Tag Archives: friendship

Give God Your Failed Plans…God Prospers and  Encourages Us with Silver Linings, Smiles, and Truth

Sometimes you’re feeling down, maybe really down… and your eyes light on something out of the blue… something that makes you smile. Today it’s one of my daughter’s simple deer drawings. The notepad is lying open, because she’s working on her book, in my room, on the floor… because she never likes to be alone. They are all over the house, the books she creates… millions of them! She’s already the author and illustrator of many animal books about puppy dogs, deer, and lions!  If you’re struggling today, I hope this brightens your day; I find that children’s art always makes me smile. I love the innocence and cute charm of their simple pictures, don’t you? 

Today I can choose to look for the silver lining… the many gifts God gives me in spite of my struggles. There’s a mockingbird chirping outside of my window. Her mate has been feeding her yellow flowers all week long. It’s been so much fun to discover the male sitting atop our shed, being the lookout, then sailing into the woods, only to return and dash in to please her feeding her the delicious food he has found just for her. She’s chirped for him to come when she’s hungry. We’ve watched in awe at how he’s taken care of her. We laughed as I tried to capture the beautiful moment, only to see her “poop” on the deck. My daughter and I laughed until we almost cried! It was the silver lining in a moment that was not perfect.

I had perfection in mind for this weekend, with everything laid out exactly how it should go. But I forgot, as I still sometimes do, that my God doesn’t work like that. Everybody has free will, and because of that free will, there will be interruptions and problems which may interfere with my plans coming to fruition. But God’s plans always come to fruition, and His plans are the best, no matter what it looks like on the outside. I know this is how God works, but I forgot this weekend. I became extremely discouraged when a family argument prevented us from getting something completed that I felt was extremely important. 

And now as I write, God is at this moment revealing to me that He allowed it; not only because our family needed prayer time more than project time, but that He wanted me to see that this is often the struggle my husband has. My husband wants to “check things off the list.” He is learning that his list often does not coincide with what God wants him to do first. Well… in experiencing this frustration for myself this weekend, I realize now that God allowed it, so I could experience all the emotions my husband experiences when he doesn’t get to “check off that important item.” This helps me to better understand my husband, so I can keep praying for him. It also provides my husband an opportunity to empathize with me, because he knows exactly how it feels when something doesn’t get done.

God has a different checklist in mind than ours. His checklist is less about things getting done, and more about people’s hearts being changed to be more like Jesus. It’s a guarantee that if it comes down to a project getting done, or prayer time for hearts to be changed, God is going with the heart. Maybe we need to be less about getting things done, and more about spending time with God so he can change us. Yes, God cares about our projects too; but He cares more about our individual walk with Jesus. He cares so much, that when He knows a stormy argument is going to cause an upset, He provides the silver linings along the way; to give us hope, and to encourage us so we won’t give up! 

During the weekend which did not go as planned, God planned His gifts ahead of time, because He knew I’d need them to keep my spirit afloat when I felt myself sinking. Because of my abusive childhood, I tend to get extremely discouraged when there’s a family argument. I begin to listen to lies that tell me no one cares and that I’m not loved. As a child scapegoat living in a completely dysfunctional home, I was blamed for everything; neglected and ignored, told I should feel guilty, and that I ruined everything. The problems were not even about me. But when circumstances come along that feel familiar, so comes a spiritual attack, and I will feel myself drowning in discouragement. Though I’ve learned to battle the lies with the truth, sometimes I forget to use my power and authority in Jesus Christ and tell the devil to sit on a tack! 

The only way to chase away those lies is through prayer. Why? Because we can’t count on our emotions. Evil spirits lie to us, and strive to cause strife, division, and isolation in our families. But as my husband reminded my whole family last night; because our kids are fed and clothed and live in a nice clean house, some people may think from the outside that our family has it all together; just as people might have thought my family had it all together when I was a child. However, the truth is that all families struggle, but there is a vast difference when Jesus is in the middle of a family, as opposed to when he is not. My husband remarked that though Jesus was not at the center of my family when I was growing up, Jesus is at the center of OUR family now! All five of us have received Jesus into our hearts, and we all desire to have a relationship with him. 

Therefore, Jesus has always been with our family, even when we’ve been on different walks in our pursuit of him, and even when we haven’t understood how a healthy family functions. For, neither of us experienced God’s truths taught in our families; the truth that we are completely forgiven for all of our sins, the truth that we can battle lies with prayer, the truth that we are loved and cherished by God unconditionally, and so much more! We are creating a whole new generation for our children and children’s children; as we all pursue God and learn together, and find that we are loved beyond measure! Because our family pursues Jesus, and because our family prays together, we can have hope, and be encouraged that God is taking care of us through it all! 

And God knows we need tangible proof of His love for us. After all, we are only human. A huge silver lining that carried us through this weekend was an on-the-spot invitation from our dear family friends, as we left church. It came when George said, ” Hey! Do you guys wanna come over later for a barbecue?” My daughter couldn’t wait. She was watching the time, and asked if our friends still had their cats. They did.

It was the most delightful evening we’ve had in a long time: laughter with friends, delicious grilled chicken, and another unexpected guest to add to the fun. My precious friend, Kim, even served homemade strawberry shortcake in honor of my boys’ belated birthday. She also served my husband’s favorite; rhubarb sauce. We even had the heavy whipping cream at home, which we were gratefully able to contribute, because my husband had bought some the day just the day before. We don’t normally have this item in hand, but we bought some to use with our new ice cream maker. God even cares about the tiny details! The night ended with everyone hanging out near the chicken coop. The chickens’ silly antics made us laugh. Their individual personalities came out, and many of them enjoyed being carried or sitting on laps! It was just a really special night, when another family made our family feel important and loved. God orchestrated that! 

