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It’s Not You God, It’s Me

Have you ever had one of those nights where one thing leads your thought process all over the place and then you land on one specific thought and kind of camp out there? That’s what this post is tonight so bear with me.

Tonight, for some reason, our greyhound has been acting goofy. She came up to me and just stood in front of me and stared deeply into my eyes. She just wouldn’t move. Then later, as we came upstairs for the night, she was laying down in our room and when Syd came to get her for bed, Baby just stayed where she was and stared at me again. Almost as if she didn’t want to leave me.

It took some gentle persuasion to get her up and going but she finally went.

So, it made me wonder…..does she know something I don’t? We know dogs can sense seizures so maybe I’m going to have one? But mine aren’t the scary, frightening for people to see kind so then I started wondering, does she “know” something’s coming?

Something we can’t sense? Something we’re just not sensitive enough to detect until it’s right on us?

Then my thoughts turned where they often do when I think about my illness…..my passing. I thought about my relationship with God, with my Savior.

Where is it? Is it where it should be?

Then I thought about a VERY popular line people use on each other when they want out of a relationship that’s no longer working. A simple sentence uttered to avoid hurting the other person’s feelings. The good old, tried and true, “It’s not you, it’s me” statement.

Let’s face it….that really means…..yep, it IS you…..NOT me and I don’t want to stick around and work on it.

There is, in my opinion, one time this sentence is 100% true……and that is when we’re using the sentence to describe our relationship with God, with His Son, our Savior Jesus.

“It’s not You God, it’s me.”

I’m not feeling connected to You Father. “It’s not You Lord, it’s me because I’m not reading Your Word for guidance.”

I don’t feel like I have an open line of communication with You Lord. “It’s not You Father, it’s me because I’m not spending any time in prayer.”

I don’t witness to other people in Your Name Jesus. “It’s not You Jesus, it’s me because I’m afraid of what people might think of me if I appear “too consumed” with You.”

My children aren’t making wise choices Father God. “It’s not You God, it’s me because I haven’t really been the example for them to follow when it comes to Your teachings.”

My marriage is falling apart Lord. “It’s not You Lord, it’s me because I make my spouse my last priority instead of the person who is most important to
me after my service to You Jesus.”

How many of the above examples can we relate to?

Isaiah 53:6a says

“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.”

“IT’S NOT YOU FATHER GOD, IT’S ME.”

It’s me, it’s you, it’s us. All of us, at one time or another have felt further from God than we’d like.

There have been times in all of our lives when we’ve felt like there’s a canyon between us and Him. That canyon can, at times, seem an impossible bridge to close but in actuality it’s simple.

We Just need to start doing what we knew we should have been doing all along. Reading His Word. Praying to Him. Talking to Him. Fellowshipping with other believers. Put our priorities in order. Seek Him above ALL else.

Just because we may have strayed away as sheep, it doesn’t mean we have to stay lost in the pasture. We can come home anytime we want.

He’s waiting and will welcome us just as the Father welcomed the prodigal son when he returned to the fold.

What I love about the parable of the prodigal son is the fact that there was no harping on the fact that the son left. No beating for leaving. Just sheer thankfulness that he was back and he was safe and he was with his family again.

That’s us. When we come back to our Father, there is rejoicing that we’re back where we should have been all along….,with HIM.

So, the next time you feel discouraged in your walk, I encourage you to take an honest look at your habits. If you can say, “It’s not You God, it’s me.”, Then you know where you need to start in order to return to His arms and His peace.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you found yourself in this situation over the course of your walk with Jesus? What helped you?

He Hears Us…..ALL the Time….Here’s Proof

Last night, after publishing my post and crying, I couldn’t sleep so I decided to read on my Kindle a bit until I got sleepy.

I have the same Bible app on my iPhone as I do on my Kindle and what happened last night has NEVER happened. NEVER.

