Sunday, December 10, 2017

A new season

Most of us are searching for direction in this life (I am) and sometimes an answer comes in unexpected moments, but when it happens, you know something new is beginning...  A challenge and an invitation crossed my path today!  How will I respond?

"Put your hope in Me, and My unfailing Love will rest upon you. Some of My children have forgotten how to hope. They have been disappointed so many times that they don’t want to risk being let down again. So they forge ahead stoically—living mechanically. Other people put their hope in problem solving, medical treatments, the stock market, the lottery, and so on. But I challenge you to place your hope fully in Me." -Jesus Today by Sarah Young, p. 2 
"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." -Psalm 33:20–22

"Be willing to go out on a limb with Me. If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be. Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief. Your longing to live close to Me is at odds with your attempts to minimize risk. You are approaching a crossroads in your journey. In order to follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe."Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." —Psalm 23:4 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Psalm 112

God's Word for me this morning!  Praising His Name!  

I pray for ALL who are reading this post.  May our amazing Lord touch your body and your life ~ blessing you with healing, provision, freedom ~ in Jesus' mighty and precious Name.  May you be filled to overflowing with His love.  May His Light continually pierce the darkness all around.  He loves you so very much! May you know Jesus; really know Him.   Let me know if I can pray for a specific need.  I would be honored to pray for you.

Blessings on your day ~ Joanie

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Remembering who I am....

Broken. Beloved. Redeemed. Blameless.  
Embracing Cruciform Living.

We're all on a journey, although our paths can look very different from one another.  Even spouses, families and friends can be traveling together on the same path, but have very different life experiences and outcomes, as each person travels through this life. We are all uniquely created.

We've all have stories.  Some people are very happy, joyous and always smiling - life couldn't be better - while others are very sad, troubled and downcast; maybe even angry or violent. And, we've all experienced loss, pain, trauma, and wounds in this life.  We receive bad news, a difficult health diagnosis, dreams that don't come true...  Sometimes friends leave our lives for various reasons,  sometimes we feel adrift in the "sea of life," and sometimes we wonder if this life will ever get any better.  We get worn down, discouraged, defeated and, sometimes, we just want to give up... Life can be a daily battle.

Sometimes, we have to fight our way into a better frame of mind to find a healing path to walk ~ despite health challenges, job loss, difficult relationships, and the broken dreams that we are facing...  The first step is a new perspective; renewing our minds.  My faith is my rock.  I honestly don't know what I'd do with my ever-loving Father, my Savior Jesus and the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit in my life.  In addition to my faith, there are people who have helped impact and re-shape my "view:"  Ann Voskamp and One Thousand Gifts - living in eucharisteo and now, combined with cruciform living in The Broken Way.   Powerful honest, raw faith shared that impacts each of us in this hurting and broken world to open ourselves to receive His healing and restorative power. Ted Dekker's The Forgotten Way, which will blow up your faith as you've known it; enabling you to grow like never before.  And, Rachelle Dekker, in her first trilogy series:  The Choosing, The Calling and The Returning ~ shared with all her readers how she masterfully weaves together her stories that draw you in and cause your faith to grow in unexpected ways; to see the world around you with a new perspective.  All together, these authors who love Jesus, are sharing that we must REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE.  We are chosen by God, His children, His heirs; here to share His love through our lives with people all around us. And He is constantly reminding us that He is ALWAYS with us; every day and in every circumstance. Yes, despite what is happening around us.

