I’ve been thinking a lot about Joseph lately. He was sold into slavery and endured imprisonment altogether 13 years. In those 13 years God pruned Him (John 15:1-2). He suffered, was misunderstood, maligned, elevated to positions of leadership within servanthood and prison, endured humiliation and probably filthy living conditions. Yet he shone. He shone with his faith in God, his faithful following of God, his reliance upon God in difficult circumstances. We don’t hear anything about discouragement or disappointment but I’m sure he struggled with it just as much as we do. We see the resultant outcome though, he continued to trust God in spite of the seemingly insurmountable hurdles. It must have seemed like he would never be free, and certainly that his dream of having his family bow to him, was laughable. And yet God encouraged him. He blessed him with authority in Potiphar’s home and with leadership roles in the prison. Then he interpreted the cupbearer and baker’s dreams. Now, finally, it was time for Joseph to flourish. But no, God was not finished with his training yet. He had two more years. What heights of hope, what depths of disappointment. What lessons were learned? Lessons of humility, of God’s sovereignty, of learning to lead as God wanted him to when finally he would be given authority over all Egypt second only to Pharaoh.

So, when we walk through this path, this personal plan that God has for each of us, is it any wonder that we also need to walk through suffering, humbling circumstances, disappointments, discouragements and seemingly insurmountable challenges? Failures? Yet God is so kind to give us encouragement along the way, blessings, His presence, His embrace. And then, when He says we’re ready He opens the Gate and says “GO, my child. I will go with you. I have gone before you to prepare the way. I will never leave you or forsake you. I will guide you always.” What an adventure this life is with God at the helm. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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A New Blog for Bible Study

I have continued the Bible Study which I started here at Please come and join us there as we learn and grow in God’s Word.

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Bible Study “Be Strong and Courageous”

Joshua was the son of Nun and the grandson of a chief of Ephraim (Numbers 1:10, 1 Chronicles 7:27). He was called Hoshea by his family (meaning salvation) and Moses named him Joshua meaning “the Lord saves” which was the same name Mary gave Jesus. Joshua was a young man when Moses chose him to assist him (Ex 33:11). He was given command of the Israelite troops to fight the raiding Amalekites (Ex 17). God enabled him as long as Moses held his hands up. Step by step Joshua grew in his trust and faith as God proved true and faithful in each circumstance. Joshua was one of the twelve spies sent to Canaan. Only he and Caleb gave favorable reports and urged the people to enter the promised land. (Numbers 13-14). Joshua was now, 40 years later, prepared to lead the people into the promised land.

Read Joshua 1
1) What area across the Jordan River did God promise that the Israelites receive?

2) What else did God promise Joshua?

3) What did Joshua have to do?

4) What was his reward for obeying God’s law?

5) How will these promises affect your daily life?

6) What is your promised land or your reward for obeying God?
Please describe.

7) What did Joshua remind the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh?

8) Give an example of how you will stand strong and courageous this week as you obey God’s will in your life.

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Mothers Day

I read an article this week about how we celebrate Mothers Day in the church, glorifying mothers rather than honoring them. As a church family, we can support each other and encourage each other and uphold each other through the good times and the tough ones. We have baby dedications in our church where we dedicate ourselves to pray for these children. We have been very grateful for those who have upheld us as parents while we forage through the unknown, looking to God daily to provide and sustain us through the raging teens, young adulthood and now more teens. Mothering in a Christ-follower looks different (or should) than the world’s recipe. Yes, it means self-sacrifice, but it means putting Jesus first – not the child. And in the child’s best interests means approaching each situation with God at the helm, not you. Pointing to Christ as the solution. Mom is not the rescuer, the savior, Jesus is. I have learned over and over again how little control I have in my children’s lives. I can guide them, hold them accountable but I cannot change their hearts. But my Lord can and does and I know Him and I trust that His impact in my childrens hearts and lives will be greater, more abundant than anything I can ever do. So I pray, and I pray and I pray. He is my fount of wisdom, the light in my every day. When bad attitudes abound, His Word is sound. When all seems lost, I hang on to His promises and His faithfulness and rest in His embrace.

