Friday, December 20, 2013

Wrapped in His Love

When all words fail, Jesus never does.                                 
Merry Christmas to my friends,
I give you this ...wrapped in His Love.

Merry Christmas From the Edwards Family.

Isaiah 9:6 -"For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (NIV)




 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Alicia's Story, Treasured Scars. Part I

 Welcome to my blog, a girl who's story will touch your heart....

Alicia's Story

On October 28th 1981 I was 2 years old. I was In a fire that day. From what I have been told by my parents, I got out of my crib in the middle of the night. My father had left the electric heater on that night and when I got out of my crib I somehow knocked the heater over, starting a fire. I have no memory of the fire but again from what I have been told my parents my brother woke up and got me out of the fire and wrapped me in a blanket then wrapped himself in one. My mother and father had woken up also. My mother broke a window to get us out of the house. I was not breathing once we were outside the house. The fire department and ambulance was called and a truck driver had stopped and helped my mother perform CPR on me and had me breathing again. I was then Life Flight to Children’s Hospital. My arms, legs and chest had second and third degree burns. They did skin graphs from my legs onto my arms and chest. I was in Children’s Hospital for five weeks and once out I had to wear a full ace bandage body suit for nine months having to have it resized every three months.

School was the hardest part of having burns. I am still amazed at how cruel children can sometimes be to each other. I always felt like an outcast, it was very hard for me to make friends. The kids in the many schools I went to as a child would call me names like burnt toast, Freddy cougars wife, torch and my brother liked calling me crispy critter. I took those names to heart and was always extremely hurt by those names. I became very self conscious and had very low self esteem thru elementary school into middle school. Then my parents took me to Shiners clinic, where we discussed doing surgery to remove my burns. We also tried some special make up on my arms to try and help hide my burns. While I was at the Shiners clinic I saw a lot of kids who had been burnt badly also. I was very surprised, I had always thought I was alone and that nobody knew how I felt. The thing that struck me the most was that I was in a way luckier then some of the other children there. I,to this day, at the age of 34, can not remember anything from the fire but I realized that day at Shiners that most of those kids could still remember what happened to them and it made me very sad. Visiting the Shiners Clinic and seeing all the other kids who were like me changed how I felt about my burns. I became less self conscious about them. I accepted the fact that I had scars that would never go away and were a part of my story in life.

Once I was in High school the name calling by my peers had stopped. I still had low self esteem but it had little to nothing to do with my burns. I had stopped trying to hide my burns with my clothes and started to be more comfortable about them. I would wear tank tops and my bathing suit without a t-shirt to cover my self. In a way I didn’t notice them as much and neither did my peers. Some people would still stare when I went out in public and yes sometime it would bother me but I gradually got over even that. It was nice when a curious person would actually ask me about my burns. I appreciated it when people would ask it was so much better then staring and pointing. I would always thank them for asking. Now as an adult I hardly notice my burns and most of the people I know or encounter in life do not notice either.
 
My burns are a part of me, they do not define me but they are mine forever and they can be a pretty good conversational topic and sometimes even educational.
 
Written By: Alicia A. Ziglar
 







2 Corinthians 4:8-10

New Living Translation (NLT)
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.


Oh Lord, I am thankful of true life stories that we can see reflections of ourselves. Bless Alicia as she shares her story of not being destroyed by life but instead treasures the reminder of how her life was saved.Thank You for letting her see herself through Your eyes.  Lord I lift the readers of this, that they see that no matter what life has scarred them with, Lord, that they have life with You.Thank You, Father, for walking with us through the fires.  Keep our vision on the good that You bring out our troubles making us stronger and giving us a TESTimony, giving us faith in the outcomes of all trials. Help us Lord to be... and to see... the beautiful reflection of You. In Jesus Name, Amen

 
 



               

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hope in Educating


Mary EdwardsI couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned as well as my stomach playing cartwheels in the anticipation of the newspaper article. I prayed to God that the words would focus on Him and not on me. I worried about the exposure of certain words that might cause ill feelings from my siblings. I let my mind wonder to a friends statement long ago that said, "Aren't you worried about what other's will think ?" That was what I was doing. I worried myself sick about what others would think of me. I withdrew what  I gave to God... security in putting my faith in Him.  I put my head on my pillow after I knew this article would finally appear in our local paper. I sighed a prayer, I closed my eyes with my head throbbing and my chest hurting from it's pounding and said, "Lord, Let this be about YOU."
I woke up with jitters and faced the world. Only to find myself being comforted with friends, family and a community of encouragers.
 
I want to thank all of you for helping me on this journey. I share this with you all, dedicating each sentence to you. I didn't do this alone. God has used each of you. Thank you.
Thank You Kiesa Kay for writing...not about me but about the work the Lord has done, will do and will continue to do. God Bless You.
 
 
 
Edwards finds hope in educating

Tuesday, November 19, 2013, Tryon Daily Bulletin
by Kiesa Kay

Mary Edwards an outspoken advocate for children's rights, has discovered a mission that fuels and empowers her.
 
"I would rather educate to prevent child abuse than have to worry about the healing, but I also believe in giving people hope in healing,” she said. “We have to educate everyone, starting with our churches, and get people to open their eyes. So many children have been abused, and yet many of us don’t want to admit it or don’t think it can happen here. It happens everywhere.”

Edwards cited FBI statistics that say one in every four girls and one in every six boys in the United States are sexually abused by the time they reach age 18.

“I can’t be quiet about it any more, because being quiet hurts,” she said. “Now I share my own truth to let people know they can begin healing, too. If I can let people know that every day people have been abused, then they can begin to accept that it could happen even in their own homes.”

Edwards identifies as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, from the time she can first remember until she reached age 14.

Sharing her truth with her friends and family freed her, she said, and strengthened her courage to heal.

