The Family that Prays Together…

Yesterday marked one week into my recovery from back surgery. God announced His goodness by giving me a beautiful, sunny spring day to enjoy! I was so happy and excited! My twin young men cleaned off the umbrella table, and untied the chairs which had been stored for the winter, hoisting them effortlessly onto the back deck, so I could sit and breathe in the fresh, clean air. My daughter was suddenly more interested in her school books, which were filled with clocks, verbs, and Venn diagrams. She cheerfully grabbed her pencil, because we were going to have school outside for the day. I gazed at the breathtaking view of our backyard, thanking God as I soaked in the blooms on the pear and cherry trees. My favorite was the brilliant cobalt of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which will be barely visible when the trees become dressed in their shiny, green summer leaves. 

What a lovely day for my daughter to play on her swing set, and jump on the trampoline. It was ideal for my husband and me, as we walked down the driveway, for my first outdoor excursion since the surgery. Perfection! NOT! … Because Christian families who pretend that everything is perfect and merry all the time are… well, quite frankly… lying. For suddenly there was strife and squabbling, unexpectedly, out of the beautiful deep blue. There was anger, pride, rudeness, and a black cloud where the sun had been shining only moments before. And then from Mom (yeah, that would be me) there were some not-very-nice-words,  and no… not the tears! There can not be tears from Mom; she never cries in front of anybody! She learned it years ago… people don’t care about you… so do not let them see your tears! For if you do, ferocious wolves will rip you to pieces! But suddenly I didn’t care that they saw the tears. I knew I was hurting inside and out; and I needed to cry, even though the tears made me vulnerable to… (oh no!)… REJECTION!  Brave, courageous, strong Mom, had succumbed to a sobbing, inconsolable mess of… tears

But this time, I recognized the attack for what it was… a spirit of strife. I also recognized the lies: The day was NOT ruined, my family was NOT going to let me deal with this alone, this was NOT my family from childhood; so my precious family here at home was NOT going to make fun of me or be mean to me for crying, and the devil was NOT going to ruin this day for my family or me! I pondered the truths: This is my family who supports, encourages, prays for; and loves me unconditionally. This is my family who helps me run my blog: proofs and edits my drafts, rescues my computer crashes, updates my computer, gives me ideas, creates special images, poses for my photos, and patiently gives me tons of time… while I write my blog! This is my family, and they support my ministry, as I do what I love! They are on board with me, and I am on board with them! We are in it together

We gathered for an amazing dinner; one of my all-time favorites; chicken tacos and chocolate chip cookies, which had thoughtfully been prepared for us by my sweet friend, Rita. We told the devil to “Get out of our home, and off of our property, in the name of Jesus.” You see,  even my little girl has the power and authority to tell the devil to get lost. Why? Because we are God’s children and we have… privileges

Because we recognized the evil spirits, which had come to do battle on the land God gave us, we were prepared to fight. We repented of our sinful nature, asked God and family members to forgive us, and repaired some issues which needed to be dealt with, so that our bond will remain unbroken, and more closely knit than ever. We are a family unit, which God has put together for a reason, a purpose, and His calling. We cannot afford to ignore the fact that there is a spiritual battle each and every day, with the intention of destroying each one of us, and ripping our precious family apart. That old saying; “The family that prays together, stays together,” is true! It’s our family… and it can be your family too! We are a force to be reckoned with, a bond which is to remain unbroken, because God is our Father, and we are His children. 

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9 New International Version). This verse applies to marriage, but it applies to our children too. Because, when it comes time for them to leave us and create their own families, we will also be grateful for the ones God has chosen to be a part of our lives, and we will fight for them too. Hence, our strength in numbers will be even greater, and there will be even more love to go around! 

Pretending everything is perfect isn’t doing anybody any favors. But knowing who is at the center of your family, and keeping Him there… IS! The rest of the day was filled with the sweetness of apologies, forgiveness, relief, comfort, laughter, laughs, cuddles, and hugs! We also repaired something that had broken down in our family… a way of communication which was, in actuality, hurting everyone. But it wasn’t something that could just simply repair itself. It is something that requires the never-ending mercy, grace, forgiveness; and unconditional love of Jesus Christ; who is alway invited to our table, and welcome in our home. For we are children of God! 

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13).


#knowyourrights  #eliminatestrife #childrenofGod #Jesusbemycenter

Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!

The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Follow or subscribe to The Silver Liningso you don’t miss the posts on the topic: healing; including an article on how to help your family heal and keep a close knit bond with one another. One or two encouraging posts will be delivered to your inbox each week.  God gives me wisdom and truth to share with you as a gift. The only way to receive it, is to open it; just like receiving Jesus’ free offer of salavation ( except that’s waaayyy better!). So please open your email from me, while you enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, and think about how it relates to your own life. If you feel it will benefit a friend, feel free to forward the link. Leave me a comment or send me a message to let me know your questions, thoughts, or prayer requests. I care about you; yes, even you whom I do not yet know; and I want to use my life experiences and the words God whispers in my ear, to give you hope for healing too!  Your heart needs to heal in order to have the life of freedom, peace, and joy God intended for you to live! Also join my Facebook page,and please invite your friends to receive daily inspiration and encouragement through Jesus Christ! 

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Good Trees, Bad Trees, and Fruit

“Buy the truth and do not sell it– wisdom, instruction and insight as well” (Proverbs 23:23 New International Version).

I write The Silver Lining, because I want to share God’s truth freely with others. I don’t buy into false, worldly teachings; no Christian should. But sometimes Christians start looking and listening to what’s out there in the world, instead of to The One living within our hearts. Some Christians take a little detour, because they think they’ve found a better, easier way. But the Bible says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles. Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matt.7:13-16).

