October 23, 2016

Encourage Others and Be Encouraged

I became a believer 12 years ago, on October 9, 2004. When I began searching for God I was beaten down, bruised, battered, and had no clue on how to go about this whole God thing, but I knew I had to try. I was in a shelter for battered women and I had a christian counselor. She was my first dose of encouragement. I sat across from her, and I told her that I was "damaged goods." I told her that God could never love someone like me. I had done too much wrong, and I wasn't even capable of loving myself at the moment. She knelt down in front of me and she laid her hands on my knees. She told me to look her in the eye, and to not look away until she was finished talking to me. Do you know how hard that was? But I did it. I listened as she spoke the kindest, softest, most loving words to me. She told me that I was beautiful, that I was worthy, and that I was never allowed to call myself "damaged goods" again. She also told me that I had a Father in heaven who was just waiting for me to let Him love me. I haven't seen Kelly in 12 years, but I still think of her often, and I thank God for placing her in my path. I thank Kelly for placing me on the path to allowing God to turn my ashes into beauty. This lady was a daily part of my life for 6 short weeks, but she touched my life in ways that no one else ever had at that time in my life. God knew I needed her. It was all in His plan.

When I left that shelter I moved in with my brother who was a Christian, and I was so hungry for God. I had no friends who were believers, so I was leaning on my brother for guidance. I went to his church, but felt so awkward and out of place. A few weeks later, I met the man who is now my husband. My husband was a friend of my brother's and he invited me to his church. I decided to go with him, and this is still my church today. When I walked through the doors, I was immediately intimidated. This church was huge to me, and so many people! My first thought was to turn around and walk back out! But I stayed. I was approached by a couple of women who introduced themselves, and warmly welcomed me. They invited us to their Sunday school class the following week. These women continued to come beside me week after week, and each week seemed like someone new would show up to encourage me with them. I didn't know how to react to them, but I had never known the Love of Jesus, and that was what they were showing me. They were so kind, so loving, so full of happiness, so encouraging, and I wanted what they had! It didn't take long for me to let my guard down, and let them love me. It felt amazing! 

It has been just over 12 years since I walked the path that led me through those doors for the first time. These people have continued to love me with the love of Jesus. These people walked with me through some of the hardest and darkest moments of my life. These people refused to let me go! These people love me still, and I love these people with all my heart! I am so grateful that I walked the path that led me through the doors of Maiden Lane Church of God, because most of all, this path led me to the foot of the cross, and to the freedom I found through accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior!

Since that time, I have gained so many amazing friends! I have been able to greet women at those doors of the church who walk in scared and lonely, just like I once did. I have been able to make a difference in the lives of some of the ladies that I have greeted at the church door, and that feeling is just so awesome! To see them come from a dark, lonely place, and grow into a beautiful daughter of God, makes my heart so happy. All it takes is some love, some encouragement, and the willingness to make a difference in someones life. I have also become friends with so many women in this online community! I am so grateful for these ladies who have welcomed me with open arms. There are times that I go to some of these ladies before I go to my own family. Even though I have never met them face to face, they are my sisters in Christ, and they have been there for me through tough times. They have loved me and encouraged me, and they have allowed me to give that same love and encouragement back to them.

In today's world, there is so much darkness, violence, and hate. We need to stick together and be the light God called us to be! We need to love and encourage women each and every chance we get. When we see the lady in line at Wal-Mart who seems so stressed out, and looks so tired, try giving her a friendly smile, or just say hi to her. When we see the girl sitting alone at the back of the church, offer to sit with her, or introduce her to someone her own age. When we see that poor little lady struggling in the parking lot with her cart and her cane, take the time to stop and offer a hand. Give her a gentle hug. You never know what small little gesture might just spark in someone's life. Take the time to notice people. Take the time to encourage, love, be a blessing, and just spread the love of Jesus!

