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The Shade Of Love

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God’s Thoughts To Me

They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out.

Then He asked me, “Son of Man, can these bones become living people again.” (Ezekiel 37:2b – 3, NLT).

Exhaling Dew Drops

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I live and revel with holy reverence in the glory of Your Presence, my Beloved … my Lord… King of my heart.

My vulnerable spirit marvels and rejoices with each new breath, filled with your goodness and grace, refreshing like early morning dew.

My hungry heart delights in every single heartbeat of Your Resurrection … exhaling Your love onto the lifeless valley and its inhabitants where I was once a prisoner of the evil queen of death.

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You teach me with endless patience and mercy how to live in the exquisite, gentle reality and power of Your grace-filled Resurrection … the reality of your new Life.

I barely owned a last breath of the lies of self-sufficiency, when you rescued me from eternal extinction in the religious Valley of Dry Bones … in that world where You inhaled our sin and death and exhaled Your eternal Life.

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My heart, darkened by the deceptions of the evil one, and puffed-up by my own imagined importance and performance, was paralyzed … unable to detect the direction from where the Wind of Your Life was blowing.

But when You softly and gently kissed me with the butterfly kisses of Your Resurrection Love, my heart delightfully came alive … baptized into the Kingdom of Eternity in You.

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You allowed me to go back to that dreadful valley, where millions of souls were still living in utter barrenness and darkest death … lifeless skeletons … there where I was a vessel of your Life out of the putridness of death.

The Eternity of Your Breath was the gentle, mighty Spirit of Life who exhaled grace upon grace, slowly seeping into the dryness of these thirsty, parched dry bones, grinning the rigor mortis grimace of death.

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You filled my empty, seeking heart to the utmost with the a beauty of Yourself … You became Springs of Living Water, bubbling delightfully in my innermost … a life-giving oasis in the cruelest desert … the narrow Way leading to life … leading to Your Loving Embrace.

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

Linking-up with Lisa-Jo and the dear ladies at my Tea Time and Link-up page. Today’s guest of honor is the word exhale.

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The Lonely Desert

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God’s Thoughts to Me

And human hands can’t serve His needs – for He has no needs. He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need (Acts 17:25, NLT).

Gratefully Dying Gracefully

imageWhen thoughts are drifters on the wings of confusion, gratefulness seems like a mirage in a dry, barren desert …

… always shimmering delightfully on the horizon …

… always  inviting, yet empty, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

As I have been wandering though the swamps of illness, caught in the fowler’s snare, an evangelical humanist, desperation has nearly been the victor as ungrateful thoughts played havoc with my mind.

Silly ideas and futile thinking battled to breathe just another little breath of stale, self-pitying air, causing unending, dreadful torment.

imageGuilt and condemnation were my hated companions as I was trying to navigate my way through the dense fog hovering constantly on the surface of my muddy mind …

… there where no two thoughts walked together as friends.

I battled to hear my Lord’s loving overtures … bidding me gently to come …

… just abiding in the cool shadows of His love.

There where I could stop striving to be His co-savior, albeit a prisoner of my mind, and just rest in the coolness of His limitless affection.

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He longed to gather me with unconditional acceptance, yet I stubbornly ran to and fro …

… seeking reason and rescue for my debilitating plight …

… fearfully fighting that sweet surrender.

He once again accompanied me faithfully to the end of my reasonings and self. Again He showed me the folly of that evil lie of independence …

… the fruit of the lips of the great deceiver, the father of all lies.

The uselessness of being useful and the usefulness of being useless became vividly apparent as I was limping on my last legs.

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My turmoil was gently quieted by the whisper of His voice as He reminded me that He is not served by human hands.

Gratefully, as free as a bird, my heart rose with repentance to new heights of joy and freedom as He softly gathered me into His Loving Embrace and seated me in heavenly places in Him.

Sweet blessings xx

Mia

Linking with Lisa-Jo at FMF where Grateful is the guest of honor and the ladies at my Tea Time and Link-Up page.

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The Last Dance

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Today, when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled (Hebrews 3:15 , NLT).

