In her own words, Part II

I want you all to know, that I find it difficult to yield my will to God.  I find it difficult to obey God. I find it difficult to trust God to fill me with His Spirit.

I think that is why God wants me to share about the Holy Spirit.  He knows I struggle with this, and that I am not up on a mountain, speaking down to the masses about this, He knows, I am right there in the trenches—fighting with my will to yield to Him, and many, many times failing.

Today, when I was listening to the radio, a song came on, that expressed how I often feel, and there was a line that said:  “But today I feel like I’m just one mistake away– From You leaving me this way.”

Have you ever felt that way—like you struggle with the same sins, and you make the same mistakes, over and over again?

I love this song, because the chorus goes on to say:   “Jesus, can you show me just how far the east is from the west? ‘Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been– Rising up in me again.  In the arms of Your mercy I find rest– You know just how far the east is from the west– From one scarred hand to the other.”

In my blog, “Comfort and Encourage”, I talked about how in Psalm 103, King David tells us that our sins have been removed from us, as far as the East is from the West.   I would love for everyone who reads this blog to listen to this song, with that scripture in mind.  I know it will encourage you!

The purpose of this blog, is to explore the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  This blog is really part 2 of the blog I wrote before this, called, “In her own words…”, where I shared part of a letter, sent to friends of Becki Crain, after she had died of cancer.   This letter shared thoughts of Becki that illustrate the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

I would like to share some more of that letter with you.   Again, I’ve edited it a little for greater readability.

“I’m finding that my spiritual growth isn’t dependent on me at all.  It’s dependent on Him alone.  I think that even though there are spiritual giants out there, they are carnal too.  They’re just products of God’s making.  There is no way we can take glory in what He’s done in us, in what He’s doing in us, and what He will do.  If it were up to us, we would have left Him so long ago and so many times over.   We are carnal, but we are also spiritual because God put His spirit in us and we long for Him because He’s given us that longing.  I’m afraid to say these things, because I know that maybe in an hour, maybe tomorrow I’ll be wallowing in self-pity again, seeing only me, my disabilities, seeing only my pain, wondering why God hasn’t healed me yet.  I understand why Corrie ten Boom felt the way she did about her own spiritual walk.  She saw how carnal she really was.  I think she’s a giant and I hope to someday be a giant like her but I don’t want to go through that.  I don’t want to go through this.  I don’t want to die.  I don’t want to die to myself.  But God doesn’t say, “What do you want, Becki?”  He says He will fill me with Himself.”

Again—my friend has articulated so perfectly, the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  God put His Spirit in us, and we long for Him, because He’s given us that longing.   We are all products of God’s making.  We can’t take credit for what He is done, doing and will do in us.  He wants to fill us with Himself.  When we trusted Jesus as our Savior, our old selves were crucified with Him and He gave us His Holy Spirit.

Galatians 2:20 says: “My old self has been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  So, I live in this earthly body, by trusting in the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me.”

When we are commanded in Ephesian 5:18 to be filled with the Spirit—that is what God is telling us—He is telling us to yield our wills to Him and trust Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to live His life through ours.  This is what it means to “abide” in Jesus and be connected to Jesus as the vine and as us as the branches.  We do not have to ‘try’ harder.  We just need to allow Jesus to live His life through ours. 

The hard part is yielding our wills, to allow Jesus to do this.  It does not mean in doing this that we become robots, it means, that we become more of the person God has always intended us to be, using our gifts, loving, giving and serving others. It’s hard to do, because it means saying “no” to what we think will meet our deepest needs, and saying “yes” to God and how He will meet our deepest needs. It means trusting Him and His love for us.

This is what my friend Becki was trying to communicate—these were some of her last words to us—God says He will fill us with Himself.   Just as we trusted Jesus to be our Savior, so we need to trust Him to fill us with Himself.  Faith is taking God at His Word.  God commands us to be filled.  Ephesians 5;18:  “Do not be drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but Be Filled With the Holy Spirit.”

 To be filled, We confess our sins, (see my Guilt blog), if you want to know more about this.  We Yield ourselves to God.   By Faith, we ask the Holy Spirit, to Fill us.   By faith, we thank God, that He has filled us.  When we sin, we confess, yield and ask God to fill us again.  It sounds simple, and yet, it means dying to self, and that is never simple.

If you would like more information about this topic, you can go to this link:

God knows we need help!  Therefore, God sent us, “The Helper” – the Holy Spirit.

So let us Be Encouraged!!

In her own words….

