Friday, February 28, 2014

Live.


**I wrote this blog earlier in the week.  Then I took a blow.  It was hard and it hurt.  I wanted to write about it- to talk about my pain.  Because that's what I do when I hurt.  I write.  But instead I prayed...and when I went back and re-read what I wrote with my new lens I realized that God was already speaking to me.  That what I had already written was exactly what I needed to hear and what would get me through this hard time- and I was filled with extreme, undeniable peace.  Friends, when troubles come and storms rage and you are in a time in your life where you don't know what God is doing and it seems you are neither here nor there- you can trust in His goodness.  And you can keep living, serving, loving, and trusting.  Because He is good and your life should be a living sacrifice in all times and seasons.  And so I will stick with my intended post- and take my own advice for as long as this season lasts.  I will serve God while I wait on Him.


I always remember reading this story in English class back in Jr. High called "Flowers For Algenon".   It stuck out to me both because we watched the movie in class (always a fun thing) and because it was a beautiful, sad, and even heart-wrenching story.  It was the story of a man named Charlie- a wonderful, but mentally simple man named Charlie.  Charlie had a happy life.  He lived in his small world and was content with his mental limitations.  Until he meets an ambitious doctor.  (Just for the record, I read this story about a million years ago, so I am probably botching it pretty good- but the general storyline is accurate!)

This man, this doctor, wants to experiment with Charlie- he believes he can "cure" Charlie.  You know, make Charlie like the rest of us.  Normal.  Smart.  Charlie does not really comprehend what this doctor wants to do to him- and so he agrees to the experiment.  And Charlie is "healed".

Only the experiment goes far beyond what was expected and Charlie becomes a genius.  Charlie is writing books and solving complex math algorithms.  However, now Charlie realizes just how much he was missing before.  In fact, he begins to see just how cruel the world is to people like himself- to the way he used to be.  And this is where the story takes a sad turn…because while Charlie is off writing books and solving these incredible math problems, the doctors begin to realize that the treatment they thought cured him was really only temporary.  Charlie will go back to being a simple minded man.

In a heart-wrenching account we follow Charlie as he slowly goes back to being the man he was born being.  Expcet now he is no longer the beautiful, happy, content man we met at the beginning. Now he is sad- because he knows what he is missing.  He knows how people see him.  He knows how he is treated because of his simplicity.  He was happy the way he was- now, knowing all he has lost, he is a sad version of himself.  
I feel a little like Charlie.

You see, I am on a lot of medications right now.  It has been a long, tough road with mostly downs but there was this stretch I had recently where I was feeling pretty good for a couple of days.  I was up out of bed, I did laundry and dishes, and I just had some energy…I felt like myself again.  I cannot describe how amazing it felt.  And true to who I am, I went from 0 to 100 and pushed every limit I had just to see how far I could take it.  But I really thought it was the beginning of some good news in our lives…until one morning.  I forgot.  I simply forgot to take a dose of one of my medications.  And that was it for me.   

All the days of normalcy- of living like everybody else were over.  By early afternoon I was back to being the sick me.  Back to the pain and weakness.  Back to the thoughts of doctors and medications and bed rest and just watching life go by.  I was acutely reminded that it is only by the marvels of modern medicine that I am able to enjoy life as everybody else knows it.  Without it I go back to being a pain riddled, weak, sick girl.  Yes I always was that- but it stands in an even starker contrast when you actually experience life on the other side- normal life.  Charlie was happy when he didn't now what he was missing.  

The difference is, I always know what I am missing.

It always feels like I am living life in this "waiting" period.  Like I am not where I used to be, but I am not quite where I am going to end up just yet.  Just stuck in between.  I'm waiting.  Waiting for good, waiting for bad...just waiting for some kind of resolution to everything that is going on.  And I find- at least for me- that it is during this waiting period that life just kind of stops.  I just kind of stop.

I make all sorts of excuses as to why I don't need to be doing the things I know I need to be doing.  I stop praying and reading the Word.  I stop engaging in the relationships around me.  I kind of just check out of life- all because I am WAITING for life to really being again.  But what really jumped out at me during this incredibly hard time in my life is this: the waiting IS my life.  I have to stop seeing every hard period as an "in between" to something better or to the next thing.  If I counted up all the years in my life that I saw as the "in between" years, I would realize that it amounts to quite a bit of time.  Quite a bit of life.  Life that I missed out on actually living because I was too busy being on hold. Too busy waiting when I should have been living.