I know that it’s these silver linings on which God wants me to focus; not the hardships, even though it’s difficult when you  feel those strong emotions, and the lies feel so true. Though yesterday was tough, there was an absolutely glorious sunset last night, reminding me that God is Lord above us all; watching over everything and everyone. And right before I went to bed, a text message came from my pretty, cheerful friend, asking if she could take my daughter today for a play date. It couldn’t have come at a better time, and with a girlfriend my daughter absolutely adores! Now I will have some time to write, clean, and be creative; which I’ve been trying to do, but just have not been able to find a slice of time that works for me. Even though things are far from perfect, the silver lining which shines brightest, is knowing my family is pursuing Jesus through it all… every single day… together. 

I pray for you to find the sweet silver linings today, which God has already gifted to you in advance, because he wants to bring a smile to your face. When things don’t go as planned, don’t be dismayed. Remember this: “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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you” (Jer. 29:11-12 New International Version).


I’m going to meet with God today, and ask Him to brighten my day, and the day of anyone who reads this message of hope, truth, and encouragement. Today, I pray God reveals many of the silver linings He has prepared just for you, in Jesus’ name. May God continue to brighten my day… and yours!  

Before Your Loved Ones Die, Give Them Jesus… Expect a Miracle!

I can’t believe it’s been six years since my friend Donna Dehart passed away. I love this photo of the two of us giggling, trying to play the Wii (and failing miserably) on Christmas Day, 2008. It’s the only photo I have of the two of us together. 

Donna’s daughters were at their dad’s on Christmas Day, so we had the blessing of having her spend Christmas Day with my family.  We enjoyed good food, love and laughter, and the fun of playing with Christmas toys! That Christmas, Donna gave me a beautiful gift. I opened a small, delicate ceramic angel box; and what was inside, took my breath away: Donna had written wise sayings on teeny tiny pieces of long paper, and she had curled them around a pencil. Then she had lovingly placed them one by one, into the angel box… just…for…ME! One of the sayings said, “Expect a miracle… Expect a miracle…”

Even though I knew Donna struggled greatly with chronic illness, I had no idea God would take my friend home just three years later. Donna was adamant that Jesus was a great teacher, and that was where it ended. She was stubborn when it came to her beliefs, so I decided to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus for my friend; so she could see Jesus living me! We had lunch dates, painted in art class together, met at the Farmer’s Market, shared secrets, and had spiritual conversations on the phone. 

Finally,  against everything she said she wouldn’t do; she began to attend my church, where some of my friends had been loving on her and ministering to her too. We also formed a team to help her with house repairs, and another friend fixed her vintage car; which was in the garage more than out, and ran on a few bucks and a prayer! My sisters and brothers in Christ let our love speak for itself. 

Donna didn’t have much as far as earthly possessions, but she had a contagious laugh and positive attitude that filled me up. She had a fierce love for her daughters, and great empathy for animals without a home; so great, that she gave them a home at her own house! Though we didn’t always agree, our friendship was one of respect, trust, loyalty, and love. Donna did believe in Jesus and his death and resurrection, but she would only let me witness up to a certain point. I had to trust that God would reveal Himself through compassion from our church, other godly organizations, and her Christian friends. 

When she lay in the hospital, close to death, and unresponsive; I thought of the silver lining… Expect a miracle. I prayed an intercessory prayer for her. I held her hand and whispered in her ear, and I asked her to receive Christ if she had not. I told her it wasn’t too late, and she could receive Jesus without talking. While still whispering in her ear, so she could hear me above the noisy machines working hard to keep her alive, I asked God in his infinite mercy to let her hear my prayer. I asked God to lead her to say yes in her heart, and to have peace, so she could go to Heaven. I told her I would meet her there, and I kissed her goodbye. And to this day, I… expect a miracle!

We never know how much time we have with our friends and family here in earth. Tell them about Jesus while you can, even if it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do! People need Jesus, and they are more ready to receive him than we realize. Out of every act of friendship, telling someone about Jesus is the most loving thing you can ever do! 

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 Jn. 4:11).


Here’s how I think of you, up in Heaven, my dear, precious friend! Peace be with you!

This is the poem I wrote and read for Donna’s memorial service:

Dear Donna, this is what I know;

that lots of people loved you so.

 

You truly had a heart of gold,

so kind to others: young and old,

 

Accepted people as they are;

It’s why you’re still a shining star.

 

Down on his luck, you’d find a friend,

Make up a bed, and take him in.

 

A dog or cat left out to roam

Could find your house and call it home.

 

I’ll not forget your loyalty…

You named a chicken after me!

 

Nature, music, animals, art:

Happy passions of your heart.

 

But even more, you loved your girls,

Who brought you pride and filled your world.

 

Long black hair, and a great big smile,

Always time to chat for a while.

 

Your hearty laugh would make my day,

My troubles would just melt away.

 

A flash of green erased my frown;

Your Ford Galaxy on the town!

 

 When my heart hurts, I’ll feel a tug,

and give myself a “great big hug”.

 

My friend, why did you have to go?

It’s hard, but now I think I know.

 

God must have had some extra paint.

He looked until he found a saint.

 

He thought He’d free you from your pain

And since you loved the sun and rain,

 

He’d give you something fun to do,

And make you feel much better too.

 

You’d paint His rainbows with His brush

To be enjoyed by all of us. 

 

When orange and purple clouds roll by,

I’ll know you’re painting in the sky!

