Words Matter

Yesterday was a special day for a certain woman. Her son was a soldier. He fought for us. He came home with wounds not visible to the naked eye. In time he succumbed to those wounds and took his own life.

 His mother is a friend of mine on Facebook, I do not know her in person, but this week I have been following her posts carefully. Yesterday was her son’s birthday and she celebrated it, by baking a cake (his favorite) and visiting his gravesite. She also visited someone from her past. It was a woman whose words had haunted my friend for six long years.

 Who knows why this woman chose the words she used that day, six years ago, when she said to my friend “I don’t care about you. I don’t care about your son. You should be over it already.” Perhaps she was having a very bad day, perhaps she was frustrated, and perhaps she was just a mean and cruel person. I don’t know why. But what is profound and worthy of much reflection is the power those words had. They haunted this already grieving mother for six long years. When she awoke each morning, it was these words that went through her head.

 What a terrible thing to do to another person. Someone who is grieving, someone who is struggling to make sense of things, struggling and needing understanding, needing hope, needing a shoulder to lean on…….and instead receiving those  terrible words.

 The book of James speaks about the power of the tongue

A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!”

   I cannot help but wonder, have I spoken words in anger  or frustration, have I said things to people whereby my words reverberate in their heads, causing them pain, causing them sorrow, causing them to doubt, to despair? Lord have my words destroyed the peace of another? Have my words added to the ruin in this world, have they turned harmony to chaos, have they tossed mud upon the reputation of another, have they set the world ablaze with hate and judgment? Lord………have my words done these things?

 And I hear……..yes child…yes they have.

 And my soul weeps for the truth I hear, from this still small voice that speaks in my heart. Oh I can proudly stand upon my soapbox and declare to the world that I have never once said a harsh mean thing to a Gold Star mother grieving the loss of her beloved son……….but I have said hurtful things, I have stirred fires with my tongue, I have tarnished the reputations of others with it. With this tongue that this very morning sang words of praise to my King ,with this very tongue…..I have cursed others made in His image.


 Oh this piece of flesh that is so small, and yet so powerful, oh that we would tame it, oh that we would keep it ever under control that it would only be used for good, that it would only lift up, that it would only encourage, that it would only defend righteously .

Words matter……..so often we judge others and in truth we know nothing at all about who they are, what their struggle is, what circumstances and pain have brought them to the place where they now stand. We simply judge and condemn, and speak words without thought. We hand out advise without careful consideration, or we speak out of our frustration and anger……..and the things we say are a flame that burns……..it burns up grace and forgiveness, it burns up love and peace, it burns up brotherhood and goodwill……it burns and burns and leaves behind a scorched wasteland.

 Oh Lord help us, to Whom can we go but You, we who are helpless to control this tiny thing within our mouths, this weapon of destruction that can so easily kill and destroy fragile souls. Lord shut our lips, shut them tight, take our very ability to even speak away if need be, but Lord let it be that we never so harm another with our words.

 As for my friend, she did a brave thing yesterday, on the birthday of her beloved son, after baking his cake, after visiting his grave, she drove to the place where the woman was, who six years ago had crushed her soul with cruel words, and she confronted this woman. She did so with grace and dignity, she told her of the burden she had carried all these years, told her how the words were remembered every single day for six long years, told her that she forgives her, but she just needed her to know how powerful and destructive those words were. Today she feels free, she feels stronger, and she has joy, for she has laid the burden of those painful words down. We now pray for the one who spoke them. May her heart be open to what she heard yesterday. May she carefully consider all that was said. May she own the fact that she did, with her words, severely wound another, and may she then lay her burden down at the feet of the only One who can help us control our tongues.

Words matter…..

 I am so thankful to my friend for sharing her struggle with her friends on Facebook. We can all learn something powerful from it. Guard your lips; place a lock upon your tongue. Do not speak in anger or frustration. Carefully consider your words before speaking. An impossible task………but with God, all things are possible.


