Monday, January 30, 2017

WHEN YOU WISH FOR DEATH

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Written by Angeline M Duran Santiago

Recently I sat in a conversation with someone who was so overwhelmed and broken that this person had come to the conclusion that perhaps suicide was the only solution to stop the pain. I thank God that in the hardest times, He shows up and helps us to give the right words to someone who is saying they want to die, but I think what they're really saying is, "I hurt so bad, I wish it would stop!"

We have the opportunity to let people who are hurting know that they are not alone. So many times our focus lies in preaching to the lost, when many times, the broken and the hurting are so near to us. God will not only give us the words, anointed with His Love and presence, to change the situation, we can trust that God will do great things in the very situations that seem impossible to change.


Psalm 143:3-11English Standard Version (ESV)
For the enemy has pursued my soul;
    he has crushed my life to the ground;
    he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
    my heart within me is appalled.

 From the very moment we set out to breathe, just like God has an amazing plan for our lives, the Devil also begins to work against that blessed plan. He comes against you and me in our childhood so that we are completely destroyed. Our lives are attacked, our innocence violated, our bodies abused and our minds tormented. We feel alone and pushed against the corner with no escape. It is the Enemy of our lives that works to bring lives to the place where they feel completely imprisoned in silence, rotting away in the silence of forgetfulness as those that have long been buried ten feet under.

I remember the days of old;
    I meditate on all that you have done;
    I ponder the work of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to you;
    my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
Answer me quickly, O Lord!
    My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
    lest I be like those who go down to the pit.

There were times, even in those dark moments, where God made every effort to communicate with us and we just couldn't see or understand He was there reaching out to us. God has always desired to show us the way and direct our paths. You thought God has forgotten you and that maybe He had not heard any of your cries in the night, but He heard. In our pain, we didn't know how to identify the Healing and helping voice of the Almighty God. He was there wanting to deliver you and me from such devastation and heartache but, oh, how we continued to make so many wrong choices, And, it's not that the Lord didn't love us or care, it's that we had ended up in places and situations where the plan of Satan was taking place. He was hard at work to break our spirits and leave us for dead.

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
    for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
    I have fled to you for refuge.[a]
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
    on level ground!
11 For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
    In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
 
God has never stopped loving you or me. God has never put His many plans for you in the garbage. God has not changed His mind about how He loves you and what He sees when He looks at you. You see filth but God sees restoration from your ugly past. You look in the mirror and see shame, but God sees a life that is renewed and polished back to something ever more precious than the original beauty. You feel worthless and God says feel my love, feel my presence, and feel the Life I give you. You crave and hunger for death because you believe it is the way out, the end of pain and the only way to stop the hurt and the voices of condemnation. God says, "You're crazy to think there's any life outside of what I am freely giving you. Come closer to my heart and I will give you that peace and that rest you have desired for so many years."

 2 Samuel 22:29  “You, Lord, are my lamp; 
the Lord turns my darkness into light.”

I want to share that the person that spent the  last few weeks depressed, longing for death and feeling like he was losing his mind is smiling again. This person is learning to see that when we feel like we're going to lose our minds, God says, "Take it easy." And He shows us how to renew our minds through His word and by trusting in him. God has a great plan for your life. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that you or I have done that would create a permanent wall of separation between us and God. To crash through that wall of sin and darkness that separates us from our loving heavenly Father we just have to call upon His name and cling unto Him with all our strength. You and I are going to have to put all our trust in Him because being set free will be a battle. The Devil will not want to see you be set free. Satan will not want to see you happy and living a life filled with Jesus Christ. He will continue to come against you. But, one thing I promise, you will have the presence and the power of the Almighty God in your life to fight this battle. 

 Deuteronomy 31:8  “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. 
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

When the Devil comes to remind you of your past and that suicide is the only way out, you will have the armor of God upon you and the Word of God inside of you to command him to be quiet and leave. God will empower you to walk in victory even when life is hard. God will be with you and help you. Life will have it's moments to make you struggle, but with God in your life, you have the guarantee that you are not alone. God will also put family and friends in your life that will love you regardless of your past, your failures or what you feel shame for. Since God has made all things new, God will also give them a heart to love you and see you through God's eyes. He will provide the support and the help you need. Holy Spirit will indwell you and empower you to resist the devil and the devil will flee. 