If you’ve been tricked by a false prophet, fake teachings, prosperity gospel, a cult, or a narcissist pretending to be a Christian; you’re not alone. When you find yourself a bit lost in a wild, enchanted forest; look for the silver lining: If you pursue Jesus, he will set you back onto the path of righteousness. Look how much he loves you; he even tells us the signs to look for, which differentiate a believer from a non-believer!   A good tree bears good fruit: This means that real, genuine Christians witness to others, and do their best to live lives that are pleasing to God, which results in other people being led to Christ.  A bad tree bears bad fruit: This means there are people out there who may walk and talk like “Christians,” but they are only pretending to be believers, while secretly living unrepentant lives. 

Whether you have fallen for a trick of the enemy out of sin, or whether you were deceived by an evildoer; God wants to plant your feet back on solid ground! Turn your face towards him; call on the name JESUS. He is righteous to save us! “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous” (1 Jn. 3:7).

Genuine Christians bear good fruit!

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!  

Exactly one week ago, was the big surgery day. For a while, I’ve thought the surgery was long overdue, but now I can see that God planned it to be this way all along. I want my family, friends, readers, writers, church, and even very kind strangers; to know that last week God showed up… He heard all your prayers, answered many of them, and more answers are on the way! 

I already know Jesus is the Great Physician, and I know He is a Miracle Maker. I’ve witnessed miraculous recoveries among my own family members. So I know God is good… and I know He shows up. But I needed your prayers, and I want you to know that prayer is powerful! I want the people in my life to know that there is great power in being anointed by your pastor, and your spouse, and any Christian who comes faithfully asking for your healing in the name of The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is because we do the serving, but God is The One showing up. “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord” (Jas. 5:14 New International Version).


I first hurt my back in 8th grade. My best friend and I were choreographing a dance, and as I moved to bend over at the waist, I was shocked to find myself stuck. I couldn’t straighten up into a standing position, so I lay frozen, awkwardly flat on my back, on her bed for a half an hour. I was terrified. She was worried about me, so she said she was getting her dad. I was afraid of her dad, so I managed to stand, while wobbling and leaning against her, and she walked me home. There was no attention given to my injury, and no doctor appointment. I just remember gradually getting better over the next several days, and hoping that this scary event would not happen to me again. 

God must have had mercy on me, because it didn’t seem to be big deal to anyone but me and my best friend, and she couldn’t help me. God gracefully healed me, so that I remained active in gymnastics, volleyball, and cheerleading. I had more problems with asthma, and my bad knees, than with my back. But over the years, my back would give out, and I’d be out of commission for about three days. I got used to it. It was just a familiar part of my life. I finished college, got a job teaching, got married to my husband, and finally became pregnant with twin boys. 

The double pregnancy was in itself, its own trial, forcing me to continuously keep my eyes focused on the silver lining that lay up ahead. It felt like death was at my door; I vomited for five months straight, 30 times a day, losing weight fast. Though my precious boys were very tiny at 2 lbs. 15 oz. and 3 lbs. 5 oz., my back was never the same after that difficult pregnancy, which at 29 weeks, brought forth immense joy… I was blessed with the most beautiful premature baby boys I’d ever seen! 

I began to exercise in order to get back my trim figure. I’d always been skinny, but I was just looking to get back to the size I’d been before my pregnancy. When I threw out my back again, the doctor told me to stop doing the exercises where I had to lie on my back. Unfortunately, this meant most of the ones from my routine, which was actually beginning to flatten my belly. I became discouraged and stopped exercising altogether. I couldn’t go walking either, not until my husband got home from work, and by then we were both exhausted from caring for two babies who continued to fight for their lives. To go anywhere, we had to lug a heart and lung machine monitor for each one, and an oxygen tank for one of them. It was just too much. Even with staggered help and support, our new, little family was so very tired. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28).


When my boys were two years old, I threw my back out and ended up stooped over, unable to stand straight. People around my small town knew me by my young, stooped figure. Physical therapy got me standing agaian, but it also began years of constant MRI’s and X-rays, physical therapy, chiropractors, pain management, steroids and epidural injections. One office told me they weren’t giving up on me, but they just didn’t know how to help me find pain relief from my herniated disk. A trial run of burning the nerves in my back, showed the right spot had been found, but since the practice run gave only short-term relief, the official procedure wasn’t considered long-term treatment for me. I was so discouraged, because as the lidocaine ran through my body, I was exhilarated to be able to bend over and touch my toes with no pain whatsoever for an entire hour. It was short-lived. 

I headed “over the mountain,” towards the city, where most people from my small town tended to find higher quality care, when facing more serious medical issues. I found a great doctor; one I really liked, who was compassionate, honest, and thorough. He was also truly dedicated, and determined to find alternate procedures in an effort to prevent the inevitable… surgery. I was diagnosed with lumbosacrial and cervical spondylitis; a painful condition resulting from degeneration of intervertebral disks in the neck and lumbar areas, myofascial pain, degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis, and more. There were steroid and epidermal injections, trigger point injections for muscle spasms, and lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy to treat facet joint pain or sacroiliac joint pain caused by my degenerative disk disease. My doctor performed a discogram, and the extreme pain confirmed that my damaged L-5 disk was indeed the culprit, along with the S-I joint. He even injected methylene blue, which surprisingly brought about 30 percent relief, for just a couple months, but overflowed and spilled out, because there was so little room in the shrunken disk. 

