Hope And Praise-How I Live With My Grief

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I took this picture of the sunset the night my father passed away.  I saw heaven open up and rejoice in receiving a good and faithful servant.  9/27/2014

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18*

September is a bittersweet month for me.  My two sons and granddaughter were born in this month and it is also the month I lost my father four years ago.  Not a day goes by where I see or hear something which makes me think about him.

Because we are given the capacity to love, we are also burdened by grieve when we lose a loved one.  It doesn’t matter who it is when death robs us of our daily comforts, it is brutal and sometimes debilitating.

But, I have hope.

Because of my faith, I know I will be reunited one day with my loved ones who have gone before me.  I have hope in what God has promised me as a Christ follower and know what waits for me.  And because of this hope, I give Him praises in all my circumstances.

Praise God in the great times, the bad times, and the unbearable times.   Where grief can hold me under indefinitely, He is the buoy of hope which will keep me afloat for one more hour and one more day.

This is why I give God the glory in all my life events.  He covers me in peace, comfort, and gives me rest when I am so weary and worn out from grieving.  He also reminds me there is a much bigger plan than my little world and I need to recognize I am not in control.

He is, forever.

I wrote this about my dad’s death a few years ago.  It reminds me of how fragile life is and how thankful I should be in experiencing love, bearing the scars of loss, and comforting others in their grief.

My family had gathered at my parents’ house while my dad was slowly leaving this earth for his permanent home with Jesus.  As the minutes ticked away, I sat there watching his labored breathing and thinking Lord please take him now, he has suffered enough.  As I prayed, a voice whispered in my head, “Give thanks in all circumstances”.  I immediately changed my prayer from take him home, to thank you for allowing me these last quiet moments with my father.  I was in awe at how I could change my prayer, my desire, and feel the love of Jesus fill my heart.

It is way too easy to plug along in life and when something terrific happens, we throw up our hands and PTL (praise the Lord!), and then when tragedy falls on us, we pray fervently for a better outcome.  God wants us to praise Him and give thanks in ALL circumstances.

We have to practice this on the good, the bad, and the extremely ugly.

It is easier to send up praise when I did not get the promotion at work because I know God would open another door.  It is another concern when my father was terminally ill and giving God the glory to have loved and known him as my dad.

Not simple, not easy, but necessary.  I remind myself this world is temporary, along with the relationships, material items, money, entertainment, and food, to be enjoyed in the now but not forever.  I have to set my eyes on my future, where I will eternally dwell in the house of the Lord with my loved ones and forever live in peace.  All experiences here on earth mold and shape me for my future endeavors, and it is my faith and hope in God’s word which reminds me there will be something more beautiful waiting for me.


* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Resting In The Truth-God Is Always Present

God Is Always Present.png

Wow.  September has not been a good month for me in regards to blogging.

My inner circle has been rocked with the passing of a couple of dear friends, a marriage being tested, friends diagnosed with a disease, and of course smothering in hot Louisiana weather.  Can I be real?  Right now, God does not feel present and it has been difficult for me to write.

But because of my faith, I know He is here.  And this is what I hang on to; at this moment.

I have to push through the waves of sadness and despair and turn to the Bible for comfort and strength.  When I want to search for something specific, such as faith, I start by searching the internet for scripture related to faith.  Once I have found several choices in scripture, I open my Bible and start reading them one by one.  Inevitably, God directs me to the one which I need.

Today, I was directed to Isaiah 40:31 which reads, “But those who hope in Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run, and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” * In this chapter, Isaiah is sharing how God is comforting His chosen people, and reminding them there will be the judgment on their behavior, but there is also redemption in store for them.

I can relate to this scripture right now.  I have hope in God and when I rest in this truth, I am restored.  I need to do this daily as a way of preparing my mind and heart to face the evil of this world.  Sickness, death, and despair are around us daily.

I will choose to arm myself with God’s promise and know He stands beside me in facing the enemy.  As I renew myself every day in His word, I will soar above all the temporary ailments of this world.  I will have the strength to endure all issues thrown my way.   And I might teeter and wobble briefly, but ultimately will stand tall because my roots run deep in His principles.  I might briefly be dazed and confused by white noise, but will find clarity through His grace.

I have a choice and I chose to hold close these truths about my God.  He will comfort, support, and direct me in my life.  Bad situations will happen and having Him as my foundation formulates how I process and react to my circumstances.

Another favorite scripture which I hold close to my heart is from Romans 5:3-4, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”*

Friends, I might be knocked down temporarily, but because of my faith and hope, I will continue to rise and face the next day.  I am armed with His grace, mercy, and love.

