Thursday, January 12, 2017


I watched the leaves for the last few days blow from across the street into my ditch.    I waited until a few mornings of frost and rain came and shrunk those  large maple leaves to one half their original size.

I went to rake them and some were harder to gather than others.  A few were stuck in the muddy portion of my ditch.  I hoped they would break free in the wind, to no avail.  My ditch is deep and holds some of the most fertile soil.  The grass that grows there is the greenest and healthiest in the yard.  The snow and rain rest in the bottom of the ditch but many things go over the top and pass on to the neighbor’s yards or street.

I began to understand how God often works in my life.  Many times I feel like that leaf, stuck in the mud in my ditch.  No matter how I try, I can’t move.  I feel as if the weight of a snow storm or a down pour of rain is flowing on top of me.  But, I always survive and seem to grow stronger when my summer season comes.  When I look back over time, even though many things have fallen in my path while stuck, I realize there are more perils that by passed me by because I was stuck in the ditch; protected in my own personal valley.

So the next time you feel as though you’re stuck in the mud or in a valley of your life, remember God has you there for a purpose.  Believe that there are dangers He is protecting you from while He sends the rich nourishment you need to grow for the places He has destined for you to go.  Don’t be discouraged, your season of strength and revitalization will come and your mud will turn to green grass once again.


I took a chance and looked at a reality show called “I Survived”.  These amazing individuals were involved in horrific life threatening situations, often left for dead.  I went through the fear and agony with them as they told their story. They pulled from an inner strength and persevered against all odds that as a result, they were part of nothing short of a miracle and survived.

I recalled the life altering events in my own life and remembered the friends that turned their backs on me in my time of need.   I remember the enemies that laid trap after trap, waiting for me to fall in their snares; laughing as I faltered. I have always built the bridges in my family, meeting the needs of all but I felt as if they too,  had turned a deaf ear to me in my distress.  I lost loved ones that were the core of my existence.  I suffered near death accidents and illnesses.  Unlike those in the reality show, I had no strength left.  These devastating circumstances overwhelmed me and living with tragedy became my normal.  

Despite it all, I too survived.  I survived because God came to my rescue.  I realized it was His plan to weed out those who were walking contrary to the purpose He has for my life.  When my enemies set the traps, He let their trap be the vessel used for my safe escape and shows His power.  When I felt forsaken, I read the 27th Psalm and was encouraged by the Word and remembered He promised to take me up and He has filled each gap.  While walking in the valley of the shadow of death for three years, the 23rd Psalm became my national anthem of comfort.  God has loved me provided for me and give me peace in the midst of the worst that anyone could face in a lifetime. 

 Those who survive tragedies initially experience extreme relief.  You don’t come out of these situations without scars or memories.  The effects of trauma can last for a lifetime. One beauty of my surviving by the hand of God is that I don’t suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome.  When I remember the hard times, my hands go up to praise as the tears flow down my cheeks.  I can still smell the smoke of the fire set in the trap of my destruction.  I still taste the bitter tears from the hurt of loneliness while feeling abandoned.  During the worst moments, I could still hear God’s voice to comfort me and most importantly, I saw His hand at work.  I still can’t openly speak about some things yet and there are some roads I still can’t drive on but one thing I can say is God is real.  I’ve saved thousands of dollars in therapy by talking to the few select people God has sent into my life for such a season as this.

I know I’m not the only survivor.  It’s time we share our stories with the world.  There is someone who can benefit from our experiences.  If nothing else, it’s cathartic when you repeat how God delivers us.  Our stories move God from the pages of the bible that sits on the bookshelves or coffee tables in most homes and reminds the world He’s real.  How we endure hardship and recover from tragedies with God, shows those who might not know Him that He’s not a weakling but still the God of glory, mighty in battle; working to make all who call on Him in time of their troubles, a survivor.


While I sat in the garage looking at the boxes of decorations and Christmas tree in a box, a flood of emotions swept over my soul.  I look back and painfully remember all the people and things so dear to me that I lost.  I began to sink in my spirit because the loved ones I shared my life and heart with are no longer here to bring me joy on Christmas morning.  Christmas was always my favorite holiday.  It’s a time when memories are made and family and friends gather near.

As I drove through the neighborhoods and saw the beautiful decorations and listened to the holiday tunes on the radio, emptiness came over me.  I didn’t feel the same when I watched Charlie Brown or White Christmas on television.

Many of the traditional things that marked this season, my personal favorite, the Christmas tree, will not be observed this year.   The old traditions are no longer significant and I am forced to create new ones.  There will be no smell of peach cobbler cooking in the kitchen or that secret present to open on Christmas morning.  There won’t be a fire in the fireplace as we sing merry Christmas baby or jingle bell rock.  I asked all my loved ones to let me be alone this Christmas to seek God’s face, who alone could heal and help me this holiday.   The worst emotion to me is to be in a room filled with people but still feeling all alone in the world. 

The song, Silent Night, Holy Night came on the radio and my heart began to burn.  How selfish and blind I had been.  Christ is the reason for the season.  He is the gift that keeps on giving.   

There was no Currier & Ives setting around the manger where Christ laid and He wasn’t welcomed with opened arms.  His mother and father were on the run from an angry King that sought to kill Him and hid in a manger where He was born.  There was no smell of spices and rum cake; there was the smell of sheep and oxen in their nostrils. 

Yes, I had lost loved ones and my life is forever changed, but the real reason for Christmas is Christ who loves me the best and has never left my side.  He has shown me an undying love by giving me the gift of redemption. 

