Rebecca Duvall

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Forgiveness

forgivenessDid you know that 1 in 9 American adults have Kidney Disease and 1 in 3 who don’t already have it, are at risk to get it? There are currently over 101,000 Americans on the Kidney Donor List waiting to receive a donor. Of that 101,000, twelve of them will die each day while waiting.

March is National Kidney Month and Thursday, March 10th, is World Kidney Day. It’s all about bringing awareness to the world how important the kidneys are, and different ways to keep them healthy.

The National Kidney Foundation lists 5 easy things we can be doing today to help keep your kidneys healthy.

  1. Find out the condition of your kidneys with an ACR urine test or GFR blood test. Go to www.kidney.org/KEEPHealthy to find out how you can be tested for free.
  2. Reduce your intake of over the counter pain meds with an anti-inflammatory component (NSAIDs).
  3. Eat more foods rich in nutrients and less that are processed. They suggest the DASH Diet
  4. Exercising at least 30 minutes per day.
  5. Manage your blood pressure and sugar levels. High blood pressure & diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure.

So what about those who already have kidney disease and are in kidney failure? There are many ways you can help them as well.

  1. Cash donation
  2. Donate an old vehicle
  3. Give a stock gift
  4. Join a kidney walk
  5. Participate in a NKF Golf Classic Tournament
  6. Volunteer
  7. Become an organ donor

You can go to the National Kidney Foundation Donate page for details.

The kidney is near and dear to my heart because over three years ago, God gave me the opportunity to save my husbands life by giving him a kidney. Since doing this, God has also given us many opportunities to share this story; a story about God saving my husband, as well as renewing our marriage. This video, from The 700 Club, is a peak into our story and how forgiveness played an important roll in how my husband received a new kidney.

Another way God has allowed us to share our journey to a renewed marriage is through the book I have written, In His Way, which is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Christianbook.com.

Throughout much of my married life, I lived under the illusion that I had it all together – it was everyone else that needed fixing. Several years into my second marriage my husband, a Deputy Sheriff, became a workaholic and was never home. Meanwhile, I became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact that we had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids.

God revealed Himself to me through the different women I volunteered with. As my heart slowly opened to God’s presence, my marriage came crashing down around me. As I cried out for God’s help, I discovered my husband’s affair. I found myself surrounded by faithful people who gave me the strength to face the problems in my marriage and the tools needed to begin fixing it.

Over the next four years, my husband’s health deteriorated and he was forced to retire. Through this God continually showed me I was In His Way and then, when He knew He had my attention, He would proceed to show me how to do things In His Way. In the end, what God told me to do, saved my husband’s life, and our marriage. What was broken is now fixed by the grace and love of God.

My prayer for us today~ Father God, thank you for the forgiveness we receive through Your Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins. I pray we would extend forgiveness to everyone in our life that has, or will, hurt us, Amen.

Laughter

30 laughterYesterday, on date night, we watched the newest Hunger Game movie. It was intense and extremely scary. Thankfully I had my man with me to protect me. I’m sure he had a good laugh watching me freak out in the theater. It’s a good thing we were sitting in the very back of the theater. I kept closing my eyes, covering my eyes and looking anywhere except the ginormous movie screen. I was tempted to leave the theater with the excuse I had to use the restroom, but was afraid I’d miss something important.

A time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing ~ Ecclesiastes 3:4 CEB

Earlier today we watched something I could calmly sit through. Well, I don’t think calmly is the right word. It was something I could sit through without getting scared. Oh, and for reference, I think the Indiana Jones movies are all scary. Back on topic, we watched Ellen Degeneres: Here and Now from 2003. She’s not scary, but very funny. Who makes you laugh?

A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing ~ Proverbs 17:22 AMP

I’m thankful for the gift of laughing. I enjoy laughing, especially with family and friends. Not just the kind of laughing that happens from watching something funny on television, but the kind of laughing that happens when your being silly.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to a Christmas party. We each brought a gift for the gift exchange where you could steal gifts from one another. The gift I opened had silly Santa hats in it and then later, after my husband’s gift was stolen, he ended up with a gift with two more silly Santa hats. My husband was about to put the Santa hat on, when I said he should wear the elf hat. The moment he put on the hat I started laughing and could not stop. He looked absolutely ridiculous in the hat, but what made it hilarious were the funny faces he kept making. It was awesome! He owned the fact that he looked ridiculous and went with it. Now that was funny. I laughed so hard that night. It was in deed a fun night filled with amazing food, great fellowship and lots of laughter created by silliness. When was the last time you laughed because of something silly?

