Sweet Release…

Sorrow swept over me as I rode along the Rio Grande Bosque trail…overwhelming sorrow. As I pedaled along, with tears streaming down my face, gripping the handlebars, I was thankful I had sunglasses on as I rode past oncoming cyclists. I was pouring out my heart to God…not audibly, but from the inside out…heart to heart. He heard my cry, and He accompanied me over the next sixteen miles.

I glanced occasionally to the heavens, and saw cranes and geese fly overhead. Along the river bank rabbits and lizards scurried among the brush. The wind whispered through the cottonwood trees, rustling the leaves as they glistened in the sun’s rays. The wonders of His creation caused my heart to melt into His. I stopped from time to time to wipe my tears and blow my nose, and I was still…pausing to see if He would speak to me. But there was silence. Not a single word….only His presence.

My husband was with me on the bike ride, but kept a respectful distance up ahead, knowing that at that moment I needed time alone with my First Love, my Papa God. Rod is amazing to me in that way. He knows that when my heart is heavy and aches in a way that he cannot soothe, my First Love must come to my rescue. He allows me the necessary time to be with my heavenly Daddy.

By now you may be wondering…why such a heavy heart? What was it that caused such sorrow?  I woke up that morning reflecting on the lives of some of my loved ones…those that are hurting, confused, conflicted…some who may be doubting God’s love for them, bound by regrets and perhaps even shame that keeps them from turning back to the only One who can restore them and make things right again. I thought of the miracle of life. I marveled at how Papa God had gifted a dear friend’s son with a second chance in the midst of an accident that seemed too horrific for anyone to survive. He was given another opportunity to turn back to Jesus.

Earlier that morning I had taken my requests to the cross and laid them down, knowing my Savior would attend to each one.  I searched Scripture, and waited…wondering if the heaviness in my heart would lift as it typically does after I spend time with Him.  But this time it didn’t. The sorrow in my heart remained.

As soon as I started pedaling along on my bike ride, my thoughts led me back…back to my conversation with Papa, and I picked up where we had left off. Once again, I shared with Him the desires of my heart…the requests for His healing power, for His strength, His courage, and His wisdom in all the circumstances I was pleading for. And once again, I sensed His presence.

It was in that moment that the memories of my own life journey began to resurface. As I pedaled along the trail…each memory replayed in my mind. Papa God is so smart! He knew this particular morning that it would be necessary for me to remember my own past. I recalled the choices of my youth and the ways that I too had strayed. I recalled the painful consequences of bad choices and the ripple effect my sin had on my loved ones. My scars surfaced one by one…all for a purpose…a cleansing purpose. A redemptive purpose.

Moments like these are some of the most precious to me.  I embraced the imagery in my mind as I pedaled along the Bosque trail. I imagined the tears of sorrow my Papa God sheds for me when I stumble and fall…and when I dismiss His voice when He says, “Choose my way, stay focused, for I know the plans I have for you and they are good!”  I imagined how much His heart must hurt each time I disappoint Him…when I choose my own selfish desires over His leading. And I remembered His outstretched arms each time I’ve turned back, and how He has embraced my ‘coming home’…back in stride in my walk with Him.

Like a floodgate opening, my tears began to flow. I thanked Him for my beautiful scars…for the memories of the past that helped lead me back to a heart of compassion…His compassion. He reminded me once again that each person He has placed in my life is a precious daughter or son to Him. He loves them more than I ever could! I must never stand in judgment, and I must never stop praying!  My assignment each day is to stand in the gap for each daughter, each son, each grandchild, each friend…just as my Savior does for me!

Perhaps it’s time to recognize that what we value most is what we need to entrust to Papa God even more. Be encouraged…trust Him today with all your cares and allow His peace to guard your heart! For me, it’s a time of sweet surrender…a time of sweet release!  ~ IN HIS STRONG LOVE – rose

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7

Graphics with brighter color…

Thank you for all your great comments! The general consensus has been that the “orange” concept is easier to read, and preferred by some for that reason. Many said the “cranberry” was more interesting, but difficult to read “at a glance.”

We’re hoping to have a cover that is both interesting and easy to read:)

So…here’s a brighter shade of the former cranberry…with brighter lettering.

I really appreciate your input!!!!!

Here’s the cranberry with different color fonts…easier to read?

Got a minute to help?

We’re in the process

of selecting a cover concept for

Holy Libido,

and we need your help!

Which of the two concepts do you prefer:

the one on the left, or

the one on the right?

Thank you for your input!!