After the procedure, my body got chilled, and I had to lie under warm blankets for an hour. I shook, and my teeth chattered. I don’t know if it was shock, or the effects of the procedure, but I knew I didn’t want to ever have a discogram again, or go through anything like it.  There were other possible procedures which we decided against. My doctor didn’t feel confident enough that they would work, and didn’t want to waste my money. I was sent to one of his colleagues for Platelet-Rich Plasma treatments, where so many vials of blood were taken to use my platelets, I lost count. Neither procedure took; in fact one damaged the ligaments in my coccyx area, and three doctors verified it was because mistakes had been made. I had another extremely painful procedure to try and repair the damage. I was basically bedridden for three weeks afterward. I was tired of hurting. All. The. Time.

Right after my precious daughter was born (thankfully I had survived another bout of unrelenting nausea, which left me bed-ridden for four months) my son became extremely, chronically ill with Eosinophilic Esophagitis; a debilitatating disease with no cure. He was my main focus, and I put my own health on hold, as any mother does who earnestly prays and diligently searches for relief for her beloved children. Our new baby girl brought us joy in the storm, a beautiful distraction from the sadness and pain of the sickness. Three years later, God chose to miraculously heal my son, when I was out of state caring for my father who had cancer. It was emotionally and financially draining to be away from my family for three flights out of state that summer. My surgery and our addition would have to wait; for God had something else in mind.

I was away for a sum total of two months, but God is faithful. He healed not only my son, while I was away, but my father too. Both had been anointed and both had approximately 500 people praying for them. God showed me the healing power of forgiveness that summer, and He showed me that my children are in the best hands always… His hands! I went home exhausted, and in chronic pain, but with love in my heart, and no regret. I went back to teaching Sunday School, but finally had to take a break. I’d become very, very sick; unable to do anything at all. I knew I had picked up something serious from being at the ICU at the hospital, and from being sole caretaker for weeks at a time, around so much sickness and suffering. I was right; the diagnosis finally came: a staph infection in my sinuses. I was truly running only on Holy Spirit fumes. 

My back surgery had already been put on hold several times. I was still dealing with plantar fasciitis, which caused severe pain in my feet when I walked. I also continued to battle pain from the degeneration of the two disks in my neck. I also had emergency shoulder surgery, because of rotater cuff syndrome, along with a bone spur and arthritis in my shoulder, which prevented me from lifting my arm above shoulder level. The shoulder surgery was successful, though it required prolotherapy treatment to fully heal. During all this time, I continued to homeschool my children, run to even more doctors appointments for all of us, and teach Sunday School. It seemed there was no relief in sight. I began to wonder if I was supposed to sacrifice my life until I dropped. If Jesus did it, maybe I was supposed to just keep going, even though I felt like my body was breaking to pieces. But how would that be good for my family who needed me?

God told me it was time to rest. He let me know that Jesus already sacrificed his life for me, and I was not meant to run on empty. My husband supported me, and said it was time to take care of myself.  I realized I’d put things off, because I’d been taught to feel guilty for doing nice things for myself. It was so ingrained, I even felt guilty doing the very things I needed to do to save my own life. There’s never a perfect time, yet the time was perfect. I’d already met with several surgeons over the past few years. I met with two more, and chose the surgeon my doctor had highly recommended I talk to, before making my final decision about going through with the surgery. He correctly insisted I needed an expert, someone highly proficient and skilled, experienced and specialized in complicated back surgeries. I was grateful to both of those last two surgeons on my list, who had confirmed a completely collapsed disk, validation that there was nothing there to support the bones which rubbed against each other every time I moved. The rubbing irritating nerves, and my spine’s instability was indeed causing excruciating pain. 

So here I lie, writing while recovering, grateful for the love and care being shown to me in the midst of this trial. I want those who have been praying for me to know God has heard your prayers, and is already giving answers (good ones, because it is the only kind He gives!). My surgeon said the surgery went “perfectly!” Well, Jesus was there, after all, so perfect is a great word choice! My surgeon said I will now be taller, because I was missing a disk before; and adding space has given me more height. How cool is that? My daughter is tall, and I love that I can tell her that I’m now taller too!  

I’m doing well, in spite of being tired and dealing with pain. I’ve had a cage inserted into my spine with screws to hold it together. The cage is made of bone grafting material, which will grow into my own bone.  I’m very, very sore! The site of the injection hurts like crazy, and I can’t twist, bend, or lift more than five pounds. It’s going to take a while to feel like myself again, but… Praise The Lord! He brought me through it all! He even took away my anxiety, which is HUGE considering my past major struggle with the spirit of Fear! “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jer. 17:14).


I’m appreciating all the prayers, along with both the big things and the little things; because little things to me, are big treasures! May God bless everyone who has been here for me; near and far, who has taken time to offer up a prayer for me, and my family, in the name of Jesus. I’m taking you on this journey, not for attention or pity or popularity; or whatever other silly reasons are out there, but because I want God to be glorified in all of this! I don’t even know the end of the story, but I’ve chosen to JUST TRUST HIM! 

I originally wrote this the day after my surgery but did not complete and edit it until one week afterward. I now realize that God has wanted me to rest, while enjoying the love, support, and encouragement from family and friends. He has given me this time to prepare to write words centered around a theme of “healing” during the rest of Lent, and to provide others with hope in the midst of trial and storm. God has even led me to explore and share some wonderful writings from other gifted and talented writers, and I’m excited to see what He is putting together! He continues to provide confirmation via wonderful feedback from brothers and sisters in Christ. What joy it gives me, to be reminded that God is always in control; using every seed we plant to bless and minister to others, and grow His Mighty Kingdom. During this time of trial, God has been showing me the silver lining; connecting me to special people, giving me more ideas for the future of The Silver Lining, and letting me peacefully soak up the joy of how much He has already healed me, how He is healing me now, and the healing He is going to do in my future! It’s been a long time coming, but in God’s timing, everything is, well… just perfect! “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’ ” (Mark 5:34).

