Saturday, August 2, 2014

Good Grief

Today I find myself in a very unusual and difficult place. I place I know rather well, unfortunately. A place many of you can relate to, a place of grief.

Grief comes to us in many ways, in many forms. I’d like to share my heart today about how grief has come to me, affected me and what I believe is the best way to deal with it. Now let me clarify. For those that are dealing with the loss of a family member, this probably will NOT apply to you. I do not want to trivialize your pain, because I have been there. This is about what let’s call, common grief. Again I don’t want to trivialize anyone’s hurt, because I KNOW it’s there and it’s REAL!!!

In my life this common grief has come in different forms:
* Death of a relative. You know the ones, aunts and uncles you love, but you’re not close to, maybe even grandparents you didn’t build a bond with. The relatives that don’t leave an ache in your heart but you still feel a loss at family gatherings.
* The separation or loss of a friendship. When you and a friend, for whatever reason end or put a pause on your friendship. This may be due to a long distance move, an argument, a change in job, or many other factors.
* Divorce, Separation or any break up of a couple. There is a certain amount of grief for the couple for the loss of what they had or what could have been. If there are children they will definitely feel grief over the break up.
* The loss of a family pet. Please don’t trivialize this for others if you are not a dog or cat person. We become very attached to our pets. They become a literal part of our family.
* The ending of any major relationship in your life. A mentor, teacher, hairstylist, doctor, therapist, church, Bible Study group, or any other group or one on one relationship you have had ongoing that ends.

I Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

In this verse God tell us we will go through trials. As you read this list, I imagine you have been through at least one of these in your lifetime. Maybe one of these within the past 5 years, for some it will be more recent than that.  It hurts doesn’t it? Well I can tell you in the past 5 years I’ve been through at least 2 of these if not more. Yes they hurt! Some more than others. I do want you to know there is Hope!

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Before we get there I want to share some of the ways I have grieved over these types of loss. As most of you probably know, there are stages of grief, so it is possible to feel any or all of those feelings after one of these losses. Believe me I know. I’ve probably gone through them all at one time or another. Let me just list some of them:

*       Denial-Refuse to believe it’s true
*       Anger-It can be anger at anyone
*       Bargaining-Trying to gain control by the “if only”, or asking God “ If you will… then I will…”
*       Depression-Feelings of regret, sadness, hopelessness, worry
*       Acceptance-Calm, Peace

We may not all go through the same emotions after a loss, and we certainly may not experience them in the same order or at the same time. But we are probably going to go through them. The important thing is that through God we can come to the place of acceptance.

Let me tell you my story. For the past several weeks I have known that a working relationship was coming to an end. This was a relationship that dealt with confidentiality, so outside of the office we would not be able to socialize. That made it very difficult to lose this relationship. When I learned of the end of this relationship, I was in total denial. So much so, I didn’t even know it until I look back now. I acted as though nothing had changed. I never went through anger or bargaining, because it’s really not that kind of loss. If I had had an argument and my friend was walking away, I’d probably get mad. This is not at all like that. This person is doing what is best for her and her family. I am 100% behind her. Well, yesterday I hit depression. The reality of things hit me and I fell apart. The interesting thing is I believe God is giving me acceptance at the same time. I may be sad at the loss of what I had, but I am at peace because God is having my friend do what she needs to be doing!

So I want to end with 2 things, 1. How do you get through loss and grief?
Only through God and the peace that He will give you!

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid

2. I mentioned above 1Peter 1:6 where Peter tells us that we WILL go through trials. Here are verses 6 & 7 together.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Peter says that you are going through trials. Then he explains why, God is testing our faith to see if it is pure. If it is pure then our faith gives praise, glory and honor to Jesus. Don’t you want to be faithful to Jesus? I sure do! So as I grieve, I want to look at it differently. God is giving me the opportunity to lean totally and completely on Him so I can show the world that HE IS FAITHFUL!!! He will carry me through!!!

