My baby boy

moving day

My baby boy is definitely not a baby anymore. He’s 6’4″, stocky and almost 20. But, if you are a parent, more specifically a mom, than you understand~he will always be my baby.

He moved out last weekend, into his very first apartment with his cousin and cousin’s fiancee. Now, it did not appear he would have much to take, until the time came to load the moving van and take it away.

I am happy for him that he was able to do this and even happier that he is still close enough to come by and visit.  He’s already warned me that he will be coming here to do his laundry; personally I think it’s an excuse to see me and raid our fridge, but I’ll take it.

He has taught me so much about love and giving of yourself and being there in times of need.  And through a lesson, many Christmases ago, God allowed me to teach him about faith and what it looks like.

He was about 9 or 10 and we were getting ready to put up the artificial tree, when lo and behold, the plastic tree stand snapped and one of the legs broke.  He was devastated. Asking me things like, “now what will we do?””we have to have a tree, mom” and knowing I didn’t have enough money to go buy another tree or a tree stand.

I  told him, we could pray about it. He looked at me and said, what good will that do?

I explained that if you have faith and you believe, with God anything is possible. I asked him , “do you believe that God can help us fix this stand and it will hold the tree with all the decorations and ornaments on it?” and he said, yeah I guess. Once again, I questioned him, “do you really believe God can do it or are you just saying that?”  He said I believe.

So, I got my trusty duct tape and started working on the tree stand leg and then found a board to secure the tree stand to, with more duct tape.(saying my own silent prayers). And then Michael and I prayed and asked God to make the tree stand work, to hold the tree with all the ornaments and lights and decorations so we could enjoy the beauty of the tree and celebrate Jesus and His birth.

God is so good.  That tree withstood a curious kitten climbing the tree and batting at ornaments and the plastic stand just didn’t last for one season, but four.  And just something as simple as a broken piece of plastic, held together with duct tape and prayers, taught my son about having faith and trusting God.

You see God will use any situation to grow us. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental, just be willing to let him in and you will see miracles happen right before your eyes.

So, even though, I miss our daily good morning hugs and I love you mom goodnight talks, I know Michael will be okay, because he knows God is with him and for him and I am just a call or text away.

May you be able to see God working in your life today. He loves you. Blessings and peace,

Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

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It Is Done

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As I shared with my readers earlier in the month, big changes were happening in my life.  So, now I am confident I can share these changes with you.

I have worked for a great company over the last 16 years and truly imagined that I would still be at that company when I reached official retirement age(which is still quite a way off).  After struggling with several medical issues that cause my body great pain and difficult in walking and moving, I started praying earnestly asking the Lord to lead me and guide me in making the decision to stay or leave.

I know that I made the right decision to resign earlier than planned.  I have HIS peace and for the first time realize that having a paycheck isn’t all there is to life. I realize we all have bills to pay and yes, we need money to survive; but when you make budget cuts and rearrange your budget, you can do it. Am I scared? I can confidently say I have no fear. Which if you knew me at all and how I have always operated, you would understand my reluctance – at first – in understanding what God was telling me to do. I have never in all my life left a place of employment, without having something lined up to go to next.

I have always been very practical in that way.  Always have had a backup plan; not this. time.

This time, I am trusting God to lead me where He wants me to go. I believe He is calling me into using my gifts of words to minister to others.  So, with that being said, I am currently working on a book to encourage others and offer hope. I will continue to write this blog, not just to share Jesus with others, but because I feel this is a small part of His plan for me.

The end of this week will signify the end of one long chapter in my life and the beginning of a new one. As always, I can’t wait to see where God leads me!

May you be blessed and know the God Loves You–right where you are! Much love,

Carlene

 

 

 

 

Stepping out in Faith

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Soon, I will be taking the biggest step of faith in my life. I have been in prayer the last several months trying to decide what is best for me in my life. Seeking God and His infinite wisdom and asking for His peace that only He can give has been a journey of sleepless nights and daytime struggles. As I write this, the peace that has permeated my soul and heart, I know I am doing what God thinks is best for me.

I have always believed that everything happens for a reason.  Always. I know God has the best plans for me.  I know that every door that has ever opened or closed was because God made it happen.

