Here’s to Good Health!–Chapter 2 (Part 2)

Ten years after I was first diagnosed with RA, everything shifted again. The RA came back with a vengeance. This time, three fingers, not just one became swollen and pain was extending into my wrists. My hips and knees hurt so bad, climbing the stairs in my apartment became a chore. My hands became so weak, I could barely turn a door knob and I learned to carry grocery bags hanging on my arms instead of in my hands. Getting up in the morning was slow. Once I got up and around, it seemed to ease, but those first moments were tough. I couldn’t lift my legs to the side more than 30 percent and I was in constant pain. I was eating over the counter NSAIDs like they were candy. I felt drained all the time. It got so bad at one point, I ended up in the emergency room because I could not open or close my hands. They were frozen in a relaxed curve position. They couldn’t find anything wrong with the structure of my hands and gave no real answers. I was given pain meds and told to see my doctor. I couldn’t process it and I was scared.

I had prayed. I had fasted. I had enlisted every prayer warrior I knew and anyone who would pick up a phone through prayer ministries. I trusted God. I moved when he said move. I studied every day to show myself approved. I spoke healing into myself daily. I was sowing seed. I had changed. According to what I understood of scripture, I was doing it. So many questions. With every level of understanding came even more endless questions and lack of understanding. Why??? And with no family history. Why???

I went to a naturopathic/Internal Medicine doctor. In his most valiant attempt to help me, I was placed on methotrexate, in addition to supplements that were deemed necessary to bring my body into balance. What happened next sent me spirally into depression. My hair started falling out. Every time I combed it. Every time I washed it. Hair fell out by the handfuls. I was ready to go off the grid. I know, I know. Bald is beautiful and some people pull it off just fine. I was not one of those people. A woman’s hair is her crown and I demanded mine be given back to me. On top of that, all the tests results showed I was malnourished and deficient in many vital nutrients my body needed to heal and be healthy—my body was not absorbing the extra supplementation I was taking. Trips to the doctors and question after question brought no discernable breakthroughs. Was I really willing to risk my health for the sake of hair?? My heart sank and I stayed in the throne room seeking answers and cure. I was more than overwhelmed.

I looked into wigs, hair toppers and clip-on extensions and gained a real education regarding the world of hair, but everything I looked into didn’t look natural to me—it wasn’t my hair. Through friends, I was referred to an angel who told me about natural hair extensions. I took a deep breath and took the plunge. After about five hours, and a lot of pain, she was done. I looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe my eyes. I had hair—full, thick hair. I also had a lot of metal brads all over my head that hurt like heck, but I had hair! Joyful jubilation does not describe how I felt. I was told I could keep them about six months and then I would have to have them taken out. The hope was that my hair would grow back during this time and no one would be the wiser.

Zeal. That’s what I needed. Zeal in my life. I’m not talking about the need of passion for living, I’m talking about a powder you mix with your favorite drink. It provides all your daily vitamins plus loaded with antioxidants and is absorbed in your body 100 percent. The best part—it is made from all whole foods. No chemicals. The Lord told me, “Do it.” I quickly responded to the Lord with, “No. I don’t want to do it.” I was working on my third year of school of ministry, the ordination level, and I walked through my living room explaining to the Lord how I realized how long it took for me to get to this point and I wasn’t going to allow anything to hinder my accomplishing this that he had called me to do. Besides, I had been in other self-employment marketing adventures and I knew how much work was involved in making it work, and I simply didn’t have much extra time. So, I stood on my “No,” being sure I was making the right choice. Sigh…

The Lord didn’t give up. He said, “Try it.” So, I ordered a month’s supply. Wow. It actually tasted good. For the first time in almost two years, I could actually get through my day without feeling like I would fall out. So, I did it. You know, the thing the Lord told me to do when he said “Do it.” I signed up.

A few months later, right after I finished the school of ministry, I awoke to an amazing discovery. I was able to get out of bed with ease of movement. I could stand up without having to push myself out of bed. I was walking around without pain. I had begun to open doors without any hindrance and just to make sure I was actually experiencing the miracle my mind wanted so desperately to believe, I lay down on the floor and started to do leg lifts. I could actually do it. I was finally able to lift my legs with full range of motion. I began dancing before the Lord. I had indeed experienced a miracle and I wanted the world to know just how much zeal this Zeal gave me. I was also finally able to shed a few extra pounds that had accumulated due to my inability to exercise. Prior to this, my body would not absorb everything I had tried in order to obtain good health. But my body absorbed the Zeal and with amazing results. In addition to that, I met some really great people too. I’m so glad I listened to the Lord and “did it.”

