AgapeLady’s Blog

March 25, 2010

You are SOOOOO loved!

As I was driving home yesterday, just enjoying the sunshine and the beginning of Spring weather, a song came on my Christian radio station – Natalie Grant’s “Held.” Although the song always touches my heart, it seemed to draw me in even more than usual. As I listened to its words, my heart began to ache and the tears welled within my eyes. “This is what it means to be held, how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life, and you survive.” Just repeating those words makes my heart break. And the chorus continues… “This is what it is to be loved. And to know that the promise was when everything fell, we’d be held.”

Oh, dear ones, this song tells the tale of such deep loss and sorrow. I think the first time I heard it was after 9/11… when so many of us felt our hearts would break, when so many of us yearned to reach out in some small way to the many who were hurting, to the many who felt the loss of lives on that horrible day.

Do you know the LOVE that holds you tightly and offers comfort even midst such a difficult time? Have you ever felt the arms of the Almighty holding you close as you sobbed over some loss that seemed simply unbearable? And indeed it was – if not for His power to hold you up.

I have. And I have to tell you that there is nothing – absolutely NOTHING – like that dear, sweet love. When all else fails, when all else is gone, it’s that unconditional love – God’s sweet agape – that makes the difference, that somehow – I don’t understand it – holds us together when our world is falling apart. Nothing, dear ones, NOTHING can separate us from that love (Romans 8:37-39). Nothing, that is, but ourselves.

My heart aches to think of those who have lost sight of that love – whether because they have never had the opportunity to know it or because they have been so hurt by the traumas of this world that they have been blinded – or whether they simply overlook, put off, or disregard the gift. For that is what it is. It’s God’s GIFT to us in the form of His Son. John 3:16 tells us that God sent His one and only Son to bear our sin so that we would not be forever lost… forever separated from that love – not because He wants it that way, but because we don’t accept His gift, His sacrifice!

There was a time when I did not understand that love. When I could not comprehend a God who could somehow condemn some to an eternity in hell. I still don’t comprehend it all. But this I know: God has created us to love Him. There have been times that I wished I had no free will – because I fail so frequently – but… He has also gifted us with the ability to choose. And the thing is, dear friends – LOVE HAS TO BE FREELY GIVEN TO BE LOVE! If God had made us so that we had no choice, we would have “loved” Him, but it would have been a counterfeit love. He didn’t, because He so love us… He soooo loves YOU that He wanted it to be your choice! Isn’t that amazing??? Almighty God – the Creator of the Universe – longs for a personal LOVE relationship with us so much that He has gifted us with the opportunity to reject Him! He has gifted us with a choice.

So… my heart breaks today because I know there are many who are not choosing to accept that love and to love Him in return. I have recently lost someone dear to me in death who did not believe. I can only pray that in those final moments, he had a conversation with my God and made the choice to accept the Gift that was offered.

My heart aches today as I think of all those who don’t know the agape love that holds them in the midst of a time that is so totally incomprehensible, so unbearable… a love that will not, cannot let them go.

My heart aches for the One who offers that love and who feels the rejection from so many… and who does not have the same comfort that He provides to us. How HIS heart must ache and break for those who reject Him and are forever lost… I can only imagine His scarred hands stretching across a void, reaching for His beloved children who are falling forever out of His grasp.

Why, you ask? Because while He is a God who unconditionally loves us, He is also a HOLY God who demands perfection – and He made a way to meet those demands through Jesus Christ. By accepting that gift, we meet His demand for perfection and holiness in Jesus… and avoid the judgment. So, you who are reading this… what will you do with this knowledge? Will you pray and seek His love in your life? Will you make Him LORD? Oh, I hope so.

If you have not… or will not… know this: He loves you still. I love you still. And I pray that somehow, some way, His love will reach you.

In His GRIP,

AgapeLady

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March 6, 2010

Any Day is Good for Love

I’ve heard news of several suicides recently, and my heart aches. I long for a day when I won’t hear of those who are in such emotional pain that they feel the need to end their lives. My heart aches because I’ve been there.

