Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Christmas Story?

Jer. 2:11 “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.”

The Christmas Story?

I never really gave the technicalities much thought to the Christmas Story, I trusted what I was taught and went with it on the same journey as you. Some see and understand it differently and now so do I. 

Well you already know I’m ‘different’ and believe things ‘differently’ and I’m okay with that but this one had toyed with me over the years and now it hit home solidly by the Word of God. What am I going on and on about? The story of three Wise men and how they came to Jesus. 

As the story that we’ve been programmed with over the years is that of the story of the Little Drummer Boy. You know the one, where the three wise men came from afar, following a star, and presented the newborn babe with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. As I was writing a poem this morning, I sought the truth because I don’t like writing something and then being told that ‘hey, that isn’t right.’ I like to try my best to get an accurate conveyance of truth.

Matt. 2:8-11 "And he [Herod] sent them [the wise men] to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

They went into a house and saw a young child. They didn’t find a manger and a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. That was the Shepherds who saw the babe in a manger.

Luke 2:16 “And they [the shepherds] came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”

The Magi, taken from the link – 
“They were definitely men of learning. They were certainly men of great learning. The word Magi comes from the Greek word 'magos' (where the English word 'magic' comes from). Magos itself comes from the old Persian word 'Magupati'. This was the title given to priests in a sect of the ancient Persian religions such as Zoroastrianism. Today we'd called them astrologers. Back then astronomy and astrology were part of the same overall studies (and 'science') and went hand in hand with each other. The magi would have followed the patterns of the stars religiously. They would have also probably been very rich and held high esteem in their own society and by people who weren't from their country or religion.”

I always knew there was some twisting of [HIS]story because when one man sees a house burning in a blazing fire, another man might see a small oven fire consuming a kitchen, while yet another person might see a legal burning of a persons trash. Stories get constructed and misconstrued numerous times over the years. Some see the history in the bible as literal and me, being a poet, have always seen many portions as metaphorically divined. I don’t think God ever intended for us to pluck someone’s eye out. You don't need to chest thump and correct me here, this is me sorting this out. 

The Little Drummer Boy is a story we were sold throughout our lives that we somewhat believed. The story is kind of like the tale I was told of what was needed to fight this disease I’m fighting. I was programmed over and over to believe something only to find out that it isn’t all true and there are other ways to think about the killer disease. See there? I said killer disease without hesitation only because that was my belief for forty years. That’s about how long ago my grandmother was taken by the disease of a lifetime.

We are programmed to believe that this is a ‘killer’ disease only because we’ve heard the story over and over and we believe what we’re told because we’re a trusting species never giving rise to doubt in what we’re being fed. Literally, what we’re being fed are lies! When you read a label that says ‘All Natural’ you believe what it says never looking any closer to see what portion is all natural (usually 1% of a whole), you just buy what you’re being sold.

Chemotherapy is another story being sold to unsuspecting people. I hear over and over how it ‘cured’ so and so but, there it is, there is always a ‘but’! After destroying the immune system the ‘cured’ get sicker and sicker and some even have to deal with a recurrence and guess what you're sold, more chemo, radiation and drugs. Is it because you can’t change your lifestyle to save your life? Are you seriously not worth it? 

There’s a change that came over the world in the form of a baby who thought you WERE (and still are) worth a change from the evil that Eve brought on mankind. No, not everyone can be as strong as Jesus, but inside you, you have hidden strength that will come ALIVE when you see yourself WORTH the change! There IS change in the story, there is HISstory to be made, all you have to do is see yourself worthy. God thinks you are, do you think you are?

Job 30:18 “By the great force of my disease is my garment changed: it bindeth me about as the collar of my coat.”

