Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I was looking through some old things on my computer this morning and came across this blog I wrote back in 2007. I had no idea it had been that long since this had happened to me because it is still so fresh in my memory. I decided to share it here because most people that will read it here never saw it where it was before. There may be a few that have read it but not many. Read it and let me know what you think about it.

Thursday, February 22, 2007
AWESOME – Really? Are you sure?

Wanted to share something with everyone tonight that the Lord put on my heart a while back. The way I use the word "Awesome". Now, please read everything I have to say here and don't get your back all "bowed up" and get mad - I'm just sharing what the Lord spoke to MY heart - no one else's. But I just wonder if some out there may be like me and never really stopped to think about it. I know I hadn't until one day I was saying something was "Awesome" and man - I felt my spirit quicken immediately!!! It was like "Really? That's awesome? Are you sure? Do you realize that you talk about what an 'AWESOME' God you serve and how 'AWESOME' God is? Do you realize that you are now saying this thing you just called awesome must be as good as God? WHOA! Did THAT ever get my attention! Now, I'm gonna be honest - as I always try to be - I have slipped a couple of times and caught myself saying or about to say something or someone is 'Awesome' but then I remember what I felt in my spirit that day and I immediately change it. It's easy to change when I'm online and typing but it's harder to catch myself sometimes when I'm actually talking. But I'm getting better about it. It really quickened my spirit to think that I would give anyone or anything down here on this earth the same status that I give my Lord and Savior! My Father! He is truly AWESOME!

Anyway, just thought some of you might want to think about that - it's really scary to me how flippant I seem to be sometimes when talking about my Father. I am really trying to become more conscious of this - Yes! He loves us! Yes! He cares about us! But He is still, after all, GOD! And He deserves more respect than anyone or anything that I know on this earth.

What do you think?

Love y’all,

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I KNOW how God works. I've seen Him work in my life more times than I can count. So, why does it still seem to "blow my mind" when He does the amazing things? Let me tell you about the latest. . .

On 04-21-10 I 'tweeted' that I was FINALLY starting on my blog about my first time experience as a volunteer at an E-Women's conference. Well, that same day, the blogger for @EWomen asked me to keep her posted as she would love to link to it.

On 04-23-10 I posted my blog. I sent the link to @EWomen on twitter and also sent her the link by Facebook. Never heard anything from her.

In the meantime, it seemed that my plans for volunteering at the Birmingham conference were falling apart and I began to doubt if I was even supposed to be there. I started questioning myself, questioning God, trying to figure out how I could still make it. Also, at the back of my mind, I was thinking - well, if the lady that blogs for them read my blog about my experience and didn't think it was all that great, maybe I just don't need to be there anyway. Who do I think I can help? (I know it was the enemy attacking, but I'm just telling you all the thoughts that were going through my mind.)

On 04-28-10 I posted a comment on the EWomen's blog. Just asked her if she'd received the link I had sent her and, just in case she hadn't, I posted the link there also.

On 04-29-10 my car started making a HORRIBLE noise and I knew I was gonna have to get it checked out. So, on 05-01-10, I was on my way to leave my car at the shop. I still had all sorts of thoughts going through my head - maybe He just wants me to go to the conference in Birmingham by myself. See, my daughter and I had both signed up to volunteer, but then she had a conflict come up and can't go. FINALLY, I just prayed and said, "Lord, if you want me at that conference, YOU make the way. YOU show me how."

Well, Iguess you already know - that's all it took. Once I finally let go and let Him have it, He took over and took care of everything!

When I got back home from leaving my car at the shop, I saw where Mary (the EWomen blogger) had left a comment on my blog. She actually thought it was good! LOL

I sent her a message on facebook and asked her to please be in prayer for me. I told her about some of the things that had me doubting if I was supposed to be in Birmingham or not and just asked her to pray that He would show me what He wanted.