Open your eyes.  Open your eyes to what you really have even in that dark hour.  When I take time to look around, I see many things lost to me- and that's a tough break.  But if I dare to keep living- if I dare to keep moving despite the losses and just accept where I am RIGHT NOW..then I open myself up to a whole world of living.  I can live while I am waiting- because that's life too. 

I have a great team of doctors.  I have had people from all over this country reach out in an astonishing show of love and support for me and my family in our darkest hour.  I have gotten closer to my husband than I knew was even possible.  I am buddies with my local pharmacists.  I have met and developed friendships that never would have otherwise happened had I been healthy.  I have seen my God.
There is no way I would EVER trade any of that in if given the choice.  And I truly mean that.  I am impassioned by the things I experience in my life because if you are open to love and change and moving forward then even in the worst life has to bring you, you can always know that as one who serves the Lord, He WILL work things for your good.

Does that mean He will fix all things the way your mind feels they should be fixed?  Does that mean He will eventually heal you of all your pain?  Absolutely not and if you think that way then you have the wrong view of God and you may set yourself up to feel betrayed by Him.  He works all things out in such a way that that you are most BENEFITTED in the entirety of your spirit, soul, mind, and body for the PURPOSE of KNOWING HIM MORE INTIMATELY.  You will receive perfect healing in heaven- but on this earth, your character and knowing Him more intimately are the things that matter- and He will help you do that.  

But you have to keep your eyes on the things that matter.

Living in the past- in the "way things used to be" will eventually kill your spirit.  Trust me.  And if you have never personally lived through something like a life changing incident, illness or injury than you do not know of what I speak.  But let me tell you there is this ever present weight upon you reminding you of all that you lost- of everything you used to have that has now been taken away from you.  And it is exhausting to try and accept it- to try and be ok with the here and now.

So give up.  Seriously.

No, don't give up on life.  But give up on trying to reconcile who you are now with who you used to be and on waiting for it all to come together…because it will never work.  You are trying to live life backwards- circular; it just doesn't happen like that.  Life is a straight line and whether you like it or not you live it straight through one time.  One time.  Straight through.  You already lived the past, and whether it was great or horrible you need to keep living and understand that where you are now is where you need to BE.  This is your life.  This is where you need to live.  Pour your heart, your soul, your prayers, your energy, and your very being into your NOW.  Not your before.  Not your later.  

Your now.

Yes, I lost a lot.  No, I will never get it back- so what good does it do trying to fit those pieces together?  But it does do me a world of good to look around me and embrace all that I still do have now.  To decide if I am going to live and be a part of this world even if it is in a limited way.  And that is where I am.  And maybe that is where you are.  And I have a small piece of advice for you and me.

Live the wait.  

Just. Live.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Peace That Passes Understanding


As you may know, my grandfather passed away several weeks ago.  I wanted very much to go to the funeral- to celebrate my grandfathers life, be there for the services, and just to be with my family.  My health however prevented me from being there and I very much missed the opportunity to be with my family.  I always remember my Nanny and Poppy being together- it is sad to think that now it is just my Nanny.

I do however seem to have this unique opportunity given to me throughout my life for which I am very grateful.  I love to write- clearly.  Not just bogging but all kinds of writing- and many times I write letters to people.  Years ago when I was a sophomore in college I began a pen pal relationship with my great grandfather- my Poppa.  Honestly I do not even recall how it began- I used to visit him over the summer while he was in his nursing home and I was on my way home from work.  But then I wrote him a letter and he would write these wonderful letters back- and I remember thinking how valuable it was.  Someone in their 90s whose brain still had so much of it's original capacity- and my Poppa was a good man.  The value of this was not lost on me.

And now, over a decade later and I have begun exchanging letters with his daughter- my Nanny.  After the death of her husband of 63 years, she is exchanging letters with me just like her dad did years ago.  And again- there is so much to learn.  My Nanny is grieving- and it makes me sad.  But I will say this- my ears as well as my heart are wide open to the things that only her years on this earth can teach.  

In her grief, it all seems so simple now.  You only get one chance, she said.  You see, my grandfather passed away pretty quickly- he was relatively healthy and doing fairly well.  It was over a pretty short amount of time that a series of events took place and then he was gone.  And my grandmother grieves that.  She grieves the things she said or didn't say.  She takes blame upon her shoulders, wondering over their 63 year marriage if he KNEW that she loved him.  Because oh how she loved him.

