Saturday, August 3, 2013


"I don't want to be here... I mean here, on earth, alive.
Don't worry. I don't have the courage to kill myself...
The worst place to be... the scariest place to be is in my mind...
and that's all I have left so I'm not gonna do it...
but I don't want to be here."
~ Corinne Bennett (Private Practice, Season 5 "The Letting Go")

I just finished watching this episode of Private Practice and man did I shed some big time tears. The quote above was from Sam's sister who suffers from bi-polar disorder and is really struggling and hurting. This quote hit me right between the eyes... truth be told I feel this way sometimes. I know God has my days numbered and He is in control of my time here on this earth. As I have written before I want to make the most of the time He has given me - but yes... the scariest place to be sometimes is my mind. There is so much hurt and pain I've been dealing with... and not dealing with... for so many years. The process of dealing with some of it is scary and hard but I'm realizing that not dealing with it is probably harder on me than actually diving in and dealing with it.

I am grateful that, unlike this character in this TV show, I have faith in the Lord and His promises.

I am also grateful that I have wonderful family, friends, and church family who are there for me and walking with me through this. I am also thankful for an awesome counselor who has been and continues to be so supportive and helpful.

Hanging on and Trusting Through the Fear,


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Faith not Feelings: Reflections on 28 Years Since my Rebirth

Little did my parents know when they gave me the middle name of Renée how truly prophetic they were being. On August 1, 1985, at the age of 16 I was reborn when I accepted God's free Gift of Life through Jesus Christ. This is a picture of the Bible Study group of counselors at the Y-Camp where I received this great gift. I actually prayed with one of the gals (Amy - in the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt) on one of the benches at the back of this outdoor chapel just behind where we were standing) This isn't the morning it happened - but one of the mornings after our EARLY morning Bible Study. I actually WILLINGLY got up and went to this Bible Study at 6:00 a.m. and anyone who knows me KNOWS that I am NOT a morning person. It was a definite God-thing that I was compelled to go and learn more about the Lord - but the actual story of my coming to faith is for another day.

Today I want to talk about some reflections - as I realized this birthday was coming up I was thinking about writing some "happy-happy" blog about how great life has been the past 28 years. However, tonight as I look back I am not feeling great. I am actually FEELING really down. Truth be told - I hate my life right now. I am not happy. I am struggling. I am hurting. I am grieving. This has all got me thinking... a sort of "crisis of faith" This has caused me to question - where is my faith?

As I've thought, reflected, and prayed I realized one major thing - on that day, 28 years ago I did not place my faith in a feeling - I placed my faith in the Person of Jesus Christ...

My faith is not in how I am feeling right now, my faith is in Jesus - this is what I hang my hat on, NO MATTER HOW I FEEL.

One of my favorite verses right after I became a believer was Galatians 2:20 and it remains one of my favorite verses today:

THIS is what matters today. How I feel doesn't matter. How I feel today is temporary - What is enduring is WHO Jesus is. One thing is as true today as it was 28 years ago when I first came to faith - JESUS IS THE SAME. He has not changed... and should the Lord tarry another 28, 56, or 128 years even - HE WILL STILL BE THE SAME. He will NEVER change. His love is constant, never-changing, unending, everlasting, HIS LOVE WILL NEVER FAIL.

  • I am thankful today for God reaching out to me with His love and grace and not giving up on me in spite of my stubbornness err... I mean determined attitude.
  • I am thankful for my friend Tara who shared the Gospel with me in word and action.
  • I am thankful for the counselors at the Y-Camp who showed God's love to me and taught me of His truth.
  • I am thankful for my friend Amy who prayed with me that morning to receive Christ's Great Gift of Life.
  • I am thankful for my first church family - my beloved Pastor Paul and the rest of Laura Street Baptist Church for showing me such amazing love and what God's family is all about.
  • I am thankful for my numerous friends through the years who have been shining examples of God's love and grace.
  • I am thankful for my current church family at Grace who have loved me despite my being pretty unlovable much of the time.
  • I am thankful today for my counselor who reminded me today that when I am at the end of myself God will meet me there and that God truly is a Father to the fatherless.
In spite of how hurting and broken I am today - God is God and He has not changed. I am thankful that my Faith is in the Lord and not in my feelings.

