Monthly Archives: April 2011

Bittersweet

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Bittersweet

Separation from sin is a heavy topic that is laced with vinegar and honey.  The vinegar is sour and tastes awful by itself.   Sometimes when we are called to follow God He asks us to separate ourselves from the things that taste bitter.  When we do this- separate ourselves from sin-God makes our lives sweeter with His blessing.  The blessing is like honey to our soul.  Sweet, sticky and golden.

Let’s talk about bees for a minute.  My Dad used to keep bees down in the woods behind our house when I was a kid.  He would get all suited up in his strange looking bee suit, gloves, face covering and smoker.  This was his armor against stinging bees.  If he didn’t wear it he took the risk of getting stung.  The smoker was to put the bees in a sort of “coma” state without hurting them.  All he wanted to do was check the honeycombs and retrieve the honey as needed.  If he did his job right he was rewarded with honey and happy bees.  If he didn’t wear his protective suit and follow the instructions of beekeeping- he could get into trouble.  He was separating himself from bee and stinger which resulted in not being attacked by angry bees.

Now-the worker bee  has many jobs according to it’s age.  The young bees  clean the hive and feed the larvae.  The older bees do other jobs such as receiving nectar and pollen from foragers, and guarding the hive. Later still, a worker takes her first orientation flight and finally leaves the hive and typically spends the remainder of her life as a forager.  Worker bees protect the hive and they have stingers on them that have barbs sticking out of them.  When a worker bee stings an intruder it’s life has ended.  One life=one sting.

Now I see the life of bees much like our own.  We each have many jobs and as we age our jobs change over time.  We grow up, we marry, we have homes & families to clean and feed!  The parents take care of the home by working and providing the family with food and shelter.   When the children leave the “nest” of the home- they “take their first orientation flight into the world.  This could be college, marriage, moving away, whatever.  If they aren’t in the home they have taken flight.  As parents, we spend our time caring for and preparing our children for the world.  We teach, we preach, we hound, we love, love, love, we praise and we pray for our children.  We hope that we have done our jobs well enough to that they will separate themselves from the things that will keep them away from God.  This could be anything.   Like the bee suit we give them armor by teaching them God’s Word.  We don’t want to send them out into the world without it.   We each make the choice to put the armor on or not.  That’s up to us.  We will do anything to protect our family-even die.  Jesus did this for us.  One death.  One life.   Unlike the bee-we get to be resurrected with Christ when we die and live forever!  There will be no need for stingers in heaven.

Ok-so where am I going with all of this bee and armor talk?  Well, in the bible the Israelites were told again and again and again to separate themselves from the things that kept them from God.  These were things like baal, sex gods, child sacrifice and the list goes on.  They didn’t do that. Why?  I don’t know-I guess it’s the same reason why we don’t today.  It’s easier to sin than it is to do the God thing.  Am I right?  The problem with sinning is that it will catch up with you sooner or later.  It did the Israelites.  They lost everything.

But there was still hope.

I am at this point now.  I have to separate myself from my sin of overeating food in order to get what God wants me to have and that’s a life that is all about Him.   Oh, I have Him in  my life, but not as fully as I could.  I am a compulsive, addictive eater.  When I was a young adult I was an addictive, compulsive drinker.  I smoked and drank like there was no tomorrow.   My goal in life was to party and I did.   I am by no means bragging on this and it is very hard to write about because it is a part of my life that I regret very much.  When you are IN it you often can’t see the mess until you are through it.  It takes people to help get you through it and I thank God for those people-my husband is my biggest encourager and supporter.   God has used him to turn my life around and show me that there is HOPE.

