When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. (Mark 16: 9)
Life was probably torture for Mary Magdalene before she met Jesus. She had a reputation among the disciples as being the Mary of seven demons. Her demonic affliction probably caused intense suffering for her physically, emotionally, and morally. It is doubtful she had many friends considering her reputation of being possessed by demons.
Life changed when Mary met Jesus and he drove the demons from her. From the time of her deliverance, Mary remained a faithful follower of Jesus. She was one of the women who traveled with Jesus and his disciples.
All four gospels give account of her presence at the cross, outside the tomb where Jesus was laid after his crucifixion, and she was with those who went to anoint his body following the Sabbath. Her love was so great for her Savior that even death could not quench it.
Mary Magdalene was no lukewarm believer. She was sold out to Jesus all the way.
It’s no surprise that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene following his resurrection. The death of Jesus had devastated her. His presence was the comfort she needed in her time of distress.
In the midst of her extreme grief she heard him call out her name. Mary’s faithfulness as a follower of Jesus paid off. She was rewarded by his appearance and the assurance that he was alive.
We can learn a few things from Mary. We learn that deliverance is obtained through Jesus. He is the only one who can deliver us from whatever is keeping us in bondage.
We also learn that being a true follower of Jesus means keeping our focus on him no matter how hopeless things seem. The world is filled with distractions that try to keep us focused on anything and everything but Jesus.
Worldly distractions lead to stress and anxiety. Focusing on Jesus brings us joy and peace. We can trust Jesus to meet all of our needs and comfort us in times of grieving.
This weekend, as we celebrate Easter, we can rejoice knowing Jesus is alive. We can celebrate with the assurance that he is still in the business of transforming lives and casting out the things that hold us captive.
The dictionary defines the word despair as to lose all hope or confidence. I often find myself dwelling in the pit of despair. It’s not a pretty place to be. I have to fight with myself daily to stay out of the pit.
Living in despair affects every aspect of your life. You lose interest in the things you once enjoyed. You find it hard to get out of bed in the morning. When you feel hopeless you don’t feel as if you have any purpose in life. Each day becomes an endurance contest. You stop living and start existing.
I hate to admit how many times I resided in the pit of despair during the past five years since my husband left, and I hated every minute of it. Being a resident in the pit of despair will suck the life right out of you.
At times I would question why I was even here. I would wonder what my purpose was on this earth. I was a Christian woman, but instead of seeing my worth in Christ, I was basing my self-worth on the fact that my husband didn’t want me. I was acting like despair was my calling.
The words that went through my mind while in the pit were always the same – worthless, rejected, unloved, unwanted, abandoned, replaced. I felt hopeless, but eventually life in the pit became more than I could bear.
I’ve always enjoyed watching Anne of Green Gables. The character, Marilla, is well known for the following quote: “To despair is to turn your back on God.” Marilla’s definition may seem a little harsh, but it’s true.
When we allow others to define our self-worth instead of God, it’s easy to end up in the pit of despair. When we allow feelings of hopelessness to creep into our thoughts, we stop believing God is good. We stop trusting in his promises.
God’s promises are overflowing with hope and love. He did not call us to a life of despair and hopelessness. He has plans for our lives – plans for a hope and a future.
One of my favorite verses regarding hope is found in Romans 15: 13:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As I began to focus on God’s promises and not what my husband did to me, those old destructive words that used to go through my mind were replaced with words found in scripture – worthy, loved, hopeful, joyful, peaceful, redeemed, and protected.
As we fill our minds with God’s truth, we won’t be tempted to base our self-worth on the opinions of others. Being a pit dweller and living in despair is not our calling as women who belong to the God of hope.
When I woke up this morning, social media was buzzing about the latest snow storm ruining the first day of spring. I’m looking forward to spring, but waking up to the beauty of fresh-falling snow is one thing I never take for granted.
I grabbed my camera and captured a few photos of what may be the last measurable snowfall as the winter season exits the scene and spring makes it seasonal debut.
What a difference a day makes. I was outside enjoying warmer temperatures and working in my flower beds yesterday. The daffodils and tulips had poked through the frozen soil, and I was excited to see signs of spring. The Canadian geese were nesting peacefully by the pond.
Today the flowers are hidden by the snow, and mother goose looks out of place sitting on her nest surrounded by snow. It’s a reminder of how unpredictable life is and how we must be prepared to accept the challenges and changes that arrive unexpectedly.
