Tragedy

Captivity

” I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity.”

Jeremiah 29:14

I love this verse in the Bible.  How comforting to know that God will bring us back from the captivity we find ourselves as well as from those who have held us captive.

Captivity according to Dictionary.com:

the state or period of being held, imprisoned, enslaved, or confined.

When I think about the word captivity, I can come up with several scenarios where the word captivity would apply.
Such as:
Being held as a prisioner
Being held as a slave
free cage
But I also think about the lives of many struggling Christians who are being help captive by the enemy. Maybe in small ways but also in huge ways. Think about those you know or maybe think about your own life. What do you struggle to be set free from? Addictions? Sexual Sin? Lying?
Rejection from someone/many? Fear? Anxiety? Agoraphobia? Gambling?
Personally, I can relate to being held captive to something not of my own doing, yet that is exactly where I found myself for over 20 years. Agoraphobia took over my life and became my best friend. I knew what to expect in relation to it, yet the outside world overwhelmed me. Thinking of traveling away from home would cause the panic and anxiety to run full force; way beyond my control. The fear and panic were easily feigned off when I would once again give into the enemies control to hold me captive once again.
This scenario went on and on. Over and over. Never changing much. I would so desperately want to be free from the chains holding me hostage, yet I could see no way out of the depths of fear.
Yet, when I was ready and the Lord was willing to hear my desperate cries, I was set free from all of the chains holding me hostage. Nothing will stop me now. Oh, I won’t lie. Often I can feel the enemy trying to gain his power back again, yet the battle is not over. The enemy will never win this battle.
” Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles. ” Psalm 2:3
The last time we took a family trip to San Antonio, as we were driving home I said, ” Well, little devil, once again you lost that battle.”. That is what I will continue to say, even in the face of fear and anxiety. I will continue to move forward in the call God has placed upon my life to help others struggling with fear, anxiety and agoraphobia, or those who have lost loved ones to suicide or murder, just as I have.
I hope you will read an older post from when I was first set free from fear.
God literally gave me the verse I discuss in the Feeding on Ashes post.
” God called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. ” 1 Peter 2:9
Today, I want to offer you hope that healing can and will come. God has a wonderful plan for your life and that plan includes freedom from captivity and bondage. Don’t settle for anything less than God’s best.

Keep Walking

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Photo Credit:

P. J. Di Benedetto

When we learned to walk as a baby, it was tough at times. We often fell down, cried or even through a fit, but over time we still learned to walk.

Our parents would offer us help and encouragement, but even that couldn’t teach us how to walk. Walking just basically required us “doing” the work to learn the process. One step at a time. Then one day we were walking more than a few step at a time and before long we were running with other children. Walking isn’t something we knew when we were born, but through trial and error, we eventually learned the steps to becoming more independent.

Now, when we think about the Christian walk. It is basically the same process. We don’t have any clue how to face the struggles life hands us, but over time we learn to use our faith even in the deepest pits of life. No life is a bowl of cherries. We all face hardships, difficulties and pain in this life;whether of our own doing or someone else’s. Life can hand us pain unimaginable at times. I know in my own life, I can certainly attest to that.

As a child I never knew how much pain I was carrying around because it seemed normal. Yet, over time the shoving the pain down began to manifest itself in the way of anxiety, fear, and eventually agoraphobia. This certainly was not the life I dreamed of as a child. Life became unbearable, yet I saw no way out. The roller coaster only intensified after the murder/suicide of my grandparents.

I am giving you that example because I can certainly relate to trials, pain and tragedies, yet over time I had to learn that my life wasn’t going to change unless I changed.

Changed my thoughts

Changed how I let the past control me

Changed relationships and the power they held

Began to trust and believe in myself

I can never change the pain of the past, the loss of loved ones to horrible tragedies, but I have learned that I must

Keep Walking

Even when it is hard

Even when the path is unclear

Even when the naysayers are loud

Even when the end seems so far away

Nothing in life is easy and usually the sweetest accomplishments are the hardest fought.