Living in Grace,

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Unity in Diversity

Hello Friends,

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of ALL NATIONS, Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 18-20 (ESV)

I’m not sure if you noticed, but in the verses above I made 2 words bold and capitalized. This is so they would catch your eye. Today I want to talk about Unity in Christ. First, I want you to see how God expects us to look beyond our differences and sees what can or does unite us…Jesus. Second, I want to share a 3 of stories of how graciously, God has blinded some of the people in my family to differences.

A Biblical Example of Unity
I am going to give you a synopsis of Acts 10. Please read it, so you completely understand the story. Even if you’ve read it 100 times, please read it again. I promise you will see it differently this time, with these glasses on. I know I did. So here we go. There was this Centurion in Caesarea. My understanding is he was a powerful man. He was also a God-fearing man. One day he receives a vision of an angel from God. The angel tells him that he needs to send 2 men to Joppa, and have them bring back Peter. The angel also says that Peter is staying with Simon the tanner. So Cornelius does exactly what the angel of God asks. The next day while Cornelius’ men were making their way to Joppa, Peter goes to the roof to pray. While he is up there he becomes very hungry. Well in a vision Peter sees this thing like a big sheet float down. When it comes down where he can see what’s on it, he sees all sorts of animals. Peter hears a voice tell him to Kill them and eat them. But Peter is looking at the types of animals that are there and he says, Lord I can’t eat these they are unclean animals. You see there are only certain animals that God has allowed the Jews to eat, and even those had to be blessed by the Rabbi. Well this happens 3 times, the sheet coming down. If you will notice God only repeats things in the Bible, if he is trying to get someone’s attention or He is showing them the error of their ways. Whichever, repetition always means it is important! Let’s also notice exactly what Peter and God say during this exchange. Peter says, “…I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” God’s response is, “What God has made clean, do not call uncommon.” At this point Peter still doesn’t understand what is going on. In the meantime, the men sent from Cornelius arrive and ask for Peter. They talk and the men explain why they are there. The next day the 4 men travel to Cornelius’ house. When they arrive Cornelius explains his vision to Peter. At that point, I believe Peter got it, he understood the vision God had sent to him. God was telling Peter that ALL men, Jew and Gentile have the opportunity to come to Jesus. There at Cornelius’ house the Gentiles who accepted Jesus were given the gift of the Holy Spirit, just like the disciples were at Pentecost. Now they could spread the good news to Jews and Gentiles alike. Obviously this would continue to be a problem. From this passage it shouldn’t be. Just like diversity in any form should not be an issue today. Not when we are sharing the Good News, not when we are Worshiping and not in our everyday lives. In your heart are you color-blind? Do you view people with prosthetics as your equal? What about the blind or deaf? How about the people down the street whose car is older than yours or they need work on their house because they just can’t afford to get it fixed? Maybe it’s not that, maybe it’s the people with the better house, the fancier car? Satan can cause disunity and keep us from reaching out to those dying without Jesus in all shapes and forms. Let Jesus search your heart and find where you need to be united with Him.

