Which Memories Shall Last?

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The dishes sat everywhere piled up waiting to be cleaned. The sink was filled with a mucky water that made me cringe every time I passed. Yes, on this most important first-day of a new ministry, my drains decided to completely clog. On a day where I needed everything to go according to plan neatly, I had stink water in my sink.

As I tried to calm my nerves and continue planning for my evening’s youth event and not worry about what it would take to get my kitchen back to working order again, the telephone rang. Something inside me told me not to answer, but I did. There was a voice that I recognized; there were more problems to be solved. The tension inside me grew.

Did not the world know how important tonight was for me? Didn’t it know that my nerves were already shot after days of anticipation and building fears? Well, maybe the world did not know and was not actually conspiring against me, but the Devil knew–and he was at his conspiring best.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
John 10:10a

Fast forward to the evenings festivities.  The night began perfectly. The girl’s ooooh’d and awwwww’d at the beautifully decorated room. My joy rose inside as their faces lit up. I had every moment of my time with them allotted for–every second was precious, and needed, to be able to explain to them a little about me, a little about friendships, a little about prayer.  There would be a little time to chat, a little time to share, a little time to explain, a little time to play our game, and it all hinged on everything going to plan. Well, it didn’t. It all began to crumble when the speaker went over his time, and precious minutes slipped away. I felt rushed which led to anxiety rising up in me.

Able to cover up my anxiousness (I hope), I pressed on. The girls seemed happy as I moved on with the evening, but then ‘the look’ came. One girl rolled her eyes at another girl. “Oh no!” Tapping into every fear I had about teaching this age group, my thoughts became distracted. “Did they all feel like that?” Were the thoughts that one girl conveyed to another the thoughts of the many? Sweat beads formed as I tried to press on, but my already fragile confidence was teetering on the brink. Somehow, though, I made it through. The night ended, and I found myself where I longed to be–my bed.

Robbed. Stolen from. Destroyed. The devil’s plans were in full-swing. I could actually picture him in the corner of my bedroom wringing his hands in total amusement as I laid there in the dark going over every detail of an insane day that I was glad to see come to an end. Yes, the self-flogging had begun as scheduled.

But wait! There is another part to that verse…..

I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full.

John 10:10b

“Hey, Devil, sitting in the corner of my mind taunting me with my failures, YOU need to flee!” As I sat in the wee hours of another night of not sleeping, I considered exactly what the devil was attempting to do. It was like a dark cloud hung over many parts of my day. Joy-robber! Peace-stealer! But, when I remembered the second part of the verse, illumination came in the way of Jesus Christ! He shined Himself into the memories of my day. There, I saw me tackling life’s issues and NOT fainting under the pressure of dirty dishes or people’s attitudes. It was within His bright light that I saw the smiles that were brought to these girl’s faces. It was there that I could still hear the giggles and laughter even hours later. It was there that I heard the two mom’s that stayed and watched tell me what a great job I did (even though it was not perfect–no, not by a long shot).

What shall we then say to these things?
If God be for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

There are many little snippets of yesterday that, if dwelled upon, could easily rob me of my joy. But, God put me in this position, warts and all.  I decided to block out the mistakes (maybe hold on to them enough in my journal to learn from them), and to press on. In two weeks, I will do it all over again. If the devil had his way, and I concentrated on the negative, it would be a dreadful two weeks (over and over). God promises that He will help me, though. His plan for me is to not be troubled or afraid. No! He wants my trust. He wants me leaning on Him along the way. He wants my joy to be in abundance in my obedience.  And so, it shall (warts and all).

I want to send much love and thanks to you all for being there for me. Your encouragement and kind words meant more to me than I can put into words. I am greatly blessed to call each of you friend.  Thank you……..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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What happens when the fearful finally listen? Peace.

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Today is the day about which I prayed many times over. This is the day that God began speaking to me about two years ago; I became quite gifted at ignoring that part of the still, small voice within for a long time. When it became clear that I was not listening and going my own way with blogs and other life matters, God spoke louder through my health. Sometimes, God puts you on your back so the only place you can look is up.

My blog was successful, I was helping people and making friends. I felt useful to the ones that would come to me for advice and prayer. But, there was another ministry He was calling me to–a ministry that terrified me. I have always dreamed of speaking about the Lord to people, but I, like Moses, felt slow of speech. Tongue-tied at every turn, I was sure He did not REALLY want me to take on a ministry of speaking in front of real people (no offense–in reality I know you are all quite real, but you are not staring back at me as I speak this to you).

