How Does One Grow Closer to God?

This is a question I asked myself many years ago. Unfortunately, I did not grow up in the Church; therefore, my knowledge was pretty limited when it came to God. What I did know, I had learned by watching the movie, “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Granted, I believed in God, because I was told there was a God; yet, I didn’t know God like I know Him now. When I raised my kids, I had wanted to do better when it came to teaching my children about God and yet I too was unsuccessful. I allowed life to get in my way and I deeply regret that now.

In my later years though, it has become my mission to share what I have learned with others and to be the example for my children. My oldest once asked, “Why do you believe so much now, Mom? You never raised us that way.” Well, it’s never too late! We are all children of God and our mission is to love on each other just as God loves on us. Sharing how God has touched our lives helps others recognize Him in their lives. Isn’t that a blessing in itself?

I’m no Saint, and I’m not perfect and yet God still loves me. God has forgiven all of my sins and He continually shows up for me. I’ve learned the more I talk to Him and the closer I get to Him, the more I recognize Him in my life. If you’ve been following me, you know I had a heart attack in 2016 where God gave me a second chance at life and it’s been my goal ever since to be even more vulnerable in my sharing. Below is a Chapter from my book, “Break Down Your Walls: Be the Person God Created You to Be…Be a Better You!” where I try and explain how I became closer to God.

Ask, Believe, Receive

Have you asked yourself, “How does one grow closer to God?” The simple truth is by trusting, obeying, and believing. Trust that He knows what is best for us, and that He wants the best for us. Obey His word, taking that next step even when you can’t see that step. Believe with your heart and soul that you have received His blessing, even if it has not arrived yet—for you know it is on its way.

You may think, “If God is all-knowing, why do I have to ask? He should already know what I need.” While God is all-knowing, He still wants us to go to Him and ask. Those three words, “go to Him,” are the most important words to remember. If we don’t pray to God, if we don’t praise Him, seek Him, believe in Him, and trust in His word, then we will always want more. We will never be happy with what we have. He will continue to redirect us, and give us signs that He is there for us, but when we are closed to recognizing those signs, life will just pass us by. We will be okay, but we can live a much better life, an abundant life, when we are tuned into God at all times, and can recognize His Will for us in the grand scheme of life. So, ask God for what you want. Don’t be afraid to pray big, bold prayers, either. Let Him know your wildest dreams. You may think it is extraordinary, but God can do extraordinary things.

Take a few moments here and think about your wildest dream. What is it you want out of life? Now pray that big bold prayer, and let God know what dream is buried deep in your heart.

The biggest key ingredient is to “believe.” You gave your prayer to God, and only He can do the impossible. Now it’s up to you to believe that what you ask for is on its way. This is the hardest thing of all to do, because how can we believe in something we cannot see or control? This is where your belief in God comes in. You either believe, or you don’t. When you believe, it’s something you just know. It’s something you feel inside. It’s peace, it’s love, it’s everything. Believe with all that you are, and don’t give up on that dream.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Just as it is written in The Bible, we have to lean not on our understanding; we have no choice but to trust in the Lord. Part of trusting is to believe. Our understanding is not the same as God’s all-knowing sovereignty. He knew everything we were going to face in this life before we were even conceived. He knew every wrong road we were going to take before we took it. He knows the plan He has for us, and it will not happen until He feels the time is right. Therefore, we have to have faith, and believe that even during the storms life throws our way, we will get through, and in the end we will be stronger for it. Even when we take the wrong turn, God is there to lead us down the right path again. It may be a detour, but eventually we will get there, and we will have endured what we thought we couldn’t.

God wants the best for all of us. God doesn’t want the best just for you, He wants the best for everyone. That’s why it is important for us to understand that what we may be asking for might not come in our timing, or in the manner in which we expected. This is when our belief is tested and we must hold onto that belief and trust in Him. Even though it did not happen when we thought it would, we still have to believe that it will happen. Then, just maybe, it will be better than we ever expected, and that may be why it took longer. Then again, maybe it wasn’t in our best interest, and God knew, because He is the all-knowing. He knows the long-term results, He knows the implications, He knows those that will be hurt as a result, and again, He wants the best for everyone.

