Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Confession #58 - Dreamin' of a White Christmas

Today DCW is bringing you our first video blog from a Women's Ministry event I was blessed to speak at.

Every year my holidays hold the promise of happiness and joy focusing on the Birth of Jesus Christ.  And every year inevitably I get off track and get caught up the in the Christmas hype and forget about Jesus.  Take a look....

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Confession #57 - Face the Fact that... I'm Thankful

Anybody else struggling to look forward to the holidays this year?  I admit that I have been.  I'm ashamed to say but every year the holidays have become harder to look forward to.  Having to make difficult decisions, missing lost loved ones, no funds, and something you look forward to taken away.  Having to choose which dysfunctional family you want to pass the time with.  Not fun.

Last year, to have something more to look forward to at the holidays, I came up with a brilliant idea.  I decided that we would take a family vacation to Disney World the week before Christmas.  I planned a year in advance, I saved every penny I had, and made all our dining reservations 180 days prior.  By meticulously mapping out our vacation agenda it helped, for the most part, to take my mind off the impending gloom of the holidays.  However, the vacation did not go as I had planned, due to a financial crisis we had to take many things off the list and downgrade others.  Thankfully, none-the-less, with a little help we were still able to take the vacation.  Although when you have a child with emotional and behavioral challenges, the happiest place on earth can literally turn into a nightmare. (I'll save that story for another time).

This year is more challenging still and there's no way possible of distracting myself with another vacation.  This  year I have to face the music.  I have to face the loss of Grandpa and our dear pets, and a divorce that is splitting up our family (not my husband & I). I have to face the fact we will inevitably deal with family drama and I have to face the fact that we may not be able to buy my daughter Christmas gifts.

I'm even getting to the point were I don't want to hear another person talk about Christmas shopping.  All of you out there getting your shop on, good for you.  I'm not saying this to make anyone feel bad but whenever I hear a reference to shopping I become so depressed.  My family is helping by getting our daughter some of the things she wants, but it's so hard not knowing if
My hubby
Santa's going to be able to show up at our house.

With that being said it's interesting how an economic crisis can change your perspective on the everything.  Every morning I wake up and thank God for my beautiful life.  For truly it is a beautiful life.  I have so much to be thankful for and life could be so much worse.  Every day is an immeasurable gift. Life is an amazing journey and without these struggles God could not mold me into the woman He's created me to be.

So this holiday season, I'll be focusing on what's really important, and facing the fact that I have a dysfunctional but very loving family, the fact that I have a husband and child that fill me with joy, the fact that I still have a roof over my head, food on the table, a good job, friends are there for me and who pray for me, an adorable dog, a car that's still running, and most of all a Savior that came and faced a hardship I could never imagine so I could be saved.  So if there is never a another gift under the tree, or a vacation in sight, I will still be thankful; for my treasures are not in this world nor are they of this world.  Satan you LOSE!  Christ has bought and paid for me dearly and my heart belongs to Him!

Last Year's Tree
Ladies, it may be a struggle to see joy in the journey, and have hope for the holidays, but once you make the decision to choose joy, peace, and thankfulness you will open a gift far better than anything under the tree.

"If you don't have Christmas in your heart, you will never find it under the tree."  Roy L. Smith.

Dear Heavenly Father, once again Lord, I thank you for EVERYTHING.  You amaze me more and more everyday and your presence and love is all I need.  For my sisters-in-Christ that are facing the fact that the holidays may not be very merry, I pray they will find joy, peace and thankfulness under their tree this year.  And most of all Abba Father, thank you for sending Jesus to earth to save us from sin.  In Jesus' precious name I pray.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Confession #56 - Picking up the Pieces

So it's been quite a while since my last blog post.  Three months in fact.  In my last post A piece of Me, I wrote about how there just wasn't enough of me to go around.  In fact, I pretty much have gone to pieces and fallen apart and, well, for the last three months I've been gathering those pieces and trying to glue them back together hoping to feel whole again.

Unfortunately, I'm far from whole.  I'm still in pieces everywhere.  Still feeling the aftershocks of my emotional earthquake of a life.  I can't seem to get the pieces to stay glued in and once I bend over to pick up another piece, a different one part falls off.  I can't seem to keep it all together.

Financially things continue to get worse and worse.  My husband has barely worked for the last several months and we are just eeking by.  My family life is really suffering, my daughter continues to face many challenges with her behavior issues and school complications.  I can honestly say there isn't an area in my life right now that I don't have to think about.  I can't just say, "Oh that's going good so I don't have to think about that right now."

Basically I'm in survival mode.  Survival Mode is when you can only live in the moment, second by second, minute by minute to get through the difficult situations.  It's been so tiring.

At the end of September I was able to attend the Women of Faith Conference in Orlando, FL.  And I can honestly say that the experience was wonderful.  God gave me a major vision for my life, and insight into the plans that He has for me.  But shortly after that "high"  I quickly became bombarded by the reality of my current situation and the depression sank in deeper.

In an attempt to understand why, I thought maybe it's a spiritual attack.  I know the evil one wants to keep me from realizing the dream God has place on my heart.  And try as I may to combat it, I have found myself quite weak in my defenses.  I find it so difficult to lift myself out of this muck and mire and get clean again.  My second theory is that perhaps it's a test.  A test from God to refine me for the work He has planned.

The other day, my friend sent me a link to a video that changed my perspective.  It made me think twice about my situation and what may be happening to me right now.  If you are going through a difficult situation today, one that you have no answers for, where things seem to be happening without rhyme or reason, please watch this video.  I know it will encourage you.  In the midst of my pain and suffering this spoke to me and gave me hope.

God could have left Job alone, sure, but then we never would have heard of Job.  As difficult as my current situation, I know I'm not alone that God has not abandoned me and that He loves me.

While at Women of Faith, I had the privilege of hearing Max Lucado speak and he was telling a story of different people going through different situations and how he would address them.  Here's what he said:

"You'll get through this.  It won't be painless.  It won't be quick.  But God will use this mess for good.  In the meantime, don't be foolish or naive.  But don't despair either.  With God's help you'll get through this."