NEVER. Hope that’s sunk in. ūüôā

Anyway….as I’m laying in bed, feeling sorry for myself….having a bit of a pity party….which I have every 4 months or so….it’s how I handle all this junk…. Sorry….I went off track there. LOL

Anyway (take 2)……as I’m reading, a pop up….well…..popped up. It was from my Bible app and it said…..”Have you read your Bible lately? Even 5 minutes can make a difference.”

So….part 1, yes….He’s listening. However, here’s where He drove the point home for me……the selected Scripture.

Philippians 3:13-14
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Every time I read that verse I always think of the following verse as a “companion” to it….even though it isn’t.

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

He’s always there for us. Always. ALWAYS. Always.

As I sit here, I can’t help but think of the song that Amy Grant sings, Broken Hallelujah.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a hallelujah

The honest cry of breaking hearts….that’s what last night was for me. A breaking heart, a tired heart, a hurting heart.

Today, a heart that rejoices in Him. Knowing, KNOWING, KNOWING He’s there and He hasn’t left me…..even if I feel disconnected…..He’s holding me, loving me, protecting me and He has a plan for me, my husband, my girls, my family. I may not always understand but I have to be faithful. So….faithful I shall be.

Friends, He’s always listening, always there and He loves us. He loves us so much He sacrificed His Son for us.

That’s something that should always be in the forefront of our minds while we’re in the midst of life…..in rough patches or in smooth waters.

His Grace is Sufficient

Warning, this is one of those raw, I’m hurting, honest to the bones posts… Reader beware………
Tonight Jeff and I were talking about me not having been in church lately. There are many reasons…..but, true to form, Jeff got to the root of all of it….well….

Roots…….

When they switched my meds the pain was more noticeable and I became more afraid to be in public…..that’s 1…..

Then…..I remembered winter of 2010 and the fact that I barely managed to make it to the store and work a 3 hour shift and then come back home….I rarely left the bed that winter. I’m afraid. It seems like it’s happening again and what if this time I don’t come out of it? What if the disabling pain is permanent this time? That’s 2……

Then……I thought about all the amazing, well meaning people who love me and want me to feel better. I know how they worry and I see the worry, the concern, the pity in their eyes and I wish I had good news for them. That God had granted me a miracle and that I’m better but, sadly, I’m still in the same boat I was in yesterday. That’s 3……

Then…..we, as a family, received some bad news and we’re all struggling to deal with it. We’re all worried and we don’t know how to make it better. That’s 4….

Then…..and this is tough, as a woman of God, to admit…..I’m frustrated with where my relationship is with Him right now. I’ve always said and I’ve always meant it….”Lord, keep me right where I am if it means I’ll always be in the relationship with You that You want with me.” But this latest news seems too much. It made me cry out to Him….Lord! Haven’t we already had enough??? My illness, Jeff’s panic attacks, Parkinson’s and now this??? Did we HAVE to have this?? Why???? Can’t You, please………
PLEASE……take something off our shoulders? This burden is heavy. It’s heavy. I haven’t been able to pray…. Scratch that…..I’m praying…..I just don’t feel connected to Him when I’m praying.
That’s 5……

Tonight, as I cried out to Him, I heard Him quietly say, “My grace is sufficient.”
Ok Lord……Your grace is sufficient but right now, I need You to take this load and bear it because I can’t. You see, I’m tired. I’m tired of not being able to turn over in bed without crying. I’m tired of watching people I love suffer. I’m tired of people looking at me with such concern(not that I don’t appreciate how much I’m loved). I’m tired of my kids wondering what kind of mother they’ll have that day….one who feels up to doing something fun or one who needs to lay in bed. I’m tired of disappointing my husband because I’m in too much pain to cook, or to clean, or to ………………………….(insert household chore here). I’m tired of he and the girls going to church without me. I’m tired!!!!

So Father, how about a break? Please? I know, when this began 8 years ago, what I said. I meant it then and I still do now. I’m Yours. Do with me as You see fit.

