The Most Difficult Trial

While reading my devotional this morning, it asked this question: “What is the most difficult trial you’ve gone through? How can you use your pain to impact someone else?” My first thought was that I’ve had so many, how could I choose a “most” difficult? If you’re familiar with my story, you’ll understand why I say that. I know I’m not unique in having had a difficult life, and for many of us choosing one “most difficult” is, well, difficult.

Reflecting back, though, it would be losing my husband, Ron. Our life together wasn’t easy, but we had much to be thankful for. We were in our “forever” home, we had a thriving business, we were active in the local church, and we were content. When he lost his health, and began losing the battle with addiction, our life together became difficult at best and untenable at worst. The day I left him was one of the worst days of my life. I was a failure as a wife, and a failure at marriage – I hurt, bone deep. He was in unimaginable physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, and I couldn’t fix it. His rage at life became all consuming, until nothing (especially me) was safe from him.

I was active in the church before it all fell apart, and I thought I had a strong faith. Friends from the church took me in and protected me until I could live the area. My family rescued me. All of these wonderful Christians came together for me, and they reached out to try to help him, too. How did I react? I got back on my feet, new job and apartment, new church, and new friends added to my life, I thought I was good. I was angry, though, and began to blame God for Ron’s behavior and the destruction of my good life with him. My behavior over the next few years was full of denial, and I was determined to “fix” the world. Needless to say, it didn’t end well, but it did get me back to church and connected with strong Christians who showed me the path back to God.

Through those people and the program, I worked through a lot of my issues, and was able to assist other women going through difficult trials. No one’s life is the same, and we cannot judge anyone by what they are going through. I know this: if we can help someone find the courage to open themselves to Jesus Christ, we are blessed right along side them. He is the Comforter, full of Grace and Mercy and Forgiveness like we can’t even imagine.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3‭-‬4 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/2co.1.3-4.NASB1995

Listen to the song Scars by Casting Crowns. https://youtu.be/qCdevloDE6E

Bless The LORD, O My Soul


BLESS THE LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
BLESS THE LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children, To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them.
The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.
BLESS THE LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!
BLESS THE LORD, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will.
BLESS THE LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Psalms 103:1‭-‬22 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/psa.103.1-22.NASB1995
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.

My Shelter

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” … For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.”
Psalms 91:1‭-‬2‭, ‬11‭-‬12 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/psa.91.1-12.NASB1995

Who do you rely on? Who do you trust? I mean really trust? There are a few people in my life whom I trust, but there is a caveat. As much as I love them and trust them, I recognize that in spite of that love and trust, they will put their wellbeing over mine. That’s okay, too. They are human. Their immediate families should be their focus. I don’t expect them to put themselves into harm’s ways to protect me. I love them in spite of that, and I don’t judge them for it. There is one upon whom I know I can always trust, always lean on, and always depend on. His name is Jesus. Name above all names.

Do you know Him?

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/rom.5.8.NASB1995

He doesn’t require anything from us. He offers us a gift. A gift that is without obligation, at no cost to us. We use our own free will to either accept it or reject it. There is no in between; no place for indecision. He is reaching out to you. Will you take His hand and accept Him?

Righteousness / Sin / Slavery

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:13‭-‬14 NASB1995

Warren Wiersbe, in his book Be Daring, wrote, “In 1973, Dr. Karl Menninger, one of the world’s leading psychiatrists, published a startling book, Whatever Became of Sin? He pointed out that the very word sin has gradually dropped out of our vocabulary, as he puts it, ‘the word, along with the notion.’ We talk about mistakes, weaknesses, inherited tendencies, faults, and even errors; but we do not face up to the fact of sin.”

God removes our sins and puts them on Christ. Then he takes the righteousness of Christ and puts it on us, and it’s all done through the cross. And that’s the gospel: how sinners become right and righteous with a holy God. It’s the best news ever.” – from The Core of the Gospel by Jeff Wells

Who is a the descendant of slaves? That’s a big question these days, with the whole question of reparations and who should pay them and who should receive them. Slavery has been around almost since the the beginning of history. It has been in every country and involved every color and ethnicity of humans. Abraham, Father of Israel, had slaves. The Egyptians had slaves of all nationalities. The Romans, Greeks, Gauls, and Picts owned slaves. Many, if not all, African tribes owned slaves. The American Native peoples of the different nations owned slaves.

As much as we want to deny it, slavery still exists today. There are people who deal in human trafficking, maybe in your neighborhood. Instead of focusing on the past and what has occurred, we need to be focused on now. There are many other forms of slavery, and we need to acknowledge that fact. Human bondage is real and present. Slavery to an addiction, and that isn’t limited to drugs or alcohol. If you have personally experienced any bondage, and been freed from it, congratulations! God is GOOD! Be careful about boasting, though. For someone still stuck and fighting to get out, or to the one who can’t see a way out, remember to give Grace. Slavery, just like any addiction, isn’t something we can just choose to walk away from. It requires help from God and from His people.

“Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is ONE. Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.” Romans 3:27‭-‬31 NASB1995

Reach out to someone you know is hurting, and keep in mind that hurts can be covered up and hidden. A smile and a hug can go a long way! (Pandemic aside, it’s time to start hugging people again!)