With Gratitude and Faith,


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Making the Most of Our Time

At church this morning we finished up a series on the "Marks of a Growing Disciple". One of them we talked about today was making the most of the time that God has given us. Given this last week, mourning the death of a 23 year old young woman, this struck me particularly hard. None of us knows how many days or years we have here on earth... I have watched friends say good-bye to their children at the age of 3, at the age of 16... I have mourned with friends who have lost their spouse who was close to my age, I said good-bye to my Daddy just shy of his 57th birthday. I don't understand why some die so young, I don't understand a parent having to bury their child, a mother leaving behind a loving husband and two young boys... but I trust God implicitly and know that He knows all of our days. 

We spend about one-third of our time at work. This really hit me - I thought...

  • "How do I spend my time at work?"
  • "Do I glorify the Lord in what I do?"
  • "Do I honor God in my words, my actions, my attitude?"
  • "Do I work as if Jesus is standing right next to my desk? Because in reality He is right there with me."
My heart, my mind, my attitude will be different tomorrow morning when I go into work. I want my life to count for Him and I'm spending one-third of my time there so if I am not using that time for Him I am wasting one-third of my life.

I have struggled lately with how I am spending my "free" time... feeling like I am spending too much time on myself and my healing process that I am going through. However, something my pastor said this morning resonated exactly with something my counselor and I have talked about. God doesn't want me to waste my pain. I could spend all day questioning God about why I have been dealt the hand I have -

  • "Why did I have to suffer sexual abuse as a child?"
  • "Why did I have to suffer emotional abuse from a mother who really didn't know how to be a mom?"
  • "Why did I have to lose my Daddy at such a young age?"
  • "Why did my fiancé walk out of my life with no explanation?"
  • "Why did my former church treat me so poorly and refuse reconciliation despite my persistent requests?"
I could spend all day asking "Why?" Or, I could continue my process of healing and grieving and counseling and realize that all I've been through has made me who I am today. I might not have the compassion, love, and empathy for others if I hadn't been through so much myself. So even though right now I am having to take the time to process and heal - God is still using me. I am able to pray with more empathy, I am able to encourage others, God has taken the pain in my life and is able to use it for His good and glory. What I am doing right now, ministry-wise may not look the same as what others may be doing. It might not be taking the same amount of time and pouring it into others - but God is using me nonetheless. He has given me a love of writing and if my openness and sharing about my journey can encourage someone else then I consider that an amazing thing.

I listened to part of Pastor Rick Warren's message today - his first since mental illness took his youngest son Mathew 16 weeks ago. My heart bleeds for them, but I am so amazed at how God has used it to reach others for the Kingdom. Pastor Rick and his wife and family have been so transparent through their grief process and are helping others now - he's doing a series on stages we go through after a major loss. We live in a fallen world and loss happens all around us - Pastor Rick can reach so many people and help so many through his messages on this.

There have been times I have thought I am too broken for God to use, but He is showing me that whatever has happened in my life - no matter how broken I might be, He can, and will use it all for His good. He can make beauty out of ashes and use your life for amazing things. 

I don't know how many days I have on this earth... only God knows that. I could go to bed tonight and not wake up in the morning. I could drive to work tomorrow morning and get t-boned by a semi and die, I could be diagnosed with un-treatable cancer... I just don't know... I could live to be 110... God knows and that's enough. My responsibility is simple - live each day for Him. Don't waste my time, don't waste the pain. Let God use me how He wants to... be open to what He wants me to do. 

Seeking to Make the Most of Every Moment,