All posts by Vanessa

I love Jesus and want to live for Him, but I am flawed and make many mistakes. Our goal for our family is to become more like Him, and we can't do it ourselves. We are learning about Him by studying Him and His word, by being involved with other godly people who help us along the way. Our family is choosing to serve Him all our lives. I love reading, my husband, our children , dogs, baking in no particular order.

John part 4: Jesus says, “My peace I give you.”

Good morning, I took a long hiatus from blogging and it seems everything has changed. I’m talking about my content editor! I was used to doing some things and now my layout is completely altered! I hope to figure this out soon though.

The world seems to have had one hurt after another. As I write this, friends in the mid-western region of the United States are in a huge polar vortex, a climate state that has had their respective states ask people to turn their heat to certain (lower) degree so that they won’t run out of gas , especially needed for the vulnerable age groups. Among the recent news updates have been anger and discrimination and criticism and sorrow and heartbreak.

At this point it seems appropriate to continue with the gospel of John, especially the four chapters for today. In this block, Jesus talks about peace often and seems to spend a lot of time reassuring His disciples. This portion of Scripture is usually believed to be have taken place in the Upper Room on the night that Jesus was betrayed.

I don’t know about you, but the very fact that Jesus would take the time to reassure and encourage and build up His disciples, just before He died, shows me how much He cared. CARES. He who loved His people enough to leave them with Hope is the same one who will walk with me. He who encouraged His friends is the same one who will lift me up. And that gives me peace. And I hope you’ll find peace in Him too.

RELATED POST: John part 2: Jesus says “My time has not yet fully come.”

In chapter 13:

In an act that has become symbolic of humility in the Church nowadays, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. To really understand why this was so different for a Rabbi(teacher) to do in Jesus’ time, we must understand the culture. In a time when people walked great distances, they would reach their destination with their feet caked in mud and grime. Usually it was a servant’s job to clean the feet of visitors, a servant low in rank. For Jesus to do so would have shocked the disciples, and it did! Simon(Peter) protested first and when Jesus said that those who were not washed by Him would have no part in Him, Peter asked to be washed completely. His hands and head as well. Jesus replied saying, “The whole body was clean of those who have taken a bath” but Jesus qualifies that statement saying, “Not everyone is clean”.

At this time Jesus is troubled in His spirit because He knows the hour of His death is approaching. He also knows the means of it and the person betraying Him. But still…. Jesus spent over three years investing into Judas Iscariot. This is testament to His grace and mercy. Anyways Jesus tells Judas to go do what he must, and when he leaves, Jesus tells His disciples that the time has come for The Son of Man to be glorified. He further tells Peter that he will disown Him three times before the rooster crows.

In chapter 14:

We see Jesus comforting His disciples by telling them not to be worried. Since they believe in Him, they should believe in the Father as well, as He is gong to His Father’s house to prepare rooms for them. He further assures them there is enough room for all of them and that He will come back for them. When Thomas tells Jesus he doesn’t know the way and where He is going, Jesus responds with another ‘I AM’ statement, this time telling them that He is The way, the truth and the life and that no one can come to the Father unless they go through Him. When Phillip asks to see the Father, Jesus replies that the Father is in Him and He is in the Father and whoever sees Jesus has seen the Father. Jesus again says that He only speaks the words of the Father and that the Father does the [miraculous] things through the Son. Jesus prophesies that His followers will do even greater things than He did and whatever they ask in His name will be given, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Jesus then tells the disciples that if they love Him, they will keep His commandments. Jesus also says that He will ask the Father to send an advocate, the Spirit of Truth, who will live with them and in them. The world will not be able to accept Him as they don’t see Him nor know Him. Jesus promises that He won’t leave His disciples as orphans, He will come back for them. Because He lives, the disciples will live as well. On that day they will realize that the Father and Jesus are one, and that Jesus lives in them as well.

Jesus reiterates again that whoever keeps His commands are the ones who love Him. Whoever is loved by Jesus will be loved by the Father as well. When Jesus says that He will show Himself to the disciples, Judas a disciple (different from Judas Iscariot) asks why Jesus doesn’t intend to show Himself to the world. Jesus again talks about His teaching. Those who love Him will live by it, those who don’t love Him will not obey Him. Jesus reminds His disciples that His words are not His own, they are from the Father. When the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth comes (after Jesus leaves), He will teach the disciples all they need to know. Jesus again reassures His disciples of their peace in Him. He gives them peace, and He tells them not to be troubled. Jesus tells them that they are sorrowful because He’s going away. He is doing what the Father asks of Him to show the prince of this world {4} that He (Jesus) loves the Father and that he (satan) has no hold over Him.

RELATED POST: John Part 3: Jesus asks, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?

In chapter 15:

Jesus starts by announcing that He is the true Vine, and that His Father is the gardener. He further states that the Father cuts off every branch{1} in Him that bears no fruit, but those that bear fruit, He prunes. Jesus further asks us to remain in Him, for that is the only way to bear much fruit. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. When we remain In Jesus, it is to the Father’s glory , showing ourselves to be His disciples. Jesus then says that as the Father has loved Him, so He has loved us. All we have to do is keep His commands, just as He has followed the Father’s commandments. Jesus gives us this command : to love each other as He has loved us. He tells us that no one shows more love than those who sacrifice their lives for their friends. Jesus then calls His disciples (and us) His friends, for they do what He has commanded. He says we are no longer His servants because now He has told them what He is doing. Jesus further tells them that they have been chosen by Him to go and bear lasting fruit. He also says that anything asked in the Father’s name will be given to them. He reiterates again that we should love one another.

Jesus then switches gears. He says the world hates the disciples, (as in present tense), but it hated Him first. If they (and we) belonged to the world, they (and we) would be loved, but they do not belong to the world. They were chosen By God to be taken out of the world. Here He reminds the disciples that the servants are not greater than the master. If He was persecuted, they would be persecuted too. If His teaching was obeyed, they would be obeyed as well. The disciples are treated this way because the people don’t know the One who sent Him(the Father). Jesus says the world would not be guilty of their sin if He had not come into into the world, but now that He has, they have no excuse for their (continuing) sin. But because they have seen Jesus, and have hated both Jesus and the Father, they have fulfilled the law stating that “they hated [Him] without reason. {2} When the Advocate(the Holy Spirit/the Spirit of Truth) comes , whom will be sent by Jesus, from the Father, He will also testify about Jesus. Jesus further tells the disciples that they must also testify about Him, since they have been with Him since the beginning (of Jesus’ ministry).

