God’s Valentine Promises to Us

There is no better gift to get for Valentines than receiving, and knowing, God’s Valentine promises to us. God’s Love for us is greater than anything we can imagine.  His sacrificial gift to us was His son, Christ.  God is love!

     “…nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  ~ Romans 8:39

I saw the Hallmark Valentine commercial.  I have to admit, I’m a sap for romantic gestures, especially this time of year…ok, I’m pretty much a romanticist all year.  I love the idea of someone telling me I’m beautiful.  I want someone to tell me they want to grow old with me.  Who wouldn’t want to have a super hero rescue them?  And, I never grow weary of someone saying they need me, or love me.

After watching the commercial, I realized that God is constantly trying to send me His own “Hallmark” greeting. God tells me He delights in me.  I ask Him to never let me go, so He promises to hold on to me.  He comforts me.  God wants to be my “Super Hero“, if I would let Him.

God has also told me that He loved me so much that He sent His only Son to give me hope by dying on the cross…so I could live.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever  believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

His promise doesn’t end there.  You see…I was sexually abused as a child.  I have harbored lots of pain, shame, and guilt.  It took years (almost 30 years to be exact) before I understood that God did not condemn me for what happened.  People may condemn me; but, He never does.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” ~ John 3:17

We all have struggles.  It’s nice to know that we have hope in the midst of our struggles.  There is hope in the very lives we live.  Christ’s love is our hope.

There were times I wondered where God was in the midst of my suffering…literally suffering at the hands of others..

My pastor reminded me that God had been beside me every time I have suffered.  In fact, He is present in the suffering and struggles of the world today.  He controls the suffering, and guides it for His purpose.

God’s promises don’t stop there. Oh no they don’t!

Another of God’s promises totally sweeps me off my feet when I think about it.  He tells me that He has plans for me.  He says in the midst of my struggles, He has plans for me to prosper.  God is molding me to be in the image of Christ. He is not finished with me.  He wants me to invite others into His kingdom, so that they may prosper.

I know you are thinking, “What you talking bout?”

I’m talking about what my pastor (Tom Gibbs) said, “We are all walking the road with our elder brother…Christ.  The path can and will lead us to glory.  Our present sufferings are identified with the struggles of Christ.  While we are walking with Him (during our struggles) we are being formed in the image of Christ. We are no longer subjected to the bondage of this world.  God comforts us in this world even when we have lost our way.  The world offers us meaningless and randomness sufferings; but, God is in control of the suffering.  Our sufferings guide us for His purpose in the end.”

So in all of this suffering in our world…there is hope. Hope in the love of Christ.

As Valentine approaches, remember that even during our struggles–God is wining and dining us.  He is the true lover of our soul.  We should take the time to express that “we love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

This Valentines Day my prayer is that we will remember that God’s valentine promises to us are very real and present in our lives …today and everyday.  God is near.  God is Love!

Adopted by God

Even though I was far from being an orphan as a child, I understood loneliness at times.  I was an only child…for real.  I was abused by my step father.  I alienated myself from others.

As an adult, I have experienced loneliness. I have alienated myself  in a very different way.  I imagined I was what my pastor describes as being “spiritually  orphaned“. But something has changed over the last couple of years. I’ve been adopted…adopted by God.

There was a time that the only father I knew about was one I was trying to forget about.  With the help of a few spiritual leaders at my church and counseling, I began to learn otherwise. I learned that God is my true Father.  I understand that He is my Father.  He chose me.  He had plans for me, even before I was born.  God adopted me to be a part of His family.

Because of my past, even my present, I have carried a lot of shame and guilt.  It has laid heavy in my heart.  I tried to keep it suppressed; but, thankfully things are different now.

There is a song called, “You Love Me Anyway” by Sidewalk Prophets.  It reminds me of how I feel I acted toward Jesus for all of my life.  Part of the song is as follows:

“I am the thorn in your crown; but, You love me anyway.
I am the sweat from Your brow; but, You love me anyway.
I am the nail in Your wrist; but, You love me anyway.
I am Judas’ kiss; but, You love me anyway.

See now I am the [wo] man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then I turned away with a smile on my face
With this sin in my heart, tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night I still call out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life!

It’s like nothing in life
That I’ve ever known
Yes You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me.”

You see, my sins pinned His exposed and naked body on the cross. Despite what I did to Him, He sought me out in the crowd and said, I love you anyway.  I delight in you.  I have adopted you for my own.  You are mine.”