For has been challenging for a really long time, but more so over the past few years:
  • 2009-2011 ~ a tough time for our family; relationships strained and lots of emotional stress.  We are working, ongoing, to restore and strengthen family relationships.
  • 2012 ~ while refinancing our home in Burien, we discovered the foundation of the house was compromised, there was an underground environmental issue affecting the property, and while we could pay the mortgage, the extensive repair work would be financially devastating ~ and others advised against it.  We aren't risk takers and weren't willing to invest our retirement money for the repairs, so we let our house go back to the bank and in 2013, we had to walk away from our community, our neighbors and the urban farm we loved...  It was devastating and we still haven't recovered from the loss of community nor our large garden/chickens.
  • During this time, one of my autoimmune diseases (that I didn't know was an autoimmune disease for I would have taken a totally different path) was flared/active...took 4 years before I sought treatment again - and I'm still dealing with it.
  • 2013-14 ~ rented a house in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.  Great location, but alot of mold and dampness in the house.  Didn't help my health any...
  • 2014-present ~ decided to try and follow our dream to have our own little farm: permaculture based, raising organic food for ourselves and maybe a little to sell to others, chickens....  We rented a house on 1.5 acres of a 25 acre hay farm.  Great location, fertile soil, amazing garden the first year (all squashes, as a local farmer said it would help break up the compacted soil and created air pathways - yes!) But, things didn't work out after the first season and the price of land in King County has risen plus (because of my health challenges), my body doesn't have the strength to garden and do the physical work that it once did.  Broken dreams.  At least for now...  Maybe forever? 
  •  2015-2106 ~ my Dad becomes very ill and passes away, October 30, 2015; followed by our sweet and dear Coco dog February 22, 2016.  Dad's Celebration of Life is August 2016 and my body struggles through grief, planning and changes the whole year and just feels really worn down.
  • 2016 ~ can't imagine life without sharing it with a dog, so we look for a new puppy:  first attempt:  dishonest shelter manager and a dog that Blaine can't handle her personality.  second attempt:  matched with the wrong puppy through a breeder - our second terrible experience, although he did bless us during a difficult time while he was here with us; rehomed to the right environment for him.  I have such a difficult time trusting people and neither of these people helped on that path....
  • 2016-2017 ~ discover that a long time chronic illness is autoimmune in nature, which changes everything!  Begin an autoimmune elimination diet January 1, 2017 and then, as we search for more answers, discover I have "re-activated" Epstein Barr Virus... Peeling the onion layers regarding my chronic health issues.  Most tests to come.  Naturopath reminds me it's a marathon and not a sprint.  It's going to take time to rebuild my health.
  • 2017 ~ decide I am no longer going to be imprisoned by FEAR in my life; lifelong battle.  Taking steps of faith to overcome.  Find an amazing book:  Fear Fighting
  • 2017 ~ Our daughter graduates from Wichita State University in May, so we've been planning a 3 week road trip (because I'm unable to fly) to the midwest to spend time celebrating with her, and her husband, and then on to Indiana to spend some time with our oldest son.  With my health issues in the forefront of our lives right now, we realize we'd have to find a motorhome to rent and juggle driving and making meals each day.  And, the stress of the trip may be too much for my body.  We make a decision that it would be best for me to remain home and it will become a "boys trip," having my husband and youngest son fly back for a 10 day trip. I am truly excited for them, but sad that I must remain behind...
  • 2017 ~ begin a new search for a new puppy and find a wonderful, joyous litter of Golden Retriever puppies and secure the #2 pick of the females...only to discover that medical insurance is covering less and we're having to pay out more for my health needs.  A decision is made to withdraw from the litter and receive our deposit back; Blaine feeling that it's not the right time for a new dog for us.  Then....going to my naturopath yesterday and talking about how I'm doing right now and her telling me that she wouldn't have had me give up the puppy, as she would be positive mental health support and that the additional therapies could wait for now.  She said that perhaps we could start a new puppy search....  I'm devastated and heartbroken.  And, in talking to Blaine, he says that now is not the right time for a new dog in our lives.
  • 2017 ~ we've felt a stirring to possibly move back up toward the city; near Blaine's job in Renton.  The housing market is crazy throughout the Puget Sound region and the rent prices are truly unbelievable.  We found a reasonable priced house and applied for it.  The owner chose us and we just had to go through the credit/background process (and we truly had no worries), but received a call that we were disqualified because we'd had a loan default on our home in 2012.  So many people in the rental market, no opportunity to explain the extenuating circumstances and no opportunities to secure rental housing in the city right now.... That said, I am in a constant "tug-o-war" between returning to the city and remaining in a rural area.  It is beautiful where we currently live and we are so thankful to be living here - and plan to stay for a while now - but this just felt like "one more blow" to us.   Judged and convicted; no trial.  Wow.
What's ahead:
  • healing emotional traumas from my past plus my physical body and learning to live a healthy life with chronic illness/autoimmune disease "I will restore you to health and heal your wounds." Jeremiah 30:17 
  • Finding rest in Him ~ "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28
  • walking through broken dreams and big disappointments with hope for better things ahead "Blessed is the man that perseveres under trial, for once he has been approved (or passed the test), he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12
  • Spending quality time with my Father, who enables me to remember who I am and will enable my Light within to grow and shine ever brighter; knowing He is able to HEAL me completely in the blink of an eye. "....who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to His teaching." Luke 10:39 ESV 
  • Spending more time in His Creation, for nature is so healing in my life. "The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the works of His hands."  Psalm 19:1
  • Trusting that He knows exactly what I need and He will provide in His timing. He is able, more than able.  "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
  • Finding a church community; engaging in the area where we are planted at this time.    Thankful for online streaming of a local church we attended previously, but we all need people in our lives. "and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near."  Hebrews 10:24-25 NASB
And remembering again and again:  