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” Colossians 3:23‭-‬25 NASB1995

When I Cry

“The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, To cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalms 34:15‭-‬18 NASB1995

I’ve done a lot of that in my life. Crying, I mean. Not as a righteousness person, either. Although I grew up in the church, when I left home for college it only took a few months for the enemy to seduce me away from God. Boys (because they certainly weren’t mature enough to be called men), recreational drugs, alcohol, the thrill of being kissed and touched and told how beautiful I was…. I would go home, back to my parents house, for breaks and pretend nothing had changed with me. Reflecting on that time, I’m sure the only one I was fooling was myself. After just 2 years, I left school and married the man of my dreams. It quickly became more of a nightmare than a dream.

A miserable pregnancy, an unfaithful, abusive husband, and I was still pretending to the world and my parents that life was good. The facade was thin, and I think more people saw through it than believed it, but I wasn’t giving up. Pull yourself up, girl! Stand by your husband, submit to your man, and keep up appearances. I couldn’t allow my parents, let alone God, to know how badly I had fallen, so I stayed, the great pretender. As the abuse became more severe, I became more angry and belligerent, especially towards God. How could He allow this to happen? So I turned further away from Him. He didn’t reach down and fix my life, so I rejected Him. But I still pretended to my family.

After eight miserable years, I divorced him and gave up my daughter to a family member. Anything to keep him from having custody. It was like tearing out my heart, but I knew it was the best thing for her. My life didn’t get better. It seemed that I was destined to stay with abusers. The enemy led me to another one. I was mesmerised; in a trancelike state for months, subject to his ….. what? Desires, whims, abuses? I can’t describe what happened, because it was like a dream, or more like a nightmare, that I couldn’t escape from. Ironically, it was my abusive husband who rescued me from that situation.

Was life with him different than before? Not really, but it was better than the nightmare I had been in. For years, I moved from man to man, looking for my Knight in Shining Armor, my Saviour. I lived in a homeless, hopeless state. For a period of time, with my third husband, life improved greatly. Together, we became active in church, putting God in a prominent place in our lives. I’ll tell you now that it’s critical to put God in a prominent place, but unless He is FIRST, it won’t last. It was good, until the enemy got a toe hold into our lives, and pulled my husband away from God and from me.

After that, I spiraled. It wasn’t pretty. Outwardly I looked like I had it together, but inwardly I was angry at God and refused to let Him have my heart. That’s a dark spot. I allowed abusive men back into my life, and several years passed as I pretended to be a Christian but couldn’t allow God to have control. I was going to do it myself. God got my attention. Husband five was my breaking point; my “bottom”. I took him to a Christ-centered 12 step recovery program so that he could get his act together (because there was nothing wrong with me. Ha!).

God has a sense of humor. The husband left, rejecting the program, God, and me. I stayed in the program. Funny thing, my biggest lesson was that I wasn’t so perfect after all!

Life is full of the good, the bad, and plenty of the ugly for all of us. It isn’t easy for anyone, even our children. That’s just a fact. Rich, poor, any shade of color, every continent, every nation. Life is hard. So why bother with living? Because God gave us life through His Son Jesus! Because of Jesus, I can face all the ugly in my life. Because of Him, I can face today. Every. Single. Day. Living with Jesus, and putting Him first means that I am never alone, and it means that when I can’t take the next step, He will hold me and carry me through it.

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12 NASB1995

Help us, O LORD

GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 ESV


What have we done, fellow Christians? In just a few days, our country will be headed by people who approve of, and support, killing our children. Abortion is exactly that. This is no time to be squeamish or to waver in our beliefs. Whether it is 2 weeks after conception or the day of birth, killing babies is wrong. These new “leaders” also approve of marriage between other than a man and a woman, they want to legalize paedophilia, and take away our right to free speech (yes, Facebook and Twitter really are deleting and banning conservatives). That’s the First Amendment that we are losing! These so-called leaders want to eliminate the Second Amendment as well, and they are determined to drastically change the America we know and love.

Currently, across our country, many churches have been banned from holding services. This is America! We are being inundated with False Prophets. God and the Bible have been banned from schools….. but the Koran is okay to be there. Our Police are being denied the ability to do their job of keeping our citizens and property safe. Our history is being rewritten, historic names and statues are removed and replaced with….. with what? Foriegn nations have our politicians in their pockets. Christians are being persecuted, right here in these United States. What else can you call it when we aren’t allowed to worship as we see fit any longer?

I am blessed to live in the middle of the country, in the “Bible Belt”, because we aren’t as regulated and oppressed as parts of the country….. yet. What are we to do?

What can we do? There is only one answer. Turn to GOD. We have to be in constant prayer. Even so, I don’t see these circumstances changing for the better. We have to be prepared for them to get worse. Are your convictions strong enough to stand against evil? I can’t judge you. If I am told that in order to get basic food and medical care for me and my family I am required to have certain vaccinations, would I do it?

It’s sounding a lot like parts of the Revelations of John, doesn’t it?