RobReb2015

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of laughter and how it brings healing and joy to our heart. I pray we would let our guards down more often and be silly, Amen.

First Responders

26 first responderI’m thankful for Firefighters, Law Enforcement and Paramedics that come to our aid when we are in need. They see us when we are at our worst, but give their very best. They train long and hard to make sure they are prepared to help, no matter what the situation. They put themselves in harms way to keep us safe. They go toward the problem, while we run away from it.

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. ~ Hebrews 13:17

I’m thankful for the many ways First Responders keep us from harm. I’m thankful for the ways they help when tragedy, of all kinds, hits. How has a First Responder helped you or a loved one this past year?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the wisdom, strength and courage you equip all first responders with. I pray we would show our appreciation and support for their service to the communities, Amen.

Restaurants

19 restaurantToday, Amy and I had the pleasure of visiting with Ashley and her boyfriend Scott during lunch. Going out to eat is an extra special treat because I don’t have to cook the meal (like usual) or clean up after it.

I’m embarrassed to say, I found myself getting irritated while at the restaurant. We had to wait to be seated, even though there were many tables and booths available. Then, they took too long to take our order after we asked for a few extra minutes to look over the menu. I even decided it was taking them way to long to fix the meal, as if I have any idea how long it would take to prepare any meal.

I’m ashamed to have let myself be so critical. I should have been focusing on the company I was with, not on judging those serving me. I have no right to judge them. Even though I was their customer, I’m not the center of their world. I don’t know the circumstances of the server’s life, or what may be going on in the kitchen or with other customers.

As I grew up, my parents owned a few restaurants. I never worked in any of them, but I do know it’s hard work and the pay isn’t all that great either. I’m thankful for those who give their all and do their best, even when dealing with annoying, over demanding people. I’m thankful for those who keep a smile on their face and let the ignorant comments slide off their back as they bend over backwards to satisfy the unsatisfiable customers. I’m thankful for having the choice where to go out to eat and the funds to do so. I’m thankful for those who prepare the food, serve the food and then clean up after it.

19 John6-35

I find myself continuously surrounded by food. We seem to have become a society that has the need to feel full. When we start to feel hungry, we over exaggerate by saying “I’m starving!” If we focus on the one thing that can truly fill us, Jesus, we won’t feel the need to constantly gorge on other things, for He is the bread of life.

19 revelation 3-20

Are you feeling empty?  Can you hear Jesus knocking?Have you opened the door to your heart and invited Jesus into your life? He desires to come into your life and fill you with His love, grace and mercy. Let Jesus, the only One who knows how to fill you, feed you.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the many ways Your Son, Jesus, fulfills our needs. I pray we seek to be filled eternally by Jesus, not temporarily by the world, Amen.

Rest

9 restingUnder normal circumstances, my favorite time of day is bedtime. I enjoy a good nights sleep. I’m one of the few, it seems, who needs and looks forward to, a full eight to nine hours of sleep. I appreciate sleep so much, that I often anticipate it throughout the day. Then when my head hits the pillow, I’m out within minutes, if not sooner. Often, my husband says I fall asleep while he’s talking to me.

The rest I’ve experienced today, I can’t say I find enjoyable. Having a lazy day in bed watching television all day is a fun way to rest. Staying in bed because you’re sick and your body aches is not a reason I would like to stay in bed. Why are kids always so good at sharing their germs, especially with mom?!

9 Genesis 2 2-3

I’m thankful God made our bodies with a need to rest. I’m thankful God modeled for us that it’s okay to rest after hard work. In fact, he commanded it.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

I find my to-do list gets longer and longer each week, with very little sense of accomplishment, especially this time of year. I have decorating to do, gifts to buy, hide, find and wrap and parties to attend. I’d like to have a new dress or shoes to wear to one of these parties, but that’s not likely to happen.

God makes it very clear with the 4th commandment; we are to take time to rest. I don’t think God expects us to all take Sunday off and do nothing, like they did in the Old Testament. I think we are simply to make time, weekly, to rest and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Take time out to fellowship with one another and share what we see God doing in our life. When was the last time you stopped to enjoy your hard work and the people God has placed in your life?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for allowing us time to rest. I pray we would set the to-do list aside from time to time and enjoy what You have allowed us to accomplish, Amen.

