Friday, April 29, 2011

One word!

I am working on a project and wondering if any of you would care to participate....

Please leave a comment with the one word or one emotion you think of when you think of cancer and/or the cancer journey. Ex: fear, love, courage, anger, frustration, peace. (If you would like to explain why you chose that word, please feel free, but otherwise just post a word or words...that would be awesome and greatly appreciated!)

Thanks for your help!!

The letter Y!

Y is for Yipee!!

One of the qualities I admire in my husband and daughters is self-discipline. While I am becoming more disciplined, this is still an area I struggle. This is especially true when it comes to goal setting. This could be because my goals are just a bit unrealistic. Take my goal of running the 5K in the Avera Breast Cancer Race. It started out as a good goal, but in my deconditioned state, I should have started months ago. I am still going to run it, but will probable do a run/walk. Oh, well, there is the Susan B Kommen 5K this fall which is a bit more realistic. Or what about my goal of losing 30 pounds in two months? Yup—unrealistic. Now my goal is to lose 5 pounds. Once I achieve that, I will plan a new goal.

So, why the YIPPEE? When I first read of the A to Z bloggers challenge, I thought, there is no way I can complete that challenge. With only Z to go, I am almost there…

The A to Z blogging challenge has been such a delight for me:

• I have met some really awesome new bloggers/friends

• I have practiced my writing every day

• I have been encouraged by the kind comments and emails

• I have learned lots about life

• I have grown in my faith journey

• I have learned that I love to research topics and ideas

• I have learned that I have so much to learn about writing

• I have learned that life is pretty darn amazing!

Q. What goal(s) have you accomplished?

The letter X!

X is for Extraordinaire!

Every day is a gift from God!

Xcited about having this fun opportunity of blogging!

Time is a precious commodity!

Radically in love with the Lord!

Anytime for coffee with a friend is a good time!

Oh, how my life has been enriched by all of you!

Resting is a word that has become very familiar to me!

Daring to face my fears…

I am living a life of NO regrets!

Never say “never”, especially when God is working in your life!

Almost done with this blog post!

I am so stepping “out of my box” by going to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in a few weeks.
(Whatever was I thinking??)

Renewal and refinement—what awesome life words for 2011!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The letter W!

W is for What if?

When I began thinking about my W post, I was planning on writing about waiting on the Lord. I had my bible verses picked out and the words formulated in my head. That was…before my walk this evening…my W word changed to “What if…”

What if today God is enough?

No distractions, no computer, no radio, no cell phone….just God and me??

What if today I stopped and asked God for direction? Now, I pray and talk to God during the day, but many times I find myself making decisions and plans without first thinking about the consequences. It is so easy to say yes to activities, only to find out that I either lack the stamina or time to complete them. Many times I end up cheating myself of my God time and/or my writing time.

What if today I loved others like God loves me? I try hard to be kind to others, but often catch myself with critical/sarcastic thoughts and yes, at times even words. Also, I wonder how many times a day I have contact with someone who is hurting, but too afraid to share their hurt.

Hmmmm….what if today, God is enough?

Addendum:  After reviewing this post and I feel I need to clarify my message (can you tell I am still new at this writing stuff?)...the question what if today God is enough was meant more of a challenge to myself.  Many times I put other things and people in front of my relationship with God.  I often find myself wondering, why isn't God enough?  Why do I continue to try and please others, yet neglect Him?  Why do I chose things like the Internet over time in His word?  I am not trying to add guilt to any of our lives and I apologize if that is what came across in this blog...just pondering is all...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The letter V!

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 1 John 4:4

From victim to victory!

I think it would be safe to say that every person alive has been a victim of some sort. Sometimes we are victims of our own mistakes. Other times we are victims of others poor choices. Occasionally we are just victims of circumstances.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt like a victim. I was only 40 years old when I was told that I had this aggressive, deadly cancer growing in my body. After all, breast cancer only happens to older women, or so I thought. I was frustrated because I was following the advice of the experts on how lower cancer risks: exercise, nutrition, non-smoker, nursed my children, etc. I especially felt victimized when I had to have my breast removed. How can modern medicine be so advanced and yet, we still have to endure such barbaric treatment for cancer? (Now, don’t get me wrong here, I am thankful for all my treatment choices and would still make the same choices, but just saying...)