Prov. 24:21 “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:”

Monday, December 11, 2017

Peace Be With You

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Isa. 26:3 KJV “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Peace Be With You

When I listen to Josh Groban sing, Oh Holy Night, tears puddle my eyes and begin the descent down my cheek. This is what happens when I hear songs of Christmas like Oh Holy Night, Silent Night, or Mary did you know. I’m not the jingle bells kinda gal when it comes to Christmas music. I want something that touches my soul from a voice and words who understand the meaning of what a holy night is.

Here lately it doesn’t take much for my eyes to water but it does take a lot for me to cry. Pain usually does that but during this season, some songs touch me so deeply I cry like a baby waiting the day I meet the Lord in His home, instead of the other way around.

This season calls out to me to share peace and love. While I can visually see the negative taking place in the world I’m like a horse with blinders on for this month and not seeing the darkness that will eventually smother the country. For this short time, I’m spreading peace and love to people so they understand the Glory of God in times of turmoil.

How can a person who’s been diagnosed with cancer find peace on any given day? I was telling my husband just the other day that people take life too seriously. I realized when I uttered those words that that is what makes me different. I don’t take life too seriously if I take it any way it would be in peace. The diagnosis may have come out of left field and I could’ve taken it so seriously I succumbed to the illness but in my eyes, I see it as just another hurdle and another day to share my Lord with my readers.

I know I said I won’t use the word for this disease, but sometimes I need to brush my face with a bit of reality, it really keeps me grounded and helps me to visually see the strength I carry with me every day. Some days I don’t feel like a strong person, I cry, I hurt, so I review my year and realize golly doggone it, I AM strong. It then fills me with the resources and confidence I need to move forward and to share my gracious words of truth with you.

When I speak to my mother she always asks what I’m doing or what I did on this or that day and I’m always telling her I’m writing. I told her I had a blog and I share my life story on a daily basis. I’ve told her this numerous times before but nothing sinks in unless it is negative then she holds onto it for years upon years. She said to me, “Well, you don’t share the bad stuff in your life do you?” I let her know quite bluntly (again) the same thing I bluntly tell my readers. “I am an open book! Good and bad, I hide nothing.”

I think she was shocked because after a few more words she said she was getting nervous and her voice was obviously agitated. I have told her numerous times that I'm a writer over the years but this time it sunk in for a brief second. This is the very reason she has no idea about my illness, she cannot handle the truth in any way shape or form and everything becomes negative. I sometimes wonder how I ever turned out. I know I shouldn’t badger my family and I don’t specifically pinpoint one person as the culprit of all the bad that took place in my life, I tell MY story.

Let me ask you this if you read my blog and day after day I told you how great and perfect my life is or my upbringing was, would my blog be worth reading? Honestly, don’t you like to read about someone who is just like you a sinner, having hard days, surviving a hard life against all odds just like everyone else on the planet? 

I’ve never been one to pretend or hide the truth of how I got to where I am today. I lay it out like an indoor/outdoor carpet and let everyone walk over the words and take them for what they need. I am who I am today not because of my mother and father, not because religion shaped me but because I found my God to be more trustworthy than any man walking the face of the earth.  I NEED to let you all know what He has done for me. The pits were pretty dreary and difficult but yes, we can all be pulled from the depths of hell and be carried into the Light.

I find a peace wash over me this holiday season knowing I am honest, loving, and caring. The stress that sometimes accompanies the holidays has not bitten me in the rear. I’m not even dreading the family dinner come Christmas day because my plan is to take for myself a mega salad that I’ll enjoy immensely. I may even eat a piece of ham and have a bun. They need to see God shining from me too as much as my readers need to see it. If you walk away with anything from my blog, walk away with seeing and knowing that God is ever present in this world, in me and through me, let the Light shine through.

All praise and Glory to God! 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The Hustle and Bustle of the Season

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

The Hustle and Bustle of the Season

While everyone is trying to get into the spirit of Christmas, get his and her trees trimmed, the light show twinkling outside, the house was done, the home brimming with presents, the rush of the holiday season can be overwhelming. Then you see people saying ‘remember the reason for the season’ when they themselves don’t even take the time to slow down and remember why this season exists.

