, to whine or to get determined. We must choose life or death, the power of it is in the tongue. Hold on to what He promised you. Trust Him and believe, for hope is in Him.

“To be or not to be, that is a question”, a quote from Shakespeare spoken by Hamlet.  In that case, Hamlet was referencing if he should stand up and fight or just give up and die.  How many times have we thought how much easier it would be to give up, but then there is that thought that comes in, whether it is about a loved one, or a hope, or a need to take care of something else?  I’m sure none of us are immune to those times, it is what makes up life.  Without the lows, we could never appreciate the highs.  Without despair and desperation, we could never experience hope and gratitude.

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of celebrating a birthday with an amazing woman and her family.  Her view on life is an inspiration to me.  She embraces gratitude.  I do not mean she just says it, she lives it.  As I watched all those at the family gathering, a total of four generations, it was joyous to watch their interactions.  It truly was what the Christmas Spirit is all about.  It is about loving, even with differences of opinions.  It is accepting each other with all our faults, and differences, it was understanding that each person’s view of Christmas was just as important as another’s.   Everyone was practicing just being.

As everyone gathered at the table to say grace, and have a wonderful meal of beef stroganoff, Vallarta rolls and a beautiful homemade German Chocolate cake, I saw each person in their own element.  They were not trying to impress anyone, or solve the world’s problems, it was just wonderful jumbled conversations around a dinner table.  All the family members; each had their own opinion, different political stance, different ideas and yet not one of them boasted their ideas over another.  There was such an acceptance of each other, of their different personalities and beliefs.  There was a celebration of gratitude, of just being able to spend time together.  It was warm, joyous and communicative without any angst of any kind, they were simply enjoying each other’s company.  What a moment to take in!  It was wonderful watching each person interacting with the others around them.  When the party ended, it was so sweet to see each of the cousins telling the other they would see them Christmas Eve.

The party was not quite over.  It was time to go see Christmas lights, an annual tradition.  We stopped and grabbed a scoop each of  Winter White ice cream to enjoy on the journey.   We so enjoyed each other’s company and were having a lovely time together.

As we hunted the different neighborhoods for Christmas lights, I was struck by the differences in each one of the displays we saw.  There were so many ways lights and displays were put together.  In one neighborhood, there was a horse pulling a street car for people to enjoy the lights.  There were some houses that seemed to go way overboard.  Like this family, so many different opinions and designs are wrapped up in the most amazing people, who have no problem loving each other, despite their differences.

Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, and everything He represents.  It’s not about presents, it’s all about celebrating Jesus, showing gratitude and love, and gathering together and enjoying each other and celebrating each other.  At this time of year, if you know someone who doesn’t have anyone, reach out to them, you may be the one person who turns things around for them, by just being there.  I think with Christmas only a few days away, it’s important to understand how much we are loved.  If we were not loved, that little baby would never have been born in a manager.  In this season, it is important to focus on the moment.  Focus on those who are around you this moment.  Enjoy and embrace this moment, and every moment after.  Be in the moment, not focused on the past, or past perceptions or perceived wrongs or worry about the future.  Those we have with us this year, we may not have with us next year or tomorrow.  Love them, be grateful for them, embrace them, build the bridges, and mend the fences.  Focus on this moment, be in the moment.  I think if we would just learn to “Be”, we would have so much less stress and we could truly enjoy each moment in our life.  We seem to always be so busy doing this and doing that, we do not take the time to enjoy the moment or the Creator of the moment.  To learn to “Be” takes practice.  It is not about learning meditation or the newest mantra, though learning to meditate can help.  It is about being aware and intentional in each moment.  Do we embrace it, enjoy it, relish it and share it, or do we rush past and miss it all together?

I’m talking about enjoying who we were created to “Be”, about being grateful for every little thing.  We all can be part of an amazingly beautiful tapestry called life.  If we can learn to just “be”, we will see so many opportunities around us to show our heart and our passion.  If we are in tune with who we are, who we have been created to be, we can embrace with gratitude the moments we are given as a gift each day and have something to give of ourselves to others.

You may have heard of the saying “seize the day”.  I would go one step further, “seize the moment”, live it to the fullest, enjoy it to the deepest.  Take a deep breath, drink in the beauty that is around you.  Seize the moment and just “Be”.