 

 ~Angela Royse Pelleman

   © 2011

How to Give without Guilt, and Fulfill the Mission of Pleasing God

Sometimes we have the opportunity to bless a reader at The Silver Lining, by meeting a specific need. I believe God gives me spiritual words spoken in discernment, wisdom and love; meant to offer you hope, healing, and encouragement in Jesus Christ. I’d also like to be the hands and feet of Jesus whenever, and wherever he leads me. 

Therefore, in my mission to help others, I may occasionally share a need, where The Silver Lining readers might be led by God to serve, sponsor, or donate food or funds; to bless those less fortunate. These are just opportunities, which I have been led to share. I ask that you participate only if God leads you, and that you will please, first and foremost; pray for the families in need. If you are able to speak to them directly, tell them about Jesus, so you can meet their greatest need… salvation through Jesus Christ. Pray for the family to pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ. Your prayers are so important! God hears them and answers them! 

When we witness to a hurting, struggling family, we are attempting to meet their spiritual needs by bringing the love of Jesus to them. But as Jesus ministered to people; he also healed, fed, and clothed them. Cold and hungry people will be too busy focusing on their immediate needs to stop and listen to our witness. It’s important to meet those basic, immediate needs; when it’s in our power to act, and if God calls us to do it. God takes physical needs seriously.

I’d like to share how God might lay a couple different areas of giving upon your heart, by telling you how He spoke to me this week in two different ways: The first opportunity came about when I saw a single mom’s post, requesting clothing for her children. That was an easy one; I had what she was asking for, so I gave it.

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you’– when you already have it with you” (Prov. 3:27-28 New International Version).


In addition, it’s easy for me to share a message asking for donations to help a local family. That’s what I did, and I look forward to sharing more giving opportunities on The Silver Lining Facebook page.

Another opportunity to give, came from a reader of The Silver Lining, whose relatives were badly injured in a home explosion in Texas. This mission speaks loads of empathy and love to me; because the woman who posted it, is the wife of the dear pastor who baptized me when I was a little girl. This tragedy was personal to me, because it is personal to someone I care about and love. 

Though I already knew Jesus when I was five, my loving pastor made sure I understood I was taking the step of showing my brothers and sisters in Christ that I had made the decision to follow Jesus Christ. This act of baptism allowed me to fall even more in love with Jesus, and to have some security in knowing there was someone up in Heaven who loved me unconditionally. I remember writing, painting, drawing, and reading the Bible a lot after I was baptized. I seemed to have a heightened sense for the simple beauty of blue skies, little birds, sunsets, a new song, and fragile flowers. And though no one else noticed that I was blooming… God did! 

Later, I was honored to have this same pastor, Brother Jarrell Griffin, lead my husband to Christ while we were undergoing premarital counseling in his office. I had thought my fiancé was a Christian, because he believed in Jesus. Yet, he had never been offered Jesus as a gift, nor had he considered having a relationship with him. I watched as he prayed to receive Christ, and it was absolutely beautiful. Going into our marriages as true Christians, would help us get through many of life’s greatest, difficult challenges; since neither of us had an idea of what a healthy marriage was supposed to look like. 

This pastor whom I loved, officiated our wedding ceremony, and I will never forget the joy I had in my heart, to have this precious man of God be the one to marry me to my beloved husband. I’d like to think he’s smiling up in Heaven, upon hearing that I want to offer comfort to his relatives, by participating in a mission to encourage, and help them get back on their feet again. 

The Bible says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

Spruiell Medical and Home Campaign

This fund supports an elderly couple and three visitors who were sleeping in their home, when it collapsed due to an explosion. Praise God, for the silver lining: a miracle, in which all five survived! However, they have endured a traumatic event, and have sustained critical injuries, requiring a long recovery process and the need for much healing. 

The fund is to help with hospital bills and the rebuilding of their home. 

To give, click: GO FUND ME SPRUIELL

The news link is also located at the Go Fund Me page. 

May God bless this dear couple, and their three dear friends. May God bless them with a beautiful testimony, and may He fill them with great hope to bring them through this dark trial. May He bring them joy through Jesus, and may they each experience a miracle at the Hands of God! In Jesus name, we pray, Amen. 


The missions opportunities to help these families, and others, will also be listed on The Silver Lining Facebook page. 
There are many, many needs out in the world today. Your giving is always between you and God. My husband and I talk with each other, and we pray first, asking God if He wants us to give to a particular cause. Sometimes it’s yes, and sometimes it’s no. When it’s yes, we ask God to tell us the amount He wants us to give, and usually we end up with the same dollar amount in mind. If not, we are always very close; in which case we either meet in the middle, or go with the higher number. 

Once we give, it’s out of our hands, and we trust God to do with it as He sees fit. There have been occasions where we felt were deceived into giving. Yet, those occasions have lessened as we’ve sought God’s counsel more and more. We’ve learned from those mistakes, and we know God has blessed our giving anyway, because our motives have been pure. 

We’ve also had occasions where we planned to give, and God put a stop to it, and told us not to do it. It was clearly God shutting the door. Usually we find it’s because God wanted us to give elsewhere. Other times, we don’t know why. Maybe we weren’t supposed to be involved, or maybe it was simply because God chose someone else to do the giving, so they could be blessed. 

In any case, God’s direction is always clear. The devil’s direction is not. The devil nags and gives people anxiety, and false guilt. God doesn’t use guilt to manipulate us into giving. If you’re struggling with guilt over not giving, that’s not God; it’s the devil using false guilt to eat away at your self-worth. The devil likes to try and steal your day with anxiety, and make us agonize with stress over making the right decision. Don’t let him! 