Did you know even atheists celebrate Christmas? They don’t know why but they’ll stand firm and say they’re just doing what everyone else is doing, or they do it for the food or that it’s just another day they can party.

The pagan holiday is celebrated around the world in many odd sorts of traditions and folklore. While each of the religions in America celebrates Christmas in different ways, the holy day (designated by man) is celebrated in a select number of ways. The only thing Christians agree on is that it is the celebrated day of Christ’s birth. It would take America to turn Christmas into a materialistic commercialized holiday.

Since America is considered ‘the melting pot’ with a diverse nation of cultures and religions, Christmas is celebrated in individual fashion from the Irish, Germans, Greeks, and Italians, to the atheist, Catholics, Jewish, etc. all celebrating Christmas in their traditional fashion. Even I find myself celebrating the holiday different than what is traditionally accepted and expected.

As a child, I was no different than anyone else waiting in anticipation at the top of the stairs for Santa to deliver lots of new toys! Even though we were very poor, we never knew it by the hustle and bustle leading up to the day of presents. Christmas day was all about the yearly family get-together as the family would visit us or we’d go house-to-house visiting family. I grew up in the city and most of my relatives lived within a one-mile radius.

By the time Christmas night came the adults in the family were unrecognizable as inebriation was the norm for Christmas day in my childhood. No church, no tradition, just booze and presents. Not that we kids minded but by today’s standards I believe my entire childhood would be unacceptable to the normal folks of the world. Normal, does anyone have a normal Christmas and honestly, what IS normal?

Maybe this is why I set off at a young age (seventeen) to be different, started my own traditions, mingled with the robotic traditions of the day and tossed a lot of what was ‘acceptable’ to the world out the window! I think I took what I saw as silly traditional pagan rituals and conformed myself to be more of what Christ would’ve been like if December 25th WAS His birthday.

In MY mind, I didn’t see Jesus as running around making sure he bought everyone the perfect gift, made sure he had a Santa on his lawn, lights and tinsel all over the place. No, I would think Jesus would keep it quite simple and use symbolism as gifts and decorations. He wasn’t so focused on himself selfishly, no he GAVE instead of received and he kept it simple, a rock, a tree branch, a candle, his heart, his soul, His LIFE.

As a people, we are steeped in tradition. We carry out our Christmas as what our parents handed down to us and we carry on those traditions for our kids and give them our spin of the traditional holiday. In other words, we took away the holy day and made it a day of tradition and celebration. Somewhere along the passing of the torch, we lost what the real meaning of the season was meant to be, to begin with.

It’s been about twenty-five years since the hustle and bustle season got under my skin. Now it is laid back with the day being celebrated as a visit to my brother-in-law's house where we all get together to eat. The family stopped the ‘gift exchange’ quite a few years ago and now it is just a day to celebrate with family. What a humble bunch of people my Lord blessed me with!

This year has taken on new shape and meaning for me. Last year at this time I was anticipating a doctor visit pretty much sure of what the diagnosis would be. My Christmas was overshadowed by pain and concern. Now almost a year after my diagnosis I’m no longer filled with pain but with Hope as my Lord has given me once again a new meaning to the Christmas season. As society becomes overwhelmed by the materialistic hustle and bustle of the holy-day season let us remember the humble, the less fortunate, the homeless and the hungry. Let the living Hope live on in the front and center of the holiday instead of being masked in the shadows. Let the Light of the Lord shine down on you this season.

God Bless Everyone

Hebrews 1:1-4 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” 

Monday, December 04, 2017

The Christmas Candle

John 8:12 KJV “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

The Christmas Candle

We watched this movie for the first time, The Christmas Candle. The premise was quite simple everyone needed a miracle. In a small town shrouded in the folklore of the Christmas Candle, for a miracle, they were told to light the special candle and pray. Not just any candle would suffice only the Christmas Candle from the town candle maker.