People who have never considered the idea of taking their own life do not conceive of the pain that drives a person to such negative thoughts. What could be worse than no life at all?! For those in emotional pain, it’s not so much that they don’t want to LIVE (indeed, I believe they do – they just seek a painless kind of living) as that they want the pain to stop. For some, cutting is intended to “drown” that pain, i.e., as they cut their wrists, they hope the physical pain of that can make them escape the emotional pain they’re experiencing.

That’s one of the things that keeps me going each day – the thought that there was a time when I felt that kind of pain, that kind of loneliness… and the knowledge of what carried me through that… and continues to carry me through.

Back in my college days, I actually attempted suicide. Thank God, I did not succeed! It was then that my Great Redeemer drew me to Him and began to give me the knowledge of HIS great love for me. But, even then, dear ones – the thoughts of suicide were not entirely gone.

I know some who are Christians will gasp in unbelief – how could I? Well, the truth is that when one is experiencing such loneliness and emotional pain, they are experiencing a kind of insanity. What causes such emotional pain and loneliness?

I think, deep down, we all long to be loved – completely and unconditionally. When we FEEL love (ah, yes, those questioning emotions), then the emotional pains and struggles of life are a little easier to handle. Even as a Christian, though I had read and heard that God loved me so much that He sent His one and only son – Jesus – to die for my sins (John 3:16), I did not – at first – truly comprehend and grasp the knowledge of that love.

You know what I mean… getting that knowledge the few inches from my head to my HEART. What a distance that can be at times!

After studying God’s Word and beginning to understand that true unconditional love – agape – the kind that sends a son to die for another – is an ACTION, not a FEELING. As I began to understand that, I began to also understand that God’s agape was not dependent in the least upon how I was feeling or what I had done. Instead, it simply IS. In other words, I can never do any more – or less – for God’s love. He just loves me – totally and completely, unconditionally.

I can’t say for sure when that head knowledge became heart knowledge – or even if I completely “get it” today. But one thing I know – when things get dark, I know today that the God of the Universe loves me… and He has everything I’m going through under His control. NOTHING escapes Him. And He has never forgotten me. In fact, my name is written in the palm of His hand. He bears its scars. That heart knowledge, dear ones, is what keeps me from considering suicide anymore. That knowledge combats the emotional pain – by holding me and comforting me when the pain otherwise envelops me. And let’s face it: Life can be hard.

So what can we do for those who DON’T know that love? My goal is to show it as much as I possibly can… as God enables me. I pray that I will be able to reach those who are so hurt by Life’s struggles and pains and that they will come to know the One who is able to completely heal with His love. THAT IS MY MISSION AND MY PASSION. Lord willing, by reaching one at a time with His Agape on any given day, there will be no more occasion for suicide. I know – one day – there will be no pain or sorrow (Rev. 21:4). Will you join me?

If  you are one who is thinking sad thoughts of suicide – I pray with all my heart that my ache for YOU will touch you through the Internet… contact me via this site, dear one. I WILL respond – I love you and want to introduce you to my GREAT LOVER, Jesus Christ. Trust me, He CAN make the difference in your life, just as He did for me.

May God grant you with the heart knowledge of His love,

AgapeLady

October 2, 2009

Where DOES the Time Go?

Well, I admit to being in a state of information overload. I have had a zillion things to do – or at least it seems that way – and I have been struggling with tyranny of the urgent of late. (If you’ve not read that book, you ought to – it’s got some gems to ponder, let me tell you!)

Anyway, this morning I heard something on the radio that gave me pause… about the “old days” – things just seemed to take a little longer. And that made me wonder: If we live in an age where everything seems so instantaneous – fast food, instant messaging, microwaves, etc. – then why is it that we seem to have less time? What happened to long walks and long talks “just because.”

As I considered this, I happened to think that all of the fast pace really hasn’t helped us that much. Consider the heart attacks, the stress levels, the information overload… what are we in such an all-fired hurry for anyway?!