I know Your promises and I know You love me and that I’ve just hit a rough
patch…..but it’s been one heck of a rough patch…….. How about some smooth waters??

In 2 Corinthians You told Paul
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Well, there ya go…..I have a TON of weaknesses…… Do Your perfect work Lord Jesus and, I pray that I am a willing vessel. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tomorrow is a new day. A new day, a fresh slate…….

What is Judgement; What is Justice? Who decides???

We all have moments in our lives, moments that are crystal clear, moments that, no matter how old we become, we’ll never forget….even if we wish we could. A marriage, the birth of a child, loss of a loved one….I could go on and on, but I think you’ve got the idea.
So, what is this post about? It’s about Judgement, Justice, forgiveness, acceptance….
Before I delve into this post, please, if you know who I’m writing about, please don’t use names.
Tonight, as I have done many nights in the past 26 years, I’ve thought about a friend of mine. I’ve wondered how her life has turned out. Is she ok? Where is she? What is she like now?
When I was a young teenager, I had a friend. She was so very sweet, kind, thoughtful. That’s who she was then. One day, all of that changed. In just ONE day, her life was irrevocably and profoundly changed so that there was no going back to the girl she was. Never.
One day, my friend’s mother, a woman whose home I’d been in, who was a staple at our sporting events, knew all of the kids’ names….one day….she snapped. She shot her son, turned and shot my friend, and then tried to kill herself.
To say our town was stunned is putting it lightly.
Her son died instantly, but my friend….she didn’t. She survived. As soon as I found out, I got in touch with her dad, found out what hospital she was in, and my dad drove me there to spend an afternoon with her.
How do you look at someone who has just suffered something so traumatic, so devastating, that you know… The minute you saw her…she was different? How could she not be? How could any of us, in the same situation, not be changed?
In my young mind….I was naive…I’d never dealt with something like this. How do you comfort? How do you help heal? What did I do? I took makeup and hair supplies. I did her makeup, fixed her hair pretty, and, all the while…she talked. She sat and talked through everything with me. Exactly what happened, where it happened, why it happened. Do you know what I remember most? She didn’t cry. Not a single tear. She’d already locked it down. Way down.
I listened….no questions….I just thought I’d provide what I had…a shoulder to lean on and an ear to hear.
She told me that, after she was shot, she got the gun and tried to use it on her mom but it was empty. No tears, just a matter of fact statement about what had happened.
We sat for a few hours, talking about the event, about makeup, about hair stuff….it was a varied conversation.
When I left, I promised to be there for her in whatever way she needed. And so I was.
About 2 weeks after the incident, I went with her back to her home to pack some things she’d need at her dad’s house. What an eerie thing. She walked thru and told me where she was, where her brother was, everything. Again, no tears, just a calm exterior that had locked the emotions up.
I remember leaving that house, thinking….this is too heavy. For her, for me, for anybody. It was the first time I realized…truly realized there was evil in the world.
In January of 1987, my friend, although no longer at my school…we still talked daily at this point, she asked me for a favor. I had no clue what she was going to ask and it shocked me.
She said she wanted to go to her mother’s sentencing and they thought it’d be a good idea if she had a psychologist with her. She said she just wanted a friend, someone who knew her, not someone impersonal. She asked if I would be that friend. The answer, of course, was yes.