In chapter 16:

Jesus reminds His disciples not to fall away {3} from Him. He tells them the time is coming when people will not let the disciples worship in the synagogues, they will be killed, and the people killing them will think that God is pleased with them. Jesus is giving them this warning now as He will soon leave (to go to the One who sent Him), He didn’t warn them earlier as He was with them. Jesus comforts the grieving disciples by telling them it’s for their own good that He goes away, that way the Advocate (The Holy Spirit) will come to them.

When the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world about

  • sin (because people do not believe in Jesus),
  • righteousness (because Jesus is going to the Father where they can see Him no longer),
  • judgement ( because the prince of the world {4} now stands condemned).

Jesus further tells them that when the Spirit (of Truth) comes, He will lead them into truth. His words will not be His own. He’ll only tell them what He has heard and about things yet to happen. The Spirit will glorify Jesus, because it is from Jesus that He will receive what He makes known to the disciples. Jesus further reiterates that everything the Father has, is His. And so whatever the Spirit tells the disciples, it has been received from Jesus.

When Jesus tells His disciples that He is going away and they will no longer see Him (in a little while), this confuses them enough to ask each other what it means. Jesus them tells them that they will grieve and mourn while the world rejoices. But just as a woman giving birth to a child forgets her pain and rejoices when the child is born, their grief will turn to joy. Jesus tells them that He will see them again and then they will rejoice and no one will take away their joy.

Jesus tells the disciples that on that day, they will no longer ask Him for anything. They will ask the Father and He will give them whatever they ask for. Jesus tells them to ask and promises that they will receive, so that their joy may be complete. Jesus tells them that they will ask the Father themselves, they will not need to ask Jesus to ask the Father, they will ask for themselves and the Father will give them what they ask. {5} This will happen because the Father loves them because they loved Jesus and believed that He came from the Father. Jesus tells them clearly that He had left the Father to enter the world, and now He will leave the world to go back to the Father. This speech makes the disciples believe that Jesus really came from the Father. Jesus them reminds them that the time will come, and in fact has already come, when they will leave Him all alone and will be scattered. Jesus ends by telling them, in this world they will have trouble, but He has overcome the world, so they should take heart and have peace.

The Bible Project’s Gospel of John.

{1} Here ‘branch’ means ‘person’. As Christians we should be rooted and established in God, by which I mean , we should find our life, our purpose, our meaning, our desires in Christ. He needs to be first in everything in our lives. He should be the reason for everything we do. We need to reflect Him in everything.  Being in Him, we derive our life from Him, as a tree has living sap flowing through it. The branches that are alive  have this same sap flowing through them. The branches that are dead, lose this sap, and so become hollow and then the branch falls off the tree and dies.

{2} Psalm 35:19 Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.

Psalm 69:4 Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.

{3} Falling away from God can mean back-sliding among other things. It can mean being complacent about God, choosing to read His Word less, praying less, barely thinking about Him, doing things for him rather than being in His Presence. It can also mean completely renouncing Him and going the other way.

{4} Prince of this world is another name for Satan.

{5} I love that Jesus spends so much time telling and reminding and encouraging His disciples to ask. And ask the Father directly without going through Him. The very fact that Jesus mentions ‘asking’ so many times means it’s really important. To Him and the Father. Doesn’t this give you peace? To know that we can ask so that our JOY may be complete? It does to me.

This post was such a labour of love, but every minute of the last few weeks spent on this was totally worth it. Reading and re-reading these four chapters of John gave me peace every single time. I could hear Jesus’ reassurance in almost every single sentence. And I needed it.

Until next time,

Vanessa.

Update.

Good morning! I hope you are leaning into Christ every day, because I sure need to! These past few months while I’ve been re-learning my identity in Christ, there’s been much travail and transition around me. Some things for good, and I’ve seen God’s hand in them, some things I’m just praying that I’ll see how God walked with me and the others affected soon!

Some of the changes that came about in the last few months are that we’re part of a monthly family fellowship. We take turns hosting in our home and they do in theirs’. My husband is completely on board and loves the worship, the message and meeting together. We have had a few already. These families have become some of our dearest friends.

I’ve also been given an opportunity to serve the women in our church along with a group of amazing women. My role has changed as I get to bring a lot of ideas to the meetings and I’ve been given almost free reign with implementing those that are accepted. I’m having fun doing what I love in this role, and part of it is organizing a monthly ladies fellowship. With my husband’s blessing we met at our home for a few months, and now that we’ve outgrown our home, we meet at the church. I love how God has been working (and still is!) in their lives. I so appreciate being a fly on the wall as God shows off, mending broken hearts, bringing healing and creating a safe place for the women to grow in.

At the same time I get to help my pastor with the social media stuff for our church, not just for the women. I’m immensely privileged to be working alongside her. She’s incredibly talented and so hard working. I have new respect for her as I realize how much she has done by herself. She is a great encourager and loves equipping people while simultaneously pushing them to improve. She never micro-manages and it makes working with her rewarding. I may be biased, but I think our church has the best pastor team!

My husband and I are growing closer to each other. First I have to say it’s the Lord’s doing (and yes it is marvelous in our eyes!) .He has knit us together and this three cord strand is becoming stronger by the day. Then it’s been family and friends helping us, encouraging us and praying for us. We are so blessed to have a faithful group of people around us who constantly help turn our eyes to Him.

Lastly but definitely not the least, my babies are doing well. Little miss C struggled with making friends at her new school for a bit, but is now loving it. Her teacher said she absorbs everything she is taught like a sponge. C also seems completely unabashed asking people if they believe in Jesus! (she asked a parent chaperone this, on a recent field trip!!!!). Master A is doing well at his center. The beginning of this year was a little rough as his hours increased (due to insurance) but he’s settling into a routine now. He is also sleeping much better (and all tired parents everywhere said, “Hallelujah”!).

C has always loved baking with me, she has done so since she was about 3 years old. Now she’s cooking with me. She’s made chicken curry and fish curry (even cutting the meat) and Indian flat bread with me. A is now very curious and wants to stay in the kitchen with me (because of her), we may start letting him help us out from time to time. C loves math and reading and spelling (not writing though) and A loves writing and reading. She reads books and he reads songs with lyrics. Our house is loud and full of noise and laughter and fun and screaming. We wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

These have been some of the reasons why I haven’t been able to devote much time here. I appreciate all of you, but I hope you have a church that teaches you, and a support system around you to help you grow. I have been given gifts and responsibilities and I’m trying to steward them well. For a season, some of them need to take a backseat. Others will need immediate attention and a lot of time and energy given to it. I love writing here too much to take it for granted. I wish to prepare well and study constantly. For now I’m going to write when I have blocks of time to do so properly.

