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Guest post ~ Lisa Evola “Blessing…”

As a guest post, I am posting this ~ Lisa Evola is a gifted writer whose perspective makes you think. I believe we are to embrace all of life’s circumstances what ever they may be, because in each circumstance there is a blessing indeed.

Perserverance

sun-rays-coming-out-of-the-clouds-in-a-blue-sky-sustainable-use-of-light

Have you felt overwhelmed or overloaded?

Have you endured pain?

Do you physically and emotionally feel depleted?

Does it seem like one issue after another continues to happen?

Don’t give up.

There is always hope, and there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Life can feel light…. All you have to do is Trust, and lift up your thoughts or worries to Him. 

The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis reveals how life can bring many struggles.   Joseph was treated poorly by his brothers, who later sell him into slavery. He encounters many trials in life.  But one things that stays constant is that Joseph never stops trusting in the Lord in all things.   He lifts up his life to Lord.    He leads by example in all interactions which lead to him one day becoming one of the highest regarded advisors in Egypt.   Many years of struggle did not lead Joseph down a path of resentment or feeling sorry for himself.  Instead, he relied and surrendered to the Lord.     The gifts he received were beyond his wildest dreams.    He shows us forgiveness in the pain, by forgiving his own brothers that handed him over into slavery.     We see through his experiences forgiveness, perseverance, and trust in God in all things.   He asks God to guide his days, and God blesses him beyond his wildest dreams.

In this life once Eve bit the apple, we entered into a life that would have struggle.  But the one thing that holds true is that God is there for us.  He will help us navigate through difficulty, through painful experiences.   We need to persevere and not give up.   Look to God to help you navigate, rely on Him.   He will lead you through.

God will give us strength to push through in the painful circumstances.

Forgiveness is always possible with help from God.

God will bring good out of all things and sometimes we have to endure suffering or pain in order to feel light.  God does not inflict pain or suffering on us, but sometimes, just like a parent, he takes a step back and sometimes we learn things the hard way.

We need believe that we were meant for a life of abundance, we are what we think and this is what God wants for us.

God brings light out of darkness, and knows our needs.   All we have to do is Trust.

May you be blessed my friend and thank-you for popping by! ~Ness

Forgiveness

Lamb of God

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23:34)

This statement from Jesus just takes my breath away.   In his last moments of human life, he asks our father to forgive.   After the people nailed him to the cross.   Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

I am sure in those last moments of life, as God looked down on his son, he shed a tear.   Thinking about this moment as a mother who also has a son, I feel the pain and sadness of these last moments.   Jesus knew that through his death would come life and renewal for us all.  He knew that he would bridge the relationship with our Father in heaven and that we would be forgiven for our sins.

I am thankful for the forgiveness……

We all need forgiveness in this life…..

Forgiveness came so easy to Jesus.  

Why is it so hard for us to forgive and let go?   Why do we hold onto pain?  

If you are experiencing pain in your life today, I ask you first what is the cause of the pain?   Is it anger because of something that happened, something someone did, or a moment that you believe you could never erase from your memory?

Luke 6:29 (NIV) “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn them the other also.  If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”

Jesus forgave us at this moment….  We too can forgive.   Sometimes it is hard to let go of the pain, but by letting go of the pain it will set you free.   Instantly you will feel a release.

I know pain very well, and for much of my life I was in shackles.   It was not until I acknowledged my pain and anger and who I blamed, was I able to step forward in loving myself and who God made me to be.   The biggest part of letting it go is through forgiveness of yourself and others.

It may be difficult to do, but if Jesus could do this in his last moments of life, where blood was dripping from his wounds….  So too can we.

So I ask you today to reflect on your hurts, acknowledge them, and begin the healing.  Let go of the pain through forgiveness.

Take a listen to this beautiful little girl singing amazing grace: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDDlxmsciqY

May you be blessed……

If you would like to read more on forgiveness click on the following entry:  http://abeautifullifeministry.org/2013/03/28/dear-vanessa-forgiveness-in-the-difficult/

The beginning of my journey…. To feeling whole again….

faith-quotes-01In a few days, I will be baptised for second time in my life… As I go back and begin to reflect on what brought me here, I open up a page in my past…..