A time of restoration…

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with the endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” ~Hebrew 2:1-2

A sweet young sister in Christ who is going through a season of healing in her life asked me recently what my “year of restoration” looked like. She had heard me give my testimony at a women’s conference some time ago, and is now working through her own personal pain. She was curious to know what the process was like for me, and how long it took for me to be “ok.”

I told her about my “Aha!” moment…the pivotal point in my life that knocked me to my knees…literally! At that moment, I shed what seemed to be an ocean of tears. And not just then, but for many months to come, the tears flowed. My awareness of God’s holiness, and His unconditional love, along with an infusion of grace, hope, joy and peace, overwhelmed and humbled me to my core. In that instant, the walls of sin, guilt and shame began to crumble. It was the beginning of an amazing life-changing journey with my Savior Jesus Christ. It was a second chance—a brand new start—and a profound change in my life’s trajectory.

I knew that in order for me to experience deep healing and true transformation, I had to respond to God’s voice. I immersed myself in His Word. I attended church every chance I got…every time the doors were open. I sat close to the front, ears open and my heart ready. The messages I heard through an amazing pastor were, no doubt, Holy Spirit inspired. Each message seemed as if it was custom tailored just for me!

I remember walking briskly to my car after each service, trying desperately to hold back the tears. The Spirit’s conviction was so powerful! As I drove home – alone in my car – I gripped the steering wheel…and let the tears flow. I cried out to God… asking for His forgiveness…praising Him for the pain…and thanking Him for His gift of grace. When I got home, driving through the tears, I faithfully journaled what God had spoken to my soul. I wrote until it seemed my fingers would blister!

The Holy Spirit began the process of stripping away all the junk—all the foul, stinking junk that I had carried for so long: the hurt, the anger, the pride, the shame, the selfishness, the arrogance…and on and on and on. I poured my heart out to God daily….almost continually. More often than not, I cried myself to sleep. I allowed myself to feel the pain. I mourned the loss of innocence. And I cried out to Papa God for comfort. The emotions were so intense! I felt the pain of regret and sorrow – and I felt the joy – all at the same time. It was such an amazing, almost indescribable experience.

It was months before my wounds began to be transformed into beautiful scars… scars to be remembered and treasured. Pearls to be used for His glory. And the beauty of it all is that He isn’t finished with me yet. I am a work in progress. We all are. And we will be until He comes to take us – His bride – home to be with Him forever.

During my “Aha!” moment, and for several months following, I fell in love with my first true Love…my one true Husband…my precious Savior Jesus Christ. And so my devotion and loyalty belongs to Him…my Creator, the Holy One that died for me. I will keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. And when I stumble and step out of sync, I will seek refuge in His Word. I know that He’s “got it,” and He’s got me! And now whenever the storms begin, I willingly take a knee, bowing before Him, knowing that He is ready to go to battle on my behalf!

It is through my valleys that He continues to develop my character – and my trust in Him. It is in the valleys I find sweet solace. It is there….on bended knees…that I surrender whatever “IT” is that has caused me to doubt…to fear…to stumble.

My precious Lord… He paid the ultimate price on the cross so that I can spend eternity with Him! I continue to run the race no matter how hard it gets at times. Imperfect as I am, my heart’s desire is to serve Him well. At the end of my life, when He and I are face to face, I long to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant!”

Today, if you are in the midst of a circumstance that seems overwhelming, allow His Spirit to take you to your knees! Surrender whatever is holding you back! Step aside and trust that the One who created you…and died for you…knows best! The Master Potter will mend your broken pieces, and through your story, His glory will be reflected!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.” ~James 1:2-4


Don’t Stop the Madness!

I have a choice to make today. I can see the sorrow and the heartache of circumstances and allow them to control me, or I can allow the chaos…the madness of circumstances to teach me a lesson in humility and grace and draw me nearer to the cross!

Think about it….Christ was mocked, spit upon, scourged with a multi-thonged whip with bits of bone and metal until his body was horribly disfigured. All the while He selflessly bore the world’s sins – our sins and heartaches on Himself. He allowed his accusers to hang Him on a cross and drive 9” nails into his body. Our innocent God in the flesh – He shed his precious blood for our salvation. What we deserved, He has endured! He knew what it was going to take to redeem us. He paid the price no matter the cost! Remember the words He prayed to His Father in the garden of Gethsemane before he was led to his death? “Not my will Father, but Your Will be done”.

Think about it…it was through DEATH that He conquered DEATH itself!