Issues.  We all have them but it’s how we deal with them that affects our life.  I haven’t fully dealt with mine until now.  One of my issues is that when I was in High School I wanted to be an artist-go to art school and do the whole deal.  I can remember this like it was yesterday….going to the junior high guidance counselor with my mom, for advice on what to take to get to that goal.  The counselor said to me:  “ well you have to be really good to make it so why don’t you just get a business degree.”  Not long after that a Sunday School teacher who I respected very much, said to me, ” You have to be really good to make it-are you sure you want to do that?”    So, all of these comments were planting seeds of doubt in my heart.  I never got to my goal because I didn’t believe in myself.   So I just sort of dropped out of the whole idea and went AWOL on college.  Oh I tried it here and there and it was never the right thing, never good enough, etc., etc..  My self esteem plummeted to ZERO.   My HS art teacher was an encouragement to me and he always left me notes and had a good things to say.  He died of cancer when I was a young adult.  I think of him often.

So, I became a drifter of sorts I guess.  No real life goals-I was just there.  I had a full time job at a department store and that was all I needed.  That gave me money for gas, booze and cigarettes.  I partied everynight and a lot of those nights I don’t remember driving home.  I was lucky I even got home, lucky I didn’t kill anyone or myself.    I knew which bars had happy hour on which night and how  much money I would need to get drunk.  I often carried beer around with me in my car, drinking and driving.  How stupid is that?   I am blessed to be alive.  I was a compulsive, addictive drinker on my way to death or alcoholism.

Zoom forward to today.  That was 30 years ago.  A lot has changed in my life since then, but then again has it really?  In some ways yes, but in other ways no.  I still have a desire to get my college degree in Graphic Design but I think I am way too old to do that now.  I will have kids in college soon and just can’t afford it.  Always an excuse.  I have attended 5 community colleges in 3 different states- never completing a degree of any kind. Still bouncing around.  I have dreams about failing tests and being kicked out of college and to me they are very real.  When I have them I wake up in a sweat and think I am actually in that place.  But I’m not.  I’m still in bed with no degree.  I have a family to take care of now.   Another excuse.   I don’t smoke or drink anymore because God convicted me of those things a long time ago.  Cold turkey-the power of God got me through it.  But I still have compulsive addictive tendencies.  Those never go away-ever.  I don’t know how to make them go away except by prayer and separation and putting on the armor of God.     Today those complusive addictive behaviors are aimed at food.  I have the personality of ” do it all” or “do nothing at all.”  There’s no middle road.  All or nothing.  I need a middle road.  God is helping me find that balance by teaching me how to be more like Mary and less like Martha.  I am a doer and I love to do, do, do.  Why?  Because I crave self esteem.

Wow.  Did I really just say that? …gulp….

Blogging is like going to a shrink-very therapeutic.  I wasn’t planning on saying that-it just came out.  “Groan, sigh….pray…”

When I do things for others and they like it-it fills a need inside of me.  Remember the guidance counselor who implied that I wasn’t good enough?  Well-it’s filling that need right there.  It’s saying, “yes, you have worth and yes, you are good enough.”  Why do I need that when I have GOD?  I know who I am in Christ and I know that He has given me these gifts and talents-just as He has you.  We ALL have them.   I am like Paul- I do things I don’t understand.  I want to do the right thing, but I can’t do it by myself.  I have used food to fill that void of low self esteem for years.  It has finally caught up with me .

I went to the Dr. last week and had a reality check.  I was having some problems and they had to do an ultrasound on my ovaries.  When I went to get weighed the nurse quietly told me that I weighed too much for her machine and I would have to go to the hospital for the test.   I was ashamed and humiliated and MAD.  Not at her but at myself.    I sat in my van and had to have a talk with myself.  I could either go to McDonald’s and mow down some french fries ( because I am an emotional eater) OR I could go to Lowe’s and look at flowers ( and think about God’s creation.)   I had 3 hours to kill before my test.  This was an opportune time for the devil to convince me to keep thinking that I am worthless and fat or to do something different.    Well, what I didn’t tell you was that that morning my friend texted me and she said, ” Lo carb starts today.”  I texted her back and told her I was doing it too.  So, knowing that I had an accountability partner in my friend, I knew I couldn’t eat no matter how much my emotional side wanted to.  I sat in the van and prayed and cried.  I called a few people-no one was home.  I texted my friend-she was at work.  I was alone in my mental misery in the parking lot of  the Dr’s office.   I needed that silence in order to hear God.  He told me I could do it, to just go to Lowe’s and look at flowers, walk around, shake it off.  So that’s what I did.   A little while later I got a text from my friend that said, ” that was probably the kick in the pants that you needed.  We’ll do it together.”   I knew she was praying for me and I knew that I had to separate myself from my sin of gluttony.