Introduction

imageToday I have the honor of introducing a dear friend, Rachel Haas. My heart sings to the same tune as hers.

Rachel is the most talented writer I have met in a long time and I wish my introduction could have been accompanied by a drum roll.

Rachel’s blog is the only one my husband follows faithfully. Thank you, Rachel for trusting me with your words and all your patience. You are a special lady.

To visit her, just click on her photo. Over to you, Rachel …

My Bleeding Heart

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I grew up in the right places. I grew up a good Christian girl, the right kind of person with the right kind of friends.

I had a WWJD bracelet and I knew every step to the dance of Christianity.

I was one of “those people,” the kind that got saved before she started kindergarten, who never drank or smoke or partied.

I was a good girl.

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That is, until I started asking questions.

I had no idea what lay on the other side of that door. None. I had never dared even peek outside. They said there was fire and brimstone on the other side.

There were questions there, the kind that belied faith and stripped away the supposed surety I had in the parroted Christianity that I had been embracing since my four-year old lips had formed the Sinner’s Prayer.

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They didn’t realize that I was already asking questions.

They expected me to walk on water.

They placed emulating their picture of Jesus on a pedestal, gesturing grandly in the direction of their Jesus-shaped golden calf.

I had two choices: bow down and embrace the floor, where I belonged or turn around and walk out the door.

And so I stood up, dropped the facade, took my husband’s hand, and together we walked out the door.

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That was step one. It would be another two years before I even considered taking another step. That first motion of foot in front of foot had been frightening enough.

I had thoughts, a whirlwind of questions that churned inside me, but I had no idea what to do with them. So I wrote them down.

Privately, of course, never even dreaming of voicing them where anyone else might happen to catch a glimpse of my tumult. I mentioned it to this friend, or that, and the responses were always the same: be careful. You know better.

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And maybe I did know better. But that wasn’t exactly going to stop me.

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I stopped seeing the sanitized Jesus after that. I’m not sure when it happened, but something had started to break inside me.

There was a damn with water churning and frothing behind it, waiting for the moment when I would pull out my finger and let the levy break.

I had to drown.

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And I had to be the one who said yes.

I went under the water, hair tangled and mud on my feet. I came up drenched and messy. I found myself blinking in a new Light. I discovered a new kind of faith, almost the opposite of what I had been taught growing up.

There was nothing tidy about this Jesus. He was dirty and bloody and human, Word made flesh. I started seeing myself in a new way.

Yes, I have walked away from the name “Christian.” I can’t stomach the taste in my mouth right now. But that’s all it is: a name. Jesus is not defined by the name His children are called by others.

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I am the boy Shasta whispering in the darkness to the Thing unseen, “who are You?”

And the gentle roaring comes back, a whisper on the breeze, a sacred breathing on my face.

“Myself.”

Rachel

P.S. Thank you so much, dear Rachel, for allowing us to accompany you for a while on your walk with Jesus.

Thank you to everyone who supported and encouraged me this year and I wish you all a great New Year filled chok-a-blog with Jesus. Thanks for blessing me with  the honor of having you as guests at my blog. You are all so precious and loved.

Sweet blessings xx

Mia

Linking-up with the ladies at my Tea Time and Link-Up page.

The Faceless Ones

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God’s Thought’s to Me

“For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy, he has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.” (Ps. 22;24, NLT)

“I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.” (Mat.25:43(b), NLT)

Introduction

imageToday I am so honored to introduce my friend, Joy Lenton. She is a very special lady who suffers from ME/CFS and arthritis.

Joy is a mother and wife to her husband, Phil. She used to work as a nurse before becoming chronically ill.

Joy and her husband live in Norfolk, United Kingdom. To visit her blog, just click on her picture. Thank you, dear friend, for blessing me by being a guest at my place. Over to you.

The Girl with Light in Her Eyes

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Sadly those who are too sick to work have to contend with issues of shame. In a society where we are “framed, boxed, categorised, sifted, found wanting in society’s eyes” as I wrote about in the poem here, we experience deep frustration at being pigeon-holed and stigmatized.