I don’t have the answers. Only God knows. I will do my best to stand on the principles that I have, and be very careful not to judge anyone else for what they do. That is God’s job. I pray for our country, the outgoing leaders in Washington and in our states, and I pray that those coming into power will not abuse it. God bless America, because the enemy is here.



Afraid and Discouraged, or Trust in the LORD?

Rescue me, O LORD, from evil men; Preserve me from violent men Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; Do not promote his evil device, that they not be exalted. Selah.
Psalms 140:1‭, ‬8 NASB

Trust as defined by The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:

  • n. Firm belief in the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing; confidence or reliance.
  • n. The condition and resulting obligation of having confidence placed in one.

Do you trust God? Do you believe in His integrity, His abilities, His character? Do you have confidence in Him? Do you rely on Him? Do you really?Trust is hard. Once trust is broken, it’s difficult to get back. Most of us (truthfully, all of us) have had our trust in someone broken. We’re all human, we are all imperfect and broken; therefore, we will break trust. I have had my trust broken.

I have broken trust. I am imperfect and broken. Sometimes those things weigh on me so much that it feels like there is a literal weight on me, holding me down.Whenever you are reeling from a broken trust, or hurting because you have broken trust, remember this verse. We aren’t perfect because of our sin, and we will never be perfect on this earth, but God, our God, our LORD, sees us differently than the way others see us and the way we see ourselves. In His eyes, we are each His Masterpiece.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 NASB

Say it with me,“I am God’s Masterpiece!”

Seek HIM First

“This is the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:23‭-‬24 NASB

I think every part of my body hurts this morning; every muscle, every joint, even my brain. My eyeballs hurt. I am weary. I have to be thankful, though, because it slows me down so that I can see what a beautiful morning God has given us. It’s a very unusual morning for Oklahoma in August. At 7am, the temperature is in the high 60’s, and it is calm. There’s only an occasional breeze that floats by like a whisper. The birds are singing, and other than the birdsong, it is quiet. Since I live in an urban neighborhood, that’s pretty unusual, too!

“Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:30‭-‬31 NASB

Move forward. Remember that God is in control. No matter how bad it gets. Frustration, aches and pains, irritations, aggravations will all pass well. Look for the good in everything. I am alive. I’m not unhealthy (well, mostly!!), I have a home and 2 dogs who think I’m the best thing since sliced bread – especially when I share it with them!

Will life get tough? Oh, yes. Will bad things happen? Without a doubt. Will people disappoint you, betray you, let you down? Absolutely.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 NASB

GOD will never disappoint, He will never betray, He will never let you down. When everything looks black, when everyone has let you down, turn to Jesus.

Listen to Casting Crowns’ song East to West. Here’s part:

I start the day, the war begins
Endless reminding of my sin
And time and time again
Your truth is drowned out by the storm I’m in
Today I feel like I’m just one mistake away
From you leaving me this way

Jesus, can you show me just how far the east is from the west?

‘Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been
Rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest
You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
I know you’ve washed me white
Turned my darkness into light
I need your peace to get me through
To get me through this night
I can’t live by what I feel
But by the truth your word reveals
And I’m not holding onto you
But you’re holding onto me
You’re holding onto me

JESUS is the answer. No one else will get through this life with you without hurting you. He is THE Way. THE Truth, and The Light. He is LIFE.

Can I get an Amen?

What Are You Chasing?

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.” Isaiah 55:2 NASB

I’ve spent my life chasing something, or someone. Lots of money and energy expended trying for the perfect partner, job, house, clothes; friends, family. The “perfect” church. Know what I’ve discovered?

They don’t exist.

What? Of course they do! Don’t try to tell me my searching, my life, is futile! ……. And yet, that’s the truth. Most of us spend our lives trying to have the perfect life as we imagine it, when the reality is that all of these things, and all of these people, won’t satisfy us. Sure, we can achieve momentary satisfaction, but it’s fleeting. I think that’s why our world is rife with ruthless people, in business and politics and in their personal lives. Business takeovers. Public lies and shaming. Affairs in the shadows, and affairs in the open, blatantly flaunting themselves. Desperate people everywhere, searching for nirvana.

It doesn’t exist.

We are a created race. Yes, one race, created by a Creator God, and we are created to worship Him. Nothing else can fill that hole. We can search and scrape and fight trying to find anything else to fill it, and that’s what we spend our lives doing. One thing fills that hole in your heart. One thing fulfills your search. ONE thing.

Jesus Christ.

Son of the FATHER GOD. Second, but equal, member of the Trinity, God, Son, Holy Spirit. Saviour of the world. The One; The Way.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16‭-‬18 NASB

In 1670, Blaise Pascal published Pensées, in which he writes:

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 NASB

Change your focus. Look for Jesus. He will fill your heart in a way you could never have imagined. Not only your heart, but He will fill your life, your mind, your soul, if you will just let Him. He will give you Life Abundant. Even if you struggle financially, even if you are on your own, without a partner, or out of work, Jesus can bring a contentment that is beyond this earth.

LORD, I pray today for that person who is searching, that he or she will open their heart to You and realize real peace and contentment today, right now. Amen.