Until later,

Much peace and grace,

Vanessa.

Behind the Scenes with Debra Jean (Realizing what a woman with chronic illness goes through daily).

I “met” Debra when we helped launch a Bible study for another friend. During networking week, when we could ask for anything, I asked people who suffered from chronic illnesses to help me understand what they were going through. These last few years that we’ve walked through Autism with my son, I have heard so many hurtful and judgmental things (among encouraging and loving things as well). To be completely fair, I’ve thought many of those same things before my own son was diagnosed in 2015. For the last year, I’ve had this dream to let you in, Dear Reader. To allow you to see behind the veil and the masks we wear, and see the nitty-gritty and the hard places of our lives.

We are part of the Body of Christ, and each of us, need the other. As the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12 :12-27 each part of the Body has a function. The eye needs the hand, the hand cannot live without the foot, and all the members of the Body are subject to the Head, Jesus Christ. In the same way The Church needs all of its members. The special needs children and their weary families. The sick and the ill and the depressed and the healthy and the joyous and the energetic. As Christians we’ve heard of the advice to older men and older women that Paul gives in Titus 2: 1-8 to teach the younger generations. Sometimes we do so, sometimes not.

What if we learnt from other groups too?

What if we learnt resilience from the families of special needs children?

What if we learnt to continue to pursue God from the people who suffer from chronic illnesses?

What if we learnt to stay in God’s will from those who constantly ran away from God and have now come back to Him?

What if we learnt methods to study the Bible from our pastors and teachers and leaders?

What if we learnt how to serve people from the people who make up our hospitality teams and cleaning teams in churches?

What if? I believe we have things we can learn from other people in the Church. I believe we can teach others in the Church as well. I believe we can encourage each other with the comfort we’ve received. The comfort God gives us in our valleys and hard places and sorrows and struggles. I believe we can receive comfort from someone else going through those places or have come out from those places.

My hope is that you will be encouraged if you’re going through this situation. My prayer is that maybe you will find something to encourage someone you know going through something like this, once you read these posts. My goal always, is to glorify God. While we talk about our valleys, we want to make sure we give God the credit He is due. None of us would have survived and then learned to thrive without Him giving us His Strength.

I want to welcome Debra Jean to our site. I hoped you are blessed by her post. Please leave encouraging and kind comments. Thank you so much 🙂

 

Debra Curto
Debra Jean Curto

My name is Debra Jean Curto, I am a child of God, wife, mother of 2, and Christian blogger. I love reading, photography, and crocheting among other crafts. My hope is to share my testimony and the insights God gives me and to bless others as we grow in Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Vanessa Samuel

Background: I was diagnosed in 2009 with fibromyalgia. In 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I opted for a mastectomy over radiation, and in Nov 2015 I was deemed cancer free. In March of 2017 I woke up dizzy. After ruling out vertigo from the inner ear doctors believe the dizziness is caused by migraine syndrome. The dizziness has not stopped although the severity varies from day to day. The migraines seem to only be increasing. Currently I get about 5-10 days a month without any migraine, some days they are less severe than others. I’m still trying to find a medication that will work.

Who were you before this?

A wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and homemaker with a career in finance and budget. I had a very full and busy life. Like most people I took my health for granted and kept my schedule overloaded. I still am a wife, mother, etc.… only now I have a mostly empty schedule. Who I am has not changed, what I can or can’t do has changed quite a bit.

What lifestyle changes did you need to make ?

In 2009 when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia many changes came to our home and family. We had someone come in and help with house work, my husband picked up doing a lot more around the house as well as running errands and food shopping. My mom has been immensely helpful through all of it, I’m not sure we could have managed so well without her. I quickly learned that my energy, which was suddenly limited, was better spent with my kids, then being particular about how the house looked. We also had to learn that making plans is great, however, ultimately it depends on how I feel then, not when the plans were made. Some days I can push myself other days I can’t.
With the migraine syndrome I have had to resign from work and I am unable to drive. Most everything is difficult, some days nearly impossible. The computer for example, there are some days I’m okay with an hour or two on it, other days I can’t do five minutes. I can’t clean my house, if I’m able to do a load of laundry and pick up after myself I’m happy. My daily goals have simplified, they are simply making the bed and get dressed (dressing is yoga pants and a baggy tee most days). Truly everything has changed. I am grateful that both of my children were grown about the time it got to this point. They are now both out on their own in separate states, I miss them and I am glad I am not burdening them. This time is for them to be young and have their own lives.

What was your lowest point?

Not a proud moment. When I was going through the tedious process of being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and I didn’t know if I would ever get back to work. I remember one day this was getting out of the shower I was out of breath exhausted, and thinking what a burden I have become to my family, and the next thought was ‘it would be better if I was dead.’ Immediately I knew this was flawed thinking and I prayed. God gave me a clear message letting me know that I wouldn’t be here if He didn’t have a purpose for me and that this would be used for His glory. This has given me hope even in those days, weeks, and months that I can’t possibly see how. Through it all, I know that He is able. God also seemed to be asking me, what is it that parents give you that is so important? It has so much more to do with love, time, care, and conversations than cooking, cleaning, running around, etc… And I could still do that, even today I still can and do.

What was your highest point through this or you found an effective way to function?

I haven’t reached this with the migraines, they still seem to be able to get worse rather than better. Although, I do remember about 6 months before I was diagnosed with cancer, thinking that I was starting to manage things better. I felt like I was finally learning how to balance limited energy, I wasn’t pushing myself and I was using what energy I had wisely. So, that gives me hope that I will get to that point again one day.

How has God made Himself real to you in this/these situations?

In every way possible! I love the book of Job. I wonder if Job had been told a year or three weeks before the disaster stared what was coming, would he have known that he would or could stay so faithful to God through it all? It isn’t until you need God for everything that you realize He has always been everything. There are days that are so bad, that light, sound, smell, or touch are crazy painful. At this point all I can do is pray and I have found that when I choose to praise God instead of beg for relief, my heart is filled. It doesn’t change the pain it just shifts my focus and that can do more than any pain relief can. Don’t get me wrong praise doesn’t always come easily in these moments, however, it always seems to feed my soul and be just what I needed.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

When I was first going through the diagnosis process for fibromyalgia my mom gave me a plaque with 2 Cor 12:9a “My grace is sufficient for thee for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” I read it many times every day. I had also read it many times in my Bible reading. Yet, somehow when I was diagnosed with cancer the second part of this verse really spoke to me, it came together. It seems odd to me that we always see the first part without the second because together it is so much more powerful. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor 12:9
I love to think of the power of Christ resting upon me when I am weak. Therefore, I like Paul will gladly boast in my weakness.