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Uncertain Outcomes

Last month, I shared about my friend’s son, Andrew Gawley, who was viciously attacked and 83% of his body burned, and passed into Jesus’ arms 3 months later in January 2009. Before this attack, the perpetrator also attacked and killed his ex-girlfriend Lana who had been renting a room from Andrew. Three days after the attack, the police went to an apartment for a completely unrelated call to locate a man wanted on an outstanding warrant for breach of parole. The man who answered the door claimed to be the wanted man. At the same time, policemen working downtown said they had found the man wanted for breach of parole. So the police officers wondered who the guy was that was lying to them. They found out his real name and discovered they had a homicide suspect. He was arrested and it was noted that he had some burns on his arms which tied him to the explosion in Andrew’s room. The attacker was a gangster and drug lord from the “Independant Soldiers” a division from the Hells Angels. Apparently they were too crazy and dangerous for the Hells Angels. This man (Jamie Michael Cliff, 34) had been convicted for manslaughter in 1998, and in 2004 pled guilty to assault causing bodily harm to his then girlfriend in North Vancouver, BC. At the time of the attack he was in violation of his parole and should have been in prison.

The Trial
In April to June 2013 the trial of Jamie Michael Cliff commenced. There was a lot of ponderous details to get through so we didn’t attend all of it. Jamie claimed innocence and his story was that he had been in trouble with some drug dealers who had followed him to the apartment and attacked all three of them (Jamie, Lana, and Andrew), and only he was able to run away. He claimed they had tried to burn him as well which is why he had burns on his thighs and left hand. We prayed for the truth to come out in the trial. The most difficult parts were when they played the recordings of Andrew’s taped testimony and the 911 phone call. To hear his voice and once again replay the horrific incident was heartbreaking.

Miraculous Forgiveness
It is very difficult to forgive someone who has done something so horrendous to someone so dear to you. It is by God’s grace and power and strength that we have His forgiveness to be able to forgive this man for what he has done and leave his punishment in the justice system and God’s hands. We forgave and prayed for his salvation. To the very end, he showed no remorse, only defiance.

Matthew 5:44-45 Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Answered Prayers
God answered our prayers abundantly. The jury unanimously voted him guilty and left the sentencing to the judge. The judge stated Jamie’s guilt and the truth that he came into the apartment with the knives and gas can in his duffel bag with the intent to kill. He sentenced him to 25 years in prison with no parole. This is a groundbreaking sentence in Canada, only convicted serial murderers have experienced it.

How did this all happen? It started with Lana and Jamie. Lana came from Alberta to live in Vancouver with a friend. She got involved in drugs and was hooked. She and her boyfriend had a son and the boyfriend was arrested for drugs and went to jail, and she went home for awhile. But she came back and once again got into drugs, methamphetamines. Jamie met her and offered her drugs if she would move in with him. She left her son with his father’s family and moved in with Jamie. She sold stolen items on Craigs List (an online sales site) for him and took care of the house and him. He kept her supplied with drugs. In the summer of 2008, apparently he beat her up for over 12 hours. He also was on the run from the police who were after him. He left for Victoria, Vancouver Island to escape for awhile, and Lana moved out of the house into Andrew’s apartment for the month of October 2008. Somehow, although he had abused her terribly, she picked him up when he came back and took him to a drug house where he stored some of his stuff. He picked up his weapons, and they went back to the apartment in the middle of the night.

The tragedy of the story of Lana and Jamie is the choices she made and where she ended up. Lana chose drugs which affected most of her choices thereafter. How can we help our youth to make the right choices, to say “NO” to drugs? Speak up and speak into the lives of the youth around you!

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A Heart’s Cry

We met our friends, Darlene and Chris Gawley and their sons, Steven, Daniel, and Andrew at Sunnybrae Family Camp, Salmon Arm, BC in 1997. Over the years our friendship developed. From August 2006 to November 2007 their youngest son, Andrew, 19 years of age, came to live with us. Andrew was entertaining, easy to get along with, a lady’s man, struggling between the world and God. He loved dance, dramatic arts, singing (his voice sounded like Billy Idol’s), songwriting and creative writing. He went to Vancouver Film School to take acting courses while staying with us, attended our church and was a part of my worship team. He moved out of our house into an apartment with a friend in November 2007. Almost a year later his roommate moved out and he accepted a tenant, Lana, for one month, October, until another friend could move in.
Andrew didn’t see Lana much throughout the month, but when he did he found her to be friendly and very talkative. On Saturday October 25 just before 8 am in the morning, Lana’s ex-boyfriend, whom she had brought home in the middle of the night, attacked and stabbed her to death in her room in the apartment. He then went to Andrew’s room, who was still in bed. He stabbed Andrew 4 times around his chin area. The crazed man said “Lie down right now – soon you will die!” He ran out of the room and Andrew grabbed the phone and punched 911 “My throat has been slit” he told the operator several times and gave her his address and the other information she asked. He hung up the phone when the man came back in the room with a can of gas and doused Andrew and the bed. Leaning down, he lit the gas and it exploded into an instant conflagration burning Andrew badly. As the smoke alarm wailed and the sprinklers poured out water, the man raced out of the room and the apartment to escape, his own thighs and left hand scorched. Somehow Andrew managed to get up and get into a cold shower until the firemen came to rescue him. Andrew was taken to hospital for immediate surgery and was in the ICU for about a month.
When the family arrived at the hospital, Andrew was wrapped up like a mummy from head to toe with heat lamps and a hot air blanket and a breathing tube in his trachea, in a drug induced coma.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” We clung to God’s promises as we heard that Andrew had 83% of his body burned with 2nd degree and 3rd degree burns.