Praying for you today to feel God’s love and His peace. He has a wonderful plan for you. Love to each of you.

I am having a new website designed, so in a few weeks I will have a new landing. Hope you will check back often to see the new site.

Linking Up:

Essential Thing Devotions

My Freshly Brewed Life

His Story by P. J. Di Benedetto

HIS STORY

Guest Post

By: P.J. Di Benedetto

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Three years ago, in 2010, I was standing on my 2nd floor balcony porch, staring off into the distant trees, totally peaceful, with my mind a million miles away. (Picture yourself there.) My sweet husband innocently came up behind me, and lovingly wrapped his arms around me….upon which I almost JUMPED OUT OF MY SKIN IN SHOCK AND FEAR, terrified, electrified, as if a bolt of lightning had just struck me! He so startled me, that I was shaking uncontrollably, and then, suddenly I just burst into tears! I want you to know right now that my husband didn’t MEAN to scare me…in fact, he is a wonderful, Godly man who wouldn’t hurt anybody, intentionally. As I stood there having a complete meltdown, he pulled me into his arms and held me close, saying, “I’m SO sorry, Sweetie! I didn’t mean to frighten you, Honey!”, and many other comforting words that soothed me. (My husband is a gift from God, especially chosen for me! He’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me!) So, when I finally calmed down, my husband gently, TENDERLY talked to me about maybe going to see a Christian counselor who specifically deals with victims of rape. It was obvious to him I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I am a survivor of a rape by a serial killer, which occured when I was 14 years old, but that I’d never dealt with. I didn’t tell ANYONE when it happened, and actually went to school the next day as if nothing HAD happened. It was how my brain survived the trauma, because that rape COMPLETELY blew my mind! (Fast-forward for just one second: I DID tell my mother, in 1983, when my rapist was caught by the police for rape and murder, TEN years after he raped me.) Then, after telling my mom, for the next 20 years of my life, after my rapist was in prison, convicted in the deaths of 2 of the 6 murdered girls the police came to find out about, I never talked about it again. I never sought help, or counseling, and I simply did what was expected of me in life, trying to pretend everything was normal. This was all totally sub-conscious. I had no idea I was doing that! I like to say that I wore a mask…my, “I’m fine!” mask.

And now, standing there on my porch, 38 years after the rape, I had just simply fallen apart. I was like a puddle of water on the ground, my mask floating there on the surface, leaving me feeling naked. (Looking back, I think that was God’s perfect timing.) After agreeing with my husband that I would seek someone for Godly counsel, FROM THAT MINUTE ON, everything in life as I knew it before began to change. Just making the appointment was like a breakthrough! I was not going to keep quiet anymore! No more stuffing this down…I was coming out of hiding, I was breaking my silence, I would be bringing everything into the LIGHT. I was very afraid of what would come out of me during this counseling, scared of how much I would have to dredge up about my past, but I’d had enough of the “LIVING WITH FEAR” even MORE THAN the fear of re-living the past with a counselor.

Right now, it’s been three years since then, when I went to that counselor. It really helped me…HEALED me by pointing me to God, and after some very intense months of hard work, I graduated! I felt so healed by Jesus’ loving-kindness to me! I was even able to forgive my rapist. I wrote him a letter telling him how he could also know this wonderful Jesus of mine! (Forgiveness is not a natural thing for one to do…it is SUPERNATURAL.) My pastors’ wife had given me some scriptures on an awakening, and of chains falling off. and that was exactly the way I felt! Free!!! I turned it into a sketch, that will one day become a painting. Then, the Women’s Ministry at my church was having a conference/workshop, and asked me if I would be one of the speakers and workshop leaders. I agreed, and afterwards, many women came to me with stories of their own. It was, again, another very healing experience.