Today, I will stand in front of real people and speak. It is the beginning of a ministry that, in all honesty, scares the bejeebers out of me. This evening, our youth will be entrusted to me to share with them, care for them, minister to them, and teach them in the ways of our Lord. I am now a youth leader, and I sit here typing to you scared but holding on to His promises

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  ~Jeremiah 29:11

As this day approached (it has been approaching for a couple of months now since I said yes), one quote kept me from running away or continuing to hide from His voice.  It was simply, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!”  I do believe that He has called this very unqualified soul, and I believe that through His strength, I will become what is needed for these precious children.

Fear does keep creeping in, though. Satan does try to have his way as the anxiety begins to heighten as the day grows closer. Last night, plagued with nightmares about this evening, I gave up on the idea of sleep and prayed through His promises

“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

He is with me no matter what my emotions are: up, down, scared, anxious–He will not leave me

“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”  – Isaiah 41:13

This evening, as I walk into that room to begin what He started, He will be holding my hand. He tells me not to fear anyone or anything except:

“Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.”  – Psalm 34:9

God has asked this of me. No matter how much I believe that I cannot do it and someone else would be better suited for the job, if I trust God more than I fear the world, I show Him the honor and love He deserves.  By doing so, I will lack nothing. I will not lack the necessary tools and skills to bless these children the way He intends to.  Now that’s a promise worth holding onto!

Thank you for listening. Thank you for your patience with me as I get back to blogging and life in general. I would love to say that with my decision my health has been restored. I still have pains in the joints of my hands that make typing (and opening things) quite difficult at times.  But, God has blessed me with a new lifestyle of eating and exercise that I am in love with.  I know He will carry me through the rest of the way as I am obedient to Him.

With much love sent to you…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Too Many Ducks in Too Many Rows!!

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Yesterday, our church met with our sister churches in a big meeting to celebrate together. It was a huge meeting with lots of people. When we got there, we sat towards the back as there were not many seats left to be had in the huge auditorium. The music was playing; it was loud and got your blood pumping as you could feel the beat through your feet. But, I felt off. I do not like large crowds. As many of you may know, I suffer from a bit social anxiety disorder. Meetings like this make me nervous because there are so many different people–most of whom I do not know. I arrive and I try and find people I know to feel safe. My heart races and claustrophobia sets in as the very large room begins to feel quite small.

Once settled in our seats, the feelings were ever present as I knew they would be. So, I prayed for the Lord to calm me and make me feel less anxious. The upbeat (a/k/a too loud and fast) music quieted after a time and the pastor walked out onto the stage. It was not my pastor but another from one of the other congregations. Something more unfamiliar to make this morning different again. It all felt different, but I prayed. “Help me feel like I fit in, Lord. Please help me relax among these strangers surrounding me. I need a word, a safety net.”

From the altar, he greeted us. Normal announcements were made as he began to speak. I do not remember them because I was looking around trying to absorb the scene and feel comfortable. As I tried to settle in and enjoy the quiet that was coming over the room, that is when it got worse. Pastor, in a grand ice-breaker, asked us at the count of three to shout out the name of the church we each came from. A loud roar of voices washed over the church. You could not understand one person, it was a jumbled mess of noise. Then, he asked us, at the count of three once more, to shout out our favorite sports team. Once again, inaudible and loud voices rang out. Then again he asked, “What is your favorite color at the count of three?” The only man I heard was a very tall man whose voice boomed over the crowed as he shouted, “Yellow!” (which made me giggle), but the rest, I could not tell you who liked what and was thankful there would not be a quiz at the end. The room of different people seemed so strange to me. So many people from so many different places liking different things all under this one roof now loud, shouting and laughing.

Now, so as not to seem a liar, please know that I do not remember the exact words that came next, but either way, you will understand my point. How I wish I did remember them exactly, but I became too swept up with emotion to remember. It went something like this, “Now, Who have we gathered to worship? In Whose Holy name are we here?” All at once, and in one accord, the precious name of Jesus flowed from our lips. From the tall man, from the little giggling girls, from the proper women, from those in t-shirts and jeans, from the old, from the young……”Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”. To my ears, it sounded like a mighty wind blowing or a strong river flowing. There was power and might in the sound, but above all else, it was recognizable as we all came into agreement. Each syllable–there was no mistaking it. All these different people with different tastes from different places were here to worship the same One! And, in that instant, we were all family. Connected. And I felt safe. Miraculous. He had given me a word, a safety net. His very name was all that was needed.

