Featured Posts from the RUBY blog
Which Way Are You Facing?
Category: Member Blogs

Which Way Are You Facing?

 
Epiphanies can hit you at the oddest times. This one happened while I was in church during a sermon.

The pastor was talking about getting closer to God and keeping your eyes on Him, and since I'm a literal thinker, I kept picturing myself nose to nose with the Almighty. Can't get much closer than that, can we? 

But then it hit me; all I had to do was turn around to be the furthest away from God. One simple act with a plethora of consequences! He's right there with you, but you can't see Him- all you have to do to get as close as possible is turn around.

Wow.

How many times have I walked around looking for God, only to never see Him? How many times did I turn my eyes away from Him to see some shiny sin-filled bauble dangling in my peripheral vision? And how many times did I refuse to turn around because the bauble seems like the right thing to focus on or (let's be honest here), I didn't want to focus on anything else that might tear me away from the sparkle?

I can tell you this- every time I turned my eyes from God I got into trouble. Every. Single. Time. So why do I still do it? Because baubles are shiny and we humans like shiny things. It's so much easier for us to stare at a glittering object than focus on our work- just ask any school student or desk jockey. Shiny catches the eye and seems more interesting!

Just look up a series of YouTube videos called 'The Most Satisfying' and you'll know exactly what I mean. I could stare for hours at that stuff. 

I'm so glad God is patient and is willing to stick with us, waiting until we turn around to see Him. It's almost like He wants to yell 'Surprise! I've been here the whole time! Aren't you glad to see Me?" 
 

We are both the closest to God and the furthest from God, depending on which way we're facing. So the big question is...which way are you facing?
History of Hymns by Lucy Neeley Adams: “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” Tags: Christian hymns Jesus

Tell me the stories of Jesus

Summer days or school days, nothing to do, boring day, all were thoughts of my early years. In spite of much fun stuff, I began many pages in my fourth grade diary with the title, “Boring Day.”

My school friend of many years ago agrees. “Yes, those were my feelings too,” Sally remembered. “It was all slightly boring.” Then we often discuss our years of teaching and laugh when we wonder if we too had students who shared our same thoughts about their studies.

Those thoughts are of public school. Sunday school was quite different. I was blessed with great Christian leaders who were committed to children. Their lessons have often been remembered as I grow in my faith.

That was certainly true of a Sunday school class that Mr. William Parker taught. Sensing that the students were restless, he put away all the materials and began to tell them a story. It worked every time. Quickly they became quiet and attentive.

Later that afternoon after church, Parker thought about the countless times his students had said,

“Please tell us another story.” Suddenly an idea flashed into his mind, and he gathered his thoughts and arranged them in a poem: “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus.”

With those first words as a beginning, he continued to write with vivid description about many events in Jesus’ life. The verses explain what it must have felt like to be blessed at his knee, to sing glad hosannas while waving palm branches and to stand at the cross of bitter pain.

William H. Parker was born in Nottinghamshire, England, on March 4, 1845 and died there in 1929.

He worked for an insurance company and was a dedicated Christian layman in his home church, Chelsea Street Baptist.

A friend described him as a person who was “quiet in demeanor, kindly in disposition, always trying to see the best in others. He was one of God’s true gentlemen respected and loved by all.”

Parker’s poem, “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” was written to honor the devotion of the pupils he taught each Sunday. It was not used as a hymn for several years because it had no music. The beautiful melody, written by Frederick A. Challinor, was chosen as a result of a competition held by the Sunday School Union of the Church of England in 1903.

This hymn is dear to me because Sunday school thoughts flood my memory whenever I hear it. My teacher, Jane McDonald, was a petite woman who had a light of happiness on her face when she told us stories of Jesus. Reading them in the Bible was not as exciting as when she told them. She wanted us to feel what the people felt when they were with him.

Jesus told his disciples that the children who eagerly came to him were an example for all: “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:15).

