God Loves You, Whether You Like It Or Not!

I came across this pic somewhere on Facebook a while ago and saved it to my phone.  I don’t remember who posted it, so I’m unable to give credit where credit is due!

GLY

I haven’t blogged in a while, the reason being is that my writing has to come to me by way of the Holy Spirit.  There have been many times when I’ve sat down at my computer thinking, “Today’s a great day for a blog post”, and then I sit there…and sit…and sit, and I resign myself to the fact that, “I’ve got nothin’!”  When I recently poured over my previous blog posts, I realized that with each of them I was “moved” to write them.  A theme, phrase or word would be rolling around in my head (or maybe it was my heart), and as soon as I’d sit down to write, the words flowed effortlessly and that’s when I realized that they weren’t even my own.  Okay…maybe a few.

Prior to beginning my Christian walk (three years ago this month), I knew ABOUT God, but I didn’t KNOW Him.  I knew He existed – I never doubted that for one second – but what I did doubt was that I was important to Him, nor did I understand the unfathomable and eternal depths to which He loves me.  Let’s face it, I was a more-than-middle-aged woman, banging around on a Harley with a mouth that would make a longshoreman blush.  I wasn’t a “bad” person, but I was so far from God that I just figured that it was too late for me.  Too late for me to truly know the forgiveness and love of Jesus, too late for me to have a brand new start.  I was so ill-informed.

I gave my life to Christ the same day I walked into Granite United Church.  There, the Holy Spirit and I were formally introduced when I closed my eyes and prayed for Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to be my Lord and Savior.  I was forgiven, I was saved and I became a child of God, just as is promised in John 1:12 ~ “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.” (NLT)  What an AH-MAZING GIFT!  It still blows my mind that with that one decision to cross the line of faith, I had a brand new life in Him!

As I eagerly delved into my new life, which of course included reading the bible, I felt somewhat hesitant, intimidated, unsure if I would truly absorb His Word and be able to apply it to my life.  I mean the “old me” was lingering around (thus, the feelings of unworthiness and self-doubt were gnawing at me), but thankfully the “new me” began to feel empowered and confident.  I was blessed to participate in a weekly women’s bible study, the teacher of which I will never be able to thank enough for her guidance, friendship and mentorship.  If someone would have told me a few years ago that I would become a Born-Again Christian, that I would put Jesus first in my life, watch Him move mountains that I was convinced would NEVER move, and that I would think the bible is the coolest book EVER, I would’ve rolled my eyes into the back of my skull and I shudder to think of what would’ve come out of my mouth!  :::Whoops!:::

But here I am…living a new life…a life filled with joy, peace, love and HOPE!

God loves you, whether you like it or not….and I LOVE how He loves me!

“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.  With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” ~ Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT)

#LetLoveLeadTheWay – TP

 

 

 

I am Forgiven!

When Jesus was nailed to the cross, broken and bleeding, willingly dying to take away the sin of the world, I paused on Good Friday to truly reflect on the immeasurable suffering He endured and my heart was heavy.   Knowing that “For God so loved the world He gave his only Son and that whosoever believes in Him will not perish and will have eternal life.” ~John 3:16… how truly blessed I am to be a “whosoever”.  Jesus not only “saved” me, he “rescued” me, so I was no longer held captive by the enemy….I was no longer hidden away in a dark cave.

In being raised Catholic, I knew that “He suffered, died and was buried and on the third day, He rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures.”  I’m embarrassed to say that until now, those were simply memorized words that I recited when I attended Mass.

Easter Service for me this year (my first in my bible-based Christian Church-Granite United), was AMAZING!  My fellow church-goers (myself included) take this “Jesus-thing” pretty seriously!  There were hundreds of names on each of my church’s campuses Prayer Walls…HUNDREDS of souls that were prayed for leading up to the celebration of Easter!  Hundreds of people that had not previously attended (this) church walked through the doors and many were saved… it was awesome!

I don’t think I can ever thank Him enough… but I can, and do, put my trust and faith in Him… he is so, so good… so loving and faithful!

I AM a “whosoever”… I AM forgiven. He’s given me a brand new heart and a fresh start!  I’m not special in anyway… He does this for EVERYONE who calls upon Him.  Ga’head… call Him whenever you’re ready… He’ll always be waiting for you!