It has been four days since that happened.  My friend and I have held each other accountable, prayed and encouraged each other.  We are both doing really good but I have to admit that yesterday was hard.  I am a secretary and my job doesn’t require a lot of exercise-just rolling around on my stupid chair with wheels. ha.  So yesterday was hard because I was sitting a lot.  Plus it was like a “hump day” as far as the carbs go.  Today will be better because I will be busy working at the kennel and at home.

The amazing thing about all of this is that I have since learned that there are several others at OOTBWC who are doing the exact same thing and are on the same page as I am.  I don’t know what thier issues are but I do know one thing that God is in control and that He is forming a support group among us at OOTBWC.  I don’t know what His plans are but I do know that they will be GOOD for us!  How do I know this?  Because Jeremiah 29:11-13 says: ” For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and NOT to harm you, plans to give you a HOPE and a future.  THEN you WILL call upon me and I WILL listen to you.  You WILL seek me and find me WHEN you seek me with ALL your heart.”

Today I am seeking GOD ( not food) with ALL my heart.  We were made to CRAVE  GOD!

I have also been blessed with a new friend who is willing to take a chance on me and help me market my art.   I know that she will hold me accountable, encourage and pray for me to work diligently for God in doing this work.  God has been preparing my heart for this time and I DO have worth and I DO have something that people need and that is GOD.  It’s not about me-it’s about seeing God through my work.  That’s all I want in this world-for God to use my hands and gifts to reach people for HIM.   God desires for ALL people to come to know Him and He will do the convicting.  All I am required to do is “follow Him” with ALL of myself.

To be continued….sweet blessings for your day-may they bee  sweet like honey!  lol

and….remember..WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

d.

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SNL Praise Band at FCA at CCIS

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Last week I had the pleasure of going to FCA to hear our SNL praise band play at CCIS.  I am so proud of this group of young people-you are awesome and you make me want to be just like you!  Keep singing your hearts out for God!  Your passion shows in your music!  Thank you for following Him!

Donna

Rocky Knob Mountain High-lol

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I love riding with my two crazy guys!  On Saturday we rode to Willis-out to the Parkway-to Rocky Knob, Tuggle’s Gap and route 8.  We headed to Stuart and then caught 58 to Lover’s Leap and back to Meadows of Dan and the Parkway back to Willis.  It was a gorgeous day for a ride and that was some new  territory for me!

 Thanks Tony!

The Hubster and his BFF-Tonio

lol

MY BFF!  Love ya!  🙂

The cost of the fill up for two motorcycles!  Yikes!

Easter Sunday at OOTBWC 2011

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Part of my Easter joy has been in getting to know all of these wonderful new God-given friends.   Each one of them means something special to me and sharing Easter Sunday with them this year has brought great joy into my life.  I thank God for each one of them and what He is doing in their lives and among us.  God knows the plans he has for you!  If you aren’t sure what they are- then come and join us at OOTBWC on Main Street in Hillsville!  God will get you where He wants you!  Just ask these folks!  All you have to do is look at their beaming faces! WOW!   Praise be to GOD!

April, Jarrod and Jacob Iroler

Casey, Brenda, Kerry and Alex Harmon

Brian Allen and Donna Cato

Pastor Ronnie, Tony Carico, Brian Allen, Donna Cato, Donna Godwin, Kerry Harmon, Jarrod Iroler, Jacob Iroler

Amy Carico, April Iroler, Brenda Harmon, Casey Harmon

This is not church.  This is NEW LIFE 24/7!