That makes me wonder: When I was a child who attended Sunday school and eagerly listened to my teacher, was I receiving the kingdom of God? Yes, because I responded and received him as my Lord and Savior. As an adult, I continue to be eager to hear and obey all of the glorious stories of Jesus.


Parts of this story are from Lucy Adams’ book, 52 Hymn Story Devotions

Lucy Adams

Lucy Adams In 1984 in Nashville, Tennessee I began to write answers for the question, “Why do people write songs?” Those stories first appeared on a radio program that I created: THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG aired on Christian radio station WWGM.

The program began as I sang six words, “I Love to Tell the Story” and said: “Hi friends, this is Lucy Adams and I tell the story behind the song.” I continued the show for five minutes with a message that answered … who, what, where and why of the hymn – plus a verse or two of the music. These programs continued to play for many years in various towns in Tennessee. Visit my blog to learn more about the stories of our favorite hymns at https://www.52hymns.com/about.htm

“The Storm that Never Happened” by Nells Wasilewski Tags: Christian life Christian women online Christian women writers Christian women's magazine

“The Storm that Never Happened” by Nells WasilewskiIt was on a Wednesday, in the afternoon, when weather reports started flashing like lightening of the encroaching storm.  My friend Barbara and I were at our church, working on different projects.

We were on the second floor when another warning alarm sounded.  Weather warnings were furiously flashing on her phone to take cover immediately. We headed to the basement and suggested that others take the warning and go as well. No takers, so we went alone.

We ensconced ourselves in the ladies restroom, and together we rode out the storm. It was such a peaceful and calming experience to sit there with her and chat about inconsequential things that were happening in our lives. Barbara made a statement, while we were waiting, that will stay with me always.

She has the sweetest most soothing voice, and she said to me:  “If it gets really bad what better place to be than in our church?” After twenty or thirty minutes, Barbara received a notification that the worst had passed.

Upon returning to the upper level of the church, we learned that the storm never happened. The worst of it was some high winds and a sprinkle or two. The storm may never have happened, but a beautiful thing happened that day. I have always loved Barbara, but, now, a new dimension has been introduced to our friendship–one of trust with new insights of who we are. I know in my heart that it was more than riding out a storm together; because, upon leaving the basement, my heart was full of God’s love.

Thought for the Day:  Colossians 3:12 (NIV)12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Prayer:  Elohei Chasdi – God of my goodness, kindness, and faithfulness, thank you for sending friends to ease us through difficult situations. Show us how to express our gratitude to each other and to You. In the name of our Savior and your Son, Amen.

 

Nells Wasilewski

Nells Wasilewski lives in a small southern town, seventy miles southeast of Nashville, Tennessee.  After retiring, she began pursuing her lifelong dream of writing.  Her writing has been greatly influenced by her faith in Jesus Christ, personal, experience and nature. She has been writing poems, prose and stories all her life. Nells has recently started writing devotionals. Her work has appeared in Haiku Journal, Barefoot Review, Three Line Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, 50 Haikus, Dual Coast Magazine, High Coupe Journal, Ancient Paths, Tanka Journal, Hedgerow and Penned from the Heart https://nellswasilewski.blogspot.com

 

The Gift of Love
Category: Member Blogs

Isaiah 62:10 (Amplified)

Go through, go through the gates,
Clear the way for the people;
Build up, build up the highway,
Remove the stones, lift up a banner over the peoples.

 

The Gift of Love

by Vallerie Sharmain Smit

 

Love endures everything...

Love makes a way, it builds a bridge and leads to a new day.

Love empties itself and looks to the Savior to be filled.

Love follows the example of Christ, Who shows us the way.

 

Who will travel the broken road?

Who will grab hold of faith?

Who will set up the standard and raise the banner?

Who will build the Highway and remove the stones?

Travel the Highways of Heaven and say that to love like Christ is the only way!

This is the uplifted road where the keynotes are so high.

The notes are so pure and true, it has the power to heal and restore.