How God Has Taught Me Unity In Diversity
I have so many stories to share, but I promise I will limit it to 3 short ones.
A Kindergartener’s Innocent Heart
When my son Colton was in Kindergarten, he would come home and tell me about his friends, and what they did during recess and center time. Well one day he told me he had made a new friend. I was delighted. You see Colton has always been fairly shy, at least when you first meet him. Then he comes out of his shell and watch out!!! He told me this new friend's was named Cody. He talked about how Cody loved the music center, and how they would both lay on the floor and bang sticks together to the music. He talked about helping Cody and other things. I thought nothing of it. I was just glad he had branched out and had many friends. Well the time for Open House came. Of course Cecil and I visited Colton’s Kindergarten class. We spoke with his teacher and asked about this boy Cody that Colton was constantly talking about. Well it turned out that Cody was in a wheelchair. Cody had Cerebral Palsy, but in Colton’s innocent eyes and heart he was no different than himself. I was so proud of my son. To this day, he looks at people all the same. Thank you Colton for teaching me SO much!
A Teenager’s Love
My daughter Stephanie was in High School when she was offered a part-time, consistent, babysitting job. This was no ordinary babysitting job. She would be taking care of a 7-year-old boy who was almost completely blind, had severe hearing loss, diminished mental capacity, several serious health issues, including heart problems and yet was physically very strong. Before the parents would hire Steph, they wanted to “interview” her, as well as see how their son interacted with her. I do believe it was love at first encounter. One of the hardest things for Steph when she moved to Oklahoma was leaving this precious boy behind. They built such a bond that he would ask for her. Granted, Stephanie understands that he is different from other children, but the point I want to make with this story is that she NEVER shied away from getting to know him and loving him just because he is different. I believe that is another way God calls us to love all people in our diversity.
Did I Not Tell You He’s Black?
Please, Please DO NOT be offended by this title!!! It is not meant to offend. You will find out it was a mistake I made. Please read on. I am not going to give you all of the details to the back-story about how I met Bryan. (If you would like to read it, you can click on the link here. It is my blog titled Do You See What God Provides? Scroll down to the heading The Apple Miracle.) Basically, I was in the Apple Store one day and had an appointment with a Genius. The Genius I dealt with was Bryan. He was amazing! He helped me in ways I never imagined. I believe God was using him to minister to me that day. Bryan and I have continued a friendship ever since. In fact Bryan must have told his mom, who lives in Lubbock, about how he took care of my computer problems. Because she sent me a card. He has been a blessing by helping me with my computer several times, but somehow I believe God used me too. Very cool! Anyway, let me get on with my story. So we were looking for a new computer for Stephanie around HS graduation. So I send Bryan a message and ask if he could help us. So he stays late one night to talk to us about what is going to be the best computer for her. Well we walk in and I spot Bryan immediately. We make eye contact and he lets me know that he’ll be a few minutes. I tell Steph and we just start browsing. If you have ever been in an Apple Store, you know they are READY to help! So we’ve been asked once or twice if we need any help. Well this black guy is starting to approach Steph and before he can say anything, Steph goes, “We are waiting….” Fortunately I saw him and I go, “Bryan” walk over and hug him before Steph can finish. Whew! We dodged that one. So later Steph and I are talking. She tells me, “Mom! You didn’t tell me he was black!” I was like, “Oops” As I talked to her I told her that it didn’t even dawn on me that I needed to tell her that. We have laughed so many times about that just because that is how unimportant race is to us. I pray that God helps me to maintain an attitude that color of skin is unimportant.

Living in Grace,


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mess to Masterpiece: My Life of Loss

Hello Friends,

I am involved in an Online Bible Study hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries. We are studying the book Limitless Life by Derwin Gray. The book is helping us put the past behind us, and learn to live a Limitless Life in Jesus.

This week we are reading Chapter 3, From Mess to Masterpiece and Chapter 4, From Orphan to Adopted. I want to focus on how God has transformed my Mess to Masterpiece.

When I started this week I felt so broken, so useless. I was reading Chapter 3 of Limitless Life and seeing how God was changing so many lives from Mess to Masterpiece. I even knew that I had the Ultimate Mess to Masterpiece transformation. As a 6-year-old girl, I was innocent in so many ways, but I was still a sinner. I acknowledged to Jesus that I was a sinner. I had lied, I had bad thoughts about others, and I may have even stolen something. Then I told Him that I knew He died on the cross because of those sins. The ones I committed, and I was so sorry for what I had done. But I was so glad for Him dying on the cross, and I thanked Him. Then I let Jesus know that I wanted him to come and live in my heart forever, and from that day on He would be #1 in my life.

So you may read this and think “How can that be the Ultimate Mess to Masterpiece? You were 6. It was simple enough for a child.” I would respond, “That is the point? Jesus can take the worst criminal hanging next to Him on the cross and change his eternity (Luke 23:40-43) with the same prayer as a 6-year-old says to change her eternity.” Now that’s Mess to Masterpiece!