They've made me feel like a prisoner
They've made me feel set free
They've made me feel like a criminal
Made me feel like a king

They've lifted my heart
To places I'd never been
And they've dragged me down
Back to where I began

Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

You can heal the heartache
Speak over the fear
(Speak over the fear)
God, Your voice is the only thing
We need to hear
(We need to hear)

Words can build us up
Words can break us down
Start a fire in our hearts or
Put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You
(Back to You)

Let the words I say
(Let the words I say)
Be the sound of Your grace
(Sound like Your grace)
I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

I wanna speak Your love
Not just another noise
Oh, I wanna be Your light
I wanna be Your voice

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You
(Back to You)

Let the words I say
(Let the words I say)
Be the sound of Your grace
(Sound like Your grace)
I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You
(Back to You)

Words can build us up
Words can break us down
Start a fire in our hearts
Or put it out

I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You


This Battle I Fight...We Fight Against PTSD and TBI

There are days when it feels like the battle never ends, never lets up, it is just a constant steady intense firefight……and it feels often like I am losing.

I did not really even realize I was in a fight until long after it started, I wonder had I known from day one, would I be better equipped to fight it?

 As best I know it began several years ago, during our first deployment to Iraq. Although I never set foot in Iraq myself, I have been there, fought there.

 I fought there on my knees, praying for my son, praying for his brothers, praying for those deployed there.

 I fought there as I struggled to live this “normal” life here, to work, to socialize, to attend church, to be part of the community, all while feeling out of place, how can anything be normal when there is war and my son is fighting in it? How could I have lived so normal while other sons were fighting it before him?

 Sleep is difficult. How can you sleep when it is day there, and they are out behind the wire? So you sleep like they sleep. A little sleeping, a little fighting, a little sleeping, a little fighting, and it goes on and on….until he calls. And for a while you rest.  The fight is not physical, it is mental and spiritual, and yet it takes a toil upon you.

 Now I had no physical weapon to speak of, and I dodged no real bullets. My fights were struggles in prayer, against enemies of fear and worry, doubt and despair, grief and sorrow. My weapons were prayers of protection and safety, pleas for mercy and grace to be poured out, upon them, in that faraway place.

 Foolishly, I thought the fight was over, as he stepped off that plane and onto American soil. The signs were minor, a little aversion to open places, rocks piled on the side of the road, boxes out for yards sales, white Toyota pick-ups, but for the most part they were minor and they seemed to pass quickly and all was well. I quickly forgot them.

 I continued to pray for others deployed, I prayed strong, without fear or doubt, I prayed protection and grace and mercy. I wept at each name of the ones who fell.

 And then our number came up again. So I prepared for round two…..Afghanistan. Another country that I have never set foot in, and yet I have fought there, struggled there, on behalf of my son, and those beside him, and on the behalf of adopted sons.

 This battle was fought in a bad place, a very bad place, it filled me with fear and dread to even think of being there. I prayed hard. I asked God to wake me up anytime they needed prayer.

He was faithful, and I woke up most nights.

 The battle was fierce, a battle between faith and hope, and darkness and despair. Men died. Good men, men for which I had prayed, men whose mothers were just like me, on their knees crying out for protection, for mercy. Bullets of doubt pierced my soul on many occasions, bullets of weakness stuck the legs from under me and left me helpless on the ground, unable to continue.

 And yet strength would come, in time, and I would continue the battle, this never ending battle that drug on day after day, after day.

 Being normal was even more difficult in this round, I simply could not fathom how everyone went about their day to day mundane lives without seeming to care at all of the battle that raged in a country far away. Was it possible that only those who knew and loved others who were there, were truly engaged in this fight?  What would the battle look like if every soul in the country were engaged in it, as we who loved were engaged in it?

 I weathered the storm, bedraggled and torn, but still standing. Some were wounded, some were killed, I had dreams in first person of war, with screams and gunfire, explosions and helicopters flying overhead, in grape fields, I put my dream hand on a wall, and my dream eyes looked down and inches from my hand was an IED. I felt my dream heart pounding in my chest as I ran across the grape field, gunfire all around, screams of commands from others all around, the helicopters loud above our heads.

 I received a call, that the one I loved had been injured in an explosion. It was like being punched in the stomach, my legs began to fold under me, as I whispered into the phone…”how bad?’……as it turns out we were lucky, a concussion, nothing serious, although unknown to us at the time, TBI had just landed on our battlefield.

And finally the day approaches, we can see victory ahead, he is on home soil again, he is safe. We breathe out the breath we have held for this long nine months. All is well. The fight is over. Once again we foolishly believed that all was well, that we had won.

Or so we thought.