When that day came, I don’t remember much about the proceedings. What do I remember? I remember watching her mom walk in and that’s it….for that part of things. From the moment her mom came in the room, I felt my friend stiffen, tighten her grip on my hand, barely breathing. I remember thinking a stiff wind might break her into a thousand pieces. From that moment on, all my focus was on my friend. Doing what I could to let her know she wasn’t alone. I didn’t even remember the sentence her mom got. I remember my friend and the vault that was within her that locked her emotions away.
From that day, we talked but as our lives changed,we grew, we became different people. We had less in common and she was spiraling out of control. I had no idea how to help, what to say, how to comfort her. All my life, I’ve been told I’m too sensitive, too emotional….but that’s me. It won’t change. I think those qualities are what my friend needed at that time of her life. She needed someone to cry for her since she couldn’t cry for herself. There are seasons in our lives that God places people to help us along, someone to carry your burdens with you. I think He put me in her life for that but I also believe she was put in my life for the same reason.
The last time I saw her, we ran into each other at the drive in. My husband and I were there on a date and I ran into her in the concession stand. She wasn’t the girl who’d been my friend 10 years earlier. She was hard, angry, bitter. Again, who wouldn’t be? Who wouldn’t be different? No longer the sweet, thoughtful, kind girl she had been. I had no idea how to reach her, how to let her know I was still here. But she didn’t want that. I understand…I think….I think maybe, she didn’t want connections with the girl she was; she was a different woman and she’d learned to protect herself against any and all emotion. It broke my heart.
So you may ask….why am I writing this?
For many years….sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, sometimes even daily, I’ve thought of her. How she is now, 26 years since that awful day. Has she found peace? Has she found happiness? Has she dealt with it?
Then, tonight….just by random….I found out her mom had been released from jail. When? June, 2000. She’d served just 13 years for her crimes. 13 years! She was given a 50 year sentence and she served 13 years.
I don’t know why this has hit me so hard. I haven’t been able to sleep because I can’t stop crying. Why? This didn’t happen to me! It happened to her!! All those times I’ve thought about her, I always found comfort in one tiny seed of hope….that as long as her mother was in jail, my friend would feel safe. She wouldn’t have to worry about her mom being out and about, maybe wanting to see her. Then I found this info tonight and my heart breaks for her. To be honest, I was mad. Mad at a system that lets a woman go just 13 years after she killed her son and attempted to kill her daughter.
Was justice served? Was the judgement just? She took the lives of two people that day. Her son’s life and her daughter’s life. Both were murdered; it’s just that my friend’s life as she knew it was murdered. Her life she hoped to have, the life she deserved to have, the right to be innocent just a bit longer….it was all taken away from her. Her heart was still beating but her life wasn’t.
As I’m writing this, I can’t stop crying. I’ve been talking to God, asking, how is that just? How is it acceptable?? 13 years for such a horrific crime of a mother….a mother…taking the lives of her children. 13 years.
So I prayed, asked for guidance because my heart is feeling a bit hardened right now….not towards God but towards man. Towards the sins that abound in this world. How do we cope with that? How do we deal with the evil that resides on this side of the veil? Should I ever have the blessing of being in contact with my friend, how would I explain to her what God says about this? The only thing that kept coming to mind is the verse which says, Vengeance is mine!
God says, the Vengeance is HIS…..not ours.
I kept thinking….Lord is that all we have to cling to when bad things happen? Horrible things that we can’t understand, things we want to avenge ourselves….is that all we have? No. That was a very clear answer to me. No…..