Faith… One word, describes so much.   I don’t believe I really understood or realized what faith could be until the year 2007.   As a young person, I thought faith was going to church and saying your prayers at night to God.  I wondered if God heard my prayers…  I baptized and raised in the catholic faith.  As a young person I found faith to be somewhat ritualistic, and money drove much of every service.   I believed that if I did something wrong, I would be punished.  I am absolutely sure now, this is not what God wanted for me.

There were many ups and downs in my life.   In my younger years I was bullied from grade 1 to grade 12.  Boys would call me “dog” and bark at me in the hallways in elementary school, and then in highschool it continued, they would make puking noises.   I carried a burden, I believed I was worthless, and did not deserve love.   I do not blame my parents for this, they showered me with much love, it was more so of me not understanding the concept of unconditional love for myself and through God.

For many years I would let the bad feelings in and the good out.    I felt empty and longed to be loved by my friends.   Looking for acceptance externally was something I did on a regular basis.   I was tied in a knot, my feelings pent-up inside.  When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t feel beautiful.  Who was the girl looking back at me?  She wore many masks… I internalized all of the bad words that came from others, I felt empty.

There were many events that followed my teen years, ranging from alcohol and drug abuse to being physically assaulted by a group of men. This was a major low point in my life.  I hated myself, I hated men…. I was full of anger and sadness, and lost hope in religion or faith.   Love was lost…. Forgotten.

But God did not give up on me, he sent me a man full of goodness to love me for whom I was.  A man who was pure of heart and lead by example in his daily life.  A man who loved me for me and showed me how to love myself again.

I remember telling the man who was soon to become my husband that I truly believed that he was an angel sent from to me from God.  I still whole heartedly believe this.  This man motivated me to become more, to start to become whole again.  I tried to push him away but he did not leave my side.  Even these 16 plus years later of being together I thank God every day for bringing him to me.  He has been by my side through the greatest struggles in my life and has held my hand along the way.

On the journey to become whole again, I worked my way through university (as a hairdresser), graduated and had our first baby.

This was the a major gift in my life.  A boy with bright blue eyes, looked up at me and the love overflowed.  We named him Drew, so beautiful, so pure and whole.  This was my first glimpse of what life was really about…Pure, unconditional love. I swore I would never get caught up in the “things” of this life, that my family would be my priority.  Then BANG!  Life began to change as my husband found his first professional job in another city.

It was 2006 as I was striving to balance my family life, in moving to a new city, leaving a job that I loved to bring my family together.  However, the job I would come to became my life. Working long hours, rushing my baby boy to bed, and barely having time to breathe I started losing focus.

I started confiding in God and prayed for help.  I felt weak.  With no friends or family close by, my life start slipping into a crazy and busy state.   Internally I felt that I made the best decision so that my son would see his daddy every day, but I didn’t know where to turn… I felt so tired.  Then shortly there after, in early 2007 my grandfather was hospitalized due to having Pneumonia.  My mom was extremely worried; much of the past few years had been concentrating on nursing her mother to health.  My mother has an innate ability to care for others, giving much of herself in every situation so that others feel better.   She is truly a woman with a heart of gold.

My grandmother had a liver transplant a year before that triggered man emotional issues througout the family.   As I look back in time, I remember the weekend like it was just yesterday, our family had all been at the cabin and had a wonderful weekend.  Mom was worried because she did not want to leave grandpa’s side, but I reassured her that everything was going to be ok.  When we all left the cabin, we all received phone calls indicating we needed to come to hospital where my grandfather was located as soon as possible.   God was preparing me… Instantly my heart sank, I had this feeling that things had gone sideways.  I started praying to God, and asked for strength and help.  I was so scared.

My grandfather was one of the strongest men I knew.  I had this amazing adoration for my grandfather.  I smile when I look back on the memories.  I adored him, I thought he had a heart of gold.  His big blue eyes, and hands of strength, I looked up to him.

When we arrived at the hospital that day, grandpa said that he had a living will, didn’t want to be put on a ventilator, and would not take any food.  His illness had turned into double Pneumonia, and they didn’t think he had long to live.  The pneumonia was complicated by the scar tissue he had on his lungs, which we did not know existed. Scared and frightened, I prayed for strength.  I started really openning my heart to God; I wondered if this was what faith really was….