You only get one chance, she said.  I understand what she is saying to me.  Love your husband every single day so that he knows it without a doubt.  Love your kids so much while they are little because one day you blink and they are grown and out of your life.  Love the years where you don't now how you are going to make ends meet, or why the kids are making so much noise, or how you're going to get dinner on the table before bedtime…because one day you're going to be 80 years old and the house is going to be very, very quiet.

How easy it is to not even think about it.  To not think about "one day".  But what a sad thing it would be if we didn't listen to those who went before us.  Nanny wrote something else in her last letter that stuck out very much to me.  She was encouraging me in raising my kids, but the sentence she used struck a chord in me- a sad one.  She said "raise your kids to help bring peace back into this world."  

I think about the things we see on the news.  I think about what has been happening in Kiev.  Or Venezuela.  I cannot even read the news now because there is just too much heartache in this world.  But that is too big of a scope- what about in our own households?   How many homes have lost their peace?  My grandmother admonished me to raise up my children to help restore peace- and I intend to listen to what she is saying.  I don't think anything I do will ever have any effect on what happens in Ukraine…but I know that what I do can and will have an impact on the lives of everyone my children come in contact with.

Because peace is something that starts within.  It starts within you.  And from there it is something you give and spread.  Of all the things you desire and pursue and seek after, is peace one of them?  And yet peace is the most valuable.  Peace is what gets inside your very soul.  Peace is what keeps you steady in hard times, focused in confused times, calm in shaky times, and joyful in sad times.  It will hold you when you are falling, direct you when you are failing, and steady you when you are faltering.  It is that valuable.

How do I get peace?  How will I give my kids peace?  

Almost every day I give my kids peace when I sit with them and pray.  When I open the Word of God and read it to them.  When I sing songs of worship to them and talk about the goodness of God.  When I truly repent and set my heart right with God.  You do those things- you love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and you seek Him daily and you watch as your very being is filled with an untouchable peace.  But let this be a warning: All the things that you chase after, all the things you run so very hard after will ROB you of your peace.  They will strip you inside of anything of value and when the times comes that you need to reach inside for something of substance you will realize, sadly, that you have nothing within you to hold on to.  Because the things that you spent your time and your energy and your money chasing after have no real worth.  And that my friend is a sad, sad day.  

Yes this is all I ever talk about.  If there were anything else that really mattered trust me, I would write about it.  But there isn't.  Everything else falls under this umbrella.  When I got sick and my whole world fell apart there was one thing that remained UNTOUCHABLE- my peace.  My home, my marriage, my family, my children- we remain intact.  And that is because we love our God and we have chosen to seek Him- ONLY Him- and not the things of this world.  

So yes Nanny, I have heard you.  I will do my best to raise my kids with peace.  To love the Lord and to love those around them.  To treat people with kindness and with love.  To have respect for their elders and their authorities.  To stand up for those who cannot defend themselves.  That if my children see someone in need they would do what they can to meet that need.  That my children would be compassionate, always willing to give and help another.  That my children would be the first to volunteer for a worthy cause and that they would never place material possessions above people.  That they would be quick to forgive and slow to anger.  That they would be people who spread peace.

Maybe this small step taken by many can do something about the state this world is in.  Because we no longer live in a peaceful place- and that is because people are no longer at peace with themselves.  Please- stop running.  Stop fighting yourself.  Stop going a thousand miles per hour to escape the one thing you can't escape- the state of your soul.  Stop running, and get some peace in your life.
If feels so good to finally be at rest.

And maybe the world will know a little rest for once too.  It could sure use it.


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…" Matthew 11:28 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fishin' With Jesus


So this past week I read an article on whether or not Christians actually need to attend church.  Technically it was one Christian writing on how he doesn't go to church and how he feels he connects better with God in another way- something along those lines.  To be honest, this is most definitely is not the first time I have heard this concept before.  Over the years I have heard many different arguments from many different angles on why and how a person can be a Christian yet not be a part of a fellowship that meets regularly.  

And I just can't believe we are not past this yet.

In the times and days we are living in- these dark, evil, harsh times that we are living in I cannot believe that something so fundamental is still being tossed around so casually.  That something our fellow believers are being martyred for daily in other countries is something that we make for light coffee house conversation and something that we feel entitled to test the waters on and feel our way through.  Quite honestly it angers me a bit to see something of such magnitude taken so lightly.