“Oh God, please God no, not now, not now!! I finally have my life together, Oh God help me please!”  My cries broke through the serenity of the pounding of the waves of the Pacific Ocean as I lay at the top of the dune, buried 2 feet in the sand.   I had gone with friends for my first ever horseback ride along the Pacific Ocean for my birthday.  I had even gotten a brand-new pair of my favorite western jeans, not a trivial purchase, and a new western shirt to commemorate my ride.  The last thing I remember before hitting the ground, was the horse owner saying, “Watch out this is where he likes to……”  Before he could finish his words, the horse went into a full-on buck (apparently something he could do often) and I was 20 feet in the air going over his head before I heard the word “buck”.  I landed on my right hip and my back hit the only branch in six miles of trail followed by the concussive blow to my head.  You know, for sand, it is not so soft when you land that way.  I screamed from the pain that exploded in my back, my hips, legs and head.  The horse owner tried to re-position my legs which brought even more screams as I blacked out for a moment.  I knew at that moment I was not just hurt, I was severely broken inside.   He got on his other horse and rode for help.

I was so very scared.  I would black out for just a moment and then open my eyes and get brief flashes.  I saw the job I worked at and loved, I saw my new apartment I had gotten just two months before after living with friends for two years, trying to get on my feet after a divorce, health scare, and difficult move from another state.  I thought of my goal to work with the group I was riding with, we were going to work together to get horses for disabled veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Injury to work with.  I thought of my plans to train during the summer on cutting and reining horses for competition.  I loved horses, they were everything good for the inside of me.  As I saw all this, I knew if it was as bad as I thought it was, all the positive accomplishments in my life, my plans and my dreams were about to evaporate.  I kept crying out to God, please not now.

I was not sure, at that moment, if I would be leaving that beach in anything but a body bag, as my breathing became labored and I started to lose the feeling in my legs.  As I laid there interchanging my screaming, with crying, with begging God to help me, and praying in my spirit, I was aware of a very kind woman walking into my view.  I must have looked crazy.  In her hand was a blanket.  She knelt in the sand by my head and stroked my sand encrusted face repeatedly telling me it was going to be okay.  I just cried and cried, I hurt so very much. I kept alternating with trying to talk and praying in the spirit, interlaced with moans, screams and sobbing.  I knew she was being kind, but then she said you will get through this and He will not leave you.   She said a very quick prayer, looked me in the eyes as she stroked my head and told me again that I was not alone, He was with me, everything really was going to be okay.  There was such warmth and comfort in her words and for a momentary sliver of time it was as if I was not on the sand, but looking at myself and everything from above.   She covered me with the blanket saying her husband and she were retired, and that was all she had to offer.  I told her through my tears, “thank you so much”.  She placed her hand on my shoulder and I swear there was a warm glow around it.  I looked over at the gathering crowd and there was no husband.  I felt her hand leave my shoulder and looked over, wanting to beg her to stay, but she was gone, nowhere in the crowd, nowhere along the trail I could see.   In the next moment, I was back on the ground, and the extreme pain kept causing me to pass out.   When I would wake, I was praying in my spirit and the promises from God that were yet unfulfilled came flooding back to my memory.  I knew then, together with the wonderful “angel” sent that this was not where I was going to die, no matter how much I might feel I wish I could.  I do not know how long it took the beach rescue crew to get there.  They could not do anything without someone with a medical background because of how injured I was.  Soon I found myself surrounded by paramedics and firefighters from the Arroyo Grande Fire Department.  It turns out the station was just on the other side of the sand dune and they had crossed it to get me when they heard there was an emergency on the beach.  Together with the beach rescue crew, six men slowly dug the sand out from around me.  Two feet embedded in the sand is a lot of sand to move.  They finally got enough access to slide a split backboard under me to extract me from the beach and put me into the ambulance that was pulling up at the bottom of the trail.   Once, in the ambulance, I remember one of the paramedics trying to put in an I.V., but between my injuries and the jostling of driving on the sand, it was impossible.  I remember telling him forget it.  I do not remember much else of the drive to the hospital which was less than a mile away.  Once wheeled into the ER, a quick look and nurses were cutting off my brand-new jeans and shirt.  They started for my 1-year old Ariat boots and I remember telling them no, I know it will hurt but don’t cut them off, pull them off.    Oh, my goodness, it hurt worse than anything in the world at that moment.  I blacked out as they took me to CT to do my entire body.  I awoke to the neurosurgeon talking to me, telling me that I was hurt bad and I had a piece of loose bone in my spinal canal, where it did not belong.  The neurosurgeon went on to tell me that had my back not landed on that branch, the straight-line impact would be like falling from a three-story building and it would have spiked my spinal column up into my brain.  He told me I would never ride horses again.  At that moment, I realized how close to death I could have been.  From that day to this, I tell people I fell on the branch and was saved by the Branch. We had ridden the whole six miles of trail.  There was not one branch on it as the beach had been recently cleaned up following a storm.  The statistical improbability of that branch being in the right place to disrupt a fall that should have killed me is astronomical.  But, with God nothing is impossible.  He says He will protect and guide us, that His ways are higher than ours.   God does not hurt His children.  But we live in a world that is messed up and full of sin, it is not a perfect place.  Things happen, life happens.  Yet in the middle of all of that He promises to be with His children, to never leave them, or forsake them, to give them a hope and a future for He knows the plans He has for them, to do good.  That day I know He sent an angel to speak the truth, to speak life to me, to comfort me,  knowing without it I could lose my life.   I knew when I prayed in my spirit He was present, even though everything was so grim.  There was much pain, but the “why God” did not come until much later. And when it did, I learned that sometimes I must wait for that answer, that I may never know while on this earth and I am OK with that, finally.

