Friday, January 19, 2018

606 Days

606 Days

This not the story people expect me to tell, though my story wasn’t well known.  We dealt with it silently, we didn’t want their questions, their frustration to affect us and we didn’t want them to fill our faith with doubt.  So we spoke to only those close to us, but as the months went by we got more closed mouthed about it and more vague when people directly asked.  Their efforts to comfort us, only frustrated us more.  Here is our story.

My husband and I were happily married March 8, 2014 and we loved our lives together.  Everyday life is good with us and we enjoyed the normality of being together.  Being an older couple getting married (both 29 when married), we didn’t really want to be old parents.  At our 2 anniversary we decided to talk about kids, sounding selfish, we didn’t really want kids yet.  We loved our freedom and we loved our lives.  Still we decided that at the beginning of the next year we will be grudgingly stop the birth control and consider children at that time.  This allowed me to finish out the last year of teaching without our private small church school to be out with a teacher if I got pregnant right away and my husband to go full time in his business.

Months passed, no positive pregnancy test.  We really hadn’t warmed up to the idea yet and I know we sound selfish to some.  But by summer a 2 week missed period and no positive pregnancy test, was the first time we realized that we really did want a baby.  We were sad, but something turned at that point and this party of two was not complete without a 3rd, a child of our own. 

Next 2 months were rough cause I had irregular periods, something I had for my whole life until recent years.  My doctors had always blamed it on my thyroid problems, I had Thyroid Cancer at age 21 and the rest of my life I would have to have thyroid hormone replacement pills to fill in for my missing gland.  That fall I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PCOS, which explained a lot of things often bunched under my thyroid problems.  PCOS, is a very common among women of child baring age and effects 1 in 10 women, infertility being one of them.

By the first of the next year, no pregnancy I had strike number 3.  Thyroid problems being first, PCOS and now one year had passed and no pregnancy.  I officially was a case of infertility with high risks.  Doctors checked me over and finally one told me this, “I have 50 reasons why you can’t get pregnant and 50 why there is no reason in the world you’re not pregnant.”  Next several months where filled with tons of nasty pills that made me very sick, fertility specialist visits and lots of negative pregnancy test.  By Spring I was done with the pills, we had fired are very dramatic frustrating fertility specialist and I had stopped telling my husband that once again the test was negative.  We just stopped getting caught up in the push to have a kid and decided to do what we had always done.  Trust.

See here the part of the story we left out, trust.  We knew going into trying to have a baby that it would be hard.  We had eyes wide open on the fact.  My doctor after having Thyroid Cancer told me, “You need to have all your children you want by 25.” Every year past 25, he warned me my chances where getting slim.  I didn’t meet Ryan till I was 29 and married him a couple months before my 30th.  But we trusted, we trusted God.  We have read in our bible time after time after time after time where God open and shut the wombs of women.  We knew that God would give us a baby in His time and our faith was built strong in that.  We never doubted God and all the frustration I had was more that I had such a broken damaged body that might not ever hold a blood child for my husband.  We knew that if God didn’t give us a child of our own, He would give us a child another way.  We never doubted, and we were ready for what ever God would give us.

When others found out the trouble we were having this was the most frustrating parts.  Immediately they tried to comfort us with tears in their eyes, saying “Don’t loose faith… oh you can always adopt.”  This was such a confusing comment, Don’t loose faith but if you do just adopt someone else’s kid.  We weren’t losing faith and besides we had learned that adoption takes a lot of faith and trust.  Adoptions fall though so often after you open your heart to the possibility only to be crushed.  It was more painful then the negative pregnancy test.  We knew that if God would give us a child though adoption that it would have to be God ordained.  It was the words that people would say, “I know that God will give you a child when it time.” Or “I’ll be praying for you.”  That where the most comforting, it didn’t doubt our faith and encourage us instead.