I’m so glad to know that I am loved.  I’m not afraid to follow Jesus, or be with Him. In fact, I look forward to the day I will spend eternity with Him.  I’m secure in knowing that Jesus loves me.  He has adopted me for His very own.  He understands my fears.  He forgives me of my sins.  He gives me strength.

It’s people who don’t understand.  It goes back to the disconnectedness I have mentioned before.  It’s people who choose to disconnect.  Yes, there are some other circumstances; but, people make time for what they want to do. I know, because I’m a human being who does that very thing…chooses to do what I want to do.

I think that God would like for us to slow down and be a community…to try and reconnect with one another.  Last fall I had a friend from middle school who reconnected with me, and it was great seeing her.  To share our different journeys with each other.  We shared so much, and it meant so much to me to be able to catch up with her.  I have to admit that I have also connected with several through Facebook as well.  It’s been great reconnecting with so many.

It seems so many have trouble reconnecting.  Maybe something happened within the relationship.  Sometimes things may have happened intentional, maybe on accident without knowing, or maybe time just slipped away.  It’s not easy to reconnect.  It takes time and energy.   There are some who encourage you to do one thing, and then same people hold it against you for doing the very thing they encouraged you to do.  It’s so frustrating, and talk about disconnecting.

There is another type of reconnecting…a reconnecting with God.  God desires us to connect with Him. If God had not given me the strength and courage to depend on Him, then I think I would have ceased to exist. It’s because of Him that I’m capable of so much more.  I’ve been made new.

God chose me to be a part of His family. God adopted me. I don’t mind being in a single family relationship with God.  A community would be nice; but if some can’t accept me for me then there is no reason to be a part of community.  Jesus loves me anyway…no matter what secrets I may have from my past, or the person I am now.  He chose me.  I’m adopted by God.  He is the best head of family anyone could ever want.  Praise His glorious name!

…remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from…strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He himself is our peace,…For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,…~ Ephesians 2:12-14, 18-19

Get Back Up Again!

Forgiving doesn’t mean to forget about the pain.  It means to no longer let the experience hold you back for another season.  Only His abounding grace and mercy allows you to break free and to get back up again.  I will not give up!

Even though I may be one, and am surrounded by oppressors, I will never be totally crushed by them.  I will never give up, and I will continue to get back up again.

I may suffer embarrassments and become perplexed.  Often there seems no way out of my situation; but, I manage to survive.  I shall not despair…even if I am persecuted, driven hard, or ignored.  God will never desert me, nor make me stand alone.  Even though I may have been knocked down to the ground, I will never totally strike out.  No matter the difficulties that come my way, I will never give up. I’m stronger than the energizer bunny.  Yes, I have breaking points; but, when I recoup…I can get back up again.

I have become stronger and more courageous.  I have become persistent, more steadfast, and resilient with my faith.  I will try to remain fearless and determined no matter what obstacles lie ahead.  I will remain strong in the Lord despite my weaknesses.  I have the power of His words and the strength of his sword.  Victory will be mine!  I will be relentless on those that try to knock me down.  I will remember that I’m standing on Solid Rock.

Yes, we all fall short and sin.  We can be forgiven by Jesus, yet there are those who can’t seem to forgive.  Sometimes we can’t see past our own mistakes. I will be the first to admit that I make lots of mistakes.  I was in need of a change.  I finally realized that I was desperate for His grace.   It’s by God‘s mercy and grace that I, and others, can love and forgive and be able to make a change.

Our world is a broken place filled with broken people. Many often get a front row seat to this brokenness because God sends trials our way. These seasons bring us closer to Him.  So why do we feel that we have to grovel for forgiveness from others when Christ has already forgiven us?  Isn’t it what God does in the heart of a person rather than waiting for something to happen?   Shouldn’t we use some of our experiences to go out and further His kingdom?

There are  those who are called to walk with others through this deep personal pain. Gratefully, some have helped me to find my way through some of my seasons to stronger days.  It’s through a few confidants that only God  gives them grace to persevere and have good wisdom to give counsel. Sometimes counseling can be in the form of encouragement; sometimes admonishment. Sometimes people have to hear things they don’t want to hear…or say things they don’t want to say.

My pastor said that a good entry point into grace is in and through Christ…the One who liberates us.  Now we can become empowered by our obedience to live a life that He intended for us.