Think of it this way: Your child wants to eat all his or her Halloween candy in one sitting. We want our children to be happy, but are we going to let them eat all of that candy, knowing they will get sick? Of course not. The same concept applies for God. We have to trust that He has our best interests at heart, and if we’re meant to have what we’re asking for, we will receive. If it isn’t meant to be, then He has a pretty good reason for it. Do you remember when you were young, and your parents said, “Because I said so!”? Do you remember how frustrated that you made you feel? Maybe it even made you angry, and you stomped off to your room, hating them at the time. Well, God understands that, too. When we are faced with trials and tribulations, and feel like He is not answering our prayers, it’s our natural reaction to feel rejected, and even unloved by God, because He didn’t do what we wanted Him to do. He knows how you feel, but that’s when He is testing your faith. He is making you stronger. He is teaching you endurance. He can’t fix everything, because it is not for the good of everyone. Will He stop loving us because we are mad at Him? Of course not! Did you stop loving your children because they stomped off to their bedroom? Of course not! Eventually, your children will get over it, and someday realize that you said no for their own good. And one day, they will overindulge in something and realize, oh, yeah, that’s why I couldn’t eat all that candy at once. You, too, will come to realize, after you’ve had time to think, do some self-reflection, and re-evaluation, why God didn’t answer your prayer. And, when you do, God will be right there waiting for you. He never went anywhere; He was just waiting for you to grab His hand.

Not long ago, my husband and I were looking for some property, and daydreaming with some friends about buying land next to each other for retirement, and investment. I’d sent a pretty bold prayer request to God. I’ve heard you should ask for what you really want, and that only God can move mountains to bring your dream to a reality, and that he wants us to prosper. So, I thought, why not? It was a pipe dream, but, hey, God is God, right? I went on with my weekend, investigating our pipe dream.

When we came home, I ran across this verse in Deuteronomy 8:18, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth . . .” I was speechless. Such timing. He always seems to be talking to me, and the messages are so clear. Well, our pipe dream will have to wait awhile, because God brought us to the conclusion that it was not a wise decision based on the financial hardship it would put us in. Instead, God led us down the path of refinancing our home at a better interest rate for a shorter term. He also led us to investigating ways to practically become debt free in a much shorter timeframe than we had imagined, which will allow us the ability to afford our dream retirement home when the right time does come. In God’s time, not ours.

Keep that in mind the next time you don’t get what you want. Keep the faith, and be grateful for what you do have. Most of all; be thankful for the opportunities to grow that God gives you, so that you can become stronger and endure life’s challenges a little easier. Once you master the art of believing, then, and only then, will you have peace in your heart, knowing that God’s will is the best for everyone. That is enough for me, because believing is what will give us never-ending life, and for me, that is the ultimate gift. Until you can come to terms with remaining in faith, and believe in His will, try to remain positive, seek the word of God, and pray even when you have doubt. One day we will all understand His reasoning, and until then, all we can do is believe.

God wants us all to prosper and have an abundant life. He has plans for us all. In The Bible, wealth means having abundance, and as the scripture says, “He gives us the power to get wealth.” Through Him, we are given creative ideas, and sent down a path toward our dream, but we have to do our part as well and take the steps toward that dream. We can’t sit back and wait for God to knock on our door; we have to walk forward, even when the road is foggy. With God by our side and faith in our hearts, we will walk into the sunshine every day.  The road map is yours. Enjoy your journey.

If you want to read more inspiration from my book on how to be the person God created you to be, you can grab a copy here Break Down Your Walls!

Being Bold

The day of my heart attack is the day I cried out to God that I was not ready to die! I had no voice or strength at that moment, so all I could do was yell in my mind over and over again that I was not ready to die! I will never forget the feeling of sensation that I felt come over my body and then watching the numbers and lines on the EKG monitor start to fade away. I screamed so loud in my head until I wasn’t able to any longer. I was ready to put up a fight but didn’t have the strength, so being Bold was my only option.