If God wants you to give, He will tell you firmly, and he will use conviction. This means God will boldly, yet peacefully get your attention, when He calls upon you to give. He will provide you with clear instructions on how to give, and He will remind you to follow through in obedience. Once you give, your heart will be light, and you will feel joy at knowing you have pleased The Lord, God.

No matter where, or how we give, our mission is to first please God. We can only do this by pursuing Jesus, and leading others to receive his gift of salvation. After this, all the rest of our giving will fall in line, right where God wants it. Give the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Be a light, and ask God to direct your giving. He will!

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:6-7).


Let your mission be “Jesus First.” God will show you where to give, and He will bless you accordingly… and abundantly!

Two are Better than One… The Healing Joy of Friendship

Today I am one month into my recovery from back surgery. While I still have pain, I’m getting around a lot better. I love my home, but I start to go stir crazy if I don’t get outside to breathe in some fresh, clean air. I’ve been getting that slightly overwhelming feeling of wondering how I will ever catch up on things that were never caught up on in the first place; especially when it’s still too early in my recovery to even begin the catching up! 

But I’ve been faithfully sharing God’s love with others. I’ve been meeting some wonderful people in the process, following where God leads me, and learning a bit more about the direction of my ministry; along with the plans God has for me and my family for the future. All this is because God has provided me with rest. 

This week God said it was time to get outside! He immensely blessed both my daughter and me with a sunshiny day at the park! It was one of those “God Moments” where you just know He has his hands all over it, so you can have a slice of joy! 

With a last minute weather check, on a whim we invited several friends to join us, and were delighted to find that almost all of them could meet us there! Since I’m unable to drive yet, one of my friends kindly picked up half of us at my house. My other friend had dropped her girls off at my house, so they could come too. Even though she couldn’t stay, I was blessed by her smile and huge hug. My sweet friend who was the driver, patiently waited as we searched for shoes, because we couldn’t find the ones my daughter needed for the playground. She also carried my cooler and my other bag, insisting I didn’t need to be handling them. 

She cheerfully got all the girls into the car, and still doesn’t know how grateful I am that she was such a good sport about us not being ready to go when she arrived. She just smiled and chatted, as my daughter made her jelly sandwich for her little picnic treat. My friend didn’t seem phased at all by the mess of toys and shoes, which had been slowing building over the last two days. It felt like a fresh spring breeze had just entered my home, and her joy gave me a peek at the fun day we were going to have at the park. I felt myself relax, as my friend patiently adjusted the seats in her car, so we could all fit. I wasn’t able to help, and just felt incredibly grateful for her willingness to go out of her way to pick us up out in the country. 

We were late to the park, but thankfully I managed to remember to check my phone, because my other friend wasn’t sure which park was the meeting place. I told I was sorry we were running late, and we were happy to find her already waiting for us when we arrived. I cherished her warm hug, and as an added bonus; she had brought me two dozen fresh eggs from her farm! 

Soon my other girlfriend was pulling up with her energetic, lovable crew! She lives farther away, and we’d been wanting to get together for a while now. I had ordered some of her beautiful handcrafted soaps; because pure,  handmade soaps are the only kind I use. They are a tiny slice of happiness, because they’re good for my skin, look pretty, and smell wonderful! I decided to see if my friend would be able to bring her girls to the park the next day. She could bring the soaps with her. My daughter and I were so excited when they said they would be coming!

As my friends got to know each other, our children did too. They played in the beautiful sunshine; climbed ladders and flew down slides, chased each other, blew bubbles, and giggled as they tried out the baby swings! We moms talked about homeschooling, family life, friendships, and farming. Everybody said they wanted to meet again soon, and have another day like this together. It was finally time for my friends to go to soccer games, prepare dinner, and attend to farm chores. Even though I had arranged a ride home, each busy friend still offered to make herself available to drive my daughter and me back home. This made me feel loved and cared for, in a way they probably don’t even realize. 

I was incredibly grateful for my husband, making his way through town, doing some errands for me, before he came to pick us up at the park. He was making sure prescriptions were filled, and grocery runs were complete. He even offered to pick up take-out, though he’d offered to make dinner already. So many times he has done these things for us, but it seems so much sweeter, when he’s doing it to help me heal, and so we can enjoy some time out with friends. 

I still have this deep sense appreciation and awakened joy for all the little things that add up to make a God day, into a great day. I know it’s from God; the silver lining of sweet joy to keep me going through the pain and redundant routine of recovery.  I thought about how some people don’t even have cars. They have to navigate rides all the time. I felt so grateful that God had navigated all my rides for me, so my daughter and I could enjoy a perfect day at the park. We’d had fun giving out packages of colored chalks and bottles of bubbles to our friends. They were leftover prizes from our church’s  Easter in the Park. For me it was a small way of continuing the celebration and joy of Easter with the precious little people in our lives. For, aren’t we always ministering to each other in our friendships, as we seek to be all Jesus calls us to be?

My husband who always takes care of us, picked us up in perfect timing, and assisted my daughter with some tricks on the monkey bars. We went home tired and happy, with sun-kissed cheeks. The joy of friendship filled my heart, and my daughter’s eyes were bright with happiness from all the fun with her girlfriends. She’d even met a new friend, before we left. She’s like that; she makes friends wherever we go.