When we find freedom from our sin through Christ, not everyone allows us to be free from our sin.  I don’t feel very liberated when some may hold a grudge from something I have done.  I feel there are times that many (including myself) have a disconnectedness from “grace” within our own lives.

In the church we are called to help others understand His grace.  Not everyone seems receptive to “reaching out.”  If there is a disconnectedness…why not get reconnected? There are a few that seem to ask, “What’s in it for me?  How will reaching out to others empower me?”

I like what Robert Munger said, “The Church is the only fellowship in the world where the one requirement for membership is the unworthiness of the candidate.”

If we are a part of the body of Christ, we are called to encourage one another.  Don’t say that the community is like a family reunion and then never include some family to the reunion.  That’s wrong!  People get there hopes up thinking they will be included…just to be let down that they were just words.

Jesus is for everyone…especially His grace and forgiveness!

My new acquaintance, Mark Wilson, wrote, “A long time ago, Christian forgiveness used to be called, ‘the truth will set you free’.”   The problem is that not everyone feels that way.

Mark  noted that, “It is not possible to become entirely whole unless we are in relationships with the people around us. But as we give love and receive love – or learn to – then we can grow, heal, evolve and heal and become whole. We also can’t come to wholeness if we refuse to be an adult and grow up, take ownership of what happened to us and mature. What happened was not good, but ignoring it won’t heal it and won’t make it go away.

Mark also said it’s hard to under-estimate how important forgiveness is. If you refuse to forgive…the Lord’s prayer says that you will also not be forgiven. It’s really just that simple. If you refuse to forgive… you are harming yourself, and your own fellowship with Christ.

Try to think about if there is someone you know that produced sour fruit…in the beginning of the relationship.  Unbeknownst to you their fruit began to ripen.  Maybe you are blind to the changes.  Maybe you haven’t noticed the changes, or time has slipped by without concern.  For whatever reason, the fruit has become sweeter; but, because of our disconnectedness the new found fruit is not shared with others.  Instead, we may only remember being “snake bit”.

If we are truly liberated by Christ and we are members of his body…then maybe try to reconnect with the other member.  Try to remember that His grace is abounding with joy.  Why not share the joy of the fruit that has been made new and sweet with the one who was once sour. Reconnect.  Make a Difference.  Show grace.

Being faithful is the work of the Spirit.  We can’t do it alone!  Great is Thy faithfulness!

Faith is not what we look at; but what we look through.  It’s not what we have  focused our lives on but that which we should focus our lives on…on Him.  If we are God centered, then change becomes evident and we can make a difference in our own life and in others…to try and further His kingdom.  It won’t hurt members of the body to reconnect their disconnectedness.  What would Jesus do?  He would welcome any member to His body.  Again, His grace is for everyone!

Stay strong!  No matter what is thrown at you…don’t let it knock you down.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

God, my heart is truly, truly comforted by Your promises, by Your love and mercy; refuge and strength.  I want to establish myself, permanently placing myself in Your word and in Your works!!!  Thank You God for giving me strength and helping me to get back up again!

God Definitely Has a Sense of Humor!

I think God definitely has a sense of humor!

Got questions.org says, “Perhaps the best indication that God does have a sense of humor is that He created man in His image, and certainly people are able to perceive and express humor.  Having a sense of humor is the ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is comical or funny. According to this definition, then, God must show an ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is comical.”

Humor has its place in the spiritual life. There are many religious people who tend to take themselves way too seriously. Humor is important because it helps us to understand how God views us and the world.

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them’.”  ~ Psalm 126:2

Please bear with me because I would like to write about a story within a story. I feel that it will be quite humorous…well at least to me, and a few others.  I also want to make a disclaimer. I’m going to mention an undergarment in this blog; but, I feel that it’s not too offensive.

I was taking my youngest daughter, and a friend, to see Tim Hawkins and John Branyan. These two gentlemen are great Christian comedians. Their acts make for a night of laughter. I love the fact that they incorporate how God has a sense of humor, and give examples of thus.  I laughed so hard, that I literally cried tears of joy.

Prior to the show, the girls and I had gotten some frozen yogurt .  On the way to the church, where the show was to take place, my youngest turned and told her friend that I write a Christian blog.

With all seriousness, my daughter’s friend turned to my daughter and said, “Your mom does something with Christian bras?”