Then the Lord spoke to me again and told me leave the course of treatment I was on and go to a different doctor, a rheumatologist, who came highly recommended. I stayed on the methotrexate for a little while longer, while some of the other medications were discontinued. My hair was still not growing. Then, there was another shift. My hands and knees started aching again. The methotrexate wasn’t working. But, this time I knew I was where I needed to be. My doctor recommended Humira. As it was presented to me, it would not only stop the progression, it was showing evidence of reversing the disease process. But, it was yet another very strong immunosuppressant. So many variables. So many unknowns, but I was ready.

Gradually, I could tell a major difference in my symptoms. The flareups had slowed greatly. The more I talked with this doctor, the more he confirmed what my journey of discovery had revealed to me. He confirmed medical science had proven celiac disease can cause RA. I told him I had been on a strict gluten free diet for about five years at that point. (For those who are sensitive, gluten becomes undigestable and causes an erosion in the lining of the gut. After some time, this can lead to what is called leaky gut. When this happens, the body does not absorb nutrients and the doors are wide open for disease. Interestingly, as in my case, your body knows you’re sensitive before you do.) I was sure I was on my way to the cure. I was able to discuss each symptom with him and he didn’t brush it off or make me feel as if I was unable to grasp the vastness of the disease process or the necessity for compliance with the proper treatment suggestions. After two years of struggling, the lab tests were coming back with better values and my hair actually started growing back some. It is not yet fully restored, but at least now I don’t have to wear extensions to look like I have a full covering of hair.

There was still one thing I had not fully grasped. Why did the knuckles on my hands become inflamed every time I ate something with moderate carbs or every time I ate a few nuts?? Every. Time.

The search continued. I had tweaked my diet to mostly vegan, only some meat occasionally, and vegetables. I had even stopped eating bread for the most part and if I indulged in a “treat” I made sure it was sugar free and gluten free. Okay, I’d be lying if I said I never ate anything with sugar, but it was rare. Then it happened. Everything seemed to fall in line with clarity and understanding.

I ate one fruit juice gummy bear. I do mean only one. Not two or three, just one single yummy gummy. Immediately, my wrists and the palm of my right hand began to itch. Too incredible for words. This also happened when I drank my organic whole foods vegan protein powder with rice protein base. Something was very wrong. “What’s going on now, Lord?” I knew I had developed a wheat allergy due to the instant swelling of my tongue, tingling in my lips and nasal congestion. Had I now become allergic to everything I eat?? I was not a happy camper and being on this rollercoaster was making my heart sick.

I did what I learned to do. I began to fast and pray. I had to get to the bottom of what was going on. No matter the questions I asked or the research I was doing, I was not coming to the end of this.

The Lord, so lovingly, reminded me of the years that have gone by and how he told me not to eat corn, white starches, wheat, sugar and with precise clarity told me not to eat more than the equivalent of two pieces of fruit in sugar containing foods on a daily basis. Any more than this would not be healthy for me. These all represent carbohydrates. (Watch out! Sugar free does not always mean carb free. Read and understand food labels.) All of which cause inflammation in the body (increased inflammation sets the stage for disease.) The Lord then led me to look back through my medical records. I finally found it. I had allergy testing done about 17 years earlier (four years before I was diagnosed with RA) and low and behold, it showed I was highly allergic to candida. Candida. Unreal. I didn’t even know what candida was until a few years ago. The sugar effect that carbohydrates produce in your body feed the gut fungus called candida. Wow.

Basically, by God’s grand design, my body is allergic to the effects of every sugar-causing food known to mankind. I know God has a great sense of humor, but come on now. Seriously?? This is crazy. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Case and point.

Thank you, Lord. Yep.

Autoimmune disease. A compromised immune system. I reasoned, with over 70 percent of our immune system in our gut, there has to be a connection with autoimmune diseases and gut health. The vastness of medical science and God’s knowledge and wisdom is inexhaustible. Thank God for advancements in medical science. I thank God more because of his great love for his children. I thank God even more because of the intimate way he is so personal with each of us. God never leaves us in the dark…if we are willing to listen to him.

Scripture says, “Know that wisdom is for your life and soul; if you find wisdom, then there will be a future and a reward, and your hope and your expectation will not be cut off.” Proverbs 24:14 (AMP). Everything is possible for those willing to believe.