~Let love lead the way~ TP

I’m NOT a violent person, but the “Bunny” MUST die!

jcd-1

For real.  Long before I began my Christian Walk (I was raised Catholic), I never understood the concept of the Easter Bunny…filling baskets with fake grass, chocolates, Peeps, candy eggs, etc.  I was quite happy as a child to receive an “Easter Basket” filled with goodies, and I was equally as happy to see that the Easter Bunny had consumed the carrots that I left for him, along with a glass of milk (and he always left me a “note”, just like Santa Claus did, encouraging me to “be a good girl”).  I’m not gonna lie…I did the EXACT same thing for my children when they were little.  That’s all I knew, so that’s what I did.  I raised my children in the Catholic church to the best of my ability, but I was always searching for another way to connect with God… to praise Jesus Christ who died for my sins, thus, I joined a bible-based Christian church and I’ve never looked back.

But as far as the Easter Bunny thing goes…long before I became a Christian, I’ve been somewhat offended (and I’m not easily offended) that the holiest of holy days has been made a mockery of via a “Bunny”.

I was curious enough to Google the origin of the Easter Bunny and here’s what I found (info cred:  Historydotcom):

“The Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short-tailed creature who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday; nevertheless, the Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.”

Sheesh.

I continued my Google research, which brought me back again to Historydotcom to find the meaning of Easter in Christianity:

“Easter is really an entire season of the Christian church year, as opposed to a single-day observance. Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday, is a time of reflection and penance and represents the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry, a time in which Christians believe he survived various temptations by the devil. The day before Lent, known as Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday” (<-I can relate!), is a last hurrah of food and fun before the fasting begins. The week preceding Easter is called Holy Week and includes “Maundy Thursday”, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples; Good Friday, which honors the day of his crucifixion; and Holy Saturday, which focuses on the transition between the crucifixion and resurrection. The 50-day period following Easter Sunday is called Eastertide and includes a celebration of Jesus’ ascension into heaven.”

I’m down with that.

I guess I really don’t want the Bunny to die.  That wouldn’t be very Christian of me and I believe I’ve made my point.  Knowing that my young nieces, grandnieces and grandnephew are delighted when they get their Easter Baskets will continue to be a treasured memory of their innocence until the time comes when their innocence is gone and they know that there’s no such thing as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc., and it’s replaced with the reality of what really “is” and “isn’t”.

I will hold Easter as the most sacred of holy days in my heart, because I know what it truly means.  Some people feel that I’m “taking this ‘Jesus thing’ way too seriously”.  Hmmm… last time I checked, I think Jesus took me VERY seriously when he was nailed to a cross and died for my sins.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:14 – And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

~Let love lead the way~ TP

“You’ve Changed!” Why “Yes”, “Yes, I have!”

booksbiblecase

“You’ve changed.”

“Yes, I have.”

“You’re not the same anymore.”

“I know… and I’m THRILLED about it!”

There’s this “mystery” surrounding my recent decision to become a Follower of Christ.  Actually, it really wasn’t a decision, per se… I just knew it was time and boy-oh-boy was I ready.  The mystery is how/why I’ve changed(?)  I’ve heard that the church I belong to is a “cult”.  Really?  A “cult”?  That’s disheartening.  It’s not like they’ve put a burlap sack over my head, thrown me in a rusted out panel van and whisked me away to some secluded compound where my family and friends can’t find me.  I’m not being brainwashed, coerced, cajoled or anything of the sort.  I’m simply worshiping my Lord & Savior, attending church each week, volunteering and serving when I can.

I can think of a lot worse things that I could be doing other than loving and worshiping Jesus.  I could be a terrible wife, a neglectful mother, a bank robber, serial killer, kleptomaniac,  self-aggrandizing narcissist… truly the list is endless.

I’m curious as to why MY journey in Christ is “scary” or “disdainful” to others?  Perhaps they’re afraid of what they don’t understand or what they’re not willing to seek?  I’ve always believed in God, in the Father, Son & the Holy Spirit and so do most of my family and friends but now, when I openly honor and praise our Heavenly Father, I’m the odd woman out.  Go figure.