As I was saying earlier, I have the Ultimate Mess to Masterpiece, but where else has God taken the messes of my life and transformed them? Because on Sunday night, all I could see were messes, mess after mess after mess. It’s kind of like the way my house looks right now. Little stacks and piles and messes everywhere and no end in sight. Certainly NO masterpieces! Do you ever find yourself in this place at home, having little stacks and piles of stuff around your home, and they grow into larger stacks and piles until we go through them? Then once you decide to tackle those piles, I think 2 wonderful things happen. 1. As you go through them, which may not be such a fun thing, because you will find mail you need to attend to, but you will also find wonderful treasures; a card you forgot someone sent you, a picture you laid aside, something you’ve been looking for, or something that just makes you smile.  2. When you are finished going through all those messes, you now have a house that is not quite so messy. It looks refreshed, you feel refreshed, and you probably have a new outlook on some things. Well I believe that is kind of what happened to me in my emotional and spiritual life this week. God helped me see that, yes, I had lots of messy stacks and piles in my life. But as I allowed Him to walk me through some of them, we found nuggets of his truth and love. Then as we finished this walk I did find peace and a definite Masterpiece in the way He has orchestrated some of the toughest times in my life.

I know I am long-winded, but I feel it is not only important to share with you how I went from not seeing the Masterpieces to seeing them, but also to sharing one of the works God has done in my life. So please bare with me as I tell you how God has taken the Mess of loss and transformed it into a Masterpiece.

My life has been filled with loss. It is a truth I can look at objectively and state as fact. I faced many losses through my forty….years of life. The first time I was personally touched by death I believe I was seven years old. My Grandpa (Pop) died. He was my daddy’s dad. I don’t remember a lot about Pop, but I do remember that after his death, there was a definite void left in my life. After I finished 2nd grade my family moved to a different house, in a different part of town. This also meant going to a new school in 3rd grade. So this time I experienced loss in a different way. When we moved, there were many friends I had gone to Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade with, that I didn’t know if I would ever see again. For a child of 8 or so, that can be very hard. About a year later, my dad’s job decided to transfer him from Oklahoma City to Lawton, OK. So in 4th grade I would again go to a new school. The biggest loss this time though was leaving all of my church friends. From the time I was a baby or toddler, until we moved to Lawton, I had gone to the same church. And we were there every time the doors were open. So were my friends and their parents! So my friends at church, they were my best friends. Many I am still close to today. In fact one of the boys was Cecil Pettijohn. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he is my husband! In July we will celebrate 29 year of marriage!!! Ok, time to put the bunny away Haha ya know, chasing rabbits. So moving away from my friends at church left a BIG hole. Well, we spent the next 1 ½ years in Lawton. Then the company transferred my dad back to Oklahoma City. Yay! I remember my mom and dad, as they were searching for a place to live. They were praying that God would put us back in the school district where both my sister and I had started school. Praise God, He did! In fact we moved into a townhouse right across the street from that very school. So as a 5th grader I returned to Windsor Hills Elementary in Oklahoma City. From that point forward we never moved again and I stay with the same group of kids until graduation. On top of that, Mom and Dad felt like God wanted us back in the same church. We stayed there for about a year or so. When we felt that God wanted us to go to a small church that was just starting in Edmond, OK. We had been there awhile and the church was growing. People from Edmond were coming to the church, and our youth group was getting bigger. Well there was a guy in our youth group named Ken. Ken was a Senior, and I was in 8th grade. I had a huge crush on him, but he had a girlfriend. One night Ken and his friend were coming home from seeing Ken’s girlfriend and they had a 1-car accident. Ken was killed and his friend, who was driving, suffered a broken leg and some other fairly minor injuries. That was one of the hardest deaths I have dealt with. One thing that helped was spending time with my friends from church, who were feeling the same loss I was.
Before I go on, I want to tell you about 2 very special people who are part of my loss story. These 2 are my cousins, Stacy and Stephanie. My uncle Benny (mom’s brother) and aunt Ginny had 3 children Stacy, Jerry and Stephanie. Stacy and Stephanie were born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic, life threatening disease that primarily affects the lungs and the digestive system. My sister Becky and I were always close to Stacy, Jerry and Stephanie. We enjoyed time with them. Due to the disease the girls would have to take frequent breathing treatments or they would cough a lot. When they coughed it sounded like someone with bronchitis or even pneumonia. They would get choked and it could be very scary. Well in 1984 the year Stephanie and I graduated from High School. Stacy had been having a really rough time. She had been in the hospital several times with pneumonia. CF patients are very susceptible to that. The end of June she lost her battle. We were so grateful she was with us for 22 years. At that time 22 years was a long time. Stephanie was able to find an awesome doctor and she was given new treatments and medications. A few years after graduation, Stephanie got married to a wonderful Christian man. We still keep in touch with him. In 2001 Stephanie was 35 when her body could no longer fight this awful disease. Stacy and Stephanie hold a very special place in my heart. Stacy’s best friend named her first daughter after Stacy. When I had a daughter I named her Stephanie. One of the blessings of my cousin living as long as she did was that my daughter got to meet her namesake and spend some time with her.