I believe I got a glimpse of heaven yesterday in that moment. Sometimes, when I think about heaven and all the people that will be there, I do get nervous because of this personality I have been given to contend with here on earth. As I bring my earthly fears into the equation of so many different people all together when the new earth comes, I get a tad anxious. Yesterday, that peek into the future blessed me. Yes, believers from every corner of the world will gather, but in one sweet accord, we will worship the One who gathered us together. Differences will fall away, as will fears. During the rest of the meeting, singing with these people felt safe and good and right. The cold auditorium that I had walked into now felt warm. And isn’t that how it is whenever you allow God to enter in. When I first got there, it was all about me and how these differences were affecting me. But, at the name of Jesus being spoken and His Holy presence being allowed to enter into me, everything else fell away. Oh, how blessed we are when we invite Him in. How blessed at just the sound of His name.

Thank you for allowing me to share my special Sunday with you. It is my prayer that we may each have His precious name on our lips as we step into Monday. Just the whisper of the name Jesus changes things, and every prayer is answered as was mine that day. It reminds me of this song:

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
There’s just something about that name
Master, Savior, Jesus
Like the fragrance after the rain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
There’s just something about that name
Master, Savior, Jesus
Like the fragrance after the rain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Let all heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away
But there’s just something about that name

~William J. Gaither (Bill Gaither)

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Wordless Wednesday: None of My Words About Where Comfort is Found…..

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“To be comforted by God is a promise that few of us ever receive, because we are consumed with controlling our situations to avoid being vulnerable.”
 ~ E’yen A. Gardner

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“God’s strength makes us strong; His comfort comforts us.
With Him, we no longer run; we rest.”
 ~Dillon Burroughs

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“God be prais’d, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.”
~William Shakespeare

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“No affliction nor temptation, no guilt nor power of sin, no wounded spirit nor terrified conscience, should induce us to despair of help and comfort from God.”
~Thomas Scott

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“Whatever affliction comes into our life, our Lord goes into the valley with us, leading us by the hand, even carrying us when it is necessary.”
~Billy Graham

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“The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.”
Psalm 9:9

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Thank you for your patience as I catch up on your blogs.

Much love sent to you all….

ღ Skye ღ

Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Excuses, excuses, excuses…..

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It is a cloudy, dreary, cold day as I sit at the breakfast table. I feel lonely inside, a bit sad, too, and I am attending a pity party with one place setting set just for me . There are two lovely birds chattering away to each other outside my window, and I am without excuse.

The store was crowded; the cashier was rude. A complaining, angry spirit was brewing. On a ride home that seemed to last forever, the rain poured down. Someone cut me off whilst texting on their phone. Words that do not belong in my mind flew around my head; I uttered a couple out loud.  A rainbow in the distance signifying the end of the storm graced the sky before me, and I am without excuse.

It always amazes me (and shames me, too), how circumstances can draw me away from the beautiful feeling I have in the morning during my daily devotions.  As I read my Bible, my devotions, Levi’s daily 5 a.m. message, and pray, I am filled with a sense of peace and of awe. But too quickly, when not surrounded by actual scripture, I drift over into another camp. A camp I do not belong in.  A camp of discontent and grumbly noises.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

God’s is everywhere. In every flower, tree, blue or gray sky, every tweet, every roar, therein lies His handiwork. So often, I can be brought back to Him when I take a moment to view my surroundings in the midst of my mood. God does not stop speaking to me just because I am not reading His word throughout the day; Creation itself is preaching His word to me every moment. That should be enough for I am without excuse to remain in my mood when I hear my bullfrog croaking, rooster crowing or see my Sedum changing color to signify the coming of fall.

But, what about people. You know, the people that we have to share this world with? The outwardly irritated ones, the ones that show no courtesy, the ones that rob your joy on a daily basis?  Again!  I am without excuse to deny the Father and walk off the path of peace because of them.  Just one look at the cranky cashier’s wrinkled hands that may ache with arthritis, the reckless teenager who just cut me off who needs prayer while he risks his life and others around him as he texts, the surly garage attendant whose eyes speak of the pain of losing his wife but whose gruff attitude hides the fact that he needs an extra smile and kindness.

Yes, without excuse are we to ignore the invisible attributes and divine nature we find in all of creation–people, included.  Nature is easy; people are harder sometimes to find Him in. I am without excuse to allow people and the way they treat me to let my countenance fall.  It is my prayer that my spirit is made more quick to not be affected by the temporal things surrounding me but truly touched by the spiritual connection that can be found in all things He has created.  I want to remember that I am without excuse every day and in every situation.