When I got home, I was hit with a migraine. I’ve been battling them for the last two months. And unfortunately, I get them after spending time in the sun. The pain was intense, and it wiped me out. Though I was now toast for the rest of the evening; it did not take away from the joy of our wonderful adventure that day. We had come home with a stash of farm fresh eggs,beautiful handcrafted soaps, plans for additional fun homeschool classes with friends for next year, and a reminder of our lovely day with treasured friends in our small town. More healing occurred in a day with friends, than could happen in a week without them! Thank you God for friendship!

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Eccles. 4:9-10 New Living Translation).

Be a friend; gain a friend!

                                 

                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Related blog posts:

Surgery Day: Trusting God Through Trials
Recovery Week 1: The Family That Prays Together…
Recovery Week 2: The Unexpected Joy of Rest
Recovery Thoughts: Healing is a Journey
Recovery Week 2-1/2: It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice!
Recovery Week 3: The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie 

The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I’m now three weeks into my recovery from back surgery, and more appreciative than ever, of what God is doing in my life! Because of the many prayers, great care, support and encouragement I’ve received; I’m healing really well for someone who went home from the hospital after a lumbar fusion just three weeks ago.

Does love heal? You bet it does! Love was in the delicious foods brought to my front door, over the last two weeks! With cheerful smiles, my sweet friends greeted me, afraid to hug me; because they didn’t want to hurt my back. But I grabbed them into a bear hug and said, “Yes! Hug me! Your hugs are my favorite part!” And we laughed like children, as I told them the hugs have been helping me to heal! 

When you’re healing, every little thing seems like a big thing: every hug warms you deeper inside, every tasty morsel tastes extra delicious, and every visit makes you appreciate the fact that your friends have chosen to give you some precious moments of their time. The travel was for you, the meal was cooked and baked in love for you, and the laughter and kind concern was for you

When you’re healing, it’s a struggle when you can’t get in the car and drive yourself to your appointment and grab some groceries on the way home, and sneak in a quick stop at your favorite thrift store, Hope’s Treasures. But wait! God has already planned out everything, and His plan is even better!  One of my teenagers volunteered to drive me to my appointment. We enjoyed lunch nearby, at TooSso a kitchen-style restaurant, which quickly serves up delicious Pakistani favorites. TooSso means “stuff yourself!” I asked for its meaning the first time I visited. There is an entire cool wall covered in bottle caps…  I love interesting, artsy things!

Then leaning on my cane, for my daily walk, we went into… YES! Hope’s Treasures! There were records and books which kept him interested, even though he’s always patient with me, so I can look around! The money spent there goes to help the homeless community of Loudoun. I like the spirit of compassion at the center of this place. There’s always something fun and inexpensive to take back home, like this funky collection of beads, which my daughter used to create into party hats for her Oobies! 

Meanwhile, my other son, was at home, caring for my daughter. She is very social and constantly  needs to be learning and engaged. She’s like a beautiful flower that needs to be sung to, along with being watered and set in sunlight. If you didn’t sing to her, she’d still be beautiful, but it’s always a shame to miss out on the extra blooming of beautiful flowers, just because you didn’t stop and take the time to give them that little something extra that they need. My son did that for my daughter. They did one of her favorite things; which was to create a movie together using her stuffed animals, their voices, and his editing software on his computer. It was my favorite movie yet! 

Our family came home at different intervals, to a delicious home-cooked meal, made by my precious friend, Sharon, who attends our church, and is famous for her delicious pies! We enjoyed slow-baked chicken, mashed potatoes, asparagus, fresh salad, and oh; my husband’s favorite and mine… a real old-fashioned strawberry rhubarb pie! The message was lovingly carved into the crust, “Happy Easter, Pellemans,” with a little heart as the finishing touch!  I could have cried when I took my first sweet and sour bite! But Instead of tears, I was laughing at the movie my kids had cleverly created while the rest of us were out. I took it all in… the joy of it! I knew it was part of the gift of the healing God has been bestowing upon me. 

After the last scheduled meal, all of which had been perfectly planned to assist during my most difficult time; my husband made a stop at Costco to get us set up for the coming week. He does this all the time, but this time it was so much sweeter. It’s like God has been showing me everything through a finer lens of appreciation. For this is something I absolutely cannot do at this time. He got all our favorites: ice cream, mango salsa, Asian salad, filet mignon, salmon, strawberries, sweet n salty popcorn and more! He topped it off by bringing us hotdogs, which we enjoyed outside that evening, picnic-style. Picnics are my favorite. They contain all things beautiful: family and friends, food, fun, and the freedom and beauty of enjoying all of it outdoors! 

Yes, healing is tough. But the silver lining is that there’s joy along the journey if we remember to praise God and thank Him for all the good things we have in our lives. I may not even have had the chance to enjoy a strawberry rhubarb pie for Easter, if I had not gone through a surgery! These sweet touches make it all worth it! “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:18).

Thanking God for the sweet things in life, is kind of like biting into a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie… perfectly delightful!


Blog posts related to this surgery:


Surgery Day: Trusting God Through Trials

Recovery Week 1: The Family That Prays Together…

Recovery Week 2:  The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Recovery Thoughts:  Healing is a Journey

Recovery Week 2-1/2:  It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice! 

The Healing Power of an Apology

I messed up. Last week, I hurt a friend’s feelings… a beautiful friend; who supports me, encourages me, and makes me laugh out loud! I threw out some advice which hadn’t been sought, with the hopeful intention of making life a little better for her. She hadn’t asked for it though. She has before, but this time, she hadn’t. A simple, “I love you; I’m praying for your hurting heart,” would have been a much better solution, and we could have waited to chat by phone when we had more time.  It didn’t matter if my intention was good; what mattered was the effect it had on my friend. Instead of making her feel hopeful, it caused her to feel hurt and overwhelmed. And I was truly… sorry.