July 24, 2016

Come With Me Bible Study

I am thrilled to be sharing on Suzie's blog today! You can find it here! http://wp.me/p4jbdw-3jf

I am so excited to be co-leading a group of women with my partner Beth Almeida, in an amazing Bible Study called Come With Me, written by Suzie Eller.

I was privileged and honored to be a member of the launch team for Come With Me. I knew from the moment I opened this book, that I was in for something great! Suzie has such a way of making you feel like she is sitting right across from you, talking like she is your best friend. So you can imagine my excitement when Suzie announced there would be a Bible Study this Summer, and she was asking for volunteers to lead small groups on Facebook.

When I read this book, it made me realize that in order to grow closer to Jesus, I needed to be willing to answer His call, and Follow Him. I must be willing to step out in my faith, and step into His lead. I must be willing to learn how to love people who are hard to love, and to whisper Yes where No wants to take root. Wherever He leads, whatever the price, I will say Yes!

Suzie takes us on a journey through the Gospels as the 13th disciple. It was so easy for me to get lost, and to sit back, read the words in the book, read the scripture, and imagine myself just following Jesus! I had never thought of the Gospels in this perspective. But in placing yourself right there, being willing as they were, laying down their nets, walking away from their loved ones, walking away from everything, and walking into uncertainty could be hard, not to mention very scary. But when we have the One who overcame the world as our Savior leading us, I most definitely, 100%, say YES!!!!!

As Suzie says, "Imagine that your yes moves you from faith as usual to faith that changes every aspect of who you are, including how you live, the choices you make, how you think, and even how you approach life. Imagine a faith that spills out into your relationships and impacts the world, especially those within your reach." That, my friends, is the kind of faith I want, and that is the kind of faith we all can have just by saying YES! Imagine how much of an impact we could make on our own people who don't know Him, on the people in our own home towns, our States, and even on the world.

People truly are watching our lives and asking if Jesus is worth following. Let's all rally together, and show them that YES, He is worth it! Let's show them by our actions, our re-actions, our service, our love, and by applying His word in our daily lives, He is the only way! Let's show them that by following Him they can have a beautiful life filled with hope, peace, joy, love, mercy, grace, and so much more!

Friends, I promise you, this book is amazing and will truly bless you. At the end of each chapter you will find, reflection questions, "Taking It Deeper," Scripture, Prayer, and application steps for "Living As A Disciple." You will also find so many inspirational quotes by beloved christian people. One of my favorite quotes in this book is:
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible. - Corrie ten Boom There are also so many encouraging and sweet sayings by Suzie herself. My book is filled with highlights and notes. 

This is more than a book, this is more than a Bible Study, this is a movement! #COMEWITHME!

You can purchase your own copy of Come With Me at Amazon by clicking here:

You can purchase your own copy from Barnes and Noble by clicking here:

You can purchase your own copy from Suzie's website by clicking here:


Please join us! Jesus is calling, will you join us in this amazing 6 week study? Just say YES! 
For more information and to sign up click here to visit Suzie's website! While you're there, you can download free resources such as a free study journal, book of prayers, and the first chapter of Come With Me.
Beth and I would love to have you in our group! You can request to join our Facebook group by clicking here!

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fisherman. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." At once they left their nets and followed him. 
Matthew 4:18-20

July 3, 2016


I am so glad that we have a God who loves us and protects us. I remember a time when I had no clue of His love. I didn't know Him. I didn't know that He was pursuing me, and how many times He protected me from danger. How scary is that in today's world? In this world today we hear of so much evil, so much darkness, so much hate, so much violence! It is scary, but it is how our world is today. I can't imagine living out there in the world, and not knowing God. I can't imagine not knowing that I have a place in eternity when the time comes. I can't imagine not knowing to go to God for help, comfort, peace, forgiveness, grace, love, mercy, protection, and every other need imaginable. 