The next day, 05-02-10, she posted on facebook - "Next stop - Birmingham, AL! I hope to see you ALL there!" I noticed that there had been several comments already and I did something that I don't usually do. (Yes, I KNOW it was God 'nudging' me) I clicked to view all comments and began reading. I think it was about the third or fourth comment I came to - someone named Amber said she was gonna be there but was looking for someone to sit with. Kind of caught my attention, but I kept reading. Then I saw one left by a Milissa that was looking for a roommate. Well, I sent both Amber and Milissa messages just to see what would happen. VOILA! God at work for sure! Amber had not bought her ticket yet and was VERY interested in getting a free ticket. She agreed to take Jessica's spot volunteering - WOO HOO!!!! However, she lives too far away for me to be able to carpool with. That's okay - I'm just glad we found someone to fill in for Jessica and now Amber will have plenty of people to sit with! Then I heard from Milissa. Come to find out, she lives a couple hours away from me so I'll still have to do some driving, but I can drive to her house and then we can ride together from there. Thank You, Lord, FOR SURE cause I was REALLY dreading trying to drive in Birmingham! So, you see, once I LET GO AND LET GOD, He was able to work His plan.

Like I said, I've seen Him do so many things in my life and the lives of others, I should not be so amazed anymore. Then again, I think He likes it that I AM amazed every time. What do you think?

Looks like He wants to use me in Birmingham after all. So, I would like to take this opportunity to ask for your prayers. Please pray that I will continue to be willing to let Him use me in whatever way He wishes and, while you're praying for me, pray for all the speakers, musicians, singers, attendees and all other volunteers that will be in Birmingham on May 14 and 15. He is definitely setting me on a new path. It is exciting and scary all at the same time. I don't know what all He has planned for me, I just want to be sure I'm ready and willing to be in His will each and every day.

Love to all!

Friday, April 23, 2010


WOW! Where do I start? There are so many "stories within the story" that I really don't know where to begin. I don't remember exactly when I started feeling like God was "nudging" me to volunteer at the EWomen's conference in Pensacola, FL this year but once I did, it went from there. My daughter also volunteered for the first time.

For the first story, I guess I should give some background information about what else God was doing in my life. I'd been feeling like He was wanting to move me to another church for a while. But, stubborn as I am, it took me a while to actually make the move. I loved the church I was in. Loved all the people, knew everyone and was very 'comfortable'. Uh-oh! FIRST warning sign - I was comfortable - LOL  Well, I'm sure most of you know how He LOVES to move us out of our comfort zones, right? So, as of March 14, I am in the church that He moved me to which is WAY bigger with LOTS more people. I've jumped in with both feet and tried to make myself 'get in there' and get involved so I'm learning SOME people but still have a long way to go!

Soooooooo - back to Friday, April 9 sitting at the table in the volunteer's meeting before the conference started that night. A lady came and sat at our table and I thought 'she looks familiar' but couldn't figure out why. My daughter and I had volunteered to work at the product tables and I was assigned to Angela Thomas' product table. Jessica's assignment is yet another story within the story and we'll get to that later. (I may even see if I can get HER to write that part) We get finished in the meeting and go downstairs to where the product tables are set up. I'm sitting at Angela's table and in walks the lady that looked familiar to me earlier. She says "Don't you go to Grace?" You got it - she's a member of the church I am now attending and THAT is why she looked so familiar! I had seen her before but had never actually had the chance to meet her or talk to her. So, we were able to talk and start getting to know each other a little better. Let's just say it was DEFINITELY no accident that we were put at the same table - God is already up to something there and I'm a little nervous about what He's doing. I am just trying to stay strong in my resolve to let HIM lead my steps, even if it's WAY out of my comfort zone.

STORY TWO: As for working at Angela Thomas' product table - WOW! Again, no accident. I am still attending the Ladies Bible Study at the church God moved me from because we had just started it. What Bible Study? Angela Thomas' "When Wallflowers Dance". As I began studying for the first week's session, God began to put ideas into my head about how to make it more interesting and/or fun for everyone. One idea He gave me, after I went to Michael's, (a craft/hobby store) was using these wonderful flower clips by putting different things on them that Angela talked about. Angela had seen the pictures on my facebook page and commented that she loved what was done. So, I told her I'd bring her one of each flower to the conference in Pensacola - and then I was assigned to her table. Coincidence? I think not. She loved the flowers and used them to decorate her product table. (AFTER her assistant took pictures of her wearing some first! LOL)

Angela makes a WONDERFUL model, don't you think?