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Sunday Poetry: In Loving Sacrifice

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The sacrifice of love You gave
Has washed me white as snow.
The blood You shed, was shed for me;
Of this, I surely know.

So take my life, my offering;
I lay it at Your feet.
My wants and selfish attitudes,
Your love helps to defeat.

Forever changed by the grace
Shown to this sinning soul;
I rise and sing a song of praise
Of how You made me whole.

The sacrifice of love I’ll give~
To reach out and to care;
To show the very kindness
That You want me to share.

So willingly, I serve you, Lord,
To touch another’s life
Your life laid down and now my own
In loving sacrifice.

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Photography and Poetry:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Wordless Wednesday: None of My Words About……Family.

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A man travels the world over in search of what he needs,
and returns home to find it.
~George Moore

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Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible — the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.
~Virginia Satir

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“A sentence from Psalm 101 has been both challenging and convicting for me: ‘I will walk in my house with blameless heart’ (Psalm 101-2, NIV). When God speaks to me about being more loving, this verse reminds me to make application in my family first—and then to others. It forces me to ask, ‘Am I more spiritual, more loving, or more fun somewhere else? Who gets my best—my family or others?'”
~Jean Fleming

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Families ties are cherished things, forged in childhood days,
by love of parents, deep and true, and sweet familiar ways.
– Terri Burritt

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A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
— John Bowring

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“The same Jesus Who turned water into wine can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future. He is still in the miracle-working business, and His business is the business of transformation.”
~ Adrian Rogers

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Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Sunday Poetry: Healing From Above

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The day is ripe with sun-laid gold
And blessings near yet to unfold.
From God above who feels my pain
And delivers hope, once again.

Amidst the thorn-bush, He does bless
With roses, sweet, in which it’s dressed.
In skies of blue, and meadows green,
His love and mercy can be seen.

Forsaken not, I feel Him near
In morning dew, mixed with my tears.
For here I stand, in weakened frame,
Wrapped in dawn’s warmth, I’m not the same.

With heart so true and full of love,
He sends blessed healing from above.

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Have a blessed Sunday, Dear Friends

ღ Skye ღ

Photography & Poetry:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Just Don’t Throw a Fish at Me……..Cheesecake Will Do.

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Me–still asleep, trying to find a glimpse of motivation within as the music begins.

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Me–Yelling at the computer that it really is entirely too early.

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Me–Giving it my all…like a trained seal…waiting for the end and my reward.

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There is a voice I hear that gets me moving–a voice that, as soon as I hear it, makes my ears perk up and my feet move into action. The owner of that voice is a woman on youtube.com that tells me to, “Pick up the pace. Lift my legs higher. Reach taller. March faster.”  I have watched her so many times that I have become like a trained seal. I follow along knowing each step and wait for my reward at the end as, in a calming voice, she tells me to, “Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax. You did it!”

The women I am referring to is my on-line walk instructor–a perky woman about my age and height that I thoroughly enjoy and who is helping me to regain my strength and get back in shape. I hate exercising for the most part, especially since the pain within my body has grown worse, but I hear her voice, and I dutifully move into action. There are many other workout experts on-line to choose from, but she is the only one that my exercise-hating body will get off the couch for and follow.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:21

During my lifetime, I have been guilty of following many people’s voices. Prior to coming to know the Lord, it was a daily occurrence; after coming to know the Lord, His voice was all I wanted to hear, but the clamoring for my attention still raged on from many other sources.  It took a long time to be able to hone my listening skills, and I am quite sure I miss His voice or drown it out regularly still. The voices in my head (no I am not crazy) never really quieted–fear and self-doubt talk still abound daily and can drown out any positive affirmations I try to ponder, but through taking the time to listen for that still, small voice that sounds more pleasing than any other, I can find His way and walk in it. It takes patience; it takes practice, and it takes a willingness to slow down and listen.

But you will not leave in haste
    or go in flight;
for the Lord will go before you,
    the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 52:12

I tend to get ahead of myself when things are offered to me that seem appealing, or I tend to run and hide when things seem impossible that are asked of me. The problem with either response is that I am focusing on “me”, my desire or my fear is driving me and either getting me off the couch too quickly or keeping me tied to it. When I listen to the wrong voices in my mind, I inevitably make the wrong choices. So, I am teaching myself to slow down and listen. Through Scripture readings, prayer, Godly friends, nature, and just about anything, really, I hear His voice speaking if I just listen. It is  a matter of realizing that He goes before me and hems me in from behind, but I must not act in haste. I must listen for the voice I long to follow.