It is so easy to do a “1-2-3 step, jump, kick”,  and say God must work and protect me this way because that is how I understand it to be.    But what if… what if by yielding to go through the process instead of the instant healing we can reach one person with the good news.  What if, because of being obedient and forgiving and not getting my justice, this is part of why I can walk today and perhaps in the process someone met Jesus??  What if in our journey on this earth, it is about being accessible and real and humble?  What if what He is asking us to do is be available for whatever the plan may be, whether we understand or not?  We say, “here I am send me”, but what if that “send me” includes prison, pain, injury or death?  What if that is the call, because there is one who needs to hear about Jesus and the good news and they can only be reached in a certain manner or place that only God knows?  What if I was obedient, I did go where I was supposed to and the very nature of the accident and all that has happened since, gives Him the glory because I could not walk it without Him and people see Him and not me?   I had no idea that my walk with Jesus was about to get real.  It is easy to talk about how to walk with the Lord or how to be a good person or how to endure hardship like a good soldier.  It is a whole different thing to walk it.  Without the challenges and trials, how could we ever exercise our opportunities to totally yield our life, our dreams, our challenges and all our hopes and make Jesus the Lord of our life?  What if we really would trust Him?  What could be done if we did?

Each one of us are touched by the change in the season.  We speak of the winter when it is cold, in the summer when it is very hot. We like the spring, because it is the greenest of the season after a winter season of bareness.  We love the fall because of the changes from the hot days of summer. We love it for the changing leaves and snuggling into the comfort and warmth of our homes.  Like the seasons around us, we each face different times and seasons in our own lives. Where are you now in the season of your life? Have you been enjoying a wonderful springtime of refreshment and renewal? Are you like so many others feeling as if one more year of winter just cannot happen? 

Winter, to the eyes and other senses, is a time of desolation and loneliness when there are no signs of life.  It is a time spiritually when nothing seems to go right. It is a time when things are often distant and cold, having a yearning to be touched by God’s hand to touch our heart and lives.  Ah, but wait! It is during the winter, the miraculous things that were planted in the summer and fall are taking on new life in the ground below! 

There is much activity below the surface of what appears to be a very useless time of life. There are many hurts and heartaches that crush our hearts from betrayal, remorse, guilt, and abuse to deal with.  All these seem to overwhelm us in the darkness as we try to go to sleep at night. Take heart, Jesus knows right where you are and is making a way for you. Spring is at the door! We go through many of these seasons as we walk with Jesus. The Father has had a plan for you from the beginning of time, He knew you while you were in your mother’s womb.  He loved you then and He loves you now. He has a great and mighty plan for you, but it is all in His time, His season.  Ecc 3:1(amp) says, “to everything there is a season and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven”.  A time and a purpose under heaven bears repeating.  An example of this would be, you just know that you are destined for something big, with a very bright future, but right now there is nothing around you except what looks like meager survival. Situations look as if there is no hope, no hint of success. The enemy, Satan, comes in and tries to convince us there is no plan for us in God’s kingdom. He is a liar! Even in this season rejoice and be glad, for spring is coming