“When I released the pressure of that silence, a peace came over our family,” she said. “My husband and family have been very supportive of me now. Every time in the past, when a memory or hurt would be triggered, I couldn’t tell them what was bothering me … Now, they are more compassionate, because I can explain. I felt like I had a hidden, dirty secret, and I don’t feel dirty any more. I know I’m worth more than all the mud I’ve walked through.”

Edwards attributes her healing to her family’s love, good therapy from Bobbie Shannon who once worked at Steps to HOPE, and her faith in the Lord.

“God has given me a shield in this ministry,” she said. “I am a warrior woman for God. There’s a song that says ‘Be a Voice for the ones who have no choice,’ and when I first heard that song, I knew what I had to do.”

Edwards recently attended the Christian Communicators Conference to hone her speaking skills. She also delved deep into her own heart, and found strength in a kind of forgiveness.

“I had to forgive my mother, who neglected and did not protect me. I had to forgive the people who had laughed at me in my life, or called me degrading names because of what I’ve experienced and its effects on me. I had to forgive the violators, and understand that when they did what they did, they were under Satan’s control. I had to forgive myself for my own mistakes,” she said. “And then I had to forgive God, who saw what happened and did not stop it. I know now that God was with me even in the darkest times, and I wouldn’t have survived otherwise.”

Education about childhood sexual abuse will prevent it from happening, as people learn the signs and symptoms and how to help, she said. Many times, children can’t or won’t tell what’s happening because they’re frightened, and sometimes the perpetrators may be the only adults paying much attention to them at all.

Sometimes perpetrators groom the children, giving them gifts or special attention in order to buy their silence. And children, with their kind hearts, often do not want any harm to happen to anyone at all, not even to the person who’s harming them, Edwards said.

“If I had not been educated about this, I would still be a miserable person,” she said. “I want to reach every adult in every church, because I believe in the power of prayer. If we admit that it happens here, we can begin to end it. We can’t reach into every home at once, so I want to begin in places that accept God, and use my faith.”

Edwards wants every child or teen who has been hurt to know that no matter what the circumstances, it isn’t the child’s or teen’s fault.

Edwards writes a blog at www.writeblessings.blogspot.com, and writing has helped her feel whole again, she said. Prayer has been a huge source of comfort for her, too.
Edwards has four children and three grandchildren, and her husband has become a source of kindness and support in her life, she said, but not everyone understands.


“Just because I’ve found a place of overcoming doesn’t mean that other people are there yet, but I want to do what I can to begin to offer education and comfort,” she said. “I like what I see in the mirror now. It’s a God thing.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Nightmares Came with Hidden Abuse


I woke up covered in sweat. My body trembled as I held my breath. I threw the blankets from across me because of the heat that engulfed my body and out of exposure grabbed the end of the blanket and brought it quickly up to my chin securing me again. The nightmare consumed me. I couldn't get to my girls through the locked door. I banged and banged on his bedroom door but that violator, that one who stripped me from my innocence, had my own children in there. "GET THEM OUT ! GET THEM OUT!" with blood dripping from my hands I hit the locked door, "No! No ! NO !!!"  I screamed as I woke up from such a horrific helpless nightmare. I looked at my hands, nothing. No brokenness. No blood.. It was only a dream. A horrible, terrible, heart retching nightmare. My children weren't being devoured as I  had been. They were safe.

I remember that night, feeling completely helpless. Oh how I want to erase those thoughts from
coming to my head. I want to erase those haunting memories of abuses from my childhood.

I have read stories and heard confessions from women who said they aren't sure if they were molested or violated, but remember dreams of things happening to  their fragile little bodies. Others have vague memories and yet others wonder if the things that happened to them counted as abuses.

Information that may help you decide if you were sexually abused as a child:

Signs of knowing if a person was a victim of child sexual abuse.

When you were a young child or teenager, were you:

* Fondled, kissed, or held for an adults sexual gratification?
* Forced to perform oral sex on an adult or sibling?
*Raped or otherwise penetrated?
*Made to watch sexual acts?
*Fondled or hurt genitally?
*Shown sexual movies or other pornography?
* Made to pose for seductive or sexual photographs?
*Involved in child prostitution or pornography?
*Forced to take a part in ritualized abuse in which you were physically, psychologically or sexually tortured

Wikipedia describes child sexual abuse as : Child sexual abuse or child molestation is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure (of the genitals, female nipples, etc.) to a child with intent to gratify their own sexual desires, or to intimidate or groom the child, physical sexual contact with a child, or using a child to produce child pornography.


One woman claimed that it wasn't abuse because it was just incest, an older brother.  Another said, it
wasn't abuse because my uncle only did it once. I listened to a young woman tell how it felt good to be in a movie, and it couldn't be considered abuse if it felt good.  Just because your body reacts to stimulation, like all bodies should, it does not make the it less of a crime to be in that situation.

Remember that even if a man did not force "himself" into an opening of your body inappropriate behaviour and touching is still abuse. It may not leave physical pain it can still constitutes abuse that leaves invisible scars.

One invisible scar is the nightmares they leave behind, which could come in the form of day dreams, flash backs or nightmares.

Your nightmares may be your mind's way of dealing with a trauma that your conscious mind may have repressed.

  One woman explained, "I think the nightmares were a sign that I was actually starting to feel safe enough to allow my mind to explore those issues. Like it was my body's way of taking out the trash."  Acknowledging your current safety may be one key to moving away from the fear of the nightmares.

I dream ( for lack of better words) of the day that the trash of my memories  are able to be discarded to never be brought up again. Only, I know it doesn't work that way. I do remember. I get emotional sometimes, feeling somber. More and more, though, I feel the relief of overcoming those frightening moments. Honestly, I don't have that reoccurring torturous nightmare anymore. Bringing the truth out in the open released me from oppression. Satan isn't able to hold me with force being trapped in the negative mindset of it all.