I’ll tell you how I’ve changed (feel free to reference my previous blog posts); I’m calm, peaceful, full of joy, hope and a love that I’ve never experienced before.  I don’t swear anymore (and I used to… A LOT); it’s not like I made a conscious decision not to swear, I just simply stopped.  I’m still me (and here comes the “tooting-my-own-horn” part — which I normally wouldn’t do — but I am now, simply to state who I was and who I still am).  I’m loving, compassionate, and empathetic.  I love my family and friends.  I love dogs immensely… my dogs, your dogs, rescue and shelter dogs.  I love veterans, the elderly and babies.  I’m a tattooed, vested biker chick…I love driving fast and banging gears in my Mustang GT.  I’m a loyal, dedicated and conscientious employee (at the same company for almost 19 years).  I’m still me… I’m still here.  I truly believe that once a person turns their life over to Christ, there’s no turning back.  It’s like when a mother gives birth to a baby… that baby’s not going back in!

If it weren’t for my beloved one, true highest God, I wouldn’t be here.  I have Him to thank for all that I am, all that I have and all that I’ll ever be.

  • Matthew 22:37-38:  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

~Let love lead the way~ TP

 

 

 

 

You’d think I was pulling wings off of flies!

I must admit, it’s been a little disheartening being faced with some of the “not-so-supportive” reactions from some (certainly not all) of the people in my life simply because I turned my heart over to Jesus Christ.  It’s not like I’m pulling wings off of flies for Pete’s sake!

I came to the realization that something VERY significant was missing in my life, and it took way longer than I anticipated to find it.  Knowing what I know now, I’m pretty sure that in my heart I’ve always known what it was… I was just uncertain as to how to get there!  I’m beyond middle-aged now, and my only regret is that I waited more than half of my lifetime to get to where I am.

Here’s the good news though… the GREAT news, actually… it’s NEVER TOO LATE!

If someone had told me six months ago that I would turn my life over to Him and would immediately become so full of joy and peace, I wouldn’t have believed them!  I was always so anxious…about EVERYTHING in my life…every minute of every day.  Filled with worry and angst…I was a prisoner in my own head.  Now?  I’m calm, relaxed, and peaceful.  I’ve found great comfort in taking some quiet time for reading the bible and journaling every day.

For those that truly know me…they’ve seen the change in me.  Most notably, I used to swear…a LOT!  I never really thought about it…it was just something that I did.  The most amazing thing is that after I became a follower of Christ, I didn’t wake up the next morning and say to myself, “Well, no more swearing for me!”  Quite the contrary…I didn’t even have to think about it!  And the first time I said, “Oh my Gosh” about something or other, I immediately said out loud, “Oh my ‘Gawd’!  Did I just say ‘Oh my Gosh’?”  True story.

So for those in my life that don’t quite understand what my journey is all about, please know this…I’m still “me”… except now I’m filled with more love, joy and peace than I ever thought was possible!

Colossians 3:14 ~ “Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”

~Let love lead the way~TP

 

My New Journey

I’ve been “empty” for a long time. I’m married (32 years), have two awesome grown children, and I love my family deeply, but something was missing.  I’ve lost loved ones (like everyone does), but the most recent loss of my brother-in-law, who was my best friend (5 years ago), left me so devastated, so mournful that I felt so lost, carrying a huge heartache that just wouldn’t lessen…the hurt was just as much five years later as it was on Day One.

I have suspected for many years that the “thing” that was missing was related to religion and/or spirituality in some way.  I was raised Catholic and attended church regularly as a child, raised my children Catholic, but only attended church when I “had” to.  A few years ago, I started attending my local Catholic church faithfully every week for about 8 months, then I fell off.  I tried to connect with the Heavenly Father but, quite unfortunately, I just wasn’t “feeling” it.

I believe there is no such thing as “coincidence”.  I’ve always believed that God has a plan for all of us…that everything happens for a reason; good and bad.  What I didn’t know is that it’s His plan, and it comes in His time!

I’m blessed beyond measure…to some, I may not have much, but to others I have more than I need.  I’ve always been sensitive, compassionate, empathetic, and have always strived to do the right thing… to be kind, be humble, and to pay it forward.

