Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Signing at My Church

Signing books on 30 October 2011

Yesterday was a really special day for me.  I was able to sign books at my own church!  The reception was tremendous, and all my brothers and sisters in Christ that bought books added to the Kingdom.  My husband and I both prayerfully felt that we should give 30% of the profit of the books sold there to the children's ministry.  It doesn't matter if it is here at home or for one of the world outreach churches that we have, as long as the children benefit.  I have come very far with children in the last 15 years or so.

Back then, I was so disgusted with children of all ages.  I wasn't too happy with their parents either.  The children were unruly, impolite, and undisciplined.  It seemed that no matter where I went, there they were!  I couldn't get away from them.  And I didn't want to be around them.  I didn't even go to friends' houses because I didn't want to have to deal with children.  I was like that for quite sometime, avoiding restaurants, movies, the mall, etc..  

One day I noticed just how out of control it was getting.  I was angry when I was around them.  I couldn't stand it when I would call a friend, and they had to have a conversation with their children at the same time they were talking to me.  Have you ever had that happen?  Of course you have.  You no longer know who they are talking to, and conversations get very stressful.

I knew I had it bad when a man brought an INFANT to see "We Were Soldiers Once and Young."  I was just waiting for this days old baby to start screaming because of the noise of gunfire and mortars in Vietnam.  As it turned out, the baby never made a fuss.  (I hope it wasn't deaf), but it took my enjoyment away wondering when this baby would wake up and start screaming. 

So I had to pray.  I needed my heart softened.  I used to almost yell at the hostess that she should be asking "children or no children" instead of smoking or not. 

God hears all prayers.  He knows when you have had enough of any one thing.  I think that sometimes he places things into our lives so that many years later we can look back and see that He was working.  He did soften my heart.  He made children really like me.  They would come up to me and hug my leg and not let go.  He made them smile their beautiful smiles and give me slobbery kisses on the cheek, and I didn't mind saying, "no, it's okay" when the mother was apologizing for the drool on my shoulder.  I started to buy them birthday gifts.

God softened my heart, and gave my husband and I a vision of opening a retreat for children (another blog for another day), and thought it would be very appropriate that my first book is for children written about Christmas Eve when I was a child!  Now I try to give back to the children's ministry.  Now I sign my books and add, 'Matt 19:14'.  When God has a plan, He prepares your heart for it.  His plan is to reach children.  My book is going to do just that.  I don't pretend to know why, I just know it will.  It is what He wanted out there, so He will see it succeeds.  So far we have sold a few hundred ourselves, and now tomorrow it is released on Amazon and to the markets all across the world.

About the biggest honor for me has been when little girls of 8 or 10 just stand there and look at me with such awe, as if I am someone famous.  They see that their dreams can be realized too.  "I like to write," some have told me.  They love knowing that the picture on the cover is me when I was seven and when they see the real pictures of my house, and my Dad and Mom and baby brother, they are even more amazed!  I tell them to always remember those dreams, to write, and ask Jesus for help with what they should write about.  They are the authors of the future!  I hope they don't wait until they are 55 years old to get started, but God knows no age limits, right?  I'm 55 and just beginning!  I am confident that there are many more books in me.  God will lead me,  and I will gladly follow!

Please say a prayer that  through divine orchestration, thousands upon thousands, if not millions of books are sold, and places like Scholastic Books will want to distribute it.  Not for me, God is taking care of me; but so that we can spread the good news of the Gospel and give back to the Kingdom of God.  Let the children know the real true God and what He is like--that He so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son.  Thank You, Jesus, for coming as a child, to change the world.  Thank You that together, we can change the world one child at a time!

"But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 19:14

So tell me, have you ever gone through a time when you didn't like children, and now you do?  Has He softened your heart too?  Please leave a comment.  Have a very blessed day, dear reader.  God bless you!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Word From God

"You are a soldier of the Word.  You are a faithful warrior!  You must remember these things.  You must clear your mind of the clutter and see your REAL self!  Do not be dismayed by the falls you take.  The important thing is that you reach for Me to pull you back up.  Even when Peter fell into the water, he cried out to Me, “Lord, save me!”  And what did I do?  I took his hand and rescued him.  He wasn’t covered up by the waters.  His fear was based on disbelief; once he saw himself walking on water he couldn’t accept that.  He could only do that while he stayed focused on Me.  That is what you and so many others are going through right now.  Your faith is small; you have a way to go.

