Monday, December 5, 2011

Going Home

Over the past few months I have simply cherished every moment. Every second that I have been gifted whether it has been good or bad. I count it a joy to be here enjoying this time with my son, my family and friends. I wouldn't trade it for anything. It is the desire of my heart that if the Lord doesn't come back soon He gives me a long, healthy, prosperous life here with my loved ones. That He continues to open doors for me to minister to others and use me to glorify Him.

Today though has been the first time in a long time that I feel like I am ready to go home to my Father in heaven. I have had bad news on every side. Not so much pertaining to me-everything is ok with my health, but pertaining to others I know that are struggling with this terrible disease-cancer.

As I'm laying in bed typing I quite literally feel as if my heart aches. It is so burdened down and heavy for all those afflicted by cancer. I hate this disease. It is ravenous. It seeks to destroy. I really don't even have words to express my heart right now. It is broken for those I love and care for. For strangers. For the children.

I have said to God over and over today..... "Lord, I just don't understand your ways. I know that I am not supposed to, for your ways are not our ways, but Lord, please, do a mighty work here. Please." My heart has cried out all day long. As it does now to you. Friends, there are so many out there that are suffering. I only know a few. I ask prayer for all who suffer, but tonight I specifically ask prayer for Denise. She is battling cancer and right now things are not good. She desperately needs a miracle. I know that He can do it for her because He did it for me. Please pray that He will. Please. I plead, no I beg you to just pray. Also, pray for Nancy who was diagnosed with breast cancer today.

I posted a video as well that has really touched me. I personally relate with this, but can't we all? We all have trials and are either hopping or walking through our valleys. I pray tonight for you.

If You Want Me To - Ginny Owens | With Lyrics

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Small Leopard Print Things In Life

For those of you that are wondering, I had my second fitting today. It did not go very well. The company it was shipped to that is supposed to be "specialists" in this very area (specific to my very type of socket) must have changed the mold a great deal and messed it up quite a bit. It was extremely uncomfortable. I couldn't take a single step with this one. So painful in fact that I nearly passed out at one point and had to sit down for a while. This one should have been 10x's better than the last one, mind you. Dr. Jack was extremely disappointed and upset over this. He has decided to do all of the work at his office locally from here on out to ensure the highest quality. I have another appt. on Tuesday of next week and I will try out another test socket.

This is delaying me bringing my leg home a great deal. We are leaving for Disney on the 20th and I was really hoping to have it by then. I had hoped that I would have been able to practice with it, so that at Disney I would be well accustomed to it and would be walking unassisted.

I'm not upset or disappointed, surprisingly. I have peace about all of this. It's strange, actually, because I wasn't even excited about going today. I felt very hesitant about the whole process. I think that the Lord had given the grace already, Him knowing that I would be further away from my anticipated goal of bringing it home. So, I did not at all feel as if my hopes had been dashed. Of course, I would love to be that much closer to having that leg, but I have a surreal peace. I know that I have been through so much already that getting this leg is going to be great, but honestly, I'm fine without it too. It will happen in His timing. I am just grateful to be OK with being on His timetable and that He is giving me grace that is all sufficient.

On a happier note, I bought some shoes this past weekend for the first time in several years. I bought the cutest leopard print ballerina flats. I knew that I needed to bring a pair of shoes today, left one included. I don't wear tennis shoes much, only at the gym really. So the logical thing for the Dr may be for me to bring good shoes, like tennis shoes for instance, but to me that just isn't logical because I never wear them. So, I brought my cute new leopard print shoes, because well, that is the kind of thing I'll be wearing. Plus, my Barbie leg deserves to have some sassy shoes ;) I think my Dr. got quite a kick out of this. And I got so much joy looking down at my TWO matching shoes on my TWO feet. :) That was enough for me today. Knowing that I will have TWO matching shoes to wear in the future. And super-cute shoes at that ;) Sometime it's the small leopard print things in life that make you happy :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Miracle, Step by Step

I've wanted to sit down and write this blog for days. Yet, I feel as if I cannot adequately express with written words the miracle that I experienced. I will make an attempt to do so though.

On November 2, 2011, I had my first big appointment with the prosthetic doctor, Dr. Jack, at Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics in Ft. Walton Beach. I knew going into the appointment that a specialist would be coming in to assist in the casting process and that I would get to put on a make-shift leg and possibly even try to take a few steps.

My Grandma came over from Panama City to be with me for this appointment. She has been with me through every trial and valley in my life. Especially in the last year and a half. When I found out that this was going to be an all day appointment and all that would take place during it, I knew right away that I wanted her here with me. She had been with me through the worst appointments and I wanted her to be here for one of the best ones yet. She came over Wednesday morning and stayed until Saturday.