 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

Isaiah 30:21 says that God will show us the way in which to walk. Jesus, my precious Lord and Savior is the only way–the truth and the life. Knowing intimately the person of Jesus Christ through spending time with Him is the only way to begin to hear that voice. Just by familiarizing yourself with Him, you begin to quicken your ears to His spirit. We all have that voice speaking to us, we just have to listen, but we need to know Him so we can recognize the voice as His. My daughter does not like my favorite exercise guru’s voice, so she is turned off by her and does not want to listen to her.   It will always be my prayer that my children, family and friends are never turned off by Jesus’ precious voice–the one leading each one of us off the couch and into the wonderful adventure called life He has prepared for each of us.

Begin each day spending time getting to know Him; reap the rewards of listening to Him and not the voices of the day because you recognize what He sounds like. Nothing in this world will ever be more important or sound as sweet than hearing what He is trying to say to you.

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Conversations

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Over the last few years, my life has changed in many different ways. Major losses and changes in my life, coupled with health issues that are demanding much of my attention, have left me asking God many questions:  “Why did/do You let this happen?” “Why are You allowing this to touch my life?”

“Why?”

Through many long conversations with God, I used this summer to re-evaluate my relationship with Him. Growing more and more quiet with my blog and even the friends around me, I have taken the time to ask the big questions of God and search for answers. Turns out His answer to all my “Why’s” is a loud “Why not?”  In His answer, He showed me how “me-centered” my questions have always been. My “Why’s” have always taken my eyes off Jesus and put them solely on me. In doing so, I could only see my current problem or issue not the prize of Jesus Christ throughout each woe.

As I spent more and more time with the Lord over the last few months, opportunities were beginning to present themselves. My questions were turning from “Why’s?” to “How’s?”:  “How can I possibly teach children when my body hurts so much?”  “How can I become a ministry leader in my church when I am so hopelessly imperfect?” “How will I not fail?” “How do I not see what You or others seem to see in me?”

“How?”

Once again, my questions were the wrong ones. Totally focused on me, this time on my own power to perform, strength to carry out, and ability to understand, I was not factoring in the strength and power of my Lord and Savior to bring about in me all that He has called me to do. In my never ending “How?” questions, I was forgetting that the answer was Him all along once again.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 3:13-14

Exhausted, at the end of my rope, and sick of trying to figure it all out,  I have changed my question. My new question is “What?”: “What do you have for me, despite the pain in my body, what do you want me to do?”  “What do you want me to learn from what is happening now?” “What can I do to glorify You through this experience.” “What’s next, Dear Lord?”

“What?”

My “What?” question takes my eyes off of me and puts them squarely back on Him. No matter what I face, if I turn it back to the Lord and simply ask Him, “What now?”, I can take that next breath as I search for what He holds for me in the next moment. I do not remain stuck in regret, fear, and anguish; I move ahead towards the prize.

I have realized that, because I am a child of God and I call Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, at the moment of my death, I will be with Him. It is then and there that my “Why’s” will be answered. It is there that all things will be made clear.  In the here and now, my question of Him will only be, “What now, Lord?”

Pain and suffering in this life is so hard to look beyond sometimes, but if we can keep the reward of eternal life in our sight at all times, our questions will always be the right ones. Truly, the only “Why me?” question that should be on our lips is when we realize our absolute unworthiness to be saved at all and that in our unworthiness, Christ died for us.

Again, I thank you for your patience with me. I am humbled that any of you read me at all since I have been so absent. Your friendship, readership and thoughts are a blessing to me that I cherish.

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

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Photography & Devotional:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Wordless Wednesday: None of My Words (but many of my feelings and experiences) About and With Depression

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“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”

― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”

― Laurell K. Hamilton

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“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”

― C.S. Lewis

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“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”

― Stephen Fry

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“Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.”

― Andrew Solomon

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 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.

 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.

 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

~Psalm 40:1-3

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Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Please say it isn’t so…..

Rub the lamp....make a wish

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I could not hide the tears. I tried to, but what I just read was too much. As I blurted out, “No, it cannot be! Please say it isn’t so!” the words hung in the air. An explanation was needed–one of our favorite actors had done the unthinkable; yes, Robin Williams (a/k/a The Blue Genie in Aladdin or Theodore Roosevelt or countless other roles) has passed away. What makes it all the harder was it was by his own hand.