"You must believe that as long as you focus on Me, My presence alone will give you courage to do things that the natural man knows you can’t.  Oh, but Peter’s Spirit!  He had such spirit!  When he walked in the Spirit man he cast aside all doubt and all disbelief.  But remember, he called on me first—“Lord, call me to You.”  And I did.  Because he yearned for me, he could do what no one else could do.  But only until his natural man intervened. 

"That is what is happening to you.  Your mind and heart are in one place and your spirit another.  You see your spirit with shield and sword, in victory, smiling.  You see your Spirit man walking through the storm with My arm around you.  And you are smiling.  When there is joy in your heart, it comes out on your face.  It is not possible to be joyful and not smile.  It is a very nice outlet for the world to see.

"I have a job for all my chosen.  Your desire is to allow Me to use you to conquer death and disease.  But your mind and heart still fear the unbelievable – like Peter.  But I am here!  Ask Me to tell you, give Me the permission to call on you to move.  But then keep your eyes on Me!  Not the world around you!  Peter could have crossed the ocean if he had only remembered to focus on Me!

"I will shape your heart, and it will catch up with your spirit.  It just takes time and experience.  So remember, all these trials are giving you strength and insight into My Kingdom.  Don’t be afraid, I am here, and I love you!"

"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Small Prayer

Wake me up, O Heavenly Father, that I may be refreshed in and of Your word.  Straighten out my wandering, dull mind, Father.  In my Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How Life Changes

My life is becoming more different everyday.  God is at work in me, patiently molding me into the woman of God that He desires me to be.  I have prayed for a long time for God to use me as He wanted.  But I had my own fears.  I truly wanted to do anything He asked, but it was not without reservations.  For instance, there are times in my life that I can reminisce and see how He spared my life.  Whether it be from car accidents or whatever stupid mess I may have gotten myself in to, He saved me, even when I wasn't saved spiritually.  I'm sure you can think of many times in your own life that have you amazed that you are still walking the earth.

When I got older and thought about it, I thought, "God must have saved me for a reason."  Then the little nudging of "What if He wants me to be a missionary somewhere?!" crept into my heart.  Like in Africa.  What do I know about Africa?  How would I react if He came down and said, "Deirdre, it's time to go to the jungles and preach the Bible to the natives."  My eyes get big just thinking of it! 

I've since been told that God doesn't do that if it's not in your heart to be there.  What good would you be otherwise?  The thing is, if He really wants you there, He's going to put it in your heart!  So what seemed scary and sinister before now has the appearance of hope and excited anticipation.  That's how my life is changing now.

I used to write when I was young.  I loved to write.  But once I got pregnant I didn't have the time anymore.  Life got in the way, as they say.  I just lost interest in the whole business.   Then many years later (and many years ago), I had a renewed interest, and even spent a small fortune for the time on a writing correspondence course through a good school in Connecticut.  I was accepted and I paid my tuition, and got started.  I was assigned an editor and I dove in with sweet abandon.  My stories were wonderful, they even impressed me.  Then lesson 7 required I go out and sell myself as a freelancer to magazines.  That was when I put my pen down once again.  I was not the type that could sell myself.

Fast forward to now.  As you know, I wrote a poem for a friend that turned out to be a book.  God's divine fingerprint is all over it.  God told me that He would send the people to me that would help me.  My publisher has started to do the media blitz.  Tomorrow I have an interview with a reporter from one of the local papers.  He'll be bringing along a photographer with him.  Although the book is not released until 1 November, Amazon has it listed for pre-buy in Russia, Germany, UK, Japan, Netherlands, Canada, and of course here in the good old USA.  This is all so new to me.  God has changed me, as I said.  I have become bolder.  I know that He is in charge, and I trust Him.  He has told me that He will not leave nor forsake me.  I have placed my trust in Him, because He will not bring me to harm.

So I glory in Him for these new beginnings and reach out to Him for wisdom and discernment.  Where He goes I will follow. What He asks, I hope to give, freely and confidently.  He is my God, and I love Him.  He has placed a desire in my heart to let children know who He is.  One book at a time.  I must trust Him and allow Him to complete in me what He has planned.  Be blessed today, dear reader; you have a God who loves you watching out for you and He will mold you into the best you can ever be!

"Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."  Psalm 37:5

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Book Signing

(Saturday, 22 October 2011, me reading to the children. I cropped them for privacy sake.)