When we got there Dr. Jack sat down with us to talk for a few minutes and told me that the specialist would be assisting and that another prostheses had come over from Pensacola. There was also an intern there. So I had three doctors and an intern working on me and assisting in the process of casting me. Dr. Jack informed me that the casting process was extremely intense and asked if I was up for that and ready. He said that it was going to be uncomfortable and possibly a bit painful and I would most likely be sore for a few days. Knowing that this was the means to me walking again, I didn't care much what they had to put me through and I figured it couldn't be that bad, right?

The casting process was so much more interesting than I thought that it would be. I have never had a cast before, so I really didn't know what to expect. Dr. Jack had these little "thermals" that he had altered for me to put on. They looked like thermal capris with only one leg. He did such a great job altering the other side that I asked if I could bring him some more pants!! So I put those on over my panties and I had a tank top on. The first step was to duct tape me, well Gorilla Tape to be exact. We joked about the scientific method in which they used! This had to be done extremely tightly. So tight in fact that I was standing holding onto two rails while the three male doctors tugged, pulled and wrapped me in Gorilla Tape as they were dripping with sweat. This was by far the worst part!

Let me back up a little bit to clarify a few things. When I had my amputation they had to cut my pelvis to the left and right of my hip socket and they basically just took everything out. So, if you can imagine that, it looks kind of like there was just never a leg there. Imagine taking a Barbie and snapping her left leg off. You would be left with nothing but the torso on that side. That is what I look like. Ha, Maybe not so much the Barbie body, but I like that visual, so yeah, let's go with that! So, I do not have a "stump." That is why this whole casting and prostheses process is so very involved and much more difficult than the average amputee that is left with a residual stump. That is also why a specialist had to come in. This is an uncommon procedure. So, the casting process involved them casting my entire pelvis. The "socket" which is the part of the prosthetic that attaches to my pelvis, similar to a brace that just wraps around my pelvis, is the most difficult part to build and has to be formed to my exact body. The tighter and better it fits, the more success I will have in using the prosthetic. This brings us back to the reason why it was so important that I be at a stable weight. If I gain or lose after the socket is made it will not fit properly and will have to be remade. Which is the reason I waited to lose some weight before I began this process. As of this week I have lost a total of 25lbs since July 7th.

Ok, so back to the actual casting process. The three male doctors were circled around me wrapping me as tight as humanly possible. I joked with them and asked them if this was going to be similar to a weight-loss wrap! HA! I was holding on and trying to keep myself from toppling over while they were tugging, pulling and taping my entire pelvis. It reminded me of that scene in Gone With The Wind where Mammy is tightening the strings on Scarlett's corset and Scarlett is demanding that Mammy do it tighter in order to get her waist to the 16" pre-baby size! Yes, I did ask if they would measure my waist while they had me all taped up!!! Needless to say, we were cracking up the whole time.

So yeah, when they said that this was intense, they were not kidding. Once they were done with the taping they asked me to put on another one of the "thermal capris" so that they could begin the actual casting. I had to wobble over to a chair and try to sit down and get those things on. That was NOT easy! Thankfully the Dr.'s held me up so I didn't fall over and helped me get them on. They asked if I needed to take a break and sit down for a few minutes, but I was so excited that I just wanted to keep going.

At this point they began putting the cast on. After about two minutes I thought for sure I would pass out. I became incredibly faint and dizzy. I didn't want to say anything though because I was afraid they would stop. So, I just had to grin and bare it! Honestly though, no matter how uncomfortable it was or no matter how painful it was, I just kept thinking about walking and what this actual process meant. You might be wondering why it was uncomfortable or how it felt. The best that I can describe the feeling of having my pelvis cast is to liken it unto being trapped between boulders. It just felt like my entire pelvis was crushed between large rocks. I remember thinking that if wearing a prosthetic felt anything like that I couldn't see myself wanting to wear it. I just thought I'd be more than fine hopping in comfort the rest of my life!

After the cast was put on and dry they made some measurements, marking them with a Sharpie. Once the markings were made they were able to cut the cast off. The cast is now an exact replica of my pelvis. Then came the greatest part of casting, cutting off all that tape! WOW, what relief. When they cut through it and it finally came off I thought for sure I would slink to the ground from relief!

At this point they took the cast of my pelvis in the back to do some work on it. They told us that we could take an hour for lunch. The doctors had the hopes that when I returned I would be able to take a few steps with the rough prototype of a prosthetic they made me.

Grandma and I went out to lunch and as we were leaving I decided to swing by Jarred's school and pick him up. I knew that he would want to be there when I took my first steps. After all, what big steps those were going to be!

