Triumph or Defeat

May 20, 2020

The face you see in this picture is the face of Triumph!

Thank you, Jesus

Faith Under Pressure
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So, don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work, so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
James 1:2-4 MSG

How are you going to respond to the cross you have to bear today?

How will you respond to what you are going through today?

We were asked those questions on the prayer line this week.

When I was a baby, my father left.
At the age of 4, I lost my mother to cancer.
At the age of 12, I lost one of the good men in my life, my grandfather.
Somewhere during those years, I was abused by a family friend. (I told no one)
In 2000 my grandmother, who raised me, passed.
In 2002 my mother-in-love passed.
In 2007 I lost my auntie, who helped raised me.
In 2015 I lost my uncle, who was like a dad to me passed.
In 2016 I became a widow after 29 years of marriage at the age of 50.

At this point, I thought I was going to lose my mind, because what was my reason to go on. I kept thinking I had lost everyone in my life that I could depend on and who loved me.  I felt alone and defeated.

BUT I WAS NOT…

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Sometime, somehow in my life, Jesus deeply rooted his power deep within my soul because he knew that I would need to access that power one day.

When I look back over my life after all the loss, abuse, devastation, I was never alone because God was always with me.  I had to tap into the power that was rooted in my soul so many years ago.  I triumph and was not defeated because I had reconnected to Jesus.
I don’t know how people live through pain and tragedy without Jesus.

Here we are today morning as a nation with the entire world.
How will you react? How will you survive? How will you existent?

Will you allow yourself to wallow in self-pity, disappointment, fear, or defeatism?

OR

Will you choose to live in expectation, victory, success, rejoicing, and praising?

You tell me, will you live in triumph or defeat?

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Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ
2nd Corinthians 2:14

I love you all!
Be Blessed in the Lord!

Never Ever Give Up!

God has a perfect plan for all of our lives. Even if life seems hopeless right now and all you can see is what is in front of you. I need you to know that there is hope in the midst of every trial, every circumstance, and every storm.

The Bible says, “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience, in turn, forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary-we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” Romans 5:3-5 (MSG)

There is always hope!

Why??

Because GOD is in the middle of our circumstance, working it out on our behalf.

We are NEVER in this battle of life alone.

It took me a while to realize there was hope, even in my circumstances.

I know that no one wants to become alone and a widow at 50, but I still have hope in GOD that he has my back.

I have grieved, cried, I have broken down… but because of God, I have always gotten back up and keep moving!

When the enemy tries to convince me that I should quit and give up, God was always there, whispering daughter, “you can do this, I got you!”

My hope in GOD is not shallow or misinformed. It is deeply rooted in my soul, so I know that God will always make a way.

I tell my daughters to never give up on anything they start, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes… WE COMPLETE THE TASK!

I will never back down…

I will never give up…

I will continue to have hope in GOD!

Hope in GOD will never disappoint!

Have an amazing day!!

I love you all!


Faith Over Fear

The threat that we face as a nation is going to test everything. It going to test our Faith in GOD, our sanity, our economy, and our families.

But I AM NOT AFRAID!  Three years ago, during this very same time frame, I named my blog “Blessing in the Storm,” because during that time in my life I was going through the worst storm in my life. 

The dark clouds had consumed me, the high winds were ripping my house apart, shaking the very foundation of my life.  I was sinking fast in a catastrophe storm like I had never seen before. 

During this time, I often cried out and asked GOD:

Why me?

Why him?

Why my family?

Why now?!

During this same time in March 2016, my family received what we now realized news that would shake us to our core.  Its cancer.  This news tested everything I believed, everything I knew, and the very one I put all my faith hope and trust. 

But through it all my Faith in Jesus:

I am a conquer

I am a survivor

I am an overcomer

No, life is not perfect, but if I can have Faith in God through the most horrific time of my life, I will continue to trust him.

Now my foundation is stronger.  The enemy broke me down and beat me badly, and he nearly destroyed me, but he hates that he did not destroy me. I was crushed but not broken nor destroyed, and he loathes the fact that I give GOD all the glory.

THANK YOU, JESUS!!!

That is my story, my testimony about how God saved me. (if you would like to know more you can read my first blog post blessinginthestorm.com/2018/08/24/the-journey-begins/

Now we face a massive crisis as a nation.

I know that with Coronavirus hitting us from all sides.  We have to shelter in place at our homes, there are some of us working from home, and some of us have been laid off. Our loved ones are sick, and some, unfortunately, are making their transition to be with Jesus. 

Many of us are worried and fearful, and I get it.

But I was ready!  I will tell you why in a moment.