It all impacts our lives adversely, affecting our relationships and connections with others.

On the rare occasions when I am alone downstairs in the house and have to answer the door during a late morning/afternoon/evening period in my night-clothes, wearing  bed-head hair, a dazed, sleepy expression and a veneer of embarrassment, …

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…I either say nothing (for such a state is normal to those who know me) or mumble something like, “Please excuse me, I’m unwell today” to those I don’t.

Then I hasten to close the door as fast as possible to avoid curious stares from neighbours or passers-by who may wonder what they are seeing.

I just want them to understand I am sick rather than lazy. Does it always take a stick or wheelchair to convince people we are ill?

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As someone who used to be thought of as attractive, took a fair amount of time and trouble over her appearance, sought out clothes to enhance and suit my figure, it is a far cry from those days to be where I am now .

I am almost permanently pyjama-clad due to the time I spend resting in bed or too exhausted to make the effort required to get up and dressed,  and I’m far too weary to let it worry me as it would have done before.

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I have a body that doesn’t walk like it should, lists and comes to a halt after a very short distance, is riddled with and swollen-jointed by arthritis, sinks wearily under M.E fatigue.

I have a face marked by the effects of over 20 years of chronic illness, exhaustion, pain, medication-taking, as well as the natural ageing process. I feel ashamed of my appearance at times. It doesn’t reflect how I feel on the inside.

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Though I’m far busier these days trying to work on the inner beauty that endures and cannot be taken away. To feel ashamed just for being ill is an additional burden we don’t need. And, yes, there are other areas of shame that have a great impact on relationships.

One of those is having experienced childhood sexual abuse. To have precious innocence taken and adult things pressed on a mind and body too young to understand them is a horrible thing indeed.

Those of us who have experienced it feel that we not only carry a huge scarlet letter ‘S’ for shame hanging around our necks, but have it imprinted on our very souls.

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Many who carry this shame stigma also carry a burden of emotional trauma, often leading to mental and physical illness, whereby the acid accumulation seems to leach into our very frame causing deep emotional/physical pain and disorder.

It can take a great deal of time, wrestling, prayer, struggle, pain, counseling, and much Holy Spirit input and help to work through the devastating legacy it leaves us with.

Full emotional healing cannot be rushed. So why share these things? Aren’t they meant to be private? Well, yes, and no.

The minutiae of how people deal with these issues is something for them to work out individually and together as a couple. But the sadness and frustration they cause is something to make known if it will help even one other person to feel less isolated and alone.

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Actually, it’s the hiding, shaming and embarrassment that keeps us from feeling understood or getting the support we need.

When your daily life experience lacks most of the defining vestiges of normality, it tends to reduce life to a drive to appear normal in the midst of personal chaos. And to a drive to see lives changed, with health and wholeness restored….one day.

In our image-obsessed society and culture, all of us who fail to manifest the perceived ‘norm’ ideal can be left feeling totally inadequate and shamed. Much depends on where we place our worth and value and where others do too.

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“We are “normal” in God’s eyes when we demonstrate endurance and long-suffering, when we keep looking to the unseen things. This is the normal Christian life” ~ Joni Eareckson Tada ‘Daily Devotionals’.

Let me reassure you, my friend, we are ‘normal’ right now, even when our lives and bodies may feel anything but, no matter how well or badly we function, no matter our level of disability. Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.

If, in naming and discussing these issues I can bring a greater degree of clarity, understanding, empathy or practical solution-finding to the mix then it will have been worthwhile.

We need to speak out. To air our concerns. To make invisible illness visible. To open up a forum for discussion so that others who suffer like-wise (and those who may follow after) will be assisted to live as fully and freely as God intended.

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For God the Father is not ashamed to call us His children who are restored, whole, beloved, precious and beautiful in His sight as He looks at us through the lens of Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

Writing Stories

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God’s Thoughts to Me

See, I have written your name on the palms of my Hands (Isaiah 49:16, NLT).

He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love He will calm your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs (Zephaniah 3:17b, NLT).

Love Letters In Sandy Soil

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Long, long ago, before the birth of time, You were the Author of Creation when the intensity of Your Love exploded into the story of man.