Ever since that day, God has challenged me in so many ways and I continue to challenge God as well. My recovery took six months, but my transformation lasted two to three years. The self-development I went through during my recovery period and after literally made me the person I am today.

A couple years after my recovery and as a result of my self-development and personal transformation , I found myself going through a divorce. Something I never thought would happen. God had different plans for me and my life I guess, because I realized how I was being held back. I realized that I am enough and my life matters. More importantly, I learned that I can’t change anyone except myself; and that’s where the transformation began.

“In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.” ~ Psalm 138:3

I grew closer to God it seemed every day through my daily devotional time. I began journalling to God daily as well; and I challenged Him to send me signs. Hearts and crosses were something I always looked for or gravitated to. So one day when I was walking in the woods to get away from all the noise in my head, I was looking for some signs from God that I was on the right path when I stumbled upon a heart-shaped rock, or so I thought. I wasn’t sure though if that was a true sign from God because the rock wasn’t clearly in the shape of a heart. So I again challenged God and literally asked Him out loud if that was the best He could do. Immediately, I thought to myself, ‘How dare I ask that of God’. Then, within thirty seconds later, He sent me a Sign that was obviously His amazing work, because only God could have pulled that off! From that day forward, He continually sends me His Best and I’m not afraid to ask for what I want.

I challenge you now to Be Bold! Be confident in expecting God’s abundance and be grateful for everything He has given you. As He continues to bless you, He gives you strength as you draw closer still to Him knowing that He is always with you, for you, and is leading you on His path for His Will to be done through you. Again, I say, Be Bold! Let His Light shine through you and bless others!

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Think of God as Your GPS System to a Wonderful Life

Imagine how great life could be if only we would listen to God’s voice directing our path. He lives within all who believe. To access this amazing GPS system, we only need to believe in Him, talk with Him, spend time with Him, and learn how to recognize His small voice and the signs He leaves for us every day.
When we take the wrong steps forward, God is there to redirect our path. We are suppose to learn a lesson and grow from our missteps. God is merciful though, no matter how many times He needs to redirect our paths, He will not give up on us. If only we would have followed His GPS directions, we would have gotten to our destination, His destination for us so much sooner!
Stop thinking your way is the only way or best way, and instead consult with God first and you will be amazed at all of the places He has in store for you and the blessings that will overflow into your life when you accept God as your personal savior and GPS system for life! Don’t waste your precious time fighting the system, you will only miss out on all the places He has for you to go!

Essential Oils 101 – Zoom Class

Now more than ever we need to support our bodies and learn to live a healthier lifestyle. I’ve shared before about Young Living and now I’d like to invite you to my first Virtual Zoom Essential Oils 101 Class where you will learn WHY these oils are so important, HOW we use them, WHAT benefitis you can expect to receive and what body systems they support. You will also learn WHERE you can get your hands on one of these Premium Starter Kits!

I urge you to Accept this Invite. There are so many ways you can become a member and start to take control of your wellness!

Join Me On ZOOM

Sunday, April 5th 1pm EST

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With God’s Grace & Resilience

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Signs of a Life – Part X

When you finally come out of the dark clouds and can see the sun shining brightly, your heart feels light and you begin to walk with a bounce in your step. Everything seems to be going your way and then you start to recognize how all of the puzzle pieces are coming together and it all starts to make sense.  Everything you went through was for a reason.

For me, I am a much stronger person than I was three years ago. I have learned so much more about myself, my wants, my desires, and my needs. I have learned that I deserve more and that I am enough. God loves me unconditionally, and that’s the most important thing. He wants the best for all of us. Find a way to develop and grow your relationship with God. That means starting your day with Him. Be still in the quiet time and open your heart. Listen for that small soft voice in your head as the Holy Spirit guides you through your day. It doesn’t happen overnight, just keep talking with Him and trust that He is holding you in by the palm of your right hand.