The capture of the attacker was a miraculous answer to prayer. We had a code word “Banana” for being able to get in to visit Andrew in case the attacker came to finish him off. God answered our prayers and due to a “coincidence” which I call a “God-incidence” he was apprehended on October 29, 2008.

His parents took turns sitting with Andrew in ICU, holding his hand and telling him over and over again how much they loved him. His condition slowly improved and he was transferred to the Burn Unit. The doctors told them to pace themselves or they would get burnt out. When they decided to return to Salmon Arm to their jobs and travel back and forth, I offered to help care for Andrew. They gave me the title of “Sub-mom” at the hospital. I visited him almost daily when his mom was away, encouraging, comforting, praying, singing, reading stories and scripture and doing what I could to help the nurses. The doctors said that he was recovering more quickly than many others with such a devastating burn, and we would reassure them that it was the prayers that were making the difference. Word had gone out in our churches and on facebook and there were hundreds of people praying.
After four surgeries in the first week, two of which were grafting surgeries, the pattern slowed down to be one grafting surgery every two weeks. This meant he had two weeks to recover and grow stronger before he was set back a bit with another surgery. The results were very painful. Finally, at Christmas time he had a month break from surgery which allowed him to improve tremendously. He was able to have the throat tube (tracheal tube) removed and begin eating pureed foods and drinking liquids. We spoiled him with soups and ice cream and any pop he desired. He was able to talk a little in a raspy voice, slowly improving to saying short sentences. Best of all, he was able to sit up in a special wheelchair.
On Jan 13th, he had his sixth grafting surgery. Two days later he caught an infection and had fluid on his lungs and had a terrible time breathing. This lasted for 24 hours as the antibiotics took effect and things started to improve. After his seventh grafting surgery he had another infection and on Tuesday January 27, 2009 he swallowed the wrong way and in his coughing spasm went into septic shock (due to the infection in his blood) and suddenly left us to go see His Savior face to face.
Andrew went through a rollercoaster of pain and agony with the burn and the grafting surgeries but God was faithful! He made it possible for Andrew to make it through each day and to conquer each setback he had to face. After a day of surgery, when the pain was great and Andrew would get discouraged, I would pray on my way home, crying for God to lift His spirits and relieve the pain. The next day when I came he would be doing his physiotherapy exercises and have a welcoming smile.
God, in his wisdom, chose to take Andrew home. The last night before Andrew died, I was visiting with him, holding his hand, reading, praying, singing and telling him how much I loved him. He couldn’t open his eyes, but he was able to move his lips a bit to respond to me. His usual response was “I love you more”. After my visit, I asked the nurse what Andrew’s life would be like for the rest of his life with his injuries. He explained to me that each day would be a struggle. He would never have the elasticity of his skin that we all take for granted. Every morning he would have to exercise to get his body and skin more pliable and there would be a lot of pain.
We have grieved deeply in our loss and celebrated joyously for Andrew’s gain. He is now pain-free and in the arms of God, and we look forward to a grand reunion. God has proven Himself faithful and true and given us peace in spite of the circumstances.

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In His Hands

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to make a CD? Until I stepped into the studio I had no idea what it would encompass. Because my producer, is a Christ follower, my songs went through a rigorous process to make sure the lyrics were God honoring and accurate, the best they could be. I told him I wanted this first project to be a CD I would always be proud of, not just a beginner’s attempt. Out of 40 songs, I had to choose 10 for the CD. I prayed for God’s help and started choosing the ones that I definitely didn’t want left out. When I finished, I had 11 songs and I didn’t know which one to cut. He generously allowed the 11th song on the album. We built up some “scratch” tracks, a base with which to work with to build up the quality finished song tracks. Then the professional drummer came in and laid down the drum tracks for the final version. Next came each of the instruments needed, guitars, piano, one track at a time. Finally, the vocals were added to make a complete package.
I then had to decide what to call the album. As we were working together I was feeling overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge and skill, I kept saying to God, “This is in Your hands.” It just seemed natural to call the album “In His Hands”. I asked God what to name our trio, and the word “serve” came to my mind. I looked up on the internet all the Hebrew names that referred to servant and found “Bethea – a maidservant of God”.

