I've been through a lot in my life but I've never experienced pain like this. My heart isn't ripped out; it's still there twisted and broken into a million pieces. Each piece has a memory of our 13 year old, Shepherd Mix Dog named, Deeogee. We lost him on February 12th, 2015. Deeogee battled arthritis and over his last couple weeks; he couldn't sit or stand without his legs giving out in weakness and severe pain. It was “his time”; but "his time" didn't make it any easier. We made "the" appointment and took him to the vet. While she administered his IV medication, I lay over his body and cried like he was my child. He was my four legged- furry child. He was a good dog and I loved him.
In fact, all I could keep saying for days was, “I loved him”.
Nothing can prepare you for this kind of loss and pain; no words can make it easier. I'm well aware that time allows God to heal our hearts but I'm not quite sure how to do this yet. At the same time, I don't understand this thing called, “death”. Why must something we love so much be taken away?
What if I don't know all of the answers because God doesn't want me to know everything? He is God and He knows best! I’m learning that acceptance of this truth enables me to live in peace. I don't have all the answers but I know the One who does. It’s okay to ask God questions and many times He will answer us, but we are also called to simply trust Him with or without answers.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
I will keep holding onto Jesus. I know that even when I don't feel His presence, He is with me. I know He is carrying me through this right now because I don't have the strength for this heart-ache.
Some time has passed, and we now have a 10 week old black Labrador, male puppy named Brewster. He is precious, soft, energetic and an enormous handful. While we are still grieving the loss of our loyal Deeogee, this new little man of ours is bringing us much joy. (And sleepless nights!)
While a new dog never replaces an old one, it creates new memories, enjoyable moments, a lot of lessons in life and they expand our ability to love unconditionally. Dogs are a gift for many people and they change lives Fur-ever!
I want to encourage you in anything you are going through. God will see you through too. “His love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, His faithfulness to the skies. His righteousness is like the highest mountains, His justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings." (Psalm 36:5-7)
My Sweet Deeogee,
While you aren't here anymore in our home, you will remain forever in our hearts. I love you so much and I miss you. I pray and hope one day, you and I can play Frisbee again while you run and jump high without pain. You are a good boy. Please never forget our love for you.
With all my heart,
It’s hard focusing our time and energy on things right in front of us that truly matter for today. We have work, goals and people screaming for our attention. We are busy, over-loaded, and pulled in many directions. Yet it is important that we intentionally recognize and choose the better things of life. “But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42)
Too many families slowly drift apart or lose intimacy because they don’t prioritize responsibilities. This isn’t anything to feel guilty or ashamed about. It’s something to be mindful of, something to address if necessary and to keep in prayer. Spouses secretly cry out for love and attention. Children act out or withdraw because they need our notice and loving responses. Our biggest and most urgent responsibilities are right before our eyes, but sometimes these can be the ones we tell to “wait”, “sit down”, and, “be quiet”,” not today,” or “when I get time.” Sacrifice is one of the greatest ways we can show love. When we prioritize our time and energy, seek God in prayer and ask Him to refocus our responsibilities, He will align our hearts with His and direct us.
Right now, take a deep breath; push aside your worries, stressors and any negative thinking. Your “to-do” list can wait. Allow yourself to enter a place of peace, calm and freedom. This place allows more room in your soul to feel and recognize God’s presence, peace and love. Here you can experience His approval, acceptance, and affirmation. The voices of others are unable to influence you. You can talk to Jesus without being interrupted; you can share your pain and failures without being judged. You can express your concerns, talk openly and tell Him your needs. You can hear God more clearly, understanding His word and instructions. This is a time of prayer.
In your stillness, distractions decrease, you are able to seek Jesus and you can calmly be led by the Spirit of God. You can stay here for as long as you want. You can return whenever you need. Being still with God will change your heart and life forever. Your time in His presence is priceless and worth every second of your day. Remember this place when the world around you is crazy and you can’t take it anymore. Remember this place when all is well and you want to praise God or just spend time with Him.
Remember to carve out daily time being still; in the quietness is where you can know Him better and deeper in supernatural ways. When you intentionally journey into His presence, you will reap benefits for your soul.