I’ve neglected doing many of the things lately that have to do with technology and social media. I’ve not kept up with all of my email (at least the ones that are not personal), twitter, facebook, myspace, etc. I have let them go by the wayside. And yes – I’ve even let this blog go. But the reason I’ve done that is because I’m trying to juggle so many of the “quick” items that seem to fill my time! Oh, don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I don’t enjoy writing this blog… or communicating with some of you who have commented on this site. (I appreciate your comments by the way). I DO enjoy writing. But I spend my days working a full-time job, running errands, trying to start my own biz at home and building relationships. Therein lies the problem, methinks. Those things are all important and time-consuming… building relationships is probably the most important one for me of all.
I read this quote by John Burroughs yesterday: “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” Boy, can I relate! And all those so-called “urgent” items can eat up my time so quickly.

So, let me ask you – how do YOU make the choices in your day? Do you make wise ones as you seek to go through the day and accomplish everything on your “to do” list? What’s most important to you? For me, I think that my personal relationships are far more important to me than anything else but… so many “urgent” items eat my time. We all have the same hours in the day. Certainly, time management is one key factor in keeping our sanity midst the fast-paced demands of this century, but I think there’s a little more to it.

As I think and pray on this issue, I think that I have to keep my priorities in focus. And let some of those seemingly “urgent” items go by the wayside.

Ephesians 5:15 tells me to be careful how I walk – not as someone who is unwise, but someone who is wise. That is, living with a sense of meaning and purpose. And Colossians 4:5 tells me to “Walk in wisdom toward them who are without, redeeming the time.” My understanding of that is that I need to treat those outside the faith with wisdom… making good use of my time with them. For me, that means building relationships because for many, I have to earn the “right” to share my faith. Hmmm… thoughts to ponder.

As we consider the day and the many demands on our time, perhaps the best questions to ask might be: “Is this activity something of meaning? Does it bring me closer to living my purpose for God?” If it is, then it’s something worth doing, something that is “redeeming the time.” But if not, maybe it’s better left undone. Just a thought, dear ones.

I’m praying for you as you read this… may you draw one step closer to whatever God is leading you to do as a result of reading my heart’s ponderings.

Love & blessings,
AgapeLady

July 22, 2009

New Beginnings

Wow, the weather has been awesome here in Central Ilinois – sunshine, cool breezes, brilliant colors. I don’t even need to go away to get a mini vacation! All I have to do is sit still a few moments and take it all in. Ahhhh… rejuvenation begins.

And that’s how life has been for me lately. It’s the small things. Over and over, I find myself thinking this is the FIRST day of the rest of my life. And I’ve even received that message through many other vehicles – various readings and Scripture. That’s been a blessing. I mean, “FIRST” implies a new beginning. And that’s what menopause has become for me. A new beginning.

Each day is filled with new experiences as I sort out some of the situations in my life. And that’s a good thing. I’ve begun to believe that menopause is truly the BEGINNING of a new phase of life for women, a time of new focus on ourselves and our bodies. For many of us, our “younger years” have been filled with family activities and little time to focus on what’s important in our own lives. That has meant sacrificing many aspects of our lives – a very good thing, mind you, but some of those sacrifices seem to add up to health problems in one form or another by the time we reach menopause. So now it’s as if God is telling me to pay attention – the old body needs extra love and care.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m learning new ways to eat and exercise. New ways to think (with a greater attitude of gratitude for each day and each project) and new ways to communicate (thus, blogging and other new ventures!). It’s fun to take each new day as the first day of the rest of my life!

That made me think – how much fun it is to start a new day and feel refreshed and like there’s a new beginning… how much moreso when I feel the new beginnings that God grants me every time I go to Him with problems and sins that need solutions and cleansing. He is soooo faithful to care for me. And isn’t it wonderful to just relax knowing that I have a fresh start? Yes. A clean slate.

Have you ever wanted that? You can have it – simply go to the Father in prayer and ask Him. He’ll be glad to answer with the cleansing and fresh start you need… any day of the week, any hour of the day.