Pursue Jesus! Trust him to heal you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually according to his good and perfect will. Give God your body, heart, mind, and soul. Don’t miss your divine appointment; The Great Physician always shows up on time! 

Your healing can only begin through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Anything else is temporary, and short-lived. That’s because a good physician finds the root of the problem, and starts there. Jesus knows the answer to all our illnesses and ailments. In addition, he is a Miracle-Maker; someone no doctor on earth can truthfully claim to be.  For more, join The Silver Lining Facebook page, where encourage them, truth, and wisdom are posted every day! Also, visit my website. It is there as a gift to you! When you visit The Silver Lining homepage, click on the topic: Healing. Subscribe or follow, so you don’t miss truth-related blog posts that could lead you in God’s direction, which could actually help to save your life; both eternally, and here on earth! 

Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

The Family that Prays Together…

The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Healing is a Journey

It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice! 

The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

Trusting God through Trials

Dear readers of The Silver Lining

Today is my surgery day! I’m finally headed in for a lumbar fusion, after years of suffering with severely intense, chronic back pain. My God is in control, and I have peace and hope, because Jesus is at the wheel! Thank you to everyone who is praying for, supporting, and encouraging me; may God bless you in Jesus’ name for lifting me up to The Great Physician! 

I’ve been anointed by my pastor and by my husband. My family, friends, and church have prayed for me. I’ve prayed for myself! I’m ready! Please continue to pray for quick and complete healing for my entire back, so I can keep caring for my family and ministering to God’s children (that’s you!).  I want to give you hope in Christ, so you can find the goodness of God’s healing, freedom, and joy; as we keep pursuing Jesus in our lives. 

God gave me this verse for my surgery:

“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’ ” (Jer. 29:11 New International Version). Pass it on to a friend who needs The Lord’s comfort today! 💙

Here is a past post depicting a small part of the suffering my family and I have endured: God Pulls Us Through Trials of Suffering; but the silver lining is that it’s nothing compared to the HUGE REWARDS God has in store for us, including eternal life! 💙 

Trust God!



“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

She’s a Little Runaway: A Journey from Rejection to Acceptance 

As a teen, I lived in Alaska, in two different houses, over a five year period. I snuck out several times from both, and ran away from each one. Some of these times were known to others, and some were not. But of the two times I felt the most desperate need bolt, the most desperate run away attempt was the least successful. Maybe it was because I seemed to run backwards. Perhaps it was a mix of fear, false security, guilt, and concern over leaving a loved one left behind, along with worrying what my friends would think; but running away became a more desperate desire, yet I seemed to fall further and further from my goal of making it happen. 

In any regard, not making that final run, was definitely not because I had suddenly decided home was a safe place to stay. It was more like the jail door was open, but a tornado was whirling at the front door. Which option was best for me? Years later, I now know which option was best…the tornado by far. It might have landed me some place safe, like the baby you read about in the news, who is scooped up into a tornado’s belly, and vomited safely into a dresser drawer two towns over; safely sleeping. After all, Dorothy survived a tornado, and while on her journey, was kept safe from lions, tigers, and bears; and also from the witches and the flying monkeys sent out to destroy her. But unlike Dorothy, the phrase, “There’s no place like home,” meant something entirely different to me.

The first attempt at running away came out of sheer desperation to leave the role of scapegoat I had been assigned by my family. I couldn’t take it anymore, being blamed for everyone else’s problems. As the scapegoat in a family reeking with dysfunction, I was tired of being the excuse for everyone else’s issues, problems, and bad behavior. Sure I was an imperfect teenager, fully capable of mouthing off and being selfish, but not to any extreme some would be led to believe. I was a good kid; compassionate, intelligent, and funny. Why wasn’t I loved? It was never enough, so I kept trying harder to prove myself, and I was about to break. Being labeled a “problem child” subtly causes a shifting focus, which is exactly the intent; for the idea is to blind others to the truth of the real chaos lying underneath, and to distract them, so denial can go on and lives of sin can continue without inspection. 

I’d given up on getting attention or love, but I still hoped to remain under the radar, undetected, left alone to live my own life in peace. But that wasn’t about to happen, so I became angry. I began to rebel, because I knew it couldn’t be all my fault. I knew the truth and began to fight for myself, because I realized no one else was going to. “A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel” (Prov. 18:19 New International Version).

However, it was getting harder and harder to see the truth, when the fiery darts kept coming. Though I was saved, I didn’t yet understand how to defend myself with prayer. The phrases were aimed at me, over and over: “Why can’t you do anything right… Why can’t you be more like (someone else)… What is wrong with you… Why do you have to ruin everything?????”  These were the lies which years later, I would learn to renounce in the name of Jesus. I still have to pray against them today, but they come less often. “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16).

How could it be only my fault when my thumb was smashed black and blue after being slammed in the doorframe, and then my face slapped afterwards for cussing from the pain of the “accident.” And even worse, was when that cold hand forcefully slammed down flat dead center on top of my head; HARD. There was actually a witness then, but when everyone is trained not to tell, even adults remain silent. Reporting it doesn’t even cross your mind; it would likely be futile. Who would believe it? For, those things just don’t happen in families that go to church on Sundays, where girls wear pretty dresses, and invite their friends to come with them, because the family is a positive influence and a good example. 

Like any hurting teen, I believed if I didn’t protect myself, they would break me. I refused to be broken, not realizing I was already constantly gluing the precious broken pieces of myself back together. And that’s what l was doing… holding on to all my broken pieces, the night I was done being blamed. Of course no comfort; only condemnation, was offered that dark night when I shouted, “Then I’ll leave!” There was no reassurance of love, or a reminder that I was wanted, a gentle plea to stay and talk and pray about it. Instead, I was told that if I was going to go, I would have leave my coat behind, since I hadn’t bought it with my own money.