Angela Thomas Pharr is one of the most "down-to-earth", genuine ladies that I have ever met. I first met her years ago in Mobile, Alabama - first time I'd ever heard her speak and she blew me away! Since that time, I always make it a point to go and hear her anytime she is close and there is any way possible for me to make it. I absolutely loved it when she began to put out Bible Studies through Lifeway. I have bought all three of her Ladies' Bible studies. I bought them at EWomen conferences in the past in Pensacola. I can't tell you how honored I was to be able to work at her product table. I love the way she loves all the ladies that come to the conferences.

It was such fun working at her table and meeting so many different people. I enjoyed being able to, confidently with first-hand knowledge, tell everyone that asked how wonderful her products are. I've done all three of her Bible Studies (well, working on third one now), read most of her books and listened to her CDs as well. I know it was no accident that God placed me at her table that weekend.

As for Beth Cleveland and Lindsay Crosby - well, I didn't really get a chance to see Lindsay much and I only heard Beth at the volunteer meeting, but fell in love with her, too. How can I NOT fall in love with someone that cries at the drop of a hat just like I do? LOL

Just seeing how much the conferences mean not only to the ladies attending; but, to the ladies behind the scenes was amazing. They put so much thought and PRAYER into each and every conference. All because they hope to reach at least one lady for Jesus. To help at least one lady that might be having a rough time remember that God loves her and that she is special. Just thinking about it as I'm typing this makes my heart feel so full! I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be involved in as many conferences as I possibly could. I had already signed up to be a volunteer at the Birmingham conference but had just signed up to work at a product table.

However, after the weekend at Pensacola, I know that God might want to use me for something else. So, after I got home, I sent Beth and Lindsay an e-mail and told them that, even though I had originally signed up to work a product table, that I am willing to work ANYWHERE I am needed - whether it is at a product table, as a team leader, an encourager - ANYWHERE! I feel so honored that God is allowing me to be even such a small part of this wonderful organization. My heart truly is for hurting women - I guess because I was one for so many years. But it is just amazing how full of love your heart gets when you FINALLY realize that God REALLY loves you and that it's okay for you to love you!

I can hardly wait for May 14th and 15th to get here. I am praying that I will keep my eyes and ears open so that I can see and hear what God wants to show and tell me. I pray that He will be able to use me to help at least one other person at the conference in Birmingham. And, if it be in His will, that He will allow me to also be a part of the conference in October in Macon, GA. I shouldn't be so amazed at how He works after seeing Him do so much - yet, I am.

I know I rambled a lot trying to get this all down - but He fills my heart so full it makes it hard to get my thoughts together and get it to all come out right! I mentioned earlier about my daughter's experience, but I'm hoping I can get her to write her own story. It is definitely a testimony of how He works His plan out, even when we think everything is going wrong!

So, stay tuned and maybe in the next day or two, she will post her story here. If she doesn't have time, I'll get her permission to share it with everyone here.

Love you all and please be praying that I will continue to let God work through me and be open to HIS WILL for my life - that is all I truly want.


Thursday, January 14, 2010


to follow Jesus! LOL - I can't help it - that song just came to my mind when I typed in the subject line! Seriously though, it does fit - because Jesus IS the only way I can decide ANYTHING - or even have a thought, for that matter. He got my attention yesterday. I FINALLY remembered to get on the scales yesterday morning to see just how much damage I'd done over the last four months - sad to say, A LOT! HOWEVER, I am NOT going to beat myself up over it. There's no gain (or loss, as the case might be - LOL) in that. It DID, however, jolt me out of the 'fog' I've been in for the last four months. I'm not gonna say I'm not disappointed - I am. But, we all go through things and I think that I had just been pushing myself so hard in so many different areas for so long that I just kind of "shut down" for a while. I don't really even know how to explain it. It wasn't just my weight loss journey that I shut out. It was my church family and even my responsibilities at home. Hey - I even forgot to send in my Avon order last week and that's the first time I can EVER remember just not sending in an order. It's almost like I went to sleep for four months and now I'm finally waking up. (Although I AM sleepy as I'm typing this. It IS just 4:45 a.m., after all - LOL) I guess my 'brain' just wanted a break. I don't know - all I know is that now, through the Grace of God, I am awake again and ready to tackle things again. I realize that I can not do this on my own. I HAVE to rely on Him to get me through and I am not setting unrealistic goals for myself, either. I am simply going to take it ONE DAY AT A TIME. I am not going to think about tomorrow or the next day or next week or next month - I am simply going to concentrate on TODAY - this minute that I've been given - because I am NOT promised another day or even the next minute. I will praise Him for every minute He gives me and continually ask Him to help me use it the way He wants me to use it.