I went to Romans 12:9-21

This section in my Bible is titled: BEHAVE LIKE A CHRISTIAN.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving The Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with ALL men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says The Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty; give him drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. DO NOT BE OVERCOME BY EVIL, BUT OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.

Would this give my friend hope? I would like to think so but I don’t really know. We’re all different, we all have our own path to walk.
By no means did I think anything I did with her was for me in any way. My focus was so much on her that that’s all I remember. When I heard about her mother being released after just 13 short years, my immediate thought was, how did she handle it? How is she? Does she feel, as all of us would be tempted to feel, a deep desire for revenge? A deep desire to make that person hurt the way they hurt you? To make their lives change just as they had made yours change?
It’s so tempting….so tempting….but that path only leads to one direction; lack of fulfillment. It won’t change your life, it will weigh your life down even more. What do we do?
We heap blessings upon their heads. We remember that God, who sees ALL, has judgement and justice in his hands. There is redemption for everyone, no matter the sin. My prayer is for lives to be changed; to be healed. To focus on who God calls us to be as Christians. To leave judgement and wrath for Him to deal with. It isn’t our place.

Does that mean it’s easy? Not by a long shot. This walk will never be easy. The day it becomes easy is the day we are no longer on the path.
My heart, hearing this news, broke all over again for my friend. She deserves to have her burden lifted. In my experience, that only happens when we have Jesus as our Lord and Savior. I ask you to join me in prayer that my friend, wherever she may be, has already accepted Him. Pray, if she hasn’t, that God will put people in her life who will minister to her, who’ll show her how to ease the hurt. Pray for her to have peace.
So do we only have God’s vengeance to cling to? No! We have SO much more. We have an example of how to handle the evil in this world. We love each other, we care for each other, we don’t repay evil for evil. We stand back and realize we have no control over certain things in this life. We can know, however, our God is just and He will take care of things. We just have to step back and let Him.

We all must Abhor what is evil and cling to what is good. In this life, there seems to be more evil than good lately. It seems everything is falling apart. It isn’t. God’s timing is impeccable. Until then, I choose to “Cling to what is good” and I pray you do too.

Miracles or True Belief??

One night while reading I was in the Gospel of Luke, I came across the following Scripture and used it as the foundation in a post on Facebook:

Luke 23:8 “Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him.”

I chose this verse to post on Facebook for my nightly….mostly nightly….commentary on my Bible reading. Here’s what I posted….

SO those were my thoughts thatnight. The day after, as I was thinking about posting on Hadassah, I thought I should clarify some things.

1. I’m not saying miracles aren’t important or that they can’t happen. I’m saying that the miracles Jesus did were to point to who He was as the Son of God. If we use miracles as the sole reason we come to Jesus then when the times get tough, I believe, those people will fall away from Jesus. The reason….the SOLE reason…..we should come to Jesus is because of His sacrifice for us. Because we realize that we are worthless. Yep…..worthless. That seems like such a harsh word doesn’t it? It’s true though. There is nothing in us that is worthy of the sacricfice Jesus made for us when He died on cross for our sins.

FINALLY….A Diagnosis

At the end of November I had a number of tests to look for, yet again, an answer to this illness. The first week of December I received a call that I had longed for for almost 8 years. Although I never considered how I would react if I was finally given an answer, I just needed to know, to finally have an answer. I just never expected the answer that was coming. The nurse from my neurologist’s office told me my EEG was severely abnormal and I needed to be put on anti seizure meds immediately. What??? Seizures!??! She was talking so fast my brain couldn’t comprehend what she was telling me. I stammered…but….but….I don’t have seizures!!! Having been put on so many meds, and not understanding her, I refused the meds until I could meet with the neurologist in person and have everything thoroughly explained. Another week went by before I could see her. My husband, Jeff, took the day off to go in with me. As we sat in the waiting room, we had a discussion about his time off of work until the end of the year. He told me he was taking the upcoming Friday off but I couldn’t remember why. He just looked at me with an expression that seemed to say, “Really?!” Apparently we’d had a discussion about having family pictures taken by a friend that day and I don’t remember much of that discussion. Pretty soon we were going to have an explanation for that. As we waited in the exam room for her to come in, I was a nervous wreck. So scared of what she was going to say. She began explaining to us what my severely abnormal EEG meant, told me she was shocked, given my symptoms, no one had ordered one before. Then she said when I had my first exam and was telling her my symptoms, she immediately thought it was epilepsy. Thankfully she didn’t share that with me that day. As she explained what the seizures would look like, not necessarily grand mal, but more like a “going away”. That I look present, I may even nod or say uh-huh, but that I’m not really there. That I may have “time warps” when I lose time but can’t understand why. That after these I would have confusion and memory loss. As she explaining this, I’m thinking….screaming in my head…”BUT I’M NOT HAVING THAT!!!” Then I hear my husband say that he and my girls had noticed these behaviors in me (confusion and memory loss…yep!). Seeming to be out of it, not present. He told the neurologist he thought I was just ignoring him. That made me laugh….later. That made me so very…I’m not sure how to explain it. Sad, distraught, scared, and even guilty.
So we talked about medications and she explained, because of the severely abnormal EEG, I need to be on a higher than normal dose. It’s taken 7 weeks to get me to a full dose and then I have another two weeks before I see her again.