Everything thus far has been fact. It's easy to write facts. Usually I don't struggle with chronicling my feelings either. This though, goes beyond the realm of feelings and emotions into the realm of the miraculous. How do I adequately detail a miracle? How do my mere little words give justice to the miracle that Jesus wrought this day? This is why I have struggled to sit down and write this post.

I've been through so much in my life. So much in the last two years. So much heartache and so much pain. But there has also been immeasurable beauty. Beauty that transcends all understanding. November 2 was one of those days for me.

When I came back to the Dr's office with Jarred and my Grandma in tow we quickly settled in and waited. Not knowing what exactly to expect. As I said, before we left for lunch the Dr's expressed that their goal was for me to take a few steps this day. Now friends, I haven't walked on two legs since about November of 2009. It's been longer that I was able to walk unassisted. I have been told that learning to walk again is a difficult, trying, frustrating and long process. I came into the appointment fully expecting this to be difficult. Expecting that it would be months before I would actually walk. Yet still excited to put that leg on and try. Hopeful. Eager. Anxious. Unsure. All words that could describe the many emotions swirling through my heart and head.

They brought the make-shift, rough prototype of a socket back out and and this time it had the leg attached to it. I got up on a platform that has long parallel bars to hold onto for assistance in walking and stability. I sat down and undressed then they helped me get into the leg. I was so unsure of what to actually do. Because of the fact that I have no stump, everything I do to move the leg stems from movement in my pelvis/core. I lifted up the leg and said "wow, it's really heavy!" They said that it would take a while to adjust to that. That I need to keep in mind I've had nothing there for about 1 1/2 years, so it will take time for my mind to retrain itself to weight being on that side again. They briefly instructed me as to how to use it. Then I grabbed onto the parallel bars and started walking. WALKING! Everything just faded away around me. It was just me and God there on that platform walking back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I walked like that for about 20 minutes. Getting a feel for the leg, placement of my foot, how the knee bends and how the hip & knee joints work.  Once the leg was on and I was walking I felt no discomfort at all. Praise the Lord!

I didn't know anything different than this. All I knew coming into this situation is that I was going to try to walk that day. That is all there was to it for me. The doctors were astounded. Beside themselves with sheer joy and excitement. I didn't realize it was such a big deal because I had nothing to measure that experience against. They told me that 99% of amputees can not just put on a leg and start walking. That it just doesn't happen. They got out a video camera after about 10 minutes and asked if I minded if they recorded my progress. They said they had never seen anything like this and they probably would not again. My doctor has been in this business for over 20 years mind you.

Overwhelmed is an understatement. Tears were just rolling down my face. I couldn't believe I was WALKING and that it was so easy. After about 20 minutes I decided to let go of the parallel bars and walk without assistance. I did. I walked without assistance at all. The doctors absolutely couldn't believe it. They said that it was a miracle. It required A LOT of concentration on my part. But I did it. God did it. We did it. My doctors said that it generally takes about three months for a person to do what I did in 30 minutes. I couldn't believe it. I told them that my God is really big.

This really doesn't accurately portray the miracle that we all witnessed. I wish that I could better detail it for you. The emotions are still really fresh for me and I don't know how to relate them any better. I've wanted to give y'all an update, so for the sake of time this is it. They took the leg off after about 30 minutes so that it could be shipped to the facility where they will make my socket and build my actual leg. I go back on on 11/16 for the second fitting. Two weeks after that I'll be able to WALK home!

We were all overwhelmed I think. Jarred and I kept looking at one another and smiling, but he wasn't forthcoming with his feelings. He thought that it was really cool and I could tell he was happy, but again, he didn't say much. At church that night I gave a testimony to all that had taken place that day. All during the church service I would catch him looking at me and smiling. He would grab my hand and squeeze it. I could tell that his heart was overflowing as well.

Later that night Grandma and I were talking and I told her that even if I never had the opportunity to get a prosthetic that I am happy. That I could hop on the rest of my life and not feel as if I am missing out on anything. I told her how thankful I am to have been given this journey. That I know that this was God's plan for me and that I find great comfort in that. I trust Him with my heart, my appendages and my life. He can do with it as He wishes. I told her that this has changed my very soul. It has forever changed my heart, perspective and mind for the better. Then Grandma brought up a very good point, she said to me "Jill, it's just like in the bible when Jesus healed Lazarus, the leapers and the lame. Mary and many others. He has healed you just like He healed them. Imagine how that must have changed their lives. Imagine how they, too, were changed because of Jesus' touch on their lives." Tears just welled up in my eyes and my heart overflowed with gratitude, love and joy at this realization. That YES, my story, my journey is just like one of those bible stories. That our Jesus, our God, is still at work today performing miracles just as much as He was in bible times.