Whether or not this situation is an attack or it's a test it doesn't matter.  The Bible tells us "What you intended for evil God turned it into good."  Gen 50:20.  And Romans 8:28 reminds us, "In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose."

Now I'm back to picking up the pieces, but I have a new perspective.  I know God loves me too much to leave me to myself.  And so I'm thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, the reason these pieces aren't sticking is because well, I'm trying to put them back where they were and God has a different order, a new picture He wants to create with them.  I think I need to leave the pieces to Him and let my Maker put me back together in His time and His design.

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for not allowing you control in my life.  For not giving myself over to you and trying to do it all on my own.  Be with me and my sisters-in-Christ who are suffering right now.  Give us the strength it takes to allow you to piece us back together.  In the meantime encourage us to go on and know that you love us too much to leave us alone.  In Jesus' precious name I pray.  AMEN.

P.S.  I'd like to thank all of you who have been praying for me.  It wasn't easily to write this post, but your prayers made it possible.  Thank you!!!!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Confession #55 - A Piece of Me

You know, there's just not enough of me to go around.  Now I realize that sounds pretty narcissistic but everyone and everything in my life seems to need a piece of me.  Some goes to God, and some to my husband, daughter, and dog.  Some to my sister, mother and the rest of my family.  Some to my friends and some to my boss and coworkers, some to those whom I minister to, some to my neighbors, some to laundry and housecleaning and the list goes on and on.  I guess is a good thing I'm overweight because there'd be even less to go around.:)

Sisters I know I'm not alone here, I'm sure many of you feel the same way.  Normally I'm pretty willing to give up pieces of myself to whomever or whatever needs a chunk but there are times that I feel so utterly drained.  Consumed by exhaustion with no more pieces left to give and particularly nothing left for me.

Tonight is one of those times.  After a rather busy day at work all I longed to do was to plop down and rest.  Instead I came home to a business issue that needed my immediate attention. I had to log on the computer to research the matter but it was taking soooooo long to launch the Internet!  It took almost 10 minutes!  Then I got a rather frustrating call and after I got off the phone I ended up screaming at the top of my lungs out of sheer and utter frustration!  Can't anything be easy!  That's one of my go to sayings.  I know because I've heard my daughter repeat it when she's frustrated. LOL.

Even now, after I've put her to bed, she's called out for me several times to say that her butt itches. Seriously, every tiny little thing that she experiences requires a piece of me?  Then the phone rings, hubby says he's on the way home.  Great, but do I really need to stay on the phone with him for his entire hour long drive home?  I need a little me time....

I feel so incredibly guilty admitting this.  I love my family, and I don't want to miss out on any experience my daughter has, well I guess I can do without the itchy butt, LOL, but I'm just exhausted.  Life right now is a fast track and if I don't slow down and take some time for me, just me, I'm going to freaking collapse!

That said I'm reminded of God's word, "Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." Matt 11:28  Oh yes Lord, yes Lord, yes yes Lord, AMEN!  God doesn't want us to be over burned at all.  Last night in a conversation with a very good friend and mentor she reminded me of what BUSY stands for.  Being Under Satan's Yoke.  WOW!  I realized that's just it, I'm so busy handing out pieces of myself that I've allowed myself to become so weary and so burdened that I have nothing left to give, even to God.

This is not the life God has in mind for me.  He wants me to be productive, but not over-stressed and busy.  Busyness keeps us from focusing on Him and allows our emotions to get the better of us.

God for months and months has been telling me to clear off my plate.  But have I obeyed?  No.  I've avoided making difficult choices and in doing so I've been disobedient to God.  Today I'm praying that God will show me what to clear off my plate so I can return to normal and have some pieces left for Him and for me.  If your life looks similar to mine won't you pray with me?

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you Lord that you have given me so much to fill my life.  But I know it is not your desire for me to be burned or weary. Give me a clear picture of what I should clean off so that I can find rest Dear Father and return my focus to you.  Help me to see clearly to whom and to what you want me to hand my pieces off to.  Give me your strength to get through the crazy days without getting emotional.  And let me erase Busy from my life and break Satan's yoke once and for all.  And precious Father, for my sisters-in-Christ who struggle with busyness of their own, please help them find the rest they need as well.  In Jesus' name I pray.  AMEN

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Confession #54 - Once Upon A Time,,,

I am so excited to announce that today is Confessions of a Dirty Christian Woman's one year anniversary!  It was a  year ago today I published my first blog post "Confession #1 - Why I'm Dirty".  And a year later God still sees fit to use this dirty creature to display is incredible beauty.  One of the ways God has used me is through submitting my testimony to Christian Women's Voice Magazine and it was published in the July/Aug edition!

I was so excited to get the magazine in the mail the other day and read my first officially published work!

This is my testimony:

As a child, like many women, I found myself wanting to re-write my story into a fairy-tale.  I found myself dreaming, wishing on stars, searching for Princes, and waiting around for my Fairy-Godmother to Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo me into a better, happier life… 

I was a very shy and quiet child.  A strong insecurity had a hold on me for a long time. At age eight I was molested by a family member and it took me ten years before I told anyone and when I did I was told that it was my own fault.

In my mid-late teens my mother made several attempts at suicide, happily unsuccessful ones, but with each new attempt my heart died more and more. I found myself trying to end my life a few times as well.  I suffered a nervous breakdown in my senior year in high school. Then a year later I was date raped, and then sexually assaulted in the work place.  This agony was a catalyst that sent me reeling into an over-eating addiction that I continue to struggle with today. 

Despite it all God was there every step of the way getting me back on track whenever I’d stumble or fall on my face. He sent Godly people to me all through my life reminding me that I was destined to be His. It took 27 years but once He captured my heart, well there was no going back. It was then that I stopped writing the story and gave God control over my life. When that happened, this retrospective of pain became a beautiful masterpiece. An amazing love story of Joanne and her Savior the Prince of Peace who has rescued her from the perils of evil and given her a promised “Happily ever after” ending; an eternity in heaven with Him.  He's taken this insecure, hopeless child and transformed her into a confident, strong, and loving Christian woman.  I have forgiven those who have wronged me and learned to show them the love of Christ.  The Bible reminds us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I’ve been married to my wonderful husband for seventeen years and five years ago we adopted our amazing daughter.  Additionally, God’s calling on my life to minister to the hearts of women has been an unbelievable new chapter in my book.