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Why Prayer Is A Powerful Piece Of My Worship

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“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  NIV*

Have you ever prayed and were totally at peace with whatever the outcome?  I mean the legit calmness and “all is well within my soul” kind of feeling?  One particular prayer of mine was all about me.

I had been a widow for two and a half years and quite frankly I was not thinking about, meeting, dating or looking for another husband.  I know my family and friends had good intentions and would ask frequently if I had gone to any of the singles events at church or would I be interested in online dating.  I took their advice and visited a couple of singles bible study groups and events.  Can you say-AWKWARD?   I discovered quickly there is a big difference between being single because of divorce and the death of a spouse.

I quietly panicked at the thought of possibly being alone for the rest of my life.  There would be no one to share life with day to day, inside jokes, laughter, intimacy, or growing old together.  I quickly came to the conclusion I could not do this on my own.  So I started praying.  It was not a prayer to bring me a husband, but a genuine, heartfelt plea to God.  Let His will be done and let me swallow and accept the outcome.  I received such peace from this prayer and understood I could face my future with grace and embrace it.

Only God could answer this type of prayer in His timing and His perfect plan.  I lived in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with six million other people and then I met Randy. The God thing is how I met Randy.

A girlfriend and I decided on a cruise which meant flying to Florida to catch the ship.  I got on the luxury liner with my friend and to fill a full dinner table in the evening, we were seated with six other women.  The group was from New Orleans, LA and I became fast friends with one of the ladies, Robin.  She had a beautiful smile, loved life, and was celebrating with her friends on her remission from breast cancer.  We dined, talked to one another, and hung out over the next few days.  When the cruise was winding down Robin started asking me if I was ready to date.  I laughed and told her my family and friends were ready for me but I was not as confident.  She explained she had a brother who was forty-one, a care-free bachelor who lived in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  She got my information and told me she would be in touch.

A week later I received an e-mail from Robin with her brother Randy copied in on the message.  Randy kindly thanked Robin and asked her to butt out.  For a couple of weeks, Randy and I emailed back and forth.  We had common interests in recreational sports activities, music, food, and our faith.  We decided on a lunch date in early December 2003.  I was extremely nervous since I had not dated in over twenty years!  After a couple of dates, I invited him to my church and we began to date exclusively.

On June 18, 2005, we were married in our church’s garden with our best friends and my three children.  Now they are our three children as Randy calls them his own.  He is a genuinely selfless man who listens to us tell stories about my first husband over and over again.  He told me if he had ever met him they would have been good friends.

 Remember how I prayed about my future and would be at peace with the outcome?  I am so blessed because God did bring another man into my life.  A new best friend who makes me laugh, shares inside jokes and a partner to grow old with gracefully.  I was totally prepared for how my journey would play out and knew God was in control.  Prayer is all about developing, strengthening, worshiping, and deepening the personal relationship with God.   Prayer is powerful and as long as you are open to His will, it can move mountains and make possibilities into reality.

Please visit my prayer request page because I would love to pray for you.  Lord, I hope to encourage others to pray more openly with You and build a relationship.  Your will and timing are perfect and I thank you for all of Your blessings.  Amen!

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Church: It Is More Than A Place Of Worship


I sat in the small room, facing my pastor, and desperately tried to listen to his words.  Questions were swirling around in my head and I had to keep internally slapping myself and screaming, “FOCUS!”   A couple of weeks prior, my pastor had confessed a sinful nature to the congregation.  It rocked the church to its soulful core, dividing the members, and fueling harsh criticism of his behavior.  I was numbed by the news and tried to make sense of it all.

My pastor and his wife had asked me my husband to meet with them to hear their side and ask for our support.   This was the man who spoke at my sister in law’s funeral, counseled my children, and prayed for us during extremely difficult times in our lives.   After he asked me the question, “Can you support me in continuing my role as the pastor?”  I collected my thoughts, and whispered to myself, “God give me the wisdom.”  I proceeded to tell him, I loved him and forgave him, but at this time, I could not trust him to lead our church.  My husband agreed and we made the decision to walk away.

Church is a sanctuary for me.  For the past several years, our family has been part of an awesome church.  As I grow older, I find myself wanting to be more involved in church activities.  I could have easily been dissuaded after my previous church experience, but have come to an understanding of what defines a church.

A church is nothing more than a gathering place of sinners.

A church is made up of people, some who are Christ followers and some who are searching for answers.

A church is a place to worship my Lord and Savior and to strive in improving my heart and mind.

