Memorize Monday: 12/9/19

Over the weekend while attempting to get into the Word I came upon this ‘drawing’ I did a couple of years ago. I had asked for a Journaling Bible for Christmas just knowing I’d be drawing and journaling everyday. Well that did not happen and this bible sat on the shelf for almost 2 years. It was only several months ago that I picked this bible back up. I still struggle to pick it up everyday but I am certainly a lot more devoted than I was 2 years ago.

But back to the ‘drawing’…I’m not a very artsy person. I can barely draw a stick figure but when I look at this added illustration of 2 Samuel 22:29, I can feel the emotion attached to it. There are many days the darkness feels like too much. But what a beautiful reminder of God’s contribution during the darkness. “My God lightens my darkness.” This can be interrupted in two ways: He sheds light on the dark places but He also lightens the load. “For you are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness” 2 Samuel 22:29

I don’t know about you all but I certainly need a daily reminder that the Lord is my lamp, He guides me in every way. And He certainly lightens even the darkest of moments. Let this week’s verse be a reminder of this in your own lives.

Angela’s Story

Psalm 27 – one of my most treasured Psalms.  It speaks of God being my light and my salvation, my refuge and my Lord.  When enemies surround me and when others reject me, God receives me and will never forsake me. He sets me high above my enemies giving me joyful praise to sing of His excellence.  Little did I know, years ago that these Words would ring true in my life. I knew little of God’s Word at that point and had a simple faith that knew He would take care of me. But, I had no scripture “tucked in my heart”. I did have faith the size of a mustard seed though.  And that was enough. That tiny little seed took root and years later it’s fruit is being harvested.  

I was rejected. 

Seven years ago I went through a life-altering divorce. In December of 2006 I fell madly and quickly in love. Seven months later we were married. I thought I had finally “arrived”. I was married, life was beginning. We bought a house, a car, we each had our careers and took vacations without much concern. We were living the life we always dreamed of, or at least I was. My husband was unfaithful. He had struggles I was unaware of and kept to himself. Needless to say, I really didn’t know him.

This was a difficult time for me, as I truly loved him. I was a single mom of 2 boys when we met and this relationship wreaked havoc in their lives. By the Grace of God, my sons and I were rescued out of that. When man rejected me, God received me.

But times didn’t get easier, the struggles increased in different aspects. I had to allow my house to go into short-sale, my vehicle was repossessed, my credit tanked, and I went from having 2 incomes of over $100,000 a year to making just around $40,000 on my own. I remember sitting in the bathroom crying about how I was going to afford lunch money for my sons. God provided, I don’t know how, but He did.

BUT GOD…. He knew the plan He had for me.  He set me and my sons in a cleft in the rock – a safe place to go.  Our cleft was a very affordable, large 3 bedroom apartment.  There were some obstacles to overcome in order to move into our new place.  The lease started 2 days after I had to be out of my house. So, I stored my stuff in a friend’s garage for those two days. My sons were out of town and I was able to stay with my parents.  God showed me His love by the people He placed around me.

At the apartment, I went from paying 7 different bills for the upkeep of our house to paying one bill, that covered everything.  I had no living room furniture, so I inquired of a set being sold online. They said they would not deliver it. I had no truck or way of getting it to my place, but I still went to look at it.  The location of the furniture was only a few blocks from my apartment and God so moved their hearts to offer to deliver it for me.   

I also needed a car. I usually don’t like to ask  for help but this time my parents offered. They lent me $4,000 for a very old used car.  I paid them back with my income tax money that year, and that little old car ran without problems for 4 years.  These were the little things, the biggest blessing was intertwined throughout all these troubles, and I didn’t even realize it at the time.

Above all, He showed me how much He loves me. He enabled me to provide a peaceful home for my sons.  He drew me to Himself as I drew near to Him. I know My LORD more than I ever have before. I love the Lord!  He has given me a desire to know Him more and read His Word. I even have scripture “tucked in my heart”! What Joy!  