God knows your story too. Psalm 136:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” He knows each chapter and page, He knows how long your book is and He’s read the plot. Everyone’s book begins with “Once Upon a Time” with no guarantee of a happy ending, but when we make Jesus our Lord and savior that all changes.  Let Jesus Christ become the Prince of your real-life fairy-tale and re-write you’re story’s ending “And they lived happily ever after.”

So far this blog has been an amazing journey with God and I pray that you all have been as blessed by reading it as much as I've been by writing it.  Please take a moment to revisit one of your favorite posts and leave a comment or if it's your first time here search through the posts that speak to you and leave a comment.  I'd love to hear how God is working in your life through Confessions.  Many blessings to you all!

Dear Heavenly Father, Lord thank you for using this dirty creature to shine your beauty.  Father I pray that you would continue to use me to help your girls.  I pray for my sisters in Christ, some who have amazing journeys of their own to share, Father give them the courage to share their testimonies by telling others about what Jesus has done for them so that we may continue the cycle of healing and reconciliation to you Dear Lord.  In Jesus' name I pray. AMEN

BTW - You can allow God to use you to minister to women by sharing your testimony with Christian Woman's Voice magazine by emailing your story in 500 words or less to cwvinfo@christianwomensvoice.org . 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Confession #53 - A Real Test of Faith (Part III) Test PASSED!

The mail… it can hold all your hopes and dreams.  It can be a source of despair and doom.  The contents of one single envelope can single-handedly change the course of one’s life.  It can even hold a miracle.

For a few weeks now I have been trusting God for a miracle.  In my blog posts, “A Real Test of Faith Part I and Part II” I wrote about how I've been trusting God for a miracle concerning a threat of being priced right out of my mortgage.  I wrote how I've decided to just leave it in God’s hands and vowed not to worry about it.  I reckoned what will be, will be.  And I did just that.

For the last few weeks I've given it little thought.  I gave it to God completely through prayer and trusted that God would work it for my good.   Worry no longer entered the equation because the peace of God reigned in my heart as I hung my faith on Him.

But you know, I think God works in really funny ways.  I think He sometimes chooses to shine His glory when I’m feeling my darkest.   I’ll explain.  These last few weeks have been quite busy for me, not to mention quite stressful.  I’ve been planning and executing an Awards Gala and I’ve run myself so ragged that I’ve caught a cold in the process.   Yesterday was a particularly depressing, dark, and stressful day, one that brought me to tears; that is until God showed up. 

After having been at work most of the day, followed by a meeting, I got home last night about 6:15.  My body was extremely achy my nose all stuffed up and I was anxious with anticipation of what might hit me when I walked through the door.  Instead my husband told me that there’s news.  With my eyes I asked, “Good news or bad news?”  “Take a look”, he said and handed me an envelope from our mortgage company.

While unfolding the letter a thousand thoughts ran through my mind.  But God delivered, because there it was in black and white nothing less than a MIRACLE!  Instead of my interest rate increasing, as their previously letter threatened, the rate decreased lowering my payment by almost $100 a month.  That may not seem like much, but to us that is fantastic!  And it really is a miracle.  God answered my prayer because I leaned on Him and I trusted His provision.

One of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh, The Lord our provider.  He truly does provide all our needs and many times our wants.  I’m so thankful to God for fulfilling His promises to me and granting me His protection and provision.

Once again ladies, I implore you to trust God.  I’ll say it again, TRUST GOD!  He will save you, protect you, deliver you and provide for you if you are willing to completely, and utterly rest your faith in Him.  That's not just lip service because I know firsthand that He does what He says He will do.  He’s a true, honest, and loving God!

Dear Heavenly Father, Lord thank you for once again coming to my rescue with a miracle and keeping us from being priced out of our mortgage.  I thank you God for all you amazing provisions and I vow to continue trusting you with all my needs.  And for my sisters-in- Christ who are sitting back waiting and trusting you for a miracle of their own, please deliver it soon, precious Father.   In Jesus’ name I pray.  AMEN

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Confession #52 - And the Gold Medal Goes To....Me!

And the Gold Medal goes to ..........."Joanne Cuchel". 

I'm not naturally athletic but if jumping to conclusions were an Olympic Sport I'd be taking home the Gold.  Usually when someone rubs me the wrong way,slightly irritated by another, or I feel mistreated I reach for my conclusion pole vault and jump myself right into a mess! 

God has been bringing this issue to light and so it calls for a confession.  Normally, I tend to read-between-the-lines and invent meaning and intentions that people have towards me that are not necessarily true.  I love to play detective by picking up context clues and deducing motives and theories that certain people are against me, don't like me, or are jealous of me.  Then what's worse, sometimes I'll go and tell a few people to recruit them into my army of sympathetic supporters.  These supporters are appalled at what so-and-so did, said or is planning to do to me.  And then I rub my hands together while laughing maniacally as I see my evil plot unfold.  Not really...but if you think about it, what I am doing is evil.  I'm allowing Satan to use me as his filthy pawn to cause strife.

Inevitably a few days later the smoke clears, I calm down and find out or realize that there was so little merit in my conclusion.  So-and-so didn't have it in for me.  And I just told the whole world what they did.....then I hang my head in shame when I realize what I've done and the damage my conclusion jumping may have caused. 

Yes part of the reason I'm a dirty christian woman is because I keep landing in huge piles of mud whenever I jump to conclusions.  But the worse part is I hardly ever go back to that army of sympathizers and clean the slate.  I fail to explain just what a dufus I am.  I don't confess that instead of being a master sleuth like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot I'm more like Inspector Clouseau; a bumbling idiot.

Will I ever learn that conclusions are nothing more that theories based on hearsay instead of fact?  And how can I be a woman who stands on truth, the Bible, if I continue trusting in lies?

Conclusions can be relationship killers and will block us from moving forward in our walk with God.  God's word tells us, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18.  I'm certainly not living at peace if I'm causing strife. 