"No disciple seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those trained by it."  Hebrews 12:11

Just being real and sharing where I'm really at.  I don't share for others to feel bad for me/us or seeking sympathy or whatever...  I share, because we're all going through stuff - grief, loss, struggles of one kind or another or many struggles. We need to be real.  Some people feel like they belong - they have community, friends, neighbors and lots of people feel alone, lonely, isolated; in need of support.  Some people are hopeful and others are downtrodden.  I, myself, have had a really tough time lately.  And, not getting a puppy was a major blow to me.  The purpose I used to have in my life "appears" to be gone - growing food; working in our garden.  The children are grown.  Blaine's work project is high stress and super time consuming (even many weekends).  We don't currently have a local church community, as my body does not do well with strong bass and loud music (which seems to be pretty common in the evangelical church these days - just an observation and not a judgement) and  my chemical sensitivities make it challenging to be around people wearing perfume or those who use scented laundry soap.  I spend about 90 minutes a day using a Shiatsu massager on my neck, back and legs to keep good muscle circulation happening ~ and because our insurance has blocked me for life from massage, unless I'm in a traumatic accident, so massage is always "out-of-pocket" expense for us. But then ~ good news: I'm excited about a new exercise program:  Get Autoimmune Strong for anyone really, who has difficulty with "regular" exercise.  It's a new online program and it sounds like a great fit for me and a reasonable price point too.

Last fall, I found this metal tag at a local Christian bookstore.  I felt like it was a love note from my Father God to me.  I look at it every day, as it sits on our kitchen table with my prayer candle.  It still is a love note, but I am, humanly, struggling to understand it.  I am reminding myself many times throughout the day REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE (as we so quickly and easily forget) and to look for the 'gifts' in each day ~ the little song birds who have been visiting, finding early spring flowers at the store, protection of our home in the midst of a strong wind storm, organic and nutrient dense food for our meals, a smile on a stranger's face, opportunities to pray for others, and much more....even as I deal with a broken heart.  

I am also reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

And, I realize that in allowing sadness, challenging health news, and disappointment to overwhelm me, I have forgotten who I am and ALL that He is able to do in and through my life.  God understands my human weakness and is patient when I am overcome with emotional grief and disappointment.  In the midst of it, I am once again, encouraged.  I remember who I am.  I am His!  And, He shows me how much He loves me and that I am loved by others too.  God is good.  All the time.

May our truly amazing and wonderful Lord bless you with provision, healing, hope and joy ~ in whatever way you are in need along your own journey.  He is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. I may be broken. You may be broken.  But, WE have a Redeemer who restores and makes all things new.  Singing Your praises Lord!  And, if you need prayer, PLEASE let me know and I will pray for you.

My love to you all, dear family and friends! ~  Joanie

Sautéed Greens!

Having battled chronic illness the majority of my life ~ okay, probably my whole life and I just didn't know it.... we've made adjustments in our diet, over the years, and our latest is embracing the Autoimmune Elimination Protocol, which we began January 1st, as I have 2 diagnosed autoimmune diseases and we are currently searching to find or rule out others...  As I began learning more about living with autoimmune disease, I learned about Dr. Terry Wahl and the Wahl Protocol (a MD who battled progressive MS and put it in remission with a specific autoimmune paleo healing diet.  Her story is healing hope!)

Her vegetable recommendations include 3 cups of leafy greens, 3 cups of cruciferous veggies and 3 cups of colorful veggies/fruits DAILY!

While we have been eating organic, healthy food for many years now, we were not reaching anywhere close to this level.  Still not there yet, but we are working up to that minimum goal!  Thus, we are incorporating more greens into our diet and right now by including sautéed chard, collards and kale in the mornings with breakfast!  After purchasing, (I buy 4 bunches each of chard and collards) and after processing through our salad spinner, I store them in these 12 cup containers for the week ahead; making breakfast prep easy!  Skillet on medium with a Tbsp of coconut oil (or lard or duck fat) and continually turning them, as they cook down until reaching desired finished product - we like ours a little crispy.  Throw in some crumbled bacon or cracklings, if desired!  I crave sautéed greens now.  Addicting!