So, while I may have felt like a victim for a little bit…I knew that I didn’t want to stay stuck in the victim role. You see, before I was diagnosed, I knew that through Christ I had victory! I know how the story ends!! Because of this knowledge I prayed with confidence for strength from the Lord. I specifically prayed that God wouldn’t let me get bitter. Oh, it would have been so easy to have a big ol’ pitty party…but I held true to the promise of our Lord from Jeremiah 29: 11—“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” I haven’t been promised a physical healing, but I have received victory with a spiritual healing!

If you have time, I would encourage you to hop over to my friend Elayne’s inspirational blog post on Victory at Running to Recovery !

For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
1 John 5:4

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The letter U!

U is for unlovable and unworthy!
Well, blogger friends, today is a truth day!

For most of my life I believed that I was unlovable and unworthy. It wasn’t until my recent journey through breast cancer, that I would allow myself to choose to throw these two words in the garbage. Something about being faced with the reality of my death made me do a stop and think.

When I was a child, I was told by a trusted and loved adult that my parents didn’t love me, didn’t want me and I basicallt ruined my mother’s life. These words were etched in my heart often clouding my judgment and decisions. I was unworthy and unlovable.

I carried these lies into my marriage. I was unable to believe the words, “I love You!” from my husband. How could he love me? I was unworthy and unlovable.

When my oldest daughter was born almost 24 years ago—I was so excited and my heart was filled with joy—someone loved me! Unfortunately due to my insecurities and brokenness I didn’t always mother her…I smothered her! Many times I let my need of being loved, cloud my parenting judgment. I was unworthy and unlovable.

For many years I would strive for a relationship with God. I would pray. I would bible study. I would talk Christianize, all the while I was crying inside—unable to believe. I was unworthy and unlovable.

Oh, the tears I have shed throughout the years, because I believed the lies: I was unworthy and unlovable.

Then cancer…

Slowly as I was being stripped physically, God met me spiritually. It was in my broken state that I met the faithfulness and love of our creator. When I didn’t have anything left to give, He showed me that I was loved for just being me. In the darkest of nights, I began to understand that none of us are worthy, but we all have worth.

My life now has freedom for I have bound up the lies and thrown them in the garbage! I am loved and I have worth!

My prayer for you dear friend is that you can recognize an untruth in your life and throw it in the garbage. You are loved and You are worthy!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The letter T!

T is for travel, tears and transformation!

Monday we travel back to South Dakota, back to reality, back to home…13 hours of car time, so unsure if I will be “on time” with my next a to z blog.

Today I shed a few tears. The first time was when we were on a hike and I lost my balance, slipped and fell. I was so frustrated. I continue to struggle with the stamina and when I fell in front of my family—my pride and confidence was shaken. Very thankful for the blessing of being alive to join them, but jeez…could I ever stay upright? I don’t think of cancer recurrence often, yet today…the thoughts were haunting me. I am not sure why?? The last set of tears was saying good bye to my daughter, son in law and grandson. I will not lie, it is hard on this mamma's heart having them live so far away.

Now, the “T” word that I think about so often: Transformation!

In Philippians 3: 21 Paul states “by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Three and a half years ago I was sitting in a church parking lot…crying….too scared to walk through the church doors. At that time I was a very broken vessel, with much hurt in my heart and very low self-esteem. I cried out to the Lord. He carried me. Through God and my new church family I experienced grace and love. The transformation—I am now writing about my life experiences on a blog, facilitating bible study groups, assisting with different ministry opportunities, participating in a breast cancer support group, attending a writer’s workshop in a few weeks, and so excited to share how Hope Lives Now!!

Q. How about you…can you share a transformation in your life?

Let go of the past and go for the future. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.- Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The letter S!

S is for Sonrise!
Although I know no excuses are needed, this little guy is why I am a bit late with my blog post and haven't been able to keep up with reading my favorite blogs!  My hubby and I are celebrating the long holiday weekend in Montana with our daughter's family.  It is worth every minute of the 13 hour road trip to be showered with so many hugs and little boy giggles.  Today we went on an Easter Egg Hunt.  I will share more highlights in the next few days...but now on to the letter S...

S is for sonrise!
Yes, I know sun rise is spelled with an "u" and not an "o"...however, this morning as I was waiting for the sunrise, I thought about how tomorrow we will be celebrating the "son rise!" This year the meaning of the resurrection brings me more hope than ever before...for it is in the resurrection that we have the fulfillment of the promise.  As I am preparing my heart and mind for the "son rise," I am pondering so many questions:
I wonder what were the apostle's thinking after Christ's Crucifixion but before his resurrection? 
Where would our hope be if there was no resurrection?
Am I living a life worthy of my calling? many questions???