How would I have known though, had my friend not been honest, and told me so? But first, The Holy Spirit told me. I hadn’t heard back from my friend, and I began to feel a gentle nudge from within, that I should apologize, in case I had upset or offended my friend with my advice, which had been offered in the form of a text; a form of communication which is so easily misrepresented and misinterpreted. I began to hear the verse, “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise” (Prov. 10:19 Holman Christian Standard Bible). I gulped, convicted. I’d probably even been aware of the verse, as I’d been texting. I’m still learning to pay attention to The Holy Spirit.

The difference in being convicted by The Holy Spirit, or plagued by guilt from the devil; is that God is mercifully gentle, but firm. You ache in your spirit for the pain you’ve caused another, but at the same time you know Jesus has already died and taken the punishment for your sins. There is a desire to fix it, and make it right; but it’s not just to selfishly relieve a nagging sense of false guilt (which can go on and on for days after already seeking forgiveness). You want to apologize, because you love your brother or sister in Christ, and you seek to be obedient to God’s commandments.  In righting a wrong, your desire should be for both you, and your friend, to be able to draw closer to God in the process. After all, our purpose in pursuing Jesus, is to become more like him, each and every day. 

When I initially reached out to check on my friend, I found out I had indeed been being prompted by The Holy Spirit to apologize. My friend was hurt and had been graciously processing what I had said, before deciding to respond, which could have made the matter worse. She could have ended up hurting me, when my intention had never been to hurt her. Wise people wait… and pray. Meanwhile, we had still been in communication about other things online. She was still being her supportive, sweet, encouraging self. What if she hadn’t been honest with me? What if she’d just decided to write me off? I wouldn’t have had a chance to humble myself, give her my most sincere apology, and ask her to please forgive me. This is what I did. 

And I can now thank God for the silver lining. For in all this, my friend offered me even more grace, by saying, “There is nothing to apologize for.” Mercy! That’s what it looks like! Of course, I needed to apologize. However, in grace and love, she completely took me off the hook… the hook of guilt, the hook of blame… and the hook of self-condemnation. With one simple act of forgiveness, she displayed the forgiveness which Jesus displays to us each and every day, for all our sins and wrongdoings. Her one act of forgiving grace, offered healing to my heart,  by filling places where forgiveness was not given to me by others. Her sweet, simple act of forgiveness further validated God’s truth; we are forgiven because He loves us, just as we are.

And it is my hope, that my apology brings healing to her heart, by showing her that my compassionate heart cares about her compassionate heart, and that her friendship is valuable enough for me to kick out pride, humble myself, and admit when I’m wrong. I believe our friendship can only grow closer, for it is based in a shared love for Jesus Christ. We have prayed for each other, shared our stories of brokenness and healing, and have enjoyed the blessing of watching our children form a godly bond of friendship too. We have watched them with each other; being kind, laughing, and running free; making childhood memories together! 

Do you need to apologize to a friend today? Don’t swallow your pride; it might come up again later! Instead, renounce the spirit of pride in the name of Jesus. Humble yourself, and apologize to your friend. Yes, you are already forgiven in Christ, but the act of an apology brings healing to hurting hearts, and it draws us all closer to Jesus! “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (Jas. 4:10 English Standard Version).

“Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (Prov. 27:6 New Living Translation).

Queen Bee Gossip: Sweet as Honey or a Toxic Sting? (Series: Toxic People and Situations)

What can be done when annoying bees buzz gossip into our ears, casting doubt about a friend or loved one’s character? How do you handle it?  Do you accept the information as valid and true, or do you go directly to your friend for his or her side of the story? Have you let a good relationship go to waste, simply because you accepted a story that caused you to side with the gossip, or did you consider something may be wrong if you only heard from one party?

When we think about the times we have found ourselves in these situations, do we discover that we’ve taken sides with the gossip, without knowing all the facts; or have we given our loved ones the benefit of the doubt?  Did we ever allow the person being gossiped about, to come to his or her defense? Did the person even know about it? Did the person give up? Why or why not? Was the person being gossiped about… you?

At one time or another, we’ve all found ourselves in a sticky situation when someone suddenly starts talking about someone else. In that moment, we have a choice to participate, or not participate. It can be uncomfortable to speak up about it, but the person who should really be feeling uncomfortable is the gossip herself. If we choose to participate, we will find ourselves stuck in a hive, wondering how to escape a sticky situation. Those who engage in gossip are often afraid to fly away from the queen bee, because they’re usually fearful of getting stung themselves!  And they will… get stung… because if a gossip is sharing info with you, the gossip will share info about you. To think this is false, is to live in denial about the spirit of gossip and how it works.

A gossip’s tasty little bits of information may initially seem to be sweet as honey, but there’s something to be said about food that is sickeningly sweet. When a gossip shares her irresistible story, people willingly eat it up. This is because the gossip falsely makes you feel special; as if it’s an honor to have been chosen to be trusted with her private little story. But it’s kind of like having a chocolate chip… you can’t eat just one. Each tasty morsel gives you a desire for another, and a little bit isn’t enough to satisfy. Eventually the listener wants a whole cookie, something to fill the belly:

“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts” (Prov. 18:8 New International Version).


If the gossip is really experienced, she or he will work hard to turn you away from her enemies, from the very people God intended for you to have in your life… truthful, compassionate, loving people. Why would a gossip do this? Because the gossip has an agenda: It’s an agenda to get attention from you, no matter what the cost is to anyone else. If the gossip is successful at getting you to stop talking to your friends and loves ones, and you don’t even really know how it happened, you may want to consider the fact that this busy bee body is downright toxic.

