Tag Archive | grace

Where I’ve Been – 5 Months of Grace

When I started blogging, four or five years ago…I had no idea the journey ahead of me.

There have been times when I needed to pause from blogging. Some of these “pauses” I might have, at one time, attributed to “Writer’s Block;” but I’m beginning to realize that most of the time these “pauses” have been at the discretion – and direction – of The Father.

This past Winter, was one such time.

I think we can all agree the Presidential Election this past fall brought about some very unexpected results. It was just after the election though, that something occurred, which caused me to take this most unexpected pause.

I received feedback from a reader. The feedback was innocent. There was nothing said that was mean or disrespectful. But in that tiny, unsuspecting response…I spent days, weeks (okay, yes, months) contemplating IF I should even continue blogging. I questioned many things…among them my ability to write, to discern and to accurately convey messages from the Holy Spirit.

Today was the day I was directed to go back and review the post that started this “5 months of Grace.” He wanted me to go back and see where I had stumbled because He wanted me to recognize that stumbling isn’t failure. It’s a pivotal time in our walk of Spiritual Growth. These moments are necessary for us to progress.

Personally, I needed to go back and review what it was that made me feel like I’d needed to retreat. And it turns out that this was another step in His learning curve.

In the days since I returned and wrote my first entry last month, I kept wondering why there had been such a “dry” season of writing. I knew it was about discernment but I also knew He wanted to tell me more. The LORD responded:

“From the beginning (2009), you were prompted to blog because you have something to say. Because, your words matter – because you seek ME. Everyone who SEEKS ME will FIND ME.

Last year, you had begun to look elsewhere for words to share from other’s. It’s fine to share insights, but don’t supplant your voice. Until such time as I direct, your words, your writing, are your voice. A Fresh voice – a voice that isn’t echoing what the World keeps repeating. The People don’t need to feast on WORLDLY wisdom: The people NEED the Light of the World.”

Talk about feeling humbled.

Who AM I that God would use me to reach – even ONE person – who needs HIM?

(Please don’t miss this beautiful song from Casting Crowns – Who Am I? )

So, yes…It turns out I needed to step away from here for a season. Usually, that’s a bad thing in the WORLD of blogging. But – this blog really isn’t mine. From the start it’s always been HIS.

 

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Converging Pathways

 

I heard the song, “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again,” on the morning drive. I had to work really hard to keep my eyes clear (from tears) and focused on the road.

This song is EXACTLY where I am. This is why I have to trust God to help me write. I can’t do it alone. As confusing as my story has been, it’s starting to make more sense.

I’m not alone in the struggles I’ve faced (though the enemy would like us – YOU and I – to THINK so.)

It’s time to step into the Light of Grace. I’ve followed God’s Light it for too long and not recognized I need to claim it; it’s time to GRAB onto the hand God is holding out for me AND hold it.

Each stanza in the lyrics of this song take me to a specific time and place in my past.

A place where God was guiding my hand and leading me toward the future- toward today.

Sometimes God walks us through situations that we will only understand in hindsight.

God is amazing. He has provided me with what seems like extraordinary experiences that allowed the healing process to begin. This is a process that has happened, without my actually knowing it.

That is Grace.

But the real power of God’s Mercy is my writing about it.

God used Jesus as his divine tool to fix a broken world… But, just like Jesus sweat tears (as of blood) in Gethsemane I too have been reluctant and fighting my purpose. Without putting in my own sweat equity, the results of my healing will be limited.

It is on this pathway that He will do something far beyond healing the scrapes and bruises that have shaped ME.

He wants to use these battle scars to help others to believe: He is the Great Healer, Physician and Counselor.

So, this is a small initial Thank you to all who have ever encouraged the “Writer” in me. As Mikayla said, (the day this blogging process started): God is into Restoration and Redemption. He IS Faithful.

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again – Danny Gokey

 

With God,

Everything is possible.

With God,

Everything Matters.

 

Blessings to All!

Jenny’s Hope Story: A Radiant Legacy

Last Spring (February) when I deactivated from Facebook I realized that I might end up missing out on a lot of news. Facebook had provided a way for me to connect with people; family and friends I had lost touch with because of time and distance.