Having nightmares brought me to even more truth, revealing what has happened in my life that I deeply hid. Having fear come to surface made me depend on God for security. It caused me to come face to face with unwanted  those fears, with a need of God to keep me safe. I learned to place trust in Him.


"The emotions we don’t want to face are inside of us, whether we deny it or not. They don’t scare God. The only problem is that they often scare  us. He wants you to have the courage to get really honest with yourself and with Him and face your fears and your past disappointments, frustration, anger, inner pain, and so on. He is not shocked. He knows it already and He still loves and accepts you. Rather than force Himself on you against your will, He honors you by restraining His longing to deliver you and tenderly waiting for you to trust Him enough to invite him into the dark corners of your life and let Him touch that ever so tender part of you with His healing hands." (Grantley Morris, How to cope with Nightmares and unwanted Dreams)By Grantley MorrisBy Grantley Morris

If you have had dreams, nightmares, flashbacks or visions of questioning abuses, please pay attention to the signals your "gut " is giving you. Brushing them off and sweeping them under the rug doesn't make truth disappear. It  may only bring festering to the deep hidden pain. Healing begins when you are honest with yourself and place trust where it needs to be.

 Ask the Lord to share with you those things which He feels need to come forward for your healing. At the same time, trust that He will take all the unnecessary things and nail them to the cross. Let Him help you through the hurting.

Lord Jesus, You are God alone of my life. Through the days of my life I have come to lean on you during good times and bad. Lord Jesus, I pray You would continue to bring healing and reconciliation in my life from the sexual abuse which took place. I pray that You would bring healing in my life from the past intense memories . Lord, I thank You for giving me the strength and freedom to no longer be held captive, but because of Your great love for Me that I am be able to have healing in this area of my life. Lord, bring support and encouragement into my life as I walk in this new season. Thank you for bringing me into a place of intimacy and dependence on You. I pray that men, women, and children, who have been abused, begin to heal from the traumatic abuses that they have endured, relying on you for revelation and knowledge. Remove the pain of nightmares and replace them with  comforting victory. Help us God. ( I need You still ) In Jesus Name, Amen





 





Saturday, November 9, 2013

Speechless

It has been a busy week. I spoke and shared with a new friend with as much detail as I felt allowed to share about my feelings of prevention of abuses. I listened to educated men and women as we began a plan of action to do just that. I sat silent in the meeting doing my best to absorb all the words that were spoken. I felt like a pebble of sand amongst boulders of scholars.

Words should be easy to come by this week for this blog. But, some how, no matter how many times I have started, chicken scratched, laid out, and outlined... nothing. Nothing seemed to work together.

Last night I sat with a friend at church as we watched Billy Graham on the large screen in our sanctuary. God spoke. My friend became my sister as I got to share in her decision of giving her heart to the Lord.  Speechless.

Yet again, as I went to write this morning, nothing. Maybe it is time for me to be quiet and let God do the talking.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 ESV     
A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;


My prayer is that when I do speak, when words flow onto my paper or with  my voice, it is of Him.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Drowning in His Grace

The sandy beach was inviting but so was the cool water and the breaking of the waves on the hot summer day. We could play with sand castles and fiddler crabs, lay basking under the rays of the hot sun burning our tanned bodies, or float out to the rocking of the rolling water. My brother and I chose to hang onto the inflatable raft and relax in the ocean. In and out the waves came and played racing games with us.

We closed our  eyes too long so that when we opened them again the shoreline had disappeared from our sight. Panic kicked and we began to kick frantically. Unaware that rescue was on its way, fear filled us. Panic and desperation came with a tremendous amount of anxiety. The undertow fought against us, first unknowingly and then with realization. We were warned to not go out too far. Neither of us saw the danger until it was too late. The life guard
came to us before we ever saw the beach and we just knew trouble was waiting ahead of us. Mom and dad would soon display their anger and we would be beached for sure.



Isn't sin like that? It creeps up on us. First we aren't aware that Satan is teasing us with temptation. Then we creep slowly to get a feel of what looks inviting. Sometimes, even when we are aware of giving in, we don't see how far the “undertow” or pull is until we are in danger. Satan may wake you up and laugh in your face while you are drowning in that whirlpool of sin. He claims victory as you go further and further under.

Prayerfully, through salvation, having Jesus as your life saver, and the Holy Spirit as your lifeguard, God will bring you back to the shore. When God leads you out of rough waters, He isn't waiting at the edge of the water, hands on His hip, foot tapping and eyes
glaring at you to display anger. He is  there to give you a helping hand,open arms, a caring heart and a life of rescue and renewal.


2 Samuel 22:17
He reached down from on high and took hold of me: He drew me out of deep waters.

We can “swim” and fight in our own strength finding no rescue in our own power or we can choose to reach out and take grab the nailed scarred hand of the life Savior. God is always on lifeguard duty. He never changes shifts and keeps His watch.

Psalm 121:7-8
The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for helping me out of troubles. Help me to be aware of your direction and strength. When I feel the weight of the worlds undertow, please bring me back to You. And Lord, when I feel as if I am going under, let me drown in your grace.

 










Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It Started with a Smile. It Started With Him.

"Hey, how ya doing Mary?"
'Hey, I'm doing real good. How are you?".
"What are you all smiley about? You always have that smile." She came back returning a smile of her own.

I pushed my grocery cart past the stand of apples and right there in front of the grapes and everything I went up to her and just said, "It's a God thing." Happy expressions grew bigger. With raised eye brows she invited  more explanation.
My face painted itself a blushing pink as the thrill of telling my story grew inside of me.

