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…

Day 1-10 Day Walk Out Of The Valley of Darkness!

Day 1

I woke up this morning with such a heaviness in my spirit…

I remember…

This Day three years ago, I had entered into what I call my 10 day walk into the darkness…

This is the day three years ago, my hope was fading fast, and my walk with grief and depression started…

This is the day three years ago when the tears would not stop…

This is the day three years ago when the anger was uncompromising …

This is the day three years ago when prayers were needed the most…

This is the day three years ago when a beautiful life was coming to an end…

This is the day three years ago when we had to make the toughest decision of our lives..

This is the day three years ago when I had to put all my hope, faith, and trust in GOD.

This is the day three years ago when I had to accept HIS will…

I knew then, as I STILL know now that..

HE is STILL my GOOD and PERFECT SHEPHERD , MY LORD,

I STILL lack for nothing!

HE STILL makes me lie down in green pastures,

HE STILL leads me beside the quiet waters

HE STILL refreshes my soul!

HE is STILL guiding me along the right paths, for HIS namesake

LORD as I enter into this 10 day walk into the valley and shadow of death…

I am STILL NOT afraid

Because YOU are STILL with me

YOU STILL protect and comfort me!

YOU STILL prepare a table before me in the presence of those who wish to see harm come to my family and me.

YOU STILL anoint and refresh my head and my life with oil,

My cup STILL continues to run over.

YOUR goodness

YOUR mercy

YOUR agape love STILL follows my family and me

All of OUR lives, so that we can dwell in YOUR house forever and ever.

I Praise YOU, FATHER, STILL today!

YOU are GOOD

YOUR grace and mercies towards me are everlasting!

In JESUS name…

AMEN!

One of Those Days

First, I want to say that I always write and blog when I am happy, and things are going well.  As a blogger, I always want to be truthful, transparent, intentional, and upfront. Most days, I am upbeat and ready to conquer the world. There are also “One of Those Days.”  Well, I am having one of those “Other of Those Days.”

I am having one of those days where I want to crawl back into bed and have a good cry.

I am having one of those days where everything seems to go wrong. 

Woke up late.

Trash all over the yard from the animals.

Slow cars

Back up at the gate

&

I left my glasses at home.

I am having one of those days where right now, I don’t want to look on the bright side.

I am having one of those days where although it is sunny outside I feel like it is raining.

I am having one of those days where life does not seem fair.

I am having one of those days where I question my past, and every decision I have made.

I am having one of those days where I question my purpose and my existence.

I am having one of those days where nothing at all seems clear or make sense.

I am having one of those days where I don’t want to be strong.

I am having one of those days where I feel that I am not good enough.

I am having one of those days where my dark safe place starts to look good again.

I am having one of those days where I think, “What is the true meaning of life.”

I am having one of those days where old thoughts and fears want to creep back in my head.

I am having one of those days where even though I am having “One of Those Days,” I can’t reside here.

Even though I am having one of those days, I won’t allow the enemy to disrupt my progress. 

Even though I am having one of those days, I won’t give the enemy any victory over my day.

Even though I am having one of those days, I won’t fall back into the enemy trap of depression.

Even though I am having one of those days, I can see past the enemy distractions and illusions.

Even though I am having one of these days, I DO know where my help and strength comes from.

Even though I am having one of these days, I am here, surviving, thriving, and I am living.

Even though he may have gotten a moment, the battle is still won by Jesus. Therefore, I am still winning!

Blessings and Love to you all!

Purging my Life 5.2 Purging the House Making my House into a Home “Meet My Dream Team”

September 2, 2019

My Dream Team

Now before I get further into this part of the Blog, you must know that I did not do this by myself.  Remember I said above I tried and tried to do this. But we (my daughters and I) were paralyzed and overwhelmed.  We could not do anything but survive the pain that consumes our heart.  We knew that this was not the way to live, nor was it the way we wanted to live.  Our house was not nasty by any means. It was just cluttered and unorganized.  I have to give you the back story about who we call our Dream Team and our deep connection to them.

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Meet my organizers Lauren Poe & Kike Ojo, Clutter to Clean.

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Jose and Elaine Belardo

Elaine Belardo (also my one of Spiritual Advisor) will beautify, and turn your house into a home by making it a cozy, warm, oasis. She is also the founder of the “Deeper Windows Project” that she founded when her husband Jose’ Belardo, was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Ironically he was diagnosed around the same time Michael was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in 2016.