I am going to TRY to keep a better "public" record of things because that seems to help me. It makes me feel more accountable and gives me extra reason to remember Who is in control and Who is the reason I'm even capable of doing any of this. He will give me strength because I have asked Him for it. I will also need and am asking now for all of you to pray for me - I will take ALL the help I can get. So here we go...............

I will start with yesterday because that is when I 'woke up' and I'll go from there and TRY to post every day. I may not post much but just simply how the day went as far as me being 'productive' in the things that He has entrusted to me, including my weight.


This morning I got on the scales and saw just how much 'damage' I'd done over the last four months. On my last visit to my PA, Sept. 15, 2009, my weight was down to 246. It had been down to 241 in July so I had gained 5 pounds over two months. Well, yesterday, on my home scale, I weighed in at 262. Sooooooo, I've got a good ways to go to get back to where I was before I "fell asleep". LOL

So how did it go on Wednesday? I think it went fairly well. I kept my calories down to 1300 (sounds like a lot, but that's good for me right now), I walked for 30 minutes and I drank my 8 glasses of water. When I got home from work, I worked on getting information put into my 2010 calendar (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) until time to go to church. When I got home from church, I finished with my calendar and then it was time for bed.

So, I'll do my best to post another update tonight and just take each minute as it comes.

Love you all and pray that you each remember that GOD is the ONLY way to do ANYTHING :)

Please lift me up in prayer every time He brings me to your mind. That's all I ask. Thank you for 'listening'.

Monday, November 2, 2009


WOW! Yes, I think that's what I had this morning - a major meltdown after TOTALLY surrendering my marriage to God. As you all know and may remember from my last blog, I had been "talking" a small bit with my husband through e-mail. However, it has been several days since he has written and I just had to accept that, perhaps he isn't going to write anymore. I decided that I had to TRULY AND FINALLY, COMPLETELY let go of it and give it to God. So I did. I sat down and wrote my husband what I called a final e-mail - however, IF he were to answer me and tell me that he wanted to talk, I let him know that I am still here for him and still willing to talk - but the "ball is in his court" as they say. I'm thinking that I may just share the e-mail here with everyone (and let people judge me as they want) for the simple fact that I truly have nothing to hide and I am truly letting go of this and leaving it in God's hands. If ANYONE sees or hears me trying to pick it back up again, I expect that person to hold me accountable and remind me that I have to leave it alone. But, before I share the e-mail I want to share what happened after I wrote it.