Peter’s Denial

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Peter denied Christ 3 times. He didn’t plan it. It took him by surprise. How do we know? Because he wept.

 Peter is speaking:

Mark 14: 71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” 72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him:

“Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

I would cry too. The reality of life is this: We never know what we might do in any given situation. We know what we would HOPE to do but when it comes right down to it and we are under pressure- we really don’t have a clue. Our actions surprise us. Peter’s took him to a new level of grief. I would grieve also. I am like Peter in that I love Christ with my whole being and I don’t think I would ever deny him, but the reality is that anything is possible. It is for this very reason that I pour myself into the study of God’s Word. I want it to live inside of me so that my life will be undeniably lived for Christ. I will fail. I will fall. Just like Peter. I will also be forgiven and redeemed. Just like Peter. I am unworthy of any grace. But God see’s me differently-He see’s what I can be-just like Peter.

 We must never let our pride do the serving. It is only when we are humbled to the core that we can serve with our all. Peter was broken over his denial. He was humbled to tears. God heard his prayers through his tears. He was forgiven and redeemed.

 That’s what I call HOPE.

No matter where you are in this world-always know that God loves you enough to forgive you for anything. All you gotta do i ask…or maybe just cry. God hears our tears of prayers.

Ask Peter.

Jesus Wept

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Hi!

This is a drawing I did after hearing Tom Lineberry preach at Hillsville Christian Church on Palm Sunday.  Tom spoke from the heart about the journey of Jesus.  It was full of passion and urgency.  Tom is one of my favorite preachers because he knows his bible frontwards, backwards, inside out and upside down!  But more importantly than that- there is no mistake that Jesus lives in Tom’s heart!  I wish I could speak like Tom-but my fingers do the speaking rather than my mouth.  🙂  One day I hope that Tom and I will do something together!

Blessings on you Tom Lineberry!  I love you “Pa!”

The EASTER EGG

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Hi!

Last night I woke up thinking about easter eggs.  I did a little quick sketch and then went back to sleep.  This morning I worked on my idea.  This is my end result.

I want you to think about easter eggs and what they mean to you.   You see, I might think I know what they mean to you, but I really don’t.  Just like you don’t know what they mean to me.  Are they just shells filled with yolk that you color for fun or is there a deeper meaning?

And what is an egg anyway?  Is it the beginning of new life?  When cracked open it spills out this bright color that only God could create.   I marvel at the yolky, yellow, orange hue every time I crack an egg.   We can eat it, drink it, boil it, crack it, wash our hair with it, scramble it,  and give it to the dog for a shine in his coat.

Now it’s empty.  Nothing is there.  It reminds me of the empty tomb.  Empty but not gone. A body that has been  unwrapped, raised and resurrected.   Filled with new life.

A cross that is empty. A Savior who LIVES, LOVES and SAVES.

A Savior who watches & waits…for YOU!

My Strong Tower

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My Strong Tower

Psalm 18:1-3 & 30

1-2 I love you, God— you make me strong.
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.

3 I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty,
and find myself safe and saved.

30 What a God! His road
stretches straight and smooth.
Every God-direction is road-tested.
Everyone who runs toward him
Makes it.


In this drawing you see a castle tower perched on top of a craggy cliff.  The base of the cliff is a wall with a doorway in it.  The castle tower is one that I saw in Slovakia from the Devin Castle ruins.  It was perched high and mighty with everything else around it crumbling away.  Jesus is like this too.  When things around us are being destroyed He IS our Strong Tower.  Always present, always alert and always there ready to help.

The wall represents the destroyed city of Jerusalem from 2 Kings 25.  The Holy City was destroyed.   It was a devastating day for Jerusalem and her people. God broke the heart of a cupbearer named Nehemiah.  He saw the city in shambles and he wept and prayed and fasted for days.  God gave him a vision to rebuild the walls of the city that he loved.

