Doradear

Finding Joy in the Journey

I’m Back

Hello again. Yes, it’s me. Sorry I’ve been missing. I can hardly believe over a year has passed since my last post! This has been a year of challenges: spiritual, mental and physical. Thankfully, I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel. My health is improving and slowly, the weight is coming off too. If you would like to know more about my battle with my health and weight, read my post Defining Moment. It’s the best way to understand my 20-year journey to healing.

I’ll be posting another entry very soon. Please let me hear from you! It’s good to be back.

Later,

Doradear

I Will Never Be the Same

I haven’t blogged in quite awhile. I’ve been working on other things. God gave me a gift this year. A script. It’s called The Journey, One Man’s Story. Humbly, I watched as our church’s worship ministry prepared music. I looked at all of these wonderful, loving people work so hard building sets and sewing costumes. A labor of love came together beautifully during Palm Sunday weekend. Our precious pastor (who also turned out to be  a very good actor) played Jesus. Because Easter was so early this year, we only had about six weeks to put it all together. We knew that if we pulled it off successfully, it would all be because of God. And, boy did He show off that weekend! Many people told us it was the most heartfelt, moving and spiritual church production they had ever seen. It brought tears to my eyes then, and I have tears in my eyes now just writing about it. The Journey was a gift to me, a confirmation of God’s faithfulness and love. I was so grateful that He blessed it; and our performance was our gift back to him.

Last week, He gave me another gift. I began a weight loss and strength training program. It is long overdue. The death of our twins 18 years ago was so difficult, I guess I gave in to depression. Not anymore. I will never be the same again. In the past seven days, I have learned a lot about myself. I thought I couldn’t do a single situp. I did 52! I thought I wasn’t strong enough to do pushups. I can! I thought I would be obese for the rest of my life. Now, I know I won’t.  With God’s help, I know I can, and will become the woman He created me to be.

Only one week without sugar, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, processed foods and meat and my “brain fog” is gone. I cannot remember ever feeling this good, this strong. I knew God made our bodies to run efficiently; His designs are always perfect. He is proving it daily to me. I have not been measured yet, that comes tomorrow, but I know how much my doctor said I weighed before I started the diet and exercise. I’m not looking forward to finding out my BMI tomorrow! But, it must be done so I can track my progress. Guess I’ll just grin and bear it.

God has given me another gift. He’s given me a love and passion for ministering to other women. This diet and exercise program has come in His perfect timing. If you are reading this, and you are struggling, please send me a message. My heart’s desire is to love you and help you if I can. We can go on this journey together. If you need to lose weight, as I do, I will encourage you (and fuss at you if you need it). If you are struggling spiritually, I will pray for you and offer scripture suggestions if you need them. I am your sister, and your friend.

Most importantly, if you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, please seek Him out. You may think you are “good enough” to get into heaven. No one is. Heaven is a free gift to all who believe in Jesus Christ. He’s the only person ever born who never sinned. God sent Him to earth because He loves you. Yes, He does! You don’t have to be a slave to sin any longer. See, some people think that if they accept Jesus Christ, they’ll have to give up their lifestyle. The truth is, when you surrender your life to Jesus, you don’t desire that life any more. He’ll give you new desires. And, He will give you peace. John 3:16 states: “For God so loved the world (you) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever (you) believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” You see? It really is a gift. You can look at it this way:

A B C…

A…agree with God that you are a sinner; ask for His forgiveness.

B…believe in your heart that Jesus is God’s Son who died willingly on the cross for your sins. He rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven and now waits to return to earth (from the signs of the times, it could be very soon).

C…commit your life to Him (sin no more) and confess that Jesus is Lord (tell everyone). Read the Bible; ask Him to speak to you. He will! Read the book of John. Find a church where the people love and accept you; make sure they preach the truth of God’s word. You need the fellowship of other believers. They struggle, just like you.

If you need a friend, I’m here. Send me a message. God loves you, and I do too.