Today, I’ve adopted the Paleo way of eating, and have added a good probiotic and digestive enzymes. In fact, I ate a Paleo diet for the most part before I knew what Paleo was. Imagine that–the intimacy of the Lord with his creation. For me, it works. No more itching all over.

I think back so long ago when I was first diagnosed. I still refuse to accept a life sentence of debilitation. My journey of discovery with knowledge and understanding will continue until the day I am face to face with my God in heaven. But this I know, no matter what twist or turn may come to me or try to come against me, I know I will never travel the road alone. My God, my father, my confidant, my savior, my redeemer, my healer, my peace, my joy, my righteousness and my best friend who will never leave me or forsake me, even until the end of the age. As long as there is breath in my body, I will serve the Lord. I will go where he tells me to go, when he tells me to go, and to the best of my ability and with great humility serve those to whom he leads me.

Be alert. Be aware. Never give in. Never give up. I’m learning that trust does not always mean we will have a clear explanation given to us. That really wouldn’t be trust, would it? God is my creator, and he knows me best, every cell in my body—best. I will follow him. He is indeed the light and the life in me.

My prayer is that you glean hope from my story. Hope in that God is not distant. God is not complacent. God is not sitting up in heaven waiting for just the right moment to whack you upside the head with his scepter of justice for every little mistake you make. God is good and he does care about us and for us. God does heal us. Sometimes, it is miraculous. Sometimes, it is a process. Either way, God has made provision for us at each pass, connection and interchange. Through it all, God is good. I look forward to the day I will wake up and the tests say “No more RA!” One day there will be a reckoning. I choose to take up arms and take back what has been stolen from me and I do so on behalf of others as well. I choose to hold on to God’s promises for us. I choose to see myself as God sees me, and that is healed of the Lord. I choose to hope and never give up.

May God bless you on your journey.

Here’s To Good Health!–Chapter 2 (Part 1)

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Autoimmune disease. After hours and hours of research over the years, I think I’m only a little closer to understanding autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease occurs when something goes wrong in a person’s body and the immune system get its wires crossed and attacks the person’s good cells, thinking they are bad cells. For those who may not know, there is no known cure for an autoimmune disease, and no one knows how it comes to exist. At best, it’s a rollercoaster ride of shifts and uncertainties that can leave a person wondering “What’s next?” There are many autoimmune diseases known today. In my case, “it” (the RA) attacks my joints, mainly in my hands and some in my knees. How do I cope? I’ll start at the beginning.

“It” first came to visit in April of 2004. I woke up one day and found the index finger on my right hand swollen almost double, like a link of sausage. Curious to say the least. I was working at a medical clinic at the time and after a simple blood test, off to a rheumatologist I go. I refused to accept it. I was in a state of denial and I never called it by its name. After a very painful injection and very strong medications, I was set up on quarterly monitoring. And that was it. I was given no hope of a cure. Only treatment in an effort to keep it from advancing and according to my medical records, my identity took on a “new look.”

I kept telling myself, “This can’t be right. Why would God give me the gift of music through my hands and then just take them away?” I searched the Lord deeply for answers and understanding. Eventually, I learned that there is a real spiritual connection to sickness and disease and I didn’t have to accept this disease in my body. But…what was it that caused this “thing” to happen to me? What did I do? What did I not do? Stress is a major contributing factor to the breakdown of good health. Okay. I get it. I went through a lot during the marriage and even afterwards. Get rid of the stress. Yeah. Finding that peace that passed all understanding is not always as easy as saying you walk in peace. It turns out, it has to become a mindset in order to achieve it. At any moment, “things” can happen to get a person stirred up. Peace comes from knowing we do not have to overcome it on our own.

At any rate, I began the process of learning how to rest in the Lord. The Lord said to me, “I have healed you.” I must admit, I grabbed hold of that word for dear life and fully expected to wake up the next morning and it would be gone! After all, I had heard testimony after testimony of how God miraculously healed others, and God does not show favoritism. Right?? Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me. Not that way.

I sought answers through health forums on the Internet. Information overload does not adequately describe the information floating through the digital world. I finally found a small group who didn’t discuss far-fetched notions but talked in simple to understand terms. “God made our body to heal itself” was the common theme. When what’s in the world attacks, God has made provision for healing and overcoming it. Knowledge is power and I was feeling very strong about now. Quite honestly, my diet was terrible. Oh, and by the way, did I tell you I used to smoke? Yep. That was me. Like a freight train. I was finally able to walk away from them over eight years ago at the time of this writing. That was hard. Nicorette worked like a champ. Looking back, I don’t know how I was able to breathe before! It is true what they say, once you quit, you can’t stand the smell of it. Choking. So grateful to God and for those who prayed me through that journey to becoming smoke-free.