I’m not going to give the entire story away but you get the idea, light a candle and pray. Don’t you wish it was that simple to just light a candle and pray for a miracle? Well quite simple enough all you have to do is pray an earnest heartfelt prayer. Meaning, not just an emoticon will suffice, not just a ‘God I need a miracle’ will do, you need a real prayer. 

After watching the movie, I cried; the tears overflowed from my compassionate understanding heart. I know where each of those people was coming from in needing a miracle and it can be quite disheartening when you pray for a miracle and don’t receive one. I’ve been there before so I know what one looks like and what not receiving a miracle looks like.

We live in self-gratifying times where millions of people need miracles. You could line the streets with people seeking a miracle in their life but I have to ask, what draws them to wanting the miracle? Are they children of Christ seeking a miracle or are they from the school where they heard of this God who dishes out miracles so why not give Him a try? 

Do you believe in miracles of your faith or have you heard of His miraculous touch and would like a piece of the pie? Some people put stock in coincidence while some build their entire life around faith in the Lord. Some ministers standing on the pulpit preach faith but when you turn to them in need of a miracle and you tell them that you’re going to put your faith in God, he tells you that is all well and good but to have a backup plan because we live in reality. That is NOT what you want to hear from a minister you trust. Where is his FAITH and trust in God?

Yes, this exact instance took place a little over nine years ago to us. I’ve written about it before. My husband was going blind and we needed a miracle. We didn’t turn to holy oils and laying on of the hands, we turned to God and prayed for a miracle. Our minister assured us that we had the best of intentions but we needed a backup plan. Needless to say, we didn’t listen to the minister. We left that particular church, sought out a church of actual believers with a spirit-filled minister and two and a half years later our miracle was given, my husband had his sight restored. 

I know you’ll say, two years, I want my miracle NOW! Well, rest assured, you will not get a miracle when you demand one! The Lord asked us to endure the trials and wait, without a doubt and a backup plan. We trusted our Lord to do HIS work and sure enough, as I had every bit of faith He would, He came through.

We had zero health insurance so we turned to our ever-trusty government. They told us that my hubby had to be blind for two years before they would help. So we waited. The wait cost him one of his eyes and so much more but to see again was nothing short of a miracle! My husband’s license was restored to him five years ago and just the other day he had to get it renewed. In government fashion, for hubby, there was no simple online renewal. Nope, he was made to take the driving test again, to see if he could still ‘see’. 

Ironically, his nighttime driving restriction was lifted but the daytime forty-mile radius wasn’t. I say ironically because he knows he can’t see at night so that restriction being lifted made no sense. He CAN, however, see during the day but the forty-mile radius of driving was not lifted. When asked about the radius restriction, the lady said we’d have to take it up with the government office seventy-five miles away. How funny!

So what it boils down to is this, if he drives outside the forty-mile radius he is breaking the law. If I want medicinal cannabis to heal from cancer, I have to break the law. The government demands we abide by the law but prevents us from abiding by placing near impossible restrictions so we have to BREAK the law. Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it? 

Back to the miracles. We live in reality so there is no demanding a miracle to happen in your life. God has governed my reality all of my life and has governed man for a millennium. He has rules also; prayer and dedication is just one rule, abide or break the law. You do have a choice!

When I was first diagnosed, I wanted a miracle right then and there to POOF my tumor away and bring me to full health. God asked me to wait and endure and sure enough, with every restriction, with every family get-together, every trip to the grocery store, I am enduring beyond belief. I’m forty pounds lighter and healthier than I’ve been all of my life. My miracle is happening as I write. My Lord is faithful! Maybe I’m the candle you all need to see this Christmas season as you painstakingly endure the wait for your own miracle. I will not be lighting a candle to pray for my own miracle, I will be praying for all of you, He already knows who you are that is in need of one. I already have my miracle! 

