The Tirado 5, hours after Jackson was born.

Then and Now {Praise Him}

Have you ever looked back to the worst moment in your whole entire life and then looked around you at your present life? Can you see an immense difference between the two moments in time? This morning, as I was holding my son, I did just that. As I attempted to count my blessings, I found that I could not, for they are far too numerous. That realization caused me to stop everything I was doing (other than breastfeeding) and just praise God for His mercy and grace. He delivered me from what once felt like the pits of Hell. I cannot even begin to fathom how different the world would be without my kids. You see, the worst moment in my life is the moment I was pronounced dead at age 16 during a suicide attempt. I had totally given up on life because I figured that everyone who mattered had already given up on me. I was wrong. God had not given up.

At age 16, there was no way that I could even begin to fathom that my life would work out to what it is right now. I married my high school sweetheart. We have been together now nearly 20 years. We have two beautiful daughters and a very handsome infant son. I survived military life (which almost killed both of us) and I have spent years teaching Sunday school, working with kids – including special needs children. I’ve traveled to and lived in several different states and I’ve met people from all over the world. I have a great life, despite our struggles. None of this would’ve happened had God given up on me.

1997

Anthony and I in 1997, shortly after we became a couple and not too long before my suicide attempt that nearly took my life.

You see, when we’re at our worst moments and we don’t even have the strength to call on God or to acknowledge His existence, He’s still there anyway, saving us from the Enemy. He knows we have a purpose long before we know we do.

I did not call on God that day until the bitter end. I called on Him to bring me Home – to Heaven. He said “later” and sent me back to the World. Initially, I was outraged by the outcome of a failed suicide attempt. Now, I am praising Him for it. I cannot imagine a better life than the one He has given me.

 To all who mourn in Israel he will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.

Isaiah 61::3 TLB

The Tirado 5, hours after Jackson was born.

The Tirado 5

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

Psalm 23:5 NLT

Let’s Pray: Lord, we thank You for the blessings You’ve bestowed upon us. We have experienced such intense moments of weakness that we could not even call out to You, but You in Your infinite Mercy came to our rescue anyway. You have replaced our mourning with joy and songs of Praise. All Honor and Glory rightly belongs to you, O Lord. How we love Your ways! In Jesus’ Name we Praise You. Amen.

How has God come to your rescue in moments of weakness? Has your life turned out better than you ever thought it could? In what ways?

Romans 12:2a, Psalm 27:10

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Precious girls, sharing God’s love

 

It is likely that the world will tell us that we are trash to be discarded. We will be told that we are worthless, and we are despicable to look at, but as God’s children, we need to remember that this is not true! To Christ, we are Treasure worth dying for!

Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 

Romans 12:2a

There are so many of us who have had rough lives, hard childhoods we are still recovering from and parents who have abused and discarded us. We must remember that God is our Father and He will never leave us.

I have a second verse for you, Brothers and Sisters. This verse has carried me through life for more than ten years, and it’s been an immense blessing to me. I share with you, in the hopes that God will use it to touch your soul and bring you nearer to Him as you read it.

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.

Psalm 27:10

Brothers and Sisters, you are not alone. You have a purpose. A painful childhood can and will be redeemed by the powerful God that created you. You are not trash, but Treasure! You are already won! I love you. God loves you. Dry your tears and pray now. You are not alone. You are never, even in your darkest moments, alone.

Heavenly Father, I lift up hurting souls to You tonight. You are the great Physician and Healer, and You are also the Great Comforter and Father to all, especially the Fatherless and Motherless. You see our tears, You hear our cries, You know our pain. We are not alone. We thank You for Your infinite love and wisdom, that even when we do not understand what it is that You are doing, You still lead us, in our doubts, in our pain, in our stumbles. You love us even when it seems no one else does. You raise us up and care for us. Thank You, God. Thank You. In Jesus Name we pray and Praise Your Holy Name. Amen.

 

 

When the Church Fails Us {Forgive}

One of the most harmful things we as Christians can do, is to invalidate someone else’s religious experience, especially those that have been life altering for someone else. We need to remember that the Bible is a guide – it’s a helper, but it is not a replacement for God. We each experience God in our own way. Sometimes we are challenged by other Christians to examine our own beliefs, and that is a good thing. It can strengthen our faith, if we let it, and make us more open to new ideas.

Many Christians have left churches that were too political, too judgemental, too liberal in beliefs, and too harsh and stodgy in their beliefs. We are tearing the Kingdom of God down, rather than building it up. Each of us has, at one time or another had a part in this, even those of us who have left churches for these very reasons. It’s time to examine the log in our own eyes, before we look to the splinters in our brothers and sisters eyes.