As I was writing it, I was squalling my eyes out. It hurts sooooooo bad. After I hit the "send" button the tears (I guess I should say "body shaking, gut-wrenching sobs") really came. Here I was, supposed to be getting ready for church and I could do nothing but sob and sob because I felt like my heart was being ripped right out of me. I cried, "I can't go to church this morning. I can't go anywhere like this!" Yet, at the same time, God was helping me. He gave me a friend I could call (thanks for being there Sharon) and she did nothing much but listen to me sob for a bit, then she told me to remember Psalm 23 and even had me say it with her. By the time I got off the phone, the sobs had subsided and I knew I had to get ready for church. I felt soooooooo much lighter - like such a heavy weight had been lifted and this song kept going through my mind. I don't know the name of it and don't even know that much of the song but it's a Southern Gospel song and the part that was going through my mind was "Sing, (da da da da da da da), Sing, when there's nothing left to do - (something something something) - just throw back your head and sing!" Now, when the song is playing I can sing right along with it but for the life of me right now about all I could think of was "Sing......sing.......just throw back your head and sing!" I KNEW I had to get to church and take my place with the praise team and SING!!! By this time, it's almost 10:30 and I still had to get a shower and wash my hair - and be at church by 11:00!!!! I said, "Lord, if You really want me there this morning, You better put me in fast motion!" And He did - I was walking in the church door at 11:00 and everyone was still standing around talking - PRAISE GOD!!! But I haven't even got to the BEST part yet. Now, we had just practiced Thursday night, but I truly didn't even remember what we were singing as our special (the song before the message) until we got to it. Don't know if any of you know this song or not, but it is called "I Trust You, Lord". It took all I could do not to bust out laughing - GOD IS SOOOOOOO GOOD!!!! He was reminding me AGAIN right then and there to just TRUST HIM!!!! I smiled through the whole song - yes, a tear or two slipped through, but a different kind of tear this time - a tear of gratefulness for His continued attentiveness to me. And the REALLY neat thing about it (to me anyway) was that the first two lines of this song is a solo that I do, so it was just really extra special this morning in that I was totally unaware of anyone else being in that church - I felt as if God was standing right in front of me and I was singing straight to Him, telling Him that I trust Him - and I meant every word of it. I know that I CAN trust Him but He wanted me to totally release everything to Him of my own free will. He will not rip anything away from any of us - no matter how bad it might be for us - but if we will WILLINGLY give it to Him and TRULY LET GO, He will gladly take it and love us through the hurt that may come from letting go of it. I know - He did it for me and I know He will do it for anyone else. I have truly felt so much lighter in my heart today - don't misunderstand - it still hurts, really hurts, but God is loving me through it. And every day that I leave it alone and let Him take care of it, the pain will get less and less. And I know that I can trust Him with whatever the outcome may be.

Now - here is a copy of the e-mail I sent to my husband (and I sent a copy to his sister that he lived with for a while when he left me because I wanted her to know what I'd sent him). I am doing my best to do everything the right way and that is why I have chosen to share this e-mail with everyone - so that everyone knows exactly what I said and I expect you all to hold me accountable to leaving this in God's hands. Thank you in advance to everyone for being there for me. Here's the e-mail I sent:

(Jo, your note is at the end but I pray you will read what I've written to Jeff, also)

Okay Jeff - I don't understand why you quit talking again. I can't worry about it though. I've told you how I feel - I have forgiven you for smoking pot in our own backyard and involving Jessica in it (which she should NOT have done – so, no, I do NOT blame you for that - only for your part in it) and I have forgiven you for leaving here without even a goodbye or anything letting me know you were gone. I believe we can work things out - neither one of us has done anything so unforgivable that we couldn't work through it. You seem to think, though, that somehow I took all your "money". I didn't - you know I didn't - but I don't even care about that. I know Who I have to answer to and I know I didn't do anything like that. Yeah, sure, I probably spent SOME that I shouldn't have - mostly on you when I bought that guitar for you and on groceries because I was too ashamed (or whatever you want to call it) to tell you that I didn't have enough money for groceries. None of that matters or is such a big deal that it couldn't be worked out. However, you don't seem to be interested.

So, I'm writing this to let you know that you don't have to worry about me bothering you anymore. HOWEVER - I AM STILL HERE AND STILL READY AND WILLING TO TALK ANY TIME YOU DECIDE YOU MIGHT WANT TO. For all I know, you are already living with someone else and that's why you don't want to try to work things out. All I know is that you are MY husband and you WILL have to answer to the Lord if you don't even give us a chance. I am so proud of you and proud that you are taking classes to become a minister - but I don't understand how you think you will be able to minister to people about FORGIVENESS and COMMITMENT when you aren't even willing to honor those two things yourself.