 Oh how weak and stupid we were, how gullible and foolish. We let down our guard, we ceased our struggle thinking all was well. In truth the enemy now goes on full offense, and we are not prepared for the onslaught.

 His eyes are different now, there is a pain within them, perhaps not visible to all, but clear to one who has known and loved him all his life. Something is amiss. He forgets things, does not always speak clearly, struggles at times to do simple tasks, has a deep love affair with his Glock and carries it everywhere. Perhaps time will make it right.

 But time is not working, and we begin to see the true enemy that opposes the one we love. The enemy is well equipped. Darkness, all-encompassing darkness, overwhelming guilt, heavy sorrow, great loss, all are in his arsenal and he uses them well. This is a new enemy, we had not seen his face before, in the midst of all the battles, all the fears, who had until now remained silent and on the sidelines.

  I leapt into the fight, doing all that I could to know my enemy, who is this that brings such devastation to my home, this place of light, this place of hope, this place of love, who is it that brings this wasteland to all that I hold dear…………his name is PTSD, and his fellow terrorist TBI.

 They are a formidable pair.

 They have unleashed a plethora of violence against us, flashbacks, the bottle, the pills disguised as help, broken relationships, broken hearts, despair, gut wrenching fear, the pain of loss….the doubt….will we be one of the 22? Can we win this fight? Is there truly any hope or is it just a matter of time?

  Against this arsenal we have stood, sometimes defeated, sometimes victorious, sometimes in despair, sometimes in victory, the fight rages on. When victory seems certain they unleash their weapon of setbacks, this one almost always knocks us off our feet, but we continue to fight, wielding hope, and faith and peace and love, we fight on our knees, we call out to God, we fight with a love that is fierce and will not back down, will never stop, we fight with everything we have and anything we can find that might be helpful.


We will not stop fighting. We will keep our eyes on the Light, our eyes upon our Hope and we will go down fighting if need be, knowing that even in what seems to be defeat, we are victorious, for love conquers all.


 To all the Moms and Dads, the Wives and Husbands, the Children and Friends of those who suffer from PTSD and TBI,

 May your sword arm stay strong, and your shield stay high, and may your faith hold fast, may you be strengthened in this fight with all hope, all goodness, all mercy and grace and most of all,may your hearts be filled with a powerful love that is beyond all understanding, which flows from the fountain of grace.


“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests”

“Come to Me (Jesus), all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

“It hasn't always been this way
I remember brighter days
Before the dark ones came
Stole my mind
Wrapped my soul in chains

Now I live among the dead
Fighting voices in my head
Hoping someone hears me crying in the night
And carries me away

Set me free of the chains holding me
Is anybody out there hearing me?
Set me free

Morning breaks another day
Finds me crying in the rain
All alone with my demons I am
Who is this man that comes my way?
The dark ones shriek
They scream His name
Is this the One they say will set the captives free?
Jesus, rescue me

As the God man passes by
He looks straight through my eyes
And darkness cannot hide

Do you want to be free?
Lift your chains
I hold the key
All power on Heaven and Earth belong to me

You are free
You are free
You are free

One Drop At A Time......

    I reached one of those places again today Lord, You know, the ones where it just all gets too much, and it overwhelms and I just have nothing left, and no ideas, and I feel helpless and adrift, and frustrated....and sometimes angry. You know me Lord, I run around with this tiny little eyedropper, doing all I can to fill this empty world and it just seems to get emptier by the minute. There seems to be a few hundred people in the world running around with their eyedroppers too, and billions upon billions who seem oblivious and or indifferent to any need but their own.

    This unrest in my soul, where did it start? At what point did it begin? Was it the dog beaten half to death with a baseball bat? Was it the 501c that by all the evidence viewed is ripping off the vulnerable that it is supposed to be helping? Was it the kittens set on fire? Was it the soldier that just needs one damn break? Was it the homeless Marine? Was it the dog drug from behind someone' pickup truck? Was it the abused child fighting for their life? Was it the video of the helpless woman being beaten to death? Was it the latest young man being decapitated?

  I don't know for certain. I just know that I got up this morning, took my dog to the vet, heard news that I really did not want to hear, news I can do nothing at all about, and on the way home, my peace just flew right out the window. We had this conversation as I drove home, but for the benefit of the readers we will write it down here.

 Lord, I know You are with me, and I know how great Your love is for me, and for all Your children. I know You exist, there is no longer any need for it to be proven to me. I know You are righteous, You are love, You are benevolent, You are holy, You will never leave me, nor forsake me, Lord I know these things, to the very core of my soul, and yet I remain deeply troubled.

  The need troubles me, the sorrow, the pain, the suffering, it troubles me. It is You who gave me this heart I now carry, it is You who gave me empathy, it is You who taught me compassion. I am certain that I am doing what You would have me do. I know I don't always do it, and some times I try and do it on my own power and not Yours, but my heart is in it Lord, You know my heart.  You told us to love our neighbor, You told us to feed the hungry, to administer to the sick, to bless the poor and to have compassion for all the downtrodden. I know that You are good and You are mercy and I have seen great things in this life of mine, just look at me, I alone am a testimony to Your mercy, coming from what I was to what You have now made me, and I expect You have even more amazing things in store. I have seen firsthand Your redeeming power,  Your provision, Your blessing, and I have seen You change the unchangeable, right the wrong, and make beautiful things out of broken ugly vessels.

 So why do I remain so troubled? Why is my soul so discontent? You have given me all that I have, why is that not enough today, why do I long for more? Lord I want to do more, I want to change things, I want to be an instrument of change. Yet I am only a wife, a mother, an old lady who personally has more than enough to be content but who does not have much excess. I think that is why I am so discontent today. I want to make the pain stop, and I can't make it stop.

 Lord you know there is a soldier whose plight very much troubles my heart, he is a lot like my own son, he has had some hard times and some bad luck and he's seen things most young men never have to see, and his need is really not very great at all, it's not like he needs a house or an expensive surgery but even so I am unable to take care of the need. Will the tiny drop I tossed into his bucket make any kind of difference at all?

 And Lord, You made me an animal lover, You gave me an empathy with animals, a gift of understanding them, of caring about them. If You gave me that gift it must be for a purpose. So I try to help. But the need is overwhelming. It has gone way past just needing good homes for animals. We are up to saving them from things like people dragging them behind vehicles, beating them with bats, slicing them with blades, setting them on fire, starving them to death......the need is overwhelming. With every one saved you cannot help but worry for the ones you don't even know about. And again, I got nothing but a drop or two to throw into the pool. Does it even make a difference these tiny drops of mine?

  And this morning, I saw a video in my news feed, a terrible horrible video. It was a person,a woman, huddled in the corner of a room as some man beat her without mercy...with a board! She cried and twisted and tried to protect herself, and he just continued to beat her. There seemed to be blood pooled on the floor at her feet and in the background you could hear children crying. It broke my heart. I searched and tried to discover who and what this video was, as it was in a different language. All I could find is it was filmed in Brazil, and it seemed to be some kind of brutal justice for some offense, and there was no word on whether this poor woman lived or died. My heart still breaks for her. I know Your's does too, her so like the woman they brought before You, intending to stone her to death. You spoke to them, and You wrote something on the ground, and one by one they dropped their stones and walked away. Lord it is not my place to question You, I who am created, You who are Creator, but I cannot help but wonder.....were You there with her as she was being beaten? Was she rescued? I have no way of ever knowing that this side of heaven and I have no drop to place in her bucket.

 And Lord, You know I love my veterans, and most especially my Infantry guys. You also know that it's got nothing to do with the red,white and blue, nothing to do with patriotism (although I am patriotic), it's because of who they are. They are the toughest bunch of guys, they endure all kinds of hardship, they have seen such horrors and a lot of them suffer because of those horrors, and You know this weighs on my heart. Many of them are still over there, still fighting, still dieing and being wounded, and that too weighs heavy. So now we have this situation with the 501c, people who say they are dedicated to helping our veterans with PTSD. And yet now a ton of evidence comes out that seem to show the whole thing is a lie, nothing more than a sham, and that they don't care at all about the people they report to serve, in fact they use them and manipulate them for personal profit. How can such things be? And Lord, what am I supposed to do about it?  How do I expose lies and yet be gracious and forgiving and compassionate? I need some help on this one.

 And then there is the friend, she has an eyedropper too, and she is ministering to a homeless woman. And my eyedropper is empty and I have nothing to give, only prayers and love. Lord are they making a difference?