What amazing few days I have had recently.  On Friday I found out that my book was on Amazon!  What a strange feeling that was!  I looked today and saw it on Amazon in Germany, Japan, Canada, and the UK.  Wow, it is very surreal.  God is moving!  I had my very first Book Signing and Reading on Saturday.  It was a wonderful experience for me.  Some of my dearest friends stopped by to wish me luck and bought books.  One old friend that I hadn't seen in almost 15 years came by!  That was a very special moment for me.  (Cathy, if you are reading this, thank you, that meant the world to me.)  I have had people say the nicest things about the book.  Some people haven't even read it yet, but they compliment me and support me.  Others are putting it on their own blogs.  And wait til you hear this, Kindra's little boy wants to write a book report about it!  Praise God, that is the best review I could have, and very soon I hope to put that on my web page as a review.  Can't get any better than that.  By the way, I sold 20 books there.

You know, only I have the hard cover and coloring books for sale.  Amazon doesn't, and even my publisher doesn't.  I have to sell 1,000 of them first for my publisher to see the demand.  Wouldn't that be something?  I'm almost ready for the challenge.  We'll see.

I wonder what God has in store for me next?  I would like to write another book, but it isn't very easy with working all day.  I don't know how some authors do it.  I will let God direct my path, that's the way it should be.  I feel safe that way.  He goes before me and grants me favor.  He loves me.  I am so very blessed.

I know this is short, and it has been a while, and I apologize.  I am tired, there is so much to do selling books.  Have a beautiful evening, and may God, in all His goodness, bless you all with sweet and peaceful sleep.  I will be back in a day or two, okay?  God bless you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Steward

Note:  I wrote this in the mid-summer.

God wanted to get my attention today.  I wanted to sit on the back porch and spend time speaking with Him by journaling before it got too hot to do so.  You see, this is a La Nina year, and so the winter was cold – much colder than usual, and lasted longer than expected.  Spring seemed about 6 hours worth of comfortable temperatures, and then BAM!  Summer was here!  We started getting 100° temperatures in mid-May, and they didn’t plan on leaving.

Rain is a distant memory; I was much younger the last time it rained!  We haven’t had to mow much, and millions of Texas acres have succumbed to wildfires.  I am seeing emaciated horses and cattle on my way to work.  Lord, even though this IS Texas, we need rain!

So I thought I’d spend my morning time with the Lord on the back porch before it got too hot.  I had just gotten comfy with my coffee and journal, and hummingbird flew by, looked at me, and flew away.  That’s when God spoke, “Daughter, take care of the birds!”  I hadn’t even put up the hummingbird feeders this year, so to the shed I went, found four feeders and some food, and washed the feeders, filled them and hung them on the front porch and in the backyard.  I was ready to sit down and write, and again the Lord spoke to my heart, “Daughter, put water out for the deer.”

Well we have so many deer where we live that they have done thousands of dollars worth of destruction to our shrubbery and lawn.  I had to dig up all my bushes that were around the front of the house because the deer have eaten every last leaf, and when new buds begin to grow, they nibble them away too.  Over the last three years, the deer population has at least doubled, each doe having twins or triplets.  I didn’t really want to give them water, that will only keep them on my lawn, but I knew I’d better obey. 

While filling the bird bath and trough that we had let go dry, God reminded me that He loves all His creatures, great and small.  He loves us the most, of course, and made us stewards of His earth.  He let me know I should put out water for the animals so they wouldn’t die.  Then He nudged me to think about the bunny rabbits.  They, of course are too small to reach the birdbath or trough, so I found some large planter bottoms and filled them.

On the way back inside, I saw the stripped ear of corn on the little squirrel stand, so I put a new piece on there and tossed some kernels around and put water there too.  When my husband comes home I’ll ask him to fill the bird feeders, because I am not too sure how they work.  We bought these great ones that are supposed to frustrate the squirrels, and they are so high tech they frustrate me too.

I knew God was smiling as I walked back to the porch and my coffee.  So I sat back down and waited a few minutes before picking up my pen, just to be sure I was done, and wouldn’t you know, along came the hummingbird to drink.  Mission accomplished!

I spent time with God in a different way than I had intended, but feel just as filled with His Holy Spirit, and I know His creatures are being cared for.

“And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find doing so when he comes.  Truly, I say to you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has.”  Luke 12:42-44 NKJ


Are you a good steward?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

These are the Days!