"I am so excited about what God has done in my life lately. Just a lot of healing going on." With her wide eyes asked for more. "In November, after being married for 30 years, I finally told my husband that of abuses I experienced a child and now I am able to share about what God has done through all of this."
She placed her hand on her chest and with a deep sigh and a purposeful grin she said, "You never know, (paused) you never really know who has been through this and who needs to hear your faith."

" Oh, you are right, but sometimes ya just do."She gave me a wink and told me a small explanation of her own abuse. I felt her joy  as she awed of the love and rescue of God in her life. We shared of overcoming of the same issues and both of us boiled over in praises to God.

We talked about educating people about child sexual abuse. But even more so we shared victory stories of how gracious and caring our Heavenly Father is.  "Woo Hoo God is so GOOD !" You would have thought we were cheer leaders right there among the grapes and tomatoes. Both of us desire to be the ministering disciples God instructs us to be. And we were doing just that.


Mark 16:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
 
As were were parting I loved hearing her say,
 "Ooh how I loved having church here."
Yes. Right there beside the onions, peppers, bananas and celery, we had church. The Holy Spirit conversed in our hearts and Joy was present.

Matthew 18:20
New International Version (NIV)
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."


It started with a smile. It started with Him. 

Heavenly Father, no matter what door I enter, please enter first. Let me be aware that I am opening the door for you. Help me to display Your love and mercy. And Lord, please help me to be gentle and bold as I present myself as a witness of Your greatness. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen
 
Thought: Do they see Jesus in me?





Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"My Dog Tale " By Guest: Barbara Jenkins Hutchins

Welcome to the words of Barbara Jenkins Hutchins who graciously allowed me to share her story in my blog today.  Thank You Barbara for sharing your "Dog Tale".
 



Barbara's favorite Bible verse
Jeremiah 29:11
Barbara Jenkins Hutchins:
 
God gave me another tale to tell, so hang on. You really have to know me to know how hilarious it is that God would use my dog to "speak" to me and teach me something about Himself. Let me elaborate just a snitch. I'm kind of anti-dog! Yes REALLY! I don't hate my dog but honestly there isn't a lot of love there either. I mean, I feed him and water him and give him an occasional pat, but that's about it. I just don't get the whole "I love my dog like he is my child" mentality. Don't be hatin'. God made me this way. (and don't even get me started on the "letting them lick you in the mouth thing" Yuck!) So, anyways, on with my life lesson. I went for my aerobo-walk this morning and my dog wasn't home so I couldn't chain him up before leaving. (I have to do that so his dumb self won't run out in front of passing cars) I hadn't walked very far until he saw me and he came running! I tried my best to get him to go home. I talked with him, spanked him "gently" and scolded him to no avail. So, off we went! He is very funny. He is not a protector kind of dog. He is afraid of every dog in the neighborhood. When we walk by a dog, even if it is chained he gets very close to me, tripping me many times, and whines like a little baby! Man does it get on my last nerve! Once, another dog jumped on him and I had
Smokey
to beat them apart so they wouldn't hurt each other. (see, I kinda like him)

This morning, as we were walking and Smokey continually whined and kept running in front of me, God showed me something. (I'm sure He was in heaven slapping His knee and yelling "hey y'all watch this"). He said to me, "you don't even much like your dog, yet you are willing to put yourself in harms way to protect him when he is attacked. You care enough to chain him so he want get run over, and you discipline him for his own good. How much more do you think that I, Your Heavenly Father, loves you. I am the one who knit you together in your mother's womb. I keep your tears in a bottle and know the number of hair on your head. You expect Me to protect you "from" certain things, instead I protect you "through" them to build your strength, faith and compassion and reliance on Me. You need to be more like Smokey (my dog). Stay close to Me, love on Me, walk with Me, seek My attention, come to Me willingly and often. Keep your focus on me. I will protect you and keep you safe and build you up. I will Father you and keep you safe from all harm. I will give you the abundant life you seek. I will use you to build my kingdom. Stay close to Me!"

Needless to say, I was very emotional on my walk today and even enjoyed the presence of my dog!
 





 

 


 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Thanks to C.J.

  

I have got to have one of bestest grandsons in the entire world. This little boy would steal the heart of anyone. My daughter told me of his ten commandments theory while they were out to dinner.


 C.J. said,  "If you take a bite of mine I get to take a bite of yours, it's one of the ten commandments. "

How precious is that?

       While driving my son and grandson home from karate last night I recalled that conversation and
took full advantage of the moment.
"Boys, Tell me what you know about the ten commandments."
C.J.proudly rang out what he knew. Only it wasn't the ten commandments it was his Message of the Week Words from his Karate class,



" Respect"
"Courtesy"
"Trust"
"Honesty"
"Self-Control"
"Be-Thankful"
"Understanding"
"Giving"
"Goals"
"Care"
Attitude"
"Humility"
"Loyalty"
"Self-Image"

I realize that these aren't the ten commandments but I got it. I got how a 6 year old boy would assume such words were from God. I smiled as we continued our talk. We drove down the road with a smile on my face knowing that words spoken can leave a positive taste in your mouth and a grin in your heart.

I took this as a lesson straight from God.

Philippians 4:8 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

This weekend, as you feed into the lives of others, remember the words you speak, the ideas you have and the attitude you share do nourish the lives of others.

Thank  You , C.J., for teaching Granny a great lesson. I love you.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lead to the Moments

 Overcoming abuse is hard enough. But when a parent or parents take the value from a child with words such as "You know you wanted it." " It's your fault." and even "Lie about it, He is our friend" (Speaking from my own childhood here), it echoes way into adulthood. These words can not be erased. It embeds the child. It is uneraseable, irreversible and seems permanently destructive. I still don't get it. I still do not understand how a parent can do that to a child. I am reminded that hurting people hurt people. I hear this often. It does not excuse such terrible acts but it is a genuine excuse.