Whole foods. Eating the way Jesus ate when he walked on this earth. In fact, a woman I talked with on the on-line health forum lived by the rule of “If I can’t eat it, it doesn’t go on or in my body.” It sounded magnificent and overwhelming to me. I understood a good, healthy diet. I understood processed foods have had the life processed right out of them. But then came the flood of information about mycotoxins, starchy foods, carbs, good sugar, bad sugar and then the toxicity of gluten. The learning curve was definitely increasing. It seemed simple enough to understand. Bad stuff goes in, bad stuff begins to happen.

The years went by and “it” (the RA) seemed to have disappeared. I had started walking and at one point was walking three miles a day. After about a year, in addition to eating well and no longer smoking, I managed to lose over 100 pounds. I was literally transformed into a new person. I felt better than I had felt in 20 years. I was thrilled! The doctors were wrong, I reasoned within myself. It was a false-positive. The Lord had indeed healed me! Now, on to living life to the fullest!

(To Be Continued)

Jesus Always Cares–The Story Behind the Song

Jesus Always Cares—The Story Behind the Song

When we’re young, people ask us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It seems so easy. “I want to be a nurse, or a doctor, a policeman or fireman” are common responses. Along with “I want to be Spiderman, or Superman,” or in my daughter’s case when she graduated from preschool said, “I want to be Belle” from Beauty and the Beast. I especially loved her response. She deeply desired to feel loved, cherished and adored. We all do. For me, from the age of 9 I knew music was in me and somehow I always knew music would never leave me. Some kids grow up and do exactly what they’ve always dreamed of doing. Some don’t. Some are still searching. Little did we know the twists and turns on the journey to adulthood do not always leave us high on the mountaintop. Sometimes the slips and falls forge a crevice so deep it makes the valley of defeat seem uncomplicated.

From the time I was very young, I always had my heart set on accomplishing great things, and no one told me I couldn’t achieve them. My parents, aunts, uncles, and even my grandparents always encouraged us to shoot for the stars. “You can do anything if you set your mind to it” was commonly spoken to us. We were strategically disciplined and doing less than our best was unacceptable with consequences that were swift and sure. Yet, something deep inside me kept nagging at me and made me feel as if I was not up to par.

The separation was hard. It was especially difficult because I was made to prove my case for divorce. There was a time when I was young, as the teacher asked our class questions I always raised my hand first in class, so excited I knew the correct answer. Something happened to me from the time I married until the time I divorced. I went from a person who was positive and could see the best in everyone to a person who was so broken I didn’t know who I was anymore. I couldn’t remember who I was before I married. I couldn’t remember the last time I cried—it had been at least two years. I wasn’t able to feel that emotion. I was surviving. Literally. I’m sure now I was held up by God’s own hand and not of my own. I know this, because there was no more strength within me.

Although I was very aware of the darkness we were living in, I found it very difficult to describe with clarity what it was like living with a man who literally sucked the life out of me. We know our spouses, don’t we. We know things about them no one else knows. That’s true for any marriage. I was not the type of person who aired my dirty laundry for the whole world to see. I was very accomplished in keeping “dark little secrets.” However, my survival would require me to disclose those things once hidden in darkness and the light was calling them into accountability once and for all. I knew God was with me and for all those who once called me “friend” this divorce would clearly draw the lines of truth, lies and the measure of a person’s heart. Those who once appreciated me, were now vehemently against me. What changed? I couldn’t grasp this complexity and wondered for a long time. I was still the same person. The shift came when truth had its say and truth was a voice to be reckoned with. I understood little at that time of the vastness of God’s sovereignty and how not one moment in time escapes his grasp.

Even so, I protected him, and in essence, I protected his family too. There were things that happened during our marriage that were so despicable and vile. I could, in advance, feel the weight of souls who would never be able to come to terms with that reality. So, I said nothing. Only the two of us, God and my attorney know that truth. But we know it. Besides, I didn’t want to destroy him. I just wanted out. I wanted peace.