It is not that I am overly religious and feel that every person needs to be in church every single week.  You all know me- I freely admit to finding church semi-boring, to eating candy during the sermons, to missing church a lot because I am sick, and so on.  However, I do firmly believe (with Biblical basis) that if you profess to believe in Jesus then you have a responsibility to be plugged in to a network of believers and to be under a spiritual headship and covering.  I believe that is very, very important.  This idea that it is ok to function with no church that you truly belong to- that you can survive and thrive on your own- just doesn't fit with the biblical description of what this is all about.  Yes, we all meet God in different ways, but when it comes to growth, discipline, and keeping on the path...well, there is a reason we are admonished to meet REGULARLY with a steady group of like minded people.  There is a reason you should be going regularly to church.  
It is not just you and God.

Because you see, in the beginning, it was just man and God- but God said that was not good.  So He made woman.  And from that, there came a baby.  And from that there came family.  And relationships.  And community.  And society.  

That's what church is.  Family.  Relationship.  Community.  Society.

We are there to catch you when you start to fall.  And you are there to catch me when I start to fall.  A "pastor" is a special calling that God gives to someone- a mantle placed upon someone, and God anoints that person...giving them special insights and revelations into the Word of God.  And that pastor, through his preaching, then shares those insights with the congregation- with you.  So you come to church to learn and to be fed in a way you cannot do on your own, because you do not carry that mantle.  You come to church to join in a chorus of worship with fellow believers- like the angels in heaven to.  I don't know about you, but if the angels feel it is a good thing to worship in song with one another, then I am not going to put myself above them.  

You go to church to partake in communion with fellow believers, just as Jesus commanded us to continue doing in remembrance of Him.  You do to church so that you can surround yourself with like-minded people- people who share the same beliefs as you.  It is very, very easy to succumb to our own weaknesses.  When you are off on your own, you are accountable to no one.  Your sins, your slight failings, your little back steps remain a secret- nobody is there to see it.  Nobody is there to say "Hey friend, you don't look so good.  I love you and I don't think those decisions are the best ones for you.  What can I do to help?"  No. Instead, you just quietly slip down your own path...usually completely off the path.  Friends are there for one another- we are there to help, to love, to support, to build each other up- friends sharpen one another.  ;)

You go to church to put yourself under a covering- that same mantle a pastor carries for the preaching of the Word, he also carries to be your shepherd.  The pastor's job is to take care of the people in his church.  Jeff and I are counselors- not the kind with a PhD who charge $100/hr, but we have our Bachelors Degrees from Bible College and one of the things we were taught and trained for as we were trained for ministry was counseling.  Many times our congregants have come to us in need- spiritual, emotional, marital- and we are there to help.  We have counseled many people over the years, and those who choose to get help find themselves growing and changing and knowing freedom and reconciliation- and knowing that they have a support system of people who love them.  

It is also that protection and that covering that guards you from false teachings in your life.  The Bible is clear that we live in days when false teachers rise up with all sorts of unbiblical teachings- and unless you know truth and unless you consistently sit under good, solid, godly teaching then you become very susceptible to being led astray.

I have heard so many times people say "I just connect with God differently.  I don't need to be in church to meet Jesus.  I prefer to go out fishing on Sunday morning and meet Jesus."  Of course you can meet God while you're fishing!  We all meet God in different ways.  I think it's great- so go ahead, spend all day Saturday fishing and hanging out with Jesus.  The truth is, more often than not it's a big old cop out, and you really just don't feel like going to church (sorry!).  More often than not, you either have a chip on your shoulder, or you're really not serving Jesus and these are just excuses you are giving to appease your conscience.  

Because you cannot be having this awesome personal "you and Jesus time" and yet not be obeying what He says to do.  If you and Jesus are chilling on the lake, and you're getting really close in your relationship, then at some point He is going to have to share with the you the same thing He has shared with the rest of us- the Bible.  That part in the Bible where we are commanded to keep meeting together as a body of believers. (Hebrews 10:25)  There are many such references, but I will leave you with just that one because it is sufficient.  So what is it?  You don't want to be told what to do?  You don't like getting up on Sunday morning?  I can relate- really.  I think we all can.  I don't like getting up early on Sunday morning, and I think sermons are boring sometimes, and I don't always like everything about church- but I do love Jesus.  I obey His commands to me because He knows what is best for me and you know what?  When I got sick, my church family were the ones who were pressing money into our hands week after week.  They were the ones who gathered around my family in prayer.  They babysat my kids and made dinner for us every night for months.  CHURCH did that.