All was not rosy however. There were the rises and dips in the rollercoaster ride. After my CD “In His Hands” was released in April 2011 I was encouraged to enter my songs for our Canadian Covenant Awards and I did so, never expecting to win. When the nominations came out, my song “I Will Take Care of You” was nominated for the Jazz/Blues Song of the Year award. As I saw my name on the list, grateful tears came streaming down my face. I signed up to go to the Award Ceremony and the Artist workshops in Calgary, Alberta, in October 2011. I also took a risk and asked to perform at a late night café while there.
This was a time of wrestling with God. I felt inadequate and in over my head. I questioned my calling and my ability or lack of it. I felt my accompaniment skills were sadly lacking and those I asked to help, didn’t want to commit at the last minute. At the late night café performance, I learned that the last person to warm up is the first person to perform, so I waited my turn. When it was time to share my three songs, I started accappella and found that I started in the wrong key, so the whole song became accappella with clapping as accompaniment. I had never played in a café before, and had heard that you are background music but had never experienced such a lack of attention and level of noise. I shared my story before the third song and sang my heart to all who came. There was a good response after, but I was too immersed in my feeling of failure to appreciate it then. I stayed a while and then went back to my accommodations and stayed up arguing with God for a few hours. He came through loud and clear to me, “Will you obey me? I have called you to serve me with my gift of music. Will you continue, no matter what?” I surrendered my pride, my insecurities, everything and I committed myself to serve Him, no matter what the cost.
This wasn’t the only time I was brought to my knees in surrender, it happens every once in awhile, when the Lord knows I need to have my priorities put into place and have Him remain pre-eminent over all my life. My last time worship leading at the Women’s Retreat on Vancouver Island was an earth shattering lesson for me. We had a well known recording artist speaking and singing and we were both to do a shortened concert on the Saturday evening. After fun and games and chapel time, the TV was put on for everyone to watch a semi-final Canucks hockey game. We had some avid hockey fans. As time grew late, the hockey game was turned off, while yet in overtime and I went up front to start sharing my songs. I saw looks of mutiny on the faces and tried to turn their thoughts towards God, but failed miserably in the aftermath of thwarted hockey ambitions. A more experienced, wiser performer would have told them to leave the TV on, and gone home but I had been so looking forward to this event and persevered. A few of the women complained on their evaluations that I usurped the time of the more well known recording artist, and the camp decided to have someone else take over leading worship the next year. At first I was crushed, but as I processed what happened, took responsibility for my pride and lack of wisdom, I surrendered it to God and gave it into His hands. I found through my study of the scriptures that Fall, that Paul had had a falling out with Barnabas because of John Mark, (Acts 15:36-41) and so they had taken two different directions for their missionary journeys. God spoke to me through this, to say that sometimes we need an upheaval to be able to say goodbye to a ministry that is done and embark on the new direction that God has given us. Because of their disagreement and separation, they were able to minister to more people. I was comforted to be going forward in the direction God had planned for me while the camp continued their ministry.

In 2013, through a generous gift, I was able to complete another full CD, “The Beat of My Heart” and was again nominated for the Jazz/Blues Song of the Year Award for my song “Nothing is Wasted”. Interestingly enough, those are the only two songs of mine that are Jazz/Blues oriented. Most of my songs are inspirational contemporary songs. I also made an EP of Christmas songs and Easter songs called “The Indescribable Gift”.
In this past year I have sung and spoken at Christian Women’s outreach brunches, lunches and dinners, sang and spoke at a preschool end of year celebration, taught children at the Chinese Revival Meetings, and more. When I look to share at places or events that God doesn’t plan for me, he closes the doors. He is good and gracious to open other ones. I am still learning daily to give Him total control in my life in all things.