I am a property manager, and I have been in a couple of intimidating situations recently with some tenants who are what you might call "less than desirable." When they moved into the apartment several months ago, they passed my vetting process, they had excellent references, they had jobs, they were polite and respectful. They seemed like 2 great young men who just needed someone to give them a chance. Last month I seen the truth. They quit paying rent, and became very hateful towards me. I had to go put a 30 day notice on their door last week, and when I walked into the common area, I seen burn marks on the ceiling and all the way up the stairway. I took pictures, and I went straight to the Police and Fire Department. To make a long story short, the police obtained a search warrant for the entire apartment building, and when they arrived to question these young men they were hiding in the downstairs neighbors apartment in the shower. They both were arrested for obstructing justice, but released within a few days. Now I have to deal with them for another couple of weeks. Come to find out, one of them is being indicted on kidnapping charges. He held another man captive in the apartment and beat him up.

This is small town America friends, and I am in the midst of what I consider dangerous people. Here's the thing, I admit that once I saw the burn marks and still had to climb 2 stories of stairs to put an eviction notice on the door, I was scared! I wasn't sure what I was up against. But here's the other thing, on my way up the stairs, I asked God to protect me, and I felt immediate peace. I knew I would be safe right then. I knew that my Protector was with me. I knew that my help comes from the Lord!

Isn't it so awesome to know that we are never alone, and God is always with us? He is our protector! He is our strength! As we look to Him to pull us out of the mess we have gotten ourselves into, we find comfort, strength, grace, and a loving Father who will guide us and protect us! No! Matter! What! 

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. 
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27: 3-5

I am joining Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday where we write for 5 minutes on the prompt of the week. 
This weeks prompt is: 

June 5, 2016

My Heart Is Healed and My Voice is Heard!

I will never forget the day. I was 15 years old and had a disagreement with my dad. Disagreements with dad were unusual for me, because I was what you would call a "Daddy's Girl."

I was the typical "know it all" 15 year old girl, and for the first time in my life, for some reason, I felt like I was allowed to disrespect my dad that day. He and my mom had separated a couple of months before, and he had been living with my sister. It was the summer of 1978. I was getting ready to leave on a 2 week vacation with my friend and her parents. I went to stay with my dad the night before, and he had found out about something I had done that was not good. He asked me about it, and I didn't confirm or deny. I just rolled my eyes and told him he was being a little petty and over protective. About that time my friend and her mom came to get me and I left for vacation, not really giving what my dad and I had just talked about any more thought. If he had any more to say about it I knew he would do so when I returned home. 

Vacation happened. 2 weeks of camping and fun. Back then there were no cell phones, and calling long distance and reversing the charges was expensive, so my mom said there would be no need to call unless I had an emergency. There was an emergency! It wasn't with me, it was with my dad!

The day I came home, my friend and her mom helped me bring my stuff in the house. I walked in to an empty house and found a note on the table from my grandma. The note said that my dad was in the hospital, he had brain surgery, and wasn't expected to live, and I was to go to my sister's house. I was devastated, and in shock! I went to my sister's house and she immediately took me to the hospital. On the drive to the hospital my sister tried to cautiously and lovingly prepare me for what I was about to see, but I couldn't understand a word she was saying. Her words were like tidal waves of emotion crashing around my heart! We walked in, and there he laid, with his eyes closed and a big white bandage wrapped around his head. He was in a coma. He had a brain aneurysm, and there was little hope for his survival. I walked to his bedside and he sort of opened his eyes, but they closed again immediately. Understanding suddenly wrapped itself around me like a blanket. Oh how I ached for the chance to tell him I was sorry for being disrespectful to him. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him, and for him to understand my words. I had so much to say to him, but I couldn't. Why was this happening to my dad? Why did I assume he would be there when I came home from vacation? My heart was breaking into a million pieces, and my mind was spinning out of control. I felt like I was in the middle of a terrible nightmare, and I just wanted to wake up! 

