Who’s It About?

I have been trying to work through a certain situation in my life and I have to say it has been painstakingly slow and difficult to make any forward progress.   Honestly, I feel like I am getting nowhere real fast and my patience is wearing thin?  I literally could scream out of frustration and I mean really, really loud, but I don’t want to hurt your ears so I won’t.  I can’t tell you how many times I have brought this very issue to prayer and there still is no resolution.

So, I thought God and I had to have a heart to heart.

“I’m like okay, God it is really okay with me if you step in and do something, NOW!!! ”

Then I heard this small little voice deep in my spirit say,

“Maybe this storm is about you, Deb?”

Ooo, Ouch!  I have been so caught up in how I want God to fix the other person that I can’t hear Him whispering the things I am supposed to be doing.  The funny thing is when I stopped worrying about how God was going to deal with the other person that’s when I received the revelation He had for me which was “sanctification”.

How many times have I asked, I want more of You, Lord?  Mm,  for those that don’t know me, the answer would have to be A LOT!  Can I tell you when you ask for, more of You, Lord it doesn’t always come in a sweet little package like I naively thought.  I realize now that if I want more of Him I have to be willing to be stretched spiritually, no matter what the cost.

In my opinion, the lesson God is trying to teach me is will I depend on Him in every aspect of my life? Will I allow myself to be sanctified? Ultimately, God wants to know will I trust and depend on Him in the storm or will I revert back to my worldly ways of trying to work through the storm in my own strength.

Galatians 3:3 (NIV)  Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal in human effort?

According to The New American Webster Dictionary sanctify means 1. make holy; purify. 2. consecrate.

The Fire bible defines sanctification as the process of being set apart for God’s possession and purposes; the ongoing process of spiritual growth, development and maturity by which God refines people spiritually, prepares them for his purposes and involves them in his plans.

1 Peter 1:13 (NLT)

13 So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

God is calling for me to be sanctified on a daily basis so I can grow to depend on Him no matter the circumstance and to be able to grow to the spiritual maturity level I have been asking for.

Hebrews 12:14 (NLT) 14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

It amazes me how God uses the not so good times in our lives to grow us spiritually. Amen!

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We Were Given More!

 

Did you know we were given more?  More than I ever knew, up until the other day when I had read one of my devotions and the following passage jumped off the page at me.

“Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.” Luke 10:19 NLT

 

The phrase “….over all the power of the enemy” is what caught my attention.  That phrase, “….over all the power of the enemy” has repeated over and over in my head. As I wrote this post I was amazed at how much more power we were given, that is if we choose to take it.  It is so great when the wattage suddenly gets bumped up a bit, don’t you think?  The more I meditated on “….over all the power of the enemy” the brighter the light became.  You know when you have an epiphany about something and it’s the only thing you can think about, right?  Well, for me that’s how it works.

 

What an awesome teachable moment I had with my son, Tom.  I was able to explain to him that when we get attacked by the enemy we have more power than he does; of course, our power comes from the Holy Spirit, thank God.  Tom was absolutely blown away that we have more power than the enemy!  I told him the enemy will never win, ever!  He can’t win because we have the Holy Spirit inside of us and we have a promise from God of VICTORY! Is that not great or what, can I hear an Amen, people?!  Not only do we have all the power over the enemy but we have the promises of God’s Word to stand on in order to fight and resist the enemy so he only has one choice, he must flee.  Hallelujah!

 

As a mother, the opportunity to explain and teach my son how we don’t have to be afraid to fight the enemy was such a blessing.  When I was a child I was never told about the enemy and boy I wish I had been because I certainly have no doubt now as I look back that he was and is real.  Personally, I think the ones who don’t believe in the enemy are truly and deeply scared to admit he is real and lets face it he is good at deceiving people.  What better way than to have them think he is not real.   I’d rather equip my son now at eleven years old with the tools and knowledge of how the Holy Spirit helps us fight the enemy versus him growing up wondering what is going on in his life.  Never mind not knowing what he is fighting against?

 

So rejoice with me and my son that we were given more power than the enemy! Amen!

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“Tough Love” For Whom?

“Tough Love” For Whom?

We all could probably guess at how “tough love” got its name, right?  Nobody likes to receive “tough love” I mean I sure don’t like it when it is being delivered to me, how about you?  So many times the response of “tough love” is not taken well, if at all.  Personally, I have found some of the recipients of my “tough love” feel attacked as well as feel I just don’t understand the whole situation or issues they’re going through.  Sometimes my constructive criticism is misconstrued as a personal attack on their character.  Honestly, it was not meant to be that at all but sometimes I don’t even get a chance to explain.