 

 

 

 

Covered In Prayer

prayA few weeks prior to my husband’s chemo treatment, I heard about other women whose husbands had medical treatments being done. Each of these women were by their husbands side during and after the treatments. They had taken a step back from their responsibilities to be available to care for them. This was not my plan.

This made me question myself. Was I being selfish not adjusting my schedule to be with my husband? I decided to go to God with this question. Thankfully, I had asked, a few weeks earlier, to be lifted up in prayer after sharing my thoughts and fears about my husband’s health issues. This helped me focus on God and what He desired me to do. After spending some time praying and meditating, I felt God wanted me to trust He would be there and in all the details of my husbands treatment. He wanted me to focus on what He wanted ME to do, not worry about what or how others were doing things.

I find myself continually comparing myself to others or what the world expects of me. Sometimes it’s hard to remember God’s opinion is the most important, especially when I’m surrounded by the world.

My husband’s first chemo treatment was Tuesday. I went to my BSF leaders meeting as planned, took my daughter to school and stopped for gas on the way up to meet my husband. I had expected to be there until 4 or 5 that evening. The treatment was planned for 8-hours, depending on how things went. There was a long list of possible side effects that could happen while administering the drug.

As I arrived, I found my husband sitting with a smile on his face. I know he wasn’t feeling 100%, but he wasn’t letting it define his day and was dealing with it all very well. The nurse checked his IV and said he would be done and out of there within 30 minutes. This was at 1 o’clock. At that moment I felt God’s presence. I remembered He had promised to be there and take care of everything. Later, after talking to my husband about how things played out, he said he felt the presence of God, the Holy Spirit, as well.

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Joshua 1:5

When we returned home, I was so excited about what God had done for us. I had to share it with a friend. She said the most wonderful thing that helped me put things in perspective. She said, “You were covered in prayer, so you can rest in the fact it was all filtered through the hands of God.” That is such a beautiful image, don’t you think?

My husband has had very little effects from his first chemo treatment. Praise God! I can’t be surprised, because he WAS covered in prayer. We were both covered in prayer. Our family and the entire situation was covered in prayer, and continues to be. I’m so thankful my husband and I both reached out to everyone around us. There are some amazing prayer warriors out there and I’m grateful they are a part of our lives.

If you’re going through a trial in your life, big or small, please reach out to those around you and ask for help. Ask for prayer. It’s beautiful and uplifting to be covered in prayer. If you’re between trials, please take time to look around you to see whom you could offer help and prayer to. Is there someone around you who needs to be covered in prayer?

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. ~ Matthew 7:8

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of prayer, which is a way to communicate with You. I pray those who are in need of help, reach out and ask for help. I pray those who are able to, reach out to those around them who are in need of help, Amen.

When you don't know what to do, Pray

 

 

The Blessing In Pneumonia

parting red seaI can’t stop thinking about my BSF group discussions last week and how God directed the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Red Sea. I am in awe of God’s great power. He took them the long way around because he knew coming upon a war would be too much for them and they would run back (Exodus 13:17-18). He knew each of them that well. To think God knows me, and you, that well, and will go out of the way for each of us, because He wants, and knows, what’s best for us. This is so beautiful.

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.   ~ Exodus 13:17-18

Earlier this year my husband found out his body had started rejecting his new kidney. The doctors tried a new experimental drug for this situation, IVIG, to help stop his body from rejecting and ultimately destroying the kidney. IVIG is known to create antibodies that the body should be making. The doctors were hoping the extra antibodies created would help fight off the foreign antigens brought over with the new kidney and then there would be no reason for his body to reject it. This two-day procedure was attempted twice with little then no help.

The doctors then decided to try an additional medication called Rituxan. This drug attaches to certain blood cells, from the immune system, and kills them. The hope is that this drug, along with the IVIG, will help my husband’s body fight off and kill the foreign antigens causing all the ruckus in his body.

(This is completely off topic, but all of this talk about the immune system and killing the foreign antigens made me think of the movie Innerspace.  Here’s the trailer.  It gave me a good laugh. I hope it makes you laugh as well. If I could, I would go in and make peace between the antigens and antibodies fighting in my husbands body.)

 

OK….back to the topic at hand…..