From November of my Senior year in High School through January of my Freshman year in college we had 3 deaths in my family. They were all on my mom’s side. In November of 1983 my mom’s mom died, then June of 1984 my cousin, and in January of 1985 my mom’s dad. It was a tough time.

As the years went on Cecil had to watch his dear grandpa as he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It was so hard to deal with. He passed away in the mid 90s. A few years later Cecil’s grandma followed. Along that same time his Grandmother Pettijohn died. Then Alzheimer’s hit my family when my dad’s mom began to deal with it. And somewhere around 2000 she passed away.

We had no idea we were about to enter one of the hardest times of our lives when we entered the new millennium, but that we did. In June of 2000 my sister’s husband was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). ALL is the most common type of cancer in children and there is a good chance that treatments will lead to a cure, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website. However, the chance for a cure is reduced greatly when ALL occurs in an adult. I won’t go in to all of the details of the ten months from the time my brother-in-law was diagnosed in June until he passed away April 2001. I will say that it was a difficult time, but it was a joyous time because I don’t think Brian was a stronger witness for Christ than while he was sick. As I have stated earlier my cousin Stephanie also died in 2001.

All of the losses I have written about so far have affected me, some of them deeply. This next and last one has hit me harder than any other. November 15, 2008, two days before my daddy’s 64th birthday, my husband and I were browsing a craft fair. I found a blanket with 3 Labs on it, Chocolate, Black and Blonde. My Parents have a beautiful blonde (really he’s white) Lab. I new my dad would love the blanket. Due to the lack of a thyroid because it was removed when they found cancer, my dad was always cold. Later that day my mom let me know that dad was at the hospital because he hadn’t been well for several days. They were concerned about his heart and would be doing an echocardiogram the next morning. So I decided I needed to go see my daddy. The next morning I drove from the Dallas area to Oklahoma City. When I arrived mom told me that they discovered that dad’s heart was only working at 10%, so they were going to move him to ICU, get him started on meds, and he would be fine. As they moved him to ICU mom and I waited in the hall. All of a sudden a nurse comes out and tells us that when they were moving him from one bed to the other his heart stopped. They worked on him awhile, but God had already called him home. My heart still aches when I think of that day. I will never stop missing my daddy!!! But I KNOW that he is not only so much better off than he was when he was here, but he’s better off than I AM!!!