On Elmendorf Air Force Base, it was less than 30 degrees that evening, and pitch black outside. I had nowhere to go. But it took me less than a second to make my decision: I shoved off my new white downy coat with sporty blue stripes, threw it to the floor, and ran. I ran out into the black night, looking to the left and looking to the right. The icy clean air took my breath away. I ran towards my best friend’s house, but knew that would be the first place I’d be expected to be found. Her home life wasn’t stable either. It wasn’t an option. So I wandered. I wandered far past anywhere my friends and I ever wandered, even by our independent standards of doing whatever we wanted and going wherever we felt like going. I ran to warm up, but I slowed as the wheezing started. I was an asthmatic; just another way I’d caused problems for everyone else. I blew on my frigid fingers, and I scratched at the welts raising up under my jeans. I would get them when I got cold, due to a protein in my blood which reacts starkly to frigid temperatures. I didn’t realize then, that I actually suffered constantly from cold urticaria, which can in severe instances; cause low blood pressure, anaphylactic shock, and death. 

I still didn’t want to go back. At the same time, I’d seen the footage they show all the military families upon first arriving to The Last Frontier: “Scary Survival Videos.” At 14, I was old enough to know that hypothermia was a reality, and frostbite was serious business, where I could actually lose my fingers and toes. This time, I had no runaway friends to be my hypothermia partner so I could keep warm, and I was never going to do that “naked hugging sleeping bag survival skill” anyway; not unless I was left for dead on a mountaintop. I don’t remember if I prayed,  but I do know God was with me, protecting me and loving me.



I’d wandered for at least a couple hours, and I was far away from home. I knew I needed to get warm, or my body could be permanently damaged. I had on tennis shoes, instead of boots, and there was snow and ice on the ground. I didn’t much care about living right then, but always in my mind, was a loved one I had back at home, and being a teenager, I was also worried about my reputation, even among my friends. They would ask me why I ran away. I’d been trained not to tell family secrets. I’d been trained to pretend I came from a perfect “Christian” family. Who would believe me? It was too much anyway; a mountain of madness which no one would understand or believe or care about, and many don’t; even to this very day. Telling them would be impossible. Now I’ve gained enough wisdom to know that some things are only revealed by God in His perfect timing. 

That night I found myself at the chapel, and was mortified to find a friend of mine was there too. He sang with the adult choir, so he was often up at the church. I didn’t want him to see me, but it was too late. He was an intelligent, kind boy, and our mutual friends had mentioned he had a crush on me. Maybe he wouldn’t tell anyone. As far as I know, he never did. He asked me what I was doing there, and if I was ok. I shook my head, and took a deep breath, so I wouldn’t cry. He didn’t know how bad it was at home, but I think to this day, he knew about one of the secrets. His eyes said he knew. He wanted to ask more questions, but seemed to understand I couldn’t answer them. When I said I had to go, he put his hands on my shoulders and gently shook me. His dark eyes looked scared. He said the M.P.’s (military police) would come looking for me, and everyone would find out I had run away. He said I would freeze to death if I went back out in the cold. And finally, out of wanting to help, he convinced me to call home. 

When I made the call from the church, I did it on my terms. I’d learned a thing or two about manipulation and control tactics. I’d been taught well. My terms were that I’d tell where I was, but there would be no talking about it, and no punishment. If the terms were broken, I’d run away again, and I’d tell people why I was running. The terms were agreed upon, and the ride home was just as cold, if not more frozen, than the air outside. I was surviving. 

The next attempt at running away came out of a desperation that had turned to hopelessness, and the plan came down to no running away at all. I was found out before I even got a chance to get out of the house. I’d spent too long packing in the bathroom, and refused to open the door even when a hole was punched halfway through it. If there’d been a window, I would have exited. But with no escape in sight, I stuffed my school bag into the lower shelf of the bathroom closet, put some towels on top, and exited the bathroom. After hearing about how it was my fault that there was a hole punched in the door, I shrugged and announced that I was going to bed. I slid under the sheets in my clothes. I’d have to wait until about 1:30 or 2 a.m., because darkness in Alaska doesn’t come till then during its super short spring and summer months. 

My bag was packed with a few necessities, my tiny teddy bear, and about $100. The car keys were on my dresser, since I drove to school each day. The car wasn’t really mine, so I’d have to drive somewhere and leave it with a note, saying I was sorry and that it wasn’t stolen. I planned to drive from Eagle River to Anchorage, and then park and walk until I found a hotel. I KNEW there were some areas that were dangerous, like 4th Avenue, where everyone warned you never to go. But I was headed that way, because I thought it was the last place anyone would look. I never got there. I never got anywhere that night. 
The door to my bedroom flew open, and my escape bag was swinging back and forth before my eyes. I was shocked, and my heart sunk. I was completely deflated… hopeless. I must have raised suspicion by staying too long in the bathroom, packing up my things. My key set was whisked up from my dresser amidst angry shrieks. I’d be taking the bus next day to school, which I hated. I lay in bed that night with my tiny brown teddy bear, tears soaking his curly fur. I’d never get out. I don’t remember if I prayed, but I do know God was with me, protecting me and loving me.

Though I managed to move out of my house quickly, because I was snapped up for a teaching position immediately after graduation, I never really got away until my husband and I moved from the state of Texas, out to Virginia where we didn’t know a soul. It was especially hard to leave a loved one back home, and I missed my friends. But being on my own was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I began to write my prayers in a prayer journal, participated in a bible study, and pursued Jesus in peace. All my life, I’d been bashed over the head with a bible and forced to go to church, with scripture used out of context to guilt and shame me. I was a victim of spiritual abuse, and was running from God, because I thought He was always watching me from the sky, waiting to condemn me and punish me, and tell me what I was doing wrong. I was afraid of Him, and angry with Him too. I was now discovering the joy of having a relationship with Him! My eyes began to open up to the truth for the first time in my life, and God’s teachings showed me that everything I’d been taught was completely upside-down… and completely wrong. I do remember that I prayed! 