Take heart, perhaps it is not the season or time for you to go from winter to spring. Perhaps, it is time to wait on God. The butterfly stays in the cocoon for protection and grows until it emerges ready to accomplish, in a very short period, what it was specifically created for, it’s niche in eternity. It is the scrapping against the cocoon edges as a butterfly emerges that makes the wings strong. Without that adversity, the butterfly’s wings will not get strong enough to support its weight and the butterfly will die prematurely before ever getting to fly. It is important for us to embrace challenges and adversity, to allow them to strengthen us in the middle of our very being. These challenges & conflicts are the very same that will give wind beneath our wings so that we too can fly when it is time to accomplish our destiny. This time for you may be one of protection and/or growth.

Rejoice in the winter for spring is coming! Give glory to God, changes are coming! Jeremiah 29:11 says, quote for I know the thoughts and plans I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your outcome”. The word hope in the original Hebrew is “miqveh” and means something waited for in confidence, abiding in confidence for something expected. Again, time is in the formula. If you read further in Ecclesiastes 3:2-9, you’ll find many things spelled out about this, such as a “time to heal”, “a time to lose”, “a time to be born”, “a time to embrace”, and a time to die, etc. Time in the Hebrew is “ayth” derived from the word “ad”.  It means now, when, due season, so long as, continually, evening, noon, always, certain. So, time is a season, a sliver of eternity. 

Eternity in the Hebrew is the word “ad”, and time is derived from eternity and means perpetuity, perpetual, continuously, never ending.  Ecclesiastes 3:11(amp) says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds (a divinely implanted sense of purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun by God alone satisfies)”. One step in time is a place in all eternity and God has placed the need for Him in our hearts, for He alone can satisfy us. Time, a sliver of time…eternity it goes on forever. How are we to live today and tomorrow in the sliver of time? In Matthew 6:25, Jesus said to stop being perpetually uneasy, anxious and worried about your life, what you shall drink, which you shall eat and what you shall put on your body.” He goes on to say in verse 32, the Gentiles (heathen)wish for and pray and diligently seek after these things, and your Heavenly Father knows well that you need them all”. In verse 33, 34, we are given what the eyes and heart should seek after, and when we should seek it. This is especially true for us when there appears to be a lack, loneliness, depression, and destruction all around, seek (aim at and strive after) first, His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right) and then all these things taken together will be given to you besides, do not be anxious about tomorrow.” Again, in seeking Jesus, time is a focus. We must seek Jesus. Time to us, many times, is our immediate focus, we want things to hurry up, to break through, to get better NOW! Time, a time to build, a time tear down. To everything there is a purpose in the Father’s plan. Patience is a virtue, fruit of the spirit, that we work through in time. We are all in the last sliver of time, before Jesus Christ’s return. In time and eternity, where are we standing? Seasons will change and bring trials, test and temptation. Seasons will bring life, sorrow and joy. We must stand and know what He has promised and believe He will do what He says He will do. Believe is to trust in, to cleave to, no matter what it looks like.  It all began with a step in time. Jesus, the Son of God, walked across eternity, one step at a time. He was righteous, just, and pure and His steps ordered of God. It was time, when they decided Jesus would die. Time cringed as nails are driven into his feet and hands. Time then stopped for the greatest moment in history. Everything was dark when Jesus Christ gave up his last breath for you and me. He conquered death, hell, and the grave in that sliver of time. When Jesus had conquered death, hell and the grave, He rose up and went to the right hand of His Father, so that we too could have a new life. (John 3:16). Why did He do this? He did it for the joy that was set before Him. That joy was you and me. That joy was knowing we could all to be together in eternity. Jesus saw us in time through eternity, and He saw as redeemed by His blood. It all started with one step at a time. Where is our next step in the sliver of time we live in? What will you do with time?  

