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Lessons from the book.  Please feel free to ask questions or make comments. 

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A day I will never forget. An image I will never get out of my mind.

Posted on August 17, 2017 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

The day is May 11th 2017. I’m in bed early, having been pretty tired that day.

My daughter, Tammy, who works third shift will be getting up around 8:30 p.m. I’m reading a book to stay away so I can spend a few minutes with Tammy while she’s getting ready for work. We teach Sunday school together and often talk about what craft we need to prepare, who’s going to do what, etc.

It’s 8:45 p.m. and I have not heard Tammy’s door open yet. I wait another five minutes and then decide she must have forgotten to turn on her alarm. I get up to wake her. As I walk into her room and turn on the light, I can see that she is completely undercover, from head to foot. Her fan is going which she uses to block out noise.

As I approach her bed I can hear her alarm clock but it’s muted. I shake her leg and tell her it’s time to get up while searching for her alarm clock. I find it between her bed and nightstand. That’s odd.

I turn it off and then pull the covers off of her head. What I see has caused me countless sleepless nights trying to get the image out of my mind.

She has a sleeping mask on covering her eyes, but I know what I’m going to see when I take it off. She is having a seizure but she’s not making any noise like she normally does when she’s having a seizure. I whip the mask off and her eyes are open but they don’t look right. I wipe the foam off of her face coming from her mouth and notice her skin doesn’t look right. The color is wrong.

Her arms are both folded up towards her chest and her hands are closed tightly in fists. This is normal during a seizure, but her fingernails don’t look right. Something is wrong.

I’m talking to her like I always do when she has a seizure but my heart is beginning to pound and I’m beginning to feel panicked. Then it hits me like a ton of bricks. My world is turned upside down and inside out.

This is undoubtedly the worst day of my life! Tammy died during a seizure and I wasn’t there for her.

But I know that Jesus was with her. She loved Jesus more than anyone or anything in this world.

Tammy began serving in church at a young age of around seven. She and her sister, Angel, would help set up and take down the chairs in Children’s Ministry every Wednesday and Sunday. As soon as she was old enough to join the media team, she did. When the church started a children’s choir to minister to the elderly at Nursing Homes, she volunteered. She never missed a practice nor an event.

As soon as she was old enough, she became my assistant teaching Children’s Ministry class of 1st grade through 6th and when she graduated from High School she became my assistant in Youth Ministry.

It wasn’t long before she became a head teacher herself in Children’s Ministry. And then I had the awesome privilege to become her assistant for the past two years teaching 2-5 year olds. She was such an awesome teacher.

It’s been just over three months and I still have days when I hurt so bad it’s almost unbearable. I’ll see a picture or something will remind me of Tammy and my heart flutters and then sadness tries to overtake me. Through all of the pain I’ve been through in my life, nothing compares to this. I never understood depression before this. I refuse to allow it to take over, but at least I can now understand how one can check out of this life and let depression take over. It’s not the answer though, and I know that.

I will remain strong. I’ve directed my energy into a memorial garden for Tammy. While I’ve been battling with Graves Disease (yes, it came back and I’m back on medicine), Tammy decided to build me a confidence course to exercise on. Her seizures and ultimate death prevented her from finishing it. I’ve now turned it into her memorial garden.

She loved taking me on vacations doing wild cave tours and hiking. So, I built a cave at the end of the garden to sit in and reflect. I will remember all of the good times. I will reflect on what an awesome example of a Christian she was. And I will reflect on my faith, that has not been shaken.

When all is said and done, it is well with my soul.

If you have an opportunity to support an Epilepsy Foundation in your area, please consider it. Epilepsy is very hard on the individual and their family members. Visit https://www.facebook.com/whipepilepsy/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Tammy’s Monitors Facebook page to find out more.

 

I have what?!! What is Graves Disease?

Posted on January 31, 2017 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

At the end of 2011 I and both of my parents began having health issues. My mother was not able to overcome her issues and at the beginning of 2012 she went home to be with our Lord and Savior. I was traveling from Michigan to Texas to see both of my parents and help take care of my mother before her passing, all while dealing with an un-diagnosed condition of my own. That's when I lost all energy and focus for marketing my book or blogging. Did I lose faith? Absolutely not. I just lost motivation.

By the end of 2012 and batteries of tests I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune, hyperthyroid issue called Graves disease, as well as iron anemia; both of which explained the exhaustion I was experiencing.

However, on my way to my doctor's office to be informed that I had a thyroid issue, God spoke to me very clearly saying "Don't let them kill your thyroid." So I wasn't surprised when my doctor said he wanted me to see an endocrinologist.