When I needed to submit some reference information recently for a background check as the School year began, I thought to friends I have known for many years. One of those people was Jenny.

Flashback

When we moved to California back in the 90’s, Jenny was one of the first people I met. I went to a temporary employment agency and she was on staff at that location. I spent hours in there that day and in the days following, filling out the usual job application forms and taking computer tests that she administered.

I enjoyed those tests but more than that, I enjoyed getting to know Jenny. That first day, was the beginning of a special friendship for me. I knew no-one when I arrived in Southern Cal but Jenny helped me feel welcome. We talked at length about her work ethic, her family, and life in general.

Jenny had that “X” factor when it came to people. Whether it was a one-on-one conversation, how she dressed or in showing appreciation to others.

Jenny knew there was a company I wanted to work for. She had already established herself with them as staffing source but the opportunities for placing “new temps” had posed a challenge. They’d been using different sources and she was just one of many.

I had started a temp job at a company I really wasn’t sure was a good fit. That evening after work, Jenny called me and said “Hey! I got you an interview tomorrow, can you make it?”

“What? How? Are you kidding?”

“The company is establishing a marketing department to promote their new line. The manager they’ve hired is looking for someone to help them get it off the ground. I’ve met her, you will be a perfect fit.”

It turns out Jenny was right. This interview was only one of two that were truly memorable in my life. I was offered the position the next day.

I only worked at this job for 9 months. But during that 9 months, Jenny proved to truly live out the principles of her work ethic and mantra for life.

Appreciation Day

About mid-day, right before lunch, I head a familiar voice in the main room. I had been given a dedicated work area because I was constantly on the phone with specialty gift retailers across the country assisting them with their Special Events. I put the phone down, got up and looked around the corner. There was Jenny, walking and talking with other employees. She headed my direction, and she had a rose in her hand.

“Hi, how are you?” she asked and gave me a bear hug.

“Hi Jenny, I’m great…how are you? What are you doing here?”

Continuing to smile, she held out the wrapped rose. “I came here to give you this for Secretary Appreciation Day. I know you’re not a Secretary, but it’s always a good day to show appreciation and to say Thank You!”

A single wrapped rose. A smile. Kindness. A simple act of Kindness.

“Thank me, for what?”

“For trusting me to help you with employment. For your friendship. Just Because.”

I have never forgotten that moment.

References

In late August, I needed to submit references for a background check. I thought back to the connections I would share and started looking for emails and phone numbers.

The first person I thought of was Jenny. Having met her in 1994, I’d known her for 20 years. I wanted to check back in with her and see how she was doing. So I started searching for her name online.

Two or three different internet searches later and I stopped, staring at the screen. The 2nd search I did had shown that in March there had been a fundraising event hosted on her behalf, as she continued to fight Stage 4 Cancer.

The 3rd search brought me to a video that her Sister had put together for her. It was a memorial video. I stared at the screen. Then the tears came with shock to follow.

She had died in March.

I’d left Facebook in February.

I knew when I left there might be a lot of information about people, family and friends I might not otherwise know about. Here it was.

My dumbfounded mind just could not wrap itself around the idea that she was gone. It took me a couple of days to have her loss sink in. I wasn’t sure I would write about it until her memory crossed my mind this morning.

It’s still a shock that you’ve passed on from this life. I know that Eric and the kids miss you every single moment of the day. I know this because I missed my Mom and Dad when they died. I still do, but the grief and sorrow have changed over the years. You’ve given your family and friends who knew you a legacy.

You were a powerhouse of Hope.

God gave you a great gift; to love fully, completely and without reservation or hesitation. I know this because I have remembered your gifts of kindness to me two decades later.

How You Lived – Jenny, is that you made a difference. One smile, one hello, one greeting at a time. Through the legacy of your children and a radiating beauty they will continue the Legacy you started.

I’m grateful to have had you as a friend.

May God Bless your family and Give them Peace; now that you are in His everlasting arms….

Blessings,

Kenzel

Facing My Giants: Part II

 

Warning: This post may contain descriptive language about a “common medical” procedure.  Caution is advised

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24 hours had past.

In that time, friends had helped pray with me; to get past my fears. I’d cried, I’d slept but the bleeding induced from the abortion drug hadn’t stopped.