By definition, toxic means poisonous! Who wants to be near poison? Wouldn’t we want to separate ourselves from it? Of course! The gossip knows this, so the gossip creates the division first, to distract you from the real problem… the gossip herself! However, instead of you being separated from the gossip, you are instead craftily separated from the friends and loved ones who are a positive influence in your life. A gossip separates friends out of spite, jealousy, low self-esteem, selfishness and self-centeredness.

“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends” (Prov. 16:28).


The Bible condemns gossips; even grouping them into the same category as liars, slanderers, and God-haters!  God is not referring to this group with favor. A gossip is always a liar too. Why? Because the juicier the story, the larger the gossip’s audience will be, and embellishment means that more attention will be bestowed upon the gossip.

“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. (Rom.8:29-31).

Try this experiment: Watch a gossip in action. Observe how people engage with her. They move in closer to her, and shut out those who are their targets. The gossip whispers for dramatic effect. People “oooh” and “ahhh” over her phrases. The news is always negative, and it is usually shocking. Bits of truth are thrown in to make the story seem true, and to make the gossip seem like a credible witness. The audience reacts by mimicking the gossip’s emotions. If she’s angry, they are “righteously” angry for her. If she’s having a pity party, her audience gladly pats her on the back and agrees that the person being gossiped about is truly thoughtless, unforgiving, and unChristianlike.

The gossip is the center of attention and the gossip wants to keep it that way. The focus will be on her and how much better she is than someone else, how she’s been mistreated by someone else, and how she is concerned about someone else. In essence, the gossip is an expert know-it-all about the person who is not even there to defend himself.  A genuine Christian should use discretion when concerned about a loved one;  and should seek to keep quiet about things that could hurt someone else or damage relationships among friends and loved ones:

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs” (Prov. 10:12).

Gossip is like having a  judge rule over a court case without allowing the defendant to speak. It’s like a football game when the offense runs forward to make a touchdown, but the defending team isn’t even there to try and intercept the ball.  If you challenge the gossip with questions to  verify how she got her information, her feathers will get ruffled, and she will become offended. She will become uncomfortable, and only then will she make an effort to change the subject.

In the worst case scenario, the gossip has no empathy, yet displays fake empathy by manipulating her captive audience into believing that she is concerned about the person being discussed. She is now in control of the situation, by having played on people’s emotions. Meanwhile the person being gossiped about is living a normal, healthy productive life, and usually has no clue about how much damage the gossip is causing behind his back. Yet slowly, bit by bit, people drop out of his life, all because of the gossip’s made up stories! Rarely will a good and fair man or woman come forward and say, “I heard this about you… is it true?” But why shouldn’t we do this? Why would we accept a one-sided conversation as truth? The Bible itself tells us this is a very naive thing to do:

“The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps” (Prov. 14:15 New American Standard Bible).

Most people can’t imagine how someone would play with real human lives in such a manner. But the truth is, it does happen, and it’s more often than we’d like to think. It happens when a gossip is at her very worst; and becomes a completely self-absorbed, self-centered, narcissistic person: Everything will be about her… everything. Not all gossips are narcissists; but ALL narcissists are gossips!  Beware the self-centered sting of narcissism!

If you’ve been caught up in the sin of gossip, the silver lining is that gossip is forgivable and escapable!  Repent of participating in gossip, and ask God whether He wants you to apologize to those who have been hurt by your participation in it. God makes good out of all things, when we come to Him with a repentant heart. Though it may take a while, God can heal broken relationships, and He can repair broken hearts. One small act of repentance can bring about a lifetime of beautiful gifts. God is a God of restoration. He can even replace many years which were lost due to the sin of gossip, and heal all the hearts involved. Ask God to remove gossip from your life today!

” ‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten– the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed” (Joel 2:25-27 New International Version).


If you’re the one being gossiped about, remember that God is your protector. The Holy Spirit is at work, convicting the hearts of those who accuse you. You’re not alone. Jesus knows exactly how you feel. He chose not to defend himself, even though He was, and is, God’s beloved Son. He knew God had a better plan, and he trusted His Father. When we are unjustly slandered, by those who gossip about us, we can rejoice in the fact that we are taking part in the suffering of Jesus for his namesake. Not only do we take part in the suffering, but we will also take part in the great joy of God’s Kingdom! God will judge all of it, and make it right. Don’t waste your time with a queen bee, when you belong to the KING!

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:17-18).


Stay tuned for these upcoming June posts from the Series: Toxic People, Toxic Situations… 
Is She a Gossip? … 10 Red Flags

10 Ways to Escape Gossip

The Self-Centered Sting of Narcissism

The Jezebel Spirit

Flying Monkeys… What are They?

Jezebel’s Chess Game… Win or Lose?

The Unexpected Joy of REST

I never expected God would fill me up with so much joy, at the exact same time I’d be recovering from major back surgery! I’m two weeks into recovery, and God has been lighting up my life! Now don’t get me wrong… it hurts! The pain is intense. Just when I think the pain is beginning to diminish, it either comes back, or starts up again somewhere else!

But God has a sense of humor, and He knows what He’s doing ALL the time! I wasn’t listening as God tried to convince me to slow down. I needed rest, and it just wasn’t happening. As my body kept breaking down, God continued to urge me to rest in Him, but I believed rest was a waste of time. I did NOT believe God was a waste of time, and I’m so in love with Him for being patient with me. I just could not sit still and allow myself to soak up His Holy Presence; but I needed it… His rest… more than sunshine. I know that now.