God moved me more times with my husband. Then God moved me more times with my children. Many things happened during those moves, and I’ve had many homes, but instead of running away, during each of my moves I have learned to draw closer to Jesus. When I start to run away, he doesn’t let me out of the door, without first insisting that he loves me and doesn’t want me to go. 

Whenever the pain becomes too hard to bear for those who have been running and running all their lives looking for a little bit of love, there lies ahead the silver lining: One ends up desperately running straight into the arms of Jesus! And in that most desperate time, the running away will stop, before you even realize it. Why? It’s because Jesus has been waiting here for you the whole time, with his arms outstretched, already wrapping themselves around you! I discovered that Jesus had been holding me in his arms the whole time, crying tears when I cried tears. He was waiting for me run in his direction and cry out his name, so he could save me. He is doing the same for you. Though I was already God’s child, I hadn’t understood the power and authority I have in Christ Jesus. I didn’t realize that I was loved by God, unconditionally, without condemnation or judgment. 

We don’t need to run away from Jesus, for he does not reject us! He loves us in spite of our imperfections, and in spite of our sins. We can run into his everlasting loving arms, and he will greet us with acceptance and unconditional love each and every time. If we forget how much he loves us, and start to run away, we can always turn back, repent, and ask him to forgive us. He will help us to battle the negative lies we have been falsely led to believe, and heal us of our guilt, fear, and anger; which will then banish depression; leading us to freedom and joy! We will discover that God is not far away up in the sky, but right inside of our hearts, and He’s been loving us our whole entire lives! For there really is “no place like home” when your eternal home is in Heaven with Jesus Christ. 

“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:20).


My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).

If you enjoyed this blog post and found it helpful, you may like PAST PATHS… AND OTHER THINGS TOO PAINFUL TO MENTION.

Write to the author, and find daily encouragement to give you hope, as you heal and find freedom and joy in Jesus Christ at The Silver Lining Facebook Page. 

The Heart of a Child Seeks Wisdom

Last night, while praying with my family, and discussing the Proverbs, my seven-year old daughter reminded me that she wanted to read the Proverbs too! Convicted, I realized this was the second night in a row that she had mentioned it to me, and that I had not included her when I had invited my family, friends, and readers; to read a Proverb a day during Lent. Though we were reading her bible stories, I had not thought about taking her on this journey of gaining wisdom through my favorite book of The Holy Bible: Proverbs.  

My heart was touched by my child’s yearning to grow even more in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. She wanted to learn more about God’s promises,and His commands which protect us, and keep us from going down the wrong path. I read a few to her and explained them, while promising to find her a children’s book of Proverbs, because she also likes to read by herself. My young artist’s eyes lit up, as her little fingers reached for the thin pages of my coloring bible, as she realized she could also draw and color, while reading her way through the scriptures. I realized I needed to get her a coloring bible too!

I was filled with joy, as I took in the truth: Even with all my imperfections, my child is watching me walk with Jesus, and making the choice to walk with him too. Our family found out she knew Jesus, and already had a relationship with him, while she was yet only the tender age of three years old. My daughter showed a gift for discerning and understanding scriptures, forgiving easily, and  comforting others by perceiving their pain, along with ability to melt it away; even before her preschool years. She has wisdom beyond her years, and it is not credited to me; it is because God has given her these beautiful gifts. I marvel at them, just as I do at the gifts he has given to my twin boys, who are now young adults, and just as I see gifts within the children of my friends, and the children who have attended my Sunday school classes. 

The Proverb I read to my daughter last night happened to be: “These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance–for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise” (Prov. 1:4-6 New International Version). Never assume someone is too young to follow Jesus, for the innocence of children is clean and pure. They don’t have the dirt and lies of the world to spoil their view, so they can see truth and love more clearly. Share God’s wisdom, truth, and love with a precious child today! 


“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.  Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:1-5 New Living Translation).

*Bible page pictured from Inspire ~ The Bible for Creative Journaling ~ NLT



Wisdom says Do Not Mock the Poor

When I was a child I was often made fun of for being too sensitive. When I was eight, I lived in Brindisi, Italy. There were breads and cheeses and fruits at the marketplace. There were beggars too, in extremely great need. I wanted money to give to the beggars, and was told we couldn’t help them all. Couldn’t we help just one? I wanted to put some lire in the cup held by the dirty woman propped up against the stone wall. I knew her life couldn’t be easy; for she had only one leg. She was a mama with a baby on her lap, and a toddler hovering nearby. From what I understood, we were not to look at them, or engage with them; we were to pretend that they were not there.

But I stole a look behind me anyway, wondering how her family would eat and drink, and how she would take care of her children if she couldn’t even walk! All I could offer to the beggars as a child, was a smile to their toothless smiles, and it was hard to do that when my heart felt like a damn about to burst from holding back all my tears.

The mocking of my sensitive soul continued as I got older. Even as an adult, I was again made fun of, for my concern over whether someone who had entered a restaurant in Washington DC, was hungry and in need of a meal. I was gauging the situation by watching a disheveled woman’s behavior, trying to discern whether my asking if she wanted a meal would be offensive to her, or accepted with relief. People who should have been guiding me all my life, laughed at me instead, joking by claiming that the woman actually worked in the restaurant; all while stuffing their faces with the overly expensive food. I was no longer hungry.