How I wish I could protect my little ones forever from the harsh realities of life. As my littlest looked at me with her big eyes and asked, “What is suicide?” my heart broke inside. In all honesty, I do not want my children to even know that suicide is a possibility; it is so unthinkable. But, a teachable moment was presented to my family, and through tears, I walked through the door with them.

Trying to explain to happy children that someone could feel so alone, ashamed, or desperate, that they see the only way out as taking their own life is a hard thing to do. I explained to them that, “God loves each one of you very much, but sometimes things in life get so difficult that it may be hard to feel that love. That is when we have to hang on even tighter–when we do not feel it.  For it is in those times that the devil, who would love nothing more than to get you to the point of thinking death would be better than the life you are living, will try to gain a foothold. Thoughts of suicide are from the pit. God, the giver of your life, wants you to live it and live it to the fullest; and when things get bad, He wants you to hold on to the Truth–the Truth is the only thing that can drown out the voice in your head–that lie from the pit that death is an option. Dear Mr. Williams listened to the wrong voice and believed the lie. Satan is rejoicing this evening as God and His angels weep.”

We remembered him afterwards–for the many times his voice made us laugh or the times his character made us think. I especially remembered a commercial he was in recently for the iPad Air. You can click the link to listen. Every time the commercial came on, my children knew they needed to be quiet because mom would listen and tear up. His words haunt now as I listened this evening.

I am sure I do not have to say this, but I will anyway.  Please keep his family and many friends in prayer. I cannot imagine what they are going though. My prayer, too, would be that parents everywhere will take this opportunity to sit with their children to let them know that Satan is out there prowling and waiting to feed them his lie–that life, when it gets too hard, is not worth living….that there is a way out. No!!! God is always our way out! No matter how bad things get! Trust me–I know! Yes, my prayer is that we speak it boldly to them so that they can draw on those words in their darkest hours should they come. For friends or family who seem to be sinking deeper and deeper, I pray we have that same boldness before a call comes that it is too late. Depression, hopelessness is curable–God is the cure.

Robin….Dear Robin….I thank you for the many hours of laughter and sheer enjoyment you gave me personally as I watched your amazing talent. I will never forget you, and you will forever remain one of my favorites. I pray that you are resting in our Father’s arms….safe, sound, whole and at peace. You are loved this night and always.

ღ Skye ღ

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Devotional & Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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And then the sun rose…..

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For most of my life, I felt like I was waiting for something. As a child, I was convinced that when I was a teenager and could drive, my life would be complete. When I started driving and that was not the answer to the stirring inside, I knew that when I landed my perfect job, I would be whole. Empty, I waited for the perfect man to come along, and as that still left desires churning within me, children would surely be the answer. Four children later, I felt complete in some ways, but still a desperation for more churned. My answer was yet to come.

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11

Even after becoming a Christian, I had yet to learn the full understanding of being content in the here and now and not looking to some future event or addition to my laundry list of “things needed” to be complete. How I long to instill in my children early that their seeking is in vain if they are looking in all the wrong places. What a gift it would be to live a life with that understanding early on. I find, though, in today’s world, it is a difficult lesson to teach. With everything under the sun clamoring for their attention and creating a noise that drowns out the Creator, it is a daily challenge to keep the truth of Isaiah 58:11 ever before them—and myself for that matter. I still find myself waking in the dark of the night or stopping in my tracks in middle of my day as the old struggles crop up in my head once more.

Recently, I was baptized along with the rest of my amazing family. It was one of the most spectacular days of my life. The pain that has plagued my arms and legs seemed to disappear in the cold water as each of us made this outward sign of what is going on within our hearts. The rest of the day was filled with peace and purpose, hugs and kisses. And then Monday came. Like a lion, the day brought in all of its issues, problems, distractions, and pulling desires with a giant roar. Each one of us could feel the pull even stronger. It was as if Satan himself was so mad over our day that he determined to make his anger known.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8

Looking back on that day, I believe that I went into those waters thinking that life would be different somehow once I emerged. Surely after eighteen years of waiting to be baptized, all the hard stuff would suddenly be easier and Satan would be kept at bay. Ah, my delusional mind amazes me sometimes. In truth, it feels like life got harder immediately. I do feel like a veil was removed from my heart and mind and a new vigilance was born–a warlike feeling to fight to keep the significance and special feeling of that day alive. And it is a battle.  Daily, I fight to keep our attention towards God.