Come worship with me today!  Be blessed!

Behold He comes! Riding on the clouds, shining like the sun at the trumpet call, so lift your voice, it's the year of jubliee, and out of Zion's hill salvation comes!

I love You, Jesus!

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Am In Love

Jesus loves me.
I love Him.
A marriage made in Heaven!

Be blessed today, dear reader, God is with you!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Signings!!

Alrighty!  Here I am on Wednesday evening (12 Oct 11) in the lobby of my church.  That is the first poster made for a book signing!  I am so excited you just wouldn't believe it!  This little book is bringing a lot of joy to so many people already.  You all know the story about how hard it was for me to wait for Santa to arrive with this big snow storm going on and then my Dad starts shoveling the snow, and how I worried that Santa couldn't come with my Dad not only still awake, but still outside working!  But the story has a message.  It is a 'feel good' kind of message.  God is so awesome, and the way He has orchestrated this book still makes me smile in amazement. 

It's funny, people now look at me a little differently because I am "a real live author!"  I know I have changed a little, I really had no choice.  You see, when God works in us, He does it His way.  "The right words will be there.  The Holy Spirit will give you the right words when the time comes."  Luke 12:12 Msg.  He brought back my desire to write and then gave me an assignment, this book.  I had to learn patience first, because I had no idea what I would write for Kindra.  Then I had to have faith that I would come up with something that she would like.  Then I had to have patience again.  Then I needed to keep away from pride.  Then I had to learn to trust (I am a perpetual student of that class!). 

I have enjoyed all the process of this book coming to life. The illustrator at Tate Publishing did a remarkable job of the illustrations from pictures I sent him.  The graphic designer put it all together so nicely.  The editor was great.  Then it came time to actually produce the book.  Oh my goodness, that was so exciting!  To hold in my hand the final proof (which is the book as it looks now, but I had to double check everything and send it back with my okay), was really amazing.  It was real!  Oh, how I hated to send that back!

Then I found out that because I am not a celebrity or an author with a recognized name, the chances of it being found on bookshelves all around the world like I thought were a pipe dream.  For now.  That will change, I'm sure of it.  Anyway, I found out that I would have to do a great deal of marketing.  I was totally unprepared for that!  So I got this web page, and I have a Facebook fan page, and of course there is email (thank goodness for that).  But that wasn't enough.

I have to do signings and readings wherever and whenever I can.  You see, time is very limited.  First off, the book will be released on 1 November to Amazon and I think the local bookstores.  I have ordered more books three times since the beginning of September to sell them on my own.  I have to be prepared to market my book.  Normally, boldness to do something like that is not in my nature.  But God is answering prayer as He always does and making it easier for me all the time.  I don't know when or where my first signing will be, there are still two weekends before the church signing, and I am trying for as many as possible!  That first one will be where I learn how to relax. 

The nice thing is that God had me write a Christmas book and not a book on a dinosaur named Dave.  That kind of book could sell anytime, all year long. This one sells big for this time of year only.  So after all the hectic running around for 2 months, it will be over and I will take a nap.  People like Christmas books, especially for children, so I am carrying one with me all the time and putting it on the table when I am out to eat, doing whatever will draw attention.  If it weren't so awkward, I would wear it like a lanyard!  That would certainly get people's attention!  I could get T-shirts, but I think that's a little much for me.

People don't have any idea how hard it is to market a book.  I had to become a business (Blessed Beginnings) because I have to collect sales tax.  Some people think that I am going through all this talking to attorneys and banks, and carrying books in my car because of my publisher not doing enough.  That's not the case at all.  If you are going to sell something you'd better get the tax for the great state you live in.  I had no idea that I would have to start a business because I wrote a book. Like I said, I just thought they'd stock it in bookstores and people would buy it.

But it has it's advantages.  I am learning things about business, making new friends and connections, and trusting much more in God.  I believe that my book will sell exceedingly well and it will break records.  Why shouldn't it, after all, it is blessed by God!

Have a beautiful day today, try and spend some quality time in His glorious presence, and please feel free to purchase a book or two. They really are cute.  The shopping cart page is  expected to be up and running in a day or two, so please come back!  Thanks again for visiting, and feel free to leave a comment.


Monday, October 10, 2011

True Light Consumes Danger

Have you ever been alone at night and heard noises outside? Maybe a dog starts barking at something and fear rises up within you because you can't see through the darkness to know what it is. Have you ever feared in the dark because the wind kicked up and was blowing with a fury outside your home? You didn't know if a tree would snap or fall on your house or car! Everything in you cries, "Danger!"