My youngest daughter Morgan said something to me when the shelter in place started to happen.  She said, “People are panicking about sheltering in place and not going out. I have been preparing for this my whole life.” My Morgan is a true introvert, and anyone that knows her was not surprised by her statement.  

But she got me thinking.  Four years ago, I began my preparation for what is going on now.

I have been in the dark pits of hell, and I don’t plan on going back.  God took my pain, anger, depression, and fear and turn them into a weapon of Faith.

I am not the same person I was in March 2016; I am much stronger! 

When you have been through hell, and the Lord brings you out of it… you don’t want to go back!

I attended two church services today, and the two sermons that talked about storms in our lives came from the same scripture reference. (Matthew 14:22-35). “But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Vs 27) Both pastors talked about “Don’t Fear.”

When my late husband died, I was afraid, scared, fearful, and alone.  But I gave everything over to GOD! My fear, my loneliness, depression, suicidal thoughts, and my anger.

I worry as well about this virus, but one thing I refused to do is live in fear.

So…

In this season, I am still choosing to live in Faith, not fear!

I am choosing to focus on GOD

I am choosing to PRAY

I am choosing to focus on my family

I am choosing to focus on my relationship

I am choosing to focus on my friends

I am choosing to focus on the things that GOD has for me

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)

I challenge you today to walk by Faith

I challenge you to turn your fears over to GOD

I challenge you to take Jesus hand and step out of the boat

I challenge you to keep your eyes on GOD and not on the situation

I challenge you to choose Faith over fear

Remember, we are not alone, and no matter what, GOD is with us!

Stay close to GOD

Be Safe, Stay Inside,

Be Clean, Wash those hands

I love you all

But GOD loves you even more!

LIVE and LOVE HARD!! Follow Your Dreams! 

Time is precious… DON’T WASTE IT!

Friday, 31 January 2020

Family,

It took me some time to make this post. I needed to take stock of my own emotions regarding the death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. I needed to make sure what I wanted to say was not stated with too much emotion. I wanted to write a sound commentary.

I am reminded of a scripture that Morgan’s Sorority sisters gave to her when her dad passed. This scripture became one that I have stood on. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV).

I can’t say that I have followed Kobe’s career like some, but have sports fanatics in my family, so I definitely know who he was. I cannot even start to say, and I know Vanessa’s pain because I have both my daughters. However, for many widows, when you hear of another sister losing her husband, you can help but feel a stab in your own heart. I felt the need to say something to my circle, by my base, my family, to the people who I think listen to me.

It does not matter who the person is, or their celebrity status, or how much money a person has. This does not negate the fact that Vanessa Bryant lost TWO people that she loved with her heart and soul. She is grieving, and she is still going to be strong and present for her daughters because that’s what mothers do.

Let me tell you this, death and grief cross every ethnic, economic, religious, social, background in this universe! Can you name me one area, person, nation, or community that has not been affected by death?

Do you really think that because someone has money that their grief is less than anyone else?

Do you really think that because a person is famous that their grief is different?

Please tell me how their pain and grief are different? IT IS NOT!

If anything, it can be worse. They are forced to grieve and process their loss in the eye of the hypocritical, insincere, and unforgiving public!

I would love to say I am surprised and shocked by the many negatives posts and comments I have read since Sunday afternoon. However, I sadden to say that I am not. Everything from TMZ releasing information before the families were informed, the misinformation regarding who was on the helicopter, the reporter who felt the need to bring up his past just 2 HOURS after his death, to people and their insensitive comments, was insensitive and morally wrong!

I am sick of all of the negativity in our country!!

You can’t compare death or how the world responds to the death of someone who is well known by the world. The climate of the world we live in today and the spitefulness of our country leaders has made it acceptable for people to “tell it like it is,” regardless of how it could affect someone else.

I wish I could say I have never seen so much disrespect in this country. That would be a lie. For many of us, it has been going on for years, but social media has just elevated the cruelty to the front lines.

To those of us that may have widows or widowers in our communities, it is my prayer that you not only think before you attempt of comfort, but please pray first. You would not believe the many messages I have received, or things said to me in person about how they feel I should grieve, survive, live my life, and other ill-advised advice. I am not trying to be ungrateful or seem unappreciative, but no one other than the LORD can look out for my children and me better than me. I truly thank God every day for the genuine, sincere people in my village.

Just a simple statement of “I am praying for you,” or you are in my thoughts and prayer,” will go a long way.

People who are grieving all grieve differently and time is NOT a factor. It is not up to us to decide when it is time for them to “get over it or move on.” That is their OWN process, and it is not determined by time. It is between them and God.