Have a beautiful "son rise" celebration!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The letter R!

R is for…..

In 2009—R was for Rest. Traveling through cancer treatment, I quickly discovered that peace only comes when we rest in our Lord. (I also had to take a rest from many obligations.)

In 2010—R was for Recovery and Reality. This past year most of my energy was spent recovering from surgeries and cancer treatment. It was with this recovery phase, that my new reality became clear. The reality is that cancer will always be part of our lives. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I thought I would go through treatment and then go back to normal. Only to discover that there will never be a "normal" like the past. It is exciting to learn that more and more research is being done with regards to survivorship and the challenges experienced post treatment.

In 2011—R is for Refinement and Renewal. Refinement is an ongoing process when we walk the Christian walk. It is often accompanied by pain. This pain is what helps to develop strong faith muscles. Webster defines Renewal as the process of restoring to freshness and vigor. Slowly, slowly, slowly my body and soul are springing to life.

This week R is for Resurrection—so very thankful and humble that Christ fulfilled the promise of the resurrection. Where would our foundation be if he had chickened out?

Q. What R word best describes you today?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The letter Q!

Q is for  Quiet Time

One of the the things I cherish most in life is my morning quiet time.  The time when the rest of my household is still sleeping...the time for just me and my Maker.  (and my cup of tea!)

Unfortunately my life got off track and although I am working on getting back on track, finding the time for quiet time is still challenging.  Now, if my work day could start at 10, I would have no's just the getting up early that is still proving to be a challenge for me.  (Hmmm, I wonder if the no sleeping due to instant menopause has anything to do with it??)  Anyways....the next few days I plan to take some time for pondering and setting goals...thinking that I will have to put quiet time at the top of list. 

Q.  How are you doing with your quiet time?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The letter P

Pardon me with my procrastination in my preparation for planning a proper post for the letter P….

P is a particularly positive word especially when we use praise in our prayer!

Perhaps you have experienced pain in your life, may Paul’s words to the Philippians encourage you:

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Off to bed, hopefully I won’t find a pea under my princess mattress!

Q. What’s your favorite p word?

Monday, April 18, 2011

The letter O

O is for Obadiah

“And the Lord himself will be king!” Obadiah 2:21

As I had pondered about my word selection for the letter O…Obadiah kept coming to my mind. Obadiah is a two chapter book in the old testement. A small book with a lot of punch!

Obadiah was a prophet from Judah who told of God’s judgment against the nation of Edom. Obadiah’s name means “servant (or worshiper) of the Lord.” The main purpose of the book of Obadiah was to show that God judges those who have harmed his people.

Obadiah warned of God’s judgment on Edom. God was displeased with both their inward and their outward rebellion. Unfortunately, this rebellion continues today with many of the same sins being repeated. At times we may wonder how much longer evil will continue. Although it is sad to read of the destruction, what a great reminder that God is always in control!!  He is the reason for our hope!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The letter N!

N is for Nehemiah

In the 20th year of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, Nehemiah was cup-bearer to the king. Learning that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down he asked the king for permission to return and rebuild them, and Artaxerxes sent him to Judah as governor of the province with a mission to rebuild the walls. Once there he defied the opposition of Judah's enemies on all sides - Samaritans, Ammonites, Arabs and Philistines - and rebuilt the walls within 52 days.--

When reading the book of Nehemiah, I was greatly encouraged by Nehemiah’s love and commitment to God. His example of praying to God and seeking His will in all things is admirable. Another thing I respected about Nehemiah is how numerous times the enemy tried to distract him from his purpose. Yet, Nehemiah’s responded “I am doing a great work! I cannot stop to come and meet with you.” I wish I wasn’t so fickle. I wish my focus could be so strong on the Lord, that I wouldn’t be so easily distracted. But, isn’t that the great thing about our walk with Jesus, we get to keep trying!!

Side note: N is the 14th letter of the alphabet…only 12 more days to go….although my words and thoughts have been random, I am having such a blast with this blogging challenge. I have never made the opportunity to write such a priority…and I am having such a blast! Thank you all for your comments and emails—you are a great encouragement!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The letter M!