And what about your role?  Is it ok for you to be a Christian who doesn't contribute?  You should be playing a part in this thing.  We NEED you to play YOUR role in this thing.  You should be reaching out to other believers.  You should be taking a new Christian under your wing and discipling them if you've been around a while.  You should be helping out in a Sunday School class or on a worship team.  Because the Bible says that God has given a spiritual gift to each and every one of us- so where are you using yours?  You should be be plugged in to a body of believers so that you can help us function as a whole.  If we function as a whole then maybe we stand a chance and getting this beautiful message of Jesus Christ to all the world.

But it takes unity.  The lone ranger may benefit just you but that will only last for a short while.  Eventually you will experience a hardship in your life.  Or you will get tired.  Or bored.  Or just lose purpose.  And then sadly, you will look around you and find that you are all alone because you have isolated yourself...and Jesus never ever wanted that for you.  Or even on the off chance none of that happens- even so, you're not helping the cause of the Great Commission in the most effective way- which is together.  

Jesus set the example Himself.  He did not walk this earth in solitude, just Him and God.  He made a point of being in fellowship with others.  He broke bread and drank wine- yes, he had the very first communion service with others.  Friends, we were never meant to do this alone.  So let me help you; let me share a few tips that help me: go to bed a little earlier Saturday night, pack some snacks or candy to bring with you to munch on during service (trust me, it makes the sermon a little more fun), make friends so you will look forward to going, and remember that church is not a group of people who are claiming to be perfect.  We make mistakes, the music isn't always going to be your style, the preaching not always your speed, and there will always be that handkerchief waving, Amen shouting lady who doesn't seem to realize that it's time to quiet down.  It's ok.  Jesus wants this for you.  He really does.  

Go to church.  Be the church.  

"Hypocrites in the church?  Yes, and in the lodge and at the home.  Don't hunt through the church for a hypocrite.  Go home and look in the mirror.  Hypocrites?  Yes.  See that you make the number one less."  Billy Sunday



**And I hope you all have a very Happy Valentine's Day!!  I love you Jeff- so much more today then the day I married you.  ;)




Friday, February 7, 2014

So A Friend Sharpens

Good morning!  I have enjoyed our last few weeks together very much.  There is just something so refreshing to my spirit when I get behind my computer and just write what is on my heart.  And the amazing feedback from you all just makes it that much more alive to me.  So thank you.

I am going to give you a brief update on the health front- not great news, so let's just keep it quick so as not to out a damper on today's post!  After finishing a grueling round of tests to rule out some things, I was supposed to have some time to just lay low and rest.  Basically take a few months off before pursuing specialists in Boston- however, I have been experiencing several new developments and had some concerning new symptoms, and so my team is concerned at the rate this is progressing and instead of laying low I have more tests lined up.  I just had a new round of blood work, a 24 hour urine test, a CT scan of my lymph nodes and I will be having a biopsy this month.  I have another 2 appointments in the next 2 weeks to discuss the rest of the symptoms and what we will be doing about those...I am very tired, in incredible pain, and am able to spend very little time on my feet.  I do have days here and there when I can get up and do a load of laundry or dishes, and I still maintain that one day a week where I get dressed and actually do my hair and make up and go to church, but that is about the only time I get out of the house.  It is taking it's toll on me mentally and emotionally- I must be the most stubborn person on the planet lol.  I know there is still this small part of me that has not accepted that this is it- this is my life.  And if you cannot accept it, then you cannot move forward and that means you're just "stuck"- and that is a hard place to be and I really do not like it at all.  Jeff is really working with me to help get me to the place where I accept that this is my life now, and I am trying very hard as well- really, I am!

I have a few very close friends who have been with me through all of this who constantly pray for me and talk me through it- and I am so grateful for them.  The Lord has made Himself very, very real to me in this very painful time and many times He has spoken through select people in my life.  As you well know, I am a very private person when it comes to my real life.  I honestly don't know why.  I love people and have no problems making casual friends with anyone, anywhere, at anytime.  I am not afraid of getting hurt and I can't say I have these layers of protection around my heart or anything- but for some reason I just have a very, very narrow list of people who I will talk to on a regular basis and who I will open up my heart to when it comes to my innermost thought and feelings on issues, especially when it comes to my sickness.  I have maybe 4 people in my life that I talk with regularly and these people are people who I talk to, who pray for me, who counsel me- and I do the very same for them.  We uplift one another, saying the good but also knowing when to say the hard stuff.  This is something I have thought about recently- the hard stuff.