While we were waiting for the Rituxan to be scheduled, my husband came down with pneumonia. This is something that happens to him at least once a year. After the doctors realized this, they decided to put off the kidney rejection meds until six weeks after finishing the medication for his pneumonia. At the time, this was very annoying. This was set to happen at the very beginning of our summer break, and now it was looking like it was going to happen right in the middle of it. We couldn’t plan anything in the beginning of the summer because my husband was sick. We couldn’t plan anything later because he would probably be sick from the new medications. We were all disappointed because we would be stuck at home all summer.

The beginning of the summer was indeed, rocky. Having my husband sick and the kids stuck at home was not a fun thing to deal with. But, after the first few weeks, once my husband started feeling better, we had a wonderful time together simply hanging out. We stayed up late watching movies, laughing and acting crazy, then enjoyed sleeping in and hanging out again. There were a few day trips and shopping excursions, but mostly just hanging out. This was the first time EVER that I didn’t want the kids to go back to school. We had an amazing time bonding as a family over the summer break.

Once the kids did go back to school, we started getting frustrated with the doctors. All we seemed to hear was “we’re working on it and we’ll schedule it soon”. The waiting was so hard. Not knowing what you can and can’t commit to or plan is extremely frustrating. We wanted to get the new kidney rejection meds scheduled and done sooner rather than later. We wanted to get on the other side of it.miracles happen

Thankfully, God knows what’s coming and how we will deal with it. He knows how much we can take and what’s the best way for us to go about it. If my husband did have the new medications at the beginning of the school year, it probably would have been too much for me to handle. Remember, the beginning of the school year was already very chaotic for me. I can’t imagine having my husband sick from meds to deal with on top of everything else. God led us the way that was best for us.

We recently got word from the doctors that my husband has been scheduled for the Rituxan treatment on November 4th. The IVIG treatment, which will be two weeks after the Rituxan, has been scheduled for November 18th and 19th as well. I truly believe this has all been scheduled in God’s timing. What I thought was a pain in my side, my husband’s pneumonia, turned out to be an amazing blessing by God. Time to bond as a family and time to adjust to a rough start to the school year. He leads us on the path that is best for us, which is not always the easiest and shortest. Praise God!

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for loving and caring for us in an individual and intimate way. I pray we praise you while in the midst of our waiting and uncertain times, knowing you are there leading us through it, Amen.

 

 

God Speaks Life

Denise-MistichDenise Mistich is my guest blogger for today and she is sharing her encouraging story of overcoming depression, something most, if not all, of us have dealt with in some form or another. Wherever you may be today, I hope God speaks to you through this story so you may feel His presence and see His mighty hand at work in your life.

I am fortunate my depression is now just a memory. A memory painful enough to want to forget, yet fuel that keeps me going.

The days and nights I spent in “the dark cloud” seemed endless. I was almost catatonic. My eyes were open, but I could not see. When my friends and family spoke, I could not hear.

I had given up on God and decided Jesus was just a myth. So I had no life. Death was all around me, in me, constantly looming over my head. But, sadly for me at the time, never closing in. It pinned me down and breathed poison over me day and night, relentlessly torturing and taunting. I sat day, after long miserable day, hoping it would finish its work in one fatal blow, doing for me what I could not do for myself. (Thanks be to God.)

When medication, hospitalization, and counseling failed, I quit. I literally laid down to die. I didn’t pray to die, but certainly wished for death to come swiftly. I suppose this was my rock bottom.

I had reached the point where I was so dead on the inside the world to me was silent. Thinking back, I realize it was this silence that allowed me to hear God speak the following words.

“That’s enough.  Get up.  Come on, Get up.  Why are you crying?”

“Get up.  That’s enough.  Don’t you know there are people out there who love you?  What about your brothers?  They love you, dearly.  What about your father?  He loves you, too.”

“No, I’m not talking about your earthly father.  He will not always be there for you.  Where will you be when he dies?”

“I’m talking about your heavenly Father.  He has something better for you.  Now get up, wipe your tears.  You’ve punished yourself enough…”

As He spoke, I got up, dusted myself off and stood tall for the first time in months. Each word literally breathed life back into me and I simply said, “Ok.”

I have been up ever since. I struggled at times and still, depression wants to creep back in now and then. But I can see it coming and I remember it was my response to God’s spoken word that got me out of the darkness the first time. The very same, sustains me.

You see, I have come to realize this response was the last chance for me. I see now that my simple yes was the equivalent to Mary’s  “May it be done unto me according to thy word,” in The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1. And just like Mary’s response, it would bring life or death, not only for me, but for those around me.