This is my prayer:

Lord, I pray You will help me set an example to other women. Let me encourage them; give me strength and the will to say no to all the foods I love that do not nourish my body, but harm it. May I eat as You fed Eve in the garden. Please grant me serenity and wisdom to care for myself, to love myself, as You love me. If I can serve You by helping any other women, please give them the courage to first seek You out, then lean on me if they need to. I love You, Father! Thank you for sending Your Son to die for me. I await His return. In humility and joy I pray, amen.

Until next time,

Doradear

 

Hope

Why do Christians suffer trials? Have you ever wondered? The Bible teaches that we who believe in Jesus are God’s adopted children; why would He allow us to suffer? A mature Christian knows. We suffer so we can empathize with others who do not have the same Hope. Notice I capitalized the word. Hope. You see, Hope is not just a word to a follower of Jesus, Hope is a person. He is God. He is Jesus. Are you lonely? Think about Hope. He left His home, the splendor of heaven, to come to earth. The King of Kings was born in the most humble setting: a stable. His was not a princely cradle, no, it was a manger…a feed trough where cows and donkeys were fed. (2 Corinthians 8:9) People in his hometown scoffed at Hope. They did not recognize Hope, even though he had grown up beside them. Are you angry? What are you angry about? Hope got angry too. But His anger was directed at injustice. He was angry when He watched religious leaders mislead His people. He made a public display of his indignation. Hope even expressed frustration with His disciples when they tried to discourage women and children from spending time with Him. Read the gospel of Mark. Are you depressed? Jesus understands. He knew His mission on earth. As the end of His mission approached, He went to the Mount of Olives to wait and pray. The Bible says His agony was so great as He prayed, that His sweat was “like drops of blood.” Hope must have felt the weight of the whole world on His shoulders that night. But instead of letting depression rule His heart and mind, He submitted to God’s will. Death. Hope suffered. Hope died. He submitted to the cruelest form of execution ever devised in the mind of man. He was beaten. His beard was pulled out. He was mocked by the Roman soldiers, who put a crown of thorns upon His head. And the very people He taught, healed and fed rejected Him. They gave up their hope. But you don’t have to. Hope is alive! Three days after His execution, Hope breathed again. For forty days, Hope and His disciples prepared for His departure. Hundreds of people saw Him after the resurrection. All His disciples were executed, all but one. They went to their death willingly, knowing that Hope is alive. The remaining disciple was exiled; but he did not give up. No, John told the story of Hope. The greatest story of all. Jesus is alive! And He will soon return. You may feel that you’re all alone. You’re not. You may feel so far away from God because you think He will reject you. He won’t. He loves you. You may think there’s no way to earn your way into heaven. This, my friend, is true. You are not good enough. Neither am I. But the beauty of Hope is that you don’t have to be good enough. All you need is Hope. Seek Him out. The Bible says if you seek Him, you will find Him (Jeremiah 29:12-13). Hope came to earth. Hope died for you; three days later, Hope rose from the grave. He went to heaven, but Hope will return. And He is coming soon. Hope loves you; He wants to be your friend. He longs for you to know Him. Pray. Seek Him out. Ask for His forgiveness and He will wipe your slate clean. We will all stand before God one day. When you face Him, he will say one of two things. If you know Him, He will say, “Welcome home.” If you don’t, He will tell you to, “Depart from Me; I never knew you.” Hope is the bridge. He is the answer. He came to earth because He loves you. Please don’t reject Him! Turning to Hope is the most important decision you will ever make. Your very life depends on it. Find a family of believers who believe and teach the truth. Yes, there is absolute truth. Read the Bible. Pray. Seek out Hope. He is waiting for you.

Omni Directional Christian

Having been a soloist and amateur actress for…ahem…awhile, I know a little bit about microphones. I have used lapel microphones in stage productions, omni directional microphones in groups and unidirectional microphones as a soloist. The latter is used by a singer because it picks up only his/her voice, not background noise, producing a more pure sound. Simply put, omni directional microphones pick up sound in a circle. One day last week, it occurred to me that worship can be omni directional. I decided I want to be an omni directional Christian and worship God from all directions. 