But we forgot to do one key thing in all our faith and trusting… ask.  At Oregon District Family Conference, August 2017, the first night Br. Martyn Ballestero preached a profoundly simple message about asking God for the desires of your heart.  My husband run the sound during the conference.  At the end of the message, we were unable to go to the front of the church during alter call because we have to stay in the back to continue running sound.  I turned smiling to my husband and said, “Why don’t we ask God for a baby?” he smiled and responded while giving me a hug, “Well just ask.” In a silent quick prayer, I did. “Lord, you know we trust you, but we never asked, but we ask now.  We would like a baby.”  Then back to working the sound we went.

3 and half weeks later on a whim I took a pregnancy test.  I don’t know why.  I had nothing to indicate I was pregnant.  When I looked at test and it showed the two famous lines I stood stunned.  At that same moment, my husband who had already left for the day came walking back in to get something he forgot.  I chucked the test into the bathroom because I hadn’t process the information enough to tell him.  After he left it took a solid 10 minutes to find the test after I tore apart the bathroom.  A call to the doctor and a blood test and a long agonizing day of waiting for the results.  I got the called that it was true.  I told my husband that night and thankfully recorded his very stunned actions.

Now I sit here at 6 months pregnant with a darling little girl in my belly. She a very strong-willed child already and proven to beat so many odds.  I was told it would be a high-risk pregnancy going in, she has proven that all wrong lower herself to a low risk.   She proved she wasn’t going anywhere by showing her presents as early as 12 weeks in the form of a bump and kicking me continuously from week 14, both being unusual for a first-time pregnancy.  We decided on a name to honor two of the dearest ladies in our lives, my Grandma Betty and Ryan’s mother, Rosetta, Little Betty Rose Murphy. 

We know other’s stories are more of a struggle, they waited longer had more disappointments.  We never were sad or frustrated when others got pregnant and actually it gave us faith that our turn would come.  We rejoiced with them, prayed for those we knew where struggling and felt their pain. 
I don’t know what the future holds for our little girl, I know that God has given us the child we had trusted in for so long and the child we finally asked for.  We looked forward to holding her this May 2018.   

From the mommy to be,
Jacqueline Suzanne

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Candy Cane Mystery

The following story was written by the 3rd, 4th and 5th Grade students at Standard Christian School.  They contributed by given only one line at a time.  Please enjoy and comment!

The Candy Cane Mystery

Once upon a time in a little town of Albany, at a quaint little school called Standard Christian School a great mystery took place! One December night, it began someone stole the stripes from all of the candy canes. We, the students, Karina, Valentin, Ana, Shylo, Cruz and Daniel began to search for the lost stripes. 
Karina said, "Where could they be?"
Shylo responds, "I know, lets look in the restrooms!"
They looked in the bathroom and they were not there.
Daniel points and says, "You stole the strips, Shylo!"
Shylo ran and we ran after him.  Suddenly we went through a door and we were in Candy Land.  So we got to the window and saw it was broken.  We looked out the window and saw Shylo was climbing the Candy Volcano. The Candy Volcano was made out of rock candy and frosting.  We grabbed our gear of lollipops hiking sticks and packed our bag of candy to head after Shylo. We fell into the Volcano and found all of the Candy Cane Stripes.
Shylo said, "It was not me, I didn't steal the stripes, I saw the real thief and they got away."
So we went to look for the real thief.  We went through the magic school bus. We found ourselves in Arizona when it was lightning at night.  We had to watch out for javelins, scorpions and jumping cholla cactus.
Cruz said, "Follow me, I know where he can be, he is in Jerome, with the wickest people."  There were 12 robbers in the saloon.
Ana asks, "Who knows where the candy cane strip stealer is?" But everyone shrugs their shoulders.
Karina suggest, "Check their tongues!"  So Valentin pulled everyone's tongue out and to their surprise no one has a red tongue. Could it be one of them that did?  Slowly, each one stuck their tongue out at each other.  No one had a red tongue.  So all the students went back to school and sat sadly in their classroom.  Sis. Jacqui began to teach and to all their surprised, she had a red tongue.  The End!

