Darlene Ballard
Author, Speaker, Storyteller, Life Encourager
E-mail: darlenesballard@aol.com


You're Only Passing Through...

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
—Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)

If you are in a season of sickness or disease, or are recovering from an accident, it’s my prayer that you will find comfort in this little message of hope. Always remember that no matter what you are going through—you will get through this! 

You are treasured and you matter! You will gain wisdom and learn many valuable lessons from having this experience. And when you are healed, please feel free to share this with others who are traveling down the same road.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 

who comforts us in all our troubles, 

so that we can comfort those in any trouble 

with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3–4

God Sends Encouragement

On January 28, 2017, I began having excruciating headaches with throbbing pain over my right eye and on the right side of my forehead—like thousands of tiny slivers of glass were shooting through my head.

On the third visit to the emergency room (late that night), I heard my husband Brett calling out in the distance, “Janice … Janice …” and lo and behold, one of my most treasured friends, Janice Debice, was leaving the hospital after visiting a relative. God sent her to encourage me and pray that God would give the doctor wisdom to know what I was suffering from. 
After three separate visits to the ER, I was told I had a bad case of shingles around my right eye, and on my forehead and scalp. 

For those of you who are curious, I did not get the shingles shot. I’ve heard many stories from folks who also suffered with shingles—some who even had the shot and still got shingles. My advice is simple: if you have peace about getting the shot, by all means, get it. If you don’t, then don’t.

I’m not sure what triggered this outbreak. 

Perhaps it was the excitement of driving to Florida to stay with my pregnant daughter for what I thought would be only a week or so—and I ended up staying for an entire month until our precious grand angel arrived. During that time, my mother, who lives in Colorado, had unexpected heart surgery. I was under lots of anxiety and stress knowing that if Mom didn’t pull through, how would I tell Melissa (almost nine months pregnant) about her grandmother? I also knew there was no way I could fly to Colorado to attend my mother’s funeral when Melissa needed me to be with her in Florida. As it turned out, my mother made it through the surgery just fine. 

Or perhaps it was the two root canals and cracked tooth I had early in December—or the biopsy taken the week after that—or my daughter-in-law, Barbie, going into early labor the first week in January and having to stay in the hospital for several days to postpone an early delivery. Or maybe it was the tornado that swept through our neighborhood in late January with Brett and I running for cover (praise God, no one was hurt). 

You're Only Passing Through...

When we are attacked with anything, it’s so important to tell ourselves: 


I’ve been attacked with this,

but I am NOT taking ownership of it.

It might be what I have,

but it’s not who I am.

I'm only passing through ...

God never left my side, and my husband Brett was with me every step of the way. I am SO grateful for the many prayers, expressions of love, and gifts of kindness poured out to me during that time.

When we go through deep pain and suffering, it’s important to embrace the tiny sparkles of love and sunshine scattered along our path each day. Keep them tucked inside a journal, so when you are well, you can see the many good things that happened throughout the healing process.


Assess the Situation

When I tore my ACL, meniscus, