Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review: Set Free by Stephen Owens

My mom bought a book at the grocery store called Set Free several months ago. Of all the topics it could have been about, it was about forgiveness – specifically a son’s journey to forgive his mother for hiring someone to kill his dad. His mother was the ideal mother, providing for her kids and making sure they were in church. So what on earth motivated her to go to such drastic measures? This is a true story told from the son's perspective detailing all of the highs and lows of what it took to forgive his mother. 

I guess the biggest reason I decided to pick it back up is because my mom got another awesome book, entitled Unthinkable. I knew I couldn't read that book until I finished this one because I really don’t like to start a lot of books at once. I prefer to finish one and move onto another. I had to stop because Owen’s words were pricking my heart, causing tears to fall so I could no longer read. The phrase “Guilty, but forgiven” really resonated with me. I couldn't get away from it. Now, deeply enthralled in the story and interested to see how Owens wrote his mother, what he said in the letters, and how he realized that he had to forgive himself if he truly wanted to forgive his mother and escape his own emotional prison. I kept reading. 

I am not going to give away any surprises, but I highly recommend it everyone reading this blog. Because it we were all honest with ourselves, we struggle with forgiveness in some area of our lives. This book will be one of the most important steps you'll take in becoming set free. Seriously, stop what you're doing and buy this book. The author doesn't know me, and I didn't receive anything in return for this review. It was just so powerful, inspiring, and challenging me on the deepest levels. I am still processing everything I read and absorbed, even months after finishing it. I have even written eight pages worth of thoughts that have come up since reading this book. I've read other books on forgiveness, but this one is at the TOP of my list!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Day I Decided to do Something

After times of pain and fatigue, I've retreated to one place I love. That is writing. As I was talking with God this morning, I knew I needed to write. 

Even on days that I stay in bed much more than I would like, I have decided I won't quit. I won't give in and let circumstances or a medical diagnosis dictate my attitude. Mind you, it hasn't and isn't always this way. There are days I get angry that I can't wear shoes right now. Frustrated that time isn't moving faster. I get weary in watching the clock, wondering if I can wait just a little bit longer to take my medicine. 

But today isn't one of those days. Even though I had to take a pain pill at 11:30 last night to help me sleep, and then wake up for around a hour while having to do something, only to roll over and sleep until 1:05 p.m., I am sitting up typing these words. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but usually I do all of my writing from bed. 

I decided today I am going to write and sit up in my living room for at least 30 to 45 minutes, no matter what I feel like. Why?

Because a wise man once said, "God can't do something with nothing." While not grammatically correct, it is true. I decided today to do SOMETHING.

That something required getting out of my room and coming into the living room where the sunshine is streaming through the windows and birds are chirping. Anything to take my mind off of pain is a good thing. As I was talking to God, I said, "I will never know what it's like to be spat on just for being who I am. I will never know what it's like to have a crown of thorns placed upon my head. I will never know the agony and grief you felt in the days, weeks, and months leading up to - and the day of the crucifixion. I'll never know what it's like to be beaten beyond recognition."

And I am SO grateful that I don't. God has faithfully kept His promise to me that says, "I'll never leave or forsake you."

I'm so glad I can cling to verses like Jeremiah 29:11.

In our conversation, I also said, "In ALL of my years, nothing I have experienced compares to what You went through."

If Jesus can endure, so can I. If He didn't quit, I won't either. Today is one of those days when I am neither high nor low. I'm in between. This morning I was a bit groggy from the pain medicine, but I am hanging in there. 

Friends, I don't know what you are going through today. But I want to encourage you to hang in there. Tomorrow is a new day full of promises. I rest in the fact that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And you can, too. 

You may not know it, but He is right there in the when your kid is throwing a temper tantrum. 

He is right there when your boss didn't give you the raise you were hoping for. 

He's right there when you just want to throw back the covers and hide from the rest of the world.

Do something today that you have quit doing. Little steps add up to big victories!

Monday, June 02, 2014

Am I Making a Difference?

Think...Think...Think 1 © Dennis Stamatoiu via

Sunday night, I was listening to a podcast on my church’s website. Apostle David asked, “When you die, will you have made an impact on anyone’s life?”

I immediately started crying because I don’t know the answer. I mean, I do write a blog that tells about my life, the highs and lows and living with cerebral palsy and my family. But, am I really making a difference? Is what I write really helping people?

I don’t know. I don’t want to spend my life doing stuff to make a name for myself. I want to leave this world a better place than I found it.

For my senior project, I did an inspirational magazine about people with disabilities from Northeast GA? Did it raise awareness? Did it make people think, or did it just get thrown in the trash?

I wanted to interview people with disabilities and put it on YouTube, but no one was interested. Some paralympic athletes and their director in Chicago said they would contact me, but no one ever did.

All I know is, hopefully, I am making a difference by the way I live. Hopefully, I am giving people the courage to stand up for themselves. Hopefully, people see that it’s okay to be different. I am not talking about having a disability, either. The different I am talking about is not doing what everyone is else is doing. Not dressing like everyone else your age is dressing.

I said years ago, I would shut the blog down if it became fluff, just something else to do. My time is too important to let that happen. God has me here for a purpose, and I don’t want to fill my time doing “good stuff” just because it gives me something to do. I want everything I do to serve a bigger purpose. Longtime readers will know that I’ve said it’s not about me. My life is not my own. God laid his life down for me¸ so I get to make that choice.

I love this blog. I started it as a personal journal, and it still is. Has this blog become about me? Is it bringing people closer to God? Is it encouraging people to study the Bible for themselves? Is it giving hope to people with disabled family members? Is it still making people think?

I don’t know.  I just don’t want to spend my energy on something that isn’t fruitful.  

Before I make any decisions about this blog, I will wait. I will wait on Him. Right now, I am in limbo. I’ve already changed some things in my life and repented for others. When you know better, it’s up to you to do better.