For two months after my accident, before having my spinal surgery July 10th, two separate valley doctors refused to treat me the way that I should have been treated according to standard medical practice for my severe injury.   One orthopedic spinal surgeon refused to even see me, even though I had an appointment, all because the neurosurgeon in Arroyo Grande dared to tell him what he thought should be done. I was in tears, holding onto my walker, barely moving, when I arrived in their office. On check-in, the office manager came forward and let me and my daughter know that her doctor didn’t care for the Arroyo Grande doctor’s attitude and I would have to find somewhere else to go. I did not understand.  I was not from there, I was from Visalia.  I had my accident in Arroyo Grande.  I got the appointment after waiting a week since the accident and release from the hospital. I was in total shock, and the anger and frustration could hardly be measured as I broke out sobbing.  What kind of oath did this man take?  Do no harm was it not?  My daughter started to go across the desk demanding I be seen and the office manager looked at her and said, “well that is too bad.” All I could do to restrain her was tell her God must have a different plan, let’s go home and find someone else.  She was livid to say the least. I thought about suing this doctor once all the dust settled and then I thought I heard that still small voice that said forgive, he doesn’t know what he is doing.  I just could not believe it, after all that had happened to hit another wall to get treatment in the central valley. He so deserved to have his pants sued off him. I knew in my heart before I reached the car, I had to forgive this man and his mean-spirited staff. I had a long talk with the Father on my way home about what I felt He was saying to do. By the time I reached home, I had made the decision to do just that, even though I had to do it about every hour on the hour for days.

My youngest daughter got on the phone and started searching for another doctor. With no one local, she found an orthopedic surgeon in Fresno and made an appointment for me for the next week. In the meantime, I was told to lay still, no moving other than to get up to go to the bathroom. I started seeing patterns in the ceiling around the fan that danced after a while. That first trip to Fresno was agonizing, as were all the rest for the next four weeks.  The 99 freeway was under construction and with each bump and pothole it felt like my spine and vertebrae were shattering even more. On my first visit, after looking at my x-rays, the doctor said I needed to allow my spine to heal itself, which it normally does in traumatic fractures. He forgot to add it was in simple compression fractures this happened, not the type I had.  But, since I was not the surgeon, I listened to him and went home to lay in bed for what I thought would be another four weeks.  I started developing issues with my bladder and walking was becoming almost impossible and the pain was not like anything I had ever had. On a scale of 1-10 the pain sat around a 20 consistently. I knew something was very wrong, but I wanted to be compliant. I finally cried uncle and went in to see him again. He ordered an MRI, which showed further collapse of the vertebrae and bone fragment tipping further into my spinal canal. The doctor insisted that the nerve issues with my bladder and not being able to hold urine were due to infection. I knew it was no infection, as did my primary care doctor who wrote the referral after examining me, but he refused to listen. He made an appointment for some urologist two weeks out. I had finally had my fill and found my voice.

The doctor had a bad habit of talking with his back to me while writing in the chart. I asked him to turn around and look at me. When he did, the annoyance was so evident on his face to be bothered by my request. I shakily told him I was not old enough to forever be in a wheelchair and that I had a lot of life ahead of me and I was not going to just settle for my lot like he suggested I do without surgery.  He turned back around said he was not even sure what equipment he needed to order, which would put the surgery several months out. Then he told me that he refused to stand in any operating room for more than four hours for me or anyone else and to do my surgery in one stage would mean many hours of surgery. He said the only place that happens is in a university hospital setting where they would have multiple doctors doing each of their own specialty as part of the surgical team. I then asked him to please refer me to a university team to have this surgery done. He looked up from his papers at the wall and he said, “I will not, you can just have three separate surgeries”, and left the room. I was horrified at his attitude and lack of care. I called my general practitioner in tears. I had now been laid up seven weeks with no appropriate medical care because of these two surgeons. Surely, I missed God, they both needed to have complaints filed on them and sued.  As I headed home, I heard that gentle whisper again, forgive them both, let it go, trust Me. I was in too much pain to argue, and in such a state that all I could do was take a moment at a time and pray.

As I closed my eyes on the way home, I was impressed in my heart about all that had happened over the past 7 weeks. My youngest adult daughter was taking care of me, in ways I have always felt a child shouldn’t have to. During some of the worst pain of my life, I dug deeper into who God was, I spent hours in meditation and contemplation, I could not do anything to escape myself. You know it is tough when you cannot escape dealing with your stuff. I came face to face with a lot of truths about my life, about my faith, about where I was in my life and where I thought I was.

Since I could not take pain medication, I also researched every possibility that might help me deal with the pain, to get rest. I wanted to heal, and I knew I was so broken it was going to take a miracle. I also knew I had to make a choice whether to dwell in the pain and let it and the gathering darkness and depression consume me or find a way outside of it and find answers to things that might be of help. I needed to be proactive.  As I lay there, I would hold my kindle on my chest and research about essential oils, acupressure, and noninflammatory foods (inflammatory foods cause pain) to start with and started applying what I was reading to myself. I was able to take the edge off the pain enough to not scream anymore.