We have gone through all of those stacks and piles of loss that have been cluttering up my life. What did we find? I saw memories, people I love, some heartache, and history. Those are some pretty great things I’d call those little masterpieces. But as I look back over my life what can I take away from all of this loss? I’ll tell what I can take away, sympathy, understanding, love, comfort, tears, empathy and hugs. Those are things that I needed from friends each time I had a loss. I may not have wanted these losses, but God has given me a tender heart and a special understanding for those who are grieving that I would never have if I hadn’t been through the losses I have. Not just the amount of losses but the variety of losses. God is so good. He never takes you through something without a purpose.

I know this was long, but I pray God was able to speak to someone.

Living in Grace,

Friday, February 7, 2014

He Calls My Name

Isaiah 45:3
I will give you treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel who call you by your name.
As I began to unpack this verse there were some basic questions that jumped in my head.
1. What is going on around this verse, or what is the context of this verse?
2. Why is this verse in there?
3. What is God trying to teach me from it; the verse and the whole situation surrounding the verse?
So let's look at each of these questions. Oops, before we do, let me give you just a little background, or set the stage for you. As it tells us in Isaiah 1:1, this is the prophesy of Isaiah to the children of Israel. The book covers a huge span of time, at least a century. The people of Israel have, once again, turned away from God, and are worshiping pagan gods. They are also living in exile by the Babylonians. So that's our background.
Now let's take a look at my first question: 1. What is going on around this verse, or What is the context? In chapter 44 God shows Israel just how gracious He is. He reminds them that they are His chosen people. He goes on to say I am your God, and there is no other God beside Me. If they worship idols He tells them of all the heartache they will have. The last part of chapter 44, He tells them how He will redeem them. What grace! Do you find Him extending His grace to you like that? I sure do. So now we step into chapter 45 of Isaiah. God tells Israel that the way He is going to bring their redemption. Which also means bringing them out of exile, will be through a pagan leader, Cyrus.
Now lets look at my 2nd question: Why is this verse in there? In verse 1 of chapter 45 God has told Israel that He is going to use Cyrus the Great to bring them out of exile. I'm sure at that point there were many thinking "How! This guy doesn't even believe in You! Yet You're telling us that he is going to get us out of this mess?" So in the 2nd part of verse 1 through verse 13 God proceeds to remind the Israelites that He is Lord of All. Verse 3 is part of that, but it is also reminding them that He has "called them by name". Israel is His chosen people.
Let's look at question 3:  What is God trying to teach me through this verse, and the surrounding verses? First I want to look at the big picture. After reading much information in my husband's ESV Study Bible, (thank you honey). Here is what I think God wants me to understand. That is, He is in CONTROL of ALL things in my life. The good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent, and that He is sovereign! With those two things in mind, I need to remember, as it pertains to Healthy Eating, Exercise and Body Image, God knows what is best for me. Now I'm NOT saying being overweight and unhealthy are ok. I'm saying he knows ME! He is in control and over all. If I worked my plan this week but the pounds didn't come off like I thought they should. Trust that God is working in my life somewhere else. Maybe instead of shedding pounds, I shed hurt, and resentment this week. Those may not be physical pounds, but they sure do make me feel lighter. I'm so glad He is in control, NOT ME!
Ok, Finally! Let's look at this verse. What is God trying to teach me here?        Isaiah 45:3 I will give you treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who called you by your name.  I love how it reads from The Message Isaiah 45:3 I'll lead you to buried treasures, secret caches of valuables. Confirmation that it is, in fact, I, God, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. First of all, don't even start thinking that I believe in a prosperity gospel. What I believe in, is a God who loves his Children SO much that He can't help but pour out His love on us! He shows us His love by blessing us with things that are important to Him. What do you think some of those things are? Are they things? I don't think so! Things, Money, Worldly Possessions, are not important to God. But what about Joy, Peace, Love, Grace, Mercy. I think those are the "treasures" He gives us. What about the "hoards" or "riches in secret places"? To me those are those nuggets of truth, I find in His Word. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made", "I love you with an everlasting love" there are so many others.
The next part of this verse is so precious to me. Our God, the ruler of the universe does these things to make sure we know that it is Him working in our lives. So we don't mistake His work for someone else's.
Then the last phrase is again a reminder. He's just said, I've done all this so you don't forget that it's me, The Lord, your God. Then He says, I called you by name.  In context it's talking about Israel. But I don't think there is anything wrong with personalizing it. That's why I can say, God wants me to remember when I was lost without Him, He called me. Angie, come to me and I will give you salvation. He is still calling me today. Angie, lay down you burdens, your food issues, your life at my feet and I will give you treasures you never dreamed possible.
Is God calling your name?
Living in Grace,