Here’s what I mean. Worship can be lifted up to God in praise; we can worship Him by adoring his majesty and the wonders of His creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 63:3-4. We can raise our hands up to Him in adoration and clap! He is pleased when we lift our hearts up in prayer and speak to Him out loud. We can even worship God by lifting up a child or taking the hand of someone we love. 

Worshipping down means humbling yourself before God, asking for forgiveness when you’ve blown it and knowing Christ has already paid the price for that sin you committed. Consider Jesus in the garden. In Matthew 26:39, it says Jesus fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Here was the Son of God, falling on His face! He was humble and obedient, even though He knew He would die. You and I can also worship down when we bend to speak to an elderly person in a wheelchair, or to a sick patient in a hospital bed. 

Up, down and around. How do you worship around? I got the inspiration for this devotional in an unlikely place…the oncology center in Thomasville. I had my three-month follow up appointment with my new hematologist last week. The center is an impressive place, but it is so quiet! Patients sit with family members, get coffee or juice, but rarely do you hear people converse. This day was different. I sat down and was soon joined by an older lady; I don’t know whether she was a patient or the family member of a patient. She was the perfect example of someone worshipping around. She turned to the gentleman sitting between us and asked how he was doing. I could tell the man didn’t really want to talk, but she was so engaging and determined to cheer him up. I smiled at her and she proceeded to tell me that “as long as we’re breathing, we should be thanking the Lord! Look at all the beauty around us,” she proclaimed, “How can anybody not believe in God and be thankful for all He’s done?” 

Her attitude helped me realize that I am not always an omni directional Christian. When I was ill, I let my circumstances prevent me from worshipping up, down and around. Oh, I prayed and I thanked God for my life and family and His provision. But I neglected to thank Him for my circumstances, even though it was through those circumstances God would teach me one of the most important lessons of my life. Since the death of our twins, I had at times indulged in self pity. Somehow, I equated suffering with righteousness. When I recognized my sin and asked for God’s forgiveness, He gave me the peace only He can give. At times, self pity creeps back into my mind, but now I recognize it and squash the indulgence (yes, it is indulgent) before it takes hold. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2. 

There are many omni directional believers in scripture: King David, Daniel, Mary, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul. In His last letter to Timothy, written shortly before his death, Paul encouraged his protégé and exclaimed the Lord strengthened him, “so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” 2 Timothy 4:17-18. Even facing imminent death, Paul was an omni directional follower of Jesus Christ.

Are you an omni directional Christian? If not, ask God to show you how to worship him up, down and around. Just like Paul.

The God Who Sees Me

One of my favorite places in the world is St Simons Island.  As soon as I cross the bridge and arrive on the island, all the stress in my body seeps away.  It’s the only beach community I would ever want to settle in. 

I have passed the sunbathing, ocean-swimming days.  Now, I am satisfied walking on the beach at sunrise and sunset.  You know what I like to do?  I like to go out at low tide, but instead of looking for shells or sea creatures, I like to squish my toes in the sand and let the salt water rush over my feet.  I enjoy looking out over the Atlantic to the horizon and watch ships and sail boats pass by.  Here I feel truly free.  And, I feel close to God.

As I stood there with the water washing over my feet and ankles, looking up into the sky, I felt so small.  To think the God of the universe, who created all this beauty and the vast Atlantic was there with me, looking at me, loving me. 