M is for Mary and Martha

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 38-42

Isn’t it interesting that women today still struggle with the challenges that faced women in Jesus time? Oh, how I find myself seeking and desiring the intimacy with the Lord that Mary had, while at the same time I find myself burdened with a “to do” list that never seems to end…

The footnote in my bible states this:

Mary and Martha both loved Jesus. On this occasion they were both serving him. But Martha thought Mary’s style of serving was inferior to hers. She didn’t realize that in her desire to serve, she was actually neglecting her guest. Are you so busy doing things for Jesus that you’ve not spending any time with Him? Don’t let you service become self-serving. Jesus did not blame Martha for being concerned about household chores. He was only asking her to set priorities. It is possible for service to Christ to degenerate into mere busy work that is totally devoid of devotion to God.

I am so thankful for Mary and Martha’s example of using their gifts to serve God. While my tendency is to be a “doer” like Martha, I am trying to choose to sit at His feet first…knowing that His strength will help carry my daily load.

Q. Do you have a tendency to be more of a Martha or a Mary?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The letter L!

L is for love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34

These were some of the last words Jesus spoke to his disciples. Many times I have pondered these words…do you ever wish that Jesus would have included a few more words to the phrase? Like the words, love those who are kind, loving and caring to you…but, he forgot to say those words, and I am sad to admit I often forget he didn’t say those words. It’s tough to love someone who has hurt or wronged you. How about betrayal or abandonment?

Let’s face it…some people are a challenge to love. They make it hard for us to love them. Typically these people are unable to love because of their own brokenness. When faced with this opportunity, I find that if I pretend to put the person in a box, wrap it with beautiful wrapping paper and give them to God….while praying these words: “God, I have put xxxx in this box. I know they are a child of yours who you love just as much as you love me. However due to the situation, I am struggling with having loving feelings towards them. Could you please fill me with your spirit so that I can love them through you?” This prayer has enabled me to cross bridges I didn’t want to cross and swim in seas when I would rather be lying on the beach.

Q. How do you show love to someone who is difficult to love?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The letter K

K is for King

The K letter kind of stumped me as in my Bible Who’s Who book didn’t really have any K names. (How could that be? After all, I am very partial to the K name: Kimberly Kay(me), Kalina (oldest daughter), and Kelsey (youngest daughter.) ) So, after thinking about it….I thought of a “K” letter that is very important in the bible. The word that I chose to blog on is king.

“For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.” Psalm 47:2

A few years back when I was going through some challenging circumstances, I heard a sermon which I continue to replay in my mind. The pastor shared that God is our Father and He is our King, thus we are His prince and princesses.

Shortly thereafter I purchased a tiara at the dollar store (yup, I really did!).

You see, there have been situations in my life where I was pretty beat up emotionally, feeling unworthy and very discouraged. By having the tiara on my dresser, I remind myself that I am a princess of the greatest King of the all the earth! If I am a princess of the king, I am worthy! I am wanted! I am loved!

Now, I often find myself challenging other women, especially those who are in a tough life situation, that they are princesses of the greatest king on earth. They are worthy! They are wanted! They are loved!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Letter J!

J is for Jehoshaphat

“Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the ways of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight. During this reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to following the God of their ancestors” 2 Chronicles 20: 32,33

In looking at my Who’s Who in the Bible book, I had so many good “J” words to chose from…so I was a bit surprised when I kept coming back to King Jehoshaphat. To be honest, I didn’t really know that much about him until this morning when I read his story in 2 Chronicles .

When Jehoshaphat first became King he turned to God for guidance and made the right choices. His dependence on God was consistent when in times of trouble or the “big” things. It was in depending on God for the day-to-day plans and actions that Jehoshaphat was weak.

Jehoshaphat’s strengths:
  • A bold follower of God
  • Carried out a national program of religious education
  • Had many military victories
  • Developed an extensive legal structure through the kingdom

Jehoshaphat’s weaknesses:

  •  Failed to recognize the long-term results of his decisions
  •  Did not completely destroy idolatry in the land
  •  Became entangled with evil king Ahab through alliances
  •  Allowed his son Jehoram to marry Athaliah, Ahab’s daughter
  •  Became Ahaziah’s business partner in an ill-fated shipping venture

 A few things I learned while reading about King Jehoshaphat:

I often repeat his error when I shove God to the background in the “easy” decisions of my life. Many times after I made my “easy” decisions, you will find me seeking the Lord, asking for His hand to help get me out of the mess I find myself in. I fail to remember that God wants me to give Him not only the major decisions, but also my day-to-day ones. My life goes much smoother when I pause long enough to give my day to Him.