I scheduled an appointment and went in for a follow up.

I followed the nurse assistant into an examination room and was directed to prepare for an appointment just as I would an annual pelvic examination.

The Doctor walked in and the conversation ensued:

Dr: How are you feeling?

Me: Lousy. Tired and the bleeding isn’t going away.

Dr: Let’s take a look

So what proceeded to happen? The Doctor had to “inspect” me just like they would during a pelvic exam….only it didn’t end there.

She examined me and discovered the abortion pill hadn’t really done the job completely. She discovered “left over tissue” that had continued to make my body act as if it needed to rid itself of the foreign object.

Now, normally as uncomfortable as a “pap smear” is, it is just a light scratch sample of the ovarian walls. Ladies (and gentleman), this was DiFFerent.

I remember her picking up a tool (though I really wasn’t paying attention to it) and next thing I knew I was being cut away from the inside.

I CRINGED. It was not pleasant.

I CRIED. I knew the “left over” innards of my baby were being ripped from me. (The baby was long gone the night before, I’m pretty sure I saw what had been its remains as I’d endured the chemical nightmare earlier.)

I may not have been able to see the amazing miracle that had unfolded in the previous weeks of conception…but the ache in my heart and the scream from my soul cried out silently in heartache.

There is no measure of word, no empathy that can bandage up the moment the surgical knife detaches a Supernatural Power from a woman’s body.

Make no mistake, A woman’s womb, YOUR womb is a life giving, life breathing, life providing foundation. I have been forever changed by that moment. But I didn’t know why until it SLAPPED me in the face – without warning.

I walked out of the medical offices, slightly dazed – a bit confused. And riddled with emotions. Almost, numb.

I had the “exit” papers from that Dr’s visit in hand and glanced over them as I walked to my car.

What I saw made me sick.

Procedure: “Abortion”

To this day, 6 years later, I still see those words on those papers.

I was revolted. I had committed the one act of treason I’d never wanted to participate in.

Unwillingly or not, I’d just gone through the action of having an Abortion. I still cannot look at the words, or write them without wanting to fall to the floor in agony.

My baby would have just turned 5.

I know she or he is in Heaven. I know God loves him/her. But that ache, I’m pretty sure will never go away.

I try not to think about the loss. I try not to think about the part I played in having this procedure done.

But more than that, I think about the power of prayer and the power of God.

The power of Jesus to love that baby where they are at since I didn’t have the privilege.

The power of God and Jesus to walk me through my journey of forgiveness.

The power of God and Jesus to prepare me to write this journey segment to help others. Because although there are many women who are told abortion is simple, easy and not as painful as one might think….let me give it to you straight.

Any woman who has had sex has the potential to conceive.

Sex is both a gift and a miracle.

Conception and Pregnancy is also a gift and a miracle.

DO NoT be fooled.

EVEN though you may not be able to see inside your body. If you are pregnant, there is a living, breathing being inside you.

The act of Abortion will LIVE with you long after the procedure is done.

The memory of it, the idea of the child your body was nurturing and protecting will BE part of who you are FORever. Even if you try to wish it away. Even if you try to use Abortion to hide an accident or a mistake.

In the long run…your conscience is with you for life. Don’t be deceived by the simplistic concept of Abortion as an easy way out.

Abortion is the hardest thing you will have to face in your future.

Regret is costly, don’t let an abortion create a mountain of regret in your life

 

Heavenly Father, I have made a lot of mistakes. I have made one too many poor decisions. But, I am here now standing on you as The ROCK of my salvation and the provider of my peace, forgiveness and redemption.

I pray that any woman reading this, who is facing her past decision of abortion…that you will help her forgive herself. We need not be riddled with regret. You meet us and love us even as we work through our pain. Help free us from the clutches of the enemy and set us free.

For those who are considering Abortion…know that there are others out there. Know that you are not alone. DO NOT FEEL alone. Reach out and ask for God’s help!

And all God’s Children said, Amen.

Keep Shining Your Light!

-Kenzel

 

Facing My Giants: Part I

 

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I remember talking with some girlfriends in high school (1986?) when I was about 16 – give or take a year. The discussion was about pregnancy and abortion.