I believe God speaks to everyone.  The book of Hebrews tell us He sustains all things with His word.

It is not a question of whether or not He speaks, it is a question of listening and responding. We have to tune the world out, silence it completely and hear what He has to say. And not just once, but every day of our lives.

Listen for His spoken word, read His written word, and respond, “May it be done unto me according to thy word.”

Your mind will be renewed, your purpose will become clear and you will live to fulfill that purpose. Just look at what Mary brought into the world with this very same response.

Perhaps God is speaking to you now through this article. Or maybe He has spoken to you through a friend or a minister’s encouragement. However He speaks to you, listen, and respond well. You have two choices, life or death. Choose life.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. ~ Deuteronomy 30:19-20

On September 18, 7pm EST, I will share more details about my story on The Healing Room radio show.  Dr. Janiece C. Andrews and Margery Phelps will share their stories as well. Together, we will give you some very simple steps to take to begin your healing journey. In the meantime, take some baby steps toward recovery. (Link to radio show:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cwa-radio)

When you are depressed, a long list of things to do doesn’t really work. Here are three simple things you can do today that will get you started on your healing journey:

  • Tune the world out for a minimum of 15 minutes today and seek God’s presence. (Do not think about yourself, think about Him.) If you don’t hear anything directly, hang on. It will come.
  • Think of one person you love more than yourself. Perhaps this is someone you haven’t even met. But this someone needs you. Put that person’s feelings in front of your own and cling to life for their benefit.
  • Choose to believe God has a plan and purpose for your life. As He literally said to me, “I’ve got something better for you.”

Denise Davidson Mistich is now an ordained minister and author of Christian books. You can learn more about her ministry on www.spiritual-health-source.com and www.tellmeaboutgod.org. Her book, The Upside Down Heart, is coming soon.

 

Rock Bottom

Tina CochranI would like to introduce you to Tina Cochran who I recently met in a Christian group on Linkedin. She is a certified health coach and obesity survivor who uses her unique combination of education, experience and empathy to help hurting women create a better life. This is her story how God helped her through her struggles of obesity and control to get her to where she is today.

Sometimes rock bottom comes with a crash and the trauma of your life falling apart. It’s large, noisy, and messy. But sometimes rock bottom arrives as a simple statement that makes you realize things can no longer stay the way they are. I had lived with chaos and drama for so long it seemed normal. It took one powerful comment from my son to show me I had reached rock bottom.

My son Anthony has autism and as such, being tactful is not always his best skill. In the fall of 2008, then 10 years old, he looked at me and said “Mommy, you need to go on The Biggest Loser.” The words hit me hard with a realization that he was worried about me and knew I needed to change. The over 250 pounds I was carrying on my 5 ft. 4 in. frame was no longer something I could ignore or hide.

At his insistence, the NBC show, The Biggest Loser, became part of our weekly schedule. Every week he would watch the show and I would hide my tears as I sunk deep into the hopelessness of obesity and the over-scheduled life I was living. I continued to make excuses and justifications why I couldn’t do anything about my weight. His direct comment crashed into those excuses and held them against rock bottom. I began to realize that I was no longer going to be able to ignore or hide from an attempt to do something.

In November of 2008, I started a weight loss program. The plan was simple, I would try this “diet” for a week or so and when it didn’t work, I would then focus on finding a way to convince myself and my son that my body would always be this way, and it really wasn’t a problem.

I am grateful to report that I was wrong and God used this program to help me lose over 100 pounds and keep it off. What started out as a solution to accepting that things would never change actually became a catalyst for a change I never imagined.Survive to Joy Tina Cochran

Over the past few years, I have learned the truth of who I am. As the pounds melted away, a woman I didn’t know began to appear. This woman was strong and confident in her worth and had a heart to serve. Eventually I joined the company that designed my weight loss program and became a certified health coach.

By telling this story, my fear is that you will see it as another weight loss success story and miss the real transformation. While hitting rock bottom regarding my weight began my journey, it is actually not the most important change that has happened for me. When I was released from my corporate job in July 2009, I became a full-time coach.   At the time I thought my journey was complete. I believed I had built myself up from the depths of obesity, stress, and depression to health, peace, and happiness.