There was a pause, and then I began to laugh.  I had to apologize because I was really not laughing at her; but laughing at what she said.  I loved it! Then I had to expand on what she said.

I told the girls that was a great idea!  I mentioned that my oldest is a college student, and that she had left one of the particular undergarments mentioned at our house–while she was home for the holidays.  I thought for a moment, and then went on to say that maybe I should write a bible verse on the undergarment upon mailing it back to her.

Then we all laughed about it!  What a great idea!

I’m not trying to be disrespectful at all.  I’m obviously not really going to make a line of undergarments with verses on them; but, I may surprise my oldest.

I love the verse in Numbers 6:25.  It says, “…the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;…”  I was thought that would be a great verse to put on the under garment!  She loves the Lord with all of her heart, and has a great sense of humor to boot.  I think she would think it was hilarious!

A week after we went to comedy concert, I was picking my youngest up from play practice, when I saw her friend’s mom.  I wasn’t trying to embarrass her friend; but, I had to recount the conversation that had transpired just a week before.

To my surprise, the mom had a great sense of humor as well.  She followed up by saying maybe I should write a verse of protection on the undergarment. 

Hmmm!  I thought maybe I should write, “God protects us from evil.” ~ 2 Tessalonians 3:3  

LOL!

I’m sorry but I laughed so hard just thinking about it.  That was really funny!   I thought that the mom may be on to something.

Again, I’m not going into making a line of Christian undergarments; but, what a great laugh I have had recounting the story. I have yet to send my oldest her undergarment back; but, I still plan to do within the next couple of weeks.

Tim Hawkins and John Branyan even talk about how people ask them if God has a sense of humor.  They have both said that God definitely has a sense of humor.  You will have to catch their show to find out what they have to say, or check out their websites or videos.  They are definitely funny boys, and use their God given talents to make many laugh.

I’m thankful God made us in His image, and gave us a sense of humor to make our life here on Earth more enjoyable.  His word also states that, “A joyful heart is good medicine,…” ~ Proverbs 17:22.

Why not take advantage of the medicine God speaks of…having a joyful heart?  LOL

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I have often wondered, at various times in my life, if I was made for more than the ways of this world.  As a child I had been sexually abused.  I’ve lived through things that I never would thought I was capable of, and I’m much less afraid than I used to be.  I’ve realized there is a strength within, a reason worth fighting for.  I realized I am fearfully and wonderfully made, by Him, for so much more.

The word ‘fearfully’ means heart-felt interest and respect. The word ‘wonderfully’ means to be unique, and set apart. There is a great love and concern that goes into our uniqueness and being individually created in His image. According to Scripture, we are of great importance!  We all have a purpose.

I’m just an ordinary person with wanting a heart to try and focus on God.  The last couple of years I’ve been desiring to seek His purpose for me so that I may be used for Him. I feel God wants me to grasp the wonder of His love and grace.  To know how real His  involvement in my life is, even when I think He is not near, so that I may do this task that is set before me.

It clearly states in Philippians that God works in us for His pleasure.  The Word of God tells us that we have been given favor from the Lord, it’s our inheritance as a child of God (Psalm 5:12).

I know that I’ve been guilty of not always putting Him first…even before my own family.  At one time, I  placed many on a pedestal above Him; but, no longer.  I now know that I’m indebted to Him, that He has forgiven my debts, and that He has brought me into a new life with Him.  I have become part of His family…the family of God.

My church had a conference this past fall about the family.  Skip Ryan was the speaker. He said that the family becomes a place where we learn the purpose of our lives.  It becomes the first place where we learn of who we are.  He was referring of being a part of God’s family.  The key to all we are and to be understood is within the family.

Of course, we learn a lot from our biological families as well.  I’m thankful to have met a man that I married and began a family with.  I have been blessed in many ways; but, especially with my three  children.  They are all three very unique with many God-given qualities and talents.  They have taught me so much about life, and how very thankful I am for the opportunity to be called, “Mom”.

I’m thankful that I’m a part of the family of God, as well as my own family.  We are joint heirs with Jesus. Admittedly, I’m not always close to either families; but, I’m thankful to be a part of both.

Within our families each of us has been given a unique and individual purpose that cannot fail if we will cast off fear and stop listening to the lies of failure, doom and gloom and all the negativity that the devil has been beating us up with. Regardless of our past and our shortcomings!  Why? Because it is God ordained – that’s why. And besides that, Romans 11:29 tells us: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” He’s given this to us and He will never take it back.