God is in the rebuilding business.  He doesn’t want any of us to be destroyed.  People say, “how can God do this or that?”  Well, God isn’t doing anything but offering us the best of the best.  We are the ones who make the choice to deny the best.  How do we do this?  When we refuse to accept the gift that God is offering us.  It’s always there, always available and we don’t have to DO anything to get it.  No work, no money, nothing.  Just say yes to the best.   When God created the world he saw that it was good.  When he formed man and breathed HIS breath into man he saw that it was VERY good.

YOU are VERY GOOD whether you think you are or not- GOD DOES!  He sees the best in you!

Isaiah 62: 6-7 says this:

6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the LORD,
give yourselves no rest,
7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth.

Listen folks- WE are the WATCHMAN.  We ARE the HOLY CITY.   God lives IN us and each one of us are like a mini Holy City.  God sends people into our lives every single day and it is up to us to share Jesus with them.  We are called to live a life of holiness-to put off the world and put on Christ.   How do we do this?  We do it by saying no to the pleasures of sin-those things are different for each one of us.  For the people of Jerusalem-they couldn’t say no because they were so caught up in the false gods they couldn’t see the narrow road that led to God.   They destroyed themselves by refusing God.  We do that everyday when we entertain the things of the darkness like tarot cards, palm reading , psychics and even horoscopes.   That’s not all- drunkeness, drugs, food, lies, stealing, adultery, lusting, pornography, and the list goes on.  Don’t you see?  Not much has changed in the world since the fall of Jerusalem.  If I were God I would have taken matters into my own hands already.  But it’s a good thing I am not  because our God is a God of long-suffering, patience, and forgiveness.  After thousands of years-he still reaches out, he still loves, and he still pursues us.  Why?  Because he knows what lies beyond this world.  He knows the beauty that awaits us.  The peace, hope, love and joy that we dream about.  He’s in it and He’s right here saying, ” come on, you can make it, keep climbing, keep reaching, keep looking up….”

You see that little person on the rocks?  Well, that’s me.  Some days I don’t think I will ever make it to the top.   I require much love from God and the people around me.  I throw myself into things that I think will please God.  Sometimes those things are of the world and I don’t even realize it.   I can tell you all the things that are wrong with me because that’s what satan wants me to see.  But I’m not going to do that.  God wants me to see the best and the best is yet to come and I can’t wait to fall into the arms of my beloved Savior.  I will cry my last tears, I will think my last negative thoughts and I will leave the ills of the world behind me.  Jesus the Christ, my Christ,  will wipe away my every tear, take away every stain and I will finally be living a  life of total freedom, peace and unspeakable joy.  I look forward to that day with great anticipation.  Every day that goes by here on earth makes me yearn for my “forever place” even more.   Until then…I will keep climbing and keep reaching until I make it .

In the meantime, there’s still much work to be done here and God is giving each of us new direction everyday.   Go here, do this this, do that and watch ME (God)  work through your (US) hands and feet!   Like Nehemiah and all of his workers we must look to God first and foremost, fast and pray and then do the work he is calling us to do.    He speaks to each of us in different ways and when we come together under Him we put all of His pieces together into a beautiful picture of grace.  This is why he fills us with different gifts-so that we can work together as the body of Christ.  You might be the hands and I might be the feet.  Someone else is the mouth and another the ears.  It’s a beautiful thing.   Each piece is important in the eyes of God.  Each piece is needed to complete the picture.

The wall of Jerusalem is the same way.  There are many stones in different positions. Some are outer, some are inner.  Some are on top, some are on bottom.  Each one has a purpose- to protect what is inside.  We are these like these stones.  Each with a purpose and a job to do-to glorify God.   When we come together, like the wall, we are strong and fortified.  God is our rock, our Redeemer, our Strong Tower.

Let me ask you today- where are you in this picture?  Think about it. Pray and seek God’s direction in all that you do and I promise he will guide you to the road that leads to Him!

Blessings for your day,

d.