In 2 Chronicles 18:3-8 the wicked King Ahab asked King Jehoshaphat to join forces with him in battle. Although King Jehoshaphat did seek God’s advice before making the commitment, he ignored the answer God gave through the prophet Micaiah. What a reminder for me that it does no good for me to pray for God’s guidance and direction, when I ignore the answer He gives. Once again I am reminded that real love for God is shown, not by simply asking for direction, but by following that direction once it is given.

Q. Did you read anything today that taught you a lesson?


Monday, April 11, 2011

The letter I!

I is for I

This morning I was lying in bed and thinking about this blog post for the letter I. Pondering on what from the bible I was going to write about that started with the letter I. Than it came to me…how often isn’t life all about I? Or should I say about me?

Maybe “I” is bothering me more because of book I recently started reading.. The book is True Religion: Taking pieces of heaven to places of hell on earth by Palmer Chinchen and it is really messing with me. For the most part, I think I live a serving life, a life for the Lord. However, am I really? Most of the serving I do is comfortable serving…making meals for someone, writing a letter of encouragement, organizing projects, etc. Some of the serving I do may require me to sacrifice a little bit on the financial end, but I haven’t ever gone to bed hungry, cold or wet. Now hang with me, after all I’m just pondering ….I guess I never really thought about how comfortable we have life. Not that we don’t have trials and challenges, but even our challenges are usually in comfort. Take for instance, my recent journey through cancer. How blessed I am that I was able to receive treatment…the chemotherapy drugs I needed were available…the radiation was available…I had surgery in a clean and sterile environment…I had medications available to counteract the horrible side effects. Sure the physical part of the journey was a real challenge, but at least I had the opportunity for treatment.

Here are a few highlights from True Religion:

p. 13: “I didn’t stop because I’m sure I would have had to give someone mouth-to-mouth resuscitation—and tonight I don’t feel like giving anyone mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.”

p.14: I—we have the ability and resources to do so much. So much more than we do…In the places on earth where children have no shoes, families have no homes, people have no hope…

p. 19: We live in a self-indulgent culture. Much of life is arranged for the good of ourselves. So we accumulate, we chase leisure and pleasure, we self-promote, and we do all we can to point the world at me. But God lays out a different way of living that is better for His world and better for you. Give your life away to change this world for good.

I could share so many other highlights, but will leave them for you to discover when you read the book.

Now, I don’t believe that everyone is “called” to go to third world countries. I don’t believe that I need to sell everything and give it away. I do believe that I need to pray for constant awareness and direction. I do believe I need to be aware of how much “I” is in my day…

Addendum:  As usual, I find someone who is able to write what I was thinking...if your time permits, please check out Proverbs 31 devotion from today called Meeting Henry.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Letter H!

H is for Hope

"But those who hope in the 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."  Isaiah 40:31

Hope is to believe, desire, or trust.

Hope Lives Now!
Since hope is my word of choice today, it only seems fitting to share with you all about an organization called Hope Lives Now!  Hope Lives Now is an organization some friends and I have started that offers encouragement, support and hope to cancer
survivors.   Check out our blog to see some of the things we are doing to plant hope in the lives of others.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy-- Francis of Assisi

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Letter G!

G is for Grace!
“And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.” Romans 11:6

The other day, my coworker and I were sharing tidbits about our health challenges. We discussed how when progress is slow, it is easy to get discouraged. I told her in order to appreciate where we are today, we need to stop and look in our rearview mirror to see how far we have come. This conversation caused me to do some pondering, which eventually had me asking myself the question: If God gave me a choice between going back to the person I was before cancer (and never experience cancer), or to the person I am after walking through the cancer journey (and experience cancer), what would I choose?

As crazy as it sounds, I would choose cancer…as it is within the journey, I learned what God’s grace is…

Before cancer, I lived my life based on my performance and acceptance by others. I felt that if I did what was good and right, others would love me. If I didn’t live up to their expectations or asked for something, I was a burden. I needed to be needed, for if I wasn’t needed…I wasn’t worthy of love.

Somewhere during the journey, I learned that the love of God isn’t based on my works. I am loved by God because He chose to love me.
  • I was too weak to walk: He carried me
  • I had horrible pain: He comforted me
  • I was lonely: He sent others
  • I couldn’t give…He loved me
  • I was breast less and bald…He told me I was beautiful!

It was within the journey that I was stripped of my “good” and my “bad”…and I found myself seeking God’s love and comfort, experiencing His grace.