God was using this story, my story, to touch other women’s lives. I shared with them many scriptures and promises from the Bible that I had learned! Now, God was taking something bad that happened to me, and replacing it with something GOOD, for His glory! My “history” became “HIS-story!”. Because, during my healing, Jesus did such a miraculous thing, that, now, when “RAPE!” roared it’s ugly head in my brain, Jesus Himself reminded me of what HE did during my counseling, and everything He taught me! The lies I had believed had been removed from me! And, once they were gone, Jesus clothed me with Himself! I told this group of ladies this: Instead of viewing my life from the perspective of being a rape victim, I now was making Jesus my “point of reference”. I learned that, “I have been crucified with Christ, yet I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me; And this life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the One who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Jesus was living IN me, THROUGH me, AS me! Then, right after having these wonderful things happen to me, a story came out in the newspaper about my rapist, and his cousin, who were partners in the crimes of raping and killing girls. They were dubbed, “The Killing Cousins”, and it was one of the worst things to ever happen in our small town.The main story was about how the one who got the death sentence should have been executed already! He’d been on death row for 27 years! Their final victims’ family, (their 17-year old daughter was raped and killed in 1983), was angry about it that “justice had not been served” yet. (Her killer was put to death 2 years later, in 2012. The other cousin, my own rapist, had been given 2 life sentences.) The story told of how the mom would put a memorial in the obituaries each year, and how, once her daughter’s killer had been put to death, she would write a new, healing, celebratory memorial instead! I was so moved by the column, that I wrote a private letter to the columnist, telling him how well I remember the day these two had been caught, and how I finally told my mother I had been raped by one of these men.

He asked me if I would do an interview with him about what happened to me. I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed! God revealed to me, over and over again, that I SHOULD do it, even if only to help ONE person who was suffering. (But, He assured me, there would be HUNDREDS of healings, after all was said and done!) So, I did 2 interviews, during one of which I got to meet the final victims’ mother, and tell her how very sorry I was that her daughter had died, I got a chance to talk to her about the guilt I had felt all those years, thinking that if I’d only TOLD SOMEONE, maybe her daughter and others would still be alive…(though, at the age of 14, I did not have the tools to speak about it to anyone.)

On the 2nd interview, we drove to my old neighborhood, and I showed him where I grew up, and where my rapist lived…right across the street. The only way I got through those interviews was with Jesus holding my hand! I’m serious! He even SPOKE through me! I was shaking like a leaf throughout! Eventually, my story would be published on November 28, 2010 on the front page, along with 4 or 5 other stories, each with different angles, about these “Killing Cousins”, who roamed through our little town, and other towns close by, searching for victims, FOR THE PURE SPORT OF IT! (Yes! They did it for the FUN of it! Did I mention that the entire time I was being raped, my rapist laughed his head off crazily, non-stop, like some hysterical maniac? He actually ENJOYED robbing me of my innocence! Because, while I was DYING inside, it was visibly exciting to him watching it happen!) My story being published in the paper did help many people, though! My counselor told me of one person, a 70-year old man who had been sexually abused in childhood by his own father, came in saying, “If she can find freedom and forgiveness, so can I!”. Other people called me, and sent me cards in the mail. One letter began, “There are no words to say what we feel in our hearts for you except you have got to be one of the most courageous, strongest, and bravest girls we know.” I don’t always FEEL courageous, or strong, or brave….but the Jesus that lives in me IS!