So, will the person I spoke to these past few days ever struggle with suicidal thoughts again? I know that Satan loves to attack our thoughts, especially when we go through a difficult situation. But, I also know that if we hide in God's Word and seek the Lord, suicide is going to have to run out of our minds because there is a great God making his seat in our hearts and in our lives. The devil cannot remain where God comes to claim his beloved child. I promise to be here for you and walk with you through your hard times. Together we will pray and seek the Lord. Together we will fight. I will not leave you because I love you, I always have and I always will. El Shaddai has a great plan for YOU!

 Psalm 34:18-19  “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;”

I pray you are blessed. This is very true what I've shared tonight. I pray that just as I am praying for this person in my life, that you will know that I am also asking the Lord to give you victory and give you understanding of how much God not only loves you but cares for your today and your tomorrow. Trust in the Lord and you will see that life with the Lord is a great adventure!

God bless you. Love and Hugs, Your sis in the Lord, Angeline.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

RECKLESS DRIVING




Written By Angeline M Duran Santiago

What are some events that can and will take place when a driver is either intoxicated, texting, or driving extreme speeds for fun? Among a few images that may quickly pass through your mind, one might be a deadly accident where not only the driver is affected but those around him or her. The million tears, cries of, "I'm sorry!" and money in the world will not bring back the person that fatally passes away or ends up in the hospital bed in a coma. Money can provide a new car or fix the messed up, crashed up one, but nothing can truly erase the devastation of this moment when the "bang" took place and life as everyone involved knew it, was completely and forever changed.


 I use this example to make you think about  the way we live. We claim to be followers of Christ and disciples of the Lord. We boldly declare in social media that Jesus is Lord of our lives. Our outward lives are living testaments of our faith and our countless activities devoted to proving we "walk with the Lord". Yet, in our private moments, we fail to prove to ourselves that Christ is truly Lord in our lives. We live by two different standards and attempt to compromise and mix both God's ways with the ways of the world or our own thinking and feeling.

Marriages encounter that "bang" and "crash" moment when we, as the drivers of our lives, get in the car of our decisions and choices and make some pretty messed up choices. Just like the car crash, we don't take into consideration the lives that will be hit and destroyed because we are wreckless drivers, out of control with our wayward living and doing our own thing. We flirt. We look at what we shouldn't. We entertain conversations and moments in our lives that as children of the Most High should make us run. We take a second look, taste the moment, imagine the opportunity and even drive around a few times not caring who gets hit as we make a U turn back into sinful behavior.



Mercy. How many times do we take God's forgiveness and mercy for granted. Our minds tell us He loves us and will forgive us so we continue to step on the gas and go all crazy doing what our flesh craves for. Marriages are forever damaged. Relationships are eternally marred. Families are scarred because even when we apologize and move on, the scars are there. We live with the side effects of the bang up that took place. We live with the memories of when and how we were let down or someone we trusted took advantage of our kindness. We accept people into our families and don't know the number they're playing in our lives. They come in telling you one story, but they're after your marriage. Your husband or your wife becomes their prey. Jealous people come into your lives and target your children and all that they see in you.

Too many Christians are driving wrecklessly! We're living off of only Sunday sermons and not taking time to read God's word and pray on our own. We don't think about the Lord throughout the day. We rarely, if ever, meditate upon His word or seek His presence. We spend our days merely entertained with the political agendas of the moment but don't take the time to just ask for God's protection and strength. Our families are broken and hurting and we lean upon the prayers of others for the healing and restoration in our homes.


We forgive and forgive over and over again. But, the affects, just like the car crash, remain. An unfaithful moment can lead to a pregnancy or a disease. Addictions to porn or other inappropriate behaviors are very hard to break. Once we open the door to the demonic realm, they forever believe they have permission to bother, haunt and raid our minds, our bodies, homes and families. 

How do we stop this behavior of having to live with constantly forgiving our spouses or people in our lives for their reckless driving? It's time to realize that our behavior causes accidents and even death. Our careless mistakes can take a lifetime of counseling to help us just begin recovery. We want a testimony that says we messed up or tried the untouchable. Why? Why can't we just give our hearts to Christ and try to live our lives for Him. He gives us clear instructions and directions in His Word.