God has been telling me to write about the Holy Spirit.  I feel like one of those old-time prophets who is told by God to communicate something that they feel unqualified to speak about.  When I asked God what to write, He brought to mind a letter that my friend Becki, who died of cancer, sent out to friends who had been praying for her.  Actually, her husband sent out the letter, after Becki died, and he shared some of her thoughts with us.

I share these thoughts, because to me—they express the work of the Holy Spirit in a way that is real and living.

These are Becki’s words— edited a little for greater readability – while hopefully not losing any of their meaning:

Becky shared these thoughts when she was in Germany receiving treatment for cancer, and it was becoming apparent that cancer was winning, and she was physically dying. 

this spiritual battle, this spiritual journey, is not anything like what I thought it would be.  I thought I would feel victorious.  I though I would be able to live beyond the pain – maybe not even feel the pain – because I was so much living in the spirit. 

Isn’t that why it’s hard? I don’t want to read my bible, I don’t want to pray, but God is so good, He hasn’t let me go.  If He wasn’t so good, He and I would have parted ways early in this battle, because I’ve often felt, I don’t want this.

I just want to be a nice Christian woman, at home with her children, being a good wife and mother.

But God hasn’t let me go, He hasn’t turned aside and said, “Ok, I’ll work on somebody more faithful.”

I’m finding that my spiritual growth isn’t dependent on me at all, it’s dependent on Him alone.”

That last line expresses the ministry of the Holy Spirit in a nutshell.  This is it.  It is not dependent on us at all, it is dependent on God alone.

This is what Jesus means when he says (in John 15:5) :   “I am the vine, you are the branches, he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me, you can do nothing.”

The branches grow fruit because they are connected to the vine.  They don’t have to grunt and strain and strive—they just have to be connected. 

So the big question—how are we connected?   

I would like to fully explore this question in my next blog.

In the meantime, let these thoughts encourage us—

Our God will not leave us, He will stay with us every step of the way.  He stayed with Becky every step of the way. He is holding us up, when we can not stand. Becki shared some verses to a song with us in this last letter. I would like to share that song with you. It’s an old song, but it expressed Becki’s heart:

 May we be encouraged!!

To Comfort and Encourage

In my last blog I wrote about guilt.  This was a difficult topic to write about and probably to read about.  I thought that I would share some things that would comfort and encourage.  These are scriptures that have greatly comforted me and I pray they will comfort and encourage you as well.

  Psalms 103:12 says: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103 was written by King David, and if anyone can tell us about guilt and forgiveness, it is King David.  He committed adultery and murder, and his story speaks to the fact, that God can forgive anyone of anything.

In fact—think about it—the east is an infinite distance from the west—and when we admit our sins, that is how far God removes our sins from us.

David also wrote in that same Psalm: “Praise the Lord…. who forgives all your sins…who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”

David is telling all of us, that this is what the Lord does for us, he tells us: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him, for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are but dust.  The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him and His righteousness with their children’s children……”

These words of David fill me with hope.  They tell me that God knows me, He knows us—He knows that we are mortal—that our lives are fleeting here on this earth—the Lord understands us, and He sees us as a father sees his children.

These scriptures encourage me because they help me to go to God.  God loves me.  God loves you.  God has compassion for me.  God has compassion for you.  He knows our weaknesses.  He knows that we are but dust.   He has put eternity in our hearts and made it possible for us to live forever.

God forgives all our sins.  He redeems our lives from the pits and crowns us with love and compassion.

We can go to God—our Heavenly Father.  He knows us.  We can admit our faults and sins.  We have a Heavenly Dad who loves us.

So—let us be Encouraged!!


This week I ran into an old friend.  I reminded her that years ago, she told me that she had a dream, where God talked to her and said, “Katie is a good mother.”   I told her that I clung to that statement after Sean died, as sometimes I felt like such a failure as a mom.  We both started crying.

Feeling like a failure as a parent– is something with which so many of us are struck.  We all have things that we truly regret and wish we had done differently.  I know that there are certain areas of my life that God has asked me to turn over to Him, but I have struggled doing that.  Why?  Because these things are idols—they give me a sense of security, or significance or comfort.  I turn to them, instead of God.  I don’t want to give them up, because I lack the faith to believe that God will really provide for me or fill me with significance or comfort me.

  I remember when the passages of Matthew 6 really struck me—Jesus was telling His followers—not to worry about food, or clothing or shelter—as our Heavenly Father knows we need all these things—but to seek first God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness, and all these things will be added onto us. 