 Somewhere along the parent lives what they learn to protect themselves. Whether it is for reputation or fear, it happens. Reactions to the acts of sexual abuse aren't something most parents are prepared to face. I encourage everyone to be voice before it has to be spoken as a child who yells out in his sleep or whisper with tears.

Recently I have had to defend myself as to why I am speaking up. Why do I present the ministry with such horrific examples and how I should  just "Let it go." I had to study myself and my use of the abuse examples. I am not lead away from these moments and situations but are lead to them.

Things don't just go away for me. They are not current but they have effected my everyday life decisions. I am actually glad that I went through these things. No, not glad that there were sexual abuses, but satisfied in knowing that through years of trials, years of depression, years and years of self doubt actually it brought me closer to God.

I could not survive through the torment that Satan put me through without the strength of God.  Knowing or unknowing, I would not have gained what I have, without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I have learned that there is JOY again when I returned to Him.

Last night I heard my pastor speak about people lose heart because of not living in faith.( Been there, done that, but God wrote the book), Pastor spoke of people who lose heart and will lose the fullness of God. "A person who loses faith takes his eyes off God and gets disheartened. They don't understand God's love and they forget that God loves them."

I so greatly understand what it feels like to wonder if God had stopped loving me through all the abuses. I couldn't feel love. No matter how many times God shared His examples of "TLC", I couldn't see nor feel it. I didn't recognize it as His tenderness, His caring and certainly not His LOVE.

We, as "advocates", need to share with others what that Love is. I am not ashamed to tell my story because I have made it HIS story. My history isn't being placed on my billboard to shout out what I did but what HE DID.  When other's can't find or feel God's Love maybe it is because they don't quite know what it is. We   should make it  our responsibility to share God's love and to give hope. Let us all be "hope coaches" for our Heavenly Father.

Abba Father does not come to you with words of destruction. He speaks so clearly of the love He has for you. Yes, for you and for me!

"He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.


What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

 God's word and His love is uneraseable, irreversible and becomes permanently constructive ...but only if it is shared and learned when carefully placed into the lives of ourselves and others.

 Abused or just enveloped with worldly misfortunes and circumstance, we face trials. We need to know that through the suffering there is strength through the Holy Spirit and the love of God.

 I invite you to read Ephesians 3: 13- 19, as a prayer for you.


Ephesians 3:13-19



New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[a] 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
 
 When the world speaks to you with defeat,
take a moment to listen
to the Voice of Truth.
 





Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happy Birthday to a New Kind of Love


 
We sang in the choir, 10,000 Reasons. Shivers of memory welled up in my eyes as I recalled the heavenly birthday of my mother in law.

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Soon my soul will sing your praise un-ending
10,000 years and there forever more


Sunday was Dolores' heavenly anniversary. Three years ago God took His precious child, my best friend, home. I sure miss her. I had the best mother in law anyone could ask for. God knew I needed someone like her in my life. He provided so graciously.

Today is my mother's 73rd birthday. Only she passed away when she was only 46. At 22 years old, I lost my mother to a hard battle of cancer.  Unfortunately I didn't have a friendship with her. We loved each others as much as we could.  And only that much. I wish I had had more opportunity to build a forgiving relationship with her. I long to have been her friend. 

But ya know what? As strange as it may sound, I have that. I am learning to forgive and love the woman who gave birth to me. Learning more and more about how hurting people hurt people, has freed her of responsibility that I placed on her. Forgiveness has broken shackles that I placed around her. It also released me. I wish for my mother an eternity of forgiveness and happiness. I pray that God allows her to feel joy and peace in that.

One day I will come face to face with both of these ladies. I want to wrap my arms around my mother first and get a hug like we have never felt.  I want my mother to look into my eyes and let her see what love from me actually looks and feels like. Second, I will run to Dolores and thank her for all the love she taught and shared with me.  Then..the  two... no...three of us can walk off to the heavenly sunset as mother and daughter and friends. Finally being the family God had intended for us  to be in the first place.

I love my mother(s). It feels good to know it.

Thank You Heavenly Father for showing me the agape love I need to share with others. You give so freely. May I give it back in return.

Are you holding someone captive in your unforgiveness? Do you want a relationship to heal like you could never imagine? I pray you take it to our Heavenly Father and let Him reveal to you the areas that need mending. God bless you as you seek and find Him for the answers.







Wednesday, September 4, 2013

But God Had other Plans


As an attendee of a wonderful Christian Communicators Conference, I tried my best to deliver a message in just a few minutes. I tried and tried to do this my way. Once again God showed me that I had to do it His way or face the chaos that comes with it. Peace came just as the camera rolled. ( Or was it when it ended? ) I sighed relief and thankfulness as I dropped to my knees before Him just as I spoke these words of saving His Grace.

 But God Had Other Plans
 
As survivors of childhood sexual abuse, we often grow up blaming ourselves for the abuse that happened. As children, we are bought up to know that "adults know best" - and so when someone tells you often enough that it's your fault, eventually you believe it. I was to blame.

I believed that the reason I was hurt so badly by people I cared about was simply because that’s what I deserved. I deserved it because of who I was as a person. I was bad. It wasn't so much what I did that made me "bad" - but more just something that I was....something that was in me in spite of how well I tried to behave or how good I tried to be. Nothing I did to be "better" made anything better or made people treat me better - and so, understandably, I figured that I was treated badly simply because of who and what I was.

As I grew into an adult, I kept believing that the abuse was my fault. I did something to deserve it

I became so many of the things I knew I didn't want to be when I grew up. I struggled with alcohol and addiction to prescription medications. I toyed in shallow relationships. Satan had me believing his lies. I was bad .



John 10: 10 says The thief came to steal, kill and destroy.



And the life I had developed looked like I gave him permission to do exactly that. I was plagued with thoughts of suicide. With a bottle of 90 pills in my hand I was ready to end my life because I was bad.