Have you ever noticed that the same dog could be barking the same way or the wind blowing hard on a clear, sunny day and there is no fear, no anxiety, and no trepidation? We glance around, see that everything in our world is safe and secure, and we go on with what we were doing, not giving thought to danger at all. Why? Because we are in the light, where we can see the truth! It wasn't a stranger lurking in the woods; it was a raccoon that excited the dog! The trees were in no danger of snapping, the noise of the leaves smacking against each other created an unwarranted fear.
Since the natural world parallels the supernatural realm, we can understand the danger. When we are walking in the Light, surrounded by the love of God, when we are basking in the warmth of the Son, there is nothing to fear. There is peace and understanding around and in us. But when we are not filled with His holy presence, darkness invades our tranquility and feeds off of our fear of the unknown.

Brothers and sisters, do not stray from the Light! Do not fall into the darkness of lies, fear, and temptation! Our Savior is always ready to give us peace and strength, and He will let us see our circumstances with truth, that there is no danger when we walk in the Son. Let His love and life shine in you today and every day!

"I am the Light of the world. So if you follow Me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, for living Light will flood your path." John 8:13 TLB

Thank you, Jesus, for shining Your Light on me!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fighting Temptation

"Blessed (happy, to be envied), is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor's] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.  Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one.  But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed, and baited by his own evil desire (lusts, passions)."  James 1:12-14 Amp

What is tempting you today?  Is it that piece of cake?  Telling someone about someone else (gossiping)?  Taking control of someone else's life?  Taking credit for what is not yours?

Is it just to give up?  Yes, even that is a temptation.  It's when you feel so down that it is hard to look beyond yourself and the pain you are feeling.  You are even led to believe by something deep within you that it is okay to feel sorry for yourself, and that you deserve the pity party.

You know, that same voice that tells us it's okay to dwell in misery for a while is the same one that has crippled us in our fervent walk with God!  The devil takes great joy in seeing us suffer.  It's so much fun to take away our desire to focus on God and all the things He has promised us.  While we wallow in self pity we are only focusing on ourself.  And as long as we keep our eyes on ourself, we will be like Peter and sink into the raging sea, very close to drowning.  You've heard the expression, drowning in self-pity.

If we sink into this sea of temptation we will find ourselves totally disconnected from our source of life - Jesus Himself.  If we're smart, we'll do what Peter did and cry out to Jesus, "Lord, save me!  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him..." Matt 14:30-31.

When temptation comes (as it does every day), if we ignore it, and rebuke the source, it will go away!  If we are patient, and keep focused on Jesus, if we endure and pass the test, wewill receive 'the victor's crown of life" which God has promised those who love Him.

Can you imagine standing before God and He places a beautiful golden crown on your head?  How absolutely fantastic is that!?  Take heart, we have all been there.  We will probably all return to that place of temptation sometime today, but if we rebuke the tempter and instead say, "I love You, Jesus" with a smile on our face, maybe we'll last just a little longer each time until the day we conquer that beast.

God bless you today. May He give you the strength you need to endure. Look up, at the Light, not down. There is nothing down there for you!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Who Do YOU Cry Out To?

“I stand silently before the Lord, waiting for Him to rescue me.  For salvation comes from Him alone.  Yes, He alone is my Rock, my Rescuer, Defense and Fortress.  Why then should I be tense with fear when troubles come?”  Psalm 62:1-2

Why indeed?  God is ever loving, ever caring, and will always be by our side.  The natural man (our flesh) wants to rely on our own experience in the ways of running our own life.  We do things the way we want without ever praying first and asking either God’s blessing or His direction.  When we don’t have those things, our actions many times put us in jeopardy, and our very lives may hang in the balance.  Eventually we find that we must stand silently (not making excuses for our bad behavior), and listen for the voice of God.  When we feel alone, He is there.  When we are crying out because we don’t know how to relieve the despair we feel, He is there.  When we feel the joy that comes with knowing, He is there.  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

He will always rescue us if we just cry out like Peter did when he found himself sinking.  “Lord, save me!  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt 14:30-31)  Cry out to Jesus, He will not fail you; He won’t shut His holy ears to your cry.  He can’t.  It’s not in His nature.  To ignore His loved ones is not an option!  There is nothing that we can do to make Him not love us.  He cannot not love us!  Honest!  He will not leave or forsake us.  And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”(Psalm 9:10)

So when you are lost, and alone, and you feel like there is no one in the world that would understand and help you, call upon the name above all names, Jesus!  Don’t be frightened, be strong, and yell back to the face of Hell, “not today!  I am redeemed!  I am chosen!  My Father loves me!”  “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” Psalm 91:15

Who do YOU cry out to?  I cry out to Jesus!