God warns us about this in Proverbs, "The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating." Proverbs 18:6 and in 20:3 it says, "It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel"

So I can pretty much add fool to my resume as long as I continue jumping to conclusions and gaining sympathetic supporters.  Been there?  Done that? Please pray with me:

Dear Heavenly Father, I am truly sorry for my actions.  Believing in and spreading lies just because someone damaged my prideful ego is ugly wicked behavior and not what you want for me.  Forgive me Father for this behavior and as I repent, keep my jumping limited to your lap for solace and refuge when I am honestly wounded by another's actions or words.  Keep my heart and my eyes fixed on you Lord always.  "Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good." Psalm 119:39.  And for those whom I have accused Father, please give me the courage me to confess to them my sin, seek forgiveness and I pray blessings for them.  As for my sympathetic supporters let them see what a "Clouseau" I am Lord and give them the grace to forgive me as well.  In Jesus name I pray.  AMEN

Monday, June 17, 2013

Confession #51 - Choices, Choices, Choices

Like many of you, I've suffered the pain of other's actions many a time.  Flawed people who have flawed intentions leaving nasty marks on my life.  For me, giving people a place in my life has become an honor.  Not to sound crass but I am rather selective over whom I allow and who I do not allow in my world .  And some I allow but keep at a safe distance.  Truth be told, I don't know if this is a Godly approach or just a defense mechanism but because I've been hurt many times before it's become necessary for me to weed out those who add no value in my life.

As I'm realizing, many people I know have been there done that too.  But one thing is troubling me...lately I've seen many a facebook post about how God puts people in our lives for a reason and sometimes that reason is to hurt us.  Like this one for example:

Honestly I disagree.  While some relationships are God given others are by choice.  And even when God is shouting at us to avoid some people like the plague we still choose to include them in our lives.  Then when we inevitably get burned we like to think that God had a plan in that relationship.

The bible says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28.  It does not say that God gives you the people you need to hurt you and leave you to make you who you were meant to be.  Whoever wrote this quote is not quoting God.  God gives us the right to chose.  Like it or not we get to chose certain people in our lives.  No we don't get to chose our families and many a time these are the people who cause us pain, but our friends, our lovers...these people are choices.  God doesn't not necessarily put them in our path and when we chose to include them in our lives we are sometimes asking for it. 

It disturbs me to think that some people seem to basically blame God for their choices.  Then question why would a loving God allow this to happen?  God will work ALL things for the good of those who love Him.  So that means he can turn a bad choice that we make into something good for us, but He doesn't always intentionally put some people in our path for them to hurt us. 

Maybe we couldn't hear God because the beat of our heart and the passions burning within were too loud.  Maybe we heard Him but refused to listen because they just seemed so right.  Maybe we wanted to believe the best about someone rather than listen to that small still voice of reason.  Whatever the reason it was a choice.  Sorry to break it to you but God did not intentionally plan to have your heart broken.  And remember that the people we choose make choices too.  They choose to hurt us.  God doesn't tell them to, or plan it out for them to hurt us.  The hurt comes from more choices made by flawed human beings. 

So what's the lesson here?  Confession.  Confess that our dirty heart made a bad choice.  Then, listen for God and chose to make the best possible choices we can make compared to what the Bible tells us is right.  And if all else fails and we still get hurt, realize that it's not God's fault.  Please don't blame Him.  Recognize your mistake, forgive yourself, learn your lesson and move on accepting that God will work it out for good in your life.

One more thing...the pain we feel, well that's a choice too.  We can choose to allow it to destroy us or to make us stronger.  God can only work with a willing heart.  Are you willing to give it over to Him?  Even tho we may have made a bad choice you can still give Him your pain and he will give you beauty instead.

Dear Heavenly Father, tonight I lift up all the ladies who, like me, have been hurt by others.  I pray Father that our hearts would be willing to admit our mistakes and that by confessing it to you Lord you will take away our pain and work it for our good.  Teach us to make better choices and to learn from our past Lord as you mold us into the women you created us to be.  In Jesus' name I pray.  AMEN.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Confession #50 - A Real Test of Faith (Part II)

Continued from Part I...

Please know that although I've put so much of myself into my home, I see it as nothing more than a thing.  It doesn't define who I am, it isn't an idol and I don't worship it.  Therefore, if God chooses to take it away I'll be fine.  My joy comes from the Lord, the gifts He's given us and the people with whom I share them. 

However, God has tested my faith with this home for the last five years and proved faithful over and over and over again.  So why should I believe that's He's not going to do any different this time???  Now normally I don't share when I think God is telling me He's going to work a miracle.  I usually just keep it to myself and wait and see what God does.  But this time, I'm not.  This time, I believe that God wants His glory to shine so brightly that there is no doubt that He was in charge.  I believe with every fiber of my being that God is going to work an incredible miracle here. 

That said, no I don't know when, no I don't know how and no I do not know if it He's going to save us from foreclosure or provide something bigger and better, but I do know that He's in control and He's going to do something AMAZING!  Furthermore I'm telling the whole world to watch my posts for this testimony because it's coming.  My faith is strong, God will not fail us and he's testing me to see just how strong it is. God keeps showing me this verse, "The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first."  I believe that God is going to do the same for me and I'm standing on His promises today. 

God wants to build up our faith.  He wants to prove to us that He is faithful.  The word faith comes from the Hebrew word emunah which is a verb meaning, to hold firm, hold steady, hold true.  Faith is an action you literally have to do something to have faith.  I'm doing something, I'm trusting, and believing with everything I am. 

As Christians we know that the faithfulness of God is true because of what God's word tells us.  Deut 32:4 says, "He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just.  A faithful God who does no wrong,"  In other words, a strong, secure and firm God who does no wrong.  And Lam 3:22-23 tells us, "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassion's fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is your love and faithfulness".  Great is his emunah, his firmness, his strength, meaning you can weigh everything against Him.  The Bible also tells us that, "with God all things are possible," Matt 19:26.  And Jesus himself said in Matt 17:20-21, "...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you."  Therefore, if we allow God through faith to be our emunah, our steady rock that holds us securely then our faith can reach heights never seen before and accomplish things never thought possible, knowing that we are securely fastened to God. 