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A New Season

I thoughtfully walked in the front door of our home in Burnaby, BC, Canada. I was just returning from another worship conference via satellite. Paul Baloche’s words echoed over and over in my mind. “When I sit down to write a song at my piano, I start by praying…” I sat down at my piano and prayed aloud, “OK Lord, if you want me to do this, you need to do it for me. I think I can come up with the words, but the melodies are totally beyond me. If this is Your will, please do it for me.” My fingers played lightly, softly on the ivory and ebony keys in front of me. The words came slowly, haltingly, and a new song was born. One that would cascade into many others, a song of worship and praise to the Giver of all good gifts.
That was the beginning of a new season in my life. I have always loved music. It moves me. It feeds my soul. It expresses my emotions and leads me to worship God. I have led worship in my small Vancouver church for many years. I kept denying God’s nudging me to write songs through my feelings of inadequacy. What a breakthrough, to finally be faced with amazing possibilities from the God who can do the seemingly impossible. Once the flood gates were opened, the songs came, one after another.
At the age of 41, this new music ministry was birthed. I was given an amazing gift and I wanted to honor the Giver by giving it my undivided attention to cultivate it, fertilize it and to blossom. I went to a Songwriters Boot Camp in Seattle, and I’m sure our Heavenly Father was chuckling as one of my critiquers was Paul Baloche. I had written a theme song for a Women’s Retreat at a camp on Vancouver Island which I presented to them. The critique was harsh but true. I was a rooky songwriter and needed to grow.

God gave me opportunities to share my new songs and to be affirmed and encouraged through a Womens Retreat at a camp on Vancouver Island, where I led worship singing for the Spring Retreats. One day, a couple weeks before the Spring Retreat, I was searching on the internet for contact information for a friend I had grown up with. As I searched, I came across her mother, whose name was noted on a CD promotion, where she had been an accompanist of a quartette. The name of the producer for the CD caught my eye. Curious, I looked him up on the internet. He had different quotes on his website and one of them referred to him nurturing new talent. I then began to argue with God in my thoughts. “I can’t phone him. I’m not anywhere near ready to make a CD.” God kept nudging me as I went to sleep that night and the next morning as I took my shower. After I got my children off to school I sat at the computer and looked again at his website and said to the Lord “Ok, I’ll try calling him. He’ll probably have an answering machine and never call me back.” I finally obeyed the prompting, picked up the phone and punched in the numbers. It rang and rang a few times and then, to my amazement, he did answer my call. I told him haltingly of where I was at with writing songs and asked him whether he would consider helping me, and much to my surprise, he agreed. He made an appointment to see me after the Women’s Retreat.
At the Retreat I shared a couple of my songs and was blown away by the response to the songs, how the women sang “Trust In Him Alone” with all their heart. The affirmations that flowed at the end of the weekend lifted me up to the clouds. As I went to sleep the night I got home, I had a dream. I saw myself and two other women, my Singaporian friend, Lynn and an African American woman. We were singing to a crowd of women from all nations. I woke up excited, certain that I had had a revelation from God. My friend Lynn was already singing with me for the retreats and I didn’t know any African American women at the time. I prayed that the Lord would bring this woman to me if this dream was to become a reality.
After the Retreat, the producer met with me and went through a few of my songs, giving me pointers for improvement. We talked about what music ministry looked like and my commitment to God’s plan. I went home determined to make some good songs into great songs.
I attended a Worship Conference a short while later and during the opening time of worship singing, there was a lovely voice singing behind me and as I looked I saw an African American woman. “Could this be the one?” I asked the Lord. “Please show me.” I said hello to her but I held back saying anything more. After a songwriting workshop I asked if any of those attending would like to be part of a “Songwriting Circle”. I was excited to see that this woman had attended the class. I watched, disappointed, as she walked out the door. As I spoke with another person, I noticed that this woman had come back in again and was waiting to talk to me. A group of us met at her home a month later, and as everyone left, I lingered behind and finally broached the topic I had been praying about ever since I met her. She thought and prayed about it and said yes to being a part of our trio.

When I met with the producer again in September he asked me whether I was ready to go a step further and make a CD. I told him I thought it would take me another year or two to be ready. He felt I was ready, having written over 40 songs already in the three years since I began. I asked him if I wasn’t too old to start this venture and he told me when God calls you even at 93, you need to obey and follow. It’s never too late.
Again, the thought took hold in my mind and I prayed as I drove home. I said to the Lord “If this is your direction, then my husband needs to be in agreement and support this endeavor. That is how I will know that making a CD is Your will.” I shared the proposal with my husband and asked him to pray for two weeks about it and let me know what God said. We knew it would take at least $10,000.00 to make a CD. Although we had enough in our savings, it would be quite a commitment for both of us to make, never before having invested such a great amount on creative pursuits. God spoke to my husband’s heart and he agreed to this new journey. The rollercoaster ride had begun. God had much to teach me, to humble me and to encourage me as we went through the process of putting my music on the CD.
During the 3 month process of making the CD (we took breaks in between each step), my African American friend had to drop out due to family troubles. A year later, my friend Lynn also dropped out to start up a new business with her husband. She shared with me that she felt it was my calling and not hers. God had given me these two wonderful women to see me through the beginning stages of ministry, not unlike the story of Moses needing Aaron at the beginning of his leadership of the Israelites. Now, God was giving me more responsibility.