Thank you Lord, I love You.  Amen


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Therefore, bring me peace, blessed assurance that my steps are ordered by the Lord Who made me.  My Guide is always showing me the correct path to take and road to walk.

Let my eyes see and my ears hear all that which You are teaching me.  Heal my bruised spirit and let me once again rest in Your mighty arms, feeling Your love encompass me with a peace I can’t understand.

Let me glorify You, o Lord, and give You praise!  For You are holy, and deserving of all the glory and honor.  You have reached into my soul and healed my broken, crushed heart.  You have held me in the most disastrous of storms and consoled my spirit!

For this I give you praise, God of my fathers, Lord of all!  One day I will have the greatest moment, when I am face-to-face with Your beauty!  I surrender my life to You, Jesus, my Healer and Sanctifier.

You alone are life!  You alone are God!  I am Yours and You are mine!  A match made in Heaven!  I love you desperately!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'm Found - Part Three of I'm Lost

All week long I couldn’t wait for Sunday.  I just had to go back.  I knew I had to go up at the altar call, and that nothing was going to stop me!  Finally, Sunday came.  You know, I wanted everything that God had to give me so badly that I hardly heard a word our Pastor said!  I just wanted the end to come so I could raise my hand!  When he did an altar call that day, Flag Day (June 14) 1987, I think I hurt myself putting my arm up so fast and high!  I went up front and was escorted into a little room and a very nice older person in our congregation welcomed me to the Kingdom and asked me if I would like to be baptized in the Holy Spirit?  I wasn’t sure what that was, but yes, yes, please, anything that had to do with God, I want it all!!!  So I said another very easy prayer and began speaking in the Spirit.  My life has never been the same.  I cried and cried, the feeling in my depths of my very being was overwhelming.  I was experiencing joy for the first time.  There is a big difference between happiness and joy, let me tell you that!

Unfortunately we came and went to church, never attending another church, but we weren’t consistent in our walk.  Our daughter went to day care there, and then 6-8th grades, and then was married there.  We made sure we tithed every week, but we didn’t always attend.  That is my misfortune.

 About four years ago we went back after a long hiatus.   There was a very strong need for me to do that.  We hadn’t been there but a handful of times in about seven years.  I needed to go.  On September 11th, 2001, I wanted nothing more than to go to my church and feel God’s presence through the congregation, but I fell for a lie from Hell that I would be condemned for not being there all that time. 

We were only back for a few weeks when they announced that they were having water baptisms in February.  I guess it was the Holy Spirit rising up in me, and telling me to get baptized!  So we signed up and did just that.  My life started changing almost immediately.  I never knew how important being baptized was, but it is.  Matt 3:13-15 says, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”  But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.”

All of a sudden one day I noticed that I wasn’t cussing anymore.  I had a heck of dirty mouth my whole life, and it just stopped, I guess.  It took me a while to notice it, but it was definitely gone.  I started to have a craving, an insatiable desire to know God and who He is.  I started not just reading the Bible, but I bought the Bible in different versions, and have a Jack Hayford Spirit-Filled Study Bible (it’s actually my favorite).  I gave up watching TV, and instead started listening to Joyce Meyer on CD.

Our church (thankfully) has many different classes and groups to offer.  My husband and I have gone to several marriage classes and seminars.  I devoured the learning.  We enrolled in the International School of Ministry class, which was twice a week for about 16 months.  Wow!  What an amazing course!  I learned so much, probably more than I ever could on my own.  We then took the ‘advanced’ course, the Ministry Module. 

I am still overwhelmed with a desire to please Jesus and our Father.  I am trying to hear the Holy Spirit at all times (you know, that little voice that says, don’t get upset, it’ll be okay, just keep quiet).  I am not always successful in ignoring my flesh but I try.  Every day I try.  