The Faith that I have in Him and our relationship has grown so strong; it’s what gets me through every day and helps me when I do have doubts and concerns determining His Will for me. Right now, I feel like I am swinging on a high and God keeps pushing me higher and higher. So follow those signs He is leaving for you.  Turn to Him when you are struggling. Don’t be afraid to pray big prayers. Ask and you shall receive. Trust in His timing and believe that everything you want is coming your way!

Reaching OthersComing out on the other side of those dark clouds is not an easy path. It is full of it’s up and downs and confusing paths that all seem to go in different directions. These paths sometimes lead you outside of your comfort zone. They may test your tenancity. You may also learn who your true friends are and those who are not. Just remember that only God knows what you’ve been through.

Only God knows the walk you’ve taken and the lessons you’ve learned. God knows your every move before you ever make it, and He knows the true story! Don’t let what other people think get you down! He sees and knows everything! People will judge you, people will talk. It’s normal and it’s to be expected because we are all sinners. Just be true to yourself. Ask for His forgiveness, and bless those who trespass against you. Love them despite their actions, just as God loves each one of us! Just as they do not know your walk, you do not know their walk either. Everyone has a story to tell. Many people hide their emotions by stuffing them deep inside themselves. The problem is that you can only stuff so much until it starts to overflow. When that happens, it starts to get raw.

When I was a kid, I always heard, “it will get worse before it gets better”, or “it will be better before you get married’, “every dark cloud, has a silver lining’….. Just hold on because it will get better! God has your back. Hold on because when you have your faith – you have everything! The best is yet to come! Just keep moving forward one day at a time! Hold your head high knowing the only love you need, is the love and respect of God!

 

No Turning Back

Signs Of A Life – Part IX

No Turning Back

After that agonizing decision has been made and you feel totally at peace with it, do not turn back! It took a lot of work to get you to the point where you are now. Why would you want to go back only to start all over again?

I realize that this may not be a fix-all solution and everyone is different and every situation is different, but there is something to be said for your tenacity. Once you come to the realization that there is no turning back, you will feel like you can tackle anything! I so believe in signs from God and if you are reading this post, maybe this is just the sign He wanted you to see.

Remember my post last month when I asked God if that was all He could do for me when I asked to receive a heart shaped rock as a sign? When He put in my path that next rock, I was in awe! Literally breathless. All I could do was shake my head, smile, and thank Him! Only God can do something like that!

God can move mountains and He will make a way when you think there is none. We just have to trust and believe in Him. His way might not seem perfect to you, but none of us have an all-knowing gift of knowledge. We are not mind readers and we can not predict the future. What I do know though, is that God directs our steps and we need to trust Him with our walk. He’s brought us this far, so if you are having doubts, take a deep breath and ask God to calm your anxiety and guide you.

We can only see what we see and know to be true. God though, He knows everything. He knows our thoughts before we think them. He knows our steps before we take our next. He is the only one that has the crystal ball. That crystal ball is the gateway to happiness and living an abundant life. The key thing to remember though, is that it is not always just about us. You see our life touches many other people and there is a ripple effect. Every action we take creates a chain reaction and God knows the ending and where the next wave will crash. So we have to learn to always look for the good in any situation and try to look past our immediate needs and suffering. Look for the good that may have come to someone else as a result of your discomfort. Do not fear though, God will give you something even better in return. Even if you are unsure of what will happen next. Relying on God to direct our steps is the only sure way to get to our next destination – God’s plan for us.

 

When We Have Doubts

Signs of a Life – Part VIII

Choices

 

How many times have you made a decision, acted on it, and then started doubting your decision and yourself all together? Making some of our biggest life-changing decisions are very hard to do; painstaking in fact! We overthink about it. We cry about it. We talk to others and gain advice. We talk to God. We get counseling. We make our list of pros and cons. Despite all of the steps we take and the support we gain, we still doubt our decision. We wonder and question ourselves over and over as to whether this was God’s plan for us. Why would God let us go through such pain?

