Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Esther- continued

 The 5 Takeaways mentioned in the previous post were:

1) Bravery
2) Selflessness
3) Dreaming and asking big
4) Restoration
5) The importance of listening to wise counsel

So- how does this apply to me (and you)?

The past year(s) have been challenging and last October 13th my life changed when I had my heart attack. Sitting in the hospital, not knowing what was going on and just waiting was overwhelming. Sitting there, hearing that my heart attack was stress related was earth shattering. I mean, diet- that's easy to change, stress is a little harder. About that time is when I really started looking at Esther and realized that it was time to start making hard decisions. I don't like change- I don't know too many people who do. However, I also know that when it's time for me to make a change God makes it very clear- and this time was no exception. I don't know what all the changes are going to be or involve but I do know that He is walking with me through every step. Being willing to make changes is part of being brave. It's also part of the selflessness. This seems so counterintuitive, so opposite of what the word implies. Yet, if being willing to make the changes needed allows me to give more of me where I am needed or where He wants me serving, then it fits right in. Dreams- this is a hard one- 9 years ago I had a dream and it kind of went by the wayside. If someone asked me what my dream was right now, I couldn't tell them. And that's not's always a bad thing- because it's still being developed and worked through. I may realize that dream today, or it may be several years down the road. What I do know is that I am not alone. 

The wise counsel- I know that without my mom and dad, but especially my mom, I would not have made it through the past 7 months unscathed. She (they) has been there to support me through everything. 7 years ago I made a decision to move to Indiana- she supported me then and throughout the last 7 years she has loved me through my mistakes, taken care of me through two major health events, and cheered me on in every endeavor I have been part of. I have watched my parent's marriage with a little bit of envy (good envy) and a lot of pride. I know it's not always been easy, but just like Esther she has handled it with grace.

And one last thing, restoration has been my personal "theme" for the year. I have learned a lot in the almost 47 years I have been alive but the last 7 years and then the last 7 months have given me new purpose, they have caused a reevaluation of my heart and has led me to moving toward a full restoration of my finances, my dreams, my spiritual health, my mental health, and my physical health. I read a devotion piece on this and it talked about how even in the moments that we ache now, there is another moment down the road that this ache is preparing me for. It doesn't lessen the ache but it gives it meaning. She said this is what Esther must have come to learn and understand and I am going to quote Lore Ferguson Wilbert- "This time, this aching, awful time, is held secure by a God who knows the future, who ordains the steps of His children, and who has prepared a better Esther, a better Savior for all His people to come."

Monday, May 16, 2022

Esther- 5 Takeaways


On Mother's Day, my dad asked me to name a female hero in the Bible- I couldn't name just one so I said Esther, Ruth, and Hannah. Ruth was because of her willingness to leave the comfortable to go to the uncomfortable and Hannah for her strength and faithfulness.  It's been a while since I shared but thought this was a good starting back point.

Being single and not a mother (although I have been called mom many times in the last 24 years in the classroom), it's sometimes hard for me to find a woman in the Bible to relate to.

The past few years, with my job and other circumstances, I have been looking more and more at Esther and the idea that I have been placed where I am "for such a time as this". 

Esther's life shows so many lessons but there are 5 that have stuck out to me.

1) Bravery- It is documented in the the book of Esther that if she were to go to the king uninvited it could mean death. Even so, she took the step forward in spite of the obstacles in front of her.

2) Selflessness- Maybe to some it looks like self- preservation, after all, she had not told anyone of her religious heritage, but she still had to make a decision and the moment she said that she would go to the king, even if it meant she would perish, it moved from self-preservation to selflessness.

3.) Dreaming and asking big- She took that step and because of her bravery she found favor in the king's eyes. That gave her the opportunity to ask for a simple dinner and then move into the bigger ask. Even Haman dreamed big- only his dream ended up being bestowed on his mortal enemy. Then she had to dream and ask even bigger in order to save her life as well as those of her fellow Jews.

4.) Restoration- By Esther taking the steps she did, there was restoration among her people. It's the celebration of God's deliverance and protection for His people and should bring about freedom, joy, and a lack of fear.

5) The importance of listening to wise counsel. Mordecai had his finger on the puls of what was taking place in the city. he listened, he acted, he shared, he prayed, and he fasted. Then he reached out to Esther who he had raised and counseled along the way. She could have listened to what he had to say and ignored it. But, because of his counsel in the past, she listened and acted and in the process saved the lives of her people.

So, how does this apply to me (and maybe you)? Since this has been pretty long, I will hold off on those until the next blog :)  

Saturday, January 8, 2022


Merriam-Webster has a couple of definitions for the word scar- " a mark remaining (as on the skin) after injured tissue has healed" and "a lasting moral or emotional injury"

I have several major scars on my body- the big ones are from a surgery in 2009 and a hysterectomy in 2019.  But the one that catches my eye daily is one that is small, so small that if you weren't looking for it- you would just pass right over it. Each of my scars is part of my story. The 2009 surgery made life easier, exercise manageable, and helped ease weight off my back. The hysterectomy showed I had major problems that needed to be dealt with immediately- and after that surgery I said multiple times that I didn't realize how bad I felt until I didn't feel bad anymore.  