Times can still be tough and the desire to remarry is still strong, but I know My God has goodness planned for me.  Psalm 27 ends with the following 2 verses (13-14) and so will I:

“I am confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and take heart
And wait for the Lord.”

Be strong, take heart! God will weave His goodness into the tough times of your life.

Memorize Monday: 12/2/2019

Back to reality after 5 glorious days off! Anyone else? And it’s cold, wintery mix kind of Monday, but I am so encouraged with this week’s #memorizemonday verse•

I was pointed to this verse recently. As you know, I’m easily drawn to the word ‘hope’ (I know, Danielle we get it – that’s probably what you all are thinking, yea? 😂) but when I read this verse “anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”. 🙌🏻 Like a million times over, yes! I know exactly where my hope comes from and that will always be my defense. But hear me loud and clear (or rather, hear this verse loud and clear), the very last part of this verse is vital. “Yet do it with gentleness and respect.” We will never be successful at honoring Christ as holy if we are doing so in condescending or degrading ways. Jesus has never called us to spat truth at people to change their minds. He calls us to love and do good works – in His name. So as you mediate over this verse this week, be reminded where your hope comes from and honoring Jesus with gentleness and respect. •

Happy Memorize Monday, friends•

Lisa’s Story

My husband and I started trying to conceive shortly after our wedding.  After 6 months without a positive pregnancy test, we visited my OB/GYN. Being 35 at this point, I was the proud recipient of the label “elderly” in my women’s health file, so we had no time to waste.  During that visit, I suggested that my progesterone may be low based on some symptoms that I had been experiencing. The doctor laughed at me for suggesting this, but said he would test my progesterone to “humor me”.  There was one single blood draw that showed that it was in “normal range”. So, he wished us well, and referred us to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE).

Basic tests with the RE were inconclusive and “Unexplained Infertility” was the diagnosis.  Course of treatment options – intrauterine insemination (IUI) followed by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) if needed. We didn’t feel great about either option, but decided to move forward with IUI.  This is when God stepped in and shifted our course in a way that we couldn’t have imagined.

I had a cyst on my ovary

The RE would not start me on the medication to trigger ovulation for IUI until the cyst was gone.  He wanted to give it a few months to see if it would resolve on its own. If it didn’t, I’d need surgery to remove it.  With his prediction of it not resolving on its own, I was added to the surgery schedule for three months out. I was devastated that our efforts would have to be delayed because of a cyst.

However, this delay turned out to be God’s timing to show us the way.  

We signed up for a weekend retreat for Catholic couples experiencing infertility being held in West Virginia.  Infertility was taking its toll on us emotionally and spiritually. So, this retreat, at a minimum, would be a nice weekend away.  We had no idea what goodness God had in store for us.  

We shared the weekend with other couples who were going through the same thing.  They knew the pain we were feeling. For the first time, we felt like we were not alone.  The clergy provided such amazing hope and insight. We prayed, we cried, and we hoped. Over the course of that weekend, my husband and I had our faith restored.  

I had two solid “take-aways” that weekend: 

  1.  Jesus got through the pain of Good Friday because he knew that Easter Sunday was coming.  The pain of infertility was our “Good Friday”. Hold on, walk with God, and have faith that our “Easter Sunday” is coming too.  
  2. NaPro Technology as a treatment option.  NaPro looked at infertility as a symptom of an underlying issue, not as a diagnosis itself.  I left the weekend with the name of a doctor about 2 hours from our hometown.

When we returned from the retreat, I scheduled an appointment with the NaPro practice and called the RE to cancel my surgery.  We were completely shifting gears, and it felt like this was just where God wanted us.

NaPro testing was intense.  A month of blood draws to monitor my hormones throughout my cycle and a follicular ultrasound series to watch and confirm ovulation.  After the testing, it was determined that my progesterone starts out normal, but falls drastically towards the end of my cycle, making it impossible for a fertilized egg to implant, and easily corrected through medication.  (take that, Dr. “Humor Me”) The next step was laparoscopic surgery to look for/correct any issues. A nearly 6 hour surgery found and removed endometriosis AND opened blocked fallopian tubes. Oh, and they got that cyst that was in there too.   I remember coming out of anesthesia and asking my husband if they found anything wrong. His response was, “Yes, a lot. But it’s all fixed.” Praise God.