It’s the lessons we learn as we walk through these tough times that make us stronger. He is making us stronger and better individuals all the time. He tests our abilities and our weaknesses and then builds us up. What I’ve learned through this entire decision making process is simply to trust God. Yes, I’ve had my doubts; and yes, I’ve cried many tears. Through it all though, I did learn to trust God and listen for His small soft voice in my head. The hardest part was learning how to decipher His voice, your thoughts, and the devil that is always trying to bully us and gain our attention. It took me a while, but I learned that if my decision does not bring me a feeling of peace and certainty, then it is not the right decision. You see, God gives us peace!

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

In my circumstance, I had to give it yet one more try. Despite the many attempts in the past, broken promises, and yes, even lies, I had to give it one more try in order to feel at peace with my decision. Did that delay my progress? Yes, maybe a little but it left me feeling confident in what had to be done next. It allowed me to make my list of to-do’s and start crossing them off one by one and feeling proud of my accomplishments and confident in my decision.

I must say though, even after the dust settled, I still started doubting myself again. It’s a constant battle that we all must fight. When you are feeling that self-doubt, I encourage you to turn to God and He will help you get your heart back in alignment with His Plan and the peace He has in store for you will come. However you talk with God, whether it be silently in your thoughts, journaling, or spoken prayer, His hand is right there for the taking. You just have to reach out! Ask for His guidance, His strength, His love, His courage, His healing, His forgiveness; ask and believe it is yours!

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” ~ Mark 11:24

 

Driving With Jesus In Faith

“Signs of a Life” – Part VI

Driving FaithWhen times get tough and I need to clear my head, I love to jump in the car and just drive. I play my spiritual playlist pretty loudly, and have been known to bang on the steering wheel a lot! I’m always looking for signs from God while I’m driving too. Heart shaped clouds and crosses show up pretty often. Even when they don’t though, God is with me always.

I remember not too long ago making one of the toughest decisions of my life. I wasn’t quite to a place of peace with this decision, and I think that is why it was so difficult. I had planned to take the road that many of us married couples take when things aren’t working out and decide to walk away. I had been at this point in my mind before many times, but never acted on it because of how badly I wanted it to work out. I didn’t believe my husband would make the change that he needed to make for his health and our marriage, but he did give it a try so I felt I owed it to both of us to give it yet one more try. Yet, I had heard before that this time would be different. I was so torn apart. Driving down the road talking with God and doubting this decision and trying to hear God’s voice telling me what to do. I wasn’t hearing anything, so I decided I was going to end it once and for all.

It was at that point that God’s voice spoke up! He told me to give it one more try. He also told me how to present this opportunity in conversation. God gave me the words to say. God gave me the strength to speak His Words. God gave me Hope. God gave us a second chance. God gave us a second chance.

Unfortunately, despite the desire and the attempt, it didn’t last two weeks. This confused me even more. After all, if this was God’s plan and He spoke the words to me to give it one more try. Why then did it not work out? I’m sure many of you run into situations like this yourself. Those unanswered prayers. Why God? Why did you have me take this road if you knew it wasn’t going to work?

Many people give up on God at times like this. I was able to look for the good. There is always good in everything that God has planned. Yes, sometimes, even the unanswered prayers are God’s greatest gift. I love that song by Garth Brooks! In my situation, God gave us the opportunity to realize that no matter how hard we try, somethings we can not change or are willing to change. God gave us the ability to know in our hearts that we gave it our all. Had we not taken that one last chance to make it right, we would have wondered what would have happened if we had tried.

God gave us Peace!

Then the struggle became real and God was there too giving us both strength to get through the storm that tore us apart. Behind every cloud though, there are blue skies. In life we will always have tough decisions we have to make. I urge you to turn to God always in Faith that He will make the path clear. Ask for His guidance and His Will to be done! Listen for that small soft voice in your head and follow His lead! With God you can’t go wrong!