After my story came out, I kind of went backwards for a time, because I feared retaliation. His family still lives in my same town. I started having Post Traumatic Stress, again, and also began having a fear of leaving my house. I became agoraphobic. On the heels of agoraphobia, I began to experience deep depression. Things that I once enjoyed, I stopped doing. Probably because, also during that period, still in the year 2010, I suffered great loss in other areas of my life. Three separate people who I loved very much died. My oldest son, (23 years old), went to jail for a year. (Can you just imagine how hard it was for me to go to the jail and visit him twice a week, being agoraphobic! Back ON went my masks!) I was suffering 2 very debilitating health issues. I had to end a long friendship with my best girlfriend. Then my husband moved us from the church where he and I were both thriving, because our teens needed a good Youth Group, which was non-existent in the church we were attending at that time. Keep in mind that the church was one of the few times I could leave my house, and be with other Christians. The ladies there were a big support to me. When we left, I pulled away from everyone. We wandered from then until now, 2013. All of these events made me seek God’s face like never before in my life! It was like I was actually STALKING Jesus! I sought His direction for every single thing! And, slowly, I started trusting again. I was invited to speak at a huge church, 4 hours away from my home, and my sister went with me, and GOD DID IT! Yes! God used my story for MORE people to get healed and to be free! Praise God! That was a very positive, healing thing for me…seeing God touch people using my voice, not to mention getting me to leave my home and travel 4 hours away, and spend the night in a strange city! It was empowering!

Last month, my husband and I decided to return to the church where we began, because they replaced some of the staff, and they are presently looking for a new youth minister. We were welcomed back warmly there! And it’s a great thing, because with no warning at all, the newspaper had a story about my rapist again, saying 3 members of his family were trying to get him exonerated.That story was on a Wednesday, and on Sunday they re-told my own story. Nobody asked me, and they printed it without giving me any heads-up whatsoever!!! And, I felt traumatized all over again! What a setback that was! I was so angry! My scab had been ripped open, AGAIN! It triggered all of my weaknesses….the PTSD, agoraphobia, and depression all over again! I’ve had to seek God with my whole heart, soul, mind, body, and spirit! I have to be very careful where I allow my mind to go, and also who I allow into my life! I have had to do whatever it takes to put into practice all I’ve been learning over these few years…like realizing that when I am weak, God is strong! When I think a negative thought, I make myself say three POSITIVES. I count my blessings, one by one. I have to, like David in the Bible, “encourage MYSELF in the Lord”, because other people are not always available. I will read my Bible or a devotion, I’ll listen to uplifting music, (and sing along!), journal, pray, listen to a sermon, call a friend, force myself to do a favorite hobby…whatever it takes! I just need to redirect my mind to what I know is the truth! I quote scripture right out loud! This is what it sounds like: “Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is right, true, noble, if anything be excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things! I am NOT ever alone! Jesus will NOT forsake me! Jesus is my Rock and my Salvation! All things are possible with Him, who strengthens me! He who is in me is bigger than he who is in the world! If God is FOR me, who can be against me? For God knows the plans He has for me, and they are not plans to harm me, but to prosper me, and give me a hope and a future!”. That is how I survive, and I am grateful for all things that can and DO bring me closer to God! Knowing HIM is my GOAL in life! I am living my life for a reason, and that reason is Christ!

I started taking photographs with the new camera my husband bought for me, and it has gotten me to take baby steps away from the house. I still panic when it’s time to get in my car and drive to pick up my kids from school, but popping in a praise and worship CD has been working for me! It gets me there to the school,singing all the way, and my kids talk to me all the way home! And, now, Angie Kay Webb has asked me to write this guest blog. I guess that most recent setback/attack from the enemy must mean Satan is really worried about how Jesus will use THIS blogged story for His glory, too! I pray that is the case, and that the Lord Himself LED YOU HERE to read this today, to help you on your journey to wellness.

For the record, I’m just an ordinary person who has an extraordinary God! I have a long way to go, (I know that), and I have a TON of more things to still learn, yet, “…I am confident of this one thing, He who began a good work in ME will see it to completion, until the day of Christ Jesus!” (Adapted from~ Philippians 1:6) . I trust Him, the Author and Finisher of my faith! Will you? God only wants the very best for us, His children. You CAN put your faith in Him! He is trust-WORTHY! Follow Him, with all you have inside of you, and you will find healing, too! It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s a process, a journey, a walk with the Lord, and SO worth it in the end! What a friend we have in Jesus! Just imagine…He’s the King who wants to be OUR FRIEND! I keep running toward the prize! I pray one day I will hear those words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant!”. Amen!