Then I remembered something from when I first became a Christian, how singing always seemed to transport me to a place where nothing going on around me mattered. I was reminded how I would sing for hours, then pray, then sing during those 7 weeks. Sweet friends would come by and pray with me and for me, and bring meals. That seven weeks was a great time in learning who Jesus really was, and how much He loved me, and He would not leave me, how he would send people across my path to encourage me to help me hold on and not lose my mind. It was a time that tested my very existence. During it all, I could hear His sweet voice say hold on, nothing is impossible, I will walk you through, walk in forgiveness, walk in My love, love never fails.

What is that old saying, hindsight is always 20/20. As I have learned how emotions impact how the body functions, and whether it can heal the way it should and how harsh anger, unforgiveness and bitterness can not only cause inflammation, it can cause disease and stop healing. I have been amazed that all those things I learned while I was flat on my back, are the very tools that I have been using to be healed emotionally, mentally and physically over the past five years, not only from injuries from the accident, but the injuries suffered when I was a child.

I am so very grateful for the time flat on my back.  When asked if I would change it all if I could have, I would have to say no. It was a turning point in my life, an embracing of life and living a life in the light. Forgiving those who so greatly hurt me and loving them and praying for them instead released me from a seed of anger and a root of bitterness, allowing me to find ways to deal with the pain and find ways to heal. I learned healing is a process, sometimes a very long process. It was a time of deep seating my faith and finding wonderful modalities that can help with pain, brokenness, healing and helping to live a life of wholeness in an attitude of gratitude.

These are the types of things I want to share from my journey with you. I want to share all the amazing things I have found along the way that have helped me to heal in some way, that have helped me to live my life in the light again, instead of in the dark shadows of depression, anger, and hatred.

If my life journey could help one person, it is all worth it. I am grateful for every step, for it made me who I am today and has taught me that God is always looking out for me, even when He asks me to do things that make no sense at the time or when He is so very quiet, I still know He is closer than my breath.

In my next blog, I will share with you about acupressure and reflexology, which helps me greatly with dealing with bone and nerve pain, among other things. It is amazing how fearfully and wonderfully we have been made. Until next time, may this small spark ignite the desire to live a more radiant life.

 

A very important part of living well begins with understanding that we are three-part beings, body, soul & spirit. I stand in awe of my Creator, of His wisdom and knowledge in how our three parts are so linked together and dependent upon one another. It is important to note, that all three of these parts be balanced and healthy in order to live a life of wholeness. What we experience in the body and the spirit will affect how the mind functions. There are many avenues available to help with healing the mind. A healthy mind can help heal the body. Today there are so many mind/soul wounds bred by things such as PTSD, abuse, rejection, abandonment, etc. Who we are on the inside is our spirit which was breathed into us by our Maker.  In order to have balance in our being we must feed and be free in all three parts, body, soul & spirit.

Being a three-part being reminds me that I am made in the image of my Creator, and that my free will allows me the choice to accept or reject Him and His creation, namely me. If I want to live well, to live whole it is my choice to embrace myself and Him with love accepting Him in His fullness, all three parts. Yes, that is right, He is also a three-part being. He is Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit.

Scientists have proven that each part of our being is reliant on the other, interacts and impacts the other, and short of traumatic injury or significant disease is fully capable of healing itself if given all the right components to do so. It is my responsibility to do all that I can do to find out the things that have the ability to help my body to heal as well as those things that disrupt or interfere with my body’s optimum healing ability.

There are many recent scientific studies that are showing how anger, unforgiveness and bitterness actually resonate in organs in our chest and abdomen, disrupting their normal functions and many times inflicting inflammation, pain and disease.  The list goes on and on of how each emotion reflects in the body and how if we address the root cause and emotion many times the affliction resolves itself.

I am currently dealing with several things; the first is the continual after effects of physical trauma from five years ago that still elicits significant bone and joint pain, as well as nerve pain on a daily basis.   In addition, the firestorm of the #MeToo revealing touched neatly wrapped, deeply buried trauma I experienced as a child, a teenager and as an adult which basically came spewing out much like a jack-in-the-box that has been over cranked. While many of the women that are accusing powerful men have been found to be lying and their accusations discounted, there are many who are coming out after 40-50 years describing what they went through.