 

If you have seen and felt the devastation of ignoring the signposts of 1 Corinthians 13...

Where lives have been shattered and the alabaster jars have been broken and joy is no more...

You will value life in others and you will value the Gift of Love.

You will know for sure, this is the greatest of them all.

 

Without love we are just a noisy gong.

 

If you are heartbroken who will heal and make you new?

Who will mend the pieces, but Christ's Love alone!

His banner over you is Love...

His Love will change you from the inside out.

 

He will show you the wastelands, the dry patches of your soul,

there might be a root of resentment in the cracks,

a weed of unforgiveness growing in the shade.

Feet might have trampled over your heart,

leaving you empty and hard.

May be a wall or two that you have built, to protect yourself from harm, but now it leaves you isolated and cold.

Places where your soul has died and you do not know if you will live again.

Our Savior will pull the roots and weeds out and

His Truth will push the walls to the ground.

Come forth! He will give you life!

 

He will never leave nor forsake you in your need.

He will not condemn, but tenderly He will take you out and loosen the snares.

He will lead you out to green pastures, and you will know that He cares!

 

Nothing can ever separate you from the Love of God!

We know the Power of His Love and Faithfulness, it endures forever...

The Lord will make the impossible, possible again and you will be completely whole again.

Instead of dry wastelands there will be streams of life.

Love and joy will be your song, trust in the Lord your safe refuge.

 

May God restore, revive and lift you up.

May you soar like an eagle close to God.

May the alabaster jar be whole again and pour out sweet fragrances of praises unto our Savior and Lord.

Through costly experience we know the value of love.

It is priceless!

In others and in ourselves.

The greatest gem above all of them, is Christ's love for us and in us!

You and I are the alabaster jar..

Come, and pour out your life as a drink offering unto Him.

 

Who will love Him most, the one that has been forgiven the most.

Come, pour out the sweet fragrances of a broken and contrite spirit and heart.

Come, you and I are the alabaster jar and the Lord is Worthy of our love.

 

Who will the Lord use, but the one that knows the road...

 

There are many waiting in dry places, out there in the wilderness,

waiting for just one touch of the Lord's Love.

Go forth...

 

(Written on 30/4/2014 under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit based on visions, dreams, utterances and songs I have heard in the Spirit)

 

"Dad's Day Delights" Father's Day Recipes from Marilyn's Treats Tags: Father's Day family recipes Father's Day recipes Marilyn's Treats

Dad's Day Delights

If you are ever looking for new recipes for any occasion at all, be sure to visit Marilyn’s Treats! She is always sharing her favorite recipes for every holiday, every season, and for every event that you might be planning.

So the next time you are thinking about what you want to cook up for your family get-together, stop by Marilyn’s Treats and you’ll be sure to find a recipe that is just perfect! Here is her collection of Father’s Day recipes in the “Dad’s Day Delights” collection.

 

 

Coca Cola BBQ Sauce

Coca Cola BBQ Sauce

Coca Cola BBQ Sauce ~A unique basting sauce with a bit of spice and tempered with the sweetness of Coca Cola. It will liven up your meats when used as a marinade and give a flavor bloom to your BBQ dishes. A large flavor will kick your taste buds into the next course.

 

Grilled Pork and Sweet Potato Kabobs

Grilled Pork and Sweet Potato Kabobs

Grilled Pork and Sweet Potato Kabobs ~Rosemary infused marmalade gives great flavor to pretty sweet potatoes, zucchini and pork. These are delicious! I used onion & garlic marinated pork and added sweet onion pieces and green, red & yellow bell pepper pieces to the kabobs. The marinade tastes wonderful. These kabobs were a real kid-pleaser.

 

Chili Dog Pizza

Chili Dog Pizza

Believe me you are going to think I must be expecting to even think up this pizza. But Chili Dog Pizza is not just for kids, adults enjoy it too. When my husband ordered this from a nice family restaurant we frequent a lot, I thought he was crazy. When they brought it to the table, cheese running down when you took a piece, chili, hot dog pieces, onions and mustard swimming on top, it smelled sooooo good. This one offers an easy, fast, and different menu option for your family. You have to try it!