What I didn’t realize was that Joy was waiting around the next corner, and it would require another visit to rock bottom. At first life was happy and exciting. But eventually I developed an obsession with business and marketing that drove me to work endless hours, never enjoying life or my family. I was constantly chasing better ways to make more money and grow my business. Founding a nonprofit organization only added to the stress and anxiety I felt every day. My relationship with my family suffered (especially my husband), and I woke up every day in a state of panic. While I was keeping my body a size eight and telling the world I was at peace and happy, in my heart I knew it was a lie.

I felt like a fraud.

The strength and confidence I found during my weight loss journey eroded until I found myself once again feeling hopeless to change. I was actually living at rock bottom, just in a prettier package. It took a tornado to break my heart wide open and motivate me to change. I live near Joplin, Missouri. In May of 2011, an F-5 tornado tore the town to pieces. I followed the destruction on social media and my heart broke more with every passing day. God had given me a gift of empathy and my heart filled to capacity with the pain around me. In my personal life, the stress of chasing my business, building a nonprofit, and pleasing my family became overwhelming. I spent many days and nights in tears, begging God to take my life and bring me home. On the outside my life looked like it was growing and becoming more successful every day. However, inside I was dying and falling apart.

For the next six months I struggled to find a solution, something that would make the pain go away. Finally I ran out of strength to search and collapsed in despair. It was only then that I heard the still, small voice. “Stop studying business and study Me.” God’s voice was quiet, but insistent. It brought my spinning mind to a halt.

“But how will I make a living, God?” I asked. “You won’t. You will make a life,” was the only answer He would give. “Get to know Me, who I am, and who I created you to be. Bring all your focus and energy on searching for Me. When you find Me, you will find all that you need. Trust Me, I will provide. I created you for a very special purpose. It’s time for you to be set apart and learn all I have to teach you.”

With much fear and trembling, I put my business books away and opened my Bible. I began a search for who God was and what He wanted from me. This search led me to a life I never could have imagined. It has also led me through periods of brokenness I never would have chosen. The pain of coming face to face with the mistakes of my past choices and the things I have done that have not honored my loving Father have been beyond anything I thought I could survive. Through it all, God has gently and lovingly held my hand and reminded me that His plans for me are good. It has not always been pretty and it has never been easy, but it has been worth it. Not only have I survived, I have begun to thrive.Rock Bottom Book Tina Cochran

Rock bottom is a beautiful place. I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt because rock bottom is the place where you find the strength to surrender yourself completely to the One who created you. It’s not until you come completely to the end of yourself that you can truly begin to live. The most beautiful part is that by creating a life with rock bottom as the foundation, you find true Joy.

To find out more about Tina and how she can help you, please check out her website at www.TinaCochran.com.

Worst of Times,Best of Times

DianeSamsonHeadShotNot to long ago I met Diane Samson on Twitter. I was immediately drawn to her when I took the time to get to know her by checking out her website and reading her blog. I found that she too loves to share stories how God is working in her life. So I contacted her and asked her to share with us how God has gotten her to where she is today. Please join me on a journey through the heart-felt life of Diane Samson.

It Was the Worst of Times. It Was the Best of Times.

My mother stomped out of the car and stormed over to the man who was unaware and taken aback by this crazy woman. Her hands on her hips she yelled at the man for stealing her parking space. She wanted to fight.

And I’m thinking I just want to go to the library. I was dismayed at the course of events that was my life. My mother’s always making a scene.

I spent much of my childhood trying to please my parents, especially my mother. It was a futile task. I didn’t realize the impossibility of this until I was well into adulthood.

My 20’s were spent fighting my demons inside, mostly my mother. I not only wanted to please her but my main problem was I went to great depths to accomplish this.

I ended up hurting my husband and not being the best example in my parenting.

My 30’s were spent knowing this path wasn’t going to work anymore. I found myself in a state of depression. Who was I? What was my purpose? While homeschooling was my life in this decade, I felt unfulfilled and undirected. I was told I was living my purpose.

Homeschooling my beloved children became my sole focus. I was seeking fulfillment in the wrong places. Always trying to please. Please my mother. Please my husband. Create the happy family I didn’t have growing up.

When we moved to Idaho, I was ready. Ready to unleash. Ready to seek God. Ready to put much of my past behind me and move forward. I was starting. I was emerging. I was on my way.

In my 40’s life was pushed into an abyss, that I never knew I could enter, let alone survive. Others deal with rejection all the time. Why was mine so difficult? What was the hold my mother had on me, that I refused to let go?

I was pushed to the brink of my capabilities and stretched beyond my imagination. The rules I had lived by my whole life were not working anymore. It was as if my brain was programmed and it was time to push reset.