When the endocrinologist suggested one of three ways to kill my thyroid as my treatment options for Graves Disease, I said "No thanks!" At that time I had a hard time staying awake and could not do any physical activity without throwing up. I would then have to sleep for a couple of hours to get some semblance of energy back. I later found out it was because my heart rate would get too high during the activity and throwing up was my body's way of telling me to stop in order to protect me from a heart attack.

I had no desire for this to be "my life" but God said not to kill my thyroid so I prayed "Father, what am I to do then?" Long story short: God took me on a journey to discover the types of unhealthy foods I was eating. After eliminating milk (due to the hormones given the cows and the homogenized processing), white sugar, and packaged foods (due to the preservatives) from my diet, I began to see huge improvements in my health.

Finally, in 2015 I felt God's prompting to see an endocrinologist again but not the same one. I requested a referral from my doctor and saw a new endo doctor who suggested a treatment that would not kill my thyroid, but rather calm it down until it could get back into proper function. After some time in prayer I felt peace about this treatment, so I began it in January 2016.

It is now nine months later and my blood work shows that my thyroid is back to normal. I am back to riding my bike, hiking trails, exercising and doing yard work without fear of my heart racing to the point of causing me to throw up or danger of a thyroid storm. If you've never heard of a thyroid storm, let me just describe my personal storms. I would feel like I was burning up from the inside out, could barely catch my breath if I so much as walked a few steps, and felt like I could sleep for eternity if I could just stop the shaking, calm my heart rate and turn off the furnace inside my body. Once the storm was over, which could last for hours, I was too exhausted to do anything but sleep. I would sometimes sleep for an entire day.

Now, this sounds like a pretty rough time over the course of four years, and I won't lie...it was...but my point of sharing all of this is to say that never once did I lose my faith in God. I knew that God wouldn't tell me not to kill my thyroid if He didn't have plans for my healing, whether miraculously or otherwise.

Did He choose to give me a miracle healing? No. Did that choice make me angry or cause me to walk away from God because He's mean? No! I've had too many miracles in my life to get upset about not getting one this time.

In the end, I'm eating healthier and I believe my health at 55 will be better than it was at 45. So, even without a miracle, I come out on the winning side. How can I relate this to the book Who's Really In Control? Easy. I had a choice to listen and obey God and come out healed at the end of four years or choose the 'easy' route and follow doctor's orders and be on medication for the rest of my life.

It was my choice. I was in control. In control of doing it my way or God's way. God's way meant giving Him control. Scripture tells us what we can expect when we let God have control. Jeremiah 29:11: 'For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'

God is good all the time. And all the time, God is good!

 

Me..An Idol? How can that be?

Posted on December 6, 2015 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Have you ever received a revelation from God about something destructive but then found yourself doing that very thing? I have. Let me tell you the story.

 

Once while working for a retail company I found myself angry at the injustices I saw and experienced. Such injustices as someone who put forth little effort receiving praise and those who busted their backside daily were virtually ignored. Friend's of management were given raises beyond what they deserved and if you were not in their little click, you received the minimum allowed.

 

One day I began to focus a little too much on these injustices after someone was given an award for the work I had done. The focus was on the injustice done to me! This led to a list of injustices I played again and again in my mind to the point that I absolutely hated my job.

 

I would tell myself that I wasn't appreciated, I wasn't paid enough for the amount of work I dd, and I wasn't respected. For two to three weeks I focused on this day in and day out. I hated my job and I was miserable all the time.

 

I had an opportunity to attend a weekend getaway with some ladies from my church and was so excited to get away and not think about my workplace. The theme for the weekend was letting go of whatever was in your past that was holding you back from walking in victory. Do you know that yesterday is your past?

 

Because I had already dealt with my “past” in my mind, thinking about my childhood that led to me writing the book, Who's Really In Control, I thought to myself, this is going to be an easy weekend. We were asked to spend some time alone with God asking him to reveal this “thing from the past” and then we would join a partner to pray for one another.

 

I sat down and said “Well, God, I'm just going to sit here and praise you because we've already dealt with my past.” God replied, “What about the idolatry?” I was totally shocked. I actually stopped breathing for a minute. I asked God what he was talking about because to my knowledge I had never worshiped an idol. He answered, “What has been your focus over the last few weeks?”

 

And then I understood. God had revealed to me a long time ago that all sin can be traced to selfishness. I had been too focused on myself and had not sought God in the situation. I had made myself my idol. I repented of my idolatry and gave the situation over to God. Two things happened after that. 1) I experienced super natural peace in my job and 2) God gave me a job with a God Honoring company that treats me with the respect and honor deserving a child of the Most High God. Everyone there is treated that way!

I was hired in on 11-12-12. In the Bible the number 11 stands for disorder, caos and judgement. The number 12 stands for completeness and God's power and authority. I take my hire date to mean through God's power and authoriity he took me from caos and disorder into completion jobwise. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

 

In seriousness though, if you are focused on your lack rather than taking it to God, that lack becomes your idol. Replace the word lack with job, money, a spouse, yourself, or anything other than God, and it is an idol in your life.