Bust some myths for us, tell us what this illness is not.

Fibromyalgia is not a label given to hypochondriacs, please do some research before you say that. It takes a lot to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it is a long drawn out process, just because they have not found what causes it doesn’t mean it is not real. People used to die of cancer all the time and it was called “natural causes.” Migraine is a whole lot more than a bad headache, if you have never had one you really can’t imagine, you should consider yourself blessed. Both of these conditions affect different people differently. With fibromyalgia there are a long list of other conditions that are common, not every patient has all of them we each get our own personal concoction. Some migraines can cause stroke like symptoms including temporary paralysis.
I just ask that we be slow to judge. With the dizziness I occasionally look like a stumbling drunk, I very rarely drink, yet I have seen the looks and heard the comments. Both hurt equally and are unfair to my family and friends.

How do you care for yourself?

It really depends on the day. Usually I can manage to shower and get myself out the door if I have to, although, I can’t drive so I have to get a ride. I can usually get myself something simple to eat. The biggest problem I have is not being able to do house work. It is one thing to pay for someone when you are working, it’s another to need help when you are always home. I simply can’t do most household chores, this is a source of irritation and frustration for me on a regular basis. I do have family, friends, and a supportive church family if I ever need anything or get stuck in a bad spot. I don’t call for help much, however, it is a great source of comfort to know that there are people willing to help if and when needed.

How have your relationships with those closest to you changed?

WOW, this is a loaded question. In so many ways, many of which I couldn’t put into words that would truly convey the sum. I will say that not all the changes have been negative either, illness has a way of making you look at everything differently. Cancer was awful and yet God used it for good, so much good. He used cancer to save my husband and our marriage (For more about my thoughts on cancer please read, “Let’s turn CANCER into cancer” ) Still, as hard as cancer was my husband has said that fibromyalgia is worse. I realize that this is not the case for everyone, I lost my youngest sister this year to cancer. I do grasp how lucky I was, my cancer was not very aggressive and it was found very early. The point my husband was making was that in our situation, we dealt with cancer for a about two years (now it’s just blood work and two appointments a year for five years) the fibromyalgia on the other hand, you just have to learn to live with an invisible disability. Fibromyalgia doesn’t get better it gets worse and, in many ways, it has disabled our marriage and our family.

What would you like people to know about the realities you face?

I don’t want being sick to be what defines me. My name is Debra I am a child of God, a wife, and mother. I don’t want any illness to be on the list of who I am, it is a struggle that I deal with every day, it is not me. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, just to believe me. Also, when I say that I am fine, I’m not. Really what that means is 1. I get sick of “hanging in there” 2. I don’t want to go into details and 3. It means I’m mostly status quo, whatever that is at that time. Please, can we talk about something other than how I feel? Ask about my kids, tell me about your kids, I want to hear your praise report and your prayer requests. And I want to share all that with you too. Usually it has little to do with my health anymore. However, please know that I always appreciate your prayers and I know that they do make a difference.

What would you like to tell people going through similar situations to give them hope?

  1. God really truly can use it for good. Rom 8:28 He is so able; just trust and wait you’ll see.
  2. Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do.
  3. Distraction is a good form of pain killer. I have found that when the migraines are absolutely debilitating sitting under the covers hiding only allows me to focus on the pain the problem with that is that it only increases the pain. When it is at its worse I pray and praise the Lord, even a little thing like prayer can shift my focus away from the increasing pain. When they aren’t quite that debilitating, I hide in my dark room often with a movie paying quietly and I crochet. For me crochet is muscle memory, I have been doing it for so long I rarely have to look at it. It doesn’t cause much movement and so it is enough to distract me without causing more pain. I also like audio books (quietly) for when I can’t read. Before I had visual issues, I loved the adult coloring books, and needle point. I have also done paint by number and the diamond painting, there is a lot out there so find something that will work for you, something you can do. Prayer always works, don’t be afraid to cry or even get mad. Be real with God let your feelings out, God already knows so there is no reason to try to hide anything from Him. Plus, He is the best at listening and helping sort it out.

What is your favorite worship song?

I don’t think I could just call one my favorite, there are so many great songs that have helped me get through at different points in the whole process. Although, there is one that I pray and I sing often that I think reflects the attitude I hope to have, it is “Bring the Rain” by Mercy Me.

 

 

Until next time, dear friends,

Vanessa.

Word Study: Loved By God.

Good morning. This last summer has been a learning kind of summer and I don’t mean academically. Oh! I did finish my course and I had to study for quizzes and tests and for my certification and the final, but that’s not really what I was taught this year.

Loved by God 5.pngLoved by GodLoved by God 1

Loved by God 3.pngLoved by God 4

 

 

And then, gently and tenderly, God would tell us, “Your name is no longer…. but from now on you will be called LOVED, KNOWN, REDEEMED, FORGIVEN, CHOSEN, MINE”.
This scenario was something I went over and over in my mind. Choosing things I would say, changing things, answering questions I would receive.
At the start of 2018 I felt confident of my identity in Christ and that I would be able to help others re-discover it too. By April of 2018 I was floundering! I was restless, annoyed, irritated, hurt and struggling to stay afloat in various relationships. Finally God showed me in a series of images that what I had prepared in my mind for other women to be encouraged should be something I myself study. Again. So I did.
Part of my silence (on the blog) was for that reason. I did word studies on these chosen attributes and took them to heart. I took my time, wrote down verses I liked, meditated on them for a few weeks, and when I felt like I trusted God when He said I am LOVED, KNOWN etc, then I moved on to the next.
So in the midst of studying for quizzes I was studying for myself too. I was re-learning my identity in Christ and taking that truth deep into myself until I could not be shaken.
Don’t you just love God’s timing? And the way He works? I’m simply in awe of how TENDER and GENTLE HE is. He pursued and still pursued me. He showed me ways to come back to Him, my strong ROCK and my FOUNDATION. He put women in my life who constantly spoke truth over me. They reminded me of verses (some of which I did not want to hear in the midst of that hurt!) but they kept checking on me and asking after the state of my heart and what I believed about God that day.
There were so many days that I was mad at God Himself and without these lovely ladies constantly reminding me of His faithfulness and goodness on a daily basis, it would have taken me much longer to make up the quarrel with Him!
I am grateful that He is strong enough for me to throw a fit and still love me. I’m grateful that He is patient with me waiting for me to repent but also giving me a family to encourage me when I needed it. I’m grateful that He leaves the ninety nine for me because I belong to Him and He will not lose anyone given to Him by the Father.
As I type this my daughter is watching the word count go up, and my precious seven year old is impressed by how many words I can write! I have not the heart to tell her that some of my other posts are word heavy! And my little boy is sitting next to me on the other side making me make him numbers out of the cereal (dry) he is supposed to be eating!
I will leave you today with the knowledge that I AM LOVED BY GOD HIMSELF. And if He, the most splendid and majestic God loves me, HE LOVES YOU TOO. Take heart dear friend when you feel lonely and friendless and rejected.
He sees. 
He cares. 
He knows.
He loves you (and me) with an everlasting love. 
And He never goes away. 
I will leave you with some of my favorite verses when I studied being Loved by Him. I hope you are blessed.
Until next time,
Vanessa.
Loved by God 2
      Loved by God 16
 
