Thursday, July 5, 2012

Treasured Memories

As I ponder and look back in my life, I must say it has been a very fascinating adventure full of happiness, joy, sadness, lots of tears, painful times but yet some I rather keep in my box of memories I have treasured throughout my life. But of course, it is only the happy moments of my life that I keep. I like to keep those happy moments because they are the ones that keep my hope alive.  Hope is the very essence that feeds my faith and it nurtures my heart to believe that happiness does exist all around me. I have learned that you create your own happiness even in the midst of pain, pain of losing someone you loved, a relationship gone bad, ending a friendship, at least for me I had lots of happy moment and those are the ones I decided to treasure up, did you notice I said “decided” because I made the decision to keep the happy memories to avoid filling my heart  with hate and bitterness and carry the pain that weight me down for so many years, at first it wasn’t easy, but with much determination I decided to free myself and accept  the good times and release the bad and that gave me a fulfilling sense of peace that lets me enjoy the happiness that I created in my heart and it flows from my mind to my entire being. 

Keeping the happy memories also fills me with much contentment to live the now; allowing the happy memories to outweigh the bad gives me a sense of freedom to be able to enjoy my life to the fullest. It helps me to keep my mind free from bondage, it keeps my heart young and it lets my spirit dance to every beat of my heart releasing within me peace and joy that overflows with the unexplainable feelings that keeps me young and strong.

Written on 7/5/2012 by Maribel O’Neill

From the Valley of Brokenness

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

As I sit here to sort my mind in hopes to align it with my heart, I wondered if I ever really knew the man I fell in love with.  The man that came into my life unexpected and did everything he had to do to win my heart. Before this man came along, I had built walls and barriers on every side of my heart to guard myself against the lies that lived behind those walls from men who preyed over the vulnerability and innocence of a woman that had so much to give and offer of herself.  A woman that dreamed and hoped that one day, a man will come and repair her broken pieces of her heart and seal them together and make it whole again with his tender hands, touch and love. A man that knew of her past and swore never to break her heart and live that fairy tale life of love conquers all, for better or for worst, for richer or poorer, till death do us part. The dream of every woman of all ages, that was my dream, my desires and my hope and along came this man who I refuse to let in, because of the very thing that I feared became a dreadful reality.  

He persuaded, he insisted, he persevered, he challenged himself to win my heart at all cost, but I ask God now, what was the real reason for him to challenged himself to win over my heart and then destroy the very thing he worked so hard to win?  Was it the challenge of his ego, his pride or his anger to get back to a woman from a pain and unfaithfulness that was caused from another woman from his past? Was I an intended target? Was it all being mastered in his mind while he was incarcerated, did he sense my vulnerability through my letters?  Was this a mission he needed to accomplish to gain back his pride of a heart once broken?  Could someone be so manipulative, so calculated, so heartless to create the scene of a man out to conquer happiness and love but all along his heart was full of hate and vengeance. But his mission was to conquer at all cost and he mastered the words, the moments, the scenery, he staged it to perfection to win me over. 

As time went by, the walls began to come down, one by one, he gained my trust, he gain access to my heart and mind and I let my guard down but I didn't realize that I was being set up to yet another painful chapter of my life. I was in blissful love, my heart danced with joy; my spirit was floating in clouds. I felt safe in his arms, Just the touch of his hands made my body shiver, I felt lost in his eyes, his kiss would weaken me to surrender, he was passionate, I felt desired, loved, he took me to a place where I felt overpowered by his strength. He woke in me the desire, the passion; the very essence of being loved by such a man became my obsession. He controlled every inch of my body and soul, just the smell of his breath in my body would erupt in me an ecstasy of un-explainable pleasure that my body never experienced. The desires within me needed to feel and smell this man who had taken control of my every being. All my senses seems to be control by him, he became an addiction. He became to me the blood that flowed through my veins and kept my heart beating to keep me alive.  I needed him as an addict needed a quick fix. I was a love puppet being controlled by her master Puppet. I thought that my dreams were being fulfilled by this loving, caring, passionate man. I felt my life was finally complete….

But when I least expected it, the true identity of this man whose heart was full of pain and vengeance came at me full force, he became hurtful, spiteful, unresponsive to my needs, He became cold and he lacked any sensitivity over my feelings, no remorse of all wrong doing. It was like this man came and took over the life of the man I fell in love with. He became manipulative, he was intimidating, and he was hateful, cruel with words and actions. My life became a world of confusion, a world with unanswered questions, seeking desperately for the man I loved but with no avail, he was gone forever and he took with him my hopes, my dreams, my trust and my love.  And I became the victim of this cruel and vengeful man who had control of my mind, body and soul and I wallowed in despair, in loneliness, in pain and in shame. I felt I was in the world of darkness and chained to the valley of brokenness and there scattered I saw my broken dreams, my hopes, my trust, my love, my heart, my strength, my faith and my self- value.  