"Autoimmune" means your immune system got its function message mixed up and now thinks healthy tissue, organs, etc - depending on your disease - are foreign invaders and the immune system attacks it and causes disease to happen - no cure, but you can work to heal your body and put the disease in remission or others choose pharmaceutical meds to suppress the immune system and hope to stop the disease's progression.

We love our Zyliss salad spinner, that we purchased locally, but the newer version can be found on Amazon too (click on the photo)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Flooded with His love and healing!

Several new posts here, as I let go of my fear and invite God into the hurting places in my heart and my life and receive His healing love!  Overwhelmed by the LOVE He is showing me and ongoing encouragement for my journey.  He's available for you too!

God wants our sad.  Click on the link for a great read!  

Click on the post below and invite Him into your brokenness and welcome healing...

His provision in every situation

When God meets you in the midst of what's happening in your life, it is so powerful and so HEALING!!!  Rejoicing and giving thanks and singing praises to His wonderful Name!!!

Click on the post below to listen in and be encouraged to find HOPE!

Morning encouragement

I am so thankful for the family of God in this world, and especially those who have the gift of encouragement.  I am always in awe of how "on point" their messages are for what I'm going through in life.  I know it's a divine blessing for my journey... and for yours.  Have a blessed day! You are so loved.

Click on any of these photos/posts and they will take you to the post on Facebook.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A really bad, terrible, awful, horrible day...

FEAR:  There are those who are strong and appear fearless and those whom we consider weak, because they are "afraid" of everything, it seems ~ people, the dark, heights, spiders, etc....  Fear imprisons people. Fear causes people to avoid certain activities.  Fear can kill.

For as long as I can remember, FEAR has been an issue in my life.  I have been afraid and fearful of many things:

  • Fear of heights
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of illness
  • Fear of snakes
  • Fear of the dark
  • Fear of other people
  • Fear of being rejected
  • Fear of being abandoned
  • Fear of what others think of me
  • Fear of people discovering who I really was...
  • Fear of being the victim of a crime or a violent act
  • Fear of my Dad (he was a strict disciplinarian and had a terrifying, loud voice when he was angry.  He demanded respect. - please know I am not judging my Dad.  It was who he was - he had his own life story.  I loved my Dad deeply and miss him every day since his passing. He made me laugh.  He brought a measure of happiness into my life. I know, now, how much he loved me.  We were connected at a deep place inside of each of us...)
Without knowing it, FEAR had grown into a huge wave that washed over my whole life...

FEAR has been an overwhelming factor in my life that has held me back from engaging in life more fully.  FEAR is debilitating! FEAR caused me to be an overprotective mother of our children.  Because of my own fears and be overly worried that something bad might happen to them or someone else might hurt them, I tried to shelter and protect them from a world that I believed was a bad place filled with bad people I couldn't trust. It was, and often, still is.  I would do everything I could to keep them safe...  Not that this was a healthy or appropriate mindset. It's not!  And, there have been events in our family that have caused great personal pain to me (and others), because of how I experienced life controlled by fear.  

I was a sick child and spent alot of time at the doctor's office or at different clinics...seeking healing for this or that.  I had pneumonia at 3 months of age.  While some children are strong and resilient, I feared doctors, the more I had to see them ~ because to me, they never really made me better.  And then, when you develop chronic illness and doctors begin to tell you:  "You're depressed and just need to be on an anti-depressant,"  "It's all in your head,"  "I don't know what's wrong with you, but let's try this medicine," "I don't know what's wrong with you, it's all psychological - you need help - and I think it would be better for you to find a new doctor."  There is likely some truth to all of this, but it never made me feel like I was a person of value or worth...and it just made things worse.

For me, FEAR grew.  Always looking over my shoulder.  Always wondering if I would ever get well again. Wondering if I would live long enough to see our children grow up.  FEAR that I had ruined our children's lives, because they had to grow up with a Mom who was sick and couldn't get well and it caused our life to keep changing and made us different than other people.  Deciding to give up this activity or that activity to deal with my broken body and FEAR increased.  Worrying about getting sick or hurt in an accident, because my body wouldn't tolerate pharmaceutical medicine.  Then what? And, as time went by, the world became more and more toxic to my body, and continued to weaken and break down... And, FEAR grew!

How can this all be happening, when I am a Christian and I have accepted Jesus as my Savior?  Doesn't the Bible talk about FEAR?  It does, but I could not overcome it.  As some would say, "You don't have enough faith."  And so, I continually questioned myself even though I knew these words:

'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)

I didn't know how to embrace these words, the Truth of them, and to allow God to make it a reality in my own life.  I felt like a failure.  My husband and I have prayed for many years for healing in my body and for healing of a specific health issue that I battled again and again. Yes, healing would come in different ways, but what I needed seemed continually just out of reach. And, spiritual warfare has been an ongoing issue in my faith journey and I battled on, the best I could.  Always trying to find a way to freedom...