Loved by God 15
       Loved by God 12
Loved by God 8
Loved by God 11
Loved by God 10Loved by God 7      Loved by God 4
      Loved by God 3

John part 3: Jesus asks, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

Good morning. This generation (including me) seems to be living life at a break neck pace. We’re running here and rushing there and staying barely under the speed limit on our drive to drop off our children at school or pick them up or take them to an after school activity or practice. Throw in work and church and hobbies and electronics and social media and then it feels like we can barely breathe.

In the midst of the chaos, it sometimes feels like God is an afterthought. Until we can intentionally, make the time for Him, we will not reap the rewards. We will not grow closer to Him, nor change into who He has called us to be. We will not be able to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. We will worship other things though. Money, status, reputation, sports, work, even marriage and children.

To come back to the heart of worship is to come back to the person of Jesus Christ. To worship Him is to believe in Him. To believe in Him, we need to ask ourselves several questions, starting with, “Who is Jesus to us?” Then we go on to “How can we draw nearer to Him?” and finally “How can we make Him known to those around us?”

Each of us needs to individually wrestle with Who Jesus is. Is HE Father? God? Friend? Lover? Judge? Savior? Unfair? Loving? Kind? Unjust? Strict? Vengeful? Merciful?

Once we answer that question, the rest become easier. But we can only answer that for ourselves. Sometimes it takes a lot of searching, sometimes we can accept it on faith.

In the four chapters that I’ve chosen for today, we see stories of people either believing in Him or rejecting Him. It starts with Jesus asking the blind man who had been healed if he believed in the Son of Man. Do you? Let me know in the comments below who Jesus is to you.

RELATED POST: John part 2: Jesus says “My time has not yet fully come.”

Continuing on…..

In chapter 9: Jesus heals a man who was born blind and gives him his sight. {1} Jesus declares Himself to be The light of the world with another powerful “I AM” statement. After the man is thrown out of the synagogue, Jesus finds him and asks him if he believes in the Son of Man. The man says, “Show me who He is and I will believe”. Jesus tells him to which the response is “Lord I believe” and he worships God.

 

In chapter 10 : In this chapter Jesus utters two more ” I AM ” statements which I’ve combined for simplicity’s sake, here. Jesus says He is the Gate, the One who protects us from evil, no one can get through us without going through Him first. He is also the The Good Shepherd, the One who leads us and guides us and protects us and restores us and feeds us. Jesus mentions that He knows His sheep (His people) and they know Him (v 15) just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and recognize His voice. Jesus also says that He’ll lay down His life willingly for His people and He has the authority to take it up again.

Jesus is further questioned over His claims by the Jews in the Temple courts. Jesus reiterates that He and the Father are One. He says they are not of His flock and so they don’t believe in Him. Those who do (believe) receive eternal life from Him and they will never be snatched from His hand. The Jews try to stone Him for His blasphemy but Jesus replies that His works testify that He comes from the Father and does the Father’s work. He escapes their grasp and goes back across the Jordan. While He is in that place many people believed in Him.

RELATED POST: John Part 1: Jesus is the Giver of grace upon grace.

In chapter 11: In this chapter Lazarus {2} dies but Jesus tarries where He is for two more days before coming to Bethany. Jesus tells His disciples that He is glad He didn’t go right before Lazarus died, so that they can see what He does now and believe.  Jesus again tells them that He can do the works He is supposed to while it is daytime{3}. When He does go back to Bethany, Lazarus had already been dead for four days. Martha, his sister comes out to meet Jesus while the other sister, Mary stays at home. Martha tells Jesus she knows God will give Him anything He asks. She believes Lazarus will rise on the last day.

Jesus tells her that ‘HE IS the resurrection and life’ and those who believe in Him will live even though they die, and those who live by believing in Him will never die. He then asks her if she believes this. To which she replies (v 27) “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” and then she tells her sister Mary that The Teacher is asking for her. Mary goes to Jesus (because He hadn’t entered the village yet) and the Jews who had come to comfort the family follow her. Mary is sorrowful and Jesus seeing her grief and those of the people who followed her, weeps{4}. Jesus thanks His Father for hearing His prayer and then in loud voice calls out to Lazarus to come out. He does. Jesus instructs the people to help free Lazarus from the grave clothes binding Him.

Because of what Jesus did, many people believed in Him, though some did go and tell the Jewish leaders what Jesus had done. The leaders are concerned over the influence Jesus has over the people, but Caiphas the high priest wants to kill Jesus. The Bible notes in (v 51-52)  he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. We see the prophecies of the Old Testament coming to pass. Jesus then moves about privately so not to attract the notice of the leaders.

In this chapter as in chapter 9, we see that the tragic event that happened in the family, was intentional, so that through what God did, people would believe. In Jesus’ words (v 4), it[Lazarus’ illness and subsequent death] is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’

 

In chapter 12: Six days before the Passover, Jesus goes to Bethany again. This time Martha serves without complaining, and Mary in an act of worship, pours half a liter of pure nard{5} over Jesus’ feet and wipes it off with her hair. The house is filled with the fragrance of the perfume. Judas Iscariot complains about the waste, but Jesus admonishes them to leave her alone, Mary had saved the perfume for the day of His burial. Many Jews came over to see Jesus as well as Lazarus because he had been raised from the dead. Because of Lazarus , many people believed in Jesus, and so the authorities made plans to kill him as well.

The next day when the people hear that Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem, they take palm branches and go out to meet Him with rejoicing, shouting, “Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord“. There are Greeks at the Festival who want to meet Jesus, they go to Phillip who takes them to Andrew{6}, and together they take them to Jesus.  Jesus now says “It is the hour for the Son of Man to be glorified”. While troubled in His Spirit at the thought of the suffering He must endure, He cries out, “Father Glorify your name”. Then a voice from heaven thunders,  “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again”. The people hear and believe it to be a voice of an angel, but Jesus says the Voice was for their benefit, not His. When He is lifted up (His death), He will draw all people to Him.