From Sis. Jacqui's Classroom

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

In Memory of Stanley Kuzawa

Quick Note from Stan's daughter,
Last week, my dad's fight with cancer finally ended, he passed away early Saturday morning.  It was sad because on Tuesday I was supposed to fly out to see him.  Instead I came to plan his funeral.  The nurses often comment that my dad would be in horrible pain but refuse to take pain pills, because he wanted to be aware of his surroundings and not "drugged up".  He never wanted to show that he was weak, but always was a strong man in many ways. Dad was a beloved father, husband and grandpa and will be greatly missed.

Love your baby girl,
Jacqui Sue 


On Saturday, August 22, 2015 Stanley Kuzawa, 62, of Phoenix, Arizona went to be with his Lord.  He was born to the late John and Mary Kuzawa, October 27, 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio.  Stan will be lovingly remembered by his beloved wife, Vanu and his children, Brian (Janae) Kuzawa, Gregg (Christy) Kuzawa, Janella Cleveland, Jacqueline (Ryan) Murphy, Natasha Kuzawa and Rhonda Kuzawa,  He was preceded in death by his son, Jace Cleveland.  He will also be missed by his grandkids, Aurora, Gregg, Audrey, Lexi, Ashtyn, Conner and Jessica. A Celebration of Stan's Life with the immediate family will be held on Thursday, August 27, 2015 at Chaparral Park in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Celebration of Life with Message to Dad/Grandpa


or  check out link

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Greatest Marriage Advice I Ever Received

The Greatest Marriage Advice I Ever Received

I have now been married a total of 482 days, so I want to clarify I am NOT a Marriage Advice Expert.  I want the best marriage ever and so far in my 482 days of marriage I have been very very happy. “Oh your still in your Honeymoon stage that why!”  Maybe, but it also has to do with the greatest marriage advice I ever received.  So listen up to all my single gals and guys, I want to pass on the advice I received.

A couple months before I met my darling husband Ryan, I thought I knew everything there was about marriage!  Oh yes, it can’t be hard, “Obey your husband and cook good food. (after all the way to his heart is through his stomach right?!)  I had always wanted a good marriage, so I always paid attention when anyone gave advice.  I’d file away in my filing cabinet in my brain under “Marriage Advice”.  I’d listen when the Christian Radio would give advice, I’d listen during preaching and teaching at church.  I’d take mental notes if I read something online or in an article. But by far some of my favorite advice came from long time married couples, theirs where funny, cute and full of very practical advice.

Then Ryan came along, well I knew immediately he was the one.  Everyone who saw us together knew it was right.  I wanted so badly to make sure this would work that I nearly knocked over my filing cabinet and double check.  I finally realized it was going right and needed to relax, family and pastors happily guided us along.  So when Ryan proposed and I accepted, the wedding advice started flowing in.  Boy I was ready!

Everyone including strangers in line at the supermarket gave advice, married, single, disgruntled and even kids!  Some advice I put in a file marked “Awesome Marriage Advice” others in “Marriage Advice Maybe?” or “Don’t ever use this Marriage Advice”.   The more advice I received something occurred to me, I’ve heard this all before.  For years I have been listening and learning what a real marriage is.  I didn’t turn my brain off when they talked about it just because I was single.  I toke it in, because I wanted to have the best marriage.

When pastors and trusted family members talked to us about what marriage was truly about.  That it wasn’t easy, that you had to work on it each day and that you had to give 150% every day.  That you might argue, she not pretty every moment of the day, he might smell funny and so on.  But both Ryan and I were not oblivious of the fact, we knew we had to work for it, we had been told for years.  We walked into the marriage knowing we had to work to have an awesome marriage.

Shortly before I got married, a group of us where talking.  We were talking about marriage advice they had received, laughing at some of it that we heard.  Then someone said the best marriage advice they got was during a preaching as a teenager.  The preacher said, “Marriage starts now as a young person.  You learn about it while you don’t have anyone in your life.  Not trying to listen to advice between making googly eyes at your future mate or discussing flowers and cake.  Listen now, don’t shut it off just because you’re single.”