  Lord, You know I have only touched upon things, the needs are great, the hurting is intense, the sorrow is suffocating. So I run to You, for You are the only hope for all of us. Lord strengthen, Lord bring peace. Lord meet these needs in the manner of Your choosing and may I ever be an instrument of peace in Thy hand.

  Just talking with You about these things encourages me and I hear You speaking back in the scriptures, balm for my soul:

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."  "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

So we race on towards the goal.............there is peace even when overwhelmed by it all, there is hope even when all appears lost.

 Oh, by the way, could You hand me back my eyedropper!

I meet with You and my soul sings out
As your word throws doubt far away
I sing to You and my heart cries
"Holy! Hallelujah, Father, You're near!"

My hope is in You, Lord
All the day long, I won't be shaken by drought or storm
A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing my hope is in You, Lord

I wait for You and my soul finds rest
In my selfishness, You show me grace
I worship You and my heart cries "Glory
Hallelujah, Father, You're here!"

My hope is in You, Lord
All the day long I won't be shaken by drought or storm
A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing my hope is in You, Lord

I will wait on You
You are my refuge
I will wait on You
You are my refuge

My hope is in You, Lord, all the day long
I won't be shaken by drought or storm
My hope is in You, Lord
All the day long I won't be shaken by drought or storm

A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing my hope is in You, Lord
My hope is in You, Lord, yeah
My hope is in You, Lord

If You Are The Only Jesus They See, And They Were Asked to Describe Jesus, How Would They Describe Him?

It is funny how God teaches us things, how numerous little things all come together across an expanse of time, all pointing at the same lesson, some subtle, some not so subtle. At some point, your eyes open wide and you get it…..and you exclaim.

 God has been doing that of late with me, many little lessons, many little road signs, all pointing to this one great truth….We are Jesus to the world. We are indeed the Fifth Gospel.






  I know a certain someone, whom I will not name here. His heart is big; it is very possible that his heart is the truest and the biggest of his entire family.

 He does not walk with Jesus, he does not know Jesus, or should I say that he does not know the real Jesus. He has seen what he thinks is Jesus, in many members of his family. Seen the stares, seen the disdaining looks, the turned up eyebrows. Heard the words of this Jesus in the mutterings, the things he hears from others who tell him that this Jesus does not want them to hang around with him, would prefer that they stay away.  He understands that He is outside the grace and mercy of this Jesus that he sees in them. His mistakes are too great for this Jesus to forgive. He should have gone to college, he should have gotten a real job, he should have….he should have…….he simply should not be who he is, nor should he have the things he has.

 He feels judged, condemned, misunderstood, unwelcome, unloved……by the Jesus he sees in their eyes.

 It breaks my heart to see this, to know that that instead of love and grace, instead of mercy and forgiveness, he sees judgment, he sees condemnation.  My heart breaks and I pray that it might be possible that God would allow him to see Jesus in me, I do not get to see him much, do not get to speak to him of these things he has seen, I only know second hand how he feels, what he has seen, how he must take in this false gospel of us.

The person of whom I speak has made mistakes in this life, has turned to things that were outside the law, but at the same time he has accepted full responsibility for every choice, another thing that makes him different from his critics. A lot of things have gone wrong, but he keeps pushing on, doing the best he can with the hand life has dealt him, a hand that he acknowledges responsibility for. Soon he will be moving on to a new life, where he will try and rebuild things, try to make things work. He will take the Jesus that he sees with him. Oh Lord let him see the real You, let him take the real You with him when he goes! Lord be merciful to him, go before him, pour out Your great grace and mercy upon him…..as You poured it out upon them…upon us. Forgive Your people for their lack of grace, and redeem that which is lost, that which was done wrong, that which showed to this lost one the wrong Jesus, the wrong gospel.

  We are a living gospel. We are His hands, His feet, and His voice. They watch us, so much more closely than you think. They take in each and every thing you do, each and every thing you say, they know that you profess Christ, and they watch you, to see if you are different, to see if you live what you say you believe. Think carefully.   Have you forgotten where you once were? Who you once were? Have you forgotten that there, but for the grace of God, go you?

 We are to live in grace, we are to show forth grace, we are to love and accept and forgive. It is not given us to change people with our looks, our condemnation nor our judgments, it is given us to love and preach the gospel. We can preach it with words, but we should also preach it with our very lives.