But that small scar- every time I see it- I say a prayer. That scar is the one. on the inside of my wrist from my heart catheterization. That heart cath is what showed the doctors what was wrong. It showed them that overall my heart was healthy until they reached the part where the artery tore. It gave them them the information they needed to help me heal. Each time I catch a glimpse of that scar it's a reminder that God's not finished with me yet. It's a visual reminder of healing and the power of prayer.

But what about those scars that aren't visual? The ones that wreck the heart- the loss of a loved one, a word or action that cuts deep, betrayal from a friend or even family. This is where the kintsugi coming- here's this heart wrecked, shattered, and nothing left to do except surrender to the one who loved me enough to die for me- whose body bore my sin- whose wounds and scars are there to remind me of His heart, His healing. He takes that heart, pours His love into those cracks filling them up with the gold dust- that precious gold dust that holds the heart together. It creates the scar, and is a reminder of healing.

When I was googling I came across this blog post from last August that Kaitlyn Bouchillon (who in a God-incidence, came across my FB feed this past week with some posts that hit home- and I wasn't following her prior to this either- she was brand new to my feed) and this quote jumped out at me. That last line- "You're still here". 

Yes, I have scars-some physical, others emotional but each time that scar catches my eye it's a reminder to stop, take a breath, say thank you and then, "okay God, use me- use my scar for your good. Help my purpose come out of the deepest hurts."

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Kintsugi- An art highlighting imperfections

I had someone ask me about my picture yesterday (not here- but on FB). They asked if it was kintsugi- I replied in the affirmative but thought I would take a brief moment to explain why I went with this graphic. 

When I was originally planning out my graphic for my word I planned on using a stained glass window. The idea of how all the parts of the window are separate and yet come together to make a full picture was where my original idea took me. But, then I started thinking of things that need restored- and how that typically means they are broken or damaged. My mind then took me back to my Launch Leadership training with Revelation Wellness™ and one of the weeks that Heather talked about Kintsugi. 

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery. One Website puts it like this

"Kintsugi, the art of resilience...

This ancient technique, discovered in the fifteenth century in Japan, invites us to repair a broken object by enhancing its scars with real gold powder, instead of trying to hide them."

Wikipedia says: "As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Focus on the Family had this on their blog back in November 2020 (on a side note, if you 
click on the link and read that post- it's good!)

"Kintsugi is the art of repairing something that has been broken with gold, with the understanding that the object is more beautiful because it has been broken. Like the art of kintsugi, God repairs the brokenness in our lives and makes us more beautiful through the process."

This is why I chose the photo of the the Kintsugi bowl to display my word Restore and all of the broken pieces of my life that need restored

    -Physical- covid, parosmia, heart attack, overweight, joint issues, arthritis, etc

    -Mental- Covid did a number on me, I started to find myself sinking into despair, and   becoming someone I did not even know. The loneliness sent me places in my mind.

     -Spiritual- This goes along with the mental. At times, I dig deep into the word but then sometimes I pull away and it takes me days, weeks, even months to get back

    -Dreams- as I mentioned, over the last several years, my dreams took some pretty big hits. I lost those dreams and now- I don't even know what my dreams are anymore. I just know there has to be more than "this".  

I also found this quote at the end of a Joni and Friends blog from 2017

"I’m sure you’ve picked up on the obvious lesson here. Because God does ‘kintsugi’ on his people all the time. When our lives are shattered by terrible trial, He’s going to put us back together in a way that is far more beautiful, more spectacular than before the trial. Rather than conceal the damage, he accentuates his grace through the broken pieces of our life. It’s one way, perhaps the best way, that He performs Romans 8:28 in us – fitting the broken pieces together for our good and His glory."

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Restore- 2022


2021 was not the year I (or probably any of us) thought it would be. I had such high hopes for 2021 after 2020. Such high hopes that my word for 2021 was Forward- and in many ways I did move forward, but there were also times when I felt like I had fallen backward, or was even just stuck. 

2020 ended with a bout of Covid, March 2021 began the journey with Parosmia (distorted smell and Dysgeusia (distorted taste). October 2021 stopped me in my tracks with a mild heart attack (it was a SCAD heart attack) more than likely due to stress (and 2 weeks before the heart attack, a deer ran right into my car while I was on my way to work).

There were silver linings- I have lost about 50 lbs since March (not the way I planned but it is what it is). I was able to go visit TN for the first time in 3 years and saw a bear in person. I started running again and even taught my Rev classes in March and April. The heart attack made me slow down and take a good hard look at my life and the stressors in it. I knew some things needed to change and they are slowly getting there. 

With that in mind I went back to my word from 2020 (restoration) and tweaked it a bit. My word for 2022 is restore. And the graphic shows what I want to restore- mental, physical, and spiritual along with my dreams. My dreams died a bit and I feel this stirring to figure out where God is leading me and what He is calling me to. 