I believe that if we make it a habit, a habit and routine of the heart and mind to honor, please and live for God Almighty, we can take these same disciplines and honor, please and give our all to our husband, or wife, and our children and family. If we love God, truly love the Lord and try to live for the Lord, then that same path leads us to loving our families and thinking a hundred times before we let ourselves fall. I am not saying there won't be times we mess up or that it can't happen. But, what if we lived really trying to just love our husband or wife and honoring our God? Then, we wouldn't get into the car all intoxicated and uncaring because we would think of hurting our families and breaking God's heart.

It's tiresome to continue to live through the same patterns of dysfunction and impropriety. It's heartbreaking to see God restore and answer prayer to only end up all over again needing to be delivered, healed and restored. Let us stop with the secrets, the habits of darkness that call us away from God, and let us learn to be a family and a partnership that is one hundred percent surrendered to the Lord. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I SAW FEAR

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Written By Angeline M Duran Santiago

This morning, it seemed people were up with the news. Postings were filling up the social media as people reacted to what is and was taking place within the government walls. As I read their remarks, I read words of fear. I saw fear in the hearts of parents. I saw anger. Reading between the lines, I saw the stress of people wondering what was coming up in the future for their children. Panic and insecurity flooded their words as those who have medical conditions struggled with the news of what the new medical situation for our country was looking like. Fear. It sort of creeps up on us when we're people that know about the times we're living in and are also aware of what the Scriptures indicate as far as the end times. 


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As I read what many were sharing that showed the fear within them, I thought to  myself, "It is what it is." People want you to write to Congress and march and do so much, but the truth is, (at least I think) what will be, will be. God has our times in His hands. Our today and our future, as amazing or as scary as it may start to look for so many, it is in His care. We have to have faith that God Almighty will make a way to provide for our needs, all of our needs, not just the emotional ones. God is able to show us and guide us. The Lord, I believe, will not abandon His Church. 

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There is an assurance in my heart that God's love is so great, that I can trust my children's medical future, their jobs, their careers and every aspect of their lives in His hands. Someone once said, "Fear is the absence of faith." I think Fear is also the result of constantly filling your mind with negativity. I once had a pastor who preached about what we allow to go into our minds and our lives. I remember him saying, "Input/Output, Garbage In, Garbage Out, God's Word In, God's Word Out." And it's so true. We can get captivated by the TV and Social Media to such an extent that God's Word becomes irrelevant. The waves of fear take us on a ride and before you know it, we've not only become hopeless, but become the promoters of that same fear and insecurity.

I don't know it all. Truth is, I have a long way to go as I believe I'm always learning. As an Educator I strongly believe that we are lifetime learners and that the moment we declare we've learned it all, we are just at the beginning of our learning. We never, ever stop learning because this world is ever changing. And so, our faith in the Lord must be ever resilient and never easy to move from here to there. If we make up our minds, then let it be so. Let's not change just because this group says to change or that group is telling you this is the way to go. There are marches and demonstrators inviting you to join and agree. I much rather stay on the sidelines and wait for the Lord to place in my heart what I should or shouldn't  do. Fear is not one of those options. I've been there and have done that. Fear and lack of faith have rendered extremely negative results I will always regret. 

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God's Word will enable us to move when we feel paralyzed. God's Word will give us the confidence to make good choices and walk onward, even if we walk alone and the rest of the world says, "Boo, you're a party pooper!" I don't care about belonging to the group or making the crowd happy. I did that when I was younger and not one of those people I tried to please is here by my side today. It's best to please the Lord and live our lives the way we know God is calling us to live. He is the One that will give us what we need so why do we care and bother with anyone's opinions? Fear has no place in our lives. It's time to stop giving attention to the voices around us. Some of us are on Facebook and Twitter as if the devices are physically attached to our bodies. We're more interested in the likes we get than in making sure we have dinner ready on time. Our focus is more on what our so called "friends" have posted than on prayer time. We run with our fingers to look at what the media is posting instead of putting our hope in the Lord and taking care of our families. 

Be encouraged! God is good, very good. He will not fail us. Never. Ever.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

I'M STRUGGLING, LORD!