In 2013, after walking away from our home we owned, the loss of our home (my safe place), our neighborhood and community overwhelmed me (and I still struggle).  And then, my Dad's health declined and he passed away in October, 2015.  Our dearest, sweet Coco dog followed in February, 2016, and my world just spun out-of-control.  I couldn't get my feet back under me properly and my health struggled and I was truly fearful my health would just continually decline...  Finally, in desperation, I sought out a new, specialty practice, naturopath to try and find healing for an ongoing health struggle (mid 2016).  Originally diagnosed with the condition in 1993, I was told there was no "cure" - just a hope to reduce the symptoms (and not to eat fruits high in citric acid) - but this naturopath told me it is actually an autoimmune disease and not only was it making my body quite ill, but there is a path to healing...   It was overwhelming and alot to wrap our heads around.

We began the Autoimmune Protocol elimination diet (way of eating, not a weight loss diet) on January 1, 2017.  My body is weak, aching, and I am exhausted.  January is never a good month for my body; living with chronic illness.  A low point every year with not alot of sunshine and many damp, chilly days.  BUT this year, Blaine and I have a new hope; a new path toward healing and we've fully embraced it.  We decided I would remove everything from my calendar for this month to rest and adjust to the new diet.  There is very specific food for us to eat and the menu is planned out for the first 4 weeks.  We're following it exactly (except no onions or lemon/lemon juice for me - we're substituting organic cranberry juice with no sugar added).  There is ALOT more cooking and food preparation involved, but Blaine is willing to take it on - plus working - and have me help, as I can.  The one challenge ~ we live an hour away from the natural food store where we purchase our groceries.  Okay - I've been doing the grocery shopping and I believed I could do it as my one activity per week.  I would shop on Fridays, so we can batch cook on Saturdays for the next week.  So, Friday arrived and Blaine determined that he would go with me for this shopping trip, but neither he or I were feeling  too well.  Although we didn't feel so great, we headed up to the city.  I felt a bit on edge, but worked on remaining focused.  And then, on Hwy 599, we were just behind a nasty accident that happened moments before...  I'm shaken, but we continue on.  A short distance up the road, Blaine comments on wondering where he put the cookbook and shopping list in the car.  He can't find it.  NO!!!!! It has to be here. Don't tell me it's not here.  We've driven all this way.  It has to be in the car.  My stress level rises.  By the time I can pull over for him to look throughout the car, my stress level has reached near panic stage.  We are now 45 minutes from home, I don't have alot of energy, I'm stressed and...the cookbook is nowhere to be found (which isn't a huge deal), but he wanted the shopping list to be in the book and not in my purse where I normally keep it - which means it's at home and not with us.  Stress overload for someone whose body is quite ill right now.  And, we've learned anxiety and panic attacks are common when someone is experiencing an autoimmune flare, which I am right now.  The reality: we have to return home.  As we begin to head south, I am overwhelmed and go into a full panic.  I can't do this!  I don't have the strength for this!  The car accident rattled me!  Why is this happening?  I feel like I can't trust you and I need to trust you.  He feels horrible.  He's trying to hold it together, because he knows I'm in a panic.  I pull over, because I'm so stressed out.  We had a certain time window to do the grocery shopping in order to return home for lunch (we can't eat out right now).  There is no way for me to drive home and Blaine takes over driving home.  My stress is now out-of-control and I'm sobbing.  (This is illness and exhaustion crying out.)  And, then, we almost get side swiped. More stress!  Please God, help us!  A little further down the road, we almost get side swiped on the freeway.  I lose it.  I really lose it!  Completely freaking out, cries arise to the surface from deep, deep inside of me (which I've only experienced twice before ~ once when we thought we'd lost one of our children from our lives and after my Dad died. I later realizing this cry came from releasing the overwhelming emotion of embracing my diagnosis and the new life ahead of us).  Still a long drive ahead of us and I'm completely panicked.  Crying and sobbing. Blaine feeling helpless and knowing he has to focus on driving to get us home safely.  Feeling my body get weaker and weaker.... I slump over.  I can't do this anymore.  I hate my life, I scream out!  And, because we've experienced spiritual warfare before, I know part of this is the enemy of my soul trying to destroy me.... (and yet, I run the gamut of questions ~ I'm not important, so why are you bothering me?  What is it about me that irritates you so much that you desire to destroy me?) I begin yelling Jesus' name.  Please help me.  And somewhere deep inside me, I hear "sing praise."  And, I see a vision of Paul and Silas in their prison cell, singing praise to God and, again, I'm encouraged to sing praises to God.  So weak I could barely hold up my head, I forced myself to softly begin singing.  The more I sang, the stronger my voice got.  I began to feel the darkness, the weakness and the pain in my body grow lighter and fade away. The feeling returns to my arms.  By the time we arrived home, I felt back to normal again - although exhausted.  Upon arriving, Blaine broke down and we felt God doing a new work in our life; setting us free from something that imprisoned us. Blaine tells me he's never heard my voice sound so beautiful in singing praise to God before.  And for the first time, we are drawn closer together and a deeper love for each other grows, as does our love for our amazing Lord!  We have experienced the power of God in our lives doing a great work overcoming my FEAR.  His LOVE is victorious!   In a very short span of time, I went from total darkness to experiencing freedom.  He's available for you too.