We conceived in the second month after surgery. Sadly, this baby was not meant for this world, and we miscarried at 8 weeks. I would like to say that I handled myself with grace and dignity through this time, but it was quite the opposite. My heart was broken. I was so angry with God. I’m not proud of how I felt towards God during that time, but I am so grateful that He can still love us through those ugly times. God was not done with our story yet, but I was too wounded to see it. I somehow pulled it together and remembered that this was part of our Good Friday. Our Easter was coming.

On Easter Sunday 2014, two months after our miscarriage, we had another positive pregnancy test. Our due date, Christmas Eve. And this time, the pregnancy would be a healthy one, giving us our beautiful daughter, Olivia Noelle. And what a perfect gift she is!

When we were walking through the pain of infertility, our “Good Friday”, it was often hard to not lose hope.  We couldn’t see our outcome, couldn’t see what wonderful joy God had in store for us.  Putting one foot in front of the other, and trying our best to maintain our faith, brought us to our beautiful “Easter Sunday”.

For we walk by faith, not by sight

2 Corinthians 5:7

Lisa lives in State College, Pa with her husband, Ken and daughter, Olivia. She has spent her entire career helping others through difficult times, including the past 17 years working in the addiction treatment field. Lisa’s struggle to become a mother has forever changed how she looks at the world and the importance of never losing sight of our everyday blessings.

Memorize Monday: 11/25/19

Look at that…I actually posted on Monday. Go me!

I’m excited about this verse today….it’s Thanksgiving week! What better way to kick it off than a verse about thanksgiving…

I love Thanksgiving. I love the family time, the food, the days off, but I truly do love the opportunity to reflect on things to be thankful for. However, I also know that I should more mindful of being thankful always. Despite the many challenges we face on a daily basis, we can always find something to be thankful So my hope with today’s #memorizemonday verse is the focus on ‘thanksgiving’. Words to mediate on daily to refocus on the things that matter most. First, Him and secondly, with a joyful heart, sing of all God has done.

And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Psalms 107:22

Debbie’s Story

Stage 4 lung cancer – words nobody wants to hear. As a nonsmoker, shock was my initial feeling when the Dr. told me of my diagnosis. As I started on my cancer journey, as devastated as I was, I knew God was with me. I trusted that He would take care of me.

Before my initial appointment to learn the course of my treatment, my family and I visited our local cancer center assuming I would be spending my days there being treated with IV chemo. My family and I prepared for me to lose my hair and all the list of side-effects that I often envisioned with chemotherapy. However, GOD had other plans for me.  

By His grace and mercy, He put me in the hands of Dr. Daniel Petro and his staff at The Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. By his good grace, I learned my type of cancer was caused by a gene mutation – anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive or also known as ALK+. While I don’t believe there is such thing has a ‘good’ cancer, I would learn that this type of cancer can be treated with targeted therapy and can have positive outcomes, which consists of 8 oral pills a day. Praise the Lord, no IV chemo.  

It’s been quite the journey though and one that certainly has not always felt easy. It started by wrestling with the insurance company to justify the need for the medication. A battle that often continues and feels daunting to justify a medication that could save my life.  This past July marked 2 years since my diagnosis. Every day, I pray “Lord, I know I’m healthy and I’m going to live.” The medication has not come without side-effects though. I struggle daily with digestive issues, which at times can impact my daily routine. One of my favorite things is the sun. I love the warm rays hitting my face; however, the medication doesn’t allow for me to be in direct sunlight. To even sit on my front porch, my calming place, I have to first make sure I have my special sunscreen applied, my hat is on, and I’m consistently aware of whether I’m in direct sunlight – or I pay the consequence of what can only be describe as burning from the inside out. My entire life has changed, this is my new normal.  But when I’m not feeling well or I can’t sit in the sun as I would like, I boldly say, “Not today Satan” and pray to God for patience.

