The Hardest Decision I Ever Made Was to Follow Jesus

I look at the title of this, and I cringe.  Following Jesus should be fun, and easy.  You would think everything in your life would get better, your bank account would be overflowing, and all your problems would go away.  That didn’t happen when I made my decision to follow Him.  

Matt 16:24 ESV Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

What does this mean? For me it means when I want to give up I remember the scripture  Philippians 4:13  NKJV “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  When I look at my bank account that says I have .67 cents in it, I trust His word  that says Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

When I get sad and depressed and I don’t want to get out of bed, and I think about my husband sleeping in his new bed, in his new apartment, I give the situation to God, and try not to do what I would have done in the past which is try to get back at him, or make him jealous.  I remember when I told God that He could have my marriage, and everything I had was His. Even when my heart hurts so bad and I cry until I have a hard time breathing, and my eyes are puffy I recall Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”

God has a plan and a hope and a future for me, and you too. 

Following Jesus means that I get to witness his goodness in situations.  Everyday, I see His hand in my life, and the lives of others around me.  I see His goodness when I only had a few dollars in my bank account, and the person at Chick-fil-A  told me she paid for my food.  I see His beauty in every sunrise, and sunset when I marvel at the beautiful golds and reds, and different shades of pink.  I see His goodness when I get to pray for someone, and they have hope in their eyes, and look so much more hopeful than when I first saw them.

Every single day I have to make decisions in the little things like holding my tongue when I really want to tell someone what I REALLY think,  when my alarm goes off in the morning and I have to decide, am I going to sleep in, or am I going to spend some quiet time before the kids wake up and read God’s word?

Following Jesus doesn’t mean everything in my life got easier, and I don’t struggle.  But following Jesus gives me a hope that I didn’t have before. It means that His Mercies are new every morning, and forgiveness is always available for me.  Following Jesus means that everyday is a surprise, and I get to see His hand in my life, and the lives of those around me, His Goodness, Grace, and Love, and that is why I wake up everyday hopeful and press on, and why I made the decision to follow Jesus. 

At Ease, Soldier

Today I woke up thankful to be alive on this Thanksgiving Day, not in rush mode, the usual wondering how I am going to get through my day.

I grabbed some coffee and thanked The Lord for my blessings. Supportive family, (although it hasn’t always been this way), friends and good neighbors. I’m thankful my back is healed and I can get to my jazzercise class.

So although this day can bring mixed feelings look to the little things to give thanks in. And if you are not feeling it just know that things won’t always be this way, and better days are coming.

So rest today from all the battles and worldly problems, put your feet up and cherish this day.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

🍁

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

Yeah, I had one of those days yesterday.

It all started when I went to the grocery store after getting my paycheck, spending my hard earned money on hard to find, overpriced foods.

I came home and immediately started unpacking while my kids unloaded the trunk. The next morning when I woke up one of my first thoughts was “I don’t remember seeing the meats get unloaded.” I went to my car and opened the trunk and sure enough a whole bag of refrigerated foods was sitting there, nice and warm from being in the trunk for 12 plus hours.

This started me on a downward spiral of thoughts of – why didn’t I get a better job that makes more money, why didn’t I finish my court reporting school when I was so close, why did I waste so much time being a waitress when I could have gone to school, why did I argue with my ex-husband that time and on and on and on.

I even had regrets going back to my earliest memories of being a small child. There I laid in my bed wasting a sunny Saturday crying and dredging up old memories until I finally decided to get up for dinner. Of course we didn’t end up eating until over two hours later because my garage door motor popped and smoked, but I digress.

Thankfully, today I woke up in a much better mood and repented to the Lord for blaming Him for my own decisions I made that created consequences that I am in today.

I know He doesn’t want me looking back at past mistakes, carrying shame and regret like a heavy blanket I’m way too comfortable in.

Luke 9:62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.

So, today I do the best I can do. I try to be patient with others, help others, and be the best mom and hard working employee that I can be and pray to the Lord to help me and give me strength and wisdom to get through my days when I’m tired and in pain.

We are all carrying heavy loads these days, and everyone could use some encouragement.

So, it’s ok to cry sometimes. It’s ok to have regrets. Learn from them. What could you have done better? Then get up, wipe your tears and carry on. Get out and see the day the Lord made for you to enjoy.

Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Guard Your Dreams

Recently I self-published a book called “Bear the Mouse with Allergies and Asthma.”

It’s been a dream of mine to write for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved letters that make up words, word games, the library, and bookstores. I used to write stories as a child. I would proudly show them off, only to get made fun of.

In third grade my teacher asked us to write a book report about a hero. I wrote about my dad, the only hero I knew at that time.

I’ll never forget the embarrassment and confusion when I received the report back with a big “F” across the top of the page written in red pen and many exclamation points “THIS IS A COP OUT!!!!!!!!”

Being a third-grader I had no idea what a “cop out” was – I just knew it was something not good.

I remember in 10th grade English class I squeaked by with a D. Every paper I wrote was not received well.

I gave up writing after that. Although I still loved to read, and read everything I could get my hands on, I stopped writing stories. I was confused on how I could do so terribly at something I loved.

Fast forward many years later and I was sitting at a women’s conference. I heard the speaker say “Good readers make good writers.” That planted a seed in me, and I actually started to entertain the idea that I could possibly write.

After that conference I felt I was in a funk. I had no creative outlet, whatsoever. I felt frustrated and stagnant.