Breathless with desire, you created a crown for your glory … the ones to enjoy your love forever … the ones who refused the fruit of your Passion.

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Yet, still, you write love stories at the break of each day with the rays of sunlight to woo your lost ones home. You splash your words with the colorful mercies in the promises of rainbows.

You caress us with beautiful birdsong and the fragrance of your compassion is captured in the petals of delicate flowers.

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You heal the bended reeds with the fresh early morning dew drops of your grace.

Every faintly flickering firefly shines brightly with new life and the glory of your gladness after you have touched them with the brilliance of your smile.

You are the Author of a the love letter once written in the quicksand of the world when I was naked and soiled in the eyes of the monster called Self-Righteousness.

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You bent down to where I was lying in the dirty soil of despair, petrified and shivering with fear as rocks and stones of cruel words were killing me slowly.

Your gentle heart touched my fragility and filth and transformed my sin soiled rags into the beautiful gown of Your Righteousness. You crowned me with the crown of your glory.

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You gathered me into your Embrace and wrote a new song in the dusty soil of my brokenness … a special song where I am yours … the most beautiful of all … a song where you are my Beloved.

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

Linking -up with Lisa-Jo and the ladies at my Tea Time and Link-Up page

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The Socialite

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God’s Thoughts to Me

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it (Matthew 7:13-14, NLT).

The Broad and The Narrow

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Bright ideas and fibrofog are not bedfellows; so, down memory lane I went to find some common ground between my thoughts for today’s post and an exciting introduction.

When I asked Pappa to help me, He gently reminded me of an instance when I, as a young teenager, went on a school scouting camp. I vividly remember this one guy having everyone in stitches with the lamest of jokes.

I was merrily joining in the laughter whilst being dumbfounded that anyone could actually think such stupid jokes to be funny. And just there I found the reason for so much of humanity’s woes; our god given need to belong; to be accepted.

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It is this sensitive need satan uses to deceive and lead so many people happily along the broad road. I am not talking about the broad road where you find the company of thieves, drunkards, murderers, addicts, prostitutes and the like.

Our Lord didn’t seem to have much trouble with these folk. In fact, He was called a drunkard and glutton Himself (Matthew 11:19) and He called Himself a jail-bird (Matthew 25:36). I am talking about the broad road called religion with its wide gate welcoming countless souls into destruction.

I once was a cheerleader along this road until our Lord kindly blessed me with a disability that robbed me of my pom-poms and all my cheerleading skills.

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Truth be told, I was a religious socialite, always dressing myself in all the latest to-do fashion doing the religious rounds. But, no matter how much I flirted, I was always empty; devoid of life, true Life!

But where the great “I AM” is, you will never find a void, or an emptiness or need to belong that He does not fill with His wonderful love … actually with His Heavenly Wonderous Self. He dresses His bride in His white washed Robes of Righteousness.

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He patiently started to “home school” me, teaching me at a pace that suited my fibrofog, how I totally sidestepped the wonder and truth of His Gospel.

He taught me the difference between the broad road of darkness and the narrow road bathed in the Light of Jesus … the road called Jesus … the road called Life.

He taught me the complete dichotomy between these two roads. The way of Jesus’ Kingdom is uniquely radical and singular and is not easily passable.

In fact, it is impossible without faith, true faith; the kind of faith that we can only receive as a gift from Pappa’s Hand. Only this gift enables us to walk this tippy-toe road!

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This gift of faith makes our hearts receptive to God’s grace, moment by moment and enables us to walk the narrow road that is not popular or pleasing to the masses.

We often need to walk this road alone seeking only our Pappa’s approval. But life lived in our dearest Lord Jesus is the summation of God’s Kingdom.

Not many religious people are willing to submit themselves to God and Him ALONE in receptivity to enter through the narrow door and walk on the narrow path.

This is the life lived at the end of our tether, denying all our own efforts to be saved, allowing our Lord Jesus to live His life in and through us.

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It is much easier to get lost in the letter of the law, a doctrine, a creed, a rule, a sacrament or whatever gives us a sense of security even though it is false. It is much easier to enter through the beautiful, broad religious gate.