So today I'm telling that mountain of mine, the mortgage, to move and darn it I believe by faith that it will move!

The Bible tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith, Heb 11:6.  It tells us we get faith from hearing God's message, the Bible, Rom 10:17.  It warns us not to doubt, James 1:6.  Ladies, we can move mountains with a tiny amount of this immeasurable strength called emunah, faith.  2 Timothy 4:17-18 says, "But the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength (emunah/faith) so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.  And I was delivered from the lion's mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom."

Ladies, I am not professing a name-it and claim-it philosophy.  I don't believe you can just say what you want and God will act as a magic Genie in the sky to grant our wishes.  I'm saying that if you have faith to trust Him, he will save you from the lion's mouth and rescue you from every evil attack and bless you beyond measure.  So, whatever you need to do in order to trust God, do it.  Wherever you lack faith, build it up.  Wherever you doubt; destroy it because I'm not the only person God wants to prove His faithfulness to, He wants to prove it to you!  James 1:2-4 tells us, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  For us to grow in God we must face trials to build our strength in God, which is our faith. 

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."  Hebrew 11:1  I am sure that this trial is a faith builder and I know that I know that I know God is in it even though I can't see it....

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the trial I am facing and the faith to see the miracle before it's even taken place.  I pray for my sisters who are facing their own mountains and praying for you to move them.  Help them to understand that by faith they can not just move them but demolish them without shedding one bead of sweat. I pray they will pass this real test of faith with an A+ and hear you say, "Well done my good and faithful servant."  In Jesus name I pray AMEN!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Confession #49 - A Real Test of Faith (Part I)

Our Home
Many months over the last five years, we have been in situations where we didn't know if we were going to be able to pay our bills.  And in many a post I have professed that God has made it possible to make all our payments each and every month since our financial crisis began.  So many times I thought our home would be added to the list of foreclosures.  But always God has remained faithful.  However, since last week I believe differently, I believe God is going to perform an outright miracle that no one will be able to refute God's hand in our situation...

First, I'd like to take you on a short journey...

Back in 1999 my husband and I purchased our home.  This is our first home and we thought we wouldn't be here more than 4-5 years.  Well 14 years, and lots of remodeling later and we are still here.  For this I thank God...

I really like my home, it's small but it's warm and welcoming, it looks great decorated for the holidays and it's be an epicenter of hospitably since we moved in.  We've enjoyed the love of wonderful pets welcomed new babies, rejoiced in the adoption of our daughter, survived numerous storms including somewhat devastating effects from Hurricane Wilma , the remodeling of every single room along with countless hours of laughter and tears over the years.  It's not just our house it's our home, our shelter.  I have put blood, sweat and tears into this house to make it beautiful and I'm not done yet.  I can picture myself watching my grandchildren, retiring, spending my last breathing moments here.  It's a great house and God knows how I feel about it.

Our remodeled kitchen
Back in 2006 when the housing market was booming my husband and I were in the process of adopting a daughter from China (that never happened) and we needed money.  Money to pay for the adoption and finish some of the remodeling projects that were a must.  So we made a poor financial decision; we refinanced.  Back then interest rates were pretty low, and home values were high and raising more by the day so like many others, we refinanced our mortgage to pay for our needs and wants. Although we signed the dotted line that read our interest rate was only fixed for five years and after that it would adjust anywhere from 2.25% to 11.5% depending on the index, we thought, "No problem, before the five years is up we will refinance again."  Well as most Americans know the housing markets crashed, homes prices plummeted and many people were left in crisis, becoming upside down in their mortgages, loosing jobs, becoming victims of foreclosures or forced short sales.  I don't need to go further because many of you are in or have been in similar situations.  We just didn't have the insight and forethought to avoid such a risky financial maneuver. 

Dining Room
 But like I said, since we hit bottom in 2009 we have been blessed to make our payments.  In fact two years ago marked the end of our fixed interest rate period.  Oddly enough our interest rate never adjusted and frankly I didn't give it much though, just counted our blessings and went about life, that is until last week.  A letter came from our mortgage company stating that our interest rate was due to adjust and we should be expecting an increase in our payment.  Immediately I panicked.  We can barley afford the payment as is and the thought of an increase set my heart a-racing.  I thought, "Oh boy, this is it, it's all over we're loosing our home."  I quickly called the bank to find out what to expect, but all they said was that 45 days prior they will notify of the new payment.  I tried to figure out the formula on my own to no avail, I called a friend in the mortgage business to see if she could help, I called a friend of the family who's son just modified his loan, all in an effort to tackle this eminent threat to our livelihood.  No one could help. 

The bank that owns my loan did not take bail-out funds so they do not have to work with any government programs for modification nor will they.  Additionally they will not typically refinance a home that is worth less than it's mortgage and add to that we are in bankruptcy so it seems that we are pretty much at the mercy of the current interest rates.   Or are we?....

To be continued...God Bless you and keep the faith...   Read Part II

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Confession #48 - The Blame Game

I love to play The Blame Game.  Actually I've become quite adept at it.  No matter the severity or triviality of a situation, I always manage to point a finger.  Unfortunately that finger is ALWAYS pointing at the same person........ME!

I have become the worlds biggest and most critical person of my own faults and failures. Mostly I blame myself for every bad decision my child makes. 

In the beginning I just figured that I was the World's Worst Mother.  The expectations I held for my daughter were immensely high.  This was a result of becoming a mother of a two-year-old who was unbelievably articulate and intelligent.  Having never parented before, I didn't know what a reasonable expectation was, and so I assumed that she could understand and be responsible for things no two-year-old could deal with.  Add in that my daughter comes from a background of abuse and neglect.  She just needed a mother who could offer her love, protection, comfort, and understanding.  Instead she got a crazed yeller who thought her baby could control her emotions.  Frankly, I didn't see her as a baby, albeit she was in diapers, her intellect and vocabulary suggested otherwise, and my complete lack of experience led to severe incompetence as a mom.  Coupled with the sad fact, as I've mentioned in my post I Was Afraid I Couldn't Love Her, that it took over a year for me to bond with her.