P.j. Di Benedetto is a married woman, with 7 children, and 12 grandchildren. She is an accomplished artist, whose work includes a 50-foot mural at her local Salvation Army in Vero Beach, Fl. P.J. enjoys gardening, sewing, writing poetry, playing musical instruments, photography, and Bible study; her favorite scriptures are Galatians 2:20, and Philippians 4:6-7.

Your Assignment

Your Assignment

Do you ever question what you are here on earth to do?

I know I have wondered that more often than I care to admit, but I have decided that I must live in the here and now all the while trying to find my calling from God..

Wonder
Wonder
Wonder

Yet, when we question what God has called then we are basically saying that God has made a mistake and messed up when He called us to the assignment we have..
Whether that is:
being a mom
being a hard worker at the job I have
being a prayer warrior
cleaning someone else’s home
being an author or blogger
leading a church as a pastor or youth minister
driving a school bus
working at a daycare

If we are questioning our current assignment then God will not call us to any other assignment. We will stay exactly where we are at in this time and place.. Nothing will change. We will stay frustrated, upset and wondering why nothing changes.

Our hearts must change first
and then God will direct us onto the next assignment or open doors to open in our current place of assignment.

Your assignment will always cause other to succeed and your assignment will always require you to go places you never dreamed of going. DREAM BIG
Your assignment will cause you to be celebrated; not tolerated. Luke 9:5

Your assignment will require wisdom.

Wisdom is obtained in two ways:
Mentors
Experiences/Mistakes

Wisdom is not something we are born with and nor are we born qualified for our assignment. There will be bumps in the road and bruises along the way, yet that does not mean we stop striving to fulfill the God ordained assignment God has given us to do in this life.

WE ONLY LIVE ONCE, SO MAKE IT A GOOD ONE

Our assignment is something only we can accomplish.

Our assignment will require us to solve problems only we can solve.
Our assignment will require us to help others only we can help.
Our assignment will require us to be love to someone else that maybe no one else acknowledges.
Our assignment will require PAIN, PASSION and PURPOSE.

Lord, today I want to offer hope for those wondering exactly what their purpose is for today. You know our hearts and you also know our desire to be worthy of your call on our lives. Help us today to not waste the time we have remaining and also do not let us lose hope in the call you have on our lives. We all have a purpose and an assignment from you. Let us stay strong and finish well.. We must stay focused and faithful in the small.. Lord, help me to remember that I am not where I used to be but I am also not where I want to be. Thank You for the wonderful gifts you have provided for my family in the last year on all levels. We are praising You. Thankful..

Mother’s Day

On this Mother’s Day, I am thinking about my grandma, Neenie. She has been gone from this earthly world for 17 years and each day that goes by it seems as though I am losing more and more of the memories I had with her as well as her voice. I so wish today more than any other day, that I could just hear her speak to me one more time.

NEENIE

Loss is not easy but in my life, loss has been such a normal exsistence that often I don’t think I would know what normal is if I had it in my own life.

I have never had a mother figure in my life other than Neenie that truly loved me unconditionally and totally for the person I was. My parents were not that for me and definetly not that for my children, so basically everyone looked to Neenie for the love we so desperately wanted. It saddens me to think that there are so many women in this world today that feel exactly like I do today.

I wish that my mother and father had loved me unconditionally and for the person I was made to be from God, but that has never been part of my story.

I believe that is why I have wanted to have good relationships with my own children, and have struggled with that as well. This will be the second Mother’s Day that I have not seen our oldest son or even received a Mother’s Day card.