 I thought—wow, Jesus, you really must be from Heaven, you really must be God, as everyone I know is worried about those things, everyone I know is seeking after those things, including me.  You are looking at things from God’s perspective.  You are trying to give us God’s perspective.  The perspective that says—”Don’t worry, I’ve got this, just listen to Me, do what I am calling you to do and I will take care of you.”

Here’s the thing—when I trusted Jesus to be my Savior, He came into my life, and I was adopted as a child of God.  3rd Chapter of John   I will always be God’s daughter, “our relationship” as Father and Daughter will continue throughout eternity.  However, when I “sin”, it effects our fellowship—it separates our communication.

 We see this in our own relationship with our children, my sons and daughters will always be my sons and daughters, but sin will hinder or stop our communication with each other.  I will always love them, nothing can stop me from loving them, but things can stop us from really talking to each other, and they may not “feel” the love I have for them consequently.

So how do we deal with the guilt, when we know, we haven’t been listening to God, and we haven’t been following Him—we haven’t been obeying Him.

This is going to sound simple—it is simple—but it is so hard to implement—why?  Because it means letting go of our idols and clinging unto God and agreeing with God about those idols.

Confessing—means to agree with God.  That’s it—it just means to agree with Him, to stop justifying, stop defending our actions—just agree.  I like to defend and justify and continue my actions.  It is so hard for me to agree. It is so hard for me to yield.

However, scripture says, “ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.

Sometimes when I agree with God, I “feel” forgiven, and sometimes I do not.  Sometimes there is such a sense of relief and sometimes there is not.   Whether I “feel” forgiven or not, God’s word says—when we confess, God is faithful, God is just—He does forgive us—as in things are right between us now– our fellowship is restored.  Our relationship – He is my Dad, I am His daughter was never in danger—when I accepted Jesus all my sins, past, present and future were forgiven, but our fellowship was being hindered.

God’s word says, I am forgiven, and you are forgiven, therefore we take God at His Word, not our feelings, and we cling to God’s Word as truer than anything—truer than our feelings, truer than our circumstances.

I am learning to trust God’s Word over my feelings.  When I do, I can look at the “feeling” of guilt and judge whether it is legitimate or not.  If I have confessed and yielded my life to God—than the “feeling” of guilt is false, it is not legitimate.   If I have sinned and not confessed, than the feeling of guilt is legitimate and is a tool to point me to God, who is faithful and just to forgive me and cleanse me.

Either way, I let guilt point me to God.  I let His Word, His Spirit and His other children speak truth in my life.  I find that if I let guilt point me to God, God will deal with the guilt—if it is a false guilt, or if it is the voice of “the accuser of the brethren”.    I know that the enemy of my soul wants to use guilt to drive me away from God, so if I instead, let it drive me to God—it has the opposite result of what the enemy wanted to have.  Yay!!

Don’t be afraid to let another trusted believer know what you are struggling with—they can often help you discern truth and help you in your struggle to hear God’s voice and receive His wisdom.  My husband is a great discerner of truth, and he helps me immensely.  He encourages me and tells me how I am succeeding as a mom, and with me, he fights the enemy who would love for me to feel hopeless and like a loser.

Mostly, my husband reminds me that we are in the middle of the chapters of our lives.  The story isn’t over.  He reminds me that God is in control and God loves our children more than we do.  God’s love and mercy and forgiveness have no end!!

If that isn’t encouraging, I don’t know what is!!

**Picture is my husband and I surrounded by our nieces and nephews at our wedding reception.

The sweetness of love.

I am tenderhearted and have great compassion for others.  I am a feeler.  My husband is a thinker, a problem-solver.  We are two sides of a coin.

In our family, we have a chore chart, chores each person is responsible for–for that day.  After Sean died, it was painful to look at the chore chart, so I put it away.  Eventually, we needed to function as a family again, so we used a system again.  I found that implementing the system was proving troublesome. Everything had changed, our dynamics had changed.  The kids had so many excuses why they didn’t want to do their chores, which I think was part of the grief and suffering they were going through, and since I’m so softhearted……

 I asked my husband to implement the chore chart.  Now I hear,” don’t worry about doing the pots and pans—I’ll take care of those” or “if you unload the dishwasher, I’ll load it..”

The end of the day usually finds my husband and myself finishing up chores, working side by side in the kitchen together.  It is a very sweet time for us.

Why?  I think it’s because we see in very real ways our children suffering and grieving the loss of their brother, and so in also very real ways, our hearts go out to them, and we come along beside them and help them.  Both of us—the feeler and the thinker—we love our kids—we would do anything to help them—we would do anything to show them how much we love them and that they are not alone.