I hit rock bottom. Depression bombarded me and shacked up in my spirit. I was ready to end it all.

BUT GOD HAD OTHER PLANS

I ended up on my knees at the floor of a church healing room where God perfectly placed two wonderful prayer warriors to pray over me. They prayed His word.


Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plan I have for you , Declares the Lord, Plans of peace and not of troubles,

plans to prosper and not to harm me.

I have not lost the sight of my plan for you. It is for your benefit and for your good.

You do have a destiny of hope and a future.



The ladies placed sweet oil on my forehead and it slowly trinkled down the sides of my face a mingled with my tears. The scent reminded me of my mother's perfume. The mother I longed to have in my life. I placed my head in my hands and finally gave all those doubts and lies to God. I climbed up in Papa God's lap I found hope in HIS truth.

When the doubts and fears sneak into or try to bombard my mind I am reminded that God has a plan for me: one that doesn't harm but brings me the riches of His love.

And today, my prayer for you is to believe in the truth of His word, and that you know, without any doubt that you have a hope and a future in Him. He loves YOU.

 

Monday, August 19, 2013

When I was I Child, I Talked like a Child.

"When I grow up I want to be a Ballerina." " I'm going to be a fireman just like my daddy." "I'm gonna be a race car diver." "When I get big I am gonna be an astronaut and fly to the moon." "My mommy says when I grow up I am gonna have three children just like me. She must think I am really cool."

I Corinthians 13 :11 NIV
     When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

As I grew I didn't know what I wanted to be but I definitely began to know what I didn't want to be.

Unfortunately I saw those exact characteristics in me. Things that were the opposite of what I wanted to become had invaded me. I had to make deliberate changes.

 It wasn't going to be easy but it would be worth the efforts. I  always didn't always see  the value of those efforts. Many times I wanted to make u-turns. Going back looked easier that travelling forward. I often slammed on breaks and threw my life into reverse.

Just recently I looked in the mirror and for the very first time I liked who I was becoming. Depression  had escaped my spirit and I took joy in the reflection in the mirror. Still, I am not where I should be but much further in my growth than I had ever been.

Philippians 12: 12-14 
     Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I rode home from a prayer group meeting and talked to God. It was just He and me. Quietness filled the car. It was one of those trips that you wonder how in the world did I get so far. I don't even remember getting from there to here. (Ever have one of those moments?)
That is exactly where I was in my life. I don't remember all the turns and detours. I just know I was almost there and it felt good getting back home.

God and I had a nice talk on the drive. I pray that I keep going in the right way, intently giving God the wheel. Past the pot holes and dead end, detours and road blocks, my desire it to head in the right direction. My goal is to reach the prize of Christ.

Are you heading in the right direction?

Heavenly Father, Thank you for caring enough to steer my life in your direction. I pray for those who I may be leading around the track, that I may steer clear of things that take us away from you. And in my life of travels, I pray that I follow the drivers that lead only to Your heavenly ways. Thank You that we all can come to You and come safely home through Jesus.
In His precious name I pray,
Amen.






Tuesday, August 13, 2013

WORDS

 Words... words ...words.

It seems like everyone has their ears and eyes open watching and listening to everyone else's next step. Is it that we are just plain old paranoid ? We all have our own mistakes to make.

 Have you ever asked someone to be your accountability partner? How do you react when that person, whom you answer to, reacts in an unexpected way? Do they give you the silent treatment?  Is the silence deafening? Do they lash out at you? What if your accountability partner doesn't tell you anything, but instead holds back opinions so that you draw your own negative conclusions ? Who speaks then? Your conscience? The accuser?  Do you get so totally confused you feel imprisoned by their judgement?
 Do you believe in giving people second chances?  Even though I am a person who received the seventy times seventy chances from God, I  may, too often, be quick to judge. Prayerfully I will slow down that judgement and try to see the good in people.  You don't see me kicking a person out to the curb or throw someone under the bus, as the saying goes here in these foothills, without feeling pretty darn awful about doing so. I will soon apologize and then try my best to be forgiven. Learning the hard way seems to be my way of education. I have hurt my best friends, stuck up for those same people and realized we are all imperfect.

Lately, it seems  that I am being attacked with those judgement calls. Negative vibes come from a friend who disagrees with some choices I have made. They aren't wrong. They are just different. I want to run back and change things I have done. But for what? To please that person? I get all mixed up in how I am supposed to feel. What is right? What is wrong? Who do I make angry? Who do I make cry? And when did accountability come with that silent treatment agreement? "Grrrrr !"

   
There is something, someone, more important to me than the approval or disapproval of people. It's God . So I have been praying to Him. "How do You want me to handle this?" "Am I doing what You want, Lord ?" "Should I walk away?" "Is this of You God?" "Do I forgive? What about forget?" "Oh God, if this is of You then why has it gotten so complicated?" "Am I at fault? "How do You want me to fix this?"  Am I to blame?" "Help me God." "Have me do what is in Your plans not mine." "Let this be about You."

Words. Words Words. It is easier to speak them than to hear them most times. But either way, I am striving to have open ended communications.

When static comes, It can't be from God. He is not the author of confusion. Satan can pick up on negative words that I share. He can use them to send wrong messages. And when I listen to him... Satan throws me a curve ball of yuck straight into my  mind.

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...

Peace is something I need. I need it spoken into my heart and into my life. When chaos hides itself inside of me, I know it cannot be of God. So I am asking Him to bring back to me the peace and reassurance that only He can provide. And at the same time I ask him to guard my thoughts that spill out of my mouth so that I only speak Godly uplifting things to others.




Ephesians 4:29  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen


Words. Whether I hear them or speak them, I pray that it is what God would have spoken into my life and into others.