When we went under the water, we identified with Christ’s death. When we emerged, we identified ourselves with His resurrection. Even though it was one of the best days of my life, the sun did set on that special day, and the sun rose to reveal that life goes on. The struggles that are common to all man will still plague my family and me. All of us will face daily distractions and desires that will try and pull us away—things that can cause us to feel dissatisfied with the amazing gifts He has given. Guarding the joy of my salvation and baptism is key to not allowing daily life to rob my joy. Thankfulness and prayer is even more important now as the devil works even harder to create discontentment.

It is my prayer for all of us that we remember to be alert and of sober mind. Drawing from the wells of this world as Satan tries to woo us will never satisfy the soul. It is only when we draw from the living waters of Jesus Christ that we will be satisfied. Daily calling out to Him in humble thanksgiving and prayer, we can begin to know true contentment as He honors our prayers.

As always, you are daily in my prayers, Dear Friends. Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

ೋღ ♥ ೋღ

Devotional & Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Submerge…..Emerge

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ೋღ ♥ ೋღ

Hello, Dear Friends.

I have missed being here very much. It feels good to try and write to you today. Some health issues have kept me away. My body is not behaving in a way that makes it easy to concentrate, type, or write for extended periods of time. I have never appreciated the gift of pain-free living more than I do right now. Pain truly does take your mind off writing and causes you to focus on the “just getting through the necessities of the day.” With homeschooling gearing up and trying to still make this a special summer to remember for the kids, I have not had much left at the end of the day to give. All this to say, it is very good to feel well enough to be able to type something to you this morning. As healing is beginning, I hope to make a full return quickly.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38

Tomorrow will be a very special day in my family’s life. We are all being baptized! As I type those words, I am filled with joy unspeakable. I have waited for this day for a very long time, but have erred in my thinking on it for years. Finally, through my year with this blog and truly growing closer to the Lord each day, I have realized my erroneous thinking.

For years, I have waited for the “right time” to take this step. In vanity, I said no because I was either too pregnant or too heavy to even think about being submerged by a poor soul who had to try to get me back up after being submerged. Or, I was not in a good place in my spiritual walk with the Lord: not praying enough, not spending enough time with Him, not walking perfectly beside Him. Excuse after excuse, I waited and hoped for that right time to come.

“…having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”
Colossians 2:12

Well, eighteen years after asking Jesus into my heart, I have finally and happily realized that there is no such thing as a “perfect time” and that the error in my thinking has kept me from a most beautiful and obedient step of faith. You see, this is not about me reaching a certain place (or weight or health goal) or me holding a certain level of satisfaction in God’s eyes over my performance as a Christian. This is about me saying publicly, “Thank You, Dearest Jesus, for all you did on the cross for me! Thank you that I can come here today and stand in these waters and know I am imperfect but dearly loved in my imperfection! Thank you that my sins can no longer separate me from You and that nothing….NOTHING….can pluck me out of your precious hands!”  It is also me saying publicly, finally, to all the folks around me that I believe! I believe in the cross, I believe in God the Father, and I believe in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death for me!

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Galations 3:26-27

Foolish pride, health, fear, self-condemnation, kept me for far too long from this amazing day, but I do believe that God redeems and works all things out for good. Now, I get to share my joy with you! I also get to covet your prayers, if you would be so kind. Pain is a scary thing when you are talking about climbing into a pool and being submerged under water. I would love to have your prayers that any pain that surfaces tomorrow would not hinder my own experience or the joy I will feel as my family experiences their own very special day. I know that my health challenge has grown more and more as I draw closer to God–Satan seems to truly want to draw my mind into the pit with him.  Tomorrow, as I proclaim to heaven and earth that I am a follower of my Precious Lord, I want to be able to praise the Lord, too, for the day’s victory over any strongholds that Satan tried/tries to put in place to ruin this moment. I know He will be faithful to those prayers.

I want to thank each of you for sticking with me and my blog through this absence from your blogs and writing on my own during this particularly difficult season of life. Please believe me when I say it is not for lack of want. I still hold you in my prayers daily even though I am a bit behind the scenes right now. Prayer will always hold joy indescribable for me–praying for folks across the world is a gift that I cherish.

Thank you, again!!  Much love sent to you all, my Dear Friends!

ღ Skye ღ

ೋღ ♥ ೋღ

Devotional & Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

If you are in need of prayer, please click here.