Look around. Truly…how horrible is your circumstance? Please understand I am not trying to diminish your pain. I am sure it is real and it may run deep. But for a moment won’t you try to take your eyes off your own circumstances and look at the sufferings of those less fortunate? Perhaps you have a friend who has lost a loved one and their heart is breaking, or you know someone who just got diagnosed with a cancerous tumor (for the 3rd time), or someone who just died because of foolish choices. We don’t like to think about those things do we…at least not for very long. And you know why? We are by nature, SELFISH human beings. We focus on US rather than on others. So polar opposite of Christ’s vision and mission here on earth.

Our Saviors entire life, His entire purpose on this planet was to demonstrate an UNSELFISH self. He set the example of humility when He washed his disciples feet; even those of Judas who He knew was about to betray Him, and Peter who would soon deny him three times! He fed the hungry, He healed the sick. He brought people out of death and cared for the brokenhearted. He restored the prostitute and gave her hope and purpose. With humility and grace He did all of these things to be the prime example that we are to emulate! We have no excuses…HE walked the talk! By HIS precious blood of love we are healed…we are His redeemed!

And when He left this planet, HE gave us HIS most precious gift…a part of HIMSELF…His Holy Spirit. His amazing power resides within those that have received Him. And all that he asks is this, “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love” John 15:11-12 and in Matthew 7:12 – “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”

So as you start today…and the ‘madness’ begins….stop and consider these things: Allow the pain and the heartache to draw you closer to the cross! Allow Papa God to work through whatever circumstance you are facing. Call upon His GIFT – ask Him to quicken HIS Holy Spirit within you! Open up His WORD and bathe yourself with HIS sweet promises. BELIEVE that “…in ALL things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)  Get up…get going! Be Christ with skin on! Let others see HIM being lived out in you! Demonstrate by your actions what you say you believe! Let Him know…that you now understand that HE didn’t die in vain!

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2
“Papa God, we pray that today you will instill a burning DESIRE in our lives. A desire so strong that it will break the gates of hell! Place in our hearts your purpose! Quicken your Holy Spirit in us and tear lose anything that is hindering our walk with you! Allow us to see that our pain will be used for Your glory. Give us courage, strength and boldness to live out a life that honors you! Walk with us and let your voice resound in our hearts and in our minds! Don’t relent Father…continue working through our chaos…for we know, that at the end of every storm, there is a silver lining! In Jesus name we pray – Amen!” 

Be blessed today! IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose









Ramon…Expert Chili Roaster!

Fall is one of my favorite seasons of the year. (My other favorite seasons are spring, summer and winter:) One reason I enjoy fall so much is because it’s chili roasting time. Anyone who has had the pleasure of catching a whiff of green chilis roasting in the rotating drum knows what I’m talking about.

I always enjoy chatting with the guys who roast our chilis. Last year I had an opportunity to meet a Native American Indian who shared with me several things about his culture. I was fascinated by his stories. This year, I had the privilege of meeting Ramon.

It takes about 15 minutes to roast a bushel of chilis, and since I had two bushels, I had a lot of time to chat with Ramon. I noticed he set the flame on a little lower setting than the other roasters I’ve met. So I ask him about it. Ramon told me he is an expert chili roaster. From his three years of experience he has learned not to set the heat too high or it will burn the chilis. I know what he told me is true because we’ve had a few burned chilis. Ramon is good at what he does because he’s learned from experience how to do the very best job possible of roasting chilis.

There was something about Ramon’s confidence – and pride – in his ability as an expert chili roaster that made me smile. Although I have never roasted chilis, I could identify with Ramon’s good feeling about doing a good job. I try to do a good job at the things I enjoy. When I mess things up – which I do on a fairly regular basis – I like to figure out how to fix my mistakes. And I make a point to learn from these things.

As you might have imagined, I found a spiritual application in my encounter with “Expert Roaster” Ramon. Actually, it raised a question in my mind: “Am I able to claim – with a hint of confidence – that I am an expert Christ follower?” Sounds arrogant , I know, but not when we consider the basis for the claim. If we can truly claim to be an expert Christ follower, we are in the process of learning that every ability we have is a gift from God. We are learning that apart from Jesus, we cannot accomplish anything of eternal value.  And we are learning that he is the Source of the peace in our hearts and the assurance of eternal life with Him.

Possibly we will have an opportunity today, or in the near future, to tell someone about some of the things we’re learning as a fully devoted  Christ follower. Maybe they will be intrigued by our enthusiasm – and the passion in our life – to begin a personal journey with God!

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