Proverbs 15:31 NLT

   If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.

 

What it really comes down to, I think, is how the words get interpreted or perceived.  Not to mention boy, does the enemy just like to wait and  pounce when the opportune time arises so he can take full advantage of the situation.  We all know the enemy came to lie, steal, and destroy and any chance he gets to slither his way in he will.  He not only likes to rub our faces in it but oh, how our ears sometimes only hear his twisted half truths in the matter.

Proverbs 8:6-8 NLT

   Listen to me!  For I have important things to tell you.  Everything I say is right, for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception.

 

It is important for any of us to step back and give God a chance to work on us when someone delivers “tough love”.  I know, I know easier said than done Deb but really if I don’t let God work in me then how can I expect Him to work in the other person.  I am having a hard time getting someone to understand well, I guess take action in working through a particular issue they are having.  So here I am in my frustration writing this post.

 

Let me ask you this, how do you speak the truth in love without the person feeling attacked?  Oh, yeah and how do you deliver it when it is someone extremely close to your heart?  Sometimes I am concerned that I might offend them.

 Proverbs 18:19 NLT

   An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city.  Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.

 

It is very uncomfortable having to tell someone I love very much that hey, you have an issue here that we really need to address because it is getting way out of hand.  I am so grateful to have a God that loves me so much that He reminds me of His scriptures.  Thank God, He stops me in my tracks before I let my tongue dig a hole that I won’t be able to step out of.

Proverbs 15:4 NLT

   Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

 

 Proverbs 16:24 NLT

    Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

 

What about when the mere mention of the “taboo” topic immediately changes their facial expression instantly, I think oh, oh that could have been delivered better.  I’m at the point where a tone of frustration seeps in and that is soooo not what I wanted to happen.  Sometimes it is hard to know how to approach the issue so that it is completely spoken and understood in love.  Unfortunately, I do not always succeed in the delivery department.

 

Guess what?  I bet you probably guessed what came my way, yup “tough love” via the Almighty!  Ooo, ouch!  I felt God say in my spirit, “Deb, the tone of your voice could have been a little sweeter and less accusatory.  You asked Me to help so why not let Me do what I need to do in her first.”  This was exactly what I have been praying for and there I was going ahead of God so that we, well I could get through this issue quicker.

 

What I have to remember is that God is working in both of us through these circumstances and I have to be patient to wait and see the good that will come of it.  Amen!

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Closing Doors part 3 “Lost and Found”

 Writing 101: day-sixteen Serial Killer III

Closing Doors part 1  

Closing Doors part 2

Closing Doors part 3  “Lost and Found”

The second major reason I worked for an ophthalmologist at that time in my life was my son, Thomas.  You see it was such a blessing from God that this ophthalmologist hired me with no experience in eyes and it was two years prior to the birth of my son.  I say this because when my son turned two years old I noticed that he would go extremely close to the TV in fact so close his nose would touch the screen.  He would then move his head slowly scanning every inch of the screen.  I thought he was just playing a game because he could throw a ball right to you and not miss.  In passing one day I mentioned it to the ophthalmologist and said to bring him in for an appointment.

With very young children our office would evaluate vision with pictures and then take a measurement of the eyes that would give an estimated glasses prescription followed by dilation of the eyes.  The ophthalmologist would perform a retinoscopy to determine the final prescription that was actually needed for glasses.  I remember measuring my son’s eyes before hand and I honestly thought our machine was broken his reading was so high.  The machine was cleaned and another measurement was taken by a different individual same results though, this was repeated again two more times with the same results.  The doctor then performed the retinoscopy and confirmed the reading.   The doctor and I thought the machine needed cleaning or recalibration.  It did not.  The ophthalmologist repeated the measurement several times to no avail, same results.

He then explained my son’s vision would be that he probably only could see shadows and very blurry ones at that with such a high prescription.  He could not even see the “big E” at the top of the eye chart well in his case it was the “big birthday cake.”  Tom was legally blind in both eyes and the prognosis was unknown at that initial visit.  The ophthalmologist I worked for was shocked as I was.  I mean my son was only two years old and his prescription was so high that there was a strong possibility that the glasses would be weigh too heavy for his little nose.  The doctor said we would need to ease him into the prescription because it was so high.