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Sunday Poetry: Sweet Rose Fair

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Behold the beauty of God’s fragrant rose ~
See subtle winds brushing petals there.
Gently, in Love’s garden she grows,
Quiet as the whispered prayer.
Carefully, each hue chose,
And the perfumed air ~
In these, He shows
Love’s great care.
Sweet rose,
fair.

ೋღ ♥ ೋღ

Poetry & Photography:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Wordless Wednesday: None of My Words About…….Living

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“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
― John Wesley

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“Go forth today, by the help of God’s Spirit, vowing and declaring that in life—-come poverty, come wealth, in death—come pain or come what may, you are and ever must be the Lord’s. For this is written on your heart, ‘We love Him because He first loved us.’”
~ Charles H. Spurgeon

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“Jesus first, others next, and yourself last spells J-O-Y.”
― Linda Byler

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“Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.”
― John Piper

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“God can enter into me, even me, and use these hands, these feet, to be His love, a love that goes on and on and on forever, endless cycle of grace.”
― Ann Voskamp

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When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
~John 8:12

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Photography

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Wordless Wednesday: None of My Words About…..Summer!

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“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

― Henry James

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To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -
True Poems flee.
~Emily Dickinson

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Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.
~Ada Louise Huxtable

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I question not if thrushes sing,
If roses load the air;
Beyond my heart I need not reach
When all is summer there.
~John Vance Cheney

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I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days — three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.
~John Keats

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There is something deep within us that sobs at endings. Why, God, does everything have to end? Why does all nature grow old? Why do spring and summer have to go?
~ Joe Wheeler

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It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
    you made both summer and winter.
~Psalm 74:17

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Photography

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Sunday’s Poetry: Cracked and Broken

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There is a pain that rages strong,
A sorrow hidden in my soul.
A thin façade, worn all day long,
My masquerade to hide heart’s hole.

Behind the makeup of a clown,
A vessel cracked by life’s sorrows~
Painted smiles to hide the frowns
That return with every morrow.

But through each cracked and broken place,
One longs to shine His light and heal.
To remove the mask from my face,
Grant solace from the pain I feel.

Gently He lifts this shattered soul,
And whispers softly over me.
With words so kind, He fills me whole;
Overflowing, I can share with thee.

Just a vessel, a jar of clay,
Held together by the Potter’s love.
Cracked and broken, I’ll survive each day,
Illumined with Light from above.

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But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Poetry & Photography

Bible Verse: Biblegateway.com

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Wordless Wednesday: None of my words about…..Silence

 

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True silence is the rest of the mind;
it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body,
nourishment and refreshment. 

~William Penn

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You can hear the footsteps of God
when silence reigns in the mind. 
~Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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He who does not understand your silence
will probably not understand your words. 
~Elbert Hubbard

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We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…. We need silence to be able to touch souls.  ~Mother Teresa

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Soon silence will have passed into legend.  Man has turned his back on silence.  Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation… tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego.  His anxiety subsides.  His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.
~Jean Arp

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We listen too much to the telephone and we listen too little to nature. The wind is one of my sounds. A lonely sound, perhaps, but soothing. Everybody should have his personal sounds to listen for—sounds that will make him exhilarated and alive, or quiet and calm… As a matter of fact, one of the greatest sounds of them all—and to me it is a sound—is utter, complete silence.
~André Kostelanetz

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God’s poet is silence! His song is unspoken
And yet so profound, and so loud, and so far,
That it thrills you and fills you in measures unbroken—
The unceasing song of the first morning star….
~Joaquin Miller

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It is good that a man should both hope
and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:26

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Photography

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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A Poem for Independence Day

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From my window, I see her there
Gently waving in summer’s breeze;
Her stars and stripes my reminder
Of the birth of our liberties.

Majestically her red does wave;
A symbol of blood that’s been shed.
The brave, the tried, the true–they fought
For this emblem of our heart they bled.

White’s innocence and purity
Represents each heart that believed
That God above all else be served;
 Now to worship, we are free indeed.

Oh, stars of white against night’s blue
As in the sky, God placed them there;
A divine reminder of His love,
His providence, wisdom, and care.

Old Glory raised high in the air
 Waving proudly over this land,
Brings thankfulness to my heart today
 for God’s country in which it stands.

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Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans.
I hope your holiday weekend is blessed.

To my other dear friends,
May your weekend be quite blessed, as well.

Much love sent to you all…..

ღ Skye ღ

Photography and Poetry:

© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved

Bible Verse: Courtesy of Bible Gateway

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