I was so nervous. I prayed and fasted that God would show himself faithful in this on my behalf. Indeed, God was there and his glory shown brightly in the courtroom that day. After only 2-1/2 hours, I was granted a full divorce based on his ill-conduct and awarded full custody of our daughter. Surreal. Numb. Break. Silence. Reserved. There is a supernatural break with divorce and the rippling effects can last generations to come if we do not allow God to make us whole. The aftereffects of the divorce were harder to some degree than living amidst the silence of suffering. Now, it was out in the open and there were many new schemes, plots, plans and devices connived and schemed against us with a sundry of opinions being openly discussed with the “he said, she said” scenario abounding, which only served to provide even more word weapons and ammunition that was thrust against us. But God…

Now that the divorce was final, we had to settle the property. God had indeed blessed us with many things—enough furnishings to fill two households. We bought the property from his uncle. We had the house placed on concrete piers we had poured so it set on a firm foundation, and we had cinderblocks under-skirting the house. Unless a person knew, anyone who looked at our home could not tell it was a doublewide manufactured home. Here in lies the quandary. The house was in my name. The dirt was in our name. I considered leaving the house, but I was told I could not require him to refinance the house and put it into his name. I was told I should fight for it, especially having a child. But, again, the dirt had been in his family for years. I looked at every angle, but I knew from the beginning, I wasn’t even going to try to take the land. My life here was over and God was more than able to give me a clean, fresh start. So, I decided I would move the house, and the above ground pool and the deck that surrounded the pool. No sweat. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Yes. My faith was strong.

I was given exactly one month, only 30 days, to move all that which was mine off the property and was warned I had better not destroy the property in the process of doing so. If I was not able to accomplish this almost impossible task, I would lose the house and everything left on the property. Now, I must interject here. I thought I was being extraordinarily gracious by not even trying to maintain ownership of the land. And I was. To a fault. Lesson #infinity, not all hearts come to terms to grace and release as quickly as others. It became just another vivid display of his controlling, arrogant nature abounding in the light of day, for all to see. And what made him smirk with elation even more so, it was legal. He was drunk with pride. Even so, I was determined I would not be defeated!

I called in every friend I had to help. The task was enormous but not impossible. First, we had to release the house to be moved. With two sledge hammers, a dear friend of mine and I began busting up the cinderblocks at the base of the house. We pounded away and to my surprise, this wall was crumbling faster than I had anticipated. Nevertheless, after about two hours, I felt like it was me being beaten with the sledge hammer, and not the cinderblocks. What was I thinking?? Had the longings of my soul for freedom taken me completely out of my right mind? Did my desire to walk undefeated outweigh my sense of common sense and drive me into the land of stupidity?? Perhaps, all of the above. Oh my. I was so tired I could hardly walk. My legs felt like they were carrying the weight of an elephant. I’m so glad my friend was a strong man. With my endless apologies, even though it took him the better part of the day, he was able to complete the job without my help. Now…the rest of the story.

I woke up the next morning and I declared with distinct certainty I had found every muscle in my body—even every strand of muscle tissue that was hidden from touch or imaging capabilities. I was sure I would never recover. Jesus! It was all I could say. I was down for four days. And…the clock was ticking.

I devised a precise day-by-day, step-by-step plan to remove all that was mine—on time. I lined up the helpers and secured the transport truck that would move the house. Now that the cinderblocks were loosed, we began work dismantling the deck around the swimming pool—an 18’ x 36’ above ground pool, with decking along three sides of the pool. The first attack on my hands came when I found out just how heavy a sand filter is after it slipped off its base while I was trying to remove it from the pool. I was forthright in my assertion that my hands were to bring God glory. In retrospect, I guess all of this might sound like an oxymoronic statement considering all the work my hands were actually doing. But, I was determined. After all, I was always taught a little hard work never hurt anyone. Yep! Uh huh!!

Things were clicking along and finally everything was falling into place. There were 12’ 4 x 4’s along the outside of the pool on three sides. I had them placed there so we could eventually put a cover on it to block some of the sun. Being of Irish decent, my fair skin beamed brightly after a few minutes in the sun. I enlisted the help of my mother and my sister to take down the 12’ beams. There is truth in the saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn,” and I’m talking about scorn against those “darn posts” as my mother called them (sparing the expletives.) With the brute force of three healthy women and unparalleled determination for victory, we rocked those beams back and forth until, one by one, those beams came down. It was an added blessing that the ground had softened from rain. (Whew.) At this point, dismantling the pool, in fact, was a snap, comparatively speaking. Well….sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