Another time, I was greatly distressed to find that the homeless, in a city in North Carolina, were being forced to wear orange vests if they wanted to ask for money or work, while standing at medians in busy intersections. While understanding that the fluorescent orange color could protect them from getting hit by cars, I remarked on the cruelty of these people having to make themselves even more visible, as if was not already humiliating enough to beg for work, money, and food. I didn’t care if they had their own camp over yonder and had “chosen” this way of life. I was angry about their plight, and disgusted with the city of Durham for being willing to pay for orange vests, when that cash could instead be used towards sheltering cold homeless people, putting warm coats on cold bodies, or filling hungry bellies with delicious comfort food.

I was mocked and laughed at for speaking my caring thoughts aloud. Unkind words were said about the homeless. It hurt my ears. When, I objected, I was told it was all “just joking.” Then why wasn’t I laughing too? I sat sullenly in the back seat, not caring two cents about being the party pooper. Didn’t anyone else care about the poor? This wasn’t funny. At. All. And I knew by then how to think for myself. I had already been helping those less fortunate than me. I had a heart for helping the poor; it was a part of me, and I was glad. “Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who rejoice at the misfortune of others will be punished” (Proverbs 17:5 New International Version).

Several years later, I found myself joyfully fixing food and serving a community meal at a local church. The poor came, and the homeless. They were hungry; in need of clothing, toys, supplies, and most of all… Jesus. My favorite part was after the meal had been served, when I could take a seat across from, or next to these broken people and listen to their heartbreaking stories. I got to know their names, pray for them, and hug them. It got to the point where I would recognize them on the street if I passed through town. One even came to the library to read books one day while I was there with my children. I was able to introduce my daughter to Miss Carol, who seemed to find great comfort in reading children’s books, so we talked about our favorites.

If these kinds of people and situations were supposed to be ignored, dismissed, mocked, and joked about; why did my heart swell with such tenderness when I had the opportunity to meet these people’s needs? Why did I feel such joy at being allowed the privilege of giving a little part of myself to hopeless, hurting people? It wasn’t the kind of happiness that comes from a perfect day, like your birthday when you eat your favorite foods, with your favorite people, and go to your favorite places. It was Holy Spirit Love for others, which fills your heart with joy and peace, because you’re fulfilling God’s beautiful, divine purpose. For Jesus came to bring life to the lost, and hope to those in despair. He lives within me, and nothing compares to being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, and loving others the way he does!

And who is to say that my life couldn’t have been like their lives? What if I was the one in their circumstances? How would my life turn out? Yet, I realize now that though I never lacked for food or clothing or shelter, I was truly poor in spirit, for I lacked the nurturing, care, encouragement, support, and unconditional love; that a child needs to become a whole, happy, healthy adult. The silver lining is God knows exactly what we need. He will provide it through other people, resources, the Holy Bible, churches, or if needed… a miracle. And best of all, is God’s promise, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:13).


God commands us to take care of the poor, minister to orphans and widows, and to uplift and encourage the broken-hearted. It’s because God values everyone as part of His Miraculous Creation. You can’t be a Christian without caring for those less fortunate, for the Bible says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (Jas. 1:27)

When we become part of the family of God, we become part of God’s greater plan. I can’t help but think that if everyone obeyed God and gave a part of themselves to those in need, that no one would be poor at all, and then we wouldn’t have all these problems in the first place! But we are dealing with the fall, and sin, and broken people. Nothing will be perfect ever until we reach Heaven. But in the meantime, can’t we give a little, or a lot, of our resources to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to help those who need to know Jesus to find him?

Someone’s greatest need may financial, physical, educational, or spiritual. A person may need food, shelter, Christian counsel, friendship, a bible to read, or a ride to church. We can use our gifts from God to minister to the poor. And if we don’t have much; we surely have our prayers to offer, which bring great results and rewards. Surely, we would not want others to make fun of us during our greatest time of need. We all want our basic and greater needs met. Isn’t God a good God to notice when we aren’t being treated right, when we are made fun of for being poor, or mocked for caring about poor people? It’s insulting and unacceptable to God!

So, do not heed the lies, all you compassionate and brothers and sisters in Christ; keep on caring, giving, sharing, encouraging, and loving others! Be beautifully sensitive! These are gifts from God to share with others! For we are ALL made in His image! God will bless both the giver and receiver, and everything will be used for His glory!

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).



Let God be Your Affirmation… not Fools!

Sometimes I get discouraged, and doubt creeps in. I wonder if my blog is making a difference in other people’s lives. There are times of great response, with comments and sharing; and other times there are personal affirmations from others (my favorite) and sometimes silence, when my heart remains grateful to my most encouraging friends! But God keeps giving me words to write! The words rain down upon me, and I can’t write them fast enough, because I know The Silver Lining is coming; and a whole bunch of people need to see God’s miraculous promise of a rainbow! 

There have been times people have come to me, saying they did not know where to turn, but had thought of my blog; The Silver Lining, and decided to contact me. What an honor to be sought out specifically by hopeful people, who reach out, believing their questions and problems will be received with God’s grace! This makes my heart sing! Sometimes the issue has been sickness; at other times marriage, children, or a friend. Someone may need prayer for depression, lonliness, or to battle the stronghold of a sin. It might be just a quick question about scripture interpretation, or best of all; the opportunity to lead someone to Jesus Christ. 

I don’t have all the answers; I’m still continuously learning myself. But I’m God’s willing servant, wanting to help others where I can. Sometimes I receive a one-time message or phone call. Other times there are several meetings over coffee; where I’m trusted to listen, offer biblical counsel, and pray for precious souls. 

God has also created opportunities for friendships to evolve and grow. I consider it such a joyful privilege, to have been chosen by God to bless others, through both the written and spoken word. This morning, as I read Proverbs 10, I was given a gift. God showed me how valuable my encouraging words really are, regardless of the feedback:

For the Bible says, “The words of the godly are like sterling silver, the heart of a fool is worthless. The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense”  (Prov. 10:20-21 New Living Translation). God is saying my words are valuable! 