Proverbs 3:5 New Living Translation (NLT)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.

I am so thankful this verse is in His Word. If I only do things that make sense to me, and don’t walk in obedience, than I am not applying the Word to my life and not trusting Jesus.

I am reminded that many times, when I have been called to walk in obedience and step out in faith, that there has been discomfort and wariness. I’ve even asked God, are you sure? Which is totally ridiculous because He doesn’t make mistakes. Not one. I know that during these many times in my life, when I just couldn’t possibly see with my eyes that everything would be okay and work out; that when I decided to take that step of faith onto the ledge of the unknown , He blessed me in so many ways, that I could never have imagined it would turn out in the ways it did. Do you ever feel that way-that your plan has so many obstacles-and God laughs-and says, “trust me” or “why do you doubt that I don’t have your best interests at heart”? I used to think like that. Haven’t we all? God is the potter and I am the clay.

Isaiah 64:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

And yet, O Lord, you are our Father.
    We are the clay, and you are the potter.
    We all are formed by your hand.

Trust when you hear that small voice – from our Great God. That is why he gave us an advocate, The Holy Spirit, to be with us, to guide us on this amazing journey we call life.

As a daughter of God, I am reminded when I do something outside of His Will, the sadness that seeps into my heart and the conviction I feel, I know I am walking outside of His Will for my life. When I hear Him correctly and know through many confirmations, that I am walking in His Will, I have a Peace that cannot be explained any other way that the Peace of God.

And as this new chapter of my life (as I choose to look at) begins to be laid before me, there is a tiny bit of uncertainty as to where I am heading and what I will be doing, but there is great Peace in knowing that I am doing what He is calling me to do. Right now, I am hearing “trust me with everything”,”lean on me”, “let go of things that cause you pain” and ” trust me, I’ve got so much more for you than you can possibly fathom.”  When I, myself know the more, than I will share it with my faithful readers. God always places the right people in my life at the right times and they always know the right things to say~it never ceases to amaze me how much God loves me.

Jeremiah 17:7 New Living Translation (NLT)

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.

God loves you too! If you’re in the crux of making a decision that you can’t seem to find a way around. That the timing isn’t right, or you have fears about stepping out in faith and trusting God, because you just can’t see a way. Trust Him. He has great plans for all of us!

Blessings,

Carlene

 

There is a plan

I know God has a plan and a purpose for my life as sure as I sit here. I have not been on here for a while, because I have been having health difficulties and trying to deal with them. But the one verse that I cling to is Jeremiah 29:11

“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.”

Even when I can’t see the outcome, I can thank Him in advance for all the blessings he has and will bestow upon me. My faith is strong and I trust in the Lord with all my heart.

I live with chronic pain, every day, but I know that no matter what I go through or how I feel, God will use everything for good according to His purpose.  Some days are harder than others to get through, but I get through them because I lean on Jesus Christ and cry out when I am not sure what words to say or how to express what I need to; I know the Holy Spirit will intercede on my behalf.

While celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ today at church, our pastor was speaking on how our lives may seem empty, just as the tomb was found empty all those years ago and because of the darkness in the world, and in our own little worlds, sometimes, in the emptiness, we struggle with what to do and where to turn, and sometimes we forget that God is right there with us as we struggle. He hurts when we hurt, and he is sad for us when we are struggling. He died so that we could have victory and not be overcome by the darkness.

It is my prayer, that if you feel lost and alone, that you will remember that God is with you. He will never leave you or forsake (forget) you.  He loves to hear from His children, and help them in only ways He can.  He is the most loving Father you will ever have, or need.

May the God of Hope and Love wrap His arms around you and give you peace and joy.

Happy Easter!

Much love and blessings,

CarleneJesus welcoming home

 

 

 

 

 

Perceptions

 

Perceptions
Have you ever heard the phrase, “you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”? When you are meeting someone for the first time, how do you determine that this is someone you will become friends with? Is it their outward appearance, is that what draws you to them or is it something else? Is it a gut reaction, first instinct-yes, I really like this person or no-way can I be friends with this person?