It’s easy to grumble and complain when unexpected things interfere with our plans. In fact, complaining about everything has become a way of life in our world. I often find myself complaining about stuff without even realizing it.
I grumble about the immoral world we live in, the weather, the prices in the grocery store, the high cost of medical care, my health, how people act, how tired I am, or a client who is being a little too picky about what they want in an article I’m writing.
Complaining never solves a thing, and it never changes my circumstances. The Bible teaches us to be thankful. Complaining is the opposite of thankfulness.
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5: 18)
How much better the world would be if everyone started to give thanks in all circumstances. Can you imagine the difference it would make? When I’m around someone who has a positive outlook on life, I feel better about my life. Thankfulness is contagious.
Unfortunately, grumbling is also contagious. You only have to stand in a long check-out line in the grocery store to see this in action.
It’s never too late to develop a habit of being grateful. Life is hard. Some circumstances are very bleak, but a thankful attitude can bring hope to us and to those around us. No matter what, there’s always something to be thankful for in our lives.
Life is about choices. While we don’t have control over most of our circumstances in life, we always have control over how we choose to see them.
We can choose to let an unexpected snow storm ruin the first day of spring, or we can see the beauty of fresh-falling snow blanketing the landscape once again as winter departs and spring arrives.
When March arrived and temperatures were still plummeting into the single digits at night, I wondered if winter would ever end. Thankfully, spring is on the horizon and warmer temperatures this week have melted most of the snow and ice.
Looking back at some of my photos taken during the winter season, I’m reminded that winter can be beautiful if we look past the freezing temperatures and choose to see snow-covered landscapes, trees embellished with icy branches, and birds that add a splash of color to the whiteness of winter. Each season truly does have its own beauty.
As the earth drinks in the last of the melting snow, I’m looking forward to the daffodils and tulips peeking their pink, yellow, and white heads out to confirm the arrival of a new season. Springtime flowers are a perfect reminder of how beautiful things can grow from barren places.
The much-anticipated arrival of the Canadian geese at the pond awakened me this morning. They are quite a rowdy bunch of visitors as they begin their mating rituals and prepare to nest by the pond. The hatching of the goslings next month will serve as another reminder that new life does indeed follow cold and dreary seasons.
When we are going through winter seasons in our personal lives, we need to remember that winter does not last forever. We must trust God and hold fast to his faithful promises when life appears hopeless, dark, and dreary.
Spring will arrive in God’s perfect timing, and the barrenness of winter will be replaced by beauty and newness of life.
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. (Song of Songs 2: 11-12)
Every day there seems to be a new scandal in the news involving a prominent person caught in some sort of a lie. Lying is nothing new. The Bible teaches that Satan is the father of lies. Distorting the truth is what he does best.
It’s easy to be deceived by his lies. It all started in the Garden of Eden when Satan deceived Eve. Unfortunately, women have been listening to the lies of Satan ever since.
God created us and he wrote the instruction manual for our life. He knows what is best for us. Like Eve, when we disobey God and begin to doubt his word, we suffer painful consequences.
“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)
The downfall of man began when Satan convinced Eve that God’s word wasn’t entirely true. God placed Eve in a perfect paradise where she had everything she needed. There was only one thing God told her not to do. Satan distorted God’s truth just enough that Eve fell for it and ate the forbidden fruit.
Eve traded in her perfect paradise for a life of pain and suffering – all because she didn’t obey God and doubted his word. Sound familiar? Satan is still in the business of deception today, and he is still targeting women.
Let’s look at a few of the ways Satan is distorting God’s word in our world today and wrecking havoc in the lives of women.
Women think: Being thin and beautiful is everything. It’s all about looking good.
The Bible teaches: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3: 3-4)
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” ( Proverbs 31: 30)
Women think: It’s all about me. I have to look out for #1.
The Bible teaches: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humiliation consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2: 3)
Women think: God wants me to be happy. That’s all that matters.
The Bible teaches: For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Ephesians 1:4)
Women think: Nobody loves me.
The Bible teaches: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (John 16: 27)
Women think: I am so ashamed of my past. God will never forgive me.
The Bible teaches: Those who look to him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame. (Psalm 34:5)
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
Women think: I’m getting a divorce because:
- I don’t have anything in common with my husband.
- I love my husband, but I’m not “in” love with him.
- He’s a good man, but he works too much and he is never home.
- He ignores me, and I deserve better than this.
- I’m bored with my marriage.
The Bible teaches: To the married I give this command: A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate. (Mark 10: 9)
“I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel. (Malachi 2:16)
Women think: Everyone else _______ (fill in the blank) so I may as well do it.
The Bible teaches: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will. (Romans 12: 2)
There are numerous ways Satan tries to deceive us. We must be careful to seek answers in scripture to life’s problems. We must know the truth if we want to stop Satan in his tracks.
Developing a daily habit of reading and memorizing scripture is the best way to prepare for the battle Satan will rage against us. Jesus fought Satan with the word of God when he was tempted in the wilderness. Each time Satan tried to distort God’s truth, Jesus said, “It is written” and proceeded to quote scripture revealing the truth.
Our world is filled with deception, but we must follow the example of Jesus and be ready to counterattack all lies with the truth of God’s word.
I’ve always enjoyed keeping diaries and writing in journals, but I’ve never been a fan of plain notebooks. I love pretty journals with flowers or birds on the cover and colorful pens. I can’t help it. It’s just the way I’m wired.
My latest journal was chosen for a purpose. I need the reminder to “Live Beautifully” every day.
When my husband abandoned me and our family to move to another state with his girlfriend, my self-esteem was shattered. Life was everything but beautiful. I felt ugly, worthless, and unloved. I wondered if I would ever heal from the brutal wounds of a broken heart.
Life felt ugly. I struggled to see beyond the mounting bills I could not pay and the chronic health issues that escalated due to the stress I was under. I could not stop thinking about my husband of 34 years being with someone else while I spent another night at home alone.
I felt robbed of the life we were supposed to have together now that our four children were grown and on their own. This was to be our time alone to travel a little and enjoy just being together. I wanted our home to be a place of stability for our grandchildren in a world filled with broken homes.
Shattered dreams were the only thing I could see as I looked at my life. I felt angry and depressed. I felt like my life was over and there was no hope for the future. Every day I woke up shrouded by a cloud of darkness.
I did a good job of pretending everything was okay when I was around others, but inside I was dying. I thought how ironic it was that the man who promised to love me forever was the very person who hurt me more than anyone else in my life.
Being rejected by the love of your life and replaced by someone else will destroy you – if you let it. I spent years living in a dark pit of depression until the pain of staying in the pit was more than I could bear.
Sometimes rock bottom is the best foundation to build a new life on. I knew I had to change my way of thinking. I knew God did not want me to focus on the ugly stuff and waste my life living in a pit of despair. I needed an attitude adjustment.
Scripture confirmed that I needed to change the way I was thinking.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. (Philippians 4: 8)
I started to think about what was lovely and beautiful in my life:
- I am saved by the grace of God, and he will never abandon me. As I read his promises in the Bible, I am reminded of his faithfulness and how much he loves and cares for me.
- I have four wonderful kids who would do anything for me.
- I have four grandchildren and another one on the way. Their smiles and hugs are priceless treasures that can brighten even the darkest days.
- I live in the mountain surrounded by God’s amazing creation. The beauty of the world he made is always right outside my window.
- I have a great family and fabulous friends who are always there for me.
- I have a work-at-home job that I love.
Some of the simplest things in life are the most beautiful:
- The infinite beauty of nature-falling snow, flowers blooming, a blue sky, billowing clouds, stars, birds, a warm breeze, the arrival of spring, the colorful leaves in autumn.
- The smile of a baby or the laughter of a child
- A warm cup of tea or hot chocolate sipped in front of a fireplace
- A letter or card from a friend
- A compliment or word of encouragement
- A home cooked meal
Life is about choices. We can’t change the fact that someone hurt us, but we can change how we react to the hurt. How we think plays a huge role in whether we find ourselves living in a pit of despair or living life beautifully. I still have bad days, but every time I think a negative thought, I am learning to replace it with a promise from God.
What will you choose to do today to live your life beautifully regardless of your present circumstances?
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1: 20-21)
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Women everywhere will wake up in anticipation of flowers, chocolates, lovely cards, jewelry, and romantic dinners out with their husbands or boyfriends.
Tomorrow evening, many women will go to sleep feeling let down, because their husbands or boyfriends failed to make their dreams come true.
From the time we are little girls, until we grow old, we long to be loved and cared about. We dream of finding our prince charming. We crave romance. Sadly, some women will spend their entire lives looking for something that doesn’t exist-the perfect man.