 

Learn To Recognize Your Triggers

“Signs of a Life” – Part IV

Saving GraceAs you can imagine, hearing the nurse call for the paddles and being in the hospital for 10 nights was pretty traumatic. I wasn’t home for long before my doctor recommended I find someone to talk with to help me sort through my stress and anxiety. The first thing she wanted me to come to terms with was recognizing my trigger points. I didn’t know what a trigger point was until much later, but once I learned the meaning behind it, I quickly knew what my trigger was. The way it was explained to me is that it is the first feeling you have of anxiety.  For example, you are sitting quietly in the living room reading a book and someone in the kitchen drops a frying pan or shatters a glass. It’s that feeling right then and there that you feel. What is it for you? Where do you feel it? Do you feel a tightness in your chest? Or is it a sinking feeling in your stomach. How do you react? What do you do?  Think about it for a second and the next time that happens pay close attention and you will learn with your trigger is.

For me, I feel a tightness in my chest and when I am really stressed I then find myself rubbing my hand over my chest to help calm myself. I do this sometimes without even realizing it. When I do, I do eventual realize I am now able to recognize this as my trigger and a sign of anxiety that I need to deal with immediately.  I then just start breathing deeply and talk to myself and God to get reassurance from Him that everything will be okay. Positive words and prayers of affirmation is the first thing I do. I close my eyes and quiet the room and try to feel the presence of God’s embrace. God has told me repeatedly to ‘Be Still’. I’ve taken this to simply mean, to Be Still in his presence, to stop striving for my will, and start embracing His Will and plan for my life. For Only God knows our next move and what is best for us! He wants us to live an abundant life.

“Be still and know that I am God,”  ~ Psalm 46:10

As time has gone by, this practice is all I really need to follow in order to calm myself and quiet my anxieties, but there was a time when this was not enough.  There are other ways to handle our stress and I’ll be sharing next several ways I learned to deal with mine and hope that it will help you!

Be Still

Do You Know Who Your Guardian Angels Are?

“Signs of a Life” – Part III

2019_04_08_2019_03_29_Narrative Project_1932__DSC0225During my recovery in the hospital, I also learned that God is not the only one watching over me from above. When I was in and out of sleep after my heart attack, I went into a dream state where I saw three individuals sitting on a bench much like this one. Except, the bench was just above my bed sitting in the clouds and I could see many silhouettes of people, whom I believed to be angels in the distance. I could see the sides of the first two gentleman closest to me as they were sitting there just waiting. I recognized right away the first man was my father. He looked exactly like he did back in the 70’s with his long sideburns, yet he could not look down at me. The second man, a bit taller than my dad, was my stepfather. He was looking over my dad and down on me with such a loving, yet concerned, look. The third man, I could not see, but somehow I just knew in my heart it was my grandfather. That surprised me more than anything, because for so long I thought my grandmother was one of my guardian angels. Oh, I’m sure she’s still looking down and watching, but this would be the second time now that my grandfather has come to me in a dream just like this and the only time I have dreamed about him since his death.

There is something to be said about the power of three and this holds true for me as well. Three has always been my lucky number and a number I gravitate to. I love to give three kisses good night or goodbye – one is never enough!  One night when I was so stressed out, I felt the presence of someone sitting on my bed behind me three times. It was as if one person sat down and got up, and then another, and then yet another. I swore someone was there; but every time I looked, there was no one. I was awake and it kinda freaked me out a little. Eventually, I just brushed it aside and thought it must be my grandmother checking in on me. After this dream in the hospital though, I now know it was my three guardian angels blessing me and letting me know everything was going to be alright.

Do you know who your guardian angels are? How do they show up to you? Some leave dimes, some show up as butterflies, feathers, hearts. Our loved ones find many ways to show us they are still among us and with us. Never fear for they are still very near! This dream I had in the hospital, it was very real and I no longer have fear of dying. I know my loved ones will be with me one day and we will all meet on the other side – the never ending journey with God!