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My "Breakthrough"

Hey there friends,

This week as we are moving along in our Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study, using the book, Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. We are covering lots of material and building our confidence that we can do this. No matter what it is we need to turn away from to #CraveGod. As we cling to Him with #Determination we can do this!

Our verse this week is:
1Peter 5:7-8 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

In Chapter 4 of the book Made To Crave, author Lysa TerKeurst, talks about starting this journey of getting healthy. She had reached a point where she just didn’t think she could resist the cravings. Fortunately, Lysa had a friend who held her accountable. Lysa also turned to God, praying earnestly asking God to help her resist the temptation of the food she didn’t need.

Lysa got up the next morning feeling great and the cravings were gone. Isn’t it awesome how God kept his promise from 1Peter.

One of the topics we were asked to write about was “Sweet Place of Breakthrough.” My breakthrough is quite different from Lysa’s. My Breakthrough came when it finally hit me that I HAD to change my lifestyle or I might not live long enough to see my children marry and have children of their own.

Today I want to share that story with you. For as long as I can remember, I have been overweight. The chubby kid in class, difficult to buy clothes for, never quite fitting in because I wasn’t like everyone else. Oh sure, I was liked for my bubbly personality and constant smile on my face, but I always seemed to be the odd man out. As far as I was concerned it was because I was different, chubby, overweight, obese. Such ugly words, but so true that caused so much pain in the heart of a little girl, a teenager and even a woman. Even though it hurt, it didn’t seem to matter what I did, the weight never came off. So, I lived with it and the shame of it.

One day, while I was living in Texas and my parents were living in Oklahoma, my daddy was diagnosed with diabetes. He had been overweight for many years and it had taken a toll on his body. Now his body had become insulin resistant, not able use insulin in the right way when it needed it. He had damage to his eyes, his kidneys and his heart. However, my mom and dad committed to a lifestyle change and prayer. Daddy spent many years happy and much healthier. Unfortunately, for me and the rest of the family, on November, 16th 2008 his heart gave out and daddy died. The following day, November 17th, my daddy would have turned 64. Though we know daddy is with Jesus and no longer in any pain, it is still a devastating loss to us all.

In September 2012, no quite 4 years after my daddy met Jesus, I had my Breakthrough. Because of my family history of diabetes, my doctor keeps a close watch on my blood sugar levels. In particular he likes to periodically do a blood test called an A1C. This blood test measures the patient’s insulin level over the past 3 months. Depending on the number that comes back, the doctor will know if the patient’s blood sugar over the prior 3 months has been in the low range, the middle range or the high (diabetic) range. Prior to this, I had taken this test several times before and the results had always been in the middle range. But this particular day, when we received the results, my doctor looked at me and said “Angie, this test indicates that you are pre-diabetic.” All I could hear was “diabetic”, he said “DIABETIC”!!!! At the time I stayed calm, we discussed medications, but I looked at him and said “NO! Give me the chance to change this on my own with diet and exercise. If after 3 months, I am unsuccessful, then I will go on medication, but not before.” He agreed. As I left his office, I was numb, in shock I guess. Then came the tears. All I could do was cry, because in my mind, this was a death sentence. I was 46 years old and if I lived to be as old as my dad, then I had less than 20 years left. That was it 20 YEARS, maybe!!! That’s not much time! Will my kids get married? Will I have grandchildren? What am I going to miss, just because I won’t eat right and exercise!