Now 482 days into a blissful marriage, I have remember lots of the advice I heard for years: “Always kiss goodnight and good morning.”, “Never go a day without saying ‘I Love You’”, Obey your husband, honor your wife.  Pray and forgive each other.  Give, give, give but never give up.  I know years from now, that our marriage will be a strong one; I still take lots of marriage advice even now.  Ryan and I both walked into a strong marriage foundation because we listen for years what a good marriage is about.  So what is the greatest marriage advice? Start listening long before you get married. 

Happily Married,
Jacqueline Suzanne

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Science of the Blood of Jesus

“I see a crimson stream of blood, that flows from Calvary…”
“There is power, power wonder working power in the blood, of the Lamb…”
“What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
We write hymns and song about it and we sing about it in church.  We have been taught the importance of the shedding of the blood, thru out the Bible. The necessity of the spotless sacrifice that would make the blood pure and met the demands of a perfect sacrifice.  We learn that in Leviticus 17:11 (KJV)
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

So much has been taught on the blood of Jesus Christ, it has become so common to most Christians but I like to present one more consideration.  A scientific spin on the blood of Jesus; the component if we were to look at them under a “spiritual microscope”.  With a help of my High School Biology students, we considered what each component of the blood might represent.

There are four things that our blood contains; Plasma, Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells and Platelets.  The blood affects every part of the body, without it, great damage can happen to the area cut off from this life giving flow. Even death can happen at the loss of blood.  We must have blood apart of every aspect of our lives so that we can have life.

55% of the blood content is Plasma; the plasma is 90% water, 10% nutrients.  This balance helps us to maintain proper blood pressure.  The nutrients help to regulate the water in the blood, help protect and assist the White Blood Cells in attacking foreign objects.  The plasma of Jesus is given to us in the form of Water Baptism in his name.  It also in the form of Spiritual Baptism; the Holy Ghost. It helps maintain a proper Christian Life and balancing our lives to the Word of God.

Red Blood Cells is a master of design for doing its job of carrying oxygen.  With the help of special iron contained blood proteins called hemoglobin, red blood cells can bind easily to oxygen.  As oxygen is transferred though out the body, the red blood cells will drop off oxygen; then picks up carbon dioxide that is no longer useful to the body.  The Red Blood cells of Jesus’ Blood will do the same; bring us new life to every part of us.  Removing the old and bad, which if not removed can cause damage and even death.

White Blood Cells are called the Solider Cells, they are design to fight.  Their purpose to fight off foreign objects and they will die to protect their home.  Jesus’ white blood cells do the same things in our lives.  Sin is a foreign object; God did not originally design sin to be in our lives.  We have no way of fighting or destroying sin, only the white blood cells of Jesus could do this.

The platelets’ job is to patrol the blood vessels for leaks.  These tiny disk-shaped cell fragments serve as the patch kits.  They are also first to assist in blood clotting.  When we are broken in our lives, damage by sin or harmed by this world, Jesus’ platelets come into our lives and begin to repair us.  They will clot out things that are harmful to us and keep us from losing life.

Last of all we think that Jesus had to of had O- Blood type.  O- Blood type is called the “Universal Blood Donor”, this is because O- Blood lacks antigens that other blood types contain.  If Jesus contained these antibodies and we received a “blood transfusion” from Him, our body would not accept it and considered foreign and be destroyed.  This would not help us.  The blood of Jesus would have to be free from these “tags” and accepted by all.

Without the blood of Jesus and all its components, we will die in sin.  We must ask for a “blood transfusion” in order to live.  Because only though Jesus’ blood can we remove sin from our lives.  Only though Jesus’ blood could we be restored and become new.  Only though Jesus’ blood can we receive life.  We might never sing songs about Jesus’ platelets or talk about the power in His white blood cells or poetically write about seeing a crimson stream of the red blood cells flowing from Calvary.  But when we do sing about the blood, you might have a different prospective of what the blood of Jesus might be doing in your lives.