I have met many people over the years and if I only judged my initial reaction on how they looked, I would have been sadly disappointed with what I found. Most people, in general, can dress themselves up in such a fashion, with makeup, hairstyles and clothing to make it seem like they are all put together. And if they look like they have it all together,with no problems, and appear happy, are they really?

There are so many people that are hurting and lonely and have lost hope. But there is hope, one hope that we can hang onto. That hope is that the God of the Universe, the great I AM, is longing for everyone to come back to Him. To accept His son, Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, to repent of their sins and to have a daily relationship with Him.

My eyes see people that love, but have not been loved. So they search for love in all the wrong places. Some search out drugs and alcohol and some have other addictions, because if it makes them feel good, if only in the moment, then they don’t feel like they are hurting. The drugs, alcohol, sexual partners, gambling, smoking, overeating..whatever it is that brings them comfort, that is what they love and that is what makes them feel better,again, if only for the moment.

The sad part is that all of the addictions, that many people face, myself include(cigarette smoking), only bring temporary relief and can bring damaging and sometimes, fatal results.
I ask myself daily, what difference can I truly make? I am only one person. And then I am reminded that with God ALL things are possible. I pray daily to the Lord, sometimes hundreds of times throughout the day, because I know that I can’t do anything without Jesus.

I remember when I have tried in the past to run my life and be in total control and didn’t have Jesus as my number one; my life was, for all intensive purposes, a wreck to say the least.

You see, we aren’t meant to walk this earth alone. We are created to worship God and to live our lives in such a manner that we honor Him and give Him glory. But if you don’t have any kind of foundation in your life growing up, or any godly examples of people that can counsel you, when life just jumps up and smacks you in the face or punches you in the gut, than you don’t know to turn to the Lord.

I was very blessed to have parents that taught me about Jesus and God and the Holy Spirit. I learned at a young age, that having Jesus to hold on to when times were tough and pray (talk) to when I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing and learning that when people need help, it’s not considered a hand out but a hand up. They modeled this in my life. I was one of the lucky ones for sure.

It makes me sad, when I think of all the children in the world, that don’t have loving parents to guide and direct them. To teach them that there will always be people trying to pull you in many different directions and stand for many things and the one thing I have always tried to impress on my own children is this:

Doing what’s right is not always popular and doing what’s popular is not always right. There will be times in your lives, where you will have to stand up for your beliefs and you may have to stand alone. Don’t ever be afraid to do that, because God will be with you.
Standing up for your beliefs or standing up for others, that are too weak or scared to stand up for themselves, shows that you have character. It also shows that there are people that are willing to stand up for them, when they don’t feel like they can stand for themselves or maybe they have no idea how to even do that because they’ve never been given the opportunity to do so.

I’ve heard a lot of people say honesty is overrated, but I totally disagree on this. I believe in total honesty. When you are honest, you don’t have to try and remember what story you told to so and so and then try to keep your stories straight. Being honest, at times, may be hard, especially if the person you are being honest with, doesn’t want to hear what you have to say.

You can be honest and loving and caring. There is nothing that says when you are honest with another person, no matter what the topic is, that you have to be brutal and demeaning.

John 13:34 NLT
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

In the dark times that we are all faced with in our world today, there remains one constant, one light, one Lord and His name is Jesus Christ. I have a choice and so do you, you can live for the Lord and be a light to others, a hope, if you will, by sharing your testimony to what Jesus has done in and for you and through your trials and joys or you can choose not to accept Him as your Savior, Redeemer, Friend, Father and live a very dark, hopeless existence with no light in your life.

When I decided to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I was eleven years old. I grew up attending a church with my parents and siblings and loved hearing and learning Bible Stories and how when people trusted God and looked to God for their everything-their food, their protection, their very lives, I wanted that too. When I read of people of Faith in the Old Testament that chose to faithfully follow God and do His work, were rewarded with abounding love and favor. They had trials, they had battles they faced, they were hungry, and lost and felt hopeless, but they trusted God to provide for their needs. And He did.