You see, part of being a true friend means you want your friend to be happy- but happiness doesn't always mean happy right this moment.  Sometimes you sacrifice their momentary happiness for something much greater.  Sometimes as a friend you have to say something that may be uncomfortable or hard to say...something that you fear may cause distance between you as friends.  Yet if you don't say it you know you are not being a true friend.  Because being a true friend means you watch out for one another.  It means you care not just about how they are doing now, but about how the things they are doing now will affect their later.  I want to say things to the people I love that will make them better as people- that will help bring them closer with God.  That my words would not bring temporary happiness, but eternal greatness.

I have had hard things said to me by friends and by my husband.  I have had things said to me that because I listened, have caused me to take a good hard look at the choices I was making.  It cause me to really pray and really evaluate where I was and where I was headed and ultimately see that I needed to listen to the voices that love me so much.  Likewise I have had to be the one to have difficult conversations in which I ask the difficult questions of someone I love.  Of where I dare to say the things that need to be said- laying a friendship down on the line and risking that someone I love may not take what I have to say the right way.

That is a scary thing.  But if I am a true friend, I think I have no choice but to truly love my friend.

And sometimes, your friend may just have something hard to say to you.  I urge you to listen.

I see us as friends.  Whether we have met or not, I see this blog as a long distance friendship.  Several times I have been "asked" (more like nicely accused lol) if a certain blog post was written or directed at them specifically, or written based off of specific conversation or interaction with them.  Let me just get this out publicly once and for all: I never have, nor will I EVER write TO, AT or ABOUT someone.  I will never write a post about someone or something specific unless I have at LEAST two different sources or encounters with which to reference it, this way it is never about any one instance or situation.  Because yes, I do write about my own life and my own experiences.  But I do not believe it would be writing with principle if I were to use specific encounters to blog about.  Maybe some would think that is ok as long as it were anonymous, but I do not think that is ok.  I want my friends to be able to read my work and not have to ever wonder if what they are reading is about "them".  Now you know.  It is never specifically about you.

But now I will say this- if you ever read my writing and you find yourself in it and maybe you are even a little offended or challenged: GOOD.  Stay open to that.  Realize that there is something bigger at work than just "me" sitting at my computer.  Realize that maybe, just maybe you are supposed to get quiet and spend some time thinking about what is being said.  About what it is that is challenging you.

It is challenging you or even offending you because it is speaking to the parts of you that only a friend would dare to speak.  It is speaking to the parts of you that somewhere deep inside you know are not right- that you know need to change.  And you can blame, or get angry, or come up with excuses but the truth is, when it's just you alone with yourself you cannot escape the truth of who you really are.  And that is why I challenge you not to run from the hard things said to you in love.  But instead to take those things and really apply them to yourself.  You will be amazed at the kind of person you can become when you drop your guard to people who truly love you and want the best for you.

So now what?

Now, I am going to pray.  I am going to read the Bible and see what speaks to me- what things I feel are being spoken directly to me.  I am going to listen to what my husband and friends are really saying to me- because they know me best of all.

Because I can't do it alone.  Neither can you.

You know before I publish any blog I have my husband read it.  At first it was just to get his feedback- to see how he liked it.  Now to be perfectly honest I need him to check my writing as well- between my medication and my illness I am having an increasingly difficult time putting together basic sentences and thoughts.  So I have him read my work to make sure my point is getting across and my actual sentences are making sense.  But he told me he enjoyed this post because it was "light".  He said it was a nice change of pace as I am not talking about character or pleading with you about the depths of your soul for once.  I could not help but laugh...apparently I am very intense!

So I hope you enjoy the "light" week, and please think about what I said.  Do not be so easily offended but instead, be someone who is quick to take a look at their own shortcomings.  It will make you a better person if you do.

"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." Proverbs 27:17


I hope you have a wonderful week!  And also I hope you have a speedy recovery Amy Breton!  ;)



*I dedicate this post in love to some special friends of mine.  Friends who know me well enough to know how hard I make it for people to be close to me- and yet have not let that deter them from getting close and speaking life and love into my life.  Thank you Maria and Tricia for being my right and my left- for being Jesus to me when I have needed it most.  We go back many years and many memories and the friendship is one tested over time- I value it and I hold it like a lifeline.  You know who I am.  Thank you for letting me be who I need to be and loving me anyway- I love you so much.  To Erica, for the years we have spent building our friendship, never giving up, always holding each other up no matter what our differences are- that's real friendship.  And thank you Josiah and Jennifer N. for always being just a text away on the many nights when I need a friend and a prayer- I have leaned on you more times than you know.  And to Emily whose prayers and love have never ceased.  My life is sharper because of all of you.  And to so many in my life who have held my hands up when I am too weak to hold them up myself, and who pray without ceasing.  Thank you.