A Fellow Follower & Science Teacher

Jacqueline Suzanne

With the help of my students, Hannah, Andrew and Paul

Graham, Keith & Parker, Graham. Biology God's Living Creation Third Edition. Pensacola, FL: A Beka Book Science Series, 2007. USA

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Answer to Why

To be a good reporter you have to remember to ask the Five Ws; Who? What? Where? When? And Why?  If you can get these basic questions answer then you generally will get all the information that is needed.  But often the reporters when covering a tragic story, can’t answer the last.  For weeks they will attempt to answer it, most often the answer to why will be left unanswered.

Why, the reason or purpose, or explanation.  It seems so simple but then how come it often left unanswered?  It seems being a Christian and serving an all knowing God, shouldn’t we know the answer?  Often people when tragedy happens, who never acknowledge God in the past, will begin to ask God, “Why?”  They will ask Christian, “Why does a loving God allow this?  Why would God let this happen?  Why?”  Even Christians will ask, “Why?” When they may not understand.  It will seem that God doesn’t answer their questions, as if He doesn’t hear them. 

If you have ever been around a young child, you will know that as they become more curious about their surroundings they will begin asking questions.  Why is the sky blue?  Why does a bird fly and a fish swim?  Why this?  Why that?  As an adult, we attempt to answer the questions as best as we can.  But some answers to “Why?” are more difficult and their young minds are unable to understand the reason to why.  The reason or purpose to the answer to why is too great, too difficult and much more complicated then they need to know.  For example, Little Jonny would like to spend the night at Bobby’s house but you won’t allow it.  Jonny wants to know why, but how can you explain to Jonny that Bobby’s father is a drunk and comes home and beats his wife.  As a good parent you would shield your child from the dangers.  This may cause some pain but will save your child from an even greater pain.

The book of Job is a story of a man who looses it all.  His family, his wealth even his health.  For 37 chapters it tells his story and how his friends and even Job question why these events happen.  Finally God had enough and began speak in Job 38, in the form of questions.  God established who He was, that it was He that laid the foundations of the earth, causes the weather and gave strength and life to the animals of the earth.  For four chapters, God declares who He is and letting Job know that He is in control. 

As Christians should we even ask God “Why?”  Yes!  God will always answer our questions, but we must be careful to listen for the answer.  It may not be what we expect and the biggest part is that we need to trust God.  So what is the answer to the question to “Why?”  The simple answer is often, “Because.”  Going back to our example earlier, instead of explaining to Jonny the dangers as an adult we may answer Jonny with, “Because” or declaring who we are, “Because I am your father/mother and I said so.”  It may be upsetting at the moment, but what we are saving our child from is much greater.  Remember we are the “Children of God” not the “Adults of God”, our understanding is much smaller then that of our heavenly Father.

How did I learn to answer to “Why?”  I had to live it; I had to learn to trust God when the pain was so deep and so strong.  I had many moments that in my short life of 29 years that brought me to the question “Why?”  I lost both my step dad and brother to suicide.  The pain was so great that I felt I had been shot also.  I had cancer that nearly took my life at only 22 years old, which took most of my 20s to recover from.  These are only a few things I experience, to many to share.  I can remember many nights staring at the ceiling of my room, crying out “Why God? Why me? Why now? Why? Why? Why?”  I couldn’t even begin to express these moments.

Each time, I was reminded that God is God.  He created everything; He is the beginning and the end.  He knows the past, present and the future.  He may answer “Why” sometimes but often especially at the moment, we have to trust Him.  Lean on Him and find comfort in the answer to “Why?” is simple “Because.”

Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God:”

 Jacqueline Suzanne

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Garden of Flowers

Garden of Flowers

She was upset, Jo March for years she had to be company for her aunt she very much disliked!  So when her younger sister Amy took over the duties, Jo was glad! More time to write and read, she said.  She didn't realized that Amy would actually form a bond with the cranky old woman.  So when Aunt March decide to go abroad to Europe and asked for Amy to come along and not Jo, Jo was upset.  Jo easy temper flared up, jealousy took over and she expressed loudly to her parents.  But  they would have none of it.

There was something that Jo said that I never forgot. She told her parents that she will pick a bouquet of flowers out of Amy's garden of happiness.  She wouldn't just act happy, she would BE Happy!!!