Days became weeks, weeks became months and months became eternal in this valley of darkness. Weakness overcame my strength, shame overtook the confidence and self-worth I once felt. But one day, I glanced at my broken hope and saw a light that was transcending from the four corners of this valley of darkness and the magnificent glory of GOD’s presence broke the chained that had me shackled into brokenness and brought it all back to life along with me was my dreams, my faith, my trust, my love and my self-worth were mended back together. 

So, as I walked out of the valley of darkness, still feeling the sting of the unknown reasons behind the drastic change of this man that won my heart and love still lingers unanswered. But as I continue to walk into the light of restoration and healing, I know one day I will become whole again and understand the reasons behind this season of my life. I also pray that one day I will be able to trust and believe again and treasure the very thing that helped me come out of the valley of darkness is the HOPE that one day I will be fully heal and move on with my life.  

MercyMe - The Hurt & The Healer with lyrics

Written by Maribel -7/3/2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Confident Woman

The rain, floods, and tornadoes of our lives will come in many different forms. But, as the Scripture instructs, nothing should move our "house." The words of other people – whether good or bad – do not affirm us. The level of our achievement – whether great or less – does not secure us. The success of our marriage – whether glorious or disappointing – does not insure us. And, the memories of our past – whether joyous or painful – do not define us.
The confident woman ... whom we all can be ... knows that her self-assurance comes only from the Word of God.

Before You Complain

Before you think of saying an unkind word—Think of someone who can not speak

Before you complain about the taste of your food –Think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife—Think of someone who is crying out to God for a companion.

Today, before you complain about life—Think of someone who went to heaven to early.

Before you complain about your children—Think of someone who desires children but is barren

Before you argue about your dirty house; someone didn’t clean or sweep—Think of the people who is living in the streets.

Before whining about the distance you have to drive—Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.

And when you are tired and complain about your job—Think of the unemployed, the disabled and those who wish they had a job.

But before you think of pointing the finger and condemning another—Remember not one of us is without sin and we all answer to one maker.

And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down—Put a smile on your face and thank God you are still alive and around.

Life is a Gift of God


Nothing Compares To Your Embrace

Lord, as I look back on my life I can see the footprints of Your protection so many times. So many times You tried to protect me and I went my own way thinking I knew better than You. Yet, You never left me forsaken. Every time I listened to accusatory words You always encouraged me and sent those to me who would love me the way You do. Your Word and the Words You have spoken to me are my life and substance and I will live by them. I will live by every Word proceeding out of Your mouth and heart.

Stir my heart to remember all Your promises and help me to remember every Word You have spoken to me. Help me to remember with a grateful heart all the times You have encouraged and healed me . . . all the times Your love has upheld me and I will be renewed. May the Words birthed in heaven find greatness in my thoughts and thereby influence my actions.

I choose to believe every Word and come into agreement with them in reference to what and who You have said I am. I agree with the walking out of Your Word with mercy and grace flowing through a heart of faith. I will water the Word seeds in my heart by agreeing with You, and in the process I will inject my tomorrows with faith, hope and love. Help me to build righteously and not create barriers in my life or anyone else’s. May the Words of my mouth speak in ONE with the beat of Your heart. In Jesus Name, I pray and believe, Amen

I Love Myself

Deep at the center of my being, there is an infinite well of love. I now allow this love to flow to the surface. It fills my heart, my body, my mind, my consciousness, my very being, and radiates out from me in all directions and returns to me multiplied. The more love I use and give, the more I have to give. The supply is endless. The use of love makes me feel good, it is an expression of my inner joy.

I love myself; therefore, I take loving care of my body. I lovingly feed it nourishing foods and beverages, I lovingly groom it and dress it, and my body lovingly responds to me with vibrant health and energy.

I love myself; therefore provide for myself a comfortable home, one that fills all my needs and is a pleasure to be in. I fill the rooms with the vibration of love so that all who enter, myself included, will feel this love and be nourished by it.

I love myself;
therefore, I behave and think in a loving way to all people for I know that that which I give out returns to me multiplied. I only attract loving people in my world, for they are a mirror of what I am.

I love myself; therefore I forgive and totally release the past and all past experiences and I am free.

I love myself; therefore I live totally in the now, experiencing each moment as good and knowing that my future is bright and joyous and secure, for I am a beloved child of GOD and My GOD lovingly takes care of me now and forever more....and so it is.

Because Love Is

Dear Lord:

Because love is patient: Help me to be slow to judge, but quick to listen, hesitant to criticize, but eager to encourage, remembering your endless patience with me.