This breaks my heart because when you are 18 years old and become a mother all the while facing all of the obstacles that come with that, I truly believe that I deserve a small amount of respect and love from my son even for that small gesture. Yet, it doesn’t seem like that will ever be a part of my story again. In reality, I have not had a relationship with him since 2009 when he began his new life… We have been the outsiders looking in from day one and no matter how much we have tried to be a part of his life and the lives of our grandchildrens, we have never been allowed to have the same access as others in their lives.. In 2009 my husband and I both had a talk with him and told him that we had to be ALL IN OR ALL OUT and not be treated like step-grandparents. Well, here it is 4 years later and nothing has changed. We still have been excluded from most everything of importance; memories we cannot get back….

As of today, I truly believe that my son knows the truth and knows our heart as well as the heart of his brother. I can’t change what has happened, but yet I also know that nothing will change because we have had it happen over and over again. HURT RUNS DEEP… LOSS OF MANY JOYOUS TIMES BECAUSE THERE IS ONLY CERTAIN ONES THAT GET TO BE INVOLVED. THIS IS NOT JEALOUSY…IT IS RIGHT AND WRONG..

I love my son and my grandchildren, even my only biological grandchild that doesn’t even know her grandparents(Mike and I) at the age of 17 months old. SAD for her as well as us.. We are awesome grandparents who would do anything for them and have loved our oldest grandson like he was our own from day one…. Never a thought of any other way to be… We love from our hearts and will always love them..

But we are not going to be stepped on or walked on any longer. We have feelings.. We cannot get back baby showers that we weren’t invited to. We cannot get back memories from wedding planning we weren’t asked to be a part of ( no family issues until HER dad tried to take the one thing we had been asked to do from us).. We can’t get back being able to be a part of the first doctor appointment for our only biological grandchild. We can’t get back our youngest son’s college graduation and birthday being ignored by all his other family. We can’t get back the fact that we weren’t invited to hubby’s mother’s surprise birthday party.. We can’t get back that we have missed all of our oldest grandsons school programs except one when he was 3 or 4… We can’t get back that we don’t get school pictures, family pictures or even a baby announcemnt of our granddaughter…

We can’t get back the law enforcement connections that hubby lost trying to help said DIL…

Hubby can’t get back connections he lost when son quit job he had helped get him with no notice to employer..

We will never get past the feelings of rejection and being used..

We can’t get back the times we have spent helping them and then being told we need to be put in our place..

We can’t get back the time we were all invited to their home and then hubby and I were jumped on all the while her parents were sitting there being told nothing..

NOPE..
Won’t do that again.

We have had the same conversation with them over and over.. Nothing changes other than we once again step back in so we can see our grandkids and son, then to only be hurt again… NOPE.. NADA… NOT DOING..

family at christmas

This is a picture of the last Christmas we saw our son and grandsons. This was the year before our granddaughter was born. Don’t we look happy. I was so happy to be there with them, even though I was horribly anxious.

This was a tough place for me to be in because of my anxiety and agoraphobia, yet I did it for my grandsons and son… I wanted to make memories with them, yet nothing we do will ever be enough.

I will always miss my oldest son, but I have chosen to make my life better and positive… One day the past will have to be addressed and responsibility will have to be taken… I know that hubby and I have apoligized so many times and yet we once again get treated the same way… We step back.. Drop out.. Stay disconnected so there are no issues, yet it never seems to be enough.. We are still to blame…

Truth: According to Dictionary.com
An undisputable fact,
the quality of being true, genuine, actual, or factual
a proven or verified principle or statement

The truth always proves true…

Today; This Mother’s Day, I will spend with Chance and Mike.. We will have a great day together.. Good food and good company..