I'm so thankful that He allowed me to experience this journey. To see and feel His touch in my life. I truly wouldn't trade it for anything. I mean that from the depths of my heart.

Friends, I hope that you realize that it doesn't take cancer or something big for Jesus to work a miracle in your lives. He is doing it every day in so many different ways. Look for it. Look for the beauty of the miracles that he is bringing to fruition in your life and those around you.

I could die happy right now. I have all I ever need. I've found my fullness in Christ.

Ephesians 3:20 "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Two Legs: One Crafted By The Creator. One Crafted By Man. Both A Gift & A Blessing From My Heavenly Father

First there were two, then there was one and now there shall be two again! Legs that is! There shall be two legs again!! And this new leg will be a high-tech, extremely durable, cancer-resistant, barbie leg! Oh, did I mention that it won't have any cellulite and my thigh will ALWAYS stay the same size. And oh yeah, I'll have two legs again. Did I mention that? Walking, jogging, running skipping, dancing.

Ok, seriously, I love my one leg. I love hopping and don't feel limited in the slightest. I'm happy just the way I am. After all, this is how the Lord intended me to be. A one-legged, pirate hoppin' Momma! I'm A-O.K. with that.

What an age we live in though that not only was the cancer able to be detected before my very life succumbed to it, but they were able to remove that part of my body that was infected and I healed from it. Yes, I healed. Actually, the Lord healed me. Mind, body, spirit and soul. And now, that amazingly wonderful technology that the Lord blessed the minds of men with to save my life will go one step further and enable me to walk again. On my own TWO legs. And yes, I will consider this prosthetic MY leg. My perfect, lovely, God-sent leg. Made especially for me. My "natural" (if you will) left leg was crafted by the great Creator while I was still in my Mother's womb. He knew then that I would lose it. That some of those cells would go astray and that they would cause the loss of that very limb. Why? We shall never know and honestly I don't care to. It's not for me to ask. I trust my Maker and what He is doing with my life and my limbs. This new leg my Creator has also designed for me. He has put the very intelligence into the mind of man that will lend itself to the building of my new leg. What a gift my legs have been!

Today I met with Dr. Jack (My Prosthetic Dr.) to begin the process. He was very pleased with the amount of weight I have lost, 20 pounds to date-8 more to go- and the amount of physical exercise I have been doing! He said not to stress or concern myself anymore with losing weight, that it will come off quickly once I get my prosthetic and start using it. Today he took several measurements. We talked in great detail about the process. There was A LOT of information to absorb! He showed me what my knee & foot will look like. They are SO cool. I will have a Triton foot and a Total Knee that is Polycentric, sliding & gliding. The technologies behind these two components are amazing! I simply can't wait to get that leg and start walking with it!! I go back on November 2 which is next Wednesday. 1 WEEK! I will spend the whole day there getting measured, cast, fitted, remeasured and so forth. They will basically make a temporary socket & leg mold to work from in order to build the actual prosthetic. The specialist will be flying in on this day to assist in all of this. I am told that he is the best of the best. I will not leave with a leg that day. It will take them about one week to build my leg. I should have it around about November 9th. I haven't been given a firm delivery date, but it should be around that time frame. They build it right there in Ft. Walton at Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics. I am so incredibly blessed to have an amazing Dr so close to home.

Once I receive my leg the hard work begins. Learning to walk again. I know that it is going to be difficult and at times downright frustrating, but I am so up for the challenge that I can't even explain how little the process intimidates me! I'm not concerned at all. My goal is to be walking at Disney World when we go for Christmas. I know that having that goal in sight will push me! A friend of mine said something this weekend that helped me to once again put everything into perspective and take such joy in learning to do things again. He said "It's like you get to do everything for the first time!" I thought, Yeah! I do, how awesome is that. How often do we lose our ability to be in wonder, awe and marvel at the small things we do that we have taken for granted? Every small thing that I can do is just a testimony to how amazing my God is to perform this miracle in my life - in case you ever wondered, YES! He is still performing miracles daily!!

Small things that I have gotten to do lately:
Cook for hours on end
Start my own business
Clean my entire house (and I mean DEEP clean) by myself!
Going to the gym
Swinging on a swing
Going through a corn maze

Goals that I have for the future:
Learn how to ride a bike
Start running/jogging
Go rock climbing
Go hiking

I know that I can do all things through Christ. I have set my mind to never allow myself to be limited. I praise the Lord for pushing me out of the fear of what I may not be able to do into the confidence of knowing that I can do all things through Him!