Jeff and I walked out, got in the car, and he started to drive away. I made him pull over because I knew I was going to have a “little” breakdown. Little….Hah! He reassured me it was going to be ok, that we would deal with this just like we had dealt with things the last 7.5 years. TOGETHER. With a lot of love, support, laughter, and understanding.

Going home to my girls was scary for me. How did we tell them without frightening them? Without them feeling like the bottom had dropped out of their world? Jeff did most the talking. Explaining enough that they felt calm but not too in depth. I remember sitting there, not crying because I’d gotten that out of my system before coming home so I wouldn’t frighten the girls, nodding and agreeing with Jeff. I didn’t say much because I was afraid I’d not say the right words. That I would scare them.

Then we decided to go file for disability because we knew this diagnosis was going to change everything. Everything.

So why am I just now writing this??? I just this evening came to a head on, full impact of acknowledging what is wrong with me. I’m currently reading a fiction book and the main character has a brain injury and is having seizures. For some odd reason, seeing that word…SEIZURES….Seeing it in stark black and white….I started crying.
Then I realized….I’ve avoided saying a specific statement….I’ve said “They say I have epilepsy.” Notice that….THEY?? Reading that word seizure, it slammed into me….what I haven’t yet said, what I’m scared to admit, “I…..I have epilepsy.” “I’m an epileptic.” I’M AN EPILEPTIC.” So there! I’ve said it, I’ve admitted it to myself……after 7 weeks and a word in a book later.

Why didn’t I say those words before now?

I think by saying “they” I was fooling myself. Thinking, I don’t REALLY have that. After seriously thinking about the last 7+ years, I realized I have been having seizures. One I know about specifically because it frightened me so deeply. The others, Jeff and our girls have witnessed and I trust them. I can not distance myself from this truth any longer.

So what now? Where do I go from here?

Well….I move forward just like I have for the past 7+ years. I move forward with God leading me, holding me, reminding me that I’m His. I’ve had a few eye opening, random thoughts that pop up at the oddest times … Like I can NEVER allow my life insurance payments to lapse. See? Random!

What I cling to is this….Epilepsy isn’t who I am. It’s a part of me, it helps me explain to people why I can NOT remember their names even after having met them 5 times…(memory loss….). This is a small part of what makes up Amanda. I was a swimmer….but that isn’t who I am….it’s a part of me. I was a scholarship student to Germany….but that isn’t who I am….it’s a part of me. I have epilepsy….but that isn’t who I am.
So, who am I? I am a child of the King. I am His and He is mine. He holds me and makes me more like His Son Jesus every day. Who am I? I’m Amanda, a gal who may have many small things that are a part of me but who has ONE thing that drives me and makes me who I am. I am His child. Desiring Him above ALL else, begging Him to NEVER stop working on me, to make me more like Him and less like me.

THAT’S who I am!!!

Thanks for reading this. It was gut wrenching to write but at the same time, healing and purging to my spirit. Much love in Christ to all of you. Keep striving to stay in God’s path for you.

I’m Still Here

I’m still here and thinking about the ministry God has laid on my heart. ¬†Unfortunately, our home has been ground zero for illness for about a month! ¬†Both girls, then back to my younger daughter then to my husband and I. ¬†Just when I thought it had left the building, I was the recipient of a stomach bug.

To say I haven’t felt up to doing much has been an understatement! ¬†Give me a few days and I’ll be back! ¬†God has it all in His hands!