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"Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts."
Psalm 139:23

Struggling. It's a real place for many of us this morning. It's not that we don't believe or that we don't have faith. It's just that, well, we're struggling. I don't like struggling. It means life is like an uphill climb where I'm carrying a backpack filled with cement. It means something in my environment feels like I'm pulling west and it's pulling me east. I'm facing difficult situations and deciding on moments that are overwhelming and I feel pulled from both arms and I'll rip in two any moment.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 

Philippians 4:6-7

I know that as a mom, I'm not alone in this feeling. It's a feeling and a reality in my life and many of your lives as you read, where you just don't have any answers. So, what do we do? What do I do? I do the only thing I know and it's to pray. I go to the One who has the answers. I run to the One who is full of the resources my mind needs and my life longs for. I talk to God. No. I don't say, "Yo or Hey man, What's up?" I just say, "Father, It's a mess here in this part of my world right now. I guess You already know that. But, it's me, the one you love. Can you spend some time with me and just lead me, guide me and show me the way, Your way."

"You will seek me and find me 
when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

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Honesty. It's what we have to be in front of the Lord. He knows me completely any ways, right? But, I come before my Heavenly Father and I have to be real. "Lord, I feel at times like I'm going crazy!" Other times, "Lord, I'm beyond exhaustion and can't even think straight." and then, "God, I just surrender. Flood me with your presence, Lord. I just need You, desperately." It's these moments that the warmth of His Love has just covered me like one of those warm, fuzzy blankets that I love so much. His presence is better than Ben-gay on my  achy body and better than the famous Vapor Rub on my back and chest when winter has gifted me with the Flu. God's love melts away the heavy sensation upon my chest and He reminds me, "You're not alone in this struggle. I am on your side. Here, with you, right now."

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Exhausted. Struggling. Yup. It's the place where I want to crawl under the bed and hide because facing life as a grown up and as a parent is so hard at times. It's easy to have fingers pointed at us to make us feel like a failure. God knows I've tried so hard to be a good parent, a loving parent and an understanding parent. I've tried to be one who encourages and pushes them when they need it. But, right now, God, it's not working. It seems like I'm flunking this test or motherhood really bad. I can't seem to find the resources my youngest needs right now and all roads lead to me as the one with the faults and the mess ups. 

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"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, 
your ears will hear a voice behind you, 
saying, "This is the way; walk in it. " Isaiah 30;21

And, still through all of this, Lord, I choose to take the little free time I get each day to seek Your presence and the answers I need in Your Word. Speak to me today, Lord. Speak to anyone that needs to hear from you. We need your presence, your guidance and the wisdom to make the right choices. Inspire us and show us the way that means forward. Give me the confidence to walk this road depending on You. Provide me with the help that can only come from you.

"My heart says of you, "Seek His face!" 
Your face, Lord, I will seek." Psalm 27:8

I lay my heart and my all in your hands, dear God. You are my hope and my everything. I give you my home, my family, my situations, and my son. I give you my mess ups, my traumas, my wrong decisions and my lacks. Fill in the gaps where I don't have the right move or the correct words. Stand with me. Strengthen me. Provide for the areas in my life where I need to grow. Take over my emotions and guide my heart. Lord. Have your way, today and every day. In Jesus Name. Amen.

"God is our refuge and strength, 
a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

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Blog Written by Angeline M Duran Santiago

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A CLEAN HEART

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 God created all that is. With His hands He formed and with His Words He spoke it and it became part of His creation, His wonderful creation. The Lord breathed into Adam and a part of the Eternal and Sovereign Lord was now in His beloved creation. I look at the word, “Create” and although it seems God is done with His Genesis creation, I see the opportunity for God to keep creating. I wonder how He feels when we read out Scripture that invite Him to put His hands back into the business of creating and working in the human heart, deep in our lives and in our situations?

 
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10



Lord, create once again with the soil of my heart. Create with your holy hands by working on my unholy and so very needy heart. I’m not the only one, Lord. There are so many of us that are asking you to create, again, renew and restore. Create in me, in us, a clean heart. Create in me a heart that seeks to please you and longs to be right before you. With your hands, form inside of me a heart that can’t stop wanting to live each moment and breathe each moment after your heart. 


Renew. Make me new. Make me different from the inside out. Make me over. Completely new. My spirit, the me inside of me, needs to be transformed. But, it’s Your touch and your ability to create and renew and transform that my heart is crying out for today. 