I have an old Bible my husband gave me for my birthday on March 24, 1989 (he was still my fiancé until June 3rd).  In it, I have written many notes, dates I wanted to remember and the names of God.  I pondered one of these names as I stood on the beach, El Roi, the God who sees.  I’m sure you remember the story of Hagar in Genesis.  Hagar was the handmaiden of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.  Sarah mistreated her when she found out she carried Abraham’s child (even though Sarah came up with the plan), so Hagar ran away.  In the wilderness near a stream, the angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her about Ishmael’s future.  Humbled, she said, “You are the God who sees me. I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Isn’t it amazing that no matter where we are, what we’re doing, our God sees us?  He provides just what we need, sometimes before we ask or even know what we need.  Later in Hagar’s life, God was there with her and Ishmael in the desert.  He provided water and encouragement when she had given up hope.  And just as He provided for Hagar and her son, He provides for us today; he directs our path and is always there to listen.  It is hard for me to comprehend a God so big, who created the universe yet still takes an interest in our lives and wants to have an intimate relationship with us.  How He must miss us when we do not take time out of our day to be alone with Him!  I cannot imagine not talking to my son every day. I know he will move away soon to go to graduate school; and I also know that if he doesn’t call me, I’ll be calling him (I’ll try not to call every day). It puts God’s love for each of us in perspective, doesn’t it? And we don’t even need a phone when we talk to Him! I hope you’ll remember to keep in touch with our heavenly Father. He is always near. He is El Roi, the God who sees me.  And you.

Defining Moment

I often have a song stuck in my head. One day last week, the song was Defining Moment by Newsong:

There comes a time in every heart, a time of real decision

When we reach the point of choosing how we will live our lives.

All our hopes, all our dreams will rise up from that moment,

The moment we surrender and choose to follow Christ.

He’s been waiting all our lives to hear us say,

“I am Yours, Lord, take my hand and lead the way.”

Consider some defining moments in scripture: Peter letting go of his net; Abraham raising the dagger over Isaac; Esther confronting the king; and Stephen facing the angry mob. And Jesus when He prayed, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” Consider the moment Judas took hold of the purse holding 30 pieces of silver. I’m sure you can think of other defining moments and recognize your own.

After giving it much thought, I decided I’ve had two defining moments. The first came when I was ten years old. I realized one Sunday night in November, 1974 that I was a sinner and I needed Jesus. I prayed and surrendered my life to Him that night.

It would be many years later when I would face a crisis of faith. Our son was only two years of age when my husband and I decided we wanted to give him a brother or a sister. I remember praying daily for a little girl. “Father, please bless us with a healthy baby and if it’s Your will, I would love to have a little girl,” I said, over and over again.

God heard those prayers, and only two months later, we learned I was expecting again were so excited! Unfortunately, our excitement turned to fear.  The pregnancy was not an easy one. I began to have complications very early on. At twelve weeks, we were surprised to see two babies in our first ultrasound. I will never forget the look on my husband’s face!  He was positively green!

The complications worsened; I was put on bed rest at only 17 weeks. Three different physicians told us, “Most couples in your situation would have an abortion.”  This was not an option for us; we believe God creates all life.  At 24 weeks, my doctor put me in the hospital. The hardest part of my stay in the hospital was watching the nurses’ faces as they tried to find the babies’ heartbeats. I found myself reassuring them the babies were alive. For four weeks, I endured painful injections of a steroid to help the babies’ lungs develop.

I remember one of my doctors telling me not to have any hope for the twins, “Your babies are going to die,” she said. I looked her square in the eye and said, “With God, there is always hope!  If He decides to save my babies, He will!”

On the first morning of my 28th week of pregnancy, knowing the babies would be born that day (I will spare you the details), I prayed for God to make my babies’ lungs strong, to heal them and let them live a normal life. Sure enough, September 19, 1994 Sarah Faith and Lauren Hope were born.  I still remember the joy I felt when I heard Sarah cry!  My babies’ lungs were supposed to be so under-developed they would die, yet she cried! I heard her voice! Poor little Lauren had no voice when she was born; she had to be resuscitated for 20 minutes.  And at one day old, she had to have surgery to repair a ruptured bowel. Our precious little Lauren Hope never fully recovered from surgery, she fought to live from her first moment on earth. The first two days after they were born, I divided my time between our little angels, but was sent back to bed when I collapsed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Even then, it was so hard to leave.