As God taught me how to love her that changed and I stopped calling myself "The World's Worst Mother".  But it's not like I'm any easier on myself.  I become so frustrated when she makes bad choices and gets herself in trouble.  I feel embarrassed whenever she is disrespectful towards other adults.  I judge myself when she's not applying herself academically, and I take it personally whenever she can't manage to solve age-appropriate moral dilemmas.  Why????  Oh goodness, here comes the tears...

Truthfully, I really am doing the best job I can.  I know I'm not perfect nor will I ever be; that's Jesus' job.  Honestly, the growth I've made in the last 5 years has been tremendous.  I've fought so long and so hard to get her the help she's needed.  I've taken things off my plate so I can spend more quality time with her.  I've put things on my plate so I can become more involved in the areas that concern her.  I've kept myself from working a full-time job so that I can be here for her more.  I pray everyday for her.  I look for new ways to teach her and keep her engaged.  Although, I've invested all I have into being a good mother....I still feel like I fall so short.  Even with all those accomplishments I believe that I'm not doing enough, spending enough time, teaching her well enough, praying long enough, being a good enough example, etc....  And the game continues...

The name of my game piece is Fear.  Fear that she will grow up to be like her bio mom.  If your an adoptive parent you can probably relate.  This fear is fueling an insane need to control everything in and out of my power to make sure that doesn't happen.  But this Blame Game has got to come to an end!  My head tells me that all I can do is my best and leave the rest up to God.  But my heart tells me it's my fault and I'm failing her.  This way of thinking is parental suicide.  Non of us can live up to it.  Yet I remain a pawn in this horrible game because I think I can have control and I don't.  God is in control.  It reminds me of Twila Paris' song.  Click play on the video.  There is power in these lyrics and I promise you won't be disappointed:

God IS in control!  Isaiah 40:27-31 says, "Why do you complain, Jacob (Joanne)?  Why do you say, Israel (Joanne), 'My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God'?  Do you not know?  Have you not heard?The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary,  and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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." 

If you're playing an endless round of The Blame Game will you retire your game piece with me and just leave it to God? 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you Lord that you ARE in control.  That every detail of our lives matters to you.  Instead of playing the blame game you show us grace and grant us mercy.  Lord teach me to do the same for myself.  Please help me to destroy the Blame Game and replace it with a joy-filled peace in my parenting.  And where I fall short, teach me & mold me.  And great and merciful Father, grant the same to these wonderful and amazing moms who like me are doing the best they can.  In Jesus' name I pray.  AMEN.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Confession #47 - Joy is the Best Medicine!

If you've never seen the movie Money Pit and you're looking for a serious laugh, I highly recommend it, it's one of my favorites. 

Click on the play button and watch.  In this scene the main character, Walter, is so overwhelmed by the amount of issues going wrong with the home he's just purchased that he breaks down, not crying but hysterical laughing.

My life has been like this lately.  It's been chaotic, hetic, and exhausting.  But in the midst of it, I noticed an interesting change taking place in my heart....

I'll spare you all the details of the craziness itself, but suffice to say the straw that broke the camel's back occured on Wednesday evening after I noticed that my daughter's hair was infested with Lice.  If you've ever had a run-in with these nasty creatures you know all the work involved in getting rid of them.  It doesn't just take ridding them from the hair but you have to inhillate them from the home by washing and laundering EVERYTHING!!!

By Friday evening, I was in an utter and complete state of exhaustion.  I had torn apart my daughter's room cleaning, organizing and laundering everything I could find.  It took me from 8 am to 6pm.  After that I was did another treatment on Lexi's hair when my husband decided to tinker with our front door knob that was already in disrepair.  My husband is not a handyman in the least.   But he likes to think he can fix things, kind of like Tim-the-tool-man-Taylor, and you guessed it he completely broke the handle.  Later the waterheater cracked and the garage was flooding so that must have excited the dog who decided to start running around the house like a rabid animal knocking over laundry and junk along with Lexi deciding to play the drumset she forgot she had until I decided to donate it.  The house was a mess, and between my exhaustion, the wetvac noise in the garage, the drum playing and the dog running around crashing into everything and barking you might assume that I would have gone stock-raving mad.

But on the contrary, I started laughing.  Laughing like Walter in the Money Pit.  An uncontrollable insane laughter when my heart starting feeling this tremendous joy.  I was overwhelmed by the love and blessings I began to recognize around me.  I began thanking God for giving me a home with a front door to welcome visitors, and a hot water heater, and an amazing and talented daughter, a new dog to share our love with and a husband that was here to vacuum up the mess.  I thanked him that I had clothes to wash and food in the refrigerator, I thanked him that I had a job and friends, and family.  I was in complete awe of God and His amazing provisions. 

The laughter subsided but the joy remains as a continual reminder that I am truely blessed.  And I need to count those blessing every time I feel Satan coming around trying to steel my joy.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you again for all the tremendous blessing you have put in my life.  Thank you for filling my heart with joy knowing that joy is being content in the midst of whatever circumstances I may face.  I pray for my sisters-in-Christ today that they too will find the medicine of joy to bring calm in chaos and peace in the midst of panic.  In Jesus' precious name I pray.  AMEN!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Confession #46 - The Invisible Girl

Remember The Breakfast Club..."Don't you forget about me...."?  This was the quintessential 80's teen movie and most of us 80's kids can relate to it.  This movie had 80's high school pegged, you were either a Clair, the popular princess, a Bender, the burn-out, an Andy, a good-looking jock, a Brian, the brain, or you were like me an Allison; basically invisible.  See if you didn't fit in the other four categories, the other kids, well they just didn't see you, it was as if you didn't even exist. 

That was pretty much my high school experience.  The invisible girl.  Nobody ever saw me.  Oddly, I thought those days were behind me, but not so much.  It's been 25 years since I've graduated and sadly, nothing has changed.  Here's what I mean, yesterday I reached out to a former classmate on facebook, someone to whom I was friendly with until I suddenly became invisible when she somehow broke the barrier and made the "in" crowd.  Believing that 25 years had bridged the gap I made myself vulnerable and put out a friendly hello, which of course went completely  unacknowledged. Perhaps you can tell, I was a bit miffed.  All those feelings of being an outcast, ignored, and invisible came back to the surface.  But God is so good because He's seen fit to use it to help me embrace my invisibility.