It is a popular road; convenient and socially acceptable and allows a wide scope for freedom of ecumenical tolerance.

It is widened even further by the many ruts and ditches of methodology (especially the “how-to-do-this-that-and-the-other-for-God” kind) and experimentalism. The better it feels, the better it is! The more important it sounds, the more important it is!

Solomon wisely knew from experience, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). We all have to choose which road we will travel; the one leading to spiritual death or life.

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Let us cry out to our beloved Lord with King David in Psalm 139 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

During the week I link-up with the friendly ladies at my Tea Time and Link-Up page. Thanks for your hospitality.

The Shepherd from Heaven

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God’s Thoughts to Me

He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry His lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young (Isaiah 40:11, NLT).

He Feeds Us

Today is the beginning of the International Fibromyalgia/ME Awareness Week. Although research is only in its infancy, we look forward to progress and perhaps a breakthrough in the near future.

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Due to unbelief, many if not most sufferers, received very bad and hostile treatment from the medical profession.

But at least we are finally beginning to be acknowledged as human beings with a real and quite disabling disease.

Isaiah 40:11 reminds us so wonderfully of how well the good Shepherd from heaven takes care of mothers and their children.

He cares for the broken ones, the weak, the sick, the unimportant, the unwanted and the rejected of this world. They only need to come to Him.

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When my son, Simon, was in Grade 11, we had to buy text books for Grade 12 when the Grade 12 pupils were selling their old books second-hand at a much lower price than new books.

I recall the week when we had to pay about R600 (around $67) for two text books as well as payment for the initiation camp for the following year’s Grade 12 learners.

It was in the middle of the month and we were stone, cold broke with only a few pennies we had to rub together in any case. Yet, I knew I had a Pappa who promised to take care of all our needs.

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The morning the payment was due, we still had not received our Lord’s provision, but I assured my children that the money would be paid before the end of the day.

When they left for school, I had a serious talk with my God, reminding Him that today is D-day and we still were empty-handed (or rather empty pocketed).

He told me to go to the ATM, and of course I stubbornly had to argue a bit, for the previous day when I checked, I was taunted by a big, round zero. Oh, those trust issues!!!!

At the word of our Lord, in the famous Peter style with the fishing nets, reluctantly, off to the ATM I went.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found that double the amount we needed was paid back to us from the Receiver of Revenue. We were overjoyed and my children’s faith grew with leaps and bounds.

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One would think that I was now cured of my stubbornness. Oh no, not this one. As a Fm/CFS sufferer, I had my fair share of unbelief, rejection and neglect from doctors, church people and also family and friends.

To such an extent that I landed up in the proverbial pig pen; not because of my foolishness, but because I had no one to care for me when I couldn’t take care of myself. Nobody believed that I was really ill.

But I was never alone. I could hear my Pappa screaming in my pain and suffering. Faithfully He was working in His normal mysterious ways to perform His wonders in my life.

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The shepherds of ancient times would break the legs of the lambs that constantly wandered away.

Then he would set the leg and carry the lamb on his shoulder until the leg was healed. After that the lamb would remain by the shepherd’s side for the rest of its life.

Pappa knew of my stubborn propensities to be a master performer to earn everyone’s love and approval.

With my religious mindset, I just could not believe that I already was loved and accepted by our God.

Because of His amazing love, He did what the shepherds did with their stubborn, wandering lambs. Allowing Fm/ME in my life, He “broke” my legs.

With such tender care and love, He gently set it as well and carried me around His neck until I was healed of my stubbornness and insecurities.

I have learned how good it is when my Beloved Shepherd Himself feeds me with the milk of His love… His grace … His life and compassion.

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Fm/CFS has taught me how to always walk with our Lord and never ever to leave His side again.

Even though we suffer greatly at times, I am so grateful for the wonder and joy of walking daily with our God … for the privilege of living in His Loving Embrace.

Love and sweet blessings

Mia

We all have experienced how our Lord has provided in miraculous ways. Please, share His goodness with us!
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