Because the church is built and led by humans it is not a perfect place.  But I have found if I make the effort in building relationships in the church, the members become more like family.  And we know family is hardly ever perfect!  A church home has been an intricate part of my Christian journey and I believe it has a purpose in our world today.

Strength in Numbers– I believe God listens, blesses, and comforts those who gather together in His name.  Whether it be Sunday morning worship, bible study, prayer circles, or community service, God is present.  He hears our prayers, sees our good deeds and is pleased with His people.  The members’ actions of a church can be the light shining into the numerous dark places in this world.  “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them.”-Matthew 18:19-20 NIV*

Encouragement For All-Our church provides many services open to the community such as Celebrate Recovery, Grief Group, Discovering your purpose, finance classes, mission trips, and bible study.  The support groups and classes provide a service for both members and non-members.  What a great example of demonstrating how Christians are not “perfect” and have issues and need assistance like everyone else.   We can open the doors of the church and invite anyone who needs encouragement or support to come in.  “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”-Hebrews 10:25 NIV*

Lead by Example-Our church has a focus and commitment to future generations.  The mentoring of the youth is a priority for our church and offers Sunday school, bible study, vacation bible school, and Sunday evening worship for the children.  Classes are also offered to learn the different volunteer areas in the church (music, video, mission work, scripture memorization, etc.) and assist in developing the talents of our children through media, music, choir and play performances.  We have a ministry called AIM (All Inclusive Ministry) which meets the special needs of people in our church and community.  We also host an annual Special Needs Family festival to celebrate the abundant life of special needs families and provide connections to vendors in our community.  “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”-Proverbs 22:6 NIV*


Human beings are made to be social and worship, or have faith, in some object or ideal.  I choose to have faith in Jesus and to worship Him as my God.  I also choose to be in a setting with other people who share the same ideas of God, praise, and worship.  I see the church as a safe place to be social and practice my faith.   It meets all my personal needs and provides aid to those who are less fortunate in the community.   So when someone asks me the question, “Why do you belong to a church?”  My response is “because it feels like home.”

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

A Study Plan to Enrich My Worship Time


“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17*

I have a confession.  I am a Christ follower and have difficulty studying God’s word.  I enjoy Bible study groups and listening to others’ teachings, but find hardship in reading scriptures on my own and unraveling the message.

I enjoy reading books and generally don’t have an issue with understanding the plot, but I am intimidated by the pages of the Good Book.  Why?

The Bible has some beautiful stories nestled in the Old and New Testament with rich and infallible teachings written in several different versions.  I prefer the New International Version because of its simple and current English translation.   I have wondered where to start the Bible and opened up at the beginning and have gone through page by page.

Only to get stumped by the Chapter Numbers and asking myself “Am I pronouncing the names correctly?”  I am determined to get to a comfortable level of studying the Bible on my own.  Below is an outline I have started following to achieve this personal goal and deepen my worship.

PRAYER– My first act is to pray and ask for guidance in what I should focus on in the Bible.  Recently, God placed on my heart the word devotion.  Oh boy, this is a doozy for me.   So in my quiet time, I have asked him to point me to specific scripture to study.  I have compiled a list of scripture relating to devotion and this is my current study.

PRACTICE– I start by writing the scripture down in my journal.  I read over it a couple of times and then I research around the scripture.  I want to know the background of the chapter such as who wrote it and to whom, what is the time frame, and what actions are being taken during this period.  I use reference materials such as Bible Notes.net, a Bible dictionary, and concordances.  A concordance is a book which outlays the different words alphabetically and their contexts for easy reference.  Another key component of my Bible study is to make time daily.  In focusing on opening my Bible daily, creates a good habit of taking time and being still with God.  To me, this is where my growth starts to get real.

PREVAIL-When I apply the first two steps I find I am becoming more effective in diving into the word and learning it through my eyes.  It is the opportunity to commune with God and comprehend what the Bible means to me.  I know my relationship with God is deepening and gives me the confidence and ability to talk to others about what I ascertained from scripture.

Believe me, I am no expert on deciphering and teaching the meaning of the Bible.  I have found it less intimidating for myself to use the three steps above in my daily devotional time.  I continue to go to Bible study groups because I learn so much from those who are blessed to be teachers of the Bible.  For me, the combination of church, group Bible study, and personal Bible study has drawn me closer to God and understanding my purpose.

Would you be willing to share some of your Bible study habits?  Please post in the comments what you find most effective in your study time and how to improve your worship.  Blessings!

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society