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Elaine, Mike, and Jose

I want to tell you how God works in our lives.  I know for a fact that He knows what we need before we know we will need it. He prepares us for things that we are going to go through in our future, and he places the people you will need to lean on and glean from in your life and specific times.  Only God can orchestrate our lives like this.

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The book of Jeremiah states, “For I know that plans I have for you. Declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you a home and a future.”   God knew what was ahead for my life from the moment I was born, and when I looked back on my life, I can see where God was preparing me for such a time.  He has always had, and He still does have my best interest always in mind. I prayed for a way out and trusted in the LORD, and He answered my prayers!

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Tragedies can pull people apart, but they can also bond you for life!

When I met Elaine, her daughter Lauren was in high school. Looking back, both of our families were in a high season of our lives.  Michael was retired after 21 years in the military and had a good after the military carrier going and Jose’ was a distinguished officer with U.S. Public Health Service.  We were all very active in our churches and communities.  Elaine was in charge of one of our Chapels Women’s group here at Fort Leavenworth, where we became friends.  When our husbands were diagnosed with their respective debilitating diseases, we shared the bond of becoming caregivers to our husbands who were both the STRONG head of their household, something at our age we were not expecting!

Unfortunately, as you know, Michael made his transition home to be with God, but we both soon discovered that we were both grieving what was to be our future and we became each other’s shoulders to lean on. She has been there for me even though all of the work, pain, and grief she is going through.  We have been each other’s sounding boards because some people, as well-meaning as they are, do not understand this type of grief and what it takes to keep going day by day.  She has helped my girls and me through some of our darkest days and is always there to help us celebrate the good times in this new normal of our lives. I hope I am doing the same for her. I am proud to not only call her a part of our village, but she and our dream team are a part of our family. (I am still waiting on my adoption papers to come through)

So, to have them come in a do a total overhaul on our house was more comfortable than having strangers in my home.  They had stock in our memories and an investment in our lives. Because they knew us personally, they knew how difficult this was and would be.  They were very gentle and loving throughout the entire process, which took a couple of months.  If the girls and I had to do this on our own, it would have taken us years to complete this type of project.  Lauren and Kike kindly encouraged us to purge and did not push if something was too difficult to process or get rid of; they just found a way to organize it.  Wait, now I am getting ahead of myself.  Purging and reorganizing in the middle of a difficult situation is very hard and can be excruciating.  But our Dream Team made the task bearable and yes, sometimes even fun!

I love you all

Have a blessed and Amazing Day

 

The Road to Restoration

Friday, August 30, 2019

My word for this Friday is Restoration. 

Restoration means a lot of things:

Refurbishment

Repair

Renewal

Rebuilding

Transformation 

Rejuvenation 

Reconstructing 

Restoring

For me, restoration means reestablishing and discovering who I am outside of who I was. I am learning to find my own way with my rules.  I can tell you in the past three years I have made tons and tons of mistakes.  There were so many things I was not aware of or had never done.  You must realize I went from my grandmother’s home to my husband’s house. My life was completely turned upside down in every single area! There are things I wish I knew, there are things I wish I hadn’t done, and many there are many things that I have done that I am very proud of. But…

 

For a while, I did whatever I wanted because I seriously was not planning on living for long.  (Don’t be surprised or shocked... depression and grief are real, and I was suffering!) But then after hours of prayer and therapy, God convinced me of my worth on my own and that I was NOT going anywhere! He said He had somethings I needed to do; He was not finish with me. Now I needed to get my act together! I do have some major cleaning up in my life to do, but I know that I am not alone! 

 

My life now is nothing like I thought it would be.  Nothing worked out the way I wanted or the way I planned. However, my life is not bad, it’s not easy, it’s pretty good, but I am also learning every day how to move forward with the hand I have been given. God has placed some extraordinary people in my life that pray for me, check on me, and will continue to love me in spite of my defects, flaws, and imperfections.  

They are my…

Let me leave you with this: Mostly we must know that God will love us, forgive us, never leave us, and guide us no matter what we do. He will always be there for us.  Believe me; it took me a while to get back to this frame of mind and way of thinking. 

What is left now… I continue to move forward, learn from my mistakes, and operate in the attitude of restoration. Meaning I will not be hard on myself for living and making mistakes. I am thankful to be alive, breathing, walking, testimony of HIS great love for me.  I am a mess, but, HE will take this mess and turn it into a great message!

I love you all

Have a blessed an Amazing Weekend!