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A Daughter of God

I am a child of God… and I have been gifted by God to teach and speak on His behalf. I write God songs and share my testimony of His working in my life and those around me. I study His Word with the disciplined studies of Bible Study Fellowship and I teach others what I learn. I have led worship for many years in my local church. I am a daughter of God who loves to serve Him and to grow closer to Him day by day.

The basis for all that I do, is found in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I enjoy my in depth study of God’s Word, the Bible. When I am fortified, I can give food to others to nourish their souls. Only God can minister to the soul and transform hearts. I desire to be His instrument for a mighty working in those He allows me to serve. When I read in Deuteronomy about Moses’ final instructions before his death, his exhortation to fear and obey God, to walk in all His ways, to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul; I feel a rising in my heart, to stand tall and reach up to God to pledge my allegiance and then to bow prostrate on the floor to surrender my life to Him. I don’t want to be “stiff-necked” as the Israelites were in the 40 years of wandering in the desert, stubbornly rebelling and disobeying God.

I have a personal experience every day of walking with God. I start my day with a devotional time and then I usually go for a walk and talk with Him. I spend most of the time worshipping Him. First, I pray to keep my focus on Him, then I read verses that apply to a particular character trait of God, His accessibility, that He is the Creator, Eternal, Immortal, Savior, Sovereign etc. I tell Him of my love for Him and feel His love in return. This sets the tone for my day and makes it much easier to having an ongoing communication with Him throughout the day. I finish my walk with requests for myself and for those I love and any other issues that come to mind. Later on, I have a time of delving into the scriptures, which reveals God’s ways and His guidance into my life.

I struggle with hormonal fluctuations which affect my mood, and at times I feel quite low. This is also a spiritual struggle. Before I serve at a special event, I usually feel an onslaught of thoughts like “You’re not good enough. You’ll mess up. You’re inadequate.” I’ve learned to fight these lies with the truth. “I am a child of God. I am a co-heir with Jesus Christ. Nothing is impossible with God. His power is made perfect through my weakness. He turns the ordinary into extraordinary. Nothing can ever separate me from His love.” As I speak the truth and quote scripture, a peace and strength fills me and I am able to serve with God’s enabling.

God is sovereign, He is in control of all things. I have come to appreciate this in His character. When I feel low with the “winter blues” and our children are having a rough day I can feel overwhelmed. I am grateful to call on the name of Jesus to intervene in each situation and to know that He stands by my side, strengthening me as I deal with the issues. He saves me from a “savior” complex, thinking that I can be the one to save my children or my friends. I can do my part but He does all the rest. I’m glad I don’t have to take full responsibility for others situations, that He takes the load off my shoulders and says, “Rest. Have my peace and comfort. I will take care of them.” On a daily basis, He is my Savior. I’m so glad He is in charge.

Recently, I wrote a song called “He Completes Me”. Without Jesus, I would be searching for fulfillment in my husband and children, which would be asking too much of them. This way, I am fulfilled and able to give and serve my family, instead of wanting them to meet my needs. Is your heart tank on full? Does it overflow into others lives? Do you turn your struggles over to Him? Do you fight the fiery darts with flaming arrows from God’s Word? When you give it all to Jesus, He gives you all you need to get through the day triumphantly.

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But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

Some days I feel enveloped in Jesus arms, cherished and warmed by His love. Some days I feel despondent, despairing and inadequate. But no matter how I “feel” I know that He is present with me, loving me, carrying me, enabling and strengthening me.

I often think of the story of Peter walking on the water to Jesus, and how he took his eyes off Jesus and realized his own limitations and … fell. It reminds me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, not on people’s perceptions of me or their affirmations, but on God’s acceptance of me. His unconditional, sacrificial love for me propels me to grow to know Him more, to love Him more, to “be holy as He is holy”, to kneel at His feet to ask forgiveness daily and receive it as He washes my feet.

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