I love you Wade, Corbin, Brysin and Adisin(even though I don’t know you) and wish you all the love in the world. Nothing but the best for you all. We pray for you all each day and miss you terribly. God knows our hearts and always has…

To all the mother’s that have lost connection with your children; I pray for you today. The heartache runs deep and the pain never ends. This is a child that God chose to give to you and yet now the world seems to be totally against the relationship ever working. I don’t know what issues you may be facing in your own relationship strain, but I do know that God ultimately has all the power when we ask HIM and pray for HIS guidance. God does not ask us to be beaten, abused, hurt, treated unkindly so we can have this said relationship. God wants the best for HIS children and sometimes that means having boundaries.

As parents, especially mother’s, we often take the weight of the world on our shoulders.. God wants us to give HIM our concerns..

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You.. Isaiah 26:3

Have a Happy Mother’s Day… God Bless You.

LET GO

scrabble free

” YOUR FINGERS MIGHT BE CRAMPED FROM DRAGGING YOUR PAST WITH YOU, BUT LOOSEN YOUR GRIP AND GIVE YOUR BAGGAGE, ONCE AND FOR ALL, TO THE ONE WHO KNOWS YOU AND CHERISHES YOU. ” source unknown

Over this last 10 months, my life has been a journey of many new beginnings as well as endings in some areas.

I am not one who likes change… (Control Freak)

Yet, God has allowed me to walk into new in so many areas of my life, that a year ago I would not even have ventured out of my comfort zone to set out to accomplish.

I have always enjoyed writing and wrote a printed newsletter for about 4 years that I mailed out to friends, family and other ministries, yet about 2 years ago, I stepped out and began blogging about my journey with fear, anxiety and agoraphobia.(older blog is at joyfuljourneynewsletter.blogspot.com)

I then slowly ventured out and took small, baby steps as well, in telling my story of growing up in a abusive, fear based, controlled, neglected home as a child. None of this process has been easy at all because when I hit PUBLISH, it is all laid out bare for others to see and read for themsleves. I am not in their mind to see how they perceive my words or what they think of me after they read my words, yet I have decided I must give up worrying about what others think of me and tell MY STORY and allow others to tell their stories.
( I will have a guest blogger in a few weeks that will share her story)

We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and I know that as a child of very intimidating, controlling, angry parents, I have a tendency to struggle with people pleasing. Thankfully, much of that problem has been alievated by God’s help and His strength, but at times, I still wish EVERYONE liked me and EVERYONE wanted to be my friend. But that just isn’t reality. I may not be everyone’s cup of tea and I am okay with that now. Before it would have drove me absolutely crazy trying to figure out how to be like so and so or write like so and so..

All I can be is ME: ANGIE WEBB, a child of God first and foremost. A wife, a mom, a grandmother.

I can’t base my worth on what others think or feel about me. My worth does not depend on anyone but Jesus Christ and He says I am valuable, beautiful and worthy because He died on the cross so that I may have an abundant life, full of God’s blessings.

Over this last 10 months I have stepped out of my comfort zone by doing the following:

1. Went on our first family vacation in about 8 or more years due to my anxiety. We traveled about 12 hours away and had an awesome time seeing family; most important was my 96 year old grandmother, Johnnie.

2. I began a new job after leaving my job of 7 years. I first began subsitute teaching, which I didn’t think I would like because of going to a new building to teach, which often would cause me some anxiety. But I have really enjoyed this time of learning and growing.

3. I began and cordinated an online group for others that struggle with anxiety, agoraphobia or fear. We meet online through a FB group. If you are interested in joining, let me know.

4. I have begun driving more and more alone, even in areas that I am uncomfortable driving.

5. I have recently received a new job working in a clothing store and have had another job interview that would require me to work for Hallmark as a merchandiser two times a month. This would not interefere with my permanent job, but would be a great opportunity for this greeting card addict.

6. I have recently began teaching myself to acrylic paint. My grandmother that was murdered in 1996 was an awesome oil painter, but I never learned any techniques etc from her, so most of what I have done has been self taught. I am not that great yet, but I keep plugging along and trying to improve.