These women touch my being in a way that is hard to explain. You see, when I was ten, I was sexually abused/raped by a close family friend. This went on for two long years. I went to my mother finally and told her what happened. She was in shock and could not believe it.  I begged her to say nothing to his dad, for she had years before given him the right to discipline her children as my dad had died and they had been friends. Yeah, weird lines of thought back then, I know. I was given a beating for talking and told to be quiet. The dad was a leader in the church, but that did not stop four more years of inappropriate touching from the dad. To say there were physical, emotional and mental traumas that occurred over an eight-year span, would be an understatement.

My coping mechanism back in the day, when cops didn’t do anything and referred these matters back to the very family /friends involved, was to wrap my emotions very tightly and push the experiences very deep to the point of trying to forget them so I could go on. I lived in a smaller nowhere town. I learned how to be real quiet, to the point I lost my voice and could not emotionally deal with intimacy, relationships, and had lots of self-hatred. It affected me to where I was not as good of a mom as I wanted to be. The experiences so paralyzed me, I could not find my voice to report an attack at my school by the custodian’s son as I was cleaning the classrooms at 15 or a rape when I was 33. Yes, this was all horrific, but those experiences have made me who I am today.

What my journey has provided is the cultivating of a deep relationship with Jesus Christ, along with tools such as prayer, EFT, journaling, and meditation in order to deal with the physical, emotional and mental trauma from both my childhood and adulthood. These challenges provided me the opportunity to either be a victim or victor and I chose victor. Yes, the challenges of a catastrophic spinal injury can be daunting and chronic pain is not fun, but I am continually looking for ways to heal, to be whole again and am amazed at the daily joy I get to experience because of good choices in my health and nutrition.

I am thankful that this particular part of my journey is giving me the opportunity to identify things that can bring healing and apply them. I am excited to be able to share what I find. Over the next week or so I am hoping to share information that can give insight into how to live a life healthy and whole body, soul and spirit.

The purpose of this blog is to share my journey and the information that I found along the way that helps me achieve wholeness in body, soul and spirit every day.

It takes knowledge to get answers and this knowledge to be applied correctly to get results.  In addition, it also takes commitment and consistency.  Results are almost never instantaneous, but they do occur over a period of time.

It is my responsibility to take care of myself.  I have found that my challenges have created an opportunity to explore so many different things to help me heal in body and soul and spirit.  For me to live a life of wellness, a radiant life, is not something that accidentally happens.  It is something that only comes with intentionality of thought and action.

What works for my body, for my spiritual well-being, for my mind to be balanced, healthy and whole is personalized.  That does not mean it only works for me.

I am sharing my experience in hopes that something that works for me might also work for you.  At no time am I giving medical advice or telling anyone what they need to do.   I am simply sharing my experience, and information I have gatheted along the way.  In my journey, I have had many common and unique challenges that have caused me to look beyond what is readily available to meet the need.  What I mean by that is because of specific medical challenges, I have had to look for complimentary and alternative medicines that can either work with or instead of Western medicine.  Western medicine is typically based on pharmaceutical treatment being heavily relied upon and leaves little inclusion of other modalities of healing.

In my case, I am highly sensitive to 90% of narcotic pain medication and very sensitive to standard pharmaceutical hormone replacement and insulin therapy.  My body just doesn’t process it.  I am also sensitive and allergic to many environmental and agricultural items as well.

In 2012, I suffered a catastrophic spinal injury and almost died.  Some of the nation’s best specialists at Stanford put me back together in a 10 1/2 hour surgery.  While given no promises of walking again, I was told I would deal with pain the rest of my life. Following my surgical treatment, the doctor found a narcotic I could take short term. However, there was nothing available I could tolerate for longterm relief, not for lack of trying.  Everything available my doctors knew of was tried, but of no help.  My neurosurgeon spoke the most important words I had ever heard that set me on my journey.  He said, “You are going to be in pain the rest of your life, sometimes very intense.   It is up to you, you must find a way to deal with it.  You can live on narcotics or find another way. There is nothing else I can do.”

It is through these challenges and the lack of readily available information that could help me or bring relief that I was motivated to dig and search deeper for what might be a solution, or a piece of the puzzle.

I know what chronic pain does and without relief how dark the world can be.  I know what I have found that has helped me do more than just survive, that has helped me to love, live and enjoy life again.

In sharing my journey on my blog and the information that I have found and applied that has helped me, it is my hope to provide some hope and encouragement.