With every pill I take I say a prayer asking God to continue to target the cancer and praise Him for all He’s already done.  I have been told numerous times that I have such a positive attitude. I can only attribute this to the power of prayer, the many wonderful people praying for me, and the support of my family – it’s what keeps me going. As of today, the mass on my lung as shrunk to what the doctor describes to be similar to a scab and my lymph nodes have deflated back to normal size.  I thank God every day for my shrinkage and the progress thus far.

Stage 4 lung cancer – words nobody wants to hear, but words I will not allow to defeat me or be able to steal my joy.

November is lung cancer awareness month, it’s also the month we focus on thankfulness and gratitude, as well as of tomorrow, I praise God for seeing another birthday. Today I am thankful for my family, friends, and that God has given me the strength to bear this sickness which I have been afflicted. Even in the struggle, He remains to be good. Thanks be to GOD.

With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation

Psalms 91:16
Samuel and one of his favorite people, Febbie.

Debbie lives in Central Pa with her husband of 45 years, Gary, and has 2 children, Chris and Danielle. Debbie is the proud grandmother to Alex (25) and Evan (18), she is also ‘Febbie’ to her youngest grandson, Samuel (4).

Memorize Monday: 11/18/19

Look at that…I forgot to hit publish for Memorize Monday 🙈 Better late than never.

Whoop whoop, it’s Monday friends! 🎉 If you missed the news last Monday, I’ve started a new weekly post, #memorizemonday. Each week I’ll post scripture and challenge my readers to memorize the scripture throughout the week. Last week we started with Psalms 100:4.

This week’s verse: Ephesians 2:8

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing: it is the gift of God.”

Ephesians 2:8 ESV

I have often heard of this verse as “by grace through faith”, so recently I wanted to learn the entirety of the verse. What stuck out to me the most are some key words: saved, gift, God. It is by grace that we are saved through our faith. Not good deeds or anything we are to do. It is merely having faith in the most precious gift from God; Jesus Christ. That is where we are saved.

What stands out to you the most about this verse?

**Don’t forget to keep us posted on your memorizing techniques and how memorizing is going! We want to hear from you**

Memorize Monday’s!

Yes, I know it’s Thursday but I wanted to make sure my new upcoming posts made it over to my blog,..I’m just a few days late. If you know me personally, this is not shocking! 🤷🏻‍♀️

Hey friends! Life has felt super hard lately. Most days I feel like I’m barely keeping up but after this weekend at the #hopewritersconference I feel rejuvenated and refueled. One thing that has been on my mind a lot lately: community. People you do life with, the people that you serve, the people that keep you going. So I’ve been wracking my brain on how I can serve my community here at My Song. His Story. And here’s what I came up with…Every Monday, I’m going to post a new verse. I’m going to add context about the verse and challenge you all to memorize the verse! Aka #memorizemonday. •

I feel so strongly about memorizing scripture. When Jesus was confronted by the enemy in the middle of the desert, He quoted scriptures. We are called to do the same when we are also confronted by the enemy. But admittedly, I’m not great at memorizing 🙈 so let’s be in this together!? Yeah? Who wants to join me? Comment below your memorizing tip! Or a way that may help you memorize scripture. •

This week’s verse. Psalms 100:4

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭100:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬•

The psalmist has a beautiful way with words in charter 100. Words of thanksgiving for all that God has done for us. Words to be used when life feels hard. And words that feel most appropriate for the month of November as we prepare for Thanksgiving. •

So now, off to memorize Psalms 100:4!

You can also find #memorizemonday on my Instagram, @mysonghisstory!

What if we chose empathy instead of judgement?