All I remember thinking at the time was, Dear Lord…I don’t ever want to have face a situation like that ever. To have to make that choice (between keeping a baby or aborting it). Please, I don’t want to have an abortion – EVER.

Fast Forward to 2008: Here is my story

 

Be Careful What you Pray for:

My children were 6 and 4. Although I was already past 35, I was still yearning for another child. I have always loved children. I grew up the youngest of four and even though I am nearly 10 years younger than my older sibling and 20 years younger from the eldest, at least I knew I had siblings. I knew they existed. Holidays and life in general were beautiful surrounded by lots of people.

I’ve often heard people say that the prayers we pray, that are in “accordance” with God’s Will for our lives are often fulfilled. Maybe not right away in all cases, but at some time or another.

However, the reverse is also true. We can pray for something we believe we earnestly want and not receive the blessing. Or, a prayer that goes against God’s will might be granted…only to have that fulfilled prayer turned into a life lesson. A lesson that will leave us with scars.

Onto the story.

So, I’d started praying for another child. I knew I was probably crazy to be doing so. And I was told point blank so by my spouse. While my first pregnancy was a dream; easy, pleasant and a piece of cake so to speak – My second was not. It was difficult. Completely opposite of the first experience.

So, while I was “mildly” surprised when I recognized I was expecting…I also was not surprised. I knew the moment it happened exactly what was going on.

I went to a pregnancy center near my home and had results confirmed. They also performed an ultrasound but asked me to return in a week to verify it…because my positive test was so early on in the waiting game.

I did go back a week later and that appointment lasted much, much longer….

By the time of my second check in, I was about 6 weeks along.

I looked at the black and white screen. I kept trying to make out the baby, it’s heartbeat..fingers or toes. But I’m not an ultrasound technician. I couldn’t make out anything. My anticipation was mounting. While I had prayed for a baby, it had been a week (or more) since they’d confirmed the baby’s presence. I had initially been shocked to learn my prayer had been answered.

Why would I be shocked?

If God is so good about answering our prayers and fulfilling our desires why wouldn’t I just be grateful? Because, I had been told long before that trying to do so would be a mistake. My last pregnancy had been so hard on me physically I had come to consciously accept I would only ever have two. That is until my heart got in the way. So, I had taken the last few weeks to work my brain over and accept the surprising news. Which I finally had…the previous weekend. And now I was both excited and joyous. I was finally going to have my dream of a “big” family.

And then – it all shattered into a million pieces.

The ultrasound technicians were left in a quandary. The baby’s heart beat that had been there during my previous visit had now disappeared. There was no sign of it.

 

Heartbreak

 

I now sat waiting for the Dr. to come in. I was finally waiting to find out the results from my 3rd ultrasound. And I was still hoping for the best….until I heard:

Dr: “You have mis-carried”

Me: “How can you be sure?”

Dr: “We can’t see the fetus?”

Me: “What if you can’t see it but it’s still there?”

Dr: “We can’t detect a heartbeat”

This was insane. I wasn’t ready to give up.

Me: “But I still feel pregnant”

Dr: “You will until your body stops producing hcg and you have a cycle to expel it”

Expel it? The scent of a horror movie was building in my mind.

In reality, I wanted to wait. I wanted this pregnancy to end on its own. I didn’t want to force this “it” out. What if the Doctor (and ultrasound) were wrong???

Me: So, what are you suggesting I do?

Dr: The pregnancy needs to be terminated.

I know I gave her a blank look, if not a look of devastation.

Dr: You need to have an abortion.

Me: What!?!? No! I am not having an abortion. That has never been an option in my book. There are no other options?

Dr: You can try using a pill instead….

And that is when she handed me a prescription slip; which read (in a nutshell) RU486.

If I was the type of woman who was known for fainting, this might have been the moment. But as it were, I felt the heat rise up behind my eyes, followed by a lake of tears. I’d heard of this “wonder” drug before. But in my case, I didn’t have to go looking for it. It found me.

I was ready to throw up.

That night, it started. And it sucked. Gut wrenching aches and pain; compounded by guilt.

Why, Why, Why?

The next 12hours were painful emotionally. Watching what my body was doing floored me.