 I too have shown forth the wrong Jesus. I too have judged others, and failed to give grace, failed to extend acceptance and love. We all do. But we ought not.

 God forgive us for our failures, and redeem them. May our hearts shine forth Your great grace and mercy. I pray today, that You would remind me before every my mouth opens, before ever my gaze looks into another's eyes of this one question Lord....may it reverberate in my mind throughout my day......"If I am the only Jesus they see, and they are asked to describe Jesus, how will they describe Him?"

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling”

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

“Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?”

“…the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”


The Fifth Gospel: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John...You

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On a Journey of Hope, to Bring Back Beautiful

   This weekend we will pile into the car and hit the road on a journey to Beautiful.  Beautiful resides in Fort Worth, Texas, and we will be bringing Beautiful back to New Mexico.

   A journey that begins in hope, not that most thought of hope, as in “I hope I win the lottery”, but that sure hope that comes when you know that God is doing something. 

   When I was first asked, to find the beloved veteran a dog, to be a companion and friend, to be trained as a service dog,  I asked God to lead us to the right one,  to help us find the right dog, not just any dog, but the dog He made for this purpose. And I have asked Him to have His hand in all that follows and I trust that He will do all that I have asked……..and more……..He always throws in the more.

 He led us to this  dog.

     To a dog named Jewels, in Fort Worth, Texas. A dog who is as tough as nails, with a heart that far outweighs her 55lb body, a dog who loves big, and who holds no grudges though she has every right to hold some.

 The veteran wants to rename her, which is okay, for they are embarking on a new journey, and what is behind them has past, and that which is front of them is new.......so a new name, for a new life.

  While thinking of what the one she was made for might decide to name her........ a still small voice whispered in my heart……..”She is Bella”.

  And then the one she was made for confirmed it……..”She is Bella”.

 Bella means beautiful.

 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

   So the dog named Jewels, who was tossed from a balcony and suffered great injury, and endured great pain, who was rescued and recovered will become Bella, the service dog, the friend and companion of the combat veteran who has also seen horror and endured much pain.........and she who was rescued will rescue, and she who was healed will heal.

Please pray for them both as they start their journey together.

Update: 10/6/14,  The journey down was long,  we stopped only for gas and bathroom breaks, all the way to Fort Worth. We stopped to eat an hour out from Beautiful. 

  Upon arriving,  we saw several people gathered in the yard with a white dog. We parked and got out and they released her. She ran straight to him,  greeting him as if to say " I been waiting for you, so happy to see you!".

  We went inside,  and at some point went out to get something from the car. He opened the door and she jumped right in, ready to go. We had to remove her from the car for a few photos. 

  She was a trooper on the way home, leaning hard into him when he sat with her, and leaning hard into me while watching him, when he drove.

  When last I saw her, around 3pm yesterday, she was snuggled on the couch, his arm around her.

  They fit well together. 

It is good.

Beautiful has arrived in Albuquerque. 



10/7/14 Update: They did their first service dog training session today, both did well. The lesson was held at a local Lowe's store. Bella was introduced to the halter, and she did not really like it, but she was trusting and accepted it. He was introduced to the leash and how to handle it, how to communicate gently. He did well. It was a delight to watch them take their first service walk together.

10/14/14 Update: They had their second service dog training session today. About an hour before the lesson they were in a very close call on the freeway. Someone hit the median and spun out, and he had to evade the accident, another car was hit but they escaped. Bella was thrown to the floor, both were shook up. Yet they proceeded to their lesson, and today they went inside the Lowe's store with their two trainers, and their two trainers service dogs. So it was a lot to take in, a lot of new sights and sounds and Bella was stressed. But again she trusted, she listened and she followed him about the store. I was very proud of them both.

6/17/15 Update : Miss Bella is doing great, she has lived up to her name for she is beautiful. She is doing great as a service dog and as Adam's friend and companion. She goes pretty much everywhere with him. Today she attended college classes for the first time and she did great. We are so proud of her, and so grateful to God, and to Sharina the CEO of Astasia's Animal Rescue  (they do great work, please check them out and assist if you are able), and Aggie Wasson for saving Bella and for letting our veteran adopt her. She who was rescued has rescued.