 










The above blog was written about three weeks ago because of a time lapse in communication between one of my best friends and myself. Satan flooded and devoured my thoughts with negativity. I thought this friend was angry at me, unjustifyingly. I had my guards up and my heart hardened. The sad part was, she wasn't upset or angy. She never had one thought toward me that was hurtful. Instead I was hurting myself.  Before giving it a second chance, I believed the lies of Satan. Oh how much energy and time was wasted while trying to reason with the deception of the devil. If only I had trusted first in the foundation of which our friendship was built...Jesus.

Our friendship reassured itself as we held hands to pray over our lunch and thanked God for His graces. While she was was saying the blessing, God showed me His blessing with words of peace in my heart.

Heaven Father, as other times such as these arise, remind me of Your peaceful promises and help me to mute Satan. Thank You for the unexplainable peace that comes with trusting You.
In Jesus Name,
Amen

Words, words, words .....




Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Battle of the Bed Bugs, Drove me Buggy


Battle of the Bed Bugs



I no longer have bed bug issues, as far as having them in my home. But the memory of the battle lingers on. (And believe me that issue will drive ya buggy !) Prevention is better than cure in all things. With prayer, my hope is that this "article" helps you to not go through the issues that my family already has.

Not too long ago, bed bugs which were talked about quite often in the media, has seem to have faded. Yet the majority of society is unaware of how easily it is to come in contact with them or how very difficult it is to rid their homes of them. Speaking from first hand experience, it is merely impossible without major combat.

DO NOT believe that “bombing” your home, as  you would  do when you have a flea infestation, will solve the issue. My husband and I wastefully invested in that idea. Cans that say Bed Bug foggers don't tell you that the bugs retreat into wall cracks, base boards and any other hiding places at the beginning of “bomb” fumigation. In the foggy battle the pesky little bed bugs crawl into televisions, radios, picture frames, toys, clothes, dresser drawers and many other unexpected places.

Let the fight begin.....

We stripped carpets. As I was removing carpet tack boards, my son's wooden bunk bed frame was still in the room. Because it was in my way, I got tools and began disassembling it to get it out of my way. We thought we had this room conquered after much spraying and pre-bombing. As I turned the bolts with the wrench the boards separated and then appeared hundreds, maybe even thousands, of bed bugs that were in hiding. They crawled from their bug vacation home. One of many secret dwellings, I am sure. I opened my son's bed room window, and without the use of any tool, I began to rip that bunk bed apart, with my bare hands, and threw the now useless boards out of the window and into the front yard. I explained to my husband that these WILL BE burned !!!
example

This was only the beginning of the fight. The next step was educating myself more. I opened my lap top computer and researched many areas. I would win this war of the bugs.

SIGNS

What are the signs that you have bed bugs? My first indications were the blood stained sheets. My sons bedsheets looked as though he and his cousins had spent the night rolling and crushing
chocolate chip crumbs. Little smeared marks covered his pillow and sheets. I changed them before he went to bed and the marks were on the sheets the next morning. When I looked on the computer, that was all the evidence I needed. We had bed bugs.  I began to read diligently and thoroughly.

Everything had to be washed and dried in hot water. Everything. Any cloth item.  Did I mention everything ?

So into this war we went. We took the mattress to the dumpster immediately, along with his favorite pillow. Curtains came down in every room. We checked for bed bugs in the other rooms. My bed had a few signs also. I became bug-a phobic and began to become wildly and over emotionally overwhelmed. And very thankfully was able to move into my deceased mother in laws mobile home. I could not live in the place that was invaded by the skin eating blood sucking pests.

 After every visit to my home I would return to the trailer, strip my clothes on the front porch. Immediately they would be tied in a trash bag and I would hose my body off and run quickly into a hot shower. After cleaning myself I then took the cautionary step in washing the possibly infested clothes into a hot water filled washing machine. I refused to have another place be filled with the devouring bugs.

example
RASHES
That is another sign of bed bugs. The computer confirmed the rash on my son's skin. Although bed bug bite reactions vary from person to person, I knew from the pictures that he was bitten by these vampire creatures. I had previously taken him to two health care providers for his rash. Both were unaware of what he had, claiming that he had a reaction to something he had probably eaten because the rash appeared to be coming from inside of his body. I am not upset with the misdiagnoses. After all this has just become what seems like an epidemic across the states. As more and more cases appear, they will become more and more educated. I certainly have.



example
example



 



 
 
 FURNITURE




What about beds and furniture? How could I tell signs that bed bugs are/were there ? First, inspect is the bed. Check the sheets and blankets for any dead bugs, dormant bugs, or small, black spots and streaks.  (To me, it looks like smeared chocolate streaks)Take pillows out of their cases and check along their seams. Remove the bedding and check the mattress for the same signs of spots, streaks or bugs. Check along seams, cording and under any buttons. They are especially fond of the cording around the edge of a mattress, where it folds over at the corners. If there is a label on the top of the mattress, check carefully around it and under any loose areas. If possible, lift the mattress and check the box springs and bed frame. Pay close attention to crevices, cracks and seams. They may be more likely on the underside of mattresses and box springs than on top. The bottom of box springs is their ideal habitat. Check along the dust cover. They congregate around the staples that hold the gauze dust cover to the frame. If the box springs have plastic or cardboard corner protectors, they will often rest under or around them. If possible, remove these to allow inspection, although it may be difficult or impossible to reattach them as they were originally installed. If the dust cover is loose, or torn, or if it can be removed by the owner, check inside the box springs for signs of insects. It is extremely difficult to thoroughly check every nook and cranny inside box springs, so if bugs are found on the outside it may be best to replace the box springs or cover it with a zippered case sold for dust mite and bug control. There are also bed bug covers for pillows.  Even though wooden bed frames are more likely to have insects than the more common metal variety, bugs can harbor in  the seams and overlapping sections of metal frames and should also be inspected. Be sure to look behind the headboard and behind any pictures or loose wallpaper near the bed.