“Be Still and Know I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
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Since child-hood I lived with a fast heart rate called SVT, (Supraventricular Tachycardia). SVT is exacerbated by stress, caffeine, and running. It’s unpredictable and can interfere with normal life. Besides a fast heart rate, you may experience sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, and strong painful palpitations or fainting.
As an adult, this condition became consistent and landed me in a cardiologist’s office.
The cardiologist ran tests and decided to perform a cardiac ablation. I was told there was a 90% chance the problem would be found and fixed. They expected to find a benign, extra electrical pathway to my heart, and destroy it by burning, (ablation). I agreed to the procedure, suffering with extreme anxiety and stress, although they assured me it was very safe.
On surgery day, my husband drove me to the hospital and stayed close by my side. I cried nervous tears and trembled with fear as I lay on the hospital stretcher. My prayers were more than a mere cry for “help”. I was envisioning my death on the operating table. The nurses prepared me with one of those silly hats on my head; I kissed my husband good bye and they wheeled me away through the automatic double doors.
In the operating room were various medical professionals and some serious looking equipment. My fear was greatly increased when they connected me to numerous monitors and machines. I had lines, electrodes, and computers attached. I shook with great fear while they placed cardiac resuscitation pads on me; two on my chest and two on my back. I asked the man why he was putting those on me and his response was, “in case we need to resuscitate you.” I wanted to get up and run fast and far. But before I knew much more my body was too heavy to move and my words were incomprehensible.
The burning pain in my groin was ridiculous. A pinch and a burn sensation was not an adequate definition the doctor gave me. The deep prodding of large bore needles and catheters were painful and forceful. My heart raced quickly and pounded in my chest. I wanted it all to stop; but there were seven of them against me. I yelled out letting them know I was feeling everything. I heard them talking about me but my head was foggy and I wasn't able to make out the conversation. Glancing over, I saw a new set of eyes peering down. I asked, “Who are you?” Not sure if my words really came out but he did answer me. The man said he was called in to make me more comfortable. Thankfully, those were the last words I remember.
After an extensive recovery time, the doctor explained they found nothing wrong. She revealed that sometimes they can’t find the extra pathway. The doctor assured me that even with technology, they don’t always have all the answers. This news was devastating. What a waste of time, energy, money, and I felt like a failure.
I wanted my condition fixed.
I needed to be happy and grateful my heart was healthy, but I felt foolish and angry.
I thought people would think I was crazy and making up my symptoms.
During my recovery at home, I gained amazing revelation in prayer:
God is in control and see’s the bigger picture. I need to rely on Him instead of my own ways. I finally allowed God’s truth and love to penetrate my heart in those circumstances. Instead of thinking I was a failure, I became thankful for God’s healing and His hand upon me. Instead of questioning God and telling him I don’t understand, I started to say; “God I trust you”.
Sometimes we don’t have or know all the answers. What matters is we do know the One who does.
God wants us to trust Him and know He is in control no matter what the situation.
Since then, I've been healthy without heart issues and never again had an episode of SVT.
One day at a time, I am learning to trust God with all my heart.
Will you give everything over to God with me today as we learn to trust and depend on Him in all things;
no matter what our eyes behold?
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
"Sometimes we don’t have or know all the answers.
Have you ever been disrespected, mistreated or misunderstood? I know I have and sometimes; all in one day! I’d love to be that person who doesn’t care and keeps smiling at life anyway. (At least they’re smiling on the outside) It’d be awesome to really not care about things; or would it?
What if I didn’t care?
If I didn’t care I'd be doing life my way.
Doing things I want to do and how I want to do them.
If I didn’t care, l'd say whatever I want, with any tone I choose.
Not caring would set me free from anyone’s approval, the need for acceptance,
and wanting to make anyone happy or feel appreciated. I wouldn’t have to open
the door for anybody, use my manners, or give anyone precedence. I’d never give
to the needy, be kind and loving, render mercy and grace or forgive. If I didn’t care,
I’d be selfishly living without thought or regard for anyone else.