I had this very random memory of this woman I had an encounter with like, I don’t know, well over a year ago. I don’t know why she popped into my head, but she did. We were getting our nails done at the same time. I was looking forward to the ‘me time’ and she was there with her toddler, who well, wasn’t very well behaved. I remember being so annoyed with this woman. Passing so many judgements. She appeared to be much younger than me, so many eye rolls to myself of ‘who brings their toddler to the nail place?!’ And then some other judgments I’m too embarrassed to state in writing. But I think you get my point.

So when this memory popped into my head I had this thought: what would it have hurt to show her a little empathy and grace? Maybe she was looking forward to her ‘me time’ too and she didn’t have a sitter. Maybe the behaviors I witnessed are common and she is exhausted and just wanted to be pampered (fair!) Maybe she has no family around to watch her child. And well, maybe it’s none of my business of why she brought her toddler to the nail salon (ouch, that one kind of hurts).

I’m certain that I gave her the side-eye multiple times during our time together. I didn’t speak a word to her, but I’m certain my non-verbals showed my annoyance. I kind of pride myself on being an empath, but man, I showed no empathy to this young woman that day. All judgements.

Which brings me to this; What could that scenario have looked like if I could have just put my judgements aside and put myself in her shoes and just extended empathy and grace?

I have to believe that if we just showed empathy towards one another rather than judgement, we find ourselves in a much more loving place.

Am I Enough?

So it’s been a minute since I’ve actually written a blog post. My primary spots have been over on Instagram & Facebook. But honestly, it’s because things have been quiet, or actually, I think things have been so loud in my head, to sit down long enough to write more than a quick post has felt extremely difficult. However, I had a clear thought this morning that I feel strongly to share. I know I am not alone in this boat and others need to hear what I have to say today.

Am I enough?

I’m in a weird spot lately. Not feeling a sense of belonging in my circles. Feeling lost. I told my husband last night that I feel like I’m just floating about wandering aimlessly in my world. But it wasn’t until this morning that I had a thought that helped me reframe the cloud of thoughts that I’ve been struggling with lately.

If I only could [insert a negative thought] then I’d be enough…

If I only could lose 10 lbs, then I’d look good enough to post more pictures of myself.

If I only could be more bold, then I’d fit in enough for feel accepted.

If I only could be less anxious, then I’d feel productive enough….I could go on and on really.

But do you feel me? Am I speaking your language? Those moments of just not feeling like you’re enough.

I’ve worked really hard over the years to build up my self-esteem and confidence, so to hear such negative thoughts about myself only seems to perpetuate self-loathing and lower my self-esteem. It’s a vicious cycle. So, this morning when I caught myself speaking such negativity to myself, I really had to take a step back and reflect on some truth.

I am enough, I always enough, and so are you. Whether I am feeling down on myself, whether I gained 10 pounds when I’m trying to lose 10 pounds, whether I feel left out and lost, whether I feel unworthy…I am enough.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

In 2 Corinthians, Paul’s letter is to attempting to ease the minds of the church in Corinth of Christ’s goodness. All the while though, Paul himself was experiencing lows. He was imprisoned, he was almost stoned to death, he had mistreated those he was ministering to out of frustration, people were questioning his legitimacy. Dude was driving the struggle bus (I feel you , Paul).

Here’s the beauty in it all though, 2 Corinthians 12:9, “my grace is sufficient for you” was the Lord’s response to Paul’s plead to take the pain away. Verse 8 states “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.” The response, God’s grace is enough. Verse 10: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We are enough because He is enough. Everything we face, every weakness we encounter, can rest in Christ’s power. He has given up everything for us, so that we never have to question whether we are enough. That battle has already been won.

The other day I couldn’t get this thought out of my head: Only the weakest survive, not the strongest, which is the complete opposite of what society tells us. As I write this post I have had this ‘ah ah’ moment of realizing that God was speaking truth to me, but I couldn’t put the pieces together until today.

Those moments of not feeling like enough are the very moments that we are to seek God’s grace, and it is in Christ that we find that. Our weakest moments are the very moments that we will grow.

So if you need to hear it today, say it out loud: I am enough because He is enough.

I am enough.