We picked glasses out and then waited for them to be made.  Naturally, because of how high the prescription was it would take a little bit longer to process the order.  The glasses could not come soon enough for me.  It took close to a month somewhere in between three and four weeks to finally get them even with a rush order.  Mind you this was just half the prescription and the glasses were pretty thick.  The optician told me they were as thin as they could possibly be made.  The final pair with the full prescription came and when we put the glasses on for the first time we were at my in-laws house in the back yard.  Tom loved playing in their back yard they had a sandbox and such plush grass.  The glasses went on and Tom immediately bent down to the grass and started moving each finger slowly through the blades of grass.  He laid there for quite a while.  I started to cry not because I was upset but because I had so much joy in my heart.  I thought my son’s vision was going to be lost to him but instead it was found.

I thank God for leading me to make that call to the ophthalmologist and accept his job offer.  Who knows if I would have noticed that anything was wrong with my son’s eyes until it was too, late.  The doctor told me that if I had waited a little longer even just by a couple of years for his first eye exam his vision potential would not have been that great.  My son’s vision today at age eleven years old is 20/30 in both eyes and that is the awesome part because God ordained that job for me, I know it!

 

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Closing Doors part 2

Writing 101: day – thirteen Serial Killer II

If you missed part one follow the link: Closing Doors part 1

Closing Doors part 2

All I ever wanted to be was a nurse and sadly that door of my life had been shut.  Now, I had to search for a new job but what?  Looking back now I can see how God’s plan was the best plan for me.  There is a reason I had to leave my nursing job and enter the next realm of His plan.

You know it is His plan when your choir director hands you a newspaper clipping and tells you, “You need to call this number.”  I looked at the clipping and said there is no way I am going to get hired for this job!  I knew nothing about eyes.  The newspaper clipping was for an ophthalmic assistant and they were willing to train the right person.  So what did I do?  I, of course, held on to the newspaper ad and starting looking for a job because I knew what was best for me.

Boy, can God be persistent in His pursuit.  In the back of my mind I just kept thinking I should really call that eye doctor’s place.  When I finally got around to calling they immediately said come on in for an interview.  I sent my resume in and scheduled the interview.  Talk about the right job at the right time.  To say the least I was hired and my first week was a constant headache.  There was so, so much to learn.  I never knew really how intrigue the eye was.  The doctor took me under his wing and taught me so much in which I am so grateful for.

After working as an ophthalmic assistant for two years I thought, this is why God put me in this job.  My father was up visiting from South Carolina to spend time with my brother who was dying from lung cancer secondary to malignant melanoma.  You see my father’s eye became very red and blurry urgently so the ophthalmologist said for me to bring him in so he could look at his eye.  God’s timing is always perfect!  My father ended up needing an emergent laser procedure that day because the drainage angle in his eye became very shallow almost to the point of being closed which caused the redness and the extremely blurred vision.  If left untreated my father would of lost sight in that eye.  This is one of two major reasons to why I was placed in that position at that time in my life.  Of course, I did not know then the second major reason until a couple of years later.

 

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“Scaredy Cat”

Writing 101:  day-eleven

 

“Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.”

 “Scaredy Cat”

The house I grew up in when I was twelve was gray in color and desperately in need of a paint job.  It was extremely small for a family of eight.  My mom always said she had two families.  The first, of course, was the three oldest and the second, the last four.  My mom always referred to us as, “her four little girls”. The first and second “families” were separated by six years and there were ten years between the oldest and me.  I was third youngest in the lineup.  Being an identical twin was a much added bonus and I was the older only by five minutes, of course, but that didn’t matter.  We were inseparable.

 

The upstairs was one huge room the length of the whole house that was the girls’ room.  All five of us!  We fit two sets of bunk beds plus one twin bed for the oldest girl in our room and believe it or not you actually could walk in the room without bumping into things.  One might think it was too crowded but not me.  I liked all of us sleeping in the same room.  It kind of made me feel like we were somehow like “The Walton’s” but I bet if you asked any of my other sisters the answer probably would have been quite different.  Personally, I didn’t like being alone.  I still don’t!

There was a “dark presence” in the house though.  One I don’t care to reminisce about but I do remember studying in my room on more than one occasion (that’s a good thing-lol) and feeling like someone was staring me down.  You know the feeling, the eyes that could burn a hole in your back.  Honestly, I would not go anywhere alone.  I made my twin go everywhere with me upstairs, downstairs, out to the garage, down to the cellar (especially to the cellar) and even to the bathroom if it was in the middle of the night.  Yeah, I know a “scaredy cat.”

It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen that house.  Now when I think back I have to thank my mom for wanting us “four little girls” outside more than in.  Not then though!  Knowing what I know now about prayer and Jesus Christ man do I wish I had known that back then.  I know now how to fight against the darker things in life with my God!