Written by Angeline M Duran Santiago

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

GOD, IN MY FACE/ IN MY HEART



Written by Angeline M Duran Santiago

Life has a way of getting our attention; of getting mine. It ‘s during those alone moments where life is loud that God often decides to whisper into the noise around me. It’s when I find it the easiest to recognize His Voice. It is often during those alone moments that I send out my prayers towards Him. I’m often one to ask questions and make statements as if He didn’t already know my heart.

Such a conversation led to a debate today. Did I return to listen to the few downloaded songs I had in my possession, again for possibly the third time, or should I close my eyes and sleep during the ride? Rummaging through my purse to find my cell phone, my eyes fell upon my pink Bible and I knew then this conversation was far from over. “Yes, Lord. Speak to me. I will listen.”

Earlier today I had placed my pen in my pink Bible, not as a marker or reference, just placed it there for safekeeping. It was there, were the pen laid still in the middle that my eyes chose to stay and read. Had I not been in a crowded public place, I would have allowed my heart to cry out to God as His Word, words that I’ve read so very many times before, but words that today swished and turned around, speaking ever so clearly- to me. 


 I found myself staring at Isaiah Chapter 58. If you know anything about me, then you know Isaiah is one of favorite books. I find that God’s word often speaks to us countless times in different ways through the very same portions of scripture. God knows our deepest thoughts. How could He not reach out to us?

I began to read and stopped for a moment on verse 1. “Tell my people that they have refused to obey me.” Lord, me, You’re talking to me. I gather this is going to be personal. I’m not going to just see this as You speaking to a group of people, the time of this written piece or the historical background of this passage. No. Right now, my heart tells me to listen. This is for me. Lord, have I refused to obey you? “Tell the family of Jacob how much they have sinned.” I could see it as the literal family or lineage of Jacob but then I realized I had asked to speak to me. I am part of Jacob’s family in this present world because my youngest is named Jacob. So, I decided to see this scripture differently today. And so began the breaking down of Angie Duran.

 My eyes continued to walk through the verses and I felt the heart of God questioning me, the one with all the questions, and asking me if I truly believed I was serving Him and living right in His presence. God’s Word began to challenge my motives, my reasons and the purpose for everything I had ever done or done recently to show I was attempting to be closer to God, seek God and serve the Lord. God took a huge magnifying lens and a heavenly flashlight and put my heart on the spot. God’s Word questioned me and asked me to think about where my heart was in all I have thought I was doing for His Kingdom. Where has my heart truly been all this time?

Going through my purse, I took out some green sticky notes and I decided to write the thoughts that ran into my mind as I ventured onward into this conversation with the Lord. “On the day when you fast, you do as you please. You take advantage of all your workers. When you fast, it ends in arguing and fighting. That is an evil thing to do. The way you are now fasting keeps your prayers from being heard in heaven.” Here was the response to my earlier cry. “Why are you holding back your answer Lord? Why if your word declares blessings and promises of healing, why am I running home to care for my sick child, again?” In my mind I saw the countless times of disagreements and arguments before and after church. I saw quick videos in my mind of times past where I had been serving God, but while in my heart and mind I was living for the Lord and serving Him, at the same time, there was constant chaos in my home and inside my life. Evil. God was in my face showing me things as they were and as they are. 

 With great pain in my heart, I opened my life to the Lord and spoke to Him. Whatever you share with me on this train ride, I will accept. Lord, have your way here. So, I read on.
“Is this what you call a fast? Do you think I can accept that?”
One of the pastors at church had shared about fasting during the beginning of the year. I had made it a point to spend time before the Lord in fasting. And here I was a few days later being told by the Lord, “Girl, you got it all wrong! Let me explain things to you in a way you understand.”


 And as I allowed my heart to meditate on verse  6 and on, I had a heart to heart with Holy Spirit in a way I haven’t had in a while. “Here is the way I want you to fast.
Set free those who are held by chains without reason.”
Lord, I’ve done this? I’ve chained those in my family and I need to set them free. I need to release them? Who am I holding back, Lord? Who am I binding up without reason? The Lord showed me that the only ones worthy of chains and being bound up are those who are guilty. Had I made it my business to be self righteous and keep my loved ones feeling bound and guilty? I heard the Lord say, “Stop accusing! The Enemy of your faith is the Accuser, not you.”
“Set free those who are crushed.” Okay, Lord. Now I’ve crushed those in my home. Images of times when I have allowed my words to break and crush my children’s spirit and heart showed up in my mind and lingered for a moment. “Set them free.” Came God’s voice. “Set them free!”