Honestly, that sounds like a very sad and lonely life. It’s also opposite from the way Jesus calls us to live. Jesus says, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34)
I find it difficult to love if I don’t care. I’m choosing to keep on keeping on. I’m going to care and love people like Jesus.
What matters is, I do care. And what matters more is Jesus cares!
"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
As a Christian, I want to serve God and change the world. I live with a burning desire and passion motivating me to press into God, yearning and praying for His direction, wisdom and opportunities. However, sometimes I find myself overwhelmed and distracted by my own plans, thoughts and ideas while not carefully balancing or considering my emotions or what God wants for me. When I don’t see immediate answers to my prayers it creates a disorder, causing impatience and a lack of faith. This internal upset of frustration produces chaos instead of order in my life. As the word says, “You can make many plans, but the LORD's purpose will prevail.” (Proverbs 19:21)
I don’t want to fret away my days or chase after the wind planning and striving with selfish ambition or wrong motives. This is the opposite way God wants us to live. God says, “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
This has moved me to consider how to be faithful, patient and content while waiting on God. How can I trust God and His perfect plan and timing?
I’ve discovered I can pray, wait, be still and listen for God’s voice while pursuing Him. He wants me to be obedient to Him as I learn to hear His instructions, drawing closer in relationship with Him.
On our journey of moving into a deeper level of faith, we learn to enjoy the simpler gifts in life. We listen to the birds sing, feel the breeze on our face, embrace the warmth of the sun and literally stop to smell the flowers. We pay attention to detail with intentional focus and choose to stop dwelling on things we can’t control. We live one day at a time knowing God has our best interest at heart and that He supernaturally carries us through each day with all the details in His control. God promises this; “For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
What dreams, desires, and goals do you want to accomplish?
Don’t give up, don’t stop dreaming and pressing into God.
Don’t stop praying and believing for God to do the impossible.
Learn to be still and spend time with Him while you wait. –
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)
Many of us could've given up on God long ago, but we didn't. The question is why?
We didn't push him off to the side, reject Him or flat our deny Him.
......Maybe we did at first, or when times were tough; possibly in tragedy, heartache and pain.
But we turned back. Or did He gently call us back to Him? Surely, it could've been both. All this because, there is a God who purely loves us for who we are. We are His and we have a relationship with Him. He is our Heavenly Father, Creator, Healer, Provider, Restorer, Redeemer, and all we need.
He never rejects, shames, or condemns. He tells the truth remaining by our side and always redirects.
We don't give up on God because once our spirit is full of His amazing presence and love; there's no turning back.
We've tasted and seen life before we knew Him. We realize a bad day is better with Him, than a good day without Him. We possess a supernatural, undeniable relationship with our Creator and we are all in.
Maybe you can't explain it. And that's okay.
That's what faith is about!
What matter's is our heart is united with His.
We can embrace life and whatever comes our way with all we need.
His name is Jesus; name above all names!
"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (Hebrews 11:1)
Brooke courageously uncovers her true life story and reveals forbidden secrets driven by darkness and deception. Brooke is just five years old when she is kidnapped and forced to live a life burdened by cruel physical and emotional abuse. By harnessing her inner will to survive, she becomes inspired by an invisible hope, helping her fight off demons and stay alive.
Join Brooke on her life journey as she is rescued and renewed with strength and power. She transparently shares her life experiences, struggles and triumphs with abuse, poverty, marital demise, parenting, and eating disorders.
This book is filled with scriptures and real spiritual life lessons she has learned. Through this gripping story, Brooke reveals how she has overcome her horrendous past and risen above the ugliness of humanity with faith and forgiveness.
This book is raw with reality and reveals a deep vulnerability that will help you discover how a life of adversity and mistakes can become a message of hope.
***This AUTOGRAPHED COPY is only available to ship in the USA.**
"Raised by Strangers" is also available on Amazon.com or Barnes & Nobles.com
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"Raised by Strangers" NOW!
Called to Write -Passionately leading others closer to Jesus Christ. Helping you break through insecurity and doubt, encouraging you to live a life of freedom and healing. Motivating you to a deeper level of faith in Jesus Christ.