There is no difference who you are.  Grace is for everyone in the family.

One thing that I’ve learned is that within our families, there is hope!  Jesus is our hope!  Jesus is God’s gift to sinners!  The plans and purposes of God are set in motion for a reason…to give us a future and a hope, so that we can be a blessing to our families, or others.

Despite the complexity of families, we should invest time in her members…not taking for granted how much time God has fashioned us to be individuals that have been created for His purpose.  We are all unique and bring a different gift to the family. God would not go to the trouble of creating us, if He did not have a purpose for the family. We have been fearfully and wonderfully made to be individuals within the family of God to do His purpose.  Praise His wonderful name!

For you formed my inward parts;  you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!” ~ Psalm 139: 13-17

Celebrate Christ in Christmas Everyday!

What does it mean to celebrate Christ in Christmas? We can’t remain in “faith” and stay on the sideline of our life. IT’S TIME TO GET INTO THE GAME! Don’t be a bench warmer! Come to Jesus!  Be one who takes His Light into the world with delight (and not because of duty)…for all to celebrate!

Don’t resist celebrating! Celebrate the Light of the World even when all other  lights have gone out, and you remain sitting in the dark. You are never alone! Celebrate no matter what, or where you are.  Enjoy celebrating Christ in Christmas everyday! ♥

God has party plans for us! He wants us to party like a rock star–for Christ!  Celebrate the new you through Christ everlasting!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” ~ 2Corinthians 5:17

P.S. Thanks for reminding me to celebrate the real reason for the season…and you know who you are.  God bless you!

Compassion Changed My Life. Thank You, Pastor!

I realize this blog is a little long; but, it’s important to raise our spiritual leader(s) up on a regular basis–by offering prayer and at times showing them some appreciation. In honor of Pastor Appreciation month, I would like to dedicate this blog to those who have given their time to tend their flocks.  I know that my pastor’s compassion helped me to change my life.  I was sexually abused as a child, and I had a lot of baggage.  My pastor helped me to understand how to leave my past abuse behind while becoming more passionate for Christ.

So how can we show our appreciation to our spiritual leaders?  Well, most pastors put a significant amount of their time into preparing sermons.  I think one of the best ways to give encouragement to them is by being faithful participants in the congregation.

Many pastors pour their heart out, using God’s words, into a sermon to tell us the truth of His grace and love for us.  These words spoken, allow us to understand the faith & hope we can have through Him so that we can live and have a passion for Him.

It seems to me that the life of a pastor might be one of the loneliest professions one could pick. It has the makings of a very tough, demanding – and lonely – occupation.

Frustrating?  Some of the times, yes.  Rewarding? Most times, yes.  Spiritually fulfilling? I am most certain yes, and on many different levels.

To spend one’s “everyday” life to further the kingdom of God must be a great profession indeed.

We all have days where nothing seems to go right. Maybe days of immense stress with any number of things that could be contributing to a “bad day.” Maybe you’re having a “season” of bad days.

When that happens, it’s not uncommon for us to talk the situation over with a spouse, family member, friend, or peer. Those conversations can be a great relief.  Maybe you might come up with some solutions that you had not considered.

Your pastor has probably had some of those same “bad” days; but, unlike the rest of us, they often don’t have the luxury of a sounding board.

Think about it.  Most of us have jobs where we are faced with “performance” appraisals once, maybe twice a year.   Pastors are continually being critiqued on a weekly basis. I’m sure there is someone sitting in the pews, on any given Sunday, who is thinking that the sermon could have been better, or that the music wasn’t to their liking, or that the service just wasn’t “good” enough.

It’s almost certain that at least some of the comments will make their way back to them. Who are they going to discuss their concerns with about the fact that no matter what they do…somebody seems to be unhappy?

Then there’s this role of counselor.  We often speak to our spiritual leader in confidence. Things said, and seen, can weigh heavily on their heart.  All along pondering how to deal with such difficult situations. Yet, where can they go when they are feeling emotionally drained themselves?  Where can they go to receive advice about how to handle a particular situation?  That could be a whole separate blog; but, at this time I want to share what one of my pastors did for me.