They fought evil just like we do today. They were slaves in Egypt before Moses led them to the promise Land God promised them. And for a while, they were faithful in actions and words, but then temptations and the freedoms that they had never experienced before and the waiting and wondering in the wilderness, caused them to worship idols and false Gods. This broke God’s heart and angered him. But Moses spoke with God and pleaded for their lives and God relented. He gave Moses the Ten Commandments and promised to always guide them as long as they lived by the law.
The difference in Bible times between Old Testament and New Testament is that when Jesus Christ came to earth in human form, and died a sinless death on the cross, He paid the ultimate price for redemption for ALL of OUR sins FOREVER. And the only command he truly gave us was to Love God and Love others. Repent of your sins and accept Him as your Savior, because that is the only way back to God and live your lives in such a manner that glorifies Him. Give to the needy, help the poor, care for those who have nothing and love one another. Forgive others, show them grace and mercy, even if you don’t think they deserve it.
Showing grace and mercy in heated situations, is difficult, but the more you do it, the more you practice to respond in a loving manner or tone, the more you are willing to reach out and be the one person that will listen and help if possible, you are learning to live like Christ.
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. He is the one constant,in our ever changing times.
We live in such a broken world today, that the only hope we have that will change things is Jesus Christ. When he died and arose again, and went to be with the Father in Heaven, he left us an advocate, The Holy Spirit that lives in the hearts of believers. Jesus is always with us, even when we aren’t sure. He is there.
He promised to never leave us or forget about us. When we are weak, too exhausted to hold on, He is our strength. He carries us more than we know and He does it because He loves us.
In 1 Peter 5:8-9 the Bible talks about being alert and on guard, because the devil (our enemy) lurks around waiting to devour us and it only takes a fleeting moment of fear or doubt for him to attack.
The state of our world is in sad shape and I pray daily that God will heal our nations. No viable candidate for the presidency, wars all around, mass killings, hungry people, homeless people, a great sadness. I believe we are in the end times. But we also know that no one knows the day or hour Jesus Christ will return, so that’s why we need to stay alert and continue to be the light and share the gospel with all those that will listen.
We must live our lives in a holy manner-stop the judging of others-that is not our job. That’s His job. Jesus tells us in the Word that we will be judged in the same manner as we judge others. We all have to answer for our actions when we come before the Father in Heaven.
Are you struggling right now? Not seeing anyway out of what has you mired down? Feeling like God isn’t there? Seeming like you are on a sinking life raft and you are totally alone and no one cares? That’s the enemy of our souls. That is how he wants you to feel. Do you realize that in times like these, this is where prayer and crying out to Jesus is what you must do? Talk to a pastor, or friend, seek help-don’t give up.

As my 51st birthday approaches, I look at all the things that have happened in my life and I can say with 100% assurance that if it had not been for the Lord and his unfailing faithfulness, I would not be where I am today. I have walked through many valleys and climbed many mountains and He was always there with me. Even when I wasn’t sure, he was. I have been through some terrifying times in my life where I saw no way out of them; where I felt like giving up and not hanging on, but the one go to verse, I have carried in my heart, reminded me that God has/had plans for me.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
“I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

There are days where I have a hard time hearing the Lord speak to me, but when I stay in His Word and walk with him daily, it’s easier to hear the whispers and know, with conviction and peace that I am hearing him correctly. Sometimes, though, what I think I heard for someone else or myself, turns out to be not the case at all and then I do my best to ask Him to reveal to me what it is he wants me to do or to know.

When I choose to trust in God and live my life according to Him, things are easier than when I try to do it on my own. Sometimes, he will allow difficulties to arise and in those difficult moments, I know he is refining me, molding me and shaping me into the person he wants to see me become. Many times the lessons, seem very painful, but when I look back, I know he was preparing me for battles I would face and building my faith.
I have always been blessed with strong faith. My eyes may not see a way, but my faith says yes-it’s possible. My mind may not be able to comprehend how everything will work out, but my faith says, my God is bigger and He will prevail!
When I see someone that is struggling or hurting, I do my best to look through the Lens of God. When I remove myself and ask God what it is that is causing them sorrow or hard times, I try to be a light to them. I share my testimony of what God has done in my life and love on them. Sometimes it is welcomed and other times, maybe they aren’t ready to forgive a trespass or maybe they have been hurt so much, that someone just loving them is scary because they have never experienced Holy love. This is so sad to me, that when love costs nothing and is so easy to share, that there are so many that don’t understand. And when I speak of love, I am not talking about romance. I am talking about loving someone because they too are my brothers and sisters and created by the One True God.