Let’s regain the real meaning for Christmas, by first putting Christ back in our celebration.   We look for gifts to give our loved ones that would enhance their lives and bring them joy.  What better gift than to give them the gift of the knowledge of Christ, their Savior.  Share with them the true story of Christmas.  When times get hard and the storms of life begin, the X-box game machines and diamonds won’t bring them peace or help solve their problems, only a relationship with Christ will accomplish this.  Deck the halls then go tell it on the mountain and over the hills that Jesus Christ was born.


I went to my foot doctor to understand why my feet and knees had been giving me the most excruciating pain for the last few months.  I attributed it to my increased yard work, aging, or just from the added weight I had gained.   I learned a painful lesson that should have been obvious to me.  I’ve been using my husband’s old shoes while working in the yard for almost two years.  Since they are not quite my size, old, and run over, they had thrown my entire body out of alignment, starting with my feet, then my knees, going up to my already twisted back, ending in my neck and shoulders.   Adding insult to injury, during this period, I decided to resume walking barefoot, a definite no-no to anyone with reoccurring foot injuries. 

 I quickly learned his shoes were too big for me to ever fill.  How often we think just by looking at a person that we can accomplish or walk so easily in their shoes.  Who knows what challenges they face to even stand?  When we walk, our entire bodies are engaged in the process.  Now that I’ve put on my own shoes for yard work, my condition improved in a matter of days.  My orthotic s in my shoe correct the weakened areas in my feet and force me to stand tall and straight, even when walking along the hills and dips in my yard.

Our feet are a very important part of our body.  The nerves from each destination in our body end there.  The major idea behind reflexology is the feet and hands can be massaged to stimulate each organ in our body to promote activity.  A sensitive area on the feet can determine if any organ is under stress and slight manipulations can stimulate that area toward healing.  Each foot is different on each person and both are unique to every individual, even if they are the same size.  They develop and form based on our individual standing and walking style.  Our arches support us in our development of gait and stance, allowing even pressure to be distributed equally across the entire foot.

Doesn’t life teach us that we each have our own individual walk and no one else can walk in our shoes?

Have you ever wished to be in someone else’s shoes? Be careful what you wish for, you never know what lies ahead in their path.

I think of the sandals or shoes of Jesus.  His feet may have been worn, but He kept walking straight down the path that led Him to Calvary.  I imagine He remembered that we would need a straight path to victory, although narrow, that only He could make.

We may be faced with many valleys and hills to climb in life and some long roads ahead, but remember we have a God who will walk besides us, to lead us along the way.


Don’t be afraid to walk in your own shoes, they’ve been modeled for your unique journey in life.  You may need to add spiritual orthotics, but add whatever you need to continue on, but don’t forget to add God.

Friday, January 16, 2015


I was going through some of my old valentine day cards from my husband and a phrase seemed prominent in them all; forever in my heart.  Now I’m not sure if this is in most of them or if that’s a message that my husband wants to convey in the cards he chooses for me.  My husband picks the best cards for all occasions.  I often read them and the description of the person inside often causes me to ask if he really means that for me.  

This year will be the first time since our marriage over 15 years ago that we’d be apart on Valentine’s Day. Being the great guy he is, he already bought my card and candy.  While I was cleaning him up in the hospital, he stops me to say how much he appreciates all I’ve done for him, especially those things he couldn’t do himself.  Very seriously and in a rare tone, he said he loves me.  I tell him, no problem, it’s all my pleasure. Then as I read those cards later, I knew what he meant; I’m forever in his heart.

One thing I’ve learned in life is the best place to be is in the heart of a good person; for a woman, a good man.  It goes beyond the candy and remembering the man made holidays.  Being in the heart of a good man causes them to go beyond the norm to provide and protect you.  Their never ending joy is to see you happy.  I think how he went to work in pain and endured the pressures of life to make a better life for his family.

How did I get in his heart; by being myself, and being in God’s favor. He chose me and I had to accept that choice.  Women can’t chose the man and make him want them.  My husband tells me that when the hen chases a rooster on the farm, she ends up in the pot; but that’s another story altogether.  Everyone is not suited for everybody, it must be compatibility. In turn, I recognized his goodness and wanting to do those things that pleased me, so I did what I thought pleased him before he asked.  I had to mend some of my ways; see I was divorced for 17 years before we married and I had picked up some habits. I listened and was attentive to his ways and moods; I did those things that protected and helped him and the family name.

Oddly enough, this is a mirror image of my relationship with God.  He chose me and loves me beyond measure and goes to every end to prove His love.  He died on the cross to show I was forever in his heart.  I read His Word to learn what pleases Him then I do those things.  I show my appreciation by saying thank you and I love you.  He shows is love by allowing the sun, moon, stars and rainbow to brighten my world.  When God wants to whisper to me He speaks through His Spirit that’s inside my soul; it quickens me.

So even though I won’t be celebrating the traditional valentine’s day with my husband, his love has made and everlasting impression on my life and heart.  You see, he died 3 days later.  The card he gave said that he found it an honor to love me.  I find it an honor to have a man of his caliber to love me.  More important, we have a God that has us in his heart and joined us together forever. 
Have you found your place in the heart of God?  Make a note to daily show your appreciation and gratitude to your loved ones every day.   But in all those you love and adore on this Valentine ’s Day, and beyond, remember to keep them and God forever in your heart.