The word restore means to bring back to- to return to an original state after depletion or loss. Some of the synonyms are renew, recharge, regenerate and rebuild.  My verse for 2020 was 1 Peter 5:10 and while it is still relevant, the verses I am clinging close to this year are Joel 2:25- trusting that He WILL restore what the "locusts" have stolen 

and Psalm 23:3.  

In my back pocket I am keeping Psalm 41:3 and Jeremiah 30:17 to also keep close.

One of my goals for 2022 is to restore my blog- to bring it back to where it was- as my place for sharing, the ups and downs, the dreams and the journey through life. It may not be every day, but it will be as God places it on my heart to share. Have a blessed day and Happy New Year!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Epiphany and Vulnerabilty

It's been a LONG time- well over a year- and I don't even know who will read this or even if anyone will read this BUT, I feel like God is prompting me to share this so I am just trying to obey...

Epiphany time: For the last few weeks- okay, months- I have been talking with my health coach at the school clinic about why I struggle so much with tracking my food, getting stuck and not progressing, and several other items. A couple of weeks ago I realized that part of it was a shame thing. I let myself live in the shame of weight gain- that I had messed up because I began obsessing over it and didn't enjoy food anymore. I became "that" friend- the one I never wanted to become- the one that judged- often without words- what other people were putting in their mouths. I began not enjoying dinners or celebrations. I developed that self-righteous attitude. BUT, then I got sick, several times over, and my food/diet and exercise took a hit and the weight piled on. I look back at what I looked and felt like then and now and I realize it's the same- never enough, shame.
I am re-reading with the Rev family- The Wellness Revelation. In chapter one, Alisa says something that every single time gets me, "desperation and disgust are powerful motivators for change, but they do not lead to lasting results and increasing joy." In Chapter 2 she says, "Idolatry is when we think if only (fill in the blank with your greatest desire apart from God), then I will be happy. Of course, these things never truly satisfy, and worshiping them leads us further away from God and deeper into depravity and despair." (p. 31-32)
My "if only" came to the forefront today while answer the questions in the back of chapter two and can I tell you what I discovered that hit me so hard in the heart that I literally sat here with tears in my eyes? An epiphany so strong that I stopped the forward motion of continued reading to come back and sit in it for a while?
8 years ago I began a journey- and I ended up making calorie counting, food, and even exercise an idol. I let it consume me. I let it potentially destroy relationships. And when my mind, body and willpower failed me, I began to live in the shame of failure of not placing the value where it should have been. My "if only" statement? If only I lost the weight, if only I ate just this food, if only I burnt off this many calories, THEN I would be happy, then I would be loved, then I would be seen- but, I wasn't.
Fast-forward 7 to 8 years and here I sit- heavier than I was before, ashamed of what I have done physically to my body but even more ashamed of the lack of the true heart work I have done.
So, what does that mean for me now? It means it's time to not just draw the line in the sand. It means it's time to put the weight of shame down- it's time to leave it right here on June 15, 2020, and live out Hebrews 12:1- to cast aside that weight of shame and sin, which clings to me with every lb. and run my race with endurance- the race that is in front of me- not behind- but in front AND, most important look to Jesus. It's time to Reclaim my Joy and Love my Journey.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Holy = Whole? Part 2

When I left yesterday's post I mentioned that my dad ended with five things to put us in our right mind and now I want to apply them to my journey to health that I am still on.  The underlined part will be his thoughts and the non-underlined parts are mine.

1.) Recognize the presence of sin in our flesh.  I like food- a lot- different kinds of food- and sometimes, I eat way more than I should or do not eat in a way that is honoring God.  When I overindulge, when I eat that which I know I should not then I am allowing myself to give in to the flesh. That's not to say I shouldn't enjoy my food or that I can't ever stray from my plan, but I need to recognize it's place in my life and make sure #2 is on target.

2.) Have a heart fixed on God.  When my heart is focused and in tune, when I am walking in complete obedience, then it makes it easier to not stray.  When I realize that all I eat or drink is to be done to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31) it makes a little easier to say no (but still can be a struggle for sure!)

3.) Meditate on God's word.  For me, this is going to look like verses taped on my cupboards, in my car, on my fridge, behind my desk at school, etc., wherever I find temptation.  I need to have His word in front of me to fight it!

4.) Communicate regularly with God in prayer.  Again, this will look a lot like number 3.  I need to truly ask myself some hard questions when I am faced with the temptations of food, drink or even just skipping a workout and then pray my way through it.

5.) Be obedient.  My dad reminded me of this truth- God wants my complete obedience, not a partial obedience, not a "when I feel like it" obedience but a full surrender obedience.  A "this is hard but it's where you have led me" obedience. A "it's a do the next right, yet hard," step of obedience.

Am I there yet? No
Am I going to strive to get there- You bet!
Is it going to be easy? No
Will it be worth it? More than ANYTHING!

To end today I am going to post another of my favorite songs that reminds me where my focus needs to be- this one ends up on repeat a lot!