All glory and praise to God!

Acts 4:22 “For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.”

Thursday, November 30, 2017

I'm Different

Rom. 3:22 “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”

I’m Different

It didn’t take me long to realize in life that I’m different. I’m not like everyone else and to me, that’s a good thing. I was relentlessly bullied as a kid because I was different. I was prettier, thinner, dumber, poorer, you name it, I was a walking target. From my brothers and sister to the kids at school I had a big L on my forehead and kids were more than willing to just smack the back of my head in hopes it would fall off, but no, it remained.

This is where reading and writing became my only friend. The long days and nights of reading in my bedroom while hearing kids in the courtyard playing became my safe haven. I had to isolate myself because the neighbors all thought I was a bad influence on their kids so they kept them away from me and shrouded them in their own clique where to this day they still remain friends. I was different; I became a defiant rebel and lived up to my bad influence of a name just to spite my neighbors. I wanted to hang with my sister and brother’s friends but I was just Bony Joni to them.

To be one of them, I did things I shouldn’t have done like drugs and alcohol. I had no one to tell me right from wrong as alcoholism was prevalent way back in the genealogy of my family. From who I knew of, my great grandparents all the way to my brothers and sister, and even me,  were all products of the poisonous alcohol and it was detrimental to our lives as a whole.

Something drastically changed for me at fourteen-years-old when I became a born-again Christian giving my life over to God. My family was Catholic, in name only, and I defiantly went against all of my years in Catholic school and became a born-again Christian. Once again I separated myself from my family and the majority of society that didn’t then and doesn’t now accept anything Christ-like except Christmas and Easter holidays.

By twenty-one, I was so transformed I gave up drugs and alcohol, not by any program mind you, all on my rebellious own with the hand of the Lord guiding me in the right direction. Then one by one what little friends my ex-husband and me had were peeling away and once again I became an isolated young woman with only God, writing and books to carry me through.

As I look back over my many years on Earth I see what might have gone wrong, I was/am different. Even now as I’m faced with the disease of a lifetime I’m the defiant rebel handling this leg of the journey different than many others would have chosen. Granted there are other rebel soldiers out here defying the odds like me and wouldn’t you know it, in some fantastical magnetic way we are drawn to one another.

My friend said something to me yesterday that made me realize how different I am, he said:
“We may not be changing as thoroughly as you, but you are providing a continuing example.”

When I woke this morning all I could think of after my morning bible reading was how different I really am and that that comment had lingered with me. I thought back to the days when my niece was a big part of my life daily and the influence I obviously had on her. I don’t feel it was a bad influence because she went on to college to become a Reiki specialist to understand the natural part of Holistic healing and what it meant to her in her life and her developing family. 

I don’t ask to influence people. I don’t judge you for not changing your lifestyle. I don’t force, bully and browbeat you into doing things my way or else. No, just like me, you’re on your own and what you choose to do in your life is your decision, which will eventually carry you to your afterlife or grave, whatever you believe. What I can say is that I’m ‘providing a continuing example’ for men, women, children everywhere.

As I’m writing this I can almost feel your heads shaking in agreement, ‘she’s different alright’, and I’m okay with that. I’ve accepted my weirdness, strangeness, difference and today I defend myself against the bullies of the world that try to knock me down a few rungs.

As I stand here today, I am a living testimony of all that my God has done carrying me through the many tragedies of my short life. I could’ve buckled, I could’ve gone along with everyone else and become something of a robot but I chose nature over technology. I chose Spirit instead of a materialistic life and again, I’m okay with who I’ve become. I am poor, I am humble, I am grateful for being allowed to know and see the difference that someone different can bring to the cornucopia of life. 

Lev. 10:10 “And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;”

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tis the Season

Col. 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

Tis the Season

As the Christmas season unravels, starting with Thanksgiving, compassion rolls out like a red carpet. People start donating to charities but then there are posts on facebook of who NOT to give your hard earned money to; that’s the joy of the season. We are so desensitized and so ‘well informed’ that people out in the world get no help at all because they’re being told to pick and choose wisely who you give to during this season. 

