My Part, God’s Part, My Story
“Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to [you], I will heal my people and let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”
A little of the fun stuff
I enjoy writing and helping others uncover and build on their passion, gifts, and ministry. I enjoy my quiet time in the morning at my kitchen table looking out over our five acres. I really enjoy having my college boys around, and I enjoy going to good movies (where good triumphs!).
If I didn’t feel so called to write or if I was a Type-A personality, I would have horses, be a great cook, work on my photos, and maybe take up a craft or two.
I’ve been married for twenty-five years to a wonderful guy who supports me and my writing ministry. We live in sunny, rural Southwest Florida—with pines, oaks, palmettos, and cow pastures. We have three grown “boys,” all in college, ages 20, 21, and 23.
Seven months after sending our youngest off to college, we “inherited” our 15-year-old nephew. When his dad, (my husband’s brother) passed away unexpectedly, our nephew began struggling with the chaos of life in general, and academics, in particular. We have taken him in and are enjoying his antics (which bring back lots of crazy memories from our boys).
More on my story
I grew up in a Christian home and prayed for Jesus to come into my life when I was 12. I loved God (and Jesus), but I didn’t have a whole lot of understanding on spiritual growth or connection with God.
Until I hit 30, life was going along pretty good. My husband and I had two kids, ages 4 and 2. Then, when I was pregnant with our third child, we were told that our 4-year-old and 2-year-old had a life-threatening illness called Cystic Fibrosis. We were trying to deal with this and wondering about our new little one (who we later found out was free from Cystic Fibrosis).
Seven months into this news and the change in our lives and agenda, my grandmother died and one month later, my mom died. My mom’s death was terrible and unexpected. She died from a ruptured aortic aneurism. She lived for eleven traumatic days in the hospital’s intensive care unit. She didn’t look like herself at all—and it was difficult to face the devastating effects on her body from the aneurism. We were unable to communicate as she lay there.
There was another problem. Although my mom and I were very close and she was a big source of help and wisdom, especially now with the boys, we unfortunately, happened to have a disagreement the night before her aneurism. Between the disagreement and the shock, I didn’t know what to do or say as she lay there. And so she passed away after eleven difficult days.
Obviously, I was struggling with the kids’ diagnosis and care, and all that was involved with these two family deaths, when shortly after this, there was a show on TV that about aortic aneurisms being hereditary. They showed a family dying from this disease. This certainly wasn’t what I needed to hear at this point. I tried to tell myself that everything would be all right, and I knew that God was there, but still my body revealed the stress and fear that was there.
I went round and round in my mind over many issues, especially this one – Why was all of this happening? Was this from God? Or was this from Satan? If so, what was I then supposed to do? One day my mind was in turmoil over this again. I was trying to think through whether it was God or Satan when the answer came to me—it was both!
Both God and Satan were at work! The Bible tells us that Satan sets out to destroy us and draw us away from God. It was sure true in my life. Jesus meant it and wasn’t exaggerating when he said, “Satan, the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10. See also 1 Peter 5:8.)
I knew that God was at work in my life. Sometimes I would pick up my Bible and ask God to give me a word or two from Him that could help me. And He did. He gave me some promises. But I had no idea what to do with these promises and I still lacked peace.
Even though I was telling myself all the right things—“It’ll be okay,” and “I’m fine,” I was still struggling. Fear, pain, and the beginning of anxiety attacks plagued me.
I visited several counselors, and while each brought some comfort and insight, I needed more peace. I found a new counselor (and pastor) who I had heard good things about and met with him. As I shared my story, he quietly told me, “It’s okay to feel your feelings.”
This was huge. Feel my feelings? Are you crazy? This was the last thing I wanted to do, but exactly what I needed to hear. I had never wanted to feel my feelings. I wanted to minimize everything.
I had to learn to identify my feelings and accept where I was along the journey. I had to get real with myself and get real with God.
I thought things would get worse if I admitted anything, but unbelievably, everything’s gotten better—including my relationships. As I’ve learned to get more honest and be okay with exactly where I’m at, my connection with God has improved, as well as my connection with others.
I was trying to be good and strong. I didn’t think good Christian people were supposed to have fear, anger, pain, regret, or needs. I thought admitting anything would make it worse. So I didn’t. I denied it. I said, “I’m fine,” and never got anywhere. But if I wanted God to be strong for me, I would have to (and still have to) admit that I’m weak and that I need Him. As long as I pretend that I can do it, I keep trying harder, and His power is cut off from my life. I have to ask for His help.
Peace is certainly not just about accepting our feelings, but it can be a starting place to understanding and accepting ourselves. It can be the starting place for connecting with God and others at an honest level from where we can grow. God has taught me many other things about the peace that He so vividly promises and I will share these throughout this Website and blog.
But before we leave off, here are just a few more thoughts on this key topic of feelings. Our emotions are important because we are to—“love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.” (See Matthew 22:37 and Deuteronomy 6:5.) This means that our emotions are to be engaged and involved with God. Passionately. Therefore, we can’t shirk and ignore the painful ones.
Many of us understand that God created us with emotions. We are to be people with emotions, but it’s more than that—God is an emotional God! In the Bible God gets very emotional toward us (love, passion, jealousy, anger). There are long passages in the Bible where God rants in anger, where He pours His heart out in love, where He cries out in His desire for us to turn to Him. We were created with a range of emotions and God feels each of these emotions towards us.
Our emotions and feelings really do count and are important to God.
Here’s to all of us getting healthy with our emotions, with God, and with others, too!