That simple concept stuck with me for years, and came to mind when I would become jealous or envious or upset at another's happiness.  It wasn't fair for them if I came in and tore up their garden, ruined their flowers and steal their happiness.  But I began to pick a small bouquet of flowers, I'd fake happiness till I got, I felt it. Gathering bits of happiness from others.  Over time as the flowers faded I was left with seeds.

While my family, got to travel, I had to stay home to work. While friends got married, I kept searching for my own love.  While other held bundles of joy, my arms dreamed of the days of the future.  I tried not to complain, prayed through my jealous, wiped away my tears, smiled through the pain and hid my loneliness.  Not one thing was missed by by God.

One Sunday, I sat alone on the pew, the evangelist was in town. He did not know me, the pastor did not say anything to him.  While he was preaching he walked the aisle, stopping near me, he locked eyes. "Your trial is almost over, I can see it.  It's right there. God was showing me during service. It's almost over!!! It's so close, I can see it! I rejoice with you, I can see it! I can see it."

I was going through a lot right then, the words were powerful.  I rejoiced, theses were words from God, no one in that service could deny it.  But I didn't realize the full meaning, while alter call was going on I received another message from the man of God.

"Do you understand what I said?" Before I could answer he went on, "no you don't. God has seen your faithfulness, He has seen your tears, He knows your loneliness.  You honored him with contentment, He hasn't forgotten you." I couldn't contain the tears that rolled down my cheeks when he said the next part. "You have sat on the pew alone for years, you never complained. God has seen you and hasn't forgotten. You will never sit alone again. He is sending you someone, He is coming, you won't be alone. He is sending you a great joy, and one day the pew will be also filled with little joys too. Do you understand?"  I could only nod and cry, "I could see it, I could see it! And I rejoice with you!"

The tears I shed that day was like April Showers to May Flowers. All the seed I had collected from others were blooming now for me.  The following week, I was to have a visitor from a far, someone I cared for deeply. That was in October, his arrival was a ray of sunshine to me. By end of November, my garden was in full bloom.

On November 27th, 2013, Ryan got down on one knee and proposed.  I of course said yes!  My heart is bursting with happiness!!! I had full approval of my pastor, his pastor, his family and many other dear in my life.  As others congratulate us in our upcoming marriage, I was overwhelm with happiness!!!

Don't worry about picking a bouquet, I will freely give you the flowers!  I'm so blessed I will share it with all!  Today I felt like I was throwing flowers to everyone, "Here, be happy not for me but WITH me!" For those that shared their flowers here flowers to thank you for allowing me to share with you before. For others, hold onto the flowers, plant the seeds, water them with prayer, be patient and God will honor you!!!

Never stop sewing seeds, because one day there will be a garden of flowers!

Jacqueline Suzanne

Sunday, December 1, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving

Last Sunday we had a night of Thanks, with a dinner, fellowship and time to testify of God's goodness. I had so much to be thankful for so I wrote this poem to cover everything I'm thankful for!  Inspired by the 30 days of thankfulness people often post online during the month of November.

 30 days of Thanksgiving 

It’s 30 days of Thanksgiving, but I did it all at once
Cause I never can remember to post them one by one

#1 is the most important my Jesus, a friend to me
He is my Redeemer & Savior, who set my soul free

2 would be my family, 3 my old time friends
4 would be my new ones, my friendship I extend

5 would be my job even if I work all night
6 would be Arizona and all its pretty sights

7 is the number of birthday I’ve had, I was told I’d never see
But 2 years ago, I was finally told that I was Cancer Free

The Next 6, call me Auntie, that is a greatest honor
Aurora, Gregg  & Aubrey, Lexi, Ashtyn and little Conner

14 for clothes to wear, 15 is my spoiled cats,
16 for a place to live, 17 food that makes me fat

18 would be my church, where the truth of God is preached
Excited for the New Year and all the souls we’ll reach

19 would be my minivan which is pushing 300k
20 is sunrises and sunsets of every single day

I better start to hurry; I’m taking up too much time
Besides I’m having trouble finding words that will rhyme

There are Simple things I find that make my life complete
Good Books, Good Music & Lily who is my puppet chimpanzee

There also are my crazy cousins, my uncles and my aunts
Also the Greatest Grandma, Oh by the way, nice pants!