Even after the many signs that Jesus performed many people did not believe in Him as Isaiah had prophesied. Yet at the same time, many did. Even among the leaders, there were people who believed in Jesus, though not openly, since they did not want to be put out of the synagogue. Jesus begs the people to believe in Him, as those who believe , don’t just believe in Him, but also in the One who sent Him, His Father. Jesus further says that He did not come to judge the world but to save it, but there is a Judge for the ones who choose not to believe. They will be condemned at the last day. Jesus tells them that He has come as a light to the world so that those who believe will stop walking in the darkness.

 

{1} Jesus’ disciples asked Him if the man had sinned or his parents. They wanted to know if there was a reason for the man to be born blind. Jesus replied neither, it was so that the works of God would be manifested in his life. Jesus said He will do the things He is supposed to while it is still day as no one can do works during the night. Jesus makes mud using His spit and puts it on the blind man’s eyes and sends him to wash in the pool of Siloam. The man obeys and comes back seeing. This miracle as had often happened with Jesus in the past takes place on a Sabbath. The Jewish leaders are skeptical of the man’s healing. They don’t believe the man had been born blind until they send for his parents and confirm that. They are also looking for a reason to discredit Jesus and so constantly ask the man to repeat his version of the healing. This incident ends with the man thrown out of the synagogue. I’ve written a comparison between this miracle and the one in John 5, here.

{2} Lazarus lived with his sisters Mary and Martha. There are a couple other occasions where they are mentioned, but in everyone of those, the author takes care to mention that Jesus loved this family. They were His faithful followers and by His reaction, also good friends.

{3} Jesus makes a point of mentioning that He can do the works He is supposed to, only during the day. This ties in with Him saying “I AM the light of the world”. He says this in several other chapters, that when the Light goes away, no one can do anything. When He ascended to heaven and the Holy Spirit came to live in us, we became and are the light of the world. Through the Spirit in us, people are able to see in ‘darkness’ and we become a guiding light to them. It isn’t anything we do, but with the Spirit, we are able to give a reason for our hope. We are able to bring peace and joy to the world. As much as the world is going downhill now, once all the Christians are removed from the world, darkness and evil and satan will have a free rein, and none of the works that glorify God will be done then.

{4} In John 11: 35 we see that Jesus wept. He intentionally stayed away so that His disciples would see a miracle and believe in Him. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. But…… Jesus saw the grief of the people and of Mary and He was troubled in His Spirit and He wept. What a comfort to know that our God sees us and joins us in our grief. When we hurt, He hurts too. When we mourn, He mourns with us. I have no greater comfort to know that the King of all the universe joins me in my sorrow. I am not unseen, unknown or of too little importance. He cares for me.

{5} Pure nard was extremely expensive and in today’s economy we estimate the cost to be between $12,000-$50,000. Judas objected with the statement that if the perfume had been sold, the money could have been given to the poor. Here John gives us a key insight into the character of Judas. He was the keeper of the money bag and would help himself to the money collected. He did not care for the poor.

{6} Andrew was one of the first disciples to follow Jesus. He brought his brother Peter to Jesus, and Jesus commissioned Peter to build His Church. Andrew later brings a little boy and His lunch to Jesus. Jesus uses the boy’s lunch to feed upwards of 5000 people and in so doing, many people believe in Him. Now Andrew brings people of a different nationality to Jesus and they worship God. I love Andrew’s heart. He’s obedient to God and content to stay in the background while some others receive acclaim, but always, always making connections between seeking people and the God they seek.

 

In John, Jesus’ Divinity is heavily emphasized. Throughout the gospel belief (or unbelief) in Jesus and Jesus being the light of the world is mentioned often. I want to leave you with this question, Do you believe in this Son of Man/Jesus?

 How we answer this question determines if we live in and are walking in the light. In John part 3: Jesus asks, ” Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Do you? Let us purpose to live in Him and for Him and together be a light to the world. click to tweet!

If you enjoyed reading this post, would you let me know in the comments below? Thank you.

Until next time,

Your fellow sojourner,

Vanessa.

 

 

John part 2: Jesus says “My time has not yet fully come.”

Good morning. As I write this greeting I can’t help remember the time that my son woke me up in the middle of the night. Sometimes he has a hard time sleeping and frequently wants one of us to stay up with him. Usually it’s me. He’s also learning greeting a person as part of his therapy. His therapists are constantly getting him to say “Hi” and “Bye”. So when he woke me up at 3 in the morning, the first thing he said to me was, “Say Hi!” and I sleepy and groggy as I was, did! I was sleepy but I was excited that what his therapists are working on at his center, seem to be staying with him when he comes home 🙂 So Good Morning!

It’s been a long time since I wrote a Bible post and I decided to go back to it to restart my blogging after my summer break. We’ll continue with the Gospel of John, the first part you can find here. Here’s the next part.

The gospel of John was written by the disciple John (the brother of James and one of the three of Jesus’ inner circle, Peter, James and John). In other gospels we learn that he is the son of Zebedee. He and his brother James were most likely business partners with Peter and Andrew. Those four are often mentioned together. His mother asked Jesus to let one of her sons sit on His right hand and the other on His left, to which Jesus replied that those positions were for His Father to fill. This request angered the rest of the disciples, causing Jesus to talk to them of humility. John and James were nicknamed ‘Sons of Thunder” for their temperaments and for wanting to call down fire on a Samaritan town that refused to believe in Jesus. At Jesus’ death on the cross, He gave charge of His mother, Mary, to John to care for and to provide for her for the rest of her life.

In this gospel, John refers to himself as “The disciple that God loved” and not by his name. “This title occurs in five passages:

  1. John 13:23: “One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.”
  2. John 19:26: “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son.’”
  3. John 20:2: “So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’”
  4. John 21:7: “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’”
  5. John 21:20: “Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them.” These five verses were taken from Zondervan Academic, Who wrote the gospel of John?

It is believed that John was the only disciple who died of old age, all other disciples were killed and died as martyrs. When he was older, he was the leader of the church in Ephesus and was called the Elder. It is also believed that he wrote the letters of First, Second and Third John as well as the book of Revelation.

As I wrote earlier, the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke are called synoptic gospels, because they follow a similar timeline of events. At least ninety percent of John is different from the other gospels and was written much later than the other three. For John, Jesus’s miracles are not simply wonders to astonish onlookers, but signs pointing to his glory that come from the presence of God within him.” (The Gospel of John Summary from Spark Notes).