Because love is kind: Help my words to be gentle and my actions to be thoughtful. Remind me to smile and to say “Please” and “Thank You” because those little things still mean so much.

Because love does not envy or boast, and it is not proud: Help me have a heart that is humble and sees the good in others. May I celebrate and appreciate all that I have and all that I am, as well as doing the same for those around me.

Because love is not rude or self-seeking: Help me to speak words that are easy on the ear and on the heart. When I’m tempted to get wrapped up in my own little world, remind me there’s a great big world out there full of needs and hurts.

Because love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs: Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. When I want to hold onto a grudge, gently help me release it so I can reach out with a hand of love instead.

Because love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth: Help me stand up for what is right and good. May I defend the defenseless, and help the helpless. Show me how I can make a difference.

Because love always protects and always trusts: Help me to be a refuge for those around me.When the world outside is harsh and cold, may my heart be a place of acceptance and warmth.

Finally, because love always perseveres: Help my heart continually beat with love for You and others. AMEN.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Full Armor of God

Heavenly Father, I praise and worship you because you are God.  I am honored to be your servant and I take my stand today against the devil and his schemes against me, my family and my ministry.  Father, as I take up each piece of the armor, please secure it in place on me. 

I take up the shield of faith and extend it over myself.  It extinguishes all the fiery darts of the evil one.
I put on the helmet of salvation, which protects my mind from the enemy's attacks.  I have the mind of Christ.
I put on the breastplate of righteousness, which covers my body with the righteousness of God.  In Christ, every foothold of evil has been washed away and I am clothed in righteousness!
I gird my loins with the belt of truth.  Your word, O God, is truth.  Father, sanctify me according to your word and remind me through the Holy Spirit of the truth that destroys the lies of sin.  
I shod my feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.  I have peace with God through the blood of Jesus.  I have favor with God and with man.  I walk in my inheritance as an adopted daughter of God and have authority over evil in Jesus' name.
I will use the Sword of the Spirit by speaking the Word of God as it applies to whatever situation I may face today.  Father, please remind me of your Word via the Holy Spirit.
I will continue to pray in the Spirit throughout the day, and intercede for all Christians as the Holy Spirit prompts me.  I believe that the Holy Spirit is interceding on my behalf according to my prayers.    
Thank you, Father, for the whole armor of God.  Please surround me with your hedge of protection as I move forward on the spiritual battlefield today.  I praise and worship you now and forever, Amen."

Trusting God When You Don't Understand

The bible states that “obedience is better than sacrifice {1 Samuel 15:22}” which should tell you a lot about our God.  God places significance on obedience.  He’ll much rather you be obedient to His instruction than for you to give Him sacrificial praise, money offerings, fasting, etc.  When God gives you instruction and you’re in a situation where you don’t understand what’s going on in your life, you need to be reminded to be obedient and to trust in the one who does understand – Christ.   There are blessings that follow a person who is obedient just as there are curses that follows a person who is disobedient. 

When you learn to trust the Lord, you will begin to have a sense of rest in the Lord knowing that He has everything under control even when life seems to be out of control.  Trusting God will get you to the point where you make a decision to trust in Him and NOT in your own logic and understanding.

As much as we would like God to give us “what where when and how” upfront all the time or all in one shot, God does not operate like that.  Sometimes, God will place you in a satiation where you have to trust Him and He’ll give you piece by piece as you obey and trust Him.
As a person who’s been in this situation, I will tell you that this only increases your faith as you learn to walk by faith and not by sight.

I don’t know what your story is but I encourage you to trust God even when you don t understand what’s happening in your life. You may not understand life and all that’s happening; but God will give you a piece to the puzzle as you learn to step out on faith, trust and obey him.

Don’t let the devil fool you into believing that you’re taking a step backwards in life or that you’ll never make it out of this situation; because you will.  What you’re going through is temporary.  Encourage yourself in the Lord daily; read His word; pray without ceasing and seek His face.  The next time you find yourself in a position where you are stressed and worried about what God is doing in your life remember to:  Trust God to Lead You. He tells us in {Revelation 22:13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Who else can say that but God?  No one, only God can say such a thing.  God knows everything: the past, current and future and our knowledge and understanding doesn’t even compare to the knowledge and understanding of God –  even when it applies to our own life.

Let Us Pray.......

Heavenly Father,

I ask that you place within me your obedient spirit so that I may be obedient to your instruction.  Help me Lord to walk by faith and not by sight.  I don’t understand what you’re doing in my life, but I make a decision to trust you God. In this season, I ask that you place within me your spirit of joy, peace and rest.  Give me joy; peace and rest to endure all that comes my way.  Right now, I make a decision to trust you Lord because I know that you’re in control of my life even when my life seems to be out of control. Lord, I thank you for clarity, guidance, provision and strength.  I pray and ask for these things in Jesus name; Amen. 