Love & blessings,

AgapeLady

July 11, 2009

Restin’ in His Arms

Filed under: Encouragement,God's Love,Healing,Health,Religion — agapelady @ 12:56 AM

Today is a peaceful day… quiet, overcast, and just a wee bit rainy. But that’s okay. I’m taking deep breaths after several weeks of nonstop craziness at work and home. Feels good just to take a day for myself. Greedy? Not in the least. It’s called recuperation and rejuvenation.

My husband and I went away for the weekend to Branson, Missouri. Always love it there. We spent a lot of time just talking and listening to music on the way down to our condo. When we got there, one of the first things I did was to jump in the jacuzzi, turn on some music and close my eyes. Ahhh, relaxation.

As I sat in that jacuzzi, I felt some of my muscles relax and I thought, “I need this. I need to do more of this and to just kick back more.” And so that’s my goal.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Seriously. I have been going full force for too long and my body (and mind) has begun to give out. It’s time to change something. What’s that phrase: “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.” Well, God’s been showing me that something has to change. So… it’s time to get back to discovering some new things about me.

I’ve decided to take the weekend off. Time for me. Time to relax and really spend time with God – restin’ in His arms and seekin His direction on the next steps to take. I have NO doubt He will show me the best actions to take. Stay tuned – maybe some of what He’s showing me will work for you. After all, if you’re feeling tired, burned out and just plain overwhelmed, then it might be time for you to rest in Him too. Most likely, you need a “me break” as well. It’s time. Go ahead – give yourself permission and REST.

With much love & many blessings,

AgapeLady

May 8, 2009

Amazing Love

Filed under: Encouragement,God's Love,Love,Religion,Struggle — agapelady @ 5:52 AM
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I was sitting last night, just thinking. Thinking of how I’ve been so crazy busy at work and at home that I’ve nearly had no time to think quietly… or sit and just spend time with my God. Oooooh, now that’s just TOO busy! So I spent some time in prayer and asked God to give me a bit more wisdom about the ways I spend my time… and the ways I don’t.

Then I pulled out a favorite little book, “Outrageous Love” by Sheila Walsh. Reading that I could just about cry. There’s so many gems of inspiration in there! I’ve met Sheila and her heart is true – what a caring person! And her stories are so heartfelt.

I read the story of how she ended up in an institution to deal with her depression. And God met her there… in her pain… on the floor. Wow.

Isn’t that so like God? To meet us where we are? Even if we’re in the muck and mire, He’s there. It amazes me. Truly. Maybe cuz I know some of the places I’ve been. How wonderful it is to know a God who loves me (and you) just as we are – yet loves us enough to work with us, to mold us, and to make us all we can be. Amazing.

Life’s been full of craziness lately, but the fact is that my God has never moved. He’s been right here beside me all the time. And He is continually teaching me. I know, I KNOW that He is doing something wonderful, something “magical,” something beautiful in me. As tough as things can be sometimes, it’s fun to think about that. It’s a joy to realize that His love is so encompassing, so huge, that He can reach me in the very depths… and in the very heights. He can meet me in the sorrow and in the joy. It doesn’t matter. He’s right HERE.

I love this quote: “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Well, Lord, where are You taking me cuz I’m obviously on a stone path to somewhere!

My prayer for you today (on the National Day of Prayer) is that you will come to know this amazing love… may you feel it in the depths of your being and washing over you completely. Amazing. May you understand the love on a heart level – not just an understanding of the head. That’s my prayer – Lord, get it to the hearts of those who read this… Amen!

April 14, 2009

In the Refinery

Filed under: Encouragement,God's Love,Great Physician,Healing,Health,Love,Religion — agapelady @ 2:31 AM

Hi, dear ones! I know many of my blog and Twitter friends have been wondering where I am. Well, I’m in the refinery. What does that mean? I’m definitely being tested!

Zechariah 13:9 says, “I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’ ” AMEN! And a wonderful quote by Charles Spurgeon adds to the picture, “The refiner is never very far from the mouth of the furnace when his gold is in the fire.”