As my mother, grandmother and I sat in the waiting room I prayed.  I prayed in silence.  I realized at that moment I needed to be the strong one.  As we walked into the room, my grandfather was in pain.  He could barely breathe or talk.   I told him I loved him very much and that he was my favorite, he nodded at me and I know he was trying to tell me the same.  I then told mom and grandma that we needed to take him off of life support that he would never want to live this way.  He was having hallucinations and was so very scared.  I then asked the nurse to send for the priest so we could do the last rites.  My mom and grandma were both shaking and all of us in denial.  I couldn’t believe how quickly this had all spiralled out of control.  And then the moment came when we took him off of life support, I laid my head on my grandpa’s chest and started to cry.   His heart continued to beat, I could hear it, but it was muffled by the cries around me.  His heart continued to beat for 30 minutes.  I didn’t understand how this man left my life in a matter of four days.   Why God? Why?

The pain that I felt in my chest was something I could not describe.  I felt so empty, I cried so hard that night and my husband held me.  I prayed for strength.  That night as I lay in bed feeling empty, a voice came into my head and said “when one life passes another is given”.  I wondered what that was all about…This was the moment for the first time that I think I really heard the voice of God.  Perhaps my ears finally opened?  The next day, tired and weak, I ventured out to get flowers for my mom and grandmother.

Everywhere I looked; there were babies and baby blankets.  The voice came again into my head “when one life passes another is given”.  My young son Drew was with me and at the time he was 3, he knew exactly what was happening around him.  He was so attentive to his mothers’ needs.  He gave me hugs, and told me “mommy don’t worry, grandpa is in heaven”.  How simple… He is in heaven….

Drew to this day is such a very sensitive and attentive boy.  He remembers his great grandpa to this day.  I then proceeded down the isles and passed a pregnancy test – coincident?  Strange, impossible – there was no way I could be… I took the test – and sure enough – I was pregnant.  This was such a pinnacle moment; I realized that God was speaking to me.  I could really hear His voice.  But how could I have the capacity for this right now?  I had no strength, I felt weak.  I did not know this verse then – but this is what God wanted from me:

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30 New International Version (NIV))

At this time in my life,  I was overwhelmed, weak, and burdened.  This is where I finally noticed the hand of God that had been directing my life He was always there.  This time He was going to hold me in His hands and carry me through.  This moment changed me for the better, and began a relationship of hope and trust.

The strongest woman I know – my mother

429059_10151400264470987_2109690330_nOver the course of the past 8 months our lives have taken on another journey.   This journey has spanned across our entire family (both sides).  But through it all, we have been thankful.    As time goes on I begin to realize that life is really about all of the moments you are thankful for.   If one choses to focus on gratitude, there is no room for fear.  There have been situations that I thought I would never experience, that have spiced up my life over the past couple of years….I am grateful for the experiences, the love, the laughter, and most of all the people in my life that I adore.   Thank-you God for these experiences and the love; and for teaching me to be thankful each and every day.       I am sharing this picture with all of you – it was taken tonight.   In my previous worklife, I was a hairdresser, and tonight for the first time, my mom and I shared a new experience.   Good-bye old, and in with the new – you look beautiful mama.  I adore you.

A Letter to My Mom

As a babe, I look up at my mom and see her blue eyes.

They are beautiful and bright.

The love radiates and flows.

A love that cannot be explained, unconditional.

A bond that is everlasting and shared by two.

Over the years, the eyes change – brought by love, hope, heart ache and pain.

The lines and creases begin to show.

The lines define the moments in time where there was much happiness and sometimes tears.

She is strength, she is life, she is warm, she is a fighter and she defines love.

She has helped me most to grow.

She has helped me through my life and my “lows”.

She feels my pain when I hurt, and over time as I grow, I feel her hurts too.

We are one; the bond can never be undone.

She healed my wounds when they were deep, she has whispered sweet words as a child to me when I sleep.

We share a bond, that is so strong.

All through the years, I know this much is true,  I have become the woman I am today because of you.

You are my mother – a women of strength, determination, living with your heart and soul.

I adore you.