 

Grilled Parmesan Asparagus

Grilled Parmesan Asparagus

Do you get as excited as I do when grilling season comes around? With a working farm just down the street the first crop of the season is asparagus. This is the time when my prodigal son returns for the life of “eating at mom’s” every Sunday. This is my time to be able to cook the meals I love and set another plate or two at the table. The meals of sausage, salmon, hot dogs, chicken, burgers, fresh veggies, sautéed mushrooms and onions become common and the fresh summer sides overflow my counter.

Marilyn's Treats

Visit Marilyn’s Treats for all of the recipes in her “Dad’s Day Delights” collection. Marilyn’s Treats and RUBY magazine do not claim ownership of any recipe or image in this collection unless specifically indicated.

Being Crickety
Category: Member Blogs

Being Crickety

 
 
It's not easy losing some of your mobility- even if it's only temporary. At least Ihope it's temporary! But with every trial there's a life lesson- sometimes more than one. I've learned to laugh about my creakiness, and I want to share a few things that creaky life has taught me.

One lesson about creakiness is similar to child-rearing; what used to take me five minutes now takes me at least fifteen.  Alas, the pendulum has started swinging the other direction. My kids are now helping me to get over obstacles instead of the other way around!

I've also noticed a change in my decision-making skills because of my temporary lack of mobility. 

Stores are no longer chosen by their sales flyers, but by how many benches they have available throughout the store.

Big stores must have motorized carts. At first I was daunted by using them, but now it's a lot of fun- especially when I can cruise around the store announcing 'Watch the tram car please!' (anyone who has been down on the shore boardwalk knows what I'm talking about!)

Little stores must have chairs or wheelchair carts.

Weight loss is no longer about attractiveness or fashions, but about increasing functionality.

Dinners have become more simple, usually involving the crockpot. Stove-top cooking has become a rare beast, unless it's a recipe for 'make in one pan and simmer'. Casseroles are also in the mix, as long as I can cut the veggies and meat sitting down at the kitchen table.

Not only do I check bathroom stalls for toilet paper, but now I'm looking for that helpful little ballerina bar bolted to the wall just in case the toilet sits too low. Like I wasn't already anxious enough by public restrooms. Sheesh.

Swimming isn't for play anymore- it's for exercise.

Exercise DVDs used to be no good because I never used them. Now they're no good because I can't use them.

I can't catch the kids doing something sneaky anymore because the knee pops betray my former ninja stealth. (and the kids love catching me trying to sneak up on them!)

The cats always know I'm home before I even take out the house keys due to cane thumping and knee popping.

When I go for a walk, kids keep running up to me asking if I have bubble wrap. 


No one likes being crickety, but I'm going to make the best of it until it either goes away (read: get rid of it), or I find better ways to deal with it. In the meantime, I'll be snap, crackle, and popping my way around stores and the house, doing what God tells me to do- and if you hear the sound of Rice Krispies, take a look around- I might just be behind you!
H.A.L.T. Tags: angry blog Christian devotional encouragement God hungry Inspiration lonely self-control tired

I love acronyms. Whoever thought of this memory-jogger was a genius.

My husband, Bruce and I were introduced to one of these creative gems at a youth Bible study. But like other pieces of useful information that get crowded out by life, I needed a reminder of this helpful acronym during a situation we faced.

I figured it might come in handy for others too, so I’ll share it with y’all. So, here goes. H.A.L.T.: Halt if you are:

H: HUNGRY
Oh my. When I’m hungry, I fall into the “whatever” mood category: “I don’t care, just get it done.”; “Let’s just get there.”; or “I don’t care what we do, I just need a snack.”

And everyone knows to never go near a grocery store with a growling stomach. The junk food retailer’s stock skyrockets every time on this one!