I still love you and always will. I still believe that God put us together and always will believe that. As I've said before, though, He does give us each free will and if you choose to abandon me that is your choice and you will answer to Him for that. I know that we could make it and have a strong marriage and ministry, if you would only be willing to talk. Sure, it's not gonna happen overnight, but anything worth having is worth fighting for. I'm not giving up on you or our marriage. I just don't want YOU to think that I'M harassing you, so I will not bother you anymore. I STILL want to come see you at Thanksgiving and spend Thanksgiving with you and your (OUR) family - but I will only come if you write and tell me you want me there. I will not go where I am not welcome.

I feel that I've done all I can do so I have to let go now and leave it in God's hands - He can make a way but you have to be willing also. I'm praying that you will see that we need to talk face-to-face before this goes to court and not on court day. I love you more than I'll ever be able to show you - but the fact that I'm willing to leave my job only 5 years short of retirement to go and be with you should have been a BIG clue to you of just how much I am willing to do to make this work. I don't know what else I can to do to show you that I love you and support you - except to leave you alone now since that is what you seem to want. I'm sorry I was such a bother to you. I pray that one day you will be able to forgive me for all the little wrong things I did to you and any big wrong things that I may have done. I never knew it could hurt so much to have to tell someone goodbye. My only consolation is that, even though I have to say goodbye for now, I WILL at least get to see you on court day and maybe on that day you will be able to look me in the face and tell me what I did that was so unforgivable.

I love you :)

P.S. Jo, I sent you a copy of this only because I wanted you to know how much I truly love your brother. I know you probably don't believe me because I read all of the hurtful, though untrue, things that he has written you about me and my family. I never wanted to hurt anyone. All I ever wanted was to be a loving wife and I seem to have screwed that up pretty much. I know God has forgiven me for the things I did wrong and can only pray that one day you and Jeff will do the same. I love you both with all my heart.

I do wish that you would each let me know you received and read this e-mail but I don't hold out much hope for that - I will just have to trust God with it.

Thank you all for "listening" to me. I pray you will all have a blessed day (or night - depending on when you read this - LOL)


Monday, October 19, 2009


WOW! What a concept, right? This is something that the Lord has been dealing with me about for quite a while now - unconditional love and forgiveness. He really drove His message home on a Friday evening (Sept. 18, to be exact) and has been just putting one thing after another in front of me to continue to drive it home. I feel that I need to share because MAYBE it will help someone, somewhere - and, if it does help even just one person, then I'm glad I shared.

I really don't even know where to begin . It is 4:30 p.m. on Monday, October 12 right now and I know I won't have time to finish this, but I'm at least going to get started. Actually, I think I'll start from what happened today that truly floored me - I had just finished creating this place for me to blog and I decided I didn't have time to start writing. So, I went to check out the page of this singer that I recently learned about, Gina Zavalis. I follow her on Twitter and she is also my friend on facebook - but I'd never actually heard her sing so I wanted to check it out. I pulled up her page (http://www.indieheaven.com/artist_main.php?id=60172) to listen to a song. I decided to read her bio while listening to her song play. Now don't tell me God wasn't in this because when I read this part of her bio, I just about fell off my seat! I immediately wrote her a message and asked her permission to share this part of her bio because it is about the same thing I was feeling led to write about - or at least it goes right along with it, anyway. She gave me permission and I also found out that she has a page on ShoutLife (www.shoutlife.com/ginazavalis). Here is what I read in her bio:

"In Your Eyes" is a prayer and a reflection of how lucky we are to be loved by a God who always holds us in His forgiving eyes. No matter how much we screw up, God will always see us through if we allow Him. I am in constant awe of how forgiving God is and how present He is when we choose to open up our hearts to Him. He is always forgiving, always loving and always accepting of who we are.

I couldn't believe it when I read that on her page just as I was about to write this blog. If He is always forgiving, loving and accepting of who we are, how can we think that He expects anything less of us?

I, in my human nature, tend to think that I have the "right" to be mad at someone or to harbor anger toward someone because of something they may have done to me or said about me or something they may have done to or said about someone I love. As a Christian, do I really have that "right"? I don't believe I do. I believe that God has been showing me a LOT lately that I have GOT to let things go and leave it with Him. I am responsible for MY actions and MY feelings. I can not love others the way He wants me to, if I am unforgiving. I know that I have done many things wrong and, even though it may have been unintentional, I have probably hurt many people. I want God to forgive me, don't I? Of course I do. Not only do I want it, I EXPECT it - because He tells me in His Word that, if I confess my sins, He is faithful and just to forgive me.