7. I have had the opportunity to meet some great authors/artists/bloggers through my writing and through Facebook. Many of these relationships have turned into some great friendships outside of Facebook. ( some here)

Check out:
http://www.onlyabreath.com
http://www.danaarcuri.com
http://www.make1break1.blogspot.com
These are a few of my friends blogs/websites.

8. I am currently working on my memoir, “When Your Home Becomes Your Prison: Out of Fear, Anxiety and Agoraphobia.”

I am not mentioning any of the above to pat myself on the back or to draw attention to myself in any form or fashion. The reason I mention those items is to allow you to see that God can bring new into our lives if we LET THE PAST GO..

Easy to say; I know.. I have been there. I have been in a place where I physically and mentally did not think I could go one more day of carrying the pain and hurt of my past anymore.. Yet, once again I would get up in the morning and reach down to pick all of the junk up again. At night, I would try to lay it down so I could sleep, yet most often, I would lay awake trying to figure out why I was such a failure and why everyone else seemed to have their lives all together, when mine was such a mess. One day, about 10 months ago, I decided to let it GO…


I can’t change anything that has happened from the day in 1965 when I was born to today, but I can choose to make the second half of my life better than the first half
. I am almost 50 years old and I certainly do not want to give the enemy anymore of my life.. I have so much more to accomplish and so much more love to enjoy…

Today I want to offer you a short statement to think about:

What do you gain in continuing to carry around the baggage of your past?

I believed I was doing the noble thing by carrying all of that junk around. Yet, the noble act came when I laid it down at the foot of the cross. It takes a bigger person to realize that the past is just that: The past.. Nothing can change what has happened, but the future is a blank canvas waiting for God to splash His plan and purpose upon.

Friend, today I hope you can find the courage to let it go. That doesn’t mean we don’t learn any lessons from the past or offer others wisdom we have gained from the journey we have been walking, but it does mean to realize that now is the day to be FREE.

Father, today I want to offer those reading this post the hope that the past can be left behind us. We only have to reach out to you and connect our hearts with you. You, Lord will carry the pain and junk from the past. We no longer have to carry that baggage with us. You have a bright future for us that only can be accomplished when we LET GO… Today, we are asking you to give us the strength and courage to move forward with YOU and to allow YOU to paint on the canvas of our lives in the way you so desire. We are open to new beginnings and new endings as well. Today is the day for a bright, new future.

Tragedy; Oh My!!!

Today’s world is so chaotic as we have seen in the recent news.

This leads to question WHY???

There are no answers for questions such as this, other than to say that evil exists even when we wish it didn’t.

After the Boston bombing during the Boston Marathon, as well as the recent explosion in West, Texas, we often wonder why lives much be lost in such horrible tragedies?

There is no evidence at this point that West, Texas was anything other than a freak accident, yet we do know that the Boston explosion as well as Sandy Hook shooting were planned and perpetrated by very sick, evil minds full of hate and violence.

What has our world come to?

I know from experience when tragedy happens, it changes our make-up and who we are whether we want it to or not. Life will never be the same but that doesn’t mean we can give up…

After the suicide of my brother-in-law and then the suicide of an uncle exactly a year later, the reality of my life changed on many different levels because I had to explain to my children why such horrible things happen. The worst moment in my own life was when I lost my grandparents to a suicide/murder in 1996.

This is when the WHY’S, the begging God to change the reality I was facing and the often points of unforgiveness and anger began. I was devestated and so lost with not understanding.

The families facing these tragedies will feel so many different emotions on many different levels as well as points of total shutting down. This is normal, yet we must continue to pray for those who have lost loved ones or they themselves have been injured. It is a devestating world we live in today, yet I am forever grateful that I know GOD is still in control even when it seems as though evil is winning.

The ones that continue to perpetrate evil on the world need to read the end of the BIBLE..

Proverbs16

AS believers: WE WIN… The Bible says we will receive all of the best if we believe in God and Jesus Christ.