Vanessa and her family will need her time to process all of this. They have a long road ahead of them. What little I do know about Kobe and Vanessa is that they were believers, and they were raising their daughters to have faith in God. I am sure Vanessa has a great support system with family and friends and their church. God, faith, family, friends, and church are the components in my life that are seeing me through. I am sure that she will lean on those elements to see her and her daughters through this.

This will not be easy, and this phase of her life is probably the most challenging she has ever had to deal with. More importantly, in time, she will get through this.

In time she will find it easier to wake up every day with promise.

In time she will look into the eyes of her babies and not break out into tears.

In time she will find her new purpose for her life and walk in that purpose.

In time as time and life move on, she will learn to move forward.

In time she will become stronger, and she is now gaining strength every day!

But in the meantime, my prayer for the Bryant family is that they stay close to God. I pray that they reach out when they have a need, and trust God to get them thought this. He is there, He has always been there, and he will NEVER leave their sides.

For those of us who are watching and praying… LIVE and LOVE HARD!! Follow your dreams! 

You are NEVER too old to dream!

Live and love those around you!

Tell them you love them and that you appreciate them EVERY DAY!!

LOVE
FORGIVE
LOVE
LIVE

Live life with no regrets!

We don’t know how much time we have left on this earth, but I do know that that time is precious!

DON’T WASTE IT!

JESUS JOY

Happy New Year!!!

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JESUS JOY

I am not going to blog or write about my expectations for 2020. Yes, even my daughters were shocked.

I have my goals and what I want out of 2020, but I am choosing to move silently, allowing GOD to direct my path. Anything God has for me, I am ready to receive.

However, our prayer focus for this morning was perfect, and God placed it upon my heart to share my journey to JESUS JOY.

If you have not read my post over the past 4 years or my blog, I lost my late husband in October of 2016. I suffered from depression, suicidal thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, I was an understandable mess. But God was not having it, and honestly, neither was I!

I have moved forward with my life and I have so much JOY and genuine happiness in my life!

I had to dig deep to find the Joy that God had placed in me when he formed me before I was placed in my mother’s womb. It was JESUS JOY

It is something that has carried me for the past 3 years going in my 4th year.

Year 1 Restoration
Year 2 Renewal
Year 3 Rejuvenation
Year 4 Discovery.
(I will write about these at a later date)

Joy, true JESUS JOY is rooted deep within our soul, and only Jesus can give us that pure Joy!

NO ONE can be truly happy without JESUS JOY.

I can tell you, I am a living witness… it is a facade, it is fake happiness.

The Lord saved me from my dark place, and I am not the person I was three years ago. HIS JOY was, and is definitely my strength!

Happiness in a surface emotion, but the true JESUS JOY that comes from the LORD is deeper.

It requires something from us…
It requires us to take some action…
It requires us to have something…
It requires us to be somewhere

What does it require? 

It requires us to have something… FAITH

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My faith is a foundation on which I have always stood, so holding on to my faith was not hard. I just needed to be reminded of and remind myself that God is still with me no matter what! Faith is something that does not just happen faith some after you have been through some things, and we have sought God, and he has been there. Faith is not in the CHURCH faith is IN GOD and only GOD!

It requires us to take some action… pray, petition, and or (if needed) seek therapy

We have to want Joy in our lives. I know for me I did not want to feel depressed, I knew that deep down I did not want to commit suicide, but I also knew that I had to do something about the thoughts that were tormenting my mind. I had to pray, and others were praying for me. I mention the prayer focus above that comes from a prayer line where we get together Monday through Friday morning to pray for each other, our community, and this country. The saints on that prayer line and others prayed me out of the darkness, and God let me to therapy. Believe me, both were desperately needed.

It requires something from us… total surrender

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We cannot give something over to God and keep picking it up. Ether, we give it to him and let it go, or we keep worrying about it.

Worrying will prevent you from having JESUS JOY.

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It requires us to be somewhere… In a position to receive

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JESUS JOY just won’t come and perch its self on you. It requires you to be in a position to receive it. After you have kept the faith, prayed, and given over whatever is keeping you from God’s Joy, then you are in a position to receive true JESUS JOY. It will not be easy because the enemy will try to convince us that happiness and Joy are the same things. THEY ARE NOT! He will try to convince us that we do not need JESUS JOY.

I believe we were created and born with Jesus Joy, but life circumstances will cause us to suppress it. Think about a child they are joyful. Think about a baby’s belly laugh; it will bring a smile to our face and warmth to our heart. They are experiencing pure and true JESUS JOY. It is the strength that sustains us.

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I am the poster child for choosing Joy regardless of my circumstances. I refuse to give the enemy any joy, kudos, or accolades over my life. God has been way too good for me to allow this to happen.