The Bible says, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Cor 4:18.  Me, you, and those who were a part of the "in" crowd, we're all temporary and one day we will all cease to exist in this world.  But God, on the other hand, He is eternal.  We need to fix our eyes on our unseen God and on the heavenly realms and not on our visible selves, our friends, or people from our past.  Because when we pass away, if we are saved, we will live with Him forever.   This life is only a few years of our lives in comparison to the endless time we will spend in heaven.

Additionally, God has reminded me that honestly, I'm happy to be invisible these days.  To tell the truth it's been my prayer to radiate Jesus so that when people look at me they don't see Joanne, they see Jesus.  I'd rather be invisible to the human world in order to Glorify God than to be what others may want me to be just to be visible or recognizable to the world.  I wonder just how many notable people in today's society really feel fulfilled by their notoriety? 

I used to hate the fact that I would blend into the scenery, but today I'll blend into the scenery of the glory of God and shine His eternal goodness with joy. 

Ever feel invisible yourself?  Ever wished you would be noticed?  Perhaps you should rethink that for a moment remembering that when we are visible God is not.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that I can embrace my past and deal with these stirred up emotions in a way that reminds me to Glorify you Lord.  I pray for my sisters-in-Christ who may feel similar to me and ask Father that they would glean comfort in knowing that if they are invisible you are visible through them.  Bring them a tremendous blessing for desiring invisibility in order to help others see you.  In Jesus' name I pray Amen.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Confession #45 - Surrender All????

When I first "officially" got saved, I attended a Southern Baptist Church and one of the staple hymns was "I Surrender All"  The chorus goes, "I surrender all, I surrender all.  All to thee my Blessed Savior I surrender all.  Click here to hear the lyrics.  I've found myself humming the song as of late and I think it's God reminding me that I need to surrender all my problems to Him.

Now if you're a faithful reader of my blog you know that on more than one occasion I've labeled myself a control freak.  I'm not so much a "cast your care" (1 Peter 5:7) kind of gal.  I'm more like, let me take matters into my hands until I screw things up so bad I have no other choice than to rely on the God of the Universe to straighten them out.  Funny thing is even though I know I don't have any control, I still believe that I can control things.  The bible says, "apart from me (Jesus) you cannot do anything." John 15:5.  Since everything the Bible says is true then that means I don't have control over anything, period.  On my own, I'm likely to fail.

For instance, I can say things like well if I just don't eat carbs I'll loose weight, and yes I may for a while but if I don't let God take control those changes aren't going to last.  I can say well if I just volunteer to lead the group then I can make things go my way, but if I'm not following God's plan for the group then my way will flop.  I can say well if I just find the right motivation my daughter's behavior will change but if I'm not trusting her behavior to God change will be short lived. 

We can't control anything, most of all our husbands, family, children, friends, jobs, economic situations, eating, ect... But by letting God in on it we can expect real lasting and promising change (in God's timing of course).  God is in control of the entire universe so what makes us think for even a second that we can make things happen apart from Him?

 For the last few years my biggest struggle with surrender has been with my daughter's behavior issues.  She has ADHD.  She also has a seizure disorder, a result of being a carrier of Fragile X Syndrome, which causes her to have broken sleep patterns leading further to the behavior issues.  Additionally she had a period in the first two years of her life before we had custody where she was exposed to abuse.  To add to that she struggles with abandonment issues because of the experience with her bio mom.  All of the above coupled with having a very strong willed nature has made for major challenges with my daughter's ability to behave in school and to socialize positively with other children.  This has been a tremendous source of frustration for myself and my husband.  We have tried almost everything, believe me only to have been met with roadblocks from the schools, received judgements from other parents about how I'm raising my daughter, and even some parents who have told their children not to associate with my daughter (in front of my child!)  I've cried so many nights, fought severely with my husband and nearly have ruined a relationship with some family members over it.  Nothing seems to work....
Then one night I found myself lying in bed crying out to God asking, no begging, Him to take it. God's word says in Matthew 11:28-30 , “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light".  Remembering His words gave me the desire to take God up on His amazing offer and I finally said, God, Lexi is yours these behavior issues are now yours. I'm gonna take your burden which is simply to love her and I'm gonna let you deal with the rest. Send us help.

And help came.  Now things are beginning to change.  I'm not going to say that's it's all gone away miraculously or that it hasn't required a lot of work but by letting God guide my steps and allowing Him to put the people in place to help us, the situation has been looking up.  After praying, we were able to get the help of an advocate who is arranging a behavior modification for us in the school and working with us to help better socialize Lexi.  As well as providing us the resources we need to parent her in ways that she needs.  I can tell you that this has brought so much peace to my life.

By this one small example I'm now coming to the realization that I can give Him all the rest of my burdens, and He will not only take it, but He will happily take my junk and return to me peace and help.  Phil 4:6-7 reminds us, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  The peace of God which transcends (which means, to outdo or exceed in excellence, elevation, extent, surpass; excels) all understanding.  It's a bigger peace than we can even imagine.  You can't get it anywhere else but from God and you can't get it any other way but by prayer.

What are you trying to control today?  What do you need to surrender?  Let me encourage you to surrender it ALL.  Let go and Let God.  Remembering that this is the God of the entire universe who will take care of it.  He will never disappoint you.  "So do not fear for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you Lord for teaching me to surrender to you all my cares, and my burdens.  Lord I know it isn't always easy for control freaks like myself but above all I know that I can trust you because you prove to me everyday that I can.  Lord I pray from my fellow control freaks reading this post that whatever they are struggling with no at this very moment they would utterly and completely surrender it all to you Dear Lord.  That they would be granted the peace that transcends all understanding and you would be their strength in their time of need.  In Jesus' precious name I pray AMEN.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Confession #44 - Just What Do You Say?

A very dear friend of mine is going through a painful divorce and is struggling with finding strength to carry on.  A cousin's 14 year old daughter has been suffering through painful chemo treatments.  A very close personal friend has recently discovered she has breast cancer.  And there are so many more I know that are hurting.  The question is just what do you say?