*A: ANGRY: Stay tuned. I’ll come back to this one.

L: LONELY
I’ve made some pretty bonehead moves when I was lonely (I won’t elaborate).

T: TIRED
I figure I’d better not do anything while I’m tired. I may be convinced I’m coherent, but realize later…hmmmm, not so much. I’ve glanced at sent texts and emails and realized: Yeah, should have waited.

*A: ANGRY
I’ve left the “A” part for last. Being lonely, or tired, or hungry can drive us to make less than stellar decisions. But angry? This one might be the worst decision-driving emotion ever. For it’s with anger that words are said, actions are taken, and destinies determined that may never, except by the grace of God, ever be fixed.

A healthy dose of self-control curbs emotions and can be a handy little tool to douse the spark that could cause a potential wildfire—a wildfire that destroys a lot of ground and a lot of people.

Which brings me to the following “situation we faced,” and thankfully in this case, I listened and obeyed that Giver of self-control …

The wall our back was shoved against left indents in my shoulder blades. And the friend who could have helped us, betrayed us.

My hands shook as I pounded out a text message on my cell phone in response to one of her stunts. My thumb hovered over the send button when a still small voice cut through the flame, “Don’t do anything in anger.” I knew this to be true, but I so wanted to fire off that text!

However, I paused. I glanced over at Bruce who, not 15 minutes before, snapped, “That woman’s gonna push me too far!”

I read him my text, a little part of me hoping for validation and the confirmation to hit that little green button.  He looked around at me and to my surprise said calmly, “Don’t do anything in anger.”

Like cold water on a hot flame, I realized God was confirming His word to me. My phone fairly flew across the counter as I shoved it away. I knew one twitch out of me would have sent that text flyin’.

I cooled down, grateful I didn’t send this text. The day before, as I was ranting and flinging manure across my horse’s stall into the bin, the Lord gave me a serious command: “Hold your peace, vengeance is mine.” And then started chatting with me about forgiveness. It would not have been wise to ignite any fires with my message.
(“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:26-27).

God knows what He’s doing when He tells us to H.A.L.T. before making a decision. Take a breath, scarf an energy bar, take a nap. Whatever it takes that’s moral and decent with no side effects, we need to do it. Nothing is worse than having to undo an unwise move. I’d rather not spend the energy to apologize, lament over an excessive grocery bill, or explain why I sounded like a dork. I’d like to act right the first time and avoid cleaning up a mess.

So, the next time we face a challenge or a decision while we’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired … and we will … join me in implementing H.A.L.T.. Our lives will be much more peaceful and productive for it.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

Vocations
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: Finding a Way Ahead! Inspirational Self Help Motivational

Vocations

Our lives start as a small stream, and then over the years that stream slowly grows as it merges with new tributaries finally becoming  an ever flowing river. So it is when we look back over our lives to where we originally started. What has made us, broken us or contributed to our personality, and where are all these paths leading? In trust, we follow, as God guides us through what often feels like a maze (even though that maze may be painful, and we do not want to walk along it). We may have some understanding of our lives; but may not be sure how everything we have encountered makes sense. It is as though the different tributaries of our lives are meeting to form a bigger picture of our vocation. Divine guidance is always leading, even when we feel our lives are lacking, or empty in some way; much unseen work is always happening.

Often the most painful times of our lives are those when we question "Why God, have you allowed this situation to happen when I trusted you?" Sometimes our continuing situations last almost life long, and are then brought into resolution. At other times, we can see how an unbearable situation is suddenly taken away.

What is God weaving in your life through the pain, the joy, your circumstances or your pattern of achievements? Where is this all leading? Everything we encounter seems to be woven into a larger tapestry, and this helps us into our vocation (even though others may not understand it).

