Author Archives: Stacey

God’s Promises ~ Day 22

My friend Lisa invited me to the Lifeway Women’s Forum 2017 in Nashville a few weeks ago. She sent me a message a couple of months prior and said that God told her to invite me. We have been friends through social media since 2014 when I first shared her blog here but we had not yet met in person. She said she was hesitant to ask because she thought I might think it was weird. But when she did my immediate thought was YES!

I had been praying for something to get me out of my funk. I didn’t know it was going to be a conference when I prayed, but God answered. He answered even before I asked.

I have been dealing with depression this year y’all. I am sure you already know that if you’ve been following me for a while. I take medicine and it helps to an extent but the depression I have been feeling is caused by a void that only God can fill. I allowed distractions to muddy up my mindset and in turn I had become spiritually weak. Sometimes I wondered, “Is this it?” Is this what my life is going to feel like forever?

Lisa and I attended a class at the conference led by Robin Marsh of KWTV-9 in Oklahoma City. (She is amazing by the way). She talked about witnessing in the marketplace (which is my thing), but she also talked about the importance of learning to respond emotionally in our intimate relationships. She asked us to turn to our neighbor (a stranger) and practice our responses for a couple of minutes.

Being the introvert that I am, the idea of self disclosing to a complete stranger created immediate panic. But I turned to my neighbor. She was a bit older…I thought to be in her 60s or so. Her hair was perfect and she had a pleasant aura. We introduced ourselves and then she asked me if I was okay. I asked her how she knew something was wrong and she said she saw it in my eyes. I told her that I have been dealing with depression and I was beginning to worry I might not ever get better. She looked at me with loving eyes and said, “I am 80 years old and I am living proof that it will get better. You’re going to be okay. Believe it.”

Tears began to flow and we laughed and hugged and I felt instantly relieved. THAT was the reason I was to attend the conference. There were other amazing reasons but that two minute conversation with Miss Coretta reminded me of God’s promises. I mean it hit me over the head. I officially became a born again Christian almost two years ago when I was baptized and confessed my faith publicly. I felt so much relief when I came up out of that water that day at church. My soul was cleansed from sin and new life was born. But being a Christian doesn’t make life easier. In fact, it becomes HARDER. But what I need to remember is that no matter how much or how little I believe, God’s promises are STILL true.

Genesis 12:1-3 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

I am no Bible teacher. I am just learning and sharing what I am learning and how it applies to my life. I hope I somehow inspire you to think about your own life and remember that no matter how difficult things might seem at the moment…God is not finished with you yet. Listen for His voice so you don’t miss out on your blessings.

This Thanksgiving Eve I am thankful for my friend Coretta for reminding me that I am going to be okay. God is good!

Blessings,

Stacey ~ iamalive

 

Restored ~ Day 21

I wrote the other day about how God allowed Satan to take everything away from Job and through it all…Job remained steadfast in his faith.

There comes a point in life where you will be down to nothing and you have two choices. (If you don’t think this is going to happen you are wrong…at least that is what I have been told by many and experienced myself). And when it happens you can either give up and give in to Satan or you can remain faithful and keep fighting knowing that God has not given up on you.

I have been in a season in my life where my faith has been challenged repeatedly. It would be sooooooo EASY for me to revert to my old ways because at least I am familiar with that life. It was a life without meaning but it was safe.

I could go back to that toxic, sinful relationship that I know is not part of God’s plan for me. I could stop writing here and keep my mouth shut about my faith and my journey because vulnerability is scary. I could do a lot of things that I have already done a hundred times that didn’t work but at least I know how things turn out.

However, I have already gone backwards too many times. I always like to motivate myself by thinking I am like Linda Hamilton in the last scene in Terminator where she drives off into the desert in her red Jeep sporting her cool aviators. She had been through hell and she was still moving forward. (I just realized the picture I decided to attach with this post was of me looking out into the ocean in Okinawa where I began this journey. Coincidence? I am not wearing cool aviators but I don’t think it is a coincidence).

Go back to my old life?  As Heather Land says in her daily Facebook videos, “I ain’t doin’ it!” I am done with that old sinful selfish person who thinks the world revolves around her and owes her something. My purpose here is to let God keep being God and to point people in His direction through sharing my story.

I received an email recently from someone who reads my blog. She recommended that I do something for others when I am feeling bad about my life. I appreciated that message because I have been failing at that lately and I needed the reminder. What I have been failing to do most for others is to pray for them. I have been failing to pray at all for that matter. I read Job 42 today and verse 10 stuck out to me.

10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and doubled his previous possessions.

God brings beauty from ashes. He restores our HEARTS when we keep believing and trusting in His faithfulness.

Blessings,

Stacey ~ iamalive

Day 20 ~ Lisa’s Blog #6

(Sharing Lisa Millman’s message today. ~ Blessings, Stacey ~ iamalive)

Thankful for a God who is faithful. Today we sang in church one of my favorite songs, You are faithful.

“Every battle I fight, every tear I cry, in the dark of the night, You are faithful.”

Oh, such calming words. When I feel alone, am impatient, when words are only words, when I am let down, when I cry, etc., I have to remember that God loves me and allows the Fruit of the Spirit to flow out of me by His power. He is enough. This life is pretty amazing and He has a purpose for my life. I know because the enemy is actively making himself known.

I have Jesus and the Word of God so victory is mine.

Lisa

Suffering ~ Days 18, 19

This photo of my dad and me popped up this morning in my Facebook memories. Apparently I shared it one year ago. I love this picture because it is an image of my father with a genuine smile on his face.