I love that. I may be in the refinery, but I know the One who loves me most is close by, watching every bit of refining that is taking place. He won’t let the fire burn too hotly, and He will make sure that nothing is burned away that should remain. Praise God!

I’ve been in the refinery. The last several years have been crazy for me. A lot of loss, and God has been showing me that it’s time to deal with it. Feel it to heal it, so to speak. In other words, no more stuffing of emotions! It’s time to look at them and to understand them better. So I guess – even as I’m in the refinery – I’m also in the process of healing as the impurities fall away… and that, dear friends, is a very GOOD thing! 🙂

In the past several years, I’ve experienced empty nest (both my sons), a new marriage (a good stressor, but involves major changes nonetheless), a new puppy (another good thing, but she’s been like another child!), new home business (Mary Kay and considering an Internet biz), changes at work (too numerous to mention), loss of both parents within six months of one another and menopause. Bring on the prozac! Just kidding… sorta. LOL!

Anyway, the emotions have been raw and feelings of overwhelm have bubbled over.  But I believe 2009 is my year for healing. Don’t get me wrong – that doesn’t mean that I won’t FEEL any of those things anymore. It just means I’m taking a much closer look at each of them this year. I’m focusing on ME and getting on track. I’m exercising, eating better, seeking a stronger female support network and taking the steps I feel are needed to FOCUS. I believe all of that will follow my doing one thing: Seeking God FIRST. With my eyes firmly planted on Jesus, I am certain that the refining process will be less painful and will produce the “gold” that is intended. When it’s all done, I am sure I will have a wonderful new story to tell!

In the meantime, I hope you’ll have patience with my blogging. I long to share all that God is doing and trust me – in His timing – I will.

With Much Love & Blessings,

AgapeLady

March 26, 2009

I love Spring!

Filed under: Easter,Encouragement,Health,New Beginnings,Religion,Spring — agapelady @ 3:37 AM

Well, I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Winter can do that to me. It’s easy to get into the doldrums without even trying! But – if you’re like me – you’re probably thrilled to see Spring arrive. I know I am! EVERYTHING seems to brighten for me this time of year – my senses become more alive, my smiles and giggles are more frequent and my energy just seems to soar!

Spring is here – my absolute favorite time of the year! As I sit and look outside, I can’t help but notice that the large magnolia tree in our backyard is starting to get little blooms. That tree is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen when it’s in full bloom, and it’s so nice to see those little pinkish buds. They kinda make me smile – almost like little noses peeking out! LOL!

Then, appropriately, I read: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” II Corinthians 5:17-18 How true!

I love Spring in the Midwest because the sun shines more, the birds begin chirping, the daytime hours are longer, and everything seems to be coming alive. Of course, one of my absolute favorite holidays is right smack in the middle of Spring too – Easter! Celebrating the life and resurrection of my Lord on Easter is a definite high point!

Spring is just a great time for me to feel renewed and rejuvenated! Work always picks up this time of year and I am able to get out and see more friends and people I care about. There’s even a getaway or two. All are great things to make me feel even more alive! And, now I’m working out with Zna Trainer, I’m getting a new body from the inside, out! (VERY cool!) I’ve started doing more things for my health – eating better, exercising more and taking the time I need for me. I am thankful for this time of renewal and growth.

You know, it’s funny how a little thing like a change in the date or weather can affect me so much. I mean, I would love to have an attitude of Spring every day of the year! And with Jesus as my Savior, there’s no reason in the world I can’t! I can start fresh every day. Wow, how cool is that?! I hope you’ll join me today. Make it a GREAT one as you seek to do something new and special – get rejuvenated and move forward in your life. YOU CAN DO IT!

Love & blessings,
AgapeLady

March 12, 2009

Doctors Don’t Know Everything

Okay, I’m no doctor and I don’t even pretend to be one, but I have to say – as well meaning as many of them are, doctors don’t know everything and it’s time we took our own health back!