I will keep you posted on my progress. Thank you all for your prayer! Much love & abundant blessing to you!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Now, Lord?

I’ve been in constant prayer the last few months regarding God’s will for my life. I know that this time I have been given is a gift and I want to use it to glorify Him and to seek out His purpose for me. For my future. I still don’t know what the big picture is. I don’t think I ever will. Only He sees the tapestry, I’m just seeing the threads. However, as I read the bible, study it and pray, I feel Him guiding me day by day. Today during my study in Numbers I read this note in my Life Application Study Bible pertaining to Numbers 9:

“The Hebrews traveled and camped as God guided. When you follow God’s guidance, you know you are where God wants you, whether you’re moving or staying in one place. You are physically somewhere right now. Instead of praying, “God, what do you want me to do next?” ask, “God, what do you want me to do while I’m right here?” Direction from God is not just for your next big move. He has a purpose in placing you where you are right now. Begin to understand God’s purpose for your life by discovering what he wants you to do now!”
This really spoke to me. So often I think about the future and what He wants in my future that I lose sight of the here and now. I can remember many times in past that I must have lost out on huge blessings or opportunities because I was in a season that I didn’t necessarily like. A season that I wished would quickly pass so that I could be onto the next thing that He had for me.
I’ve often heard the term “grow where you are planted.” I think that goes along well with this thought. God has us where we are now for a purpose. It is our job to seek out that purpose and His will for the here and now. 

My prayer today is that as I think, ponder and pray about my future that I will not lose sight of where I am right now and that I will find the Lord’s will for me today. What I can do today to further His kingdom and bring Him glory.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Is Jesus Your Best Friend?

“If we spent the same amount of time and energy pouring into our relationship with God that we do with other people and friends, how much closer would we be with the Lord?”

                                                        -Karen Kingsbury

I found this to be such a simple yet profound challenge! It really convicted me in my relationship with the Lord. You see, I put a lot into my relationships with friends and family. I realized that I don’t put anywhere near that much effort into my relationship with the Lord when viewed in these terms.
Now, I believe that it is absolutely necessary to establish friendships. Especially as women we desperately need other women to confide in, to learn from and spend time with. The bible charges women to be godly examples one for another:

à    ஓTitus 2:3-5 “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

This verse explains that not only are we to have relationships with other Christian women, but we are to learn from them and should be living in such a way that Christians younger in the faith than we may learn from us also.

The bible also says that there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. We should indeed seek out godly Christians for counsel and advice.

à    ஓ Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
So yes, we need friends & to be able to go to other’s for godly counsel.
What got me from this statement though, what really convicted me and forced me to my knee was that I far too often go to people before God with my problems, stress and worry etc. This isn’t the way the Lord intended things to be. Only God deserves our complete loyalty. 

à    ஓThe Bible says in Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

That friend “that sticketh closer than a brother” is Jesus. I looked up the word friend in my Strongs concordance and the Websters 1828 dictionary:
à    ஓ Strongs: Friend-an associate (more or less close):-brother, companion, fellow, friend, husband, lover, neighbor.
à    ஓWebster’s 1828: Friend- One who is attached to another by affection; one who entertains for another sentiments of esteem, respect and affection, which lead him to desire his company, and to seek to promote his happiness and prosperity; opposed to foe or enemy.

WOW! When you think of Jesus, your Lord and Savior, do you view Him in this light as well? As your friend, your most trusted companion? To be honest, I don’t always have this view of Him. Thankfully, the Lord DOES esteem us as His friend. If you are saved-a follower of Christ- then my friend, guess what? Jesus IS your best friend!

The Bible backs these thoughts up. The Lord spoke to Moses like a friend often and Jesus called His followers friends.

      Exodus 33:11a “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his       friend. And he turned again into the camp”

à    ஓ John 15:13-16 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

I love this passage of scripture. There’s so much in those four verses. First, Jesus laid down his life for His friends. Second, We are His friends if we accept and follow Him. Third, God does not view us as servants, but friends!!! Lastly, He has chosen YOU, me, us!
Reading through Karen Kingsbury’s challenge and these scriptures reminds me that Jesus always deserves the preeminence in my life, mind and heart. 

So how can we apply this concept of relating to Jesus as our friend and turning to Him first in our lives?