As a child I had been sexually abused by my stepfather from the ages of 7-15…becoming most intense from age 9 and on.  I had no idea of how much the abuse really affected me.  The following is an excerpt from my site “About Grace Desired”:

     “My husband, Sam Hairston, had researched and found a church that taught reformed doctrine.  We had been attending Redeemer Presbyterian Church for over a year. I have never been one to stand out at church.  I have pretty much been a back row worshiper.  I obviously lacked passion for His truth–because there was definitely a lack of knowledge.

As time went on, and due to the good leadership at the church, I began to understand more of the Bible–the truth of His Word.  The senior pastor, Tom Gibbs, has a vision and a passion for furthering His kingdom by being compassionate toward His people.  The church has a vision and passion as well.  Together, the community of the whole church has a passion for wanting to further His kingdom within our city and beyond.  For the first time, since I was in high school, I had begun to love a church.

At church it was spoken that the broken (being me) could be energized by the “grace of God”.  Week after week, I began to hear that Jesus was for the brokenhearted.  Tom preached, and I heard that Jesus could be my champion, and that I could be made new like the “Oaks of Righteousness“.  I also heard that God took delight in me.  I thought, who me?  I am a broken and scarred sinner who is full of shame, guilt, fear, and contempt.  How can that possibly be?  I was a skeptic!

At the time, Pastor Tom Gibbs, and his wife Tara, believed something else.  They had noticed the back row worshiper and her family.  I was told that they had prayed for us prior to their time spent with me.  I suppose they wanted us to become the front row family.

Anyway,  they began to play an integral part in my life.  They dedicated much of their time trying to help me see that His grace and love is the reality of my faith & hope; thus, I would learn that I have really received His grace for my past secrets.  They helped me to begin to understand that my shame, guilt, fear, along with my contempt, were unnecessary–because Christ took all of that away when He was nailed to the cross. The path was becoming clearer.  I was to begin my journey learning that God desired me for who I was…even if I was broken.

I began to realize that God was actually “wining and dining” me.  God longed for my attention.  I began to feel God’s love, and it was the kind of love that I subconsciously craved for years and did not know it.  Many, many months went by, and little did we know that a volcanic eruption (in epic proportion) would follow after the completion of the workbook.  It was very painful to recall the memories I had suppressed.  I began to have nightmares.  I had no idea of  the emotions that were surfacing to the top (like the beach ball). These were emotions that I had harbored within my very soul for years.

My “season” of confusion, self-hatred, and fear became too complex… even to the point of  a deep despair.  I began to become so frustrated that I cut myself a couple of different times.  Of course I never really wanted to die; but, that I just wanted to get the horrible shame, guilt, and fear out of my body.  

My “season” of emotions turned into “seasons” gone bad; kind of like a really bad reality TV show.

I believe God puts people into our lives for a reason. I definitely believe God brought the Gibbs’ into my life for a reason.”

Sometimes we put our spiritual leaders on pedestals of sorts – and it’s got to be a little lonely up there. We might forget that they’re human beings just like we are. They have strengths, and they have weaknesses, just like us. They get tired. They get frustrated. They need a pat on the back every once in a while, too!

So while Pastor Appreciation Month is a great thing, remember it’s important to support them all year long with prayers and words of encouragement. If last week’s sermon had a particular impact on you, say so. Send your spiritual leader a note of appreciation. You can also support spiritual leaders by becoming more involved with the church.

If we are enthusiastic followers of God, it will mean something to God – and to His ordained servants.  I’m thankful that my pastor showed compassion and saw more in me, than I saw in me.  He saw that God was not finished with me yet.  Through his compassion he helped me to leave my past abuse behind and helped me to become more passionate for Him.  Thank you, Pastor!

My prayer for spiritual leaders would be: “May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” ~Philippians 1:2

In honor of Pastor Appreciation month, I would like to thank the rest of the staff at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Texas.  They are as follows: Tom Gibbs, Senior Pastor; Brandon Eggar, Associate Pastor; Victor Martinez, Assistant Pastor; Michael Novak, RUF Pastor; Brent Watkins, Music Ministry (BTW he also has his own jazz band “South Texas Jazz); Bekah McNeel, Children’s Director; Matt Beham, Youth Director (who has spent countless hours with my kids); Harriet Peavy, Office Administrator; Sarah Gill, Assistant Administrator.  I would also like to thank the Elders, Deacons, and Deaconesses for their countless hours of service.  There are so many others that play an integral part behind the scenes, and God bless you all for your time and efforts to further His kingdom.

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