 

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Reader’s Choice Writing Contest: Vote Now for Your Favorite Author

debbestillandlisten:

This is definitely going to be a tough choice for a lot of readers. Let the voting begin!

Originally posted on Rose Hall Media Company:

Reader’s Choice Voting for our writing contest (short piece featuring a symbol) will be open from June 16th – 22nd. The entry with the most votes will win the contest.

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Camouflaged Image

Writing 101: day-six

 

Camouflaged Image  

She had studied her face in the mirror so many times that she had lost count over the years. It is so hard to study a face that you particularly don’t like to look at. The nose was too big, the cheeks were too rounded, and there were way too many sunspots and that was just some of the features she did not like. Maybe it wasn’t the actual features themselves that she didn’t like but rather the camouflaged image that stared her down every single day.

Magazines, TV shows, school, work, friends and even some family members thought the human body should be show cased as a trophy and many would have freely told you, hers was not. Out casted many times by the power she had given to words, to whispers, hidden laughs, and those back piercing eyes. You must had known someone in your sphere of influence when you were growing up that this had happened to or maybe you knew many or maybe this had been you.

Little by little, one feature at a time morphed into a continuous never-ending world wind of words. “Look at her…what a hideous outfit…She looks like a chipmunk …Wow, she’s large…I hope someone else picks her first,” too many to mention for there were a lot of words that flew around her in those days. She not only grew up with a perceived notion that she had walked through a storm cloud of words everyday but the constant replay of comment after comment kept her chained to her past for many years.

Even into her adulthood the captivity continued with the reflection that stared her down daily. Her beautiful Tootsie roll eyes always looked so sad and they spoke volumes of the misinterpreted images that were compressed by layers of whispers that clung to her soul. The comments hadn’t just clung to her soul they were cemented there by years of a warped self-image. The tragedy was lost moments of happiness because of her own inaccurate view of her self-worth due to the words spoken by others.

There was and will always be the One who looked/looks at her reflection and sees only the heart of a kind, gentle and compassionate woman which undoubtedly trumps all outward beauty. Knowing He is the One who loved and does love her unconditionally lifted the layers of words compressed and intertwined in her heart and mind.

Transforming one’s mind is no easy task to accomplish never mind trying to do it on a daily basis but in His strength it can and has been done. She came to that place of self forgiveness which led to her deliverance from the self-loathing and the self-hatred mindset that plagued her for many years. The freedom she received from the camouflaged image was an enormous step in her healing process. It was such a freeing experience for her she finally had accepted the truth that she always has been and will always be an heir to His Kingdom!

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My Cornerstone

Cultivate a blogging habit and stretch your writing muscles.

  • June 6, 2014

Writing 101, Day Five: Be Brief

You discover a letter on a path that affects you deeply. Today, write about this encounter. And your twist? Be as succinct as possible.

My Cornerstone

I remember it so clearly I had found a mud stained letter that day and it read, If you are reading this I am gone and Jesus has come!  You are lost, fall on your knees and receive!

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Closing Doors part 1

Writing 101, Day Four: The Serial Killer

Today, write about a loss. The twist: make this the first post in a three-post series.

Closing the door on my nursing career was a choice I had to make because I had so many allergies to medications that even the dust of the medication would send me into an anaphylactic attack.  I used to take care of severely handicapped and cognitively challenged children in a long-term facility.  When I first walked into this facility as a teenager I immediately new this was where I needed to be.  So I worked as a nursing assistant and boy, was my heart filled with a joy I had never known before.

Man, I was so sheltered as a child I honestly didn’t know facilities like that existed.  I know pretty naïve of me, huh!  Others told me straight to my face there was no way I would last there, “you don’t have it in you,” they would say.  All I had to say to that was they obviously did not know me.  I fell in love with these kids from the very first moment I laid eyes on them.

I remember telling those same people who thought there was no way I was going to make that if they only saw what I had the privilege of seeing they would have understood.  Not everyone thinks a corner smile on a little face means, “I love you so much, or thank you for that hug.”  Let me tell you that I was not the only one who gave in this relationship.   Those kids gave so much love back with their little smiles that if someone had measured the amount of love I received, it would had been off the charts.

Walking through those double doors for the last time was one of the hardest and saddest decisions I have ever had to make.  Tears were running down my eyes as I walked away I couldn’t even look back.  I remember feeling like someone very close to me had died. I had an ache in my heart for a long time.  My heart was broken because I had to leave those children behind.  It was the only job I had ever known, first as a nurse’s aide and then as a LPN.  The door had been shut to that part of my life not really understanding why.  The only thing running through my mind at the time was what was I going to do now?  I had no clue but God did.

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