I know that my life is different now, in many ways.  I know that I have changed, and I welcome the changes.  I have a new feeling of hope in my life.  I know I have a purpose now.  I am no longer ‘lost.’  That is a great feeling!  I now know the peace of God’s embrace.  I know that I am not alone.  The most important thing is that I am finally relinquishing my need to be in control of everything and everyone.  It is a slow process, mainly because God is teaching me things that need to stay with me.  As I make a mistake He doesn’t condemn me, instead He shows me a better way.  He is constantly telling me, “Trust Me!”  I am learning to do that.  I will write something about trust soon.  It is very important in our walk.  In the meantime, have a blessed day and peaceful sleep.  God bless you!


Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm Found - Part Two of I'm Lost

Yes, I was determined that I had to take care of my own life, and that I would from then on be in charge of all the things that impacted my life.  Even if I had to change the lives of those around me to do it. (End of Part One)

And that’s exactly what I set out to do.  I had to have control of things.  I could no longer stand to be misunderstood or taken for granted!  I was verbally abusive in my desperation for attention.  It didn’t matter what kind of attention I commanded, if it were out of fear, all the better.  For once in my life I was in charge.  I had suffered being abused emotionally for as long as I could remember.  Now I was old enough and strong enough to take care of myself.  Watch out, here I come!

You know what?  I became a stranger to myself.  A part of me knew what I was doing and felt bad about it, but another part of me didn’t care, I needed to share my pain.  What was wrong with me?  I was not like this when I was a teenager! The funny thing was; this wasn’t making me happy either.  As a matter of fact, I started to feel terrible about doing to others what had happened to me. 

I had a longing to change things in my life, but I didn’t know how.  I needed something, but I didn’t know what.  And then that something found me.  That something turned out to be Someone.  Jesus came knocking on the door of my heart one day and left a message.  “Came to visit, just call Me when you’re ready, you know My number!” 

I didn’t know very much about Him.  I knew He was the Son of God and that He came to earth and was God and man, and that He walked the earth and told people about His Father.  I knew He raised Lazarus from the dead and that He suffered an awful death for me, somehow, and then rose into heaven. 

I knew that despite knowing so little, I loved Him.  Something in my heart would make me cry to Him when I was hurting.  Whether or not He answered me didn’t really matter, I grew up thinking that He was very busy with world affairs and not to bother Him with my problems.  I was so far away from the One they called my Savior.  I didn’t get it.  I was baptized as an infant, wasn’t that the ticket to heaven?  If I killed myself, wouldn’t I go there?

When I look back, it amazes me that I lived long enough to invite Jesus into my life.  I was under so many false doctrines and religious rules, that I didn’t even know the way to get to heaven isn’t by being baptized as an infant, but by asking Jesus into your heart!  That’s it!  Just say a small prayer!  Nothing could be simpler if that was what you truly desired.  And getting into heaven was just the beginning.  That guarantee was immediate.  But the rest of the blessing, the wonders that come while I am still here on earth--now that was an unexpected bonus!  And then I found out that there was a manual that told me how to come home after leaving under selfish and greedy conditions, and how I could be forgiven.  I didn’t know any of these things, but I wanted to know more. 

So much so that I started talking about it.  Several people told me about this one particular church in town that was filling all their needs.  They loved the Pastor and the staff, and you came out of there with wisdom and love and feeling invincible towards the devil.  They said it was ‘charismatic.’   I had to ask what that was.  They said that they sung really great songs and occasionally danced in the aisles if the anointing moved them to.  I didn’t have a clue what an anointing was.  It scared me a little. They didn’t have a format like I used to know, a few minutes of the gospel and a quick review and the rest was religious things.  They had something called Praise and Worship.  I wasn’t sure how to take that.

When we finally went, I was flabbergasted.  (To this day, 24 years later, the music still brings tears to my eyes.  I feel God’s love in me when I put my hands up and face the heavens with my eyes closed and feel the power of His almighty love all around me.)  There was this man teaching and preaching the Bible to me.  I didn’t even know how to read the Bible; it was so foreign to me.  It didn’t make sense.  But he did.  He touched something in my soul by the words that he spoke.  I do not remember the sermon this many years later, I only know that spiritually it brought me to my knees.  I was shocked and elated at what he spoke.  Jesus was more than I ever knew.

The Pastor did an ‘alter call’ at the end, anyone who wanted Jesus in their life to raise their hand.  I couldn’t do that, someone would see me!  I didn’t even know what it all meant, really.  But I was very curious. 

To be continued…..