Today I find myself repeating Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 12:

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Another of my favorite G words is GIFT:

 Here are just few of the gifts I received today:
  • Gift of coffee in bed
  • Gift and blessing of sharing my lunch hour with some very special women
  • Gift of the bloggersville: It is so fun to read others writing’s and thoughts
  • Gift of encouragement from the comments left by fellow bloggers
  • Gift of God speaking through this blog post at Let's Get Real!  If you have a few minutes, this blog piece is definitely worth your time.)
 Q. When have you experienced grace? Or what was your best gift today?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Letter F

I have two favorite F words:

 My hubby’s name: Ferlin and the other word is Fun. However, since those two words aren’t in the bible, today I am going to discuss a word that is mentioned over 450 times in the New Kings James Bible.

This F word is Fear.

Definition of fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

Some of my favorite scriptures relating to fear:
Psalm 23:4:  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 34:4:  I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 86:11:  Teach me Your way, O LORD;I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.
Proverbs 31:30:  Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

Throughout my life I have had many different fears; here are just a few of the most recent fears that I have had to process and claim victory.
  • Fear of death after diagnosed with cancer.
  • Fear of failing God.
  • Fear of rejection.  
  • Fear of disappointing others. 
  • Fear of never being good enough.
  • Fear of missing the life God intended for me.
The greatest tools I have found to conquer my fears….are a few other F words: Faith and focus.

Matthew 9:22 says, “But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.”

In 2 Timothy we are told that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but rather he gave us a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.

For me conquering fear is to keep my focus and attention on the Lord.

Q.  What are some of your fears, or how do you conquer your fear?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The letter E!

E is for Elijah

E is for Elisha

E is for Encouragement

You will find out as I continue working through the bible during this A to Z challenge, I didn’t grow up reading the bible. So, please have patience with me if you are more bible literate than I.

A quick recap: Elijah and Elisha were both Old Testament prophets. “Elijah and Elisha concentrated their efforts on the particular needs of the people around them. The fiery Elijah confronted and exposed idolatry, helping to create an atmosphere where people could feely and publicly worship God. Elisha then moved in to demonstrate God’s powerful, yet caring, nature to all who came to him for help. He spent less time in conflict with evil and more in compassionate care of people.” Application Study Bible Commentary

Both of these prophets were great examples of obedience and a life lived for the Lord. After reading some of their experiences, miracles and adventures, I am left with many questions. Where did Elijah come from? From what I could find, he all of a sudden showed up in 1 Kings 17:1: “Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God whom I worship and serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years unless I give the word!” No talk of his childhood, just all of a sudden he was speaking about God. Also, I didn’t have to read much further, to find myself pondering…about the numerous times where it says, “the Lord said to Elijah.” Wow…it is a bit hard to comprehend that God spoke and Elijah obeyed. What an example of a beautiful relationship. Also, if you remember when Elijah anointed Elisha, Elisha was working in the field. Could you imagine if someone came up to you today at work and said, “Come with me. You are anointed of God.” I am so amazed at the faith and trust. Although this was just a very brief introduction to these two men, the lessons I have learned from Elijah and Elisha…challenge me, give me hope and encourage me.

To finish off the letter E, I just wanted to share a quick story of encouragement I heard today. I was speaking with a 71 yr old gentleman and this was his statement, “Kim, I was thinking to myself the other night when I walked into my home. I don’t know if heaven can be much better than my life right now.” I just love his attitude and zest for life!

Q. Who is your favorite prophet from the bible?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for destination!

D is for destination

des•ti•na•tion (d s t -n sh n) n.
1. The place to which one is going or directed.
2. The ultimate purpose for which something is created or intended.

Yes, I know, you don’t find this word in the bible. However when my pastor spoke about destination on Sunday, I could hardly wait for “d” day so I could explore this topic. Sunday’s message really made me do a “stop and think.” Pastor A shared how one time he was on an airplane, all buckled in, only to find he was headed to the wrong destination. Oops! Although this has never happened to me in an airplane, his story made me think about how many times in life I have been traveling down a path, only to find I made a wrong turn and was nowhere near my destination.

I thought I would share a few street signs that help keep me walking the right path. (I sure wish it was as easy to follow these signs as it is to write about them--smile.)

Street sign #1: Prayer—In Matthew 7:8 it says, “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” God promises us guidance when we seek Him. His plan fits perfect with each one of our destinations.

Street sign #2: Bible study—Any time I want to learn about something, I study up on it…God’s word is no exception. For me, God’s word is the guidebook to my destination.