If I am declaring and promoting anything publicly for 2020, I am declaring that I continue I choose and promote that I still choose to have JESUS JOY over anything.

When you think about Jesus Joy, it’s clear and straightforward…

The Joy of the Lord is your strength.
(Nehemiah 8:10)

Day 10 – 10 Day Walk Out of the Valley of Darkness: No Regrets

Day 10

No Regrets

October 25, 2019

On Day 10, three years ago, on a beautiful crisp sunny Tuesday afternoon, I said goodbye to the central part of my heart. The tumor in his lung had covered his bronchial airways, and he could no longer breath on his own. He was surrounded by those who loved us. We sang his favorite songs (we struggled with some of the words lol), we read scriptures and prayed, we worshiped, and we still hoped for a miracle.

But it was God’s will to bring Michael home.

The ICU was very cold all the time. During the night, I would sleep with my coat on and warm blankets from the nurses. That afternoon there were about 20 people in the room. Most days, we had many visitors come through, and the nursing staff was always gracious to allow us to be over capacity. However, that particular morning, God was indeed in control of everything, including our environment. On that afternoon, we experienced a real miracle.
From the time we started praying, singing, and reading scripture, that room was so warm and cozy. (Remember this) We worshiped for about an hour before the signal was given to the hospice nurse to remove the respirator. Michael seemed to breathe on his own at first; then, he started to struggle… I want to yell at them to put him back on the machine, but I knew it was time for me to let him go… this is what I saw play out in my spirit…

Jesus entered the room when we started our worship. When we genuinely worship, there is always a shift in the atmosphere, and when Jesus entered, the room was warm. I believe as Michael started to struggle to breathe, the Lord was telling him it was time. He stood at the brink between going with the Lord and staying with us. I believed he looked back at us and backed at Jesus did not know what to do. I laid my head on his chest and told him that I loved him, and I was so proud of him. He fought long and hard and that he could let go because we would be fine. In the next few moments, he let go and took the hand of Jesus and when home. At that moment, the presence of the Lord was still in the room, but all of the warmth left the room with Jesus and Michael.

It is a moment that I think most of us in that room will never forget. Heaven is real, and Michael and many of our other loved ones are celebrating the day he returned home.
On Day 10, October 25, Year anytime, will always pierce my heart, and there will always be moments of sadness.

Today, I refuse to be sad and cry.
Today, I am walking out of the valley of darkness, and I am not looking back!
Today, I have a hope and a future to look forward to.
Today, I live my life with no regrets.
Today, I am allowing God to direct my path.
Today, I am attempting to live my life to the fullest.
Today, I am loved, and I do love.
Today, I continue to survive and live.
Today, I think about the happy times.
Today, I will not allow obstacles, people, situations, or circumstances to get in my way.
Today, I am living my life with no explanations to anyone

Today, God has NOT given me a spirit of fear but of love, peace, and of a sound mind!

My life is far from perfect, but my daughters and I are living life one moment at a time. We have the favor of the Lord, and we are living with no regrets.
Remember, we are not promised tomorrow.
Life is so precious and SHORT. Keep those that you love close and never fail to tell them how much you love them.

I love you all, and thank you for keeping me in your prayers!

10 Day Walk Out of the Valley of Darkness Day 4 – Decisions

Day 4 – Decisions

God will give you strength for every battle, wisdom for every decision, the peace that surpasses understanding….

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting GOD know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of GOD’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when CHRIST displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4: 6-7 MSG)

This 4th Day 3 years ago, was overwhelming with FINAL decisions, choices, conclusions, and resolutions. Who, What, Why, When, and How were questions that had to be asked and answered.  Every tough, painful, agonizing, gut-wrenching decision made was made with GODLY wisdom, counsel, and much prayer. My future, our daughter’s future, my in-Loves (in-laws) future, our family, and friend’s futures were all at stake in our decisions. 

I had to consider and wonder about what that we were robbed of and things that will never happen. Future graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries that would be missing a heart.  Walks down the aisles, grandbabies being held and spoiled, days sitting and watching grandbabies play, futures were forever altered, and alternate realities were becoming real.

Day 4 was marked with suffering…

Yet, I was reminded not to fret or worry, and instead of worrying, pray. When I would look at this scripture over the years, I never thought it meant in a difficult circumstance like this. But you know our LORD, HE meant in all circumstances even the painful and agonizing circumstances! 

It was not easy, but I had to give it over GOD and lay it at the foot of the Cross.  I knew whatever happened. He was in control. 

This decision at this moment later saved my life…