First, Ye must be born again, John 3:7! If you do not have a relationship with Christ then that is where you need to start. This is the best decision you will ever make. It is as simple as recognizing that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Nothing you can do or work towards will ever earn you your way into heaven. Nothing you do can make you measure up to Christ. Recognize HIS work on the cross. Jesus came to earth and walked as God in the flesh. Jesus never sinned. He is the only person that has ever lived a perfect and blameless life. He died on the cross for you. He suffered a sinner’s death, so that you could have a way to Him, a way to heaven. All you have to do is acknowledge this fact. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior in your heart. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart and save you.

Once this step has been taken then the most vital step in maintaining your relationship with Jesus is to cultivate that relationship. You put time and effort into your relationships with your spouses, children, family and friends. The truth is that we find the time to do the things we want to do. The things that we deem important we carve out time for and just make it work. Jesus is the best friend you will ever have. He will never leave you or forsake you, Hebrews 13:5. He doesn’t disappoint, He doesn’t hurt you, He always fulfills His promises and always comes through. Nothing in this life can come close to the joy you can have when you are drawing close to Jesus. You can have as much of Him as you want to. There is no limit. He never tires of spending time with you.

So, how do we obtain this closeness? How do we get more of Jesus?
     Pray. Every day. Without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17. This can be a confusing concept. It doesn’t mean that you are to be on your knees, eyes closed in prayer every waking moment. “It is an attitude of God-consciousness and God-surrender that we carry with us all the time. Every waking moment is to be lived in an awareness that God is with us and that He is actively involved and engaged in our thoughts and actions. As we go through the day, prayer should be our first response to every fearful situation, every anxious thought, and every undesired task that God commands. A lack of prayer will cause us to depend on ourselves instead of depending on God's grace. Unceasing prayer is, in essence, continual dependence upon and communion with the Father.” -

à  Set apart time during your day to read and study the Bible. I cannot stress how critical it is to your spiritual life to not only read and study God’s word but to store it in your heart. Speaking from personal experience I know how easy it is to slack up in this area. Life get’s busy and we must purpose in our hearts to make this a priority. As I said earlier, we make time for those things that are important to us. Carve out the time in your day to get in God’s word. The Bible has everything we need to live spirit filled lives. To be godly women, wives, mothers and friends. It is light for our path. It draws us closer to the Lord every time we pick it up. God’s word is the key ingredient in being close to Him.

à   As I said, we can have as much of Jesus as we want. The more we get of Him and the more time we spend with Him, the more that we are going to want of Him. Pray while you are going about your daily activities. This is how you pour yourself into your relationship with the Lord. This is how you draw nearer to Him. Instead of calling a friend to talk on a drive or during a lull in your day, talk to Jesus. You don’t even have to use up your minutes for that. He offers an unlimited plan! When you are facing trials, stress and etc. think on the bible verses that you have read through during your daily readings.

The key point here is that Jesus is always with you. If you can imagine him being at your side you will more easily communicate with him. There is a story called “Jesus’ Chair” that details a person doing just that, imagining Jesus sitting in the chair next to him and that helped this man know how to really pray.

So, in closing I would like to challenge you to take a step of Faith and trust Jesus with your heart if you have not done so already. If you are already a Christian then I challenge you to pour more of yourself into Him daily. Study the bible more, pray more and put Him first in your life. I have accepted this challenge in my own life and am striving daily to put Him first and pour more of myself into my relationship with Him.

2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sharing My Testimony

My Testimony
My parents split up when I was about two years old. My childhood is a blur of being juggled between different family members; my mom, dad, grandparents and my Nanny (great-grandma) and moving all over the place. Needless to say I had an unstable childhood where nothing was certain. Neither my mother nor Father were Christians. They both very much lived in the world, as did I. My maternal grandparents are Christians and took me to church whenever I was at their house. My Nanny was a sweet saint of God as well and she always took me to church. I lived with my Nanny a good deal of my childhood. I never questioned whether or not I was loved though. I've always felt much loved by my family. Especially my grandparents and my Nanny. They had an amazing capacity for love and I equate their love with the love of God. 

I was exposed to things during my childhood that no child should be exposed to, causing my views of the world and what is morally right and wrong to be tainted. My teenage years were filled with one bad decision after another. I longed to be accepted, to feel loved and to fit in. My early twenties just got worse. Much worse. As a young woman I had absolutely no respect for myself and no measure of self worth. I felt empty, alone and often depressed. In my search for love and acceptance I turned to men, drugs and alcohol. By the age of 19 I was pregnant. My mother died when I was about 5 1/2 months pregnant and in the years that followed, my grief and our many unresolved issues was like an all consuming fire within me. I began to quickly self-destruct, sucked into the dark world of drugs and immorality. I didn't know if I would ever be able to claw my way out.