I wrote about God, I looked up His verses and studied them, I listened to the words He said to me and wrote them down to encourage others, I sought counsel for things I didn’t understand, and thanked God for my elders wiser than me. I humbled myself and admitted my shortcomings, forgave others even when it hurt, and continued faithfully trusting God, even when it didn’t make sense… but I refused to… rest

I told myself there wasn’t time; there was too much to do, and moments of rest were moments I could be accomplishing something. But the accomplishments were never enough, and every night I was still filled with self-condemnation, even when I had worked my fingers, or my back, to the bone.  The voices from my past always left me feeling guilty and unworthy, like I must keep going to prove myself. But I was now at the breaking point. I was exhausted, and truly tired of suffering, and I just couldn’t break the cycle. No one in my precious, immediate family pressured me to keep going; in fact they all insisted I take a break and… rest. So did my dear friends. And I knew they really meant it. And I knew they were right. But the green light always said, “GO.”

And finally I began to get the message. I wasn’t taking care of myself, because I had never really learned how. During childhood, I’d been made to feel ashamed for doing well and for doing nice things for myself. So somewhere along the line; a long, long time ago, I had given up. I hadn’t given up on caring for my family, but I realized I had stopped caring for myself. I didn’t take the time to enjoy a book, write poetry, eat healthy, paint my nails, and just “stop and smell the flowers.” 

I was doing everything for others, and nothing for myself. When I had time to myself, I didn’t use it wisely, because I felt it was useless. As a child, I’d taught myself not to get my hopes up, because I was constantly let down, and penalized for doing things that made me happy. Of course my children gave me great joy, so my focus was there. I just found our family seemed to be always doing something on everyone else’s agenda, and never anything on our own; or mine. If I didn’t start taking care of myself soon, I wouldn’t be able to take care of those I love the most…my family members. And I wanted to be there for my friends and sisters and brothers in Christ, the way God has helped me to be there for them before. 

I began to make the necessary decision to take things off of my plate, and get serious about my surgery, and get serious about dividing my time equally in caring for both my family, and myself. This meant saying no to lots of things. I wasn’t concerned about not being liked, for I had discovered boundaries a long time ago, and am no longer into people-pleasing. I’m into pleasing God!

The hard part was giving up the couple things I had chosen to keep, like my Sunday School class and freelancing for Child Guide magazine, where I’m both a columnist, and a regular contributor. But God met me here too! I saw my daughter light up when she went to my friend’s Sunday School class and was welcomed by name with a cheerful smile. Yes, she wanted to go back! And my friend and editor of the magazine, kindly worked with me, as she always has, so I could have this season of rest and recovery, without any pressing deadlines.

Even though I was getting the message, the week before my surgery, I was frantically cleaning the house and calling in the troops to help me. Though I knew I should probably be relaxing, because my body would be enduring a lot of stress from the surgery, I stayed up late into the night two days prior to my surgery, instead of… resting.  Though my family promised to take care of me and did indeed do everything  I requested, I was determined to make sure my bedroom would be a sanctuary of peace for my recovery. When I got home, I wanted to make sure I would be able to… rest

Besides,  Pshaw! I could rest in the hospital after my surgery! Um… no. I didn’t realize then, that the post-operative pain would be so unbearable, I wouldn’t sleep a wink! Yet, I found myself joyfully writing a blog in the hospital that night instead. But this time, in spite of the excruciating pain, I could feel my body… resting. Even though I couldn’t sleep, I felt relaxed in my mind, because I knew that I was finally going to get a chance to… rest… and I was desperate to do so. 
 
If I could easily kneel down; all the love, support, and encouragement (which is still coming my way) would have already humbly brought me to my knees. Instead, our family has appreciatively gathered, and bowed our heads each evening, thanking God for warm home-cooked meals;  made by loving hands, and serving hearts. We’ve asked God to bless these beautiful women and their families, from my church and town. We’ve told God how very grateful we are for His provisions of delicious food, enjoyable visits, and playdates for my young daughter who is homeschooled; so she can remain happy, busy, and active with friends while I recuperate.

I’ve been able to bask in the warmth of the sun, while enjoying God’s beautiful flowers as they spring forth during my favorite season;  in anticipation of my favorite holiday… Easter!  What could be a more perfect time for rest and rejuvenation?  I’m so thankful that Jesus died for me, so that no matter what lies ahead; my future, my family’s future, and the future of my Christian brothers and sisters; lies secure in our salvation through Jesus Christ!

Why am I so surprised about the immense joy which has come my way in the midst of pain? This isn’t some crazy coincidence; for God’s timing really is the best; and He knows when we most need the presence of joy. He prepared me for it, and without a doubt He gets the glory for the healing he is bestowing upon me, both inside and out. Because, the fact is, hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ have been praying for me for a long time, and I’ve been anointed by both my pastor and my husband. Anointing is powerful, and we should expect good things when we receive the gift of it. After all, it’s a holy blessing from The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit!  

In the pain and suffering, God has provided the silver lining: family, friends, fellowship, food, and… rest. I hoped for it… and it came… just when I needed it most! So as I heal, I continue to TRUST HIM, because hope in Jesus does NOT disappoint! “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:1-5 New International Version).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).


Spring is a time of joyful, new beginnings! I pray you know the truth; that our hope lies only in Jesus, so you can find healing, joy, and freedom in Christ! May you enjoy the warmth of the sun, the beauty of colorful flowers, the hugs from friends, and the joy of holding a soft, downy baby chick! May you receive Jesus, and have peace in knowing you have eternal life! AMEN!


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

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

The Family that Prays Together…

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).