I was emerging. I was learning to find my wings. I was figuring out that God was truly the only one I can or should please. Not my mother. Not my children. Not even my husband.

We were busy making preparations for our son’s high school graduation. My mother had been acting a bit bizarre of late, more than usual. My brother and I had talked a time or two, and compared notes. She had talked about a man in her life, writing comic strips about her life. She took a surprise-driving trip to LA, 7 hours away. She hadn’t been living in her own house but with people I had never met. She was acting bizarre for sure, but hadn’t she always been a bit off?

And then my life changed that one day. I had hung up the phone with my mother, because someone was at the door. I got a phone call. It was my brother. We hadn’t been communicating much and so I was surprised. I heard the stress. I felt the turmoil. It took time for my head to catch up.

Our mother had been throwing money away. Over a fence. In a newspaper. For months. A good sum of money. A lot of money.

There were crossword puzzles in her house with codes and meanings, only she understood. She was surrounded in a mound of deceit, paranoia and coded meaning. She was communicating to unknown people, with astronomical burdens, hardly believable. Too impossible to be true.

My mother had always been fond of “The God Father” and her story unraveled to the tune of mobs, drugs and torture.

I was in unknown territory. My lifeboat was in the sea, circling round and round, nowhere to go. The waves consumed me and some days I felt I was drowning, barely able to lift my head above. A few more years and I was still amidst the ocean.

It was the worst time of my life. My brother lived in torment having told the cops to commit his mother.

Under the demise of getting her a physical, I brought her to the hospital, where she yelled and screamed to disown my son. Words cannot describe when your mother screams at you, your daughter and grandson, who’s only two years old. There are no words for the intensity. The pain. The betrayal. You are left in shock.

It was the worst time. It was the best time.

At the time my lifeboat was barely afloat. For days water filled my boat and almost drowned me. Some days I stayed sane, having others praying for me the prayers I could not utter. Some days I had nothing to grasp except that I knew God was there.

I believed it. I trusted it. My faith in who God is kept me afloat. My friends praying kept me from going too far adrift.Hebrews13: 5

On that day, my husband who was in a different country got on the phone and arranged friends to be there for me. My friends, who left everything that day, dropped their plans and came to my aid at the hospital. One of the elders from our church, who along with his wife are now very good friends of ours, met a need and never was afraid to walk the walk with me.

As I write tears stream down my face. I remember. It’s fresh like it was yesterday.

God met me during the worst time of my life. God used physical people with real skin, raw emotions, and a desire to meet a need, to be present for me.

God was there every step of the way. I didn’t even know I was taken care of. I didn’t even know that they were outside of the building, praying, waiting and ready to jump in. I didn’t know my son could be so strong in the face of adversity, having his grandmother practically disown him.

I didn’t know God would carry me through a horrific time.

It was the worst time. But I know it was the best.

For only in the worst could God show Himself to me that otherwise I couldn’t see. I couldn’t experience. I couldn’t even understand.

For only in the worst could He show me the community of friends who cared.

For only in the worst could He show me my husband loved me more than anything or anyone, even thousands of miles away.

I had to go through a long period of regrets. I regretted not breaking free earlier. I regretted not standing up to my mother earlier and saying NO! I regretted declaring she no longer had a hold of me. But today I was no longer in bondage.

I had to give myself permission to grieve of what I didn’t have. I had to give myself permission for what I wasn’t able to do earlier. And then I had to forgive myself. And when I could begin the forgiveness process, I could really then fly!

I don’t want my life to be defined by my mother, by my difficulties, by her crazy behavior.

I knew, after some time had passed, healing was secured. I had to move on.

The passion I had left since high school emerged. I began to write again. I poured out my heart.

I knew without a doubt I wasn’t alone. I was meant to travel this life with others and I needed to share my story. My difficulties. My hardships. My tears. My joys. My disasters. My victories. All centered on Him.

Now I blog. I write. I share. My God adventures. My dreams. My passions. Walk in community. Run the race hand in hand. Together. Never alone.

So please join me. Would love to see you around my tweeting, my facebook, but even more so, on my blog. I love to hear stories. Someday, when we’re all together, we’ll have one big story to share.

This is my story to share. Even when it was the worst of times, it was the best of times.

If you would like to know more about Diane and what she’s up to now, which I’m sure you do, you can find her at www.dianesamson.com

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