Street sign #3: Relationships—The relationships with my family, friends, and coworkers is one of my biggest gauges if I am on the right path. If I start to get curt, cranky, or snippy, it usually is an indicator that I am taking a detour from the path of my destination.

Street sign #4: Quiet time—the world is a noisy place. With all the noise of daily living, I find it hard to hear God. It’s like His voice gets drowned out…so I intentionally turn off the radio when driving, very seldom turn on the tv and try to walk without my IPod occasionally.

Street sign #5: White space—this is the area I struggle most. I love connecting with others and being involved with many different things. While most of these activities are all good, I am learning that I have to choose which things are best for me in order to stay headed towards the right destination. It is so easy for me go get lost on U turns and often I find myself on a dead end road.

Well, these are just a few of my street signs. How do you keep yourself heading towards your right destination?

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Courage

C is for courage

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Before my mastectomy, my oldest daughter had members from our church write words of love/support on individual quilt squares. Kalina than assembled the squares, making me a “love quilt.” On one of the squares, my dear friend J. (who is also a breast cancer survivor) wrote one word: Courage.

I have done many things in my life that took courage…but walking into the chemo room took every ounce of courage I had in me. Chemotherapy and I were not friends. It didn’t like me and boy, did it let me know. I would start to feel better from one treatment just in time for the next…I still cringe thinking about it.

Courage means different things to different people. Here are just a few things that courage means to me.

Courage is:
  • to say no
  • to say yes
  • to be authentic
  • to reach out to others
  • to face rejection
  • to admit you are wrong
  • to say I am sorry
  • to say I love you
  • to ask for forgiveness
  • to show that I care
  • to speak the truth
  • to follow my dreams
  • to listen to God plans
  • to live a life of no regrets

Q. What does courage mean to you?


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Six Words Story for She Speaks Scholarship

Lump found. Bare breast. Bald head.

The above six words are my entry for another chance at a scholarship for the She Speaks conference.  This contest is being held by She Reads (an offshoot of Proverbs 31 Ministry.)  Our challenge was to write a story with only six words.  Here is the example they gave us:   “FOR SALE. BABY SHOES. NEVER WORN.” – Ernest Hemingway

B is for Barabbas

B is for Barabbas

To be honest, I had a few other “B” words from the bible that I was thinking about using for today’s post. Like the word blessing, or a teaching on the disciple Barnabas. However, as I was doing some researching, I came across the name of Barabbas. I tell ya, this man messed with my heart and mind all day.

Barabbas means “son of the father/teacher," isn’t that interesting that yesterday’s word was Abba?

If you recall during the trial of Jesus, Pilate offered the release of one prisoner—which was a customary favor given by the Roman governor at the time of the Passover feast. Pilate had appealed to the crowds for the release of Jesus, instead the crowds shouted, “Crucify him! Release Barabbas to us!” (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.) So Barabbas was released and Christ was crucified.

The crowds in their ignorance, or unbelief chose the wrong guy. As I read this account in the book of Luke, I realized that I am like the crowd…often times choosing the wrong guy or wrong thing over Jesus? How many times during the day do I choose something other than Christ?  Like when I am running late for work and say a few choice words to other drivers. Or when I choose to spend hours on the computer and yet can’t find 5 minutes to spend in God’s word? How about when I choose to gossip when I know better? Or when I stretch the truth just a little bit? Or when my life gets out of balance because of my unwise choices on how I spend my time? With tears in my eyes and a very heavy heart…I cry “Abba I am sorry. Please forgive me. Please help me choose You and Jesus all the time!”

She Speaks Contest

At ten years old, she is found sobbing in unbelief, all curdled up in her bed, her heart broken, crying to the Lord, "It can't be true, can it God? Mommy's and daddy's are supposed to love their children. How can my grandma say that they don't love me? Oh, Lord, please don't let it be true. I am sorry for ruining my mommy's life, help me be good so they might learn to love me...I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry...

At 18 years old, she is smiling with anticipation. "Lord, he asked me to marry him. Lord, could he really love me? Does he really love me? Lord, I love him. Lord, we are so young...Lord, please be with my marriage."

At 19 years old, joy overfills her heart. “Oh, Lord, she's beautiful. Thank you Lord for blessing me with this little one. Lord, I will love and protect her. Please help me to be a good mother to her. Thank you Lord.”

At 21 years old, once again, joy overfills her heart. “Oh, Lord another blessing, a boy. Thank you Lord for his safe delivery and blessing my husband and I with this little guy.