As if that weren’t already a beautiful blessing, God is saying my words encourage many, whether I am aware of it or not! God is talking about godly people in those verses. That means God is talking about me! I’m not godly because I’m perfect; I’m far from it! I’m godly because Jesus lives inside of me! I daily repent, seeking forgiveness for my sins. I pursue Jesus, seek God’s wisdom, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me. I am godly, because I’m a child of God!

But when God’s gives gifts to His children, He blesses abundantly. As I reflected upon His promises, and the truth that my godly words are valuable and an encouragement to many; He showed me something else: The words of fools are worthless.  Fools will even be destroyed, because they don’t have common sense! God obviously really, really means it, for there’s more:

“The godly will never be disturbed, but the wicked will be removed from the land. The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice, but the tongue that deceives will be cut off. The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words” (prov. 10:30-33).


Wow!  Not only is God further verifying that my godly words are helpful to others, He is reiterating the fact that foolish people’s words are useless. God tells us the words of a fool are deceitful and perverse. In fact, God hates foolish talk so much, that He promises to cut it off. He promised to remove wicked people from the land and leave us godly people happily undisturbed

Do you realize what this means for genuine Christian bloggers, evangelists, street ministers, pastors, youth leaders, and more? It means God has our backs! God is not fooled by copy cats and knock-offs. God knows the difference between fool’s gold, and solid 14k treasure. God is going to take care of the fools, the deceivers, the false prophets, the fake teachers, the pretenders, and the wolves in sheep’s clothing! No matter what it looks like right now, which kind of fools or obstacles try to stand in your way; they are nothing compared to the great plans and callings God has for His children, the godly ones!

So be encouraged, all you godly children! Keep on doing whatever you are doing to grow the Kingdom of God, knowing and trusting that your work is greatly valuable, and encouraging to others. Don’t let any slanderous fools lie to you and tell you you’re unworthy to share the gospel; or that your ministry is no good, or that you’re not making a positive, godly difference. Foolish words from foolish people don’t mean a thing. For GOD is the ultimate authority over all things. God’s got this!

“Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thes. 4:18 English Standard Version)





Make a REAL Difference on International Women’s Day! 

It’s International Women’s Day; a day of celebrating, respecting, acknowledging and loving women! How wonderful to be noticed for who we are and what we do! But let’s not forget: Our God loves BOTH women and men! Loving women does not mean to stop appreciating, respecting, or loving men. For we are all making sacrifices and trying to make our way through a sin-filled world. 

Jesus came to save both women and men from their sins, and give us eternal life! We have been hurt by men, and we have been hurt by women. We will be treated well by men, and we will be treated well by women. There are bad men, and there are bad women. There are good men, and there are good women. No matter how we have been treated, the silver lining is that God loves us all!

To stop shopping, working, doing, or being a woman just for a day is not an answer. Being a woman who has a relationship with Jesus Christ, and pursues him in her imperfections, striving to do what’s good, honorable, noble and right, fighting to live when she no longer feels she can… is being a real woman. For no woman, and no man for that matter, is anything at all without salvation, power, and authority given in Jesus Christ. 

Don’t stop “being” a woman today; you’re much too valuable! Be who you are and go to your job, mother your children, go to school, do errands, or even take it easy if you want to. But be a woman in action, because it’s what you do and who you are; because you’re proud to be who God created you to be! Tell someone about Jesus… Another woman needs him today! ” ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all’ ” (Prov. 31:29 New International Version).

Women, you’re important, you matter, and you’re loved. All souls matter, whether male or female, black or white, old or young. For we are all made in the image of God. Let the Bible tell you who you are! It’s much better than what the world says! “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27).

Now, go out and be a real woman, and make a difference for the Kingdom of God! 
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9).

Wisdom for Young Men… the Adulterous Woman 

Cloud: “For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death her steps lead straight to the grave” (Prov. 5: 3-5 New International Version).

Silver Lining: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Prov. 5:18).

As hard as it may be to hear, God’s word is true. Men who get involved with adulterous women will be deceived, and ultimately destroyed. On the surface she seems attractive, but underneath lies dirt and grime and danger. God even warns young men what to look for, and promises that the adulterer will take down with her, those who give in to temptation. 

But rejoice! God offers a blessing to those who delight in one wife! He wants each of His children to enjoy love that is pure. His plans for marriage are pure and holy! He is happy for us when we stay together with our spouse, through good times and bad. God believes in love and marriage; He takes marriage vows seriously, and He blesses the holy union between a man and a woman. Children are God’s greatest gift and reward from marriage. Marriages without children are also a blessed divine union. For the Bible says, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9).

Though God talks to young men in Proverbs, His word applies to young women too. Young women, who get involved with married men, will find dreams dashed and hopes smashed. Do not be fooled into thinking someone is your “soulmate” if that person, or you, are already married to someone else.  To believe this is to believe a lie; a lie meant to break hearts and destroy the families God has beautifully created. Anyone in an adulterous situation thinks he or she is the exception, but there are no exceptions under God’s Law. If God promises lives will be ruined because of adultery… they will.  

Young or old, male or female… Do not get involved with someone if you are married. Do not get involved with someone if that someone is married. Do not give yourself away to anyone outside of marriage. “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).

God’s way is the best way. His way offers protection, joy, and rewards. His commands are there because He loves us!  If you have committed the sin of adultery, repent; and be forgiven in Christ! Find a trusted Christian advisor who can help you back onto the righteous path Jesus wants to walk with you. “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165

” ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:27-28). Pursue Jesus before and during marriage!