Those who are married to men, who are not the romantic types, may even end up seeking a divorce in search of a more romantic guy. The lives of children will be uprooted and homes destroyed, all because the expectation of having a perfect and romantic husband led to disappointment and feelings of discontentment.
The search for love can also lead us into addictions that destroy our lives. In 1980, there was a popular country music song, recorded by Johnny Lee, titled Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places. This could be the theme song of many women today, myself included.
True love that satisfies our thirsty and longing souls will never be found in food, alcohol, drugs, pornography, excessive spending, or extramarital affairs. In fact, these things will only leave us empty and longing for more. Eventually, they will ruin our lives and leave us filled with guilt and shame.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be loved. It’s a normal human desire. God created love. In fact, the Bible states that God is love. God created us to have a love relationship with him. While we are distracted trying to find love in all the wrong places, God is waiting for us to come to him.
God also created romance and marriage. They are beautiful things when enjoyed as he intended. However, perfect relationships do not exist. People have faults. People are not capable of loving us to the extent that God loves us.
If you are looking for real love and romance, God will never let you down. God’s love is perfect and pure. He never breaks his promises. He won’t abandon you. He loves you unconditionally. He desires intimacy with you.
Every minute we spend getting to know him better is never wasted time, for we will spend eternity with him. He is never too busy or distracted to listen to our prayers. He understands our hurt, pain, and suffering.
On this Valentines Eve, my prayer is that we will seek the true and loving God, whether we are in a loving human relationship or not. God is the creator of love and romance. In a world filled with broken relationships and divorce, his love is the one thing we can count on forever.
Welcome to my website. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look around and make yourself at home. I’m just an imperfect Christian woman. I’m learning to walk by faith on the journey of life. I fail miserably at times. In fact, more times than I care to admit.
I have a heart for hurting women, especially those who struggle with food addiction and emotional eating. I know what it’s like to fail at one more attempt to lose weight. I know how defeating it is to want something so bad but to feel like it’s out of reach.
I also know how it feels to have your heart broken and shattered to pieces by the man who promised to love you forever. I was married for 34 years when my husband decided to leave, without telling me, and move to another state with his girlfriend. He not only abandoned me, but he also abandoned our four children and four grandchildren.
I know what it’s like to experience the feelings of rejection that cripple your self-worth when you’ve been replaced by another woman. I know what it’s like to have your self-esteem ripped to shreds. I know what it’s like to be haunted by thoughts of your husband with the other woman while you spend another night alone.
I battle with chronic health issues daily. I know the frustration that comes from not feeling well and trying to keep going. I forget what it feels like to feel well. I know how discouraging chronic pain can be. I know what it’s like to wonder if you can muster up enough energy to get through one more day.
I know what it’s like to suffer loss. My mother died unexpectedly at age 55. Her death was followed by the loss of several other family members. I also suffered an injury that resulted in me losing my job, income, and health insurance.
I share these things not to seek sympathy or to get attention. I simply want you to know where I’m coming from. I’ve always been told you should write about what you know. That will be my focus here in this space.
I will share what God places on my heart. Life is messy. I will be blogging about the good, the bad, and the ugly stuff of life. I won’t profess to be an expert on anything. The things shared in this space will come from the heart of an imperfect Christian woman who is still trying to get it right.
My life has been filled with great things and wonderful blessings. The bad stuff is just part of the walk of life. I’m thankful I met God many years ago. Without Him, I would never be where I am today. I am amazed that he even puts up with my imperfections and failures. His grace, given freely in the midst of my faltering, is more than my human mind can comprehend, but I’m so thankful for his gift of grace.
I pray my writing will encourage women to seek a relationship with God. I pray it will encourage those who already know God to keep going in the midst of whatever life throws their way. I’m still on the journey myself. I fail many times. I struggle. I pick myself up and start over again. It really is a minute-by-minute journey.
Writing has always been my passion. Many years ago, God impressed it upon my heart to put other things aside and write for His glory. It took me quite some time to be obedient to His call. An injury, and the subsequent months I spent in a wheelchair, took me away from my other job. Some say it was an accident, I know it was divine intervention.
Anyway, I’m finally being obedient to what God has called me to do-write for his glory. I hope you will join me on the journey to seek the one thing we all so desperately need amidst the distractions of a sinful and immoral world-an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.