My dad passed away 2 days later, on July 15, 1978. He was only 41 years old. I felt so lost, so hopeless, so guilty! You see, I didn't know the Lord then. I knew there was a God, and I thought He only listened to people who went to church. I didn't know how to pray, or anything about the Bible. The only thing I knew was that my dad was gone, and this must be my punishment for leaving for vacation and disrespecting him. I lived with believing this lie for many years. The enemy had his way with me, filling my head with negative thoughts, and endless guilt.

For the next 25 years I carried that guilt around. I made one bad choice after another. I got myself into a couple of abusive relationships, and I thought I deserved the abuse, and anything else bad that came my way. 

I believed these lies until I came to know Jesus, and I started intense counseling sessions with a Christian counselor. I learned that God is not a God who punishes, but He is a loving God who covers us in His amazing love, mercy, and grace, He is a God who is slow to anger, and abounding in love. I learned that He is always with me, and He will give me strength. Most importantly, I learned that He loves me so much more than I can even imagine, let alone deserve.

So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

I learned that His promises are true, and His word never changes. I learned that He hears my prayers and will heal me. 

I learned that even when I didn't know Him, He was right there with me, and he carried me when I couldn't walk on my own. He was waiting for me to seek Him out. I learned that all I have to do is call His name, and He is always right here with me. Guiding me, loving me, forgiving me, waiting for me. 

Through the years since coming to know Jesus, I have learned to use my voice. To express out loud to loved ones each and every time I see them, how much I love them, and even more, how much God loves them. I have learned to never be afraid to say "I'm sorry."  I have learned to use my voice, to share my testimony, to show others the hope and love we find in Jesus Christ. I am learning to use my voice whenever needed, if it means bringing one more person closer to the Lord. Without our willingness to use our voices, the world may never know! 
Even now, almost 38 years later, I still miss my dad dearly, but I hold no guilt, I listen to no lies from the enemy! I listen to the Voice of Jesus, and that is the Voice I want to share with the world! 

 I am linking up with Karen Beth at Finding the Grace Within/Tuesday at Ten
The prompt this week is VOICE!

May 22, 2016

Salt and Light Sunday

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that way they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:13-16

We are called to be the Salt and the Light! The salt speaks of our character, and the light speaks of our testimonies of followers of Christ, revealing and illuminating the truth. 

The world doesn't understand! The world looks at Christians and thinks, "They don't count!" God takes us, ordinary people, and uses us to share His message to people who need Him! When we share our faith, we spread His light! 

Jesus describes what we are in this passage. The light of the World, not the light of the Church. We have to get out from beyond the Church walls and shine the light to where it's dark. We were saved to shine! We are to shine in such a way that the world will see our good works and glorify God! 

Our Church has a special way of sharing and showing our faith to our neighborhood. Today our Church held our annual Salt and Light Sunday. On one Sunday morning every year we go out into the neighborhood and the City, and we serve others. Before we go out to serve, we start our morning with worship and a pep rally. 

My husband and I love to be on the Neighborhood Team. We have about 5 teams of 3 to 4 people who walk different areas of the neighborhood within a 5 mile radius of the Church. We knock on doors, we offer to mow, pull weeds, clean, or serve our neighbors in any ways that they may need. We also ask if there is anything the person needs or wants us to pray about with them, and we take prayer requests back to the Church so that our Pastor and staff members can follow up with these people. We also hand out potted flowers to some of the houses. By knocking on neighborhood doors, we hope to let our lights shine, to share our faith, and to show the love of Jesus! 

There are several other teams that serve as well. We have teams for just about everything! We have a Prayer Team that walks the 5 mile radius and prays over the neighborhoods that we serve. 

We have a team that goes to the neighborhood Elementary School and cleans and paints the playground. 

 We have a team that takes the children's choir to our neighborhood retirement/nursing home to brighten the Senior Citizens day.

We have children who write get well cards to neighborhood people who are not able to get out and about. 

We even have little ones who work faithfully by cleaning the Edu-Care and Sunday School classes. 

There are teams who go buy and deliver groceries to under privileged people in the neighborhood.