That was it! I was done! Done wasting my life! Done living frivolously! Done throwing years away! It was time for change! So in October of 2012 I joined Weight Watchers. Over the next 3 months I lost almost 20lbs. When I went back to the doctor and he did the A1C, this time the numbers were better than they had ever been. No more pre-diabetes. I even got to get off of ALL my blood pressure medication. It was so exciting! Then, I let life get in the way. Since then I’ve gained 16 of it back, but 2 weeks ago I started back with WW and Made to Crave and I’m back on track. I’ve already lost 4.6lbs. With much prayer, following God first and making wise food choices. I will stay on track this time. It may be slow going and that’s ok, because this time my Breakthrough is for God and for good!!!

Living in Grace,


Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Raging Battle


So good to come back and write once again! I have joined yet another Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study. During this study we are using the book Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa is also the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you are reading this from my Angie’s Notes of Grace blog and would like more information on Proverbs 31 Ministries or their Online Bible Studies feel free to shoot me an email, or click here for more information.

This journey is about learning how to, and consciously putting into practice, the act of choosing God above all. Even though the book directly addresses food, I know there are countless ways that Satan wants me to be distracted so that I do not place God in His correct position in my life. NUMBER #1 OVER ALL!!!
Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
We all know that verse. It’s the first of the ten commandments. If God placed it first don’t you think it’s pretty important? I did a search on Bible under keyword(s) for “no other gods”. It came back with 77 results. To me that was a lot. Especially when you consider I told it that it had to match ALL 3 words in the verse. So 77 times in the Bible God says “no other gods”. I think He means it! God has no tolerance for those who worship gods other than HIM! So, maybe your like I’ve been for so many years, foolishly telling myself, “Well, I’m not like the Muslim who worships Allah, or the Buddhist who worships Buddha, or those who worship Mother Earth, or so many others who have a “god” to bow down to and literally worship. I proclaim to all that I worship the One True God. So I’m sure He’s ok with me. Right?” Wrong? Yes I said, WRONG!!! Let’s look at another scripture on how God feels about His place in our lives.
Deuteronomy 13:6-11 “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known,some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.11 And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.
Ok, did you just like swallow hard when you read that? Boy, I did! It says, “nor shall your eye pity him”. Don’t feel sorry for those who worship other gods. Ouch! This putting other gods before our God is serious business!

So here is the way I look at it, just as has been mentioned in our blogs this week and in our reading, this is not going to be easy. Why? Because this is A RAGING BATTLE!!! Not just over food, nicotine, television, the computer, facebook or whatever it is, but it is a spiritual battle!!!

Let me tell you what I have learned this week about God, myself, and Satan. I have been through this battle many times and I’m still fighting it! Yes, this time around, my perspective is new and fresh. I’m ready to resist the cravings with prayer and scripture and the power of God. But guess what? The cravings aren’t coming, at least not yet. Yes, I’m sure they will. Because Satan knew I was armed and ready for him to attack me with cravings, he changed his tactics. Isn’t that what a smart and clever warrior does in battle? A surprise attack, get you in your weakest place and where you are NOT defended. So I’m going along in the week and I’m amazed at how smoothly my food choices are. Then it hits me, or the Holy Spirit hits me and I realize, how much time are you spending on the computer? How much time are you watching tv? How much time are you thinking about me (God)? Then I realize, Satan has done it to me again! Sneak attack. Now I am keeping my eyes open and on my Savior, asking Him to help me see those temptations as they arise instead of falling for Satan’s tricks.
1Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

The conclusion I’ve come to is I can’t ever let my guard down. Yeah, that was something I should have known, but I’m human and I slipped. The wonderful thing about Jesus and grace is He knows that about us and He continues to extend His grace to us every time I slip and fall. Just like this week, Jesus was there with His hand outstretched ready to pick me up. All I had to do was ask for His forgiveness and take His hand. He picks me up and I get back on track. I am so thankful for His Grace!

Living in Grace,