Pray and stay in the word of God.  There is strength for you in the Word of God.  Trust the Lord and be obedient even when you don’t understand life and what God is doing.  Be blessed and encouraged in Jesus name.

8 Hateful Things Women Do To Each Other

It's become the silent emotional killer among women. Women who are downright mean, malicious and disrespectful with each other. This trend is creating havoc in our relationships with each other, for it
strikes the core of sisterhood. Real sisterhood can only exist when respect and trust stand unshakeable.  However, what is most disturbing about our malicious ways is that we are passing on a legacy of a broken sisterhood to our daughters. Girls that are mean and catty are usually this way because their
understanding is that this is a normal part of femaleness. They grow up to become mean and catty women who perpetuate a diseased sisterhood.

To break this cycle we each need to make a conscious effort to validate all women. Be they our friends or not. Otherwise, we will continue to find ourselves moving within circles of female hostility,

suspicion, and pain. Here is my list of the most detestable practices that we need to discontinue in order to heal our sisterhood:

. Talking about each other - You are really not her friend if what you have to say about her is so bad you can't say it in front of her. If you are a real friend you should be able to tell her your concerns
for her life to her face. If you have the need to tell others, but you haven't found the time to tell her – red lights should be flashing. Believe it or not, gossiping is not an intrinsic part of being female.
Women who gossip do it not because it's a woman-thing, but because they want to elevate themselves and put other women in a place of inferiority. Gossiping is just another symptom of deeper insecurities.

Fighting for men – One of the most undignified things that any woman can do is to fight, argue, or curse another woman over a man. It's a disgusting trend that used to be a school girl thing, but today
adult women are doing it too. If both of you are in conflict – because his choice is not clear - then that means that he's really not into any of you. He's probably playing both of you. That man really does
not deserve love or attention from either one of you. Let him go.

Joining female Cliques – Women who make you feel unwelcome and unwanted within their circle of friends are not to be trusted. Women cliques have become common in the workplace, at church, in the
neighborhood. Cliques are the dwelling place of insecure women. Women who join cliques are seeking refuge from their own lack of confidence by cocooning themselves within this circle of supposed exclusivity. Again, the need to belong to, or be part of a clique is also a sign of deeper insecurities. Beware, cliques are usually encouraged and thrive on a type of gang mentality.

Undermining each other – Beware of any woman who can never celebrate your accomplishments with you. It could be a new boyfriend, a promotion, an award, a new job, a new acquisition, weight loss. If she has nothing positive to say to you about it, does not show emotional support, or chooses to remain silent she is not a true friend. Real friends know how to recognize and genuinely rejoice for
our successes with pride.

Competing against each other – You need to get this straight. There will always be another woman with nicer hair, a more caring husband or boyfriend, better behaved children, a better paying job, a bigger house, a more fashionable wardrobe – there will always be some woman with more of what you don't have. Consequently, the only person that you need to compete against is yourself. Strive to be the best that you can be - for you. Competing against other women to prove yourself superior is a financial and emotional drainer. Because of this mindless competition we become mean, envious and hypocritical. It is pointless.

Disrespecting boundaries – To survive peacefully every relationship and every friendship must have clear boundaries. Good relationships operate within margins of respect. Within this level of respect,
privacy and intimacy are keywords. Yes, you are my friend, but that doesn't give me the right to walk into your bedroom or your kitchen, unbeknownst to you, and help myself to your stuff. I don't do this
not because you won't allow me to, but because I respect your privacy and your things. Consequently, we both need to know and respect each other's levels of privacy and intimacy.

Crossing boundaries – This is similar to the above, the only difference is that my respect of your boundaries should never depend on my friendship with you. We need to respect women for the simple
fact that they are women. If she is a woman she is a sister. Period. Therefore, from that understanding I will have the utmost respect for her children, her man, her opinions, her choices, and for her as a
person. It amazes me how women are quick to disrespect another sister's boundaries, but feel offended if another woman does to them the same exact thing. Honestly, that type of inconsistent behavior
can only be credited to some form of mental illness.

Exploiting our friendships – This is a major one. Why are you friends? Do you only remember her being around whenever she could get something from you? It doesn't even have to be material. It could
just be your time or your positive energy. Does she happen to be always on the receiving side, with you dishing out ton loads of yourself or your stuff? Or is she your friend because of what you represent? It could be that your husband's position or yours, your possessions, your talent, whatever, represents some form of achievement. Is she a friend because that link to you places her on a higher platform? In a real friendship appreciation, support, and loyalty must be reciprocal.

By: Norka Blackman-Richards