How had man been able to find a way to take something fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) deep inside me…designed to be a unique being and turn it into a glob of (now dead) human tissue. The sight of that evening…of witnessing this drug at work was overwhelming.

I’d wanted a baby…but not at this cost. Not at the expense of having to witness the death of something that was supposed to be a miracle.

Dear God, What is your plan? I believe in you and trust my life to you. You blessed my soul with the knowledge of this child. Help me to understand….

 

 

But the journey was still not over yet and my ultimate compromise was yet to come.

Part II is next…..

 

 

 

“The First Fruits 30 Day Challenge”

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I am s-o-o-o NOT a morning person. Yes, I can easily stay up til 1am reading, writing or blogging. But waking up is always a challenge, even if I go to bed at 8-9pm.  Sigh.

I intentionally decided to get up early today.

The last 2-3 days have felt like a “BUST.” I haven’t been getting up when I (probably) should and that has affected everything. My bible devotion/reading time has been pushed back to mid-day or afternoon. Fruit-less.

Last night, right before bed I was listening to a friend’s online blog interview (I’ll talk more about that another time) and even though the topic was about spiritual warfare it really got me to THINK-ing about: First Fruits.

I copied this over from Biblegateway.com:

In the New Testament, “FirstFruits” is used as a metaphor for something given in advance, anticipating a greater benefit or “harvest” to come. A short explanation of First Fruits is found in Proverbs 3:9-10. For more detail reference Deuteronomy 26. I just re-read it and it spoke VoLuMeS to me.

Moving along…The concept of First Fruits is nothing new. But, having felt led to do so – I set my wake up call (which was 5:30 am, far too early, in my opinion.)

And I guess I must have been tired, ’cause I slept well….

5:30 arrives. Really?

5:45: I finished reading the devotion for January 8th, cross referencing the scriptures as listed and writing them down in my spiral bound notebook. My 2014 method for starting to memorize The Word. Reading and then writing it down. I’ve got to start somewhere. If I’m going to write about Spiritual Warfare, I’m going to have to be grounded on and in God’s Word.

After I finished those tasks…I laid the materials aside and closed my eyes. I still had 1o minutes before my next alarm clock went off. I can get good rest in 10 minutes.

“The First Fruits 30 Day Challenge”

“What?” I say

“You know what I am asking. Blog about it.”

God doesn’t say much when He speaks, but you better listen and act accordingly when you do hear him. I know the holy spirit was prompting me last night to complete my early reading this morning and it’s because I was being tested to prepare myself for this challenge.

His request was the additional gentle nudge forward to take this act of faith and encourage others to join me in trying it.

The Challenge isn’t difficult. Just take the first 10 minutes of your day to read the bible (if you’ve never read the bible: Start with the Book of John in the New Testament) Otherwise, just start with the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts) and meet the “players.”

He wants me to convey, that by giving HIM our attention upon us WAKING up, as the FIRST thing we do for our DAILY HARVEST of production – our day will see better results. Our results will be GREATer than had we chosen to step out of bed without so much as opening the cover…when we involve HIM at the beginning He will oversee our day and remain with us until we fall asleep. First Fruits = Blessed Harvest. This does not mean our blessings will be everything WE ASK for. We will be blessed as GOD sees fit to act (whether we see those results, or not.)(

Digging into the richness of scripture and listening for His voice allows Him to invest in Me. Which leads me to wonder what kind of ROI (Return on Investment) I might be able to expect if I really try??!! That’s not to say I expect ANYthing. But God is the giver of gifts.

Now for my favorite part. The music side. I am posting a song that is an absolute favorite of mine. But, some background.

I have been a “Christian” since I small. However, there IS a DiFFerence between being a Christian and “walking with Christ.” My walk actually began in ~2006-7. Before 2007, I’d never heard of Contemporary Christian music and I had only ever listened to A/C (Adult Contemporary). When a fried (thank you ERIN) shared with me where I should “tune” to listen; “Believe” was one of the first two songs that came on. It was pivotal. I’ve never forgotten it. Andy Chrisman is a gifted singer.

Though this is not truly a video….it is the only version of the song i can find to share but it has always spoken volumes to me. I hope you like it, too.

May God Bless you beyond measure today!

Kenzel