I can not justify my anger or unforgiveness or unloving tendencies anywhere in His Word. All I can find is where He says that I am to forgive "seventy times seven". I think He started showing me a lot of this in the last couple months.

This next part may be hard for my family and close friends to understand, but I am simply sharing what God has been dealing with me about and putting on my heart lately. I can't worry about whether or not everyone or anyone approves, I simply know that I have to do what He tells me I have to do.

Those of you that know me know that my husband left back in March. At first, I was very hurt and angry about things that I'd learned right before he left. But God has really been dealing with me about that the last couple of months. I know in my heart of hearts that we were put together by God - I just don't see how it could have happened without Him. I never wanted our marriage to go in this direction. I know that it is the enemy trying to tear something apart before it even has a chance to really blossom because God has a ministry for us as a team. It took me a long time to make this choice. I argued with God a lot about it. However, if you've ever argued with God, you know what I'm talking about when I say you never win those arguments! God has let me know that I have no choice, I have to let go of the hurt and anger. I know that I did things to hurt and anger my husband, too. Like him, none of it was done with true "intent" to hurt or anger - we just made bad choices. I can't even go into everything. All I can say is that none of it matters. This was also brought home to me again last week.

My sister's husband died on Wednesday, Oct. 7. I stayed with her last week so she wouldn't have to be totally by herself right away. Staying with her really helped the Lord drive the message home even more clearly. I learned so much from watching her and thinking back over her four and a half year marriage. My sister DEFINITELY knows about unconditional love. She loved her husband and he loved her - even though a lot of people may not have understood that. I know that I would hurt sometimes at the things she was going through and listen to her pour her heart out sometimes about how hard it was. But that is something we have to do to make it through sometimes - let our feelings out and let the tears wash away the bad so there's more room for the good. I saw her sacrifice a lot of times so that she could be with her husband when he couldn't go or do and even in the beginning when, sometimes he just didn't want to. Does she regret making those sacrifices? No. She wishes now that he was here again. I know she'll be okay because she has the Lord, first and foremost, and she has us - her family. I praise God that we are a close family.

However, this just served to make me realize even more how important it is for my husband and I to get past this and move on together. I know that God has our marriage worked out already - I just have to wait on His timing. I think that we both got ahead of His plan for us by getting married so quick, because we just KNEW it was to be - but I also know that God can get it back on track. (Let me also add this - because I don't know who might be reading this, I want to clarify that my husband has NEVER hit me. I don't want anyone reading this to think that I would be telling someone to stay with anyone that is beating them or putting their life in danger. Yes, you DO still have to forgive that person and let God help you love them, but I NEVER think that ANYONE is to stay in a place where their life is in danger.)

It all comes down to TRUE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and FORGIVENESS. I must remember what is really important and throw all the other "junk" out of my mind. Don't get me wrong, it isn't easy. My human, sinful nature tries to attack every day, every second sometimes, and puts those thoughts in my head, "But what about this...." and "But he did this..." It doesn't matter. None of it matters. All that matters is that I have to forgive, love unconditionally and move on. Every time that I make that conscious choice to forgive, it gets a little easier. I know that is only because of the Lord and because it is what He wants me to do. When I make choices that agree with His Word, He helps it become easier and easier to do.

Oh - and then yesterday (Sunday, October 18) just before I sat down to try to finish this, I read something that another friend of mine wrote on her facebook page. I really don't think she'd mind me sharing this either and it goes right along with what I've been saying about unconditional love and forgiveness. This is what T.M. wrote:

Me and Chris have been married for 18 years. We both have made mistakes to each other in the 18 years. But what we have learned is to LOVE and FORGIVE. If you cannot forgive your partner when they make mistakes, then how can you forgive someone else!!!

I have heard about a lot of couples getting divorced lately. And a lot of them are cutting the other down. What do you think the kids think when they see and hear these comments? Don't you think this hurts the kids, too?