I'm sorry Lord, I keep failing at this thing called marriage. I am sorry for the fights.  Please help me.  Please help me be a good wife.

They say the end of the world is coming Lord. Is it true? Lord, there is no one to turn to, but Ken loves us. He is wise, after all he is my husband’s father. But Lord, do we really need to leave our family? jobs? and our home? Whatever you ask Lord, we will do. So, 20 hours away and a month later when the blood clots started coming...and she miscarries her child...they are confused. I am sorry Lord, we tried to love you and do what is right. But the cost has been too great.. Please forgive us, we have to go home. They are scared. They packed their car and drive the 20 hours home. Only to find out, just like their life at the time, their pipes in their home had broken from the frigid winter temps.

They start over. Digging from under the ground to rebuild a life.

I did it Lord! I got my LPN degree

Lord, another angel from you? How could he Lord, how could he lie to me like that? Can our marriage be saved? We have a new home and a baby on the way...Lord, please help me to trust again.

She sits screaming in her car in the corn field. Lord, I have tried. I can't do it anymore. I am so tired of the yelling and fighting. Please give me direction; please help me know what to do. Lord I love him and I don't believe in divorce, but I can't live like this anymore. She sits and she waits. The Lord says, leave, it will all work out. She packs her household and moves. She works two jobs providing for her children. She files for divorce, her husband says no. He found his way back to the Lord. There is hope. There is hurt. There is rebuilding. There is reconciliation. Thank you Lord for if it wasn't for you, there would be no us.

They start over, from the ground up.

She starts a new job. She turns 40. She is going to be a grandma.

A lump.

It hurts.

A biopsy.

It is cancer.

She has her breasts removed, the life giver for her children.

She has chemotherapy. She is bald, breastless and broken.

She finds the Lord in the dark places.

She is healed.

She has radiation.

She has three more surgery’s.

She continues to be healed.
She sits. She seeks. She listens. She hears.

But how, she asks the Lord??

She Speaks…

The above entry is for a chance at a scholarship to She Speaks.  This scholarship is being generously  offered by Cecil Murphey through Ann Voskamp.   Through She Speaks, Proverbs 31 Ministries encourages and equips women who are called by God to share our mission to bring God’s peace, perspective and purpose to today’s busy woman.   If you are interested in the opportunity for a chance at the scholarship, please go to Ann Voskamp's blog, or She Speaks Blog.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A to Z Challenge

Ok, call me crazy...I can't help myself...ever since I read about the A to Z challenge my blogger friend  Mary (at Play off the Page) is joining, I found myself wanting to join this challenge.  What is the A to Z Challenge? It’s blogging a letter of the alphabet every day the month of April (with Sundays off for good behavior.) It begins April First with the letter A and ends April 30 with the letter Z. 

I will admit, I have to wonder about my sanity for even considering this challenge.  After all, my last blog entry found me off track....Plus, I reviewed some of the other blogger's sites who are participating in this challenge.  These bloggers are writers, not just a dreamers dreaming about writing! Also, the time commitment needed to dedicate to almost daily blogging frightens me just a bit.  Yikes...we all know how my 5K training turned out. (Which by the way, I am hoping to restart this weekend.)  However, after pondering about this challenge the last few days...and remembering my life motto:  "Live a life of no regrets!"....I am picking up my pen...let the fun begin!!

For the last while I have struggled with a consistent bible study time, so in hoping to develop a more regular routine, I have decided to pick my A to Z words from the bible.  Hmmmm....I wonder where this is going to take us! 

The first word that I am starting this challenge off is: A is for Abba.

In Mark 14:36, we find Jesus saying "Abba, Father everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." In Aramic, Abba means "daddy" or "dear father," signifying a close and intimate relationship with God.  I was a christian for a few years before I was able to say "Abba, Father."  My struggle, like many others, was due to a distant relationship with my own father, along with much brokenness in my life.  However, God through His mercy, love and perseverance has helped heal my brokenness, enabling me to find wholeness in Him. 

When going through treatment for cancer, I found myself many times with tears in my eyes crying out "Abba, Father."  As, I was saying those words, I would imagine myself climbing onto His lap with His arms wrapped around me...with Him whispering back..."Shhhh, my daughter, I am here."

Well, only 35 minutes and it will be time for the letter B...

(If you would like to know more about the A to Z challenge or if you are just interested in reading some of the other bloggers blogs who are participating, click on the link on the side bar.)