There are so many other teams as well. We have people who go to the local jail to worship and speak to the inmates. We have teams that go to the Safe Harbor House (A house our Church has ownership in that harbors women from abuse and prostitution). We have teams for the local Pregnancy Resource Center, several different Parks and Recreation Centers around the City, Golf Courses, the local Drug and Alcohol Counseling Center, the Marriage Resource Center, and teams who stay at the Church to prepare lunch, watch the children who are too young to go out and serve, and we even have a Logistical Support Team. 

When we come back from serving the neighborhood, we have lunch and fellowship. 

This Salt and Light Sunday is our way of sharing our faith with those who may otherwise not get the chance to see love in action! We want our neighbors to know who we are, what we do, that we serve faithfully, and that we love and care about them and expect nothing in return. 

This is how we show our faith! We cannot do it alone. We shine the brightest when we shine together. We want to shine our lights brightly for the Lord! 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest 
if we do not give up. 
Galatians 6:9

The prompt this week is FAITH! 

And linking up with Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday

May 17, 2016

How Did He Grow?

If you are a grandparent, you will understand how deep my love is for my grandchildren. The love is so fierce, so deep, so much so, that I felt like I grew another heart just to hold all the love for each one of them. From the moment my children announced that I would become a NaNa again, my love was immediate! But the moment they enter the world, the love becomes so much more.

Grandchildren are a precious gift from God! They are His reward! 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

My first grandchild, Kelson, was born on April 9, 1998. Yes, he is now 18 years old, and getting ready to graduate from high school this week. Thursday, May 19, 2016, my grandson, Kelson Alan McClusky, will walk across the stage. His childhood is done. He is becoming a man. Here is what I want to know. How is this possible? Where did the time go? How did he grow up so quickly?  It seems like just yesterday I was rushing to the airport, boarding a plane to Oklahoma, frantic that I would miss his birth. And I did! By 30 minutes. But he was a healthy baby boy with blonde hair and gorgeous, big blue eyes! 

For the first 2 years of Kelson's life, my daughter and her husband lived in Oklahoma, and I only got to see him a few times a year. Talk about hard! I wanted him to be accessible every day! I wanted to be able to see him whenever I wanted. Finally, shortly after his second birthday, they moved back to Ohio! It was one of the happiest days of my life. From the moment they arrived, he became pretty much, Nana's boy!

By the time Kelson started school, he had a passion for skateboarding. He quickly became very talented on his skateboard, and basically had no fear! I remember several times holding my breath as I watched him swerve around on one of his many skateboards. Jumping ramps, riding rails, you name it, he done it. It is still his passion today. 

My heart is bitter-sweet! I am so proud of the man Kelson is growing to be, but yet, I want to hold back the hands of time. I want him to still be the little guy that only NaNa could rock to sleep at night. I want him to be the little boy that begged for me to take him to the skate park, or couldn't wait to go to Walmart to get a new pack of Pokemon cards, or a new Tek Dek miniature skateboard, (which he usually ended up getting both!) But wanting him to stay little is the selfish part of this NaNa's heart! 

My grandson has the kindest heart. He is such an amazing person. I can honestly tell you that I have never heard him say a bad word about anyone. He is so loving, caring, giving, and respectful. He is so appreciative of what anyone does for him. He radiates love! He is brave! Kelson will be joining the Navy shortly after graduation this summer. 

I will miss him so very much, but I am so proud of the man he is becoming. I know he will be successful and give us all so much more to be proud of. I am so excited to watch his life grow into something amazing! I love you Kelson Alan! With All My Heart! Always, Forever, and Unconditionally! Love, NaNa

Start children off the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6 

I am linking up with Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday, the prompt this week is: GROW

May 1, 2016

Forgive And Be Forgiven

I have not always been one to have an easy time with forgiving others. As a matter of fact, I used to be quite the opposite. I held grudges, I sometimes would try to think of ways to get even with them, and I quit talking to people who hurt me or made me mad. It was as simple as that. I am pretty sure that after being hurt, rejected, abused, and disappointed time and time again, made me a very unforgiving person.