By the end of the week, I got to go home. I was glad to be with my family, especially Joshua, who was still a baby himself. We made two trips to the hospital every day to visit our precious little girls. Sarah Faith had a feeding tube; her nurses were giving her my milk.  I got to change her diaper and feed her. She was pink and looked so healthy; she was moving her arms and legs and growing. We had so much hope we would bring her home. Lauren Hope had several close calls, but she was a fighter. Two weeks after their birth, I was in our apartment getting dressed to go to the hospital when the phone rang. It was our pediatrician. “Sarah has developed a staph infection,” he said, “She may go into septic shock. We may lose her.” I thought he must be mistaken; he must have the babies mixed up. Sarah was the healthy one.

Sarah Faith was dying. Her tiny body could not fight off the staph infection; she went into cardiac arrest. Here was this tiny baby we had held so much hope for, dying in my arms! “Why, God, why?” I shouted at Him, though in my heart. Outwardly, I was calm.  I sang Jesus Loves Me as I rocked Sarah. I told her that she was going to a beautiful place and Jesus would meet her there. I assured her that Mommy and Daddy and Joshua would be with her one day too. As Sarah grew still, all I could think about was Joshua. I wanted to hold my son. I was crying. Ken was crying. The nurses cried and their pediatrician did too.

Lauren Hope fought for three more weeks, but she went into renal failure. Her doctor told us it was time to let her go.  Believing that God could work a miracle at any moment, we didn’t know what to do. We called our pastor in England (My husband was in the Air Force; we were stationed there when this journey began.)  He told us, “It’s not wrong to let a dying body die.” So, here we were once more.  Ken held Lauren and spoke softly to her as they turned off her life support. As the monitors grew silent and our little girl left this world, I felt numb. Did God answer my prayers? At the time, I didn’t think so. I’ll never forget what the NICU staff told us, “We have never seen a couple with more faith.”

My defining moment came when I understood that God did answer my prayers for healing. He simply chose to answer them His way. I had to accept His way was best for our little girls. Gone was the anger; the hurt remained, but I felt joy too. I often speak of our daughters.  Their birthday is “Family Day,” a day we pause to celebrate and talk to our daughters. We thank God we have each other and look forward to the day we will see our sweet little girls again.  This year marked our 18th Family Day.

When you believe He’s all your need

That will be your defining moment

As you live your life walking in His light

Trusting Him completely

That will be your defining moment

All of heaven celebrates when they hear someone say

“I am Yours, Lord, take my hand and lead the way.”

His amazing grace is such a mystery,

How in an instant it can make your life complete.

The tears flow freely as I type these words, but now, 18 years later, they are tears of joy. I’m looking forward to spending eternity with our sweet daughters. Happy Birthday, Sarah Faith and Lauren Hope! I wonder if there’s birthday cake in heaven?

ONE NATION UNDER GOD

Has this ever happened to you?  My husband and I were on a “romantic” little business trip (I got to spend about two waking hours alone with him- oh well); we realized that neither of us had brought along a charger for our cell phones.  So, out I go at 9:00am, to take a drive so I could charge my phone in the car.  I turned on the radio and heard Adrian Rogers speaking.   Do you ever hear a sermon and think, “God intended that message just for me?”  Well, I did!  I drove back to our hotel and parked the car.  What I heard, I knew I needed to share, so I started scrambling to find a notebook, a piece of paper, SOMETHING to take notes on.  The only thing I had was a receipt.

So here I sit, back in my hotel room, with my Bible open, receipt in hand.  The scripture reference is Isaiah 14:26-27: “This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations.”  Although I did not hear the beginning of his message, I soon recognized the theme.  He was talking about the future of our country.  He told his listeners that just as God used Pharaoh and Pilot to do His will, he is likewise still at work today in our leaders.  “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” Proverbs 21:1.  According to Dr. Rogers, “Wherever man rules, God overrules.”

Could it be that God allowed our current crop of leaders in Washington DC to be elected so that we Christians would pray for revival?  “Our hope is not in Washington, DC, it is in heaven,” Dr. Rogers stated.  I believe with all my heart that God has blessed this country.  I believe it was His guidance that led our founding fathers to draft the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  And, even though some folks say that America is “no longer a Christian nation,” I believe it is!

