I am back after a long season of being away. My life was in turmoil for a good part of 2016. I had some physical challenges as well as some very hard emotional challenges. In March, the pain of losing our unborn granddaughter at 28 weeks tore at my heart like nothing I had known before. The sorrow I felt for my daughter and son-in-law was all consuming, but I had to put it aside in order to help out with taking care of Makayla Grace, their now 4-year old.
I had extensive oral surgery in May, and one week later I contracted Shingles. By the end of the year I had lost my desire to write, and my faith was greatly tested. I doubted God's presence in my life, and I struggled to believe that I would ever write again. I couldn't see the point, and I felt as though there was no reward. By the time 2016 ended, my hope was just about gone. I was feeling pretty down and useless. On top of that, I gained eight pounds which doesn't work on my small-framed body. That in itself depressed me.
On 1 January, my church of almost 30 years, Grace Christian Center in Killeen, TX, began its third annual 21-day Daniel Fast. This is a time to eat only fruit and nuts, veggies and seeds, and only drink water. There are no sweeteners, caffeine, breads or desserts, chemicals or preservatives, meat, fish, or fowl. More importantly though, it is a time to pray and draw closer to God. When we deny our flesh the things it craves, such as ice cream, coffee, steak and potatoes, pizza, or any other foods we desire, a battle ensues over the flesh.
After the third day of headaches from withdrawals of the above mentioned delicacies, it gets a little easier. I found I wanted to spend as much time with God as possible. Some days I sat in my office and read and studied the bible for hours on end. It's true that meditating on the Word brings you closer to God. As the days and weeks went by, I found myself being filled with joy once again.
In those times when I starve the flesh and stay in the Word of God, my heart's ears are opened and I hear so much more clearly what God is speaking to me. It will work this way for you too. As my body was cleansed of impurities, so my soul was filled with the Bread of Life.
Since the beginning of the year, God's message, whether through my Pastor's sermons, devotions that I read, or studies that I attended, was very simple. Listen and obey. That's all. Don't procrastinate, do! I had to go back to remembering what it was that God put me here to do. He blessed me with certain gifts. His plan for me is to reach as many of His children as possible and to share the Good News of the Gospel through my writing. Jesus lives! He reigns! He is eternal and He loves us!
Let me encourage you today to listen and obey without delay. We have no need to fear, He is ever by our side. I am happy to be back at my keyboard and being with you once again. I may change up the format of my blog, but I won't change the purpose - to be His representative. Have a blessed and grateful day, and know that you are loved by Your Creator.