RELATED POST: John Part 1: Jesus is the Giver of grace upon grace.

In chapter 5: Jesus heals a man who had been lame for thirty eight years by the pool of Bethesda. As had happened many times before, the healing takes place on a Sabbath. The Jewish leaders adhering to the letter of the law and not the spirit of it, forbid the healed man from carrying his mat. He replies that the man who healed him and whose name he doesn’t know asked him to do so. Jesus finds him later at the Temple and tells him to stop sinning. Promptly the man tells the Jewish leaders about Jesus. Jesus’ authority is questioned by the Jewish leaders and when Jesus tells them that He does what He does because of the Father’s instructions and example, He is persecuted. Jesus replies with remarkable insight in John 5: 17-30. Jesus also tells them that The Father testifies on His behalf as did John the Baptist. While Jesus does not need human testimony, He mentions it to them so that they will accept it and believe in Him. He warns them to seek only the glory that comes from God. He also warns them that their accuser before The Father will be Moses if they continue to disbelieve.

 

In chapter 6: Jesus feeds the 5000 (if you open the link you will see this miracle compared in all four gospels). Each gospel account mentions this miracle. Each author focused on something different. In John, he focuses on Jesus’ divinity and so he presents this miracle as one of the signs that Jesus is truly God. He mentions that Jesus wanted to test Philip and so asked him where they would find food for all the people, ( I’ve mentioned before that the 5000 were men counted, there were women and children present as well so that final count would be closer to 20,000 people). John also mentions that it was Andrew who found the boy who had the five loaves of bread and two fish. {1} That evening His disciples get into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. Jesus walks on the water to them. They are terrified at first but when He says “It is I, don’t be afraid.” they are willing to take him into the boat and immediately the boat reaches the other shore.

Then Jesus proclaims Himself to be the  Bread of life. This is the first of the “I AM” statements that John records that Jesus said. Jesus tells the people to believe in the One whom (The Father) has sent. Jesus further tells them :

  • That no one can come to Him unless the Father draws them.
  • Whoever comes to Jesus will be raised up on the last day.
  • Whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.
  • Whoever receives Him will never be hungry or thirsty again.
  • That He will never lose anyone who comes to Him.
  • Whoever eats (of Him) will live for ever.
  • His flesh is the Bread which He gives for the life of the world.

This is such a hard thing for many disciples to hear and understand that they turn back and stop following Jesus. Jesus then asked His twelve disciples if they want to leave as well and Simon Peter answers,  ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.’ After this Jesus warns them that one of the chosen twelve disciples will betray Him.

 

In chapter 7: Jesus chooses to go to Galilee and teach since He is being persecuted in Judea. Jesus’ brothers mock him(as they had not yet believed in Him) when He doesn’t want to be known publicly. Jesus mentions His time has not yet fully come (for Him to be revealed), for the world any time will do. The brothers go to Judea for the Festival of the Tabernacles and Jesus goes up privately. Not until halfway through the Festival does Jesus teach in the Temple courts. The crowds are amazed at His learning even without Him receiving formal education. Jesus replies that His teaching is not His own. It comes from the Father who’s ent Him. Anyone who does the will of God will know that the teaching comes from God. He reiterates again that healing a whole man on the Sabbath is lawful and does not break any commandments.

The people are divided over Jesus, some people believe He is the Messiah, others don’t because they believe they know His origins. Jesus says He is not here on earth by His own authority but he has come because the One who sent Him is true. Some people tried to seize Jesus because of His blasphemy but no one could lay a hand on Him because His time had not yet come. Jesus hints that when He leaves the people, they will not be able to follow Him. On the last day of the Festival, Jesus reminds the people that Whoever believes in [Him], as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’(John 7:38) by which He meant that the Spirit would indwell in them when He comes. The guards sent by the Jewish leaders to apprehend Jesus return to them empty handed because they are won over by the way that Jesus teaches. The leaders do not believe in Jesus and are furious but here we see Nicodemus, one of their own number, trying to mediate between them and Jesus.

 

In chapter 8: The teachers of the law bring a woman caught in a adultery to Jesus, in order to trick Him with the dictates of the law. {2}Jesus instead writes something on the ground, no one mentions what, but it is enough to convict the people of their own sin first over the woman’s and so they leave, the older ones before the others, until they is no one left to stone the woman. Jesus straightened up and then tells the woman to go and leave her life of sin.

Jesus then utters the second “I AM” statement and here calls Himself The light of the world. He further says that those who follow Him will never walk in darkness. He is questioned about being His own witness, but Jesus replies that He testifies for Himself as does the Father. His testimony on His behalf is valid because He knows where He comes from and where He will go. While what He said angered the leaders, no one seized Him because His hour had not yet come. Jesus furthers tells them that they will die in their sins if they don’t believe in Him. Where He is going they cannot follow unless they believe in Him. Jesus also says that He is never alone for The one who sent [Him] is with [Him]; he has not left [Him] alone, for [He] always does what pleases him.’ (John 8:29)

Jesus and the Jewish leaders dispute over their parentage. When Jesus tells them He only does what the Father tells Him to do and those that hold to His teachings will know the truth and the truth will set them free, they are incensed. They believe that they have always been free and never slaves to anyone{3} They reiterate that their only father is God and that they are Abraham’s descendants. Jesus tells them that if God was their Father they would love Him, believe in Him and do what He tells them. Since they aren’t, they are doing the works of their father, the devil, who is a liar and was a murderer from the beginning. Jesus further tells them that Abraham saw the day of Jesus(life and ministry on earth) and seeing that , rejoiced. They scoff because of Jesus’ young age. Jesus says, before Abraham ever was, He existed. At which the people try to stone Him, but he slips away.

{1} This is the second time that Andrew has brought someone to Jesus. The first time was when he brought his brother Simon who was later renamed Peter to Jesus and Peter is given authority to build the Church of God. Here Andrew brings an unnamed little boy and his lunch to Jesus, and Jesus performs a miracle with the little the boy had. We will see later that Andrew brings other people to Jesus as well.

{2} In the old testament, the law requires that both partners caught in an act of adultery to be stoned to death. Not only do the leaders not bring in the man , but they are trying to trick Jesus. They know Jesus has infinite compassion towards the downtrodden classes and has ‘violated’ several commandments (to them at least), so here they want to see if He’ll adhere to the law(stoning the woman) or set her free.

{3} In the old testament, during various periods (see the book of Judges especially) of disobedience and rebellion towards God, God allowed several nations to conquer Israel and Jerusalem. During which time the Israelites were not free and definitely were slaves to the conquering nation. At the time of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth, Jerusalem was conquered by Rome.