 
Become educated. Learn about these pestilences before you actually need too. I wish I had.

Learn simple but very helpful prevention methods. Wash used clothing in hot water and dry throroughly in a hot dryer. Never wear new clothing without putting them in the dryer for at least 30 minutes on the highest heat settings. Heat kills bed bugs. Do not store your new shoes in the shoe boxes they come in. Cardboard is an easy hiding place. Shipping vans and tractor trailers are known to transport bedbugs. Many retail stores and companies have closed down due to infestations. You may have purchased items from those places before their doors were shut. Brand new store bought items are not exempt for a bug transport into your home. Throw away plastic storage bags such as grocery and department store bags.

Think you have been in a home that is infested, or maybe a hotel? Remove shoes and clothing before entering your home upon return. Bed bugs crawl quickly and can take a free ride on shoes or in cuffs or seams of clothing.

If staying a hotel bring only necessary items into the room. Those items would be best stored in zip lock bags. If you have not taken this precaution, be sure to wash your clothing items in hot water upon your return home. Spray your luggage with bed bug spray and store in plastic bags which are able to be sealed airtight. (We took necessary steps to store our luggage in the heat of a closed vehicle. Unfortunately not everyone has the ability to do that, as we do.) Prevention is the best medicine. If possible leave luggage in your vehicle and bring clothing and necessary articles in and out of the hotel in sealable bags or totes. Be sure to vacuum out your car after traveling. We vacuumed every crease and seam of every seat, floor and the trunk. What may hide will find you again when you return to your vehicle.

Unlike head lice, storing items in sealed bags for 48 days, will NOT kill beg bugs. It takes one year without a host to kill these pesky irritants.

We even took our electronics, videos, pictures, books, etc from our home and stored them, sealed in duct taped closed up plastic bags or totes, in the heat and dead cold winter before we placed them back into their places. What we could throw away, good or bad, we did. We threw away many items, realizing that keeping it's memory is better than keeping being bit by bugs that make hiding a sport. These bugs hide in everything.

We steamed. That little steamer went to work. We, the steamer and humans, both sweat through the chore. Walls seeped with steam. I don't think there was an inch that wasn't heated. Heat kills. Nothing else seemed to. I watched the pestilence scurry and but I caught them, boiling their blood sucking bodies. I was determined to kill. I wiped the little dead pests from my home and threw away the evidence. In some cases reported, the only way to defeat the bed bugs is to completely tent you home and heat it to 120 for atleast 4 hours.  I wonder if that would have been an easier step for us to have taken.

Bed Bug Traps


I learned through the Internet how to make home made bed bug traps. It was a good way to see if we had been successful in this exhausting task. To make bed bug traps, you need a shallow pan, such as a kitty litter pan, scrap cloth such as an old towel, baby powder, glue gun, dry ice and a lunch box thermos, Make strips, length wise, in the towels long enough for the material to reach the top rim of the kitty litter pan and about ½ inch over lapping the surface that it will sit on. In long strips glue the toweling all around the box. This will give the bugs something(ladder) to crawl up and into the box. Put a coating of baby powder on the inside walls of the kitty litter box. Carefully place dry ice in the thermos and place opened thermos inside the center of the litter box. The carbon dioxide that the dry ice puts off is what attracts the bed bugs. It is also what attracts the bed bugs to humans. Use these traps over night. In the morning you will see traces of bed bugs in the baby powder and dead bugs in the litter box. This is one way that can show you that you have bed bugs. There are other on line suggestions to try. But this one certainly helped us.

 It answered our question.We had our proof that bed bugs still existed in our home. Oh my what are we to do now? A friend told of us Diatomaceous Earth (Diatomite). We bought a large container and went to work.

Diatomaceous Earth powder was put in every crease and corner of picture frames. I put the powder in every electrical outlet, baseboards, cabinets, piano, drawer, window pane... you name it the powder was there.


Wikipedia...

Pest control

Diatomite is used as an insecticide, due to its abrasive and physico-sorptive properties.The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects' exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. Arthropods die as a result of the water pressure deficiency, based on Fick's law of diffusion. This also works against gastropods and is commonly employed in gardening to defeat slugs. However, since slugs inhabit humid environments, efficacy is very low. It is sometimes mixed with an attractant or other additives to increase its effectiveness. Medical-grade diatomite is sometimes used to de-worm both animals and humans, with questionable efficacy. It is commonly used in lieu of boric acid, and can be used to help control and possibly eliminate bed bug, house dust mite, cockroach and flea infestations.This material has wide application for insect control in grain storage.

Please wear protective clothing and face masks, the paper kind filters the fine dust, when working with the powder. Read precautions on label. I didn't do this as often as I should and ended up with some pretty nasty sinus infections. We also used the food grade dust so that it would not do any harm if accidentally ingested.



FINALLY...SUCCESS !!!
 
After all this work and not living in our home for a year, we beat the battle of the bugs. The smell of bleach overwhelmed us while cleaning the stains or the remains from our house. We vacuumed every inch we could.  It took lots of effort but it was worth it to have our home back. We conquered the battle of bed bugs !!!! I am still cleaning dust from crevices. And believe me I am taking many many precautions on prevention. Some may so I take too many . I have become and educated bug-a-phobic and proud of it.

 I  do not want any of you to go through the same things as I have. It's taken me couple of years to finish writing this. I apologize to those who this may have helped by now. Really, it could help us all. I no longer have bed bug issues as far as having them in my home. But the memory of the battle lingers on. Prevention is better than cure in all things. Now, if I can erase the fear...for everyone.

Praying a hedge of protection around our home and yours, doing the work necessary it takes and I am..trusting in His word.
 

Psalm 91 NIV 3-11

3 Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.