This smiling face in this photo reminded me of the father I had while I was growing up and even into my late 20s. He was soft hearted, soft spoken, and rarely raised his voice. He worked long hours at his job to support my mom and me. He took care of everything as far as paying the bills and keeping up with the outside of the house and even the inside when my mom was sick. He listened to me when I needed him. He forgave me when I did something stupid. I just remember him as being light hearted and gentle with a dry sense of humor. But for the last decade plus a few years he hasn’t been smiling quite as much.

I am foggy with the years but I believe he started to become ill in 2002. We didn’t realize at the time but he had developed a neurological disease that was slowly beginning to take away his mobility, memory, control of his bladder, etc. and in return was giving him horrible headaches. He had surgery and a shunt was placed in his head that drained the cerebral spinal fluid that was collecting there and causing pressure. It helped for a while but the valve malfunctioned. His pain became drastically worse to the point where I found him outside on the ground one day with a gun beside him. I will never know what happened because he didn’t remember or couldn’t put into words that day what happened other than his head was killing him. I cannot even imagine the kind of physical pain he was in at that time.

Fast forward a dozen or so years and although he cannot walk at all anymore and needs help with all of his basic needs, he is living relatively pain free in a nursing home where he has been for nearly a decade. He has been through a lot besides the brain disease. He found out that he had prostate cancer right after he retired. He had a severe heart attack and has had several stents placed in his heart the year before he moved to the nursing home. He was in the hospital for over 2 weeks with severe pneumonia about four years ago. He had a malignant melanoma removed from his arm and escaped skin cancer spreading. There might be more but those are the major things I remember. To me that’s more than any human should have to experience. Especially a human who believes in God, right? Why has he had to endure suffering with so many different physical ailments for so long?

I read Job 1-2 this morning and it made me think about my dad. Job had everything he needed and then some but God allowed Satan to take EVERYTHING away. And in the midst of his grief he still praised God by proclaiming,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

God allows suffering but suffering doesn’t last forever. Jesus suffered on the cross to identify with our suffering. There is always a reason and a purpose leading to the fulfillment and glory of His plans. When I apply this to my own life, I have not suffered physically but have suffered emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And I have had a lot taken away. I mainly think about my past relationships and two divorces. The first divorce sent me on a path that ultimately led me to my second husband. When he left, I was left with nothing. All of these events pointed me back toward God. Looking back, I didn’t blame him. I needed him more than ever.

I know there is worse suffering than my family has experienced but we all will deal with it to some degree at different times in our lives. This is not the time to look away or give up on God. It is instead a time to grow closer. We may not always understand the reason for suffering and we aren’t supposed to.

What’s important to remember is that God is good at being God. He has the final word and I will praise Him anyway.

Trusting God…

Blessings,

Stacey ~ iamalive

Selfie ~ Day 17

If you happened to see this one on Instagram already I apologize for the repeat.

People used to tell me I look younger than I am. Well, unfortunately I don’t have that problem anymore. This aging thing has been DIFFICULT to accept…and I began feeling it at 40. But…when you realize your face finally matches your age you throw on a filter and you get on with your life.

Wrinkles, age spots, bags under the eyes, blemishes, sun damage, etc. are all signs that I’ve LIVED. Grateful I’ve finally caught up with my 45 year old self. It’s a relief to finally decide to accept me. #fridayfeeling #selfie

Blessings,

Stacey ~ iamalive

Stain Resistant ~ Days 14, 15, 16

I was raised in a home where we took our shoes off after we walked in the door. Piles of shoes decorated the utility room at the entrance to our kitchen. Not everyone follows this practice. When I started traveling to Japan back in 1998 I noticed this was a requirement. When you walk into a home in Japan there is typically an entryway with a cabinet that holds shoes. And there are a plethora of slippers waiting for you to slide on so that you may enter the house and be on your way.

I still follow this rule but I don’t have a fancy entryway or a cabinet. I usually leave them at the door or take them off immediately and carry them up to my closet. (That is even a no-no in Japan…you leave them near the door). When I was a kid I did this so I didn’t track in mud from the ditch…but now, this practice has more to do with not bringing negative energy into the place where I spend most of my time…my home.

So you can shield your home as best as you can but stuff is still going to get inside, right? Humans are just dirty. I can be the worst because I am a super klutz. I drop stuff all the time. The people who own this condo where we rent must have paid a pretty penny for this stain resistant carpet upstairs because Lord knows I have spilled some stuff. But amazingly you would never know. One day I spilled an entire glass of grape juice on the floor in my bedroom. I stared at it for a minute and thought, “WELL, CRAP.” I ran and grabbed a towel and to my amazement every single drop of the juice was soaked up by the towel. THERE WAS NO SIGN OF GRAPE JUICE! If and when I ever buy another home I am going to find out the details about this magical carpet!

So this morning I was watering my plants. I sat the watering can down on the carpet and forgot about it. Of course I kicked it over when I walked by a few minutes later. My sock was completely saturated and my foot was cold. Again, I thought, “Well, crap.” But this time when I grabbed the towel I KNEW it would soak up the water. Besides, it is water so there isn’t going to be a stain. But still, spilling stuff on the floor is annoying, isn’t it? The carpet is completely dry now just minutes after spilling an entire can full of water on it. The chemicals in this magical carpet repel liquids and dirt and keep my home clean.

Why am I writing about carpet? When I was soaking the water up with the towel and not stressed out about it at all, it made me think of Ephesians 6:10-18. This one of my favorite passages:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of Godso that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

I make a conscious effort not to bring negative energy into my home via my dirty feet. But most importantly I KNOW I need to work more on not allowing the negative energy inside myself.

Go back and re-read that passage. I highlighted the important points (WHICH IS BASICALLY ALL OF IT!!! 🙂 )

Put on the full armor of God, (spray that stain resistant chemical as much as you need to!) so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. He is always lurking. BE READY.

Blessings,

Stacey ~ iamalive