Finally, we were down to the last week. A couple from my church who had become very good friends of mine, brought their dump truck and we proceeded to pick up all the busted pieces of cinderblock to clear the way for the house to be moved. While I was picking up the pieces of cinderblock, the Lord spoke to me. He reminded me of the day I was swinging that sledge hammer and how exhausted and sore I became after doing so. Then he showed me the scattered debris of all the pieces (big, small and splinters) of cinderblock laying all over the ground and the painstaking work it was to pick them all up. His words to me were profound. “With great destructive force, your life isn’t the same. Wouldn’t it be easier to let me pick up the broken pieces of your life and put everything back together for you rather than you trying to do it yourself?” I knew God was right. As I looked at all the broken pieces of cinderblock laying around, I knew my life had been broken into a million pieces. I knew I would never be the same. Furthermore, I was at a loss of how to start the process of recovery.

This all happened in the month of October. It was the rainy season for us and we were down to the last five days before the 30-day deadline. The rain poured for three days. I pleaded with my attorney to appeal on my behalf for more time, as there was so much rain, the transport truck said they wouldn’t move the house until the rain stopped and the ground dried out some for fear of getting stuck in the front of the property.

I was betwixed and between. I had come too far to quit now. I was so exhausted I could hardly think straight. Had I worked so hard and accomplished so much just to lose everything now? Everything was ready and in place on my new property with a solid foundation in place to receive my house. Surely this was not happening! But God…

God led me to the book of Joshua. I felt as if I had been like Joshua, charged with leading me and my daughter out of captivity and into the promised land. We were facing our Jericho. In the downpour of rain, I took anointed oil and walked the perimeter of the land and prayed that the rain would stop and that the ground would not soak up so much water the house could not be moved. I did this seven times as instructed by the Holy Spirit. To my utter astonishment, the rain started easing up and by nightfall, it had stopped raining! I saw the glory of God shine through the dark rain clouds that commanded submission to its creator. I felt his strength rise up within me that could conquer any obstacle. I called the transport truck company and to my relief, they said they would send a man the next day to look at the property and let me know if he thought they would be able to move the house. Yes. God did it. They determined the ground was hard enough they would come the next day and move the house. Amazing. God of Infinite Power and Glory!

The house was moved with two days to spare. We made it to the promised land. We were free at last. And at the same time…we had only just begun. Never before in my life had I seen and realized just how personal, caring and powerful God really is. God’s glory broke through the clouds and his radiance commanded the forces of nature to bow to his authority. A real miracle. He tells us we are engraved on the palm of his hand and oh, how he rescues us out of every pit! I’ve been asked many times, how can a God who is so loving, allow so many bad things to happen to people? I can honestly say, I cannot with completeness answer that question. I do know, God is love. God does not want bad things to happen to us. God does not cause bad things happen to people. God gives us a will and freedom to choose, and as long as there is evil in this world, sadly, bad things will happen to people. Most assuredly, God will always be there for you to pick up those pieces and make your life whole once again, if you will let him.

The lesson God taught me that day with the broken pieces of cinderblock built the foundation of the song Picking Up The Pieces, with the rest of the song being written based on my son’s struggles.

One of the greatest lessons I learned was through the process of moving my house. In retrospect, and hindsight always being 20/20, I should have walked away from everything and let God deal with the aftermath of the destructive ploys against us in the way God does best. Had I allowed God to move me and my daughter into a life completely new and sever any attachment to the past, no matter how hard the labor to obtain what we acquired, our journey would have taken a much different direction. Even so, I proved to myself the strength and determination I once knew about myself was still there. It was a monstrous undertaking, but God being God, we have become more than conquerors through Christ and have grown to walk in his wisdom as he has taught us to do. Why? Because that’s what God wants for us. And, because that’s what I purposed in my heart to do. Overcome. Release. Grow. Abound in my calling and walking in my destiny whole in Jesus Christ. All in all, I always knew God would see us through. I always knew that what I couldn’t achieve, God could and would do for me. I never look to a person for what I hope to achieve. God is my source. I am blessed he chooses to use someone like me. God asks, “Who will go for me?” I say, “I will go. Send me.”

There is an old saying, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Our life is only half complete when we try to do things on our own. When we strive to achieve our future on our terms and not through the guidance and strength of God, it is as Ecclesiastes says, vanity. It’s all vanity. God told me not too many years ago, “I am moved with compassion for my people.” No matter what the journey we travel and the pitfalls along the way, Jesus Always Cares.