Dear Sisters I have wrestled with knowing just what to say to those who are hurting.  I've tossed and turned trying to think of a better response than simply, I'll pray for you.  Offering up the I'm praying for you response is good but without follow-up it's an empty promise that so many of us tend to make.  I've made a committment that I will pray.  Right there and then, either over the phone, through a text or email or in person.  Because I believe that we need not offer that statement alone, we need to pray, with them, for them and every time they cross our minds. 

Their hurts have become my hurts, their sorrows are my sorrows, and their struggles are my struggles.  I love these people.  Not just because they are my friends or family, or sisters-in-Christ, but because God has commissioned me to love them.  I truly Love them, and if I am to show that love they need to hear my heart cry out to God on their behalf. 

I encourage you that as these hurting people cross your mind, send them a quick email, text or facebook message with your sincere prayer for them.  Let them know that you are really praying and that you really do care. 

Sisters love is more than words it's an action and most time it seems that the only thing we can do for those that are hurting is to pray.  But make no mistake prayer is a powerful weapon against this evil dark world, against disease, against Satan's influence.  It is a weapon to be used mightily as we are warriors for Christ.  Next time your asked or prompted to pray, pick up this weapon and use it to destroy the foes of our faith.  Use it to demolish Satan's attacked, use it to build each other up and use it to annihilate disease and sickness. (Click here for all the verses on the power of prayer)

Friends you can become a powerful prayer warrior.  Simply pray by the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus for God to _________.  And more than anything that His good, perfect, and pleasing will be accomplished overall.

Mark 24:11 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

Dear Heavenly Father I pray for my sisters tonight who's desire it is to lift up their hurting friends, family and acquaintances to you.  Lord I pray that they can understand that indeed they can be powerful warriors for the faith through even the most simple heartfelt prayer.  I pray that they don't worry about fumbling with words but to just allow you to give them the peace to know that you understand their hearts and what their desire is.  I pray that you would give them the resolve to not just say, "I'll pray for you", but to actually do it right away demonstrating that they really are women of their words.  Thank you that you have given me a heart for others that you have asked me to love beyond measure and bring to action my heartfelt sorrows for them through the amazing and awesome power of prayer.  May all the glory go to you Dear Lord.  In Jesus' name I pray.  AMEN

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Confession #43 - "I Don't Hate Myself Anymore!"

I found this post from a note I started on facebook a few years ago.  And after I read it I could hardly believe how much has changed in my heart.  God has done an AMAZING work in me because I used to say these words to myself all the time and frankly now I can't remember the last time I even thought them.  God really does heal a broken heart.  Here's the post:

Do you know how many times a day I say, “I hate myself”?  Way too many.   Whenever I regret saying something to someone else, “I hate myself.”  Whenever I look in the mirror and don’t like the image starring back at me, “I hate myself”.  Whenever I lose my temper with my daughter, “I hate myself”.  Whenever I realize I’ve missed an opportunity to bless another, “I hate myself.”  Whenever I pick out one of my husband’s flaws, “I hate myself”.  Whenever I don’t meet or sometimes even when I don’t beat my expectations I put on myself, “I hate myself.”

Where did this self loathing come from?  Why HATE?  Hate is such a strong word.  The dictionary defines the word hate as:  an intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury; extreme dislike or antipathy.  Okay so, in my anger against myself and my sinful nature, coupled with my fear that I’m not acting as the person God created me to be I HATE me.  But is that what God wants me to do; hate myself?  No, I don’t think so.  I know that when God created me He created my inmost being, He knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).  But I also know that God hates sin (Romans 12:9).  So how do I separate myself from my sin, in other words the things that I do that are not pleasing to my God, myself, and others.  How do I learn to instantly to forgive myself and give myself grace and mercy to carry on?  I ask God for forgiveness ALL the time.  And I know that God forgives me and grants me grace and mercy.  (Acts 10:43)  Yet, I fail time and time again to grant the same grace and mercy to myself.  I punish myself over and over again for my mistakes.  So much so that I make it so difficult to learn from them and move on.  Growth cannot happen when we snare ourselves into traps of pity and self loathing, and let’s face it, that’s exactly where Satan wants us to be.  In fact, now that I think about it I’ll bet that devil whispers that word in my ear all the time.  He says to me, “Remember Joanne, You hate yourself”.   Wait a second.  I’ve been listening to the devil.  I’ve allowed myself to stay stuck in this pit of despair because of a lie?  OMG IT’S A LIE! 

I need healing.  Lord, “I don’t hate myself and from now on I’m going to combat that evil with the armor of God.  The Helmet of Salvation ought to do it coupled with a few hate fighting verses like:  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) 

Love never fails.  I love that verse.  We hear this one at weddings all the time.  It’s a message to love our spouses no matter what.  But how come we miss out on the message for ourselves.  We don’t apply it to our lives?  LOVE Yourself.  Why?  Because God created you, God loves you.  He loves you sooooo much that He sent His one and only Son to die for you!  (John 3:16)  That’s right, someone died for me.  He died for these evil sins I beat myself up for everyday.  By hating myself, I put to waste the Love Jesus displayed for me on that cross.  No, now it’s time to put away my hate and lock it in a box.  It’s time to embrace the love that God has for me and to know with every fiber of my being that He LOVES me and so I must Love myself.  When God commanded us to Love one another, (John 13:34) I believe He also meant for us to love ourselves.  Today I will not Hate Joanne.  I will give her a BIG Hug, tell her I forgive her, and I love her.  She is worth fighting for, Christ fought for me on that cross, and I won’t let it go to waste. 

This post was written in 2011 and I can tell you that this issue is all but a faint memory.  God has healed me and has taught me to cover my ears when the devil comes around with this horrible montra.

Dear Heavenly Father, praise you Lord for giving me the strength to end this self-loathing and learn to love myself.  Thank you Father that you have lavished your love upon me so that I know that I have enormous worth.  I know that "God so loved Joanne, that He gave His one and only son that since she believes in Him, she shall not perish but have eternal life."  And Lord I pray for my sisters-in-christ to grasp the same concept whenever they are feeling like they hate themselves as well.  In Jesus' name I pray.  AMEN