Let us quickly count, that was 7, so we’re now at twenty eight
I’m thankful for this dinner and all the food we ate

29 is the years I’ve waited to meet that special one,
My sweetheart, Ryan Murphy, you better not run!

Now we are finally at 30, I bet you thought it would not end
Lastly I’m thankful for you, and here's to being friends


Jacqueline Suzanne

Monday, October 14, 2013

Joy Unspeakable

At only 29, I have experienced many things that most people live a life time and never experience even half.  I have had great trials, great sadness, great pain and sorrow. I spent countless restless nights and cried tears never seen. I've sat in places so low, only darkness showed. I've felt great loneliness in crowded rooms, faked more smiles and said more "I'm fines". I've been mocked, ridiculed and had backs turned on me.  Depression, anxiety, hopelessness, despised, doubt you name I have faced in one aspect or another.

As of child of God, we are supposed to be happy right? Never have anything go wrong always have peace and tranquility? But that is wrong, God never promised us there would be no trials, in fact He promises we WILL have trials.  The difference is He promises He will be with you through it all and never leave you. He won't give you to much to handle and carry it when it gets to heavy. When a battle is raging He will give you the strength to fight, or take over and fight for you.  He never promised that we wouldn't face sickness or death, sorrow or grief. He said his grace is sufficient and He would send comfort and peace.

Often we go through trials for reasons. Why? God may be cleaning up the rough edges in our life, smoothing us out to make a better vessel He could use. We might need to learn a lesson on trusting Him, learn He is our strength and we need him.  We may need a cleansing to remove imperfections and we become purer and holier and more like Him.

So often we get caught up in the trial, talking on making it through, surviving the battle or facing the "giants" in our life.  It can consume us that we think our life will be one long trial and think there is no end.  We begin to forget there is more, the spoiled goods of the wars, the light and the morning after the night, the time after the storm passes. There are many treasures & promises I could mention but I want to speak on one: Joy.

The dictionary defines Joy as the following:

1. a deep feeling or condition of happiness or contentment
2. something causing such a feeling; a source of happiness
3. an outward show of pleasure or delight; rejoicing

True joy hits the core of your very soul and can't help but radiated out and be seen by all.  The Bible talks about Joy many times, it's in fact mentioned 102 times in the old and 63 in the new! Joy often comes after a trial.

"...Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." - Psalm 30:5

"And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:" -Psalm 105:43

After a particular difficult trial in my own life,  I began to find peace, I was comforted and I was even healed from the pain. I thought my trial was over, but what I didn't have was happiness, or joy. How could I? After such a great loss, it almost seem unfair to be happy. But keeping that attitude can keep you in the trial God wants you to overcome. I'm not saying you won't be sad some days or have difficult times.  He wants to give you a joy that you can't explain.

"... ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:" 1 Peter 1:8

Joy unspeakable it can't be explained, it could only be shown. I don't remember the exact day or moment but it was like it exploded out of me over time. I started to really smile even if the reason was small.  I'd laugh, not a fake laugh or a half hearted one. It was a true deep laugh that bubbled up from my depth.  People saw the change,  they saw how happy I was, the spring in my step, some said even my laugh had changed. It was true, deep it could not be explained. A joy like that can only come from God, He may send others or things in your life that cause the joy but it all from God. It His gift to you and can also be a gift to others. In fact it's mentioned as one of the Fruits of the Spirit.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." - Gal 5:22-23

The Devil wants to steal your joy, he places seeds of doubt, try to discourage you or remind you of your faults. But no one can take it from you!

"And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." John 16:22

No matter what your going to go through or what your enduring or what you have faced, God promised you joy! No one can steal it, it can't be explained and it will be easily seen for those around you. The old hymn by Barney E. Warren in 1900 says it best.

I have found the joy no tongue can tell,
How its waves of glory roll;
It is like a great o’erflowing well,
Springing up within my soul.