I decided I would do some life coaching with someone who was objective, and didn’t know me on a personal level. After asking me what I did as a child that made me happy, he suggested I start a blog. That suggestion gave me hope, and something to dream about. I decided I would start that blog.

What I learned along my journey is people will have something to say if you share your dreams with them. Even your closest friends may have something negative to say.

When I shared my book idea with some friends I had a lot of unsolicited advice. I had my own visions on how things should look, and they had theirs. Some people even made negative comments about my story.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Tell God all your dreams and ideas. He’s waiting to hear from you. After all, He is the one who put those dreams and gifts in you, and He has great wisdom.

Protect your ideas and gifts at all costs. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t let people talk you out of your dream. What area have you struggled in, or people have come against? That may be the area you are called into.

1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

Finally, don’t wait any longer. Someone else needs what God created you to do.

New Children’s Book Out

Hi All!

My dream of writing a book finally came true!

“Bear the Mouse with Allergies and Asthma,” a children’s book is on Amazon in paperback and e-book.

It has always been a dream of mine to write a book, and I hope to write many more.

I’m so thankful to God for giving me this story, and I’m hopeful this book will bring a bit of joy to each child’s life that reads it.

Whatever your dream may be start small if it seems overwhelming, but just take the first step. Make time to do it, maybe put a Do Not Disturb sign on your door. The world needs your creative idea 💡

See you in the next post. 🐻🐭

Bear the Mouse with Allergies and Asthma: Bear the Mouse https://www.amazon.com/dp/1737966301/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_9XKD89XAB5FK7MMFWW1J

Bear the Mouse with Allergies and Asthma

A Note to My Younger Self

With so much news going on in the world the Gabby Petito case has captured mostly everyone’s attention in the US. We will never know why Gabby chose to stay with her boyfriend, maybe she didn’t intend to. We don’t know exactly what happened yet that caused her life to end.

As I watched the Bodycam footage of the Moab City Police Officer it brought back painful memories of my teenage years.

I was in an abusive relationship from 15 to 19 years old, and on and off after that. I know, I know, I should not even have been focused on boys at that age, and I look back at regret at those years, and am thankful God brought me through those tumultuous times, and is healing me from the trauma. But as I thought about those memories, I wondered how did it start?

In my case I was raised in a home with two loving parents. Unfortunately, they did not love each other. Not with an authentic “healthy” love. Abuse and divorce go back generations in my family.

When they split up I was 10 years-old. My brother and I felt we only had each other to lean on. Their divorce was a terrible one. My brother and I went through a parental abduction, a parent being hospitalized for months, my parents dating, remarriages, and eventually separation as the judge separated my brother and I when I was 13 and he was 10. My brother went to live with my dad, and I stayed with my mom. Needless to say, there was a lot going on in my household, and I was a latchkey kid since my mom had to go back to work full time.

I suppose I was really flattered that anyone would pay attention to me, and show interest in me. It was also fun to get away from a lonely life at home. With no mentors or older siblings around to give me advice and being really immature for my age, combined with insecurity and lack of a structured home life I went down a really rough path that the Lord did not intend for me.

It was a path of self-destruction. Promiscuity, drinking, abusive behavior, and suicide attempts were all a part of my teenage years. I know God was always with me, and He knew eventually I would turn to Him crying out to Him because my very life depended on Him. He proved He cared and cares for me, even after I ignored Him year after year.

Romans 5:8

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

All of that to say this: If you are in an abusive relationship, leave. I know there are many reasons to stay, you would have to leave your home, what would it look like to others, how would you start over, you have no money…

This is not the path God has for you. It says in God’s word:

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Looking back on my teenage self I wish I could give some advice to the younger me:

You’re beautiful, you don’t need to be in a relationship, you are worthy of love, the non-abusive kind, don’t take being cheated on, spit on, or cussed at. Don’t rush things, focus on your education and most importantly, get to know Jesus. Because if you do that the rest will fall into place at the perfect time.

Matthew 6:33 — ESV

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

If you are going through physical abuse, or even verbal abuse I urge you to reach out to someone you can trust, someone who can help. You deserve better, and you don’t have to take another person’s toxic behavior.

Our days are not guaranteed. God loves you so much He sent His only son to die for you.

Psalm 109:26

Help me. Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love.

When you are in a good place in your life and look back, you will be thankful to the Lord for what He brought you through. He is our refuge and strength. Be patient with yourself, and give yourself grace.

Oh, and one more thing I would tell my younger self?

You are stronger than you think.

Baggage Check

So, recently I decided to join a Jazzercise class. Ten sessions to be exact. Right before my first class started I was so nervous. I hadn’t been in a class since pre-pandemic, and certainly never a Jazzercise class.

I was certain people were going to be cliquey and unfriendly, and I would not have fun. Well, I got to class and to my surprise everyone was so welcoming. I had a lot of fun, and although I was winded and tripped over my feet once, had a blast.

It got me thinking, what other negative thoughts did I have in my head that I had convinced myself of?

Well, a lot to be exact. I had been stuck in wrong beliefs for years that prevented me from trying new things.

A wrong mindset, insecurities, negative beliefs about myself, fear, and how I thought others perceived me had trapped me. I felt so weighed down and like I failed at things before I even started.

So, at almost half a century old, I’m trying new things. I’ve taken a few drives and gone places I normally wouldn’t go, tried new foods, started riding a bike again, and have taken an art class.

Even though I did wake up slightly panicked this morning hearing “Single, single, double, double” in my dreams I’m still determined to keep going. If the lady that I met in class is 78 years-old and still jazzercising, what’s my excuse?

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.