Adam and Eve sinned, too; but, God forgave them. So, if God can forgive them, then why can't we forgive the people that hurt us? I would be lost, if I ever lost my soul mate. He can be a bonehead at times, but aren't we all at times, too? Guess that's what keeps us all alive and kicking!!

He just keeps putting people's writings or scriptures in front of me that confirm everything I have been feeling lately. Every time I'd see one, I'd think, "I need to include that in the blog" - of course, now I can't find them, but it's okay. I know that He is doing this in His time and that's what is important.

Do you know something else that I've found to be true, since I have started making the choice to really love people and truly forgive? It is a very "freeing" experience. It frees me up in every aspect of my life. I never realized how much energy it takes to hang onto hurt and bitterness and unforgiveness. Since I have decided to forgive and just let go, I feel so much lighter - physically and emotionally. It's been a little hard because I haven't shared this with anyone, but I believe it will be even easier now that my friends and family know what I have been going through. I've wanted so many times to talk to one or another about all the "emotions" I've been dealing with lately - but at the same time, I wanted to wait and let them all find out at the same time - by reading it here, in my blog. As I said earlier, I know that some won't agree with it or like it (especially my daughter) but I can only consider what God agrees with. He is the One that I ultimately have to answer to.

You see, that's another thing - a lot of people use that as their excuse not to forgive or love someone (the fact that some people won't understand or agree with it) - but it's not gonna work with the Lord. You see, I made the choice to accept the gift that He gave me in my husband. I truly believe He has a plan for our marriage and I am responsible for showing my husband that unconditional love and forgiveness, NO MATTER WHAT! Some will say, "but he is going to do this" or "he is going to do that" - it doesn't matter. If he DOES do something that God doesn't approve of, then he (my husband) is the one that will have to answer for it. Same goes for me, if I do something to my husband that God doesn't approve of, I will have to answer for it. MY responsibility is to FORGIVE and LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY. I know that until God deals with each individual about this on their own level and in their own time, there is no way it can be understood. I never could understand how my sister could do the things she did and go through the things that she went through, but even before her husband died, God had begun dealing with me about this. That is why I now understand. I pray and I know that He is going to give me the chance to show the same unconditional love and forgiveness to my husband - but I have to wait on His time. I am ready any time He is - yes, I know it will be hard, but as I've read or heard before, ANYTHING WORTH HAVING IS WORTH WORKING HARD FOR. That may not be exactly how it went, but you get the idea anyway.

I know that I rambled a lot and this may not be very "coherent" - I just had so much to share and have been trying for so long to get it all down, that my thoughts just got all jumbled up. I have tried to read through this and make it a little better but, at this point, I'm just leaving it in God's hands. I have tried to put into words what I've been going through but it's been so long and so much has happened that it's hard to remember it all. I simply ask that you remember me and my husband in your prayers. I still don't know if he is going to be willing or not, but I'm trusting God. At least we (my husband and I) have been 'talking' through e-mails lately. He is going to school now to get his minister's license which will take a few years, but I know he can do it. I support him in that one hundred percent. God has done a lot in him since he left and God has done a lot in ME since my husband left and I can only trust that He will have us back together in His time. I also learned that my husband had been hospitalized again, which really broke my heart, because I couldn't be there with him. I couldn't be there because I didn't know about it. But God has everything under control and, as long as I do what He is asking of me (including TRULY loving and forgiving people), then I know that He will work ALL things to the good.

Think about it, as someone posted on twitter yesterday, " You love Jesus as much as the person you love the least. Go read 1 John 4:20-22"

So the next time you want to hang on to something that someone did to you or a loved one or something that someone said about you or a loved one, ask Jesus what He would have you do with that - I'm pretty sure that, if you're honest with yourself, you'll hear Him telling you to forgive and let go. Really and truly, forgiveness is for the individual that is doing the forgiving because it truly frees you up in so many ways.

I love you all and I hope that this has somehow touched your heart in some way. If not, maybe it was just for me - as an act of obedience to Him - and, if that's the case, then that's okay, too. I simply want to do my best to be in His will at all times anymore. That is what is truly important.