I understood that those words from the past kept them captive in the hurt my words had caused and still today, my children, and my family were somehow held captive by my past words and actions.
“Break every evil chain.” Here I heard the Lord telling me that I had allowed a cycle of hurt and pain to remain in my life. I remembered Pastor Dan’s message the first Sunday of January 2017. “We can’t keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results.” Once again, here I was guilty of offense in God’s eyes.

Verse 7 seemed out of place until I read it as a personal note to me about my family. “Share your food with hungry people.” Hungry? Lord, I’ve always gone out of my way to make sure my kids have enough to eat, even when I’ve been exhausted, Lord. What could they possibly be hungry for? It was my mom’s voice that flooded my mind at this time. “Love, Angie. Your kids need love and hugs and they need you.” My heart was just breaking and how do you react to a God that is allowing your heart to be opened out in public. How do you hold back the cry that forms in your throat? Verse 7 continued, “Provide homeless people with a place to stay.” Excuse me, Lord, are you still talking to me like personally here? But, God didn’t answer. It was my daughter, Jeru’s voice that resounded with a conversation we had this morning. It wasn’t a very cheery one, but it was had. She made me see how many times I had made my own kids feel that they didn’t belong in our home, that I was anxious for them to be gone and on their own. They had been made homeless in their heart and in my heart with my words. 


 Our hurtful exchanges and our angry encounters at one point had taken me to say hurtful words. These words had marked the beginning of a neverending chain/cycle that said, “I don’t love you. I don’t want you here.” The Lord reminded me that it was my job to let my kids know they belonged in my life and in my home. Hadn’t God provided me a new life and promised me a new home with him? Here I had pushed my kids out emotionally, and they felt the pain of separation and had never told me. Oh, Lord, these conversations with you are so painful.


 “Give naked people clothes to wear.” So, who was naked in my house? I mean Christmas just passed and I made sure to supply them with warm clothes and…..The word naked went into synonyms and I saw naked, shame, filled with shame and empty. My children and my husband and my family were the naked people in my life that I had to clothe. God had clothed me with grace and His favor, and what had I give to my family? God had clothed me with his righteousness and His love. I had only left them bare and empty when I had the heavenly garments of praise and healing for their hurt and their shame.
“Provide for the needs of your family.” I went crazy placing exclamation marks around this because I knew that I knew God was having a heart to heart with me and I had better listen. What do they need Lord? {Really? I felt God ask sarcastically, Like you really don’t know?}

Broken. Have you ever fallen down and public (especially when you’re young and there are really cute guys around you and it’s so embarrassing) but have you fallen down and your pants tear at the knees or it’s just plain awful? I felt like my insides had all just fallen out of me and everyone around me saw me because God was looking inside of me and making me look deep inside of the me I thought I was, like it says in verses 1-5, but I had it all wrong. All wrong.

When God wants to perform heart surgery, He doesn’t wait until you’re on a hospital bed in the Emergency room. For God, there’s no time or appointment needed. He knows when it’s time to save your life and intervene in your life. I’ve been asking God to truly intervene for some time and it was today on that train ride that so much happened. I began to allow God to show me and minister to me. Then it all made sense.


 Verses 8 through 12 were the outcome of answered prayers and blessings that would follow if I would learn to “fast” and/or live out my life the way God truly found acceptable. It’s not that I’ve been a horrid person. It’s just sometimes we think we are well and fine and God takes out His magnifying glass and says, “My precious child, there still some junk in your life. Refiner’s fire on the way!”

“Then the light of my blessing will shine on you like the rising sun.
I will heal you quickly. (Oh we need healing and quickly, Lord)
“I will march out ahead of you. (And you did that for me earlier today while I waited for the train and that homeless man tried to intimidate and would have hurt me.) But, I get it, Lord. You are going to go ahead of me to my home, to my present and to my future.
“My glory will follow behind you and guard you. That’s because I always do what is right.” (Oh, Lord, what a promise!)

“You will call out to me for help. And I will answer you.
You will cry out. And I will say, “Here I am” (Oh, Father in heaven, I needed to be reminded that I am not alone, we’re not alone, and that you are in control of my home.)