Even after being saved I still struggled with it. I would pray about it, and still feel so much anger and bitterness towards certain people from my past. I thought I was doing something wrong, like not praying right, or maybe God just didn't hear me. I thought it should come quickly. Just. Like. That. I thought God should just magically give me peaceful feelings towards these people. What I didn't realize was that I had to truly want to forgive them in my heart. I was reading Psalms 103 one day, and it became so clear what I was doing wrong!
The grace of God could not have been more beautifully described. It came to me, that I am a sinner and I cause Him pain, yet He responds to me so entirely unlike how I was inclined to respond to those who hurt me. I felt justified in treating them badly, or holding grudges against them. They deserved it! I thought. I then realized that I too deserve God's wrath, but He gives me compassion and abundant love instead. He treats me the very opposite way of how I deserve to be treated. He forgave me of all my sins, but I was holding on to this sin of not forgiving others.

Forgiveness was not immediate. It was a process. It took a lot of strength and prayer. When I didn't have the will to want to forgive, I knew that God would give me the will through prayer. I asked God to give me eyes to see these people as He sees them, and to remind me that He made them in His image. 
I am so glad that I have learned how to forgive! I am no longer walking around plotting on how I can get back at those who have hurt me, or obsessing about what I would say to them if given a chance to give them a piece of my mind. I am so glad that I found forgiveness through Jesus Christ, the One who paid it all, so that we could be forgiven! I have heard it said that those who choose to forgive are making a choice to be filled with joy! I am making the choice to FORGIVE! 

April 29, 2016

Pass It On

When I was young we played a game called Pass it On. It was normally played where there was a group of people, like slumber parties or on the playground. The first person in the group would whisper something in the next persons ear and say "pass it on." That person would whisper what the first person said to the next person and add something to it, and say "pass it on."  So by the time you got to the end, there was a whole story made up! You get the picture. 

Normally it was harmless, silly things being said, but I remember a time when playing "Pass it On" at a slumber party resulted in a couple of people who actually got hurt over it. Here is what happened. When playing this game, it got to the point of what we as adults would consider "gossip." By the time we returned to school on Monday the victims of the "pass it on" game were being talked about and made fun of at school, and the things being said were not true. They were not at the party to defend themselves when it began, so they had no way of knowing what would transpire out of a drama filled game that took place over the weekend. As the week progressed, people kept "passing it on," adding to the rumors and drama, and it got really ugly. I recall the sorrow in my own heart for taking place in the initial game, and vowed to never play that game again. I felt so bad for these people, they were my friends and I took place in starting these rumors about them, by hanging out with people who loved to start drama for others. 

I ended up confessing to my friends, and told them what happened and how the whole thing got so blown out of proportion. Of course some of the girls who were involved in the initial "Pass it On" game became very upset with me, but I was okay with that. I felt so much better by telling the truth. I realized who my real friends were, and that I was not being a real friend to them by keeping secrets and allowing people to continue to hurt them. 

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Ephesians 4:25

I never did play "Pass it On again! 

Even today as adults, I think rumors and drama can get so far out of hand, and it can happen before you know what hit you. I still know people that I am very close to who love to carry the drama wherever they go, and will gossip about anything, to anyone who will listen. They love to create their own storms, then get mad when it rains. I have learned to pray beforehand when I know that I am going to be seeing these people. I have also learned that it is so easy to remove myself from conversations that I feel are heading that way. I can either try to change the subject, be honest and upfront by telling them that I do not care to partake in these kinds of conversations, or simply walk away if the opportunity is there.

He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. Proverbs 21:23

We must guard our tongues and refrain from gossip. If we surrender our desires to the Lord, He will help us to remain obedient. There are so many verses in the Bible that talk about how gossip is displeasing to God, and I do not want any part of displeasing God! Now that is something I am willing to "Pass On!" 

I am linking up with Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday, where you write about the prompt for 5 minutes each week. This weeks prompt is: PASS!