It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Full of glory, full of glory;
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Oh, the half has never yet been told.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Earning and Learning More

It’s that time of year again… A summer for an apostolic is all about camps, conferences and well vacation (center around some church event)!  It’s the best time!  For some of us one camp may all we are able to go too, but for other it might be more than one.  We send our kids to Junior Camps, Senior Camp, Youth Conferences, and Family Camps.  You name it we are trying to go!  If it was up to some we just catch a train and attend one conference after another.   But for most of us, (adults) bills come and we need come home.  But for many teens and kids a couple extra conferences might be a ton of fun! 
Year round my youth group does fundraisers, snack bar at church, yard sales etc.  We earn money, to pay expenses to go to camp.  I can’t remember the last time as a youth, part of our fee was the cost of the transportation (gasoline).  Sometimes we haven’t even paid for our hotel because we earned enough.  Some of the money we earn is to pay for some of the under privilege youth that can’t afford to go otherwise.  I’m totally cool with this, but some church can’t do this.  Now, that I’m little bit older (almost 29 *GASP*)!  If I want to go to camp or conference, I pay my own way.  I have a job and can afford it, but even so I’ve learned I can either have a new dress and stay home or save my money and go to conference.
But I often think that if a kid has to “work” there way to a conference they get more out of it.  I want to honor a couple of them that strive for just that!  Parents even if you can afford to pay for camp, why not have your child earn it, chores around the house or saving though out the year.  Or some of the things mentioned here.
Little Miss Jocelyn, the Adorable!
She wants to go to Junior Camp and even though she pretty young (I’m not even sure she camper age yet), her parents decided to show her the value of earning her way to camp.  Stack with a couple boxes of candies determined to sell them to pay her way to camp.  How could you not resist that adorable smile and say no? I also heard that she might have gotten a little extra dough from her uncle, who said she could keep the change on a $20 bill.  Girl, keep it up, at that rate Junior Camp will be paid for the next couple years!
Miss Carina, the Heavenly Baker!
When I heard how Carina earned her way to Junior Camp, I said count me in!  In fact I dove right in and ate half of it on the way home.  Hands down and still the BEST Brownies I have EVER had!!!  Though I’m not certain if she going this year. I want to give a shout to her mom who has her earn her way every year.  But when her brownie reputation has gotten around that when her church and friends find out she is raising funds, they line up!  Don’t stop baking girl; I think you can earn your college funds in about a year if you do it all the time!
Miss Cara, the Determined!
I was chatting with this girl the other day (the inspiration for this post) and heard that she has been raising funds for a conference she was super excited to go too!  But due to car trouble she couldn’t go, but did that stop her!  NOPE!  She also is working on helping her youth raise funds for another conference in a couple weeks.  For now, to pay for her own way, she selling Banana Bread and anything she doesn’t need and isn’t screwed down!  She sold so many clothes, I wonder… will she have anything to wear at camp?  Just kidding!  She got plenty, its Cara after all!  Girl, you are a great inspiration!!!
On a Mission…
There is one last person I want to honor, the person I’m talking about hasn’t really sold too many things, I do recall a couple candy bar sells back in the day!  But he has to be one of the hardest working, people I know, hands down, Missionary Joe Ginty .  For many years he had a passion and heart for the people of the Philippines.  He even snatch up his sweet wife, Jewel from Manila, 5 years ago.  Missionary Ginty, has been to the Philippines about a dozen times.  His greatest desire is to go as a full time missionary and reach the people in their homeland.  In all the years and many times he went there, he paid most of his way from his own money.  Working three jobs at times, and working more hours in a week than most do in 2.  He will not give up, and do what it takes.  I know that God will honor him and his family for all his hard work.  Praying that full time missionary comes soon!

So if you want your kids to learn a valuable lesson appreciate that camp more and learn a lot of other lessons along the way.  Next time they ask to go to that youth conference or camp, tell them “Let see how you can help you earn your own way there!”  In several years they will thank you! 

Always yours,
Jacqueline Suzanne