 And then the hammer came down again.
“Get rid of the chains you use to hold other down.” God, you know me. When would I ever chain anyone or hold anyone down? But, here was God telling me to let go and to stop holding them back.
“Stop pointing your finger at others as if they had done something wrong.
Stop saying harmful things about them.”
Here was the message again about accusing and reminding them or what had been forgotten. If God forgives, that’s the end of it. Lord, forgive me for accusing and treating my kids and my family this way. I’ve complained and spoken ill of them. Forgive me, Lord. Help me make things right.

“Work hard to feed hungry people. Satisfy the needs of those who are crushed.”
My kids are these people. My husband and my parents are these people in my life. My family and anyone God has placed in my life are those that are in need of love and encouraging words, to be lifted and healed, restored and made new. Lord, help me be that person you will use to bring healing and restoration in their lives.

And the promise came..
“Then my blessing will light up your darkness.” (And God knows there’s been plenty of darkness in my life and in our home these past years)
“And the night of your suffering will become as bright as the noonday sun.” (You’re going to shine on us, Lord. Thank you.



Then God began with “I will….”
“I will always guide you.
I will satisfy your needs….
I will make you stronger.”
His promises began to strengthen and encourage me as I felt my own guilt and shame melt away in His presence.
Then He said,
“You will be like a garden that has plenty of water.” (Imagine that? Me? You? A garden- something beautiful with flowers. “You will be like a spring whose water never run dry.” Not only something beautiful but a fountain to provide for others what God has offered to provide for me, waters of life that never run dry. So, this is how it goes, Lord. I must have been a dry well for some time, Lord. I guess I’ve been like a lake where the waters just stand still and begin to stink and everything around it dies. My family has been slowly fading away. But, I believe today you’ve done a new thing. “Your people (and I added family here) will rebuild the cities that were destroyed long ago.” My children were and are children of promise and what my words and actions had destroyed; God was promising to make a way for them to be rebuilt. God rebuilds. God restores.

Yes. God restores. He forgives and He loves us so much that He will show up on our train ride to interrupt our schedule and get us to think about where we are going in the train ride of our lives. God shows up and tells us it’s time for a heart to heart and it’s up to us to say, “Speak, Lord.” Or “Shush!” Today, I am grateful that the Lord cut through me because I thought I was fine but God shined the light on my heart and asked me to give Him my messed up self and He will make all things new. He is the One that will rebuild the city of my family. He makes all things new.

Lord, thank you for exposing me to me but allowing me the confidence to be explicit with my writing. I know there are others that will benefit greatly as they read Isaiah 58 on their own and allow You to speak to their hearts. Maybe they will not see what I saw or understand the scriptures the crazy way I truly believe you personally break the words down for me. I’m not your average reader and words take on a whole new meaning when I get into breaking words apart. Thank you Lord for opening me up and allowing me to see that my hurts were still hurting and that my words had caused great damage that You are healing and restoring. Thank you Lord because your word gave me fresh insight into fasting and living for you on a regular basis. This new way of seeing my life through your word has been hard and I ask that you help me to honor you in the changes you’ve shown me I need to put into practice. I ask you to guide me and lead me. I ask that you anoint me and use me to be who and what my children, my family and my family needs me to be. Lord, use my life also wherever I go each day.

God, thank you for your word that comes right on time. Use my study of your word to bring healing to other families and marriages that need to be restored. Thank you for your healing and your love. In Jesus Name. Amen.

My scripture references are from the NIrV Bible (New International reader’s Bible- Zondervan) and my heart shared my one on one with Isaiah Chapter 58. 

This blog is lovingly written to my children, Jeru, Aaron and Jacob and my husband, Frankie. Forgive me. Forgive me for my past words filled with hurt and anger, my thoughtless actions, and my lack of being who you needed me to be. Forgive me for telling you about God's love and being small in showing it. Forgive me for my coldness at times and for not letting God be first in my life so that I could give you my all as He poured into my life and healed my own hurts. I love you all and you are the greatest treasure in the world to me. I truly love you!
Forgive me, Mom and Dad for times of not listening and not being grateful. Forgive me, my brothers, Tito and Alex, for not being there when you needed me and for any moment in your life when I was not an example of God's love. I love you and your families fiercely. Forgive me.
With all my heart, -Angie



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