AgapeLady’s Blog

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

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

January 28, 2009

Unmasked to Love

Filed under: Encouragement,God's Love,Love,Religion,Uncategorized — agapelady @ 2:58 AM

A divorce in a marriage that seemed so good from the outside… the suicide of someone you thought was happy… the sins of someone you considered “spiritual”… many people hide their secrets to the point of giving up or being alone in their pain. But God’s intention is that we know He is with us and need never be alone. That’s why we celebrate “Emmanuel” (“God with us”) at Christmas – and why He promises never to leave or forsake us (Heb 13:5). Our Creator knows that love and acceptance may be critical to our perseverance.

There are times when we falter… when life deals a hard blow that leaves us trembling and unsure of God’s presence. Many of us hide these feelings due to a fear that we won’t be liked or that someone will think less of us if we confess our secrets and/or problems. However, God tells us, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” I John 4:18

Consider the typical responses when someone shares a “secret”: 1) judgment, 2) recognition of a “problem,” or 3) efforts to change or “fix” the situation. Granted, these responses may be warranted at times, but I believe God calls us – first and foremost – to love as He does. If people refuse to share a problem because they’re fearful of losing love, then how can there be forgiveness and healing? How can we ever feel safe enough to share our darkest secrets? How can we – when our own pain is too great – go to the Father and seek the help we so desperately need? I believe it comes first from encountering the kind of love that makes us vulnerable enough to remove our own masks without “punishment”… the kind of love that offers to carry another’s burdens to the Lord in prayer.

Becoming Real

In the story of “The Velveteen Rabbit,” a young boy’s love for his stuffed rabbit makes him become “real.” In my own life, the same has been true in my relationship with God. As I began to see that my Heavenly Father loves me – even me – I found great healing. I didn’t have to do or be anything! God – the Creator of the Universe – loved me enough to send His only Son to die for me (John 3:16)! Furthermore, He promised that nothing can separate me from that love (Romans 8:35). That knowledge has given me the freedom to become the person God created me to be. His love makes me “real” and helps me take off the mask and be unafraid of sharing who I really am… even if it hurts.

Unmasking

I confess: I’m a struggling sinner doing what I can in this life to rely on the Savior I know and love. I often fail miserably. The more I grow in faith, the more I see the need for change in my life… and yet God loves me just as I am… not for what I’ve done or will do, but as I am.

Some of the most difficult times in my life have been when I have been unable to share my struggles. When faced with spiritual crises in my life, I felt more alone than ever. When I longed for God “with skin on” through the church, I seemed to keep Him at a distance. Through a rape and abuse, a divorce and various struggles with sin, I was sure no one would understand or love me if they knew. Still, God tells us to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16) for a reason – so that others can help carry these burdens (Gal. 6:2). We don’t have to know the answers or judge the situation. We can simply love those who are struggling because “love covers a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8 This is the deepest kind of soul care we can provide for one another.

I believe God tells us to confess our sins to Him not because He doesn’t know them already, but because He wants to help us learn the safety of His love. As we practice becoming more “real” with Him, we learn that we can be “real” with others too. So we can take off the mask (wasn’t it getting uncomfortable anyway?) and feel the touch of someone’s hand on our face… or a hug that says, “It’s okay. I love you anyway. Let’s wait to see what God is doing… together. In the meantime, lean on me, friend, and I will lean on you.”

It starts with God’s love… and ends in taking off the masks and becoming real with God and others. We all need to hear the words “I love you.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the love that God extends through you making someone else become more “real”? That’s my goal every single day.

Much love & blessings,

AgapeLady

January 20, 2009

The Fear of Blogging

Filed under: Encouragement,Religion,Uncategorized — agapelady @ 12:07 AM

Cue the scary music… note the rapid pulse… what IS it that causes this fear of blogging?

I used to think blogging was easy, but after the initial feelings of elation because I had actually written my first blog, I began to feel a little bit nervous. I mean, what if people didn’t like my blog? What if they didn’t like ME? And it hit me – that’s what I’m all about. That’s what AGAPE is all about. Unconditional love and acceptance.

The reason so many of us fail to blog… or try new things… or put ourselves out there is due to the fear of being disliked or unaccepted. We don’t like criticism as a rule. But the Bible talks about perfect love casting out fear – 1 John 4:18 –  and – although I personally can’t admit to offering perfect (fully developed and complete) love, I do intentionally seek to offer that “perfect” love to others. By that, I mean that when I am truly living my life for God as I endeavor to do… I become a channel for Him and share His love, which is – in fact – Perfect.

With that thought, I can’t help but think that this topic is quite appropriate because my whole purpose for this blog is to provide a SAFE place. This blog is intended to address a variety of topics that will touch on love and encouragement in some shape or form. I know many of you want to know me, but this blog really isn’t about ME as much as about YOU and the Lord I serve. (That’s not to say I won’t tell you more about myself in the coming months.) I hope that this blog will be a blessing to those of you who read it. And, even if you don’t agree with my personal beliefs, I hope you will check back in on my blog anyway.

This is to be a safe place for sharing… a place of encouragement, warmth and LOVE, which can lead to hope and healing. If I can express that love to you in some small measure, then I will feel this blog is a success.  If any of you feel the need to write or address a comment to me, I will do all I can to encourage and uplift you. I’m not good at the tech end of this, but if you want to add a comment to share some pain or need anonymously, I encourage you to do so. I really, truly want to express that perfect love to all of you. So there is no fear here. And the fear of blogging is gone. Because the perfect love that holds me has cast it out.

Love & blessings,

AgapeLady

January 13, 2009

New Year, Time to Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — agapelady @ 6:49 PM

Well, I decided – for good or bad – it’s time to start blogging. I know, I know – many of you have been doing this for years, but I’m a beginner. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but blogging? Well, that has to do with technology and I’m afraid my generation doesn’t always “get it,” but I’m tryin so give me a break, okay?

Anyway, this first post isn’t going to be much… I’m just learnin’ but I figure I have to start SOMEWHERE, so this is it.

I’ve been social networking for quite some time, but so many people have asked me for more info, so I am trying to oblige. And – to quote my dear friend, Mike Litman – you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to get it going! So, Mike, this one’s for you! It’s definitely NOT perfect, but it’s a start!

I promise to make my next blog a little more interesting… in the meantime, can you give me some encouragement? What would you like to know? read? Whatever? If you know me on Twitter, you might already have some ideas. Either way, I hope you’ll come back often and watch as I transform from a novice at blogging to a true PRO blogger! Yeah, man!

Until the next post, I’m sending you lots of love and many hugs! We all need that in this world, don’t we?

Love & blessings,

AgapeLady

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