Keep going with your vocation and what you believe is right for you. Sometimes it seems our vocations start with a test, and this can be uncomfortable. Sometimes our vocations are not obvious, but they are there within us and we cannot compare ourselves with others. You might already be fulfilling your vocation and, are so used to it, that you may not have recognised it as such. We all have different gifts, and personalities. You may even have taught yourself new abilities and these can fit with your life's purpose. Everybody has a uniqueness and something to celebrate; we all have a contribution to make. Sometimes out of one vocation come others and these can have many surprises. Looking at the tributaries of your life, how has everything contributed to making you the person you are? Where do you think you are being led? Whatever your vocation is, don't be put off, be you!

On Tuesday the 6th June, I was on the Maria Rodrigues 'Woman to Woman' show, on Premier Christian Radio in London, England, talking about my life experience and  I hope that the pattern of my life will encourage you. Here is a link to the show, if you wish to listen to it. Please scroll down a couple of screens to my interview on 06.06.2017. (By kind permission of Premier Christian Radio).

www.premier.org.uk/woman

Angela Harper

Author, Finding a Way Ahead!

How God Grows Us
Category: Member Blogs

How God Grows Us

 
 
Ever feel that if just one more thing went wrong, you'd go stark raving bonkers?

Me neither...not

I'd been feeling overwhelmed lately and asked my buddies on Facebook for some encouragement. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I got a private message from a Christian friend, asking what it was I needed encouragement for, so she could pray for me. It's friends like these I wish lived closer to home.

I told her my troubles and how I felt. She told me feelings are fleeting and temporary things, and God is using these troubles to grow me as a Christian. Before I could stop myself, I blurted,
'Egad woman- I know He's trying to grow me, but does He have to add so much manure?!?'

And she laughed

Her laugh made me feel a little better. And after talking and praying with her. the bad feelings did fleet...er...flee. The black cloud wasn't entirely removed, but at least I could see the silver lining. 

When I'm in one of those 'one-straw-before-the-back-broken-camel' moments, I used to hide myself away from people and sulk, wallowing in misery until I pulled myself out of the muck of my emotional tar-pit. Now I force myself to talk with others and ask for help, as hard as that is. I try not to complain to the world (though that sometimes happens), but instead find a friend on the phone or online that is willing to hear my troubles. 
Though the issues and that overwhelming feeling don't always go away completely, talking them out with a friend makes me feel like I can handle things once more. Their prayers and willingness to listen infuse me with God's strength to move forward. What a blessing that is!

God piles on the manure on occasion, but He also provides a means to gain strength through Him- He wants us to talk to fellow Christians to gain perspective, gain composure, and maybe even laugh a little in the process. He never meant us to go it alone in our own strength. As my friend encouraged me, I'd like to encourage you if you're in the same proverbial manure pile.

Don't hide yourself from others. Find a Christian friend and talk to them. 
Look for friends that don't just agree with you, but are also willing to be honest when they don't and tell you in a gentle way.
Know that in all things, God has a plan and this is a temporary feeling. It willpass.
Pray and talk to God and ask for strength, endurance, and to send Encouragers. 

And when the trial is over and you've done a little growing, be an Encourager to someone else. You never know what kind of hidden blessings He has in store for you!
Reflections
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: Reflections aging bucket list friends and family

When I turned Forty I read the poem “When I’m an Old Woman” and it struck a chord within me. I wanted to be that woman – wear a red hat, a purple dress, and shoes that don’t match. Spit on the road, run my walking stick along the chain linked fence and generally be a Senior Delinquent (within the law, of course)!

Another thing that really touched the depts of my soul was the song "I hope you Dance." I hadn't danced yet! Growing up, dancing was a sin (if you can believe that!) and how I wished I had been born into a family that allowed danceing! Now I dance - Dance for Parkinson's sometimes in a chair, sometimes on my feet. I feel like a ballerina until I look in that big miror that spreads across the room and see the awkward ungraceful  movement of my body,  but I dance!