RELATED POST: My hour has not yet come, but it will.

Several times in these four chapters, something did not happen and John records it as being “not Jesus’ time”. Jesus was God the Son ,and as such, knew the time that the Father had decreed for Him. The time to heal and teach and interact with people was during His lifetime. The time to save would be at His death and resurrection. The time to worship Him would be at His ascension. The time for Jesus to be righteously angry would be in the week leading up to His death. So we see Jesus holding back from blistering the Jewish leaders and we see God holding back the people from killing Him before His time.

Until next time,

Vanessa.

 

 

 

 

 

Back to school. Back to writing.

Hello! Hope you’ve been well and enjoyed a fun and restful summer. For most of you, your children will be back in school and you may be too! Things have been changing(in a good way) for our family. I finished my course over the summer and am now certified, but we decided that I would take a break from studying and working.

While I was attending classes, because of the schedule, my husband did quite a bit. We had a babysitter who watched the kids when I left and stayed with them till he came home and then she left. She stayed anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour and a half. I made dinner for the family before leaving and he made dinner for my son when he came home, fed both kids and put them to bed. I often came home after 9 PM.

This was hard on my husband and my daughter hated it, but it was pure misery for my son. He went to pieces, he woke up often(4-6 times a week) and stayed up all night. He became attached to me, more than he was, almost like he was nursing(he’s not!! he’s six now 🙂 ) I couldn’t leave a room without him following me, if I was out of sight for more than 30 seconds, he became distraught and needed me. And the waking up? He only wanted me, he would put on the lights and keeping checking my face repeatedly, especially if I covered it with the comforter. I hope to be able to work sometime but have made peace with it not being now. My mentor reminds me often that this is just a season.

We also moved! Hopefully for the last time. We are finally homeowners, and as I write this, we had our housewarming with worship and prayer and our pastor speaking and a lot of friends over. My family from Ohio came as well and we were excited to be able to spend some time with each other. I am beyond thrilled to let people into our home for fellowship and prayer, and to use it for His Glory 🙂 (ask me how that’s going in a couple of months!)

My daughter was enrolled in a new school because of the move and it was rough on her for a few weeks but she’s started to make friends and speak to the others in her class. She’s enjoying herself with all the people and the kids who come over and is looking forward to all the school fun activities.  My son is in a therapy center, one he joined in March, and is doing well. My family has seen much improvement in him. Enough that it’s like night and day. To know more about the behind the scenes work that goes on in his life, please read the post I wrote for Carole Sparks’ blog a little time ago.

I took a long break from blogging and made time to rest and learn. My back acted up and I needed PT and medicines and I had to do things slowly. I told my daughter more times than I could count that I needed to do something she asked me to later, it came to such a point that she started praying for me to be healed! I am better now and don’t need the PT anymore, but it meant that I did not do many of the things that I had planned to do with my daughter. Sometimes I feel guilty over it and I’m learning to go easy on myself and not beat myself down.

This past summer was a learning kinda summer(and I don’t mean academically!) Through a series of events and consequences and circumstances, God showed me who He is, who I am in Him, and what His will is for me(at least I know what I’m meant to do for the next few months).

I had to re-learn my identity in Christ and stand firm on those promises. I had to learn to forgive and ask for forgiveness. I had to learn to let go of my expectations and remember that I have been created in advance for the good work that He has prepared for me.

Sometimes, most of the time, He breaks me and takes me out from situations in order to prepare me for some thing else. Sometimes, most of the time, I don’t want to leave. I’ve become familiar with the particular situation and I know my strengths and weaknesses and I don’t want to start from the beginning somewhere else. He who sees me, has shown me that He walks with me every step of the way. He who sees my future knows the way I must go and He leads me tenderly and gently like The Good Shepherd He is.

I have a ton of ideas to continue writing and I’m going to post several articles on word studies that I’ve done this summer, soon. This was part of my learning experience. I studied on being Loved by God, Chosen by Him, Worthy of the calling I’ve been given, Forgiven by Him, Redeemed and Ransomed by Him, and being His Child.

 

 

For now I will rest in Him. And walk with Him, slowly for my part, but always with Him. He’s in control and He knows what He is doing.

Until next time,

Vanessa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A guest post opportunity at Not About Me.

Carole Sparks from Not About Me asked me to write a guest post for her blog Intentional Parenting. That’s an oversimplification! She reached out to me and then asked and asked asked and asked. I had too many things going on this summer and I always had a good excuse (to me at least!) But like the persistent widow (Luke 18 : 1-8) she kept reaching out to me kindly and gently and firmly. She believed I had something to say and she wanted to make sure she could share that with the online world.

I finally wrote down what she requested. A few minutes here, a stolen moment there and I finished. Without editing or checking for length , I sent it off to Carole , with permission to edit as ruthlessly as she must. Graciously Carole allowed most of the original post to stay.

At Intentional Parenting, Carole’s goal is to show how Jesus Christ of Nazareth has been and still is her model for parenting her children. She writes with the intention (pun intended!) of helping other parents realize that parenting is and should be our highest calling. She writes with the hope that you realize that she is flawed and imperfect and has made mistakes, but that you can see the truth of what goes on and realize that she is not judging you. She aims to encourage you and give you ideas and tips to help you along in your parenting journey.

With that goal in mind, Carole reaches out to other Christian mothers to write about their journey, sometimes so very different from her own. As always what we write and are allowed to guest post on her blog are meant to glorify our God. It’s meant to show you the reader that our imperfections and our weaknesses and our struggles are what they are, so that the All-Powerful, All-Knowing and Good God can fill us up with His strength and provide all we need.

I was privileged to be able to write for Carole’s blog and we would love it if you read the post and encouraged us in the comments.

“When letting others help you raise your child is the best thing you
can do for him”.

The first few times I said special needs, Autism or something similar,
I brawled. I sobbed. I cried. I grieved actively (by which I mean I
cried every day) for several months, then on and off after that. I’d
be fine for awhile but then the grief would hit me for a few weeks,
and I’d be a weepy mess again, just able to do the day to day things,
and nothing more.

But since then I’ve been and am broken. I’ve allowed God to do what He
wishes in my life, by which I mean I accept, I’m not fighting and I’m
not running in the opposite direction.

I’ve also been restored and refreshed and held, in loving hands. He
has walked with me and watched me and knows.

But coming back to what helped our son. He was diagnosed 3 years ago
when he was 3 years old.

To continue reading, head on over to Carole’s Intentional Parenting blog and leave a comment please. We want to know how special needs changed your life and how God has been faithful in the midst of it all.

Until next time,

Vanessa.