And, after we ate lunch, we both had the strength to drive back up to Seattle to get our grocery shopping done (Thank You, Jesus!) and God sustained us throughout our time and back home again.  The stress did take a toll on my body and my muscles and joints are extremely painful this weekend, and I know I need to keep my stress level down to enable my body to heal, BUT I/we experienced God's loving hand upon our lives, I know He is with me and that FEAR does not have the power to destroy me for Jesus has already been victorious and has truly set me free.  Now, this doesn't mean I will never experience fear again, but I know I can run to Him who is able strengthen me in the midst of it and will protect me, for He has overcome it.  This weekend, the words below have gained new meaning for me.  As I learn to let go of FEAR and embrace Jesus, His peace will grow.  Yes, troubles and trials will happen in this life, but in Jesus we have peace for He overcame this world.  HOPE!!!

 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation (trouble, trials), but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NASB

I share this story, not to freak anyone out, but it's a first step to free myself from my FEAR PRISON and to let others know that many people suffer behind closed doors or in ways that others cannot see their struggles or the battles they desperately try to overcome, but can't seem to.  I share, because we've managed to keep this hidden even from our own children - though not to the benefit of our family, but for my own self-protection.  I don't want our children to ever feel imprisoned, as I have nor as my husband has (and I am continually amazed he is still here and how unconditionally he loves me), but for us all to be free to embrace healing. Many people think I'm so positive and so strong - that I don't need others, because I have Jesus and my faith is everything.  But, I'm just as weak as everyone else. I often believe I'm the weakest person in my life.  Why would God want to use me for anything?  He keeps reminding me that He loves me and He created me for a purpose in this life.  My faith is my strength that sustains me.  Jesus is my answer, even as I struggle humanly to overcome the battles in my life!  His love never fails me.

I pray you, the reader, are FREE from FEAR.  And, if you're not, that you're able to find hope in Jesus and a practitioner that can help you on your journey. I pray you find the courage and the strength to let others know you struggle with FEAR.  I should have done so, very long ago...., but TODAY is a new day!  I am thankful I have a Redeemer, who is able to heal and restore my life. And, the beginning of BRAVE!!! 

Blessings for good health and healing to you!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Steps of Faith

Yesterday, I took a scary and fear-filled step, for me, in my autoimmune journey, and shared specifics about my illness with our children and my Mom. It's alot of information to take in and as overwhelming as it was for me to write, I know it's overwhelming for each of them to read...  I was tempted to quit numerous times throughout the day and not send anything to them.  I could keep things to myself, as I always have.  BUT, I knew that Jesus did not want me to stay trapped in my self-imposed prison regarding my health any longer, nor for my husband to be either.  SO, I took that scary step of faith, trusted Him, shared alot of words and a very long chronic health journey, the new revelation that I have autoimmune diseases, the reality of what's going on in my body and I let go!  

Who knew I would experience a really heavy weight lifted from my shoulders? I don't have to hide any more.  I don't have to pretend I feel fine.  Goodbye fear.  I can be the real me, focus on healing my body and live a new life. Starting today.  

And, blown away by these divine encouragements that greeted me this morning. I rejoiced. I gave thanks the Lord is with me and He is encouraging me in the first day of this new beginning of the rest of my life!  I am so incredibly blessed and have a full heart of gratitude.  

I pray each of you find the answer for your path to Hope, Healing and Wholeness.  Jesus is still mine.