 

Search yourself today and ask God to reveal to you if you have any idols in your life. Be open and willing to listen because I guarantee you, you will be so much better off. As I say in my book, you can be bitter or you can be better. It's up to you and it's just a one letter choice away. You don't want “i.”

Be blessed to be a blessing!

Jessica

Did God promise us a rose garden?

Posted on June 16, 2015 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

My father’s side of the family had a Reunion in Texas recently. I had the opportunity to attend, although I live 1500 miles away.

The trip started out interesting. We left Monday morning and by that afternoon, I had a rash on my face and hands. By Tuesday evening, my face and fingers were swollen, in pain and itching enough to drive one crazy. Apparently weeding my rose garden before we left was not a good idea.

As I tried everything I knew to relieve the pain and itch, I was reminded of a saying people quote: “God never promised you a rose garden.” Although I understand the analogy attempt in this saying, if we were to really analyze it, we would see that a rose garden is exactly what God promised.

He says there will always be weeds in our life (garden) that if not tended to will wreak havoc and ultimately destroy the beauty (rose) He has given us (life). There are also thorns in a rose garden, on every stalk that holds the beautiful rose. We sometimes find thorns in our life, whether that be a circumstance that hurts or a person that hurts us. Roses are not only beautiful, they have a pleasing aroma. That is how God wants us to be; beautiful with a pleasing aroma, dealing with the thorns and weeds gracefully.

Rather than getting upset about seeing family with a red, blotchy, and swollen face, I just thanked God that a rash was the extent of the problem and continued my vacation with a smile, although it was a bit crooked from the swelling.

But that’s not the end of the story. As I was cooking myself a Texas shaped waffle in the hotel’s breakfast room, I touched my fingers on a metal part of the waffle maker that was extremely hot. I burned three of my fingers, the middle finger the worse. It hurt so bad that I thought I was going to go into shock. All I could think of was all those people who have been burned over large portions of their bodies and wondering how they handled the pain. I was grateful it was only my fingers.

After soaking my fingers in a glass of ice water and then in iced aloe vera juice for two hours, only the middle finger has any signs of being burned and there is no pain at all. Again, rather than getting angry at my situation, I thanked God it was not worse than it was.

I still have the rash 8 days later and my finger is numb where it was burned, but all-in-all, I thank God for a wonderful and safe road trip, for time with my family, and for overall good health.

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!

 

What does it mean to be Sovereign?

Posted on December 19, 2010 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Is God sovereign?  Let's look at the definition of the word.  Webster defines it as:

    a : one possessing or held to possess supreme political power or sovereignty

    b : one that exercises supreme authority within a limited sphere

    c : an acknowledged leader : arbiter

 

Some believe that God’ sovereignty means he controls all things all the time. In other words, nothing happens that was not orchestrated by God himself. That would mean all acts of evil were perpetrated by God. Every victim is not a victim of mankind or man’s sinful nature, but rather a victim of God. Where does our free will come into play then? Where is man’s responsibility for his/her choices?

 

God is definitely sovereign in that he is the maker and ruler of all things. However, He established principles for his creation to follow and consequences when they choose not to. The word sovereign does not mean that the one who is sovereign controls everything. It simply means He is the ruler of all things. A king is considered to be sovereign. What he says is the law. If you disobey his law you suffer the consequences of that choice. It’s the same with God.

 

Share your thoughts or post your questions and I will do my best to answer it.

What is this book all about?

Posted on November 28, 2010 at 3:02 PM Comments comments (2)

This book is about exposing Satan's lie that everything is foreordained by God. Or put another way, everything happens for a reason.

What would be Satan’s purpose for infiltrating the church with this lie? To keep us from our blessings by doing nothing and waiting on God to do everything in our lives, and also so that we blame God when things go wrong rather than take personal responsibility for our actions. We are, after all, free will agents. 

 

If everything were foreordained by God then life is nothing but a big chess game and we are but pawns on the board. But who is God’s opponent in this game? It can’t be Satan because if everything is foreordained by God then Satan is nothing more than a pawn himself.

If you believe this teaching then you believe that every child that is molested is molested because God foreordained it, and the person doing the molesting cannot be held accountable for his actions because he’s only doing what God planned for him to do.

Why then did Jesus die on the cross to forgive us of our sins? Who’s sins were they if everything is foreordained by God? How can God hold a person accountable for their actions if their actions were planned by Him for some greater cosmic purpose beyond our understanding?

If you let go of traditional thinking and let God speak to your heart about this matter, you’ll see how Satan has hoodwinked many into believing this lie out of the pit of hell that has cost us many, many blessings from a loving Father who wants nothing more than good for us.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


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