It is in times of being “a parent” that I most clearly see and feel and know—God’s love.   If my husband and I, both so different, can both come along beside our children to help them during their times of suffering, so does God come along side us to help us.

God with all of God’s attributes—loves His children and comes alongside of us and helps us.  He helps us.  In so many ways we have seen “His goodness in the Land of the living.”

He has done the things that only He could do—to reach out to us—and love us—and help us. If you’d like to read some examples of how He has done this—  Read—Julia’s gift; The Gift of Grace; The Gift of Work; The Gift of Hindsight.

Our Father doesn’t do these things just for us—He does them for all His children.  He loves all His children.  Ask Him to give you the eyes to see where He is coming alongside of you.   He is the best parent there is.  He is the best parent there is.  We have the best Dad ever!!

So Be Encouraged!!

My Epiphany

Well, today is Epiphany—the official last day of Christmas.  How many of you are ready to close the door on this Christmas Holiday?  I, for one, am.  I’ve eaten too much rich food, and don’t feel all that wonderful physically.  I have grieved deeply and profoundly for those who were not physically present this Christmas—those who have gone unto eternity and those I would normally have seen but didn’t because of the shutdowns.

 I have observed once again, the deep grief of my children—which sends me to my knees praying, “Dear God please help them, and show their dad and I how to help them.”

  I have also been on my knees praying for our country—for the deep, deep distress I see—spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but Wow!!  Wow!!  Will things get better?  That is what we all hope and pray for.

Today, my husband and I spent some time in prayer together for our children and our country.  At the end of our time in prayer, I started singing an old song to him, “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden”, and we both smiled.

Sometimes I think God is singing this song to us.  Why?  Because I think that as people we error in two extremes when it comes to our view of God.  We either fear giving Him our lives because we think that He will make us suffer and be miserable if we do, or we think He is like a ‘kind Santa Claus’ and He will give us anything we want—health, wealth and happiness, and if He doesn’t meet our expectations—we think He doesn’t truly care for us, and we cut Him dead.

  Both of these extremes are lies that I needed to deal with.

I had this first opinion about God before I came to know Him. I thought to truly follow God, one would need to suffer, be persecuted and be miserable. I thought if I gave my life to God, He would in turn say, “Great–I’ve got you now–now let’s make you suffer little girl!!” (Yes–imagine the witch speaking to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz–and you’ll have the right tone of voice for this imaginary conversation I was having with God.)

I found that scripture didn’t support that view of God.  In Matthew 7: 7-11, we find this idea that if we –as humans know how to give good gifts to our children, (and believe me at Christmas time—my husband excels at giving his children gifts that delight their hearts), then how much more does our Heavenly Father give good gifts to His children.  We also, have the story of the Prodigal son, where the Father in this story shows us this view of God, as loving, willing to forgive anything, and desiring a relationship with His children.

Jesus, who is the visible view of the invisible God, showed us a God who cared for us, and had compassion on us.  He healed people of leprosy and diseases, and gave people back their sight, and their ability to walk.  He brought a young man back to life and gave him back to His mother, and a girl back to life and gave her to her parents.  (After Sean died—I found it difficult to read those stories in scripture—as God did not give me back my son.)

In fact, I errored on the other side of my view of God.  He didn’t heal my son and didn’t give Sean back to his family and friends.  God failed me.  God disappointed me.  I questioned His existence. 

But Jesus—Jesus is a truth teller, and He has always and only told us the truth.  He told us that, “In this world, you will have many trials and sorrows, but take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Jesus also told us that there would be a cost to following Him—that we might be hated, persecuted, and killed because of Him. 

That is what I realized—Jesus is a truth teller—He never promised me a Rose Garden–in other words—suffering is a part of living.  In fact the greatest joys in my life have come after suffering—like having a baby—they are such a joy—but getting them into the world involves suffering.

The question is—do we suffer, and have God walk through the suffering with us, or do we try to muster through it on our own.

I decided to take the comfort, love and encouragement God was offering me, and get over myself.  I decided to stop throwing my little fit, because God didn’t perform the way I wanted Him to.  God is not a puppet whose strings I pull.  God is God—and His ways are higher than my ways, His thoughts higher than my thoughts. 

In this world, we WILL have trials and sorrows, but take heart, because Jesus has overcome this world.”   Jesus has overcome this world—He has risen from the dead—and SO SHALL WE!!!!   So Shall We!!

May you be Encouraged!!