We all have different ways of looking at and perceiving things and often times, just this alone, can cause rifts in relationships simply because we only know one way-our way. Most usually this doesn’t mean one person is wrong and the other is right. Showing mercy and grace during situations that create a rift, can help propel healing on many levels. There are so many practical ways to love on others-pay for their meal, smile, give hugs, listen, empathize with them, do a chore that you normally wouldn’t do, take a burden from them. Be helpful and kind. It costs nothing but the rewards are great.
Think before you speak. Our words can bring peace and comfort or hurt and anguish. Once words are spoken, you can’t take them back and pretend it never was said. Apologize when it’s necessary, ask for forgiveness, forgive yourself. We are all human and sometimes we do not stop to think that our actions can be devastating to others that do not walk in the love of the Lord.

May God bless you today and may you know you are loved!

Provisions

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Philippians 4:19 New Living Translation (NLT)

19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

I know that sometimes I forget this one simple promise from our Lord Jesus Christ.

He supplies all our needs and equips us with every thing to face our daily struggles and battles. When funds are low, and stress is high, the enemy creeps in and if we allow it, doubt and fear start climbing that ladder to hopelessness.

Friends, please don’t give up on yourselves, your faith or God.  He is so much bigger and knows so much more, than we can even fathom.  My father used to always say, “The Lord provides for us dummies.” And when he said this, he wasn’t trying to lower himself , just stating that God takes care of all of us~no matter where we are in our lives or who we are.

Hearing that statement over and over again, growing up, taught me to trust in the Lord with strong faith. Has my faith wavered in times of trouble and difficulties? You bet, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t admit that, nor very honest.  However, even in the darkest of times, this little voice inside my head, repeats those simple words my father spoke, so many years ago and he was right. The Lord has always provided for me, my chidren, my husband and our friends and families.  Has it been the provision that we thought it would be? Not always, sometimes it meant swallowing our pride and accepting help that we thought we would never have to; or trying something new and different because the old way wasn’t working anymore.

As I sit writing this, I look at everything I have been through in my life and where I am right now and thinking of the uncertain future.  I have to remember that we are not promised tomorrow. That we should live our lives to the fullest extent daily and in living our lives fully, we should also be thanking the One that gave us life to begin with.

I will be 51 in a couple of months, and many health problems have created difficulty for me in my daily living. I do my best to trudge through and press on, even when the pain seems too much and when I have my daily talks with Jesus (and  I have a lot of them of late), I seek His face and ask for his guidance.  I don’t know the future holds, none of us do. We can plan and prepare and believe that we have got it all under control, but in reality, the only ONE in control is God.

Proverbs 16:9 New Living Translation (NLT)

9 We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps.

I don’t know what the future holds, but HE does and so I choose to trust Him fully; pray daily and leave the results up to Him. I chose to love the Lord and Honor and Praise Him with all I am and no matter what happens, I pray whatever I do, will give Him glory!

If you are at a place in your life where you aren’t sure what comes next, pray to God, talk to Him, open your heart to Him through all times, not just good or bad, but all. Trust Him that he will show you the way.  Believe and know that He will provide whatever it is right when you need it.

That’s really the only way I know. I pray that all reading this will turn to the Lord for all your needs and be blessed!

Blessings to you,

Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart is Full

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My heart is full.  I think of the many blessings God has given me, just because he loves me. I have a great family who loves me, friends that support me and people that follow this random blog I post.

I have a home, nourishment for my body and the Holy Spirit living within me.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that encourages me to dig deeper in the Word by the blogs you post and for all the prayers that are prayed over me and my family.

I have no words of wisdom to impart to you today, just  a very humble and simple Thank you.

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If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV

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1 Thessalonians 5:18 New International Version (NIV)

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

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Thank you all for the many blessings you bring into my life, by your comments and thoughts. I love you all~

Carlene