I was recently placed on a medication for osteopenia (which is the precursor to osteoporosis). The doctor put me on a very common treatment, but I have to tell you – it made me sick for 2 weeks. I felt sick to my stomach and the aching in my joints even kept me from sleeping well at night. I was faced with the effects of this synthetic drug… or the decision to live with osteoporosis. Or was I?

I decided to go to the one Great Physician. I’ve spent days in prayer and asking God, trusting Him to reveal His truth to me. And what I discovered was that I don’t have to take the medication. Instead, God has some healthier alternatives for me instead – using some natural supplements. I know this is the right decision for me.

If you’re facing a health situation and you don’t know which way to turn… something in your gut is telling you that you should look elsewhere… may I suggest it might just be our Great Physician letting you know that He has a better idea? It might involve some fasting, praying and research, but He will reveal it to you. James 1:5-6 promises that He will reveal His wisdom to those who ask. So why not ask? What have you got to lose?

No sooner than I had made my decision, but I began to receive several different emails pertaining to alternative treatments for Osteoporosis – Women to Women and Dr. Susan Lark. I also spoke with Zna Trainer, a dear friend and mentor. AND my older brother just “happened” to tell me of a resource his wife used in sports medicine (from Dr. Sherry A. Rogers). ALL confirmed that I should not continue the medication, but should seek natural remedies instead. That was good enough for me!

Our Heavenly Father has created us with “fearfully and wonderfully made” bodies (Psalm 139:14). He knows us far better than anyone else. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am NOT saying doctors are bad or that they are always wrong. I AM saying that we need to really check our sources and confirm that what they are telling us is best. Let’s face it: No one can keep up with all the research and resources available on every condition possible – so it’s time we took more control over the issues we’re dealing with. As far as I’m concerned, the BEST SOURCE for truth is the Creator who made us. He’s got the inside knowledge.

Love & blessings,

AgapeLady

February 26, 2009

Ever Have One of Those Days?

Filed under: Encouragement,Religion,Struggle,Uncategorized — agapelady @ 5:40 AM

Well, yesterday was one of them for me. On Monday, I took my husband to the doctor for a procedure and it was quite difficult for him (and me). When I went into work, I had an unpleasant situation crop up. I also discovered I have osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis. And that’s only a few of the things going on that seemed to accumulate and overwhelm me (can I get a witness for my pity party?).

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m SO thankful the osteopenia was caught early and that I can take measures to rebuild bone before there’s too much problem or before I break a bone badly. And I’m thankful my husband went through the procedure safely and appears to be feeling much better today. And I really am grateful for a job in a time when finding a job is difficult (or impossible) for some. I even enjoy my coworkers… but as problems accumulated… I began feeling overwhelmed with a capital “O.”

After getting ready to send out engraved invitations to my pity party and deciding no one else would come, I began looking for God’s encouragement… and there it was! God is soooo good to me!

I love the quote I read in one of my devotional calendars Bless Your Heart – “I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I wish to be. I am not even what I hope to be. But by God’s grace and Christ’s love I am not what I was.” Can I hear an AMEN?! And then I read II Chronicles 20:15 “Do not be afraid or discouraged… for the battle is not yours but God’s.” Oh, what a relief cuz I was sure beginning to think it was mine! 🙂

Today, too, God was making sure I paid attention to His encouragement- my special verses in Isaiah were today’s devotional reading when I flipped the page this morning! Wow… it’s so nice to know God cares and is in control!

Are you having “one of those days”? If so, take it from me – having a pity party and crying may work for a moment, but it doesn’t seem to change a whole lot. In fact, it might even make you feel worse. Instead, consider your health – are you tired? hungry? feeling sick? If you are, address those needs pronto! If it’s not physical, but purely emotional, choose to look for the encouragement that exists for you… something special that God sends your way that is meant to uplift your spirits. It will be there. It may be just a little thing, but sometimes that’s all you need to hang on during a day like that. Also, don’t forget that calling on a sister or a brother in those down times is an important part of the process – get that prayer cover working! If you take positive action, you’ll soon find the clouds disappearing somewhat… maybe even enough to see the Son shine. 😉

Love & Blessings
AgapeLady

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