Well, I am fast approaching that well-seasoned time of life. Things that were so important to me that I felt I must do, just aren’t that important to me anymore.These days there is much talk about the “Bucket List.” A list of things you want to do before you die. My bucket list is dwindling. I think about heaven a lot and how much time has passed. I value spending time wiht family and friends.

 

 

 

 

I made it!
I may hate it.
I may question it.
I may be confused by it.
I may get lost with it.
I may want to be over it.
I may hate it, but I made it.

I may struggle.
I may fight.
I may run.
I may hide.
I may struggle, but I made it.

I may stand.
I may sit.
I may crawl.
I may stand, but I made it.

I may cry.
I may get angry.
I may cry, but I made it.

I may be still.
I may be still, but I made it.

I may hate it, but by God. I made it!
My altar
Category: Member Blogs
I want to express myself in a way that I can get the point across without sounding harsh or careless. I have a new found respect for myself at this point. I have ran through this valley and passed all the main attractions. I missed the signs and wonders that were brought to my attention. I had no idea they were there until I missed the opportunity to go back and see them. I wandered this desert alone. I found myself in the valley of desperation. I thought it was torture, but it was sort of healing in a way. I thought it was sad and lonely, but it wasn't that at all. I found it to be freeing and encouraging to my soul. I found it to be exactly what I needed. I may have hated it at times, but that's life, right? I have come through this valley and I look back and feel such a strong sense of freedom in what I have found to be tried and true. My faith was made stronger. My soul found the rest it needed. My body is no longer restless. My mind is where I need it be! My hope is renewed. This valley wasn't the death of me, but the strength of me. It made me understand that letting go is part of the process. I wasn't going to stop it because it got hard. I wasn't going to give up because I couldn't take the pain. I knew it would be lonely. I knew that I would hate the process, but I made it! The valley was lonely and cold. I had darkness following my every step. I had fear looming over my head. I had doubt tripping me every move I made. I had unforeseen amounts of anxiety washing over me. It wasn't afraid and I think well, I know it bothered the enemy. I wasn't going to give in to his demands. I knew that if kept dwelling with it. It would eventually consume me. I had to push past my own fears in order to break free. I was in the way. I stopped myself from moving forward. I blocked my own blessings because I was afraid of the what ifs. I knew I had to keep going. I didn't like it. I, in fact hated it. I hated every moment of it. I felt alone. I felt sick. I felt worried that I wasn't good enough or strong enough to fight it. Man, was I so wrong! I found out what I was made of in the process and let me tell you this, the struggle was and still is real. God didn't abandon me. God didn't leave me nor did He forsake me in my time of need. God was there and He was watching over me. He was there every step of the way. He was the blanket that kept me warm in the coldest parts of the valley. He was the light I needed at night. He provided me with an incredible view of the sky. The stars danced with joy all across the night sky. I knew I was in for a real treat as they twinkled in the sky above me. I enjoyed the wind that cooled me off. I enjoyed the fountain of water at the base of the mountain. I found a new sense of purpose. I had more joy. I had more peace than ever before and I had faith that was stronger than ever. I am no longer in the valley. I have made it out. I am now at the base of this mighty mountain. I look up as I see the rocks as I brace myself for the trip upward. I know that I have the tools to keep me from getting hurt. I have firmly planted my gear into the mountain side as I say a prayer before I make the trek up this mountain. I will trust the Lord. I know this will be harder. I know this will hurt. I know that I may free fall to my death, but God provides a way. God will protect me every step of the way. I will have a longer process. I will have it harder and for that I am okay with because I trust this process. I want to grow. I want to be better, faster, and stronger than ever. I know this mountain will shape my future. I know this mountain will show me what I am made of unlike the desert, and the valley. I have to face my fears of heights. I am not going to fail. I know that with You on my side I will make it to the top of this mountain. When I am at the top I will make my altar . I will make it a place of remembrance. I will make it a place of beauty. I will make it a place of peace and understanding. I will make it a place of strength. I will make it a place of freedom for I know the Lord my God will be pleased with me. I will call this place chuphshah.
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