As I previously mentioned I did go to church growing up when I visited with my grandparents. At the age of 12 I remember going down the aisle at church and saying the prayer to ask Jesus into my heart. It seemed like the right thing to do. I didn't feel conviction or feel like I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I even got baptized.  Going all throughout my teenage years and my early twenties I thought I was saved. This was a very dangerous mindset because I knew enough about the Bible and God to know that Jesus would forgive me for anything. I just lived my life thinking that later on down the line when I was ready to be a good Christian and straighten up, Jesus would forgive me and I would get things right. I'm so thankful that the Lord preserved me and kept me from mortal danger while I was under this deception. 

In 2005 several events took place that caused me to seriously ponder my path in life. One such event involved my son, and I knew immediately that there needed to be drastic changes in my life.  I was so deeply rooted in sin that I had no idea how to find my way out. I began to pray for the Lord to help me find a way to change. A way to walk away from the horrifying mess that I had put us both in. I was living in New Orleans, LA at this time and I began to feel like maybe I should go to church. This scared me a great deal because I knew that if I went to church I would have to change my life. I had seen so many hypocrites in my life that I didn't want to be one of those.  I wanted to either do things all the way or not at all. 

I found a church a few minutes away from my house and purposed to go there on Sunday. On that Saturday I realized that Hurricane Katrina was coming straight for Louisiana and that I needed to evacuate. I went home to Florida to stay with my grandparents.
The next day was a Sunday, August 28, I found myself at church with my grandparents. I remember sitting in Sunday school in the corner feeling so ashamed of myself. I sat with my head down the entire time crying. I didn't interact with anyone. During the entire church service I remember sitting next to my Grandma trembling. For the first time in my life I saw myself as God must have seen me. As a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. I couldn't even think past drawing my next breath. The only thing pressing on my mind and heart was that I needed Jesus more than I needed air. I went to the alter during the invitation. Now, at this time I still thought that I had been saved when I was 12, so I thought that I just needed to re-dedicate my life to the Lord. The pastor at that church didn't want to deal with me much. He just said a quick prayer with me and sent me on my way. 

Over the next several weeks I was constantly in prayer and reading through the New Testament. In those weeks I realized that there was no possible way I had ever been saved. I realized that the first time I ever felt convicted and came to the realization that I was a sinner was on that Sunday, August 28. One night in my room I got on my knees by my bed and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins. I asked Him to come into my heart and change me. I told Him that I wanted to love Him and live for Him. This is the single best decision that I have ever made. 

Over the next weeks and months I saw such change in my life. I immediately stopped doing drugs, drinking and smoking. I only went back to Louisiana to get my belongings from my home, which had been spared from damage. I never had any further contact with my friends there. I completely walked away from my life. I laid it all down for Jesus. I became very careful about everything that I saw, heard and did. It was such an amazing transformation and completely of the Lord. It was actually all really easy. I didn't, and still don't, ever want to go back to the person I was before Christ. That thought terrifies me. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." And that was exactly the case for me. Everything in my life became new, fresh and beautiful.

It is amazing that God used a hurricane to save me. I would never go as far as to say that He sent that Hurricane just for me, but I know that He did use it to work good in my life. I was 26 when I got saved. My son was five. Unfortunately, due to my life being so full of the lusts of my flesh, sin and the world, my son was exposed to things I wish that he hadn't been. By the grace of God though, I was saved and He began to teach me how to be a parent. 

Through reading the scripture, the Proverbs and seeing the godly examples of others I have seen my son come to Christ, our relationship grow into something beautiful that I never would have imagined and have seen him sparred from so much of what I endured as a child. 

Since being saved I have experienced renewed relationships with family members, I have, for the first time in my life, made real, lasting friendships and I have experienced blessings so abundant that I can't even begin to count or detail them all.

Knowing Christ, having a personal relationship with Jesus, is the greatest joy of my life. Second to that is being a mother. 

Now I don't know how other people, or myself before being saved for that matter, go through life without knowing Jesus. I am so thankful that I am saved. 

Cancer was a journey that I never expected to take. Going THROUGH that journey with Christ though is what got me THROUGH. Every day that I was sick I would say to myself, "I thank God that I am saved". I trusted God with my life. I trusted Him with my future, but cancer is scary because you don't know if God's will is for you to live or die. I'm not completely out of the woods yet, but I am so thankful to be on the other side of the journey and to be healthy and happy. Honestly, I am extremely grateful that the Lord gave me the valley of cancer. I am grateful that He took my leg. I have never been closer to Him or happier than I am right now and I wouldn't take anything for the journey that got me to where I am today. I am completely awestruck by my Jesus and that He has not only worked such miracles in my life, but He has given me the ability to be thankful for everything that I’ve been through and to always praise Him!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Getting THROUGH Your Valley

I was diagnosed with Metastatic Osteosarcoma of the left femur in March of 2010. For a year and a half I underwent intense chemotherapy as well as the amputation of my entire left leg in order to save my life. Please go to my Cancer Journey page to read about my story from beginning to end. Today I am CANCER FREE, healthy, happy and thriving. As a matter of fact, I've never been happier or in a better place spiritually.