On January 28th, 2017, through a Facebook acquaintance, I found a local bible-based church (Granite United).  I looked them up online and checked-out their FB page.  “This looks kinda cool”, I said to myself, but I wasn’t fully sure if I wanted to step out of my “Catholic” comfort zone.  Because I have a very outgoing personality, most people who meet me would never (in a million years) suspect that I have “pre-” social anxiety (getting all jacked-up BEFORE going somewhere that’s unfamiliar to me).  While contemplating going, I became uncertain and anxious and I vacillated on whether or not I should go to the 4 PM service that was starting in an hour and a half.  I was laying on my couch with my three amazing dogs, listening to Christian music and finally, I “prayed” on it.  Next thing you know, I was up, dressed, and out the door!

The most amazing thing about my “story”, my “journey” is that I had sent a message earlier in the day to G.U.’s FB page, stating that I was interested in learning more about their church, what their service was like…that I was raised Catholic but was looking for something “different”.  My message included this:  “I just want to worship Jesus in MY OWN way; in MY OWN time”.

I walked through the doors of Granite United and was immediately approached by an older gentleman with a kind face, warm smile and a hug, welcoming me to G.U.  I told him that “this is my first time, so ‘be gentle’!”  We both laughed and he introduced me to a lovely couple (a little older than myself) and they welcomed me and asked me to sit with them.  When it was evident that her husband and I were dancing around for the seat on the far end, I settled for sitting right behind them (end seat, naturally — thanks claustrophobia!).  Before the lights were dimmed, I looked around and saw a myriad of attendees… teenagers, young families, older folks, etc., and I was impressed with the diversity of the group.

The lights dimmed and the music started.  The treble and bass were so intense that I immediately lost myself in the beat and in my head, I shouted, “Are you kidding me???!!!  It’s a ROCK CONCERT!  Whoop Whoop!!”  Geez…the pastor hadn’t even begun service yet and I was already “in it to win it”.  While the band was playing, they’re kind enough to have a huge projection screen up front with the current song’s lyrics displayed (I almost want to say it resembled Karaoke, but I’m afraid that could be construed as a little bit insulting – so just disregard that I said it).  I had my hands raised in the air and as a former singer, I was belting out the songs like there was no tomorrow.  Hand-to-God, I felt at “home”… I felt at “peace”….everything felt “right”.

Here’s the part of the beginning of my journey that (to me) is so amazing, so “on-the-money”.  The Pastor’s sermon was written JUST for me… I felt it in my heart.  Fast-forward to mid-way through service…. there was a tall table beside the Pastor on which there were two over-turned buckets.  He removed each of the buckets and seated side-by-side were two Ninja Turtle Chia Pets!  Wha…What…WHAT?!  The one on the left was stark naked, but the one on the right had green leafy sprigs sprouting out all over the place.  The Pastor stated that the “naked” Ninja Turtle on the left, after four weeks of tending to it, remained as such because the Pastor decided that he was not going to follow the All-Mighty-Chia Pet Creator’s way (instructions)… he elected to do it in his OWN WAY and in his OWN time!  However, the blossoming Ninja Turtle on the right, in full bloom, was because the Pastor tended to it (raising his bible), in GOD’S way, by GOD’S instruction and in GOD’S time. (Please reference paragraph 6 above to get the full affect as to how this impacted me!)  Are you kidding me!?  WOW!  Can I get an “Amen”!!

I believe that I had committed myself to Jesus Christ a long time ago, but I did it alone, in my heart, but I truly didn’t understand what it meant to put him FIRST.  Well… I certainly do now!  Unfortunately, outside of my church family, I only have a handful of support from family members and friends.  I knew that in becoming a Christ Follower, I would be faced with rejection, ridicule, judgment, etc.  Hmmmm…. I wonder who THAT sounds like?  I’m in this “all the way”.  For those who judge me or look down upon me for doing so, I pray for them the most in the hope that our Heavenly Father, through his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, will soften and open their hearts and minds.  I hold no resentment or ill feelings toward my naysayers because I am so filled with joy, love and peace now, that my heart simply won’t allow me to do so.

Matthew 18:20 ~ “For where there are two or three gathered together in the name of Jesus, He is there with them in their midst.”

Have a Blessed Day!