Ask yourself today, how am I sharing God’s love and mercy with others? Am I acting justly, extending mercy and walking humbly with my God or do I need to ask God to forgive me and help me change my ways?

It’s a daily process and a daily choice we must all make. There is no “one way” to experience Christ. This is why God made each of us special and unique. We all bring something awesome to the table. We need to learn to recognize and utilize our God-given gifts for the greater good of humanity, so that instead of tearing others down, we can bring out the best in each other. This honors God.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2 (The Message)

When we are hurt by other Christians (and it will happen), we can remember that this is not what God has intended for us, and we can pray for our debtors, instead of becoming angry and seeking revenge. Many times, I’ve wanted to put my debtors on blast on the internet, and many times I have refrained. Unfortunately, sometimes I have gone ahead and said terrible things, but I have always regretted them. I have always known that what I did was sin, and it may have led another Christian to sin. I can assure you, this is not  good feeling. Don’t do it.

God asks us to love each other, even our enemies. This is hard, especially when you’ve been betrayed by someone you trusted, like a Pastor, Priest, Bishop, Deacon, or anyone else working within the church. Many of us tend to place our religious leaders and fellow Christians in a whole different category, elevated above the rest of the world, and this is so dangerous for us to do. We’re all human, and we all make mistakes from time to time. I agree that as Christians we should hold our clergy to a higher standard, but with that, we also need to remember to pray for their spiritual welfare more often and to provide for their needs, as they provide for ours on a daily or weekly basis. Spiritual leaders can enter into burnout fairly quickly, and are tempted in the same or similar ways as you and I are, yet they’re more publicly recognized. Stop and take a moment to consider how difficult that must be, especially in the midst of a personal storm.

It is hard for those of us who have felt betrayed to reach out and love, or even trust again, but it is important that we try. I’ve been on both sides of a rich and loving Christian experience, and I have to say, I’d rather be in the midst of a storm with helpers, than go through another storm alone.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

***Update 03/12/14: This is something I’m needing to re-read myself, as I’ve just encountered a week of bullying and harassment from a church member. I know it’s hard, brothers and sisters, but we must forgive each other. We know not what we do when we harm another.

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Halloween 2013

Remembering To Be Thankful

Trick-Or-Treat

We’re in the middle of a move, and I’m overwhelmed by all of the changes surrounding me. There are so many things to be thankful for – so many blessings! I don’t want to forget any of them. Here are some of the most recent ones that have come to mind:

I am thankful for…

  • The way our new home smells. The first house plant taken in was sweet basil and the entire house smells like basil. I love it!
  • The physical strength of my husband. I am not physically feeling my best after losing yet another baby, so my husband is doing most of the heavy lifting for me.
  • That Jesus is near. I feel frantic and stressed out, but I don’t have to focus on that! Jesus is near and I can rest in Him.
  • My mom. She’s taken the girls several times this week so that I can get some housework and packing done.
  • Theresa, my 6 year old who still lets me hug and kiss her and hold her close.
  • The friends who care and want to hear about another pregnancy loss.
  • Psalm 23. It seems I am always gleaning something from this Heavenly Truth.
  • Quiet moments when I am able to cry and take my pain to Jesus.
  • Jesus understands this pain.
  • Transparent bloggers who share not only their own struggles, but the poignant Truths of healing, love and hope.
  • My dog, Rosie Grace and her love of bouncy balls
  • My 4 year old Chelsea who has a very interesting sense of style. Somehow she makes purple, green, orange and neon pink work!
  • That my husband took the girls trick-or-treating so that I could have some quiet time at home this year.

Scriptures that work for you – Confessions of Faith

Praying the Scriptures Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I just have to share this website. It has been an absolute blessing from God in my life as I struggle with healing, pain, trauma, raising two small children alone and missing my military man. My husband (said military man) has deployed 6 times in 6 years and home about 28 months of that time and no, not in a row. Yet I know God and more importantly, He knows and LOVES me! When I don’t know the words to say to Him, I visit this webpage and while I speak with Him, I am reminded of His deep and lasting love for me. This site is an amazing resource for praying the scriptures, singing hymns of praise, reaffirming your faith and even to guide you to share your faith. Look around. I am certain that everyone will find something to encourage and edify themselves or someone they know. In grace and peace I leave you…till next time. In Christ’s love, Amanda