It is important for you to know that I wouldn't have made it through a day of the battle for my life if it had not been for my faith in Jesus. It is my desire to share with you my faith, my story and the many topics that the Lord lays on my heart. That is the sole purpose for this blog. To reach out and share what the Lord has done in my life. What He's done for me, He can do for you!

On December 6, 2009 my Pastor preached a message entitled "Yea, Though I Walk Through The Valley." The word "THROUGH" has held special meaning for me since then. Pastor preached that message mere days before I found out my hip was broken for the first time. Before we had even the slightest clue that there may be a bigger, life threatening problem. Every time my Pastor came to visit me in the hospital, at home or saw me at church, he would remind me of the word "THROUGH" and encourage me that YES, Jesus would bring me THROUGH this valley! Well, dear readers, I am here to tell you that He has indeed done just that. In a most miraculous way!

Here are some highlights from that message that spoke to my soul:

Scripture References:
Psalm 110:4 - when a person is in a valley they need a drink
SOS 2:1 - Lilly of the valley
Isaiah 9:17 - valley's are desolate (depression is a deep, dark valley)
Ezekiel 37:1,2 - perishing in the valleys
Luke 3:1-6 ; reference: Isaiah 40:1-5
Psalm 104:10

Psalm 23:1-6
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever."

*Even though I am walking through the valley I will not go alone, I WILL come through
*By repentance and faith I prepare the way of the Lord. Get the stuff out of the way that holds me back from     serving & living for God.
*There will be NO MORE dark valleys when Jesus comes. One day we will walk through our LAST valley!!!
*There is a difference between walking in a valley and walking through a valley.
*We are going to go through our valley. It's inevitable. If I'm saved I will walk through it. The difference between a saved and a lost person is that I will NEVER die in my valley.
    Thoughts concerning walking through the valley of life
  1. Valley's are places of loneliness
    1. No one understands, I can't tell people what's going on, It's just me and God.
    2. It's not always wise to share your heart.
    3. I can be more alone in a spiritual valley than anywhere else.
    4. Jesus will go with me. He will not forsake me. Even though it may seem like no one knows or cares, He is there.
  2. Valley's are places of looking
    1. In a spiritual valley people go looking for answers and often go looking in the wrong areas. People don't go looking for substance in the valley. They're looking for survival.
    2. A valley experience will cause me to take a closer look at what really does matter. Usually when a Christian gets in a spiritual valley they assess their life. Why am I in this valley? Why do I have this problem?
    3. I may be going after the wrong things. If I go after God I can come out of the valley.
    4. Night sets early in the valleys. It gets dark in the valleys, sometimes you can’t see very far.
    5. A quick route to the valley is by putting the Lord on a shelf and my Christian life and pulling it out when it's convenient for me
  3. There are places of leaning on the Son for direction
    1. Call out on the Lord for direction. What should I do? How can I come through this? Grow through this? How can I come out of this valley as a better Christian?
  4. There are places of letting go
    1. Turing loose of things…. Are my habits really worth this? Is my unscriptural baggage worth me carrying it  through this valley?
    2. What habits have I acquired that hold me back and keep me down? A valley is good for stripping me of these things. The more baggage we cling to the harder the journey and the harder it is to come through the valley.
    3. Wouldn't it be better to win the victory now? To turn loose of the things that are holding me in this valley?
Your Valley May Be:
  • Fear
  • Finances
  • Family Problems - simple solution, put myself in the place where God wants me. Get myself right with the Lord and lead my family the way that I need to. They will fall into place.
  • Physical trouble - Paul had it, a thorn in the flesh. The Lord didn't take it away, but He gave him strength.
I found it fitting to title this blog "Yea, Though I Walk THROUGH The Valley," subsequently the actual web address is Since I do a lot more hopping than walking these days, I liked the sound of that :)
Please feel free to share this blog with any and everyone you wish. The Lord laid it on my heart to start this blog as a ministry, so don't feel the need to ask me if you can share it with your friends, family or acquaintances. 

I will be updating more on the blog as time allows, but I feel this is a great point to "launch it!" I do plan on writing articles bi-weekly as well, so keep posted for those.

Thank you for stopping by and may God bless you over and abundantly above all you could ever ask for or think!