Dr. Rogers stated that Christians should prepare our children; teach them this may not remain the country we grew up in.  His advice is that we all should:

PRAY FOR REVIVAL

PLAN FOR SURVIVAL

AND

WAIT FOR CHRIST’S ARRIVAL

With God in control, we can accomplish anything!  Let us join our hearts in the coming months and ask God to revive the hearts and minds of His children so that NO ONE will be able to say that ours is not a Christian nation.  I am reminded of a beautiful song I’ve sung many times based on 2 Chronicles 7:14.  I’m sure you know it: “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  It’s not too late to save our country.  We have a powerful Advocate on our side; and the best part is that He loves us and He loves our country, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE!

A Righteous Bird?

One of the things I enjoy about my trips to St. Simons Island is watching wildlife. I love birds! I don’t really know why these lovely little animals thrill me so much. Maybe it’s because they can fly and they seem so free.

During my recent trip to the Isles off Georgia’s coast, I sat looking out at the beach watching the waves. Although I saw no sandpipers that day, I remembered a beach trip our family took when our son was small. He has always had an inquisitive mind, and on this trip he was fascinated by sandpipers. Have you ever seen sandpipers? They are so much fun to watch!

Sandpipers are pretty common birds; they live near oceans, rivers and lakes. Their diet consists of worms, insects and crustaceans they dig up with their feet.  I have only seen them at the beach.

I constantly see things in nature that remind me of my life as a Christian. Last week, I decided that sandpipers represent Christians.

The sandpipers on the beach scurry around looking for food right at the edge of the sea. When the waves come in, they manage to escape just in the nick of time. The waves are kind of like sin. The sandpiper dances in and around it, but as long as he is careful, he is never swept away.

I wish I could be more like a sandpiper! I wish I could tell you that I have never been swept away by sin myself, but I can’t. There have been times in my life when I felt like I was drowning, times when I needed someone to reach out for me and help pull me up and save me. But there was no one there. At least, that’s what I thought at the time.

Perhaps my mistake was allowing myself to be in a dangerous situation, too close to the water’s edge. On the other hand, it is impossible to live in this world today and not experience temptation. This is the reason we must be prepared to run away or confront it; we must be on guard at all times so that we will not be swept away.

We live in a cynical, sinful world. Technology is all around us; it is so easy to forget that we can never hide ourselves from God. He is our first and best defense, and only as far as a whisper away. As a child, I used to wonder what God looks like. I imagined him with long white hair and a long white beard wearing a white robe, sitting on a golden throne surrounded by angels playing harps. I don’t try to picture God anymore; I am satisfied to know that He is too big, too holy for me to comprehend. It is enough for me just to know that He loves me.

God gave us a powerful tool to help us whenever we find ourselves in trouble. He has given us His word. I am so thankful that as a young Christian, I memorized scripture. I have many favorites, including Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I love this analogy! No matter how dark life seems, the truth of scripture will always guide my way. Another favorite is 1 John 4:4b, “He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world.” And, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7b. I guess you could say, “Stay away from the water’s edge!”

Speaking for myself, I know there will be times when I fall in the water (sin). Thankfully, my Lifeguard is there to save me. Do you know my Lifeguard? He died for you over 2,000 years ago. And the Bible teaches that one day very soon, He will return to rescue all who have accepted Him as their Savior. Please, friend, don’t wait until it’s too late! God loves you so much! He sent His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not die, but have eternal life (John 3:16). The time we spend on earth is like a heartbeat compared to eternity!

Consider the little sandpiper. Although he is but a small bird, he lives large, unafraid of the danger nearby. You can know this freedom too; all you have to do is ask. He loves you!

Feel free to reply to this message and I will be happy to tell you more about my Lifeguard.

Until next time…try not to get your feet wet!

Your Friend,

Dorothy

Welcome!

Hello friends. Welcome to my new blog. I’m still l learning my way around, so I hope you’ll be patient with me. My site is a place of encouragement. If you need a friend, I’m here for you. Please feel free to reply to anything I post. We will laugh together, sometimes cry; but I hope to always make you feel welcome.

Sincerely,

Doradear

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 387 other followers