Over the weekend I had a welcomed surprise. My niece sent money directly to my PayPal account. I cried because this girl is a hard-working young mother, cleaning houses for a living and took the time and money out of her funds to help me.  She just never stops amazing me with her compassion. I have another friend who has gone above and beyond on the compassion for Joni and helps so often, I feel spoiled. I have many amazing friends who have reached out to help me and the only way to thank them is… my survival and my continued positive uplifting writing. I call them my Spiritual Family because they wrap their love around me and blanket me with support.

Yes, there are people out in the world who care about other people but I’ve found that the algorithm of the Facebook feed shows the dimly lit pulse of the world and where it stands. Recently I’ve had to limit my time on the social media platform because sadly the heartbeat has flatlined across the board.

I do see positive in the world so I’m not just focused on the negative aspect. If I had to do a percentage, I’d say eighty percent negative, twenty percent positive. Yes, I feel that is how bad we’ve become. Hopefully, over the Christmas season, I’ll see a shift of great magnitude. The darkness cannot win.

When people tune into facebook I want to be the one bright spot they see. I had planned an altogether different post but scrapped it because to me it felt full of negativity, and I am in no way about negativity. I almost feel guilty for feeling so good when I’ve had the diagnosis of a lifetime that would have others crumbling. Again, that is not me, I don’t give up that easily.

For four years I struggled with the bone-crunching of arthritis, years before that I fought the debilitating depression battle and the angst of anxiety battle. I clawed my way out of the darkness that had a tight hold on me only to find myself face to face with the diagnosis that cripples people to the core. People were full of advice on what worked for them, pills, drugs, etc. but since I was a young girl I shunned drugs after surviving an epic battle of drug and alcohol addiction by the time I was twenty-one. You see, I’ve been in a raging war all of my life FOR my life and now I’m feeling great without the use of drugs and I feel like I need to shout from the rooftops the positive change that has washed over me and will carry me into the new year!

My success is not bragging, it’s not boasting, it is LIVING and surviving! Now don’t get me wrong, there is a force out there that tries to take my eyes off of the Lord during these times but the more I focus on God the more cleansed I feel. I wrote a post last week about changing or staying the same, and I find that with CHANGE everything, and I mean EVERY-THING, changed for me. 

If you’re out there struggling in pain, with non-weightloss, with migraines, or with a stagnant life and you feel like you’ve changed, then take notice of what you HAVEN’T changed. Maybe you’ve lied to yourself and tell yourself that you’ve changed but as you still overindulge, knock back alcohol, or feel like the change is getting you nowhere, maybe you need to do a reassessment of what you FEEL you’ve changed. Write it out and tell yourself the truth.

Tis the season to reflect on another year that the Lord has given you. Have you done everything you wanted to do, to change? Are you happy with everything the way it is, and don’t lie to yourself because you’re only cheating yourself? Maybe you haven’t been given a diagnosis of an illness that has taken your world by storm but are you not worth the change? Or will you wait until the New Year to make a bungled resolution? If you were given one month to live, what would you change? That is more than likely the part of you that you believed you changed.

Every aspect of my perspective on life has changed in this past year. Everything has shifted and I’m leaving no stone unturned. Now as I go into the New Year, I’m reaping the rewards of painless living. My wish for you this Christmas is that you embrace the change that is inevitable as we go into the New Year. My hope for you is that you scrutinize your life as much as you dissect the wrongs of the world and other people. Find within yourself a comforting place of healing and take hold of the real change in your life that will lay you at serenity’s door.

Phil. 1:2 “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Monday, November 27, 2017

Light Through the Dark

Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Godliness with contentment is great gain

When people are hit with adversity, how they react defines who they are. When you whine and cry and want a shower of pity to fall around you, you are not shining a light on the power of Christ you’re shining a light upon yourself.

Many Christians define themselves by what they are going through, how bad their life is or isn’t, and all the pain they’ve suffered over the years, this is what defines who they are today and where they will go tomorrow.

When I was given the diagnosis of a lifetime, in that very moment of being swept away for tests upon tests, that I didn’t ask for, by the way, I shut down. For those hours in the day of being wheeled from CT scan, mammogram, biopsy etc, I was not myself, I allowed darkness to swallow me. I allowed myself briefly to be swept away in my own pity. I cried and cried, hours on end until it felt as if my eyes were bleeding.

I perceived the experience as if my very body walked through the pits of hell and it was not a place I was all too familiar with. Since becoming a Christian I had been through many fiery trials but this one was different, this one wasn’t one where everyone else who went through the pit came out alive. I needed to tighten my faith.

When I got home after leaving the pits of fire, I had time to pray, to contemplate what happened and ask, “God, what will you have me do, for YOU?” I did not ask the 'why me' scenario. I didn’t cry out that I’m not strong enough for this path set before me. My first thought was how can I shine the Light of God through this diagnosis. Sure enough, He showed me the way and that is the path you see me on today.

I’ve seen so many people face this illness over and over again. And as unique as this condition is, so is how each individual handles their treatment and all that we’re faced with.

I know of many people who will stay in the pits with fears, pain, loss, drugs, and medications, along with self-pity only because they won’t ask God, what would He have them do. When in the flames of the moment, it is just too hot and the focus is on the self and the urgency of take me out of here now, when all along we needed praise God for the chance to shine the Light on Him, not us. 

Yes, being in the pits are hell, yes it feels as if the fire will consume us, yes it feels like the pain will drown us in quicksand but rest assured if you take a chance and jump with faith, He will catch you. Another problem with people and their faith these days is it just doesn't happen quick enough, there is no patience in pain. I’m sure you look at me and say under your breath that I don’t know hell until I’ve been through what YOU’VE been through. I don’t say that lightly. What I’m saying is that your hard life is no worse than anyone else’s hard life. We could sit around for weeks and months comparing notes on who’s had it worse but is that getting anyone closer to God? Of course not because that is not where God resides in the midst of pity parties. That is not the path God chose for us as Christians.

The celebration God resides in is the one where He showers you in confetti when you’re praising and singing His name in the throes of the pits of hell. Are you afraid of dying? If you’re a Christian, do you understand there is no death, you are promised eternal life so why live your life in a pit of despair if you are carrying the promise of God? Walk boldly carrying your cross!

I think of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and King Nebuchadnezzar asking them to worship his god. Did they throw themselves a pity party before going into the fire? NO! They didn’t fear, you know why, because their God promised them eternal life, they had nothing to lose and everything to gain by shining the Light on God and not themselves.

We’re all wandering around in a world of ‘you don’t know what I’ve been through’. Let me tell you, I can guarantee Jesus went through ten times worse. I never once heard/read that Jesus preached a woe, woe is me story. No, every step of his pain He cried out to God and glorified HIS name, not his own. While hanging on the cross he cried out, “Why has though forsaken me?” The rest is history because God did not forsake him, He gave him new life, eternal life! Breathe that in for a moment.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the path you chose is not the right one for you, we each have a different path that is going to hopefully get us to the same destination. I have every bit of faith in where I’m headed and it surely isn’t in the pits of hell. I will walk on singing the praises and glory to God in the midst of this illness. My focus is on Him, not the bible, not the verses, not touting He said this and He said that, no, my focus is on HIM every step of the way and my sharing this with you is my way of leaving behind the path that *I* choose to walk, I choose to see the Light through the dark. 

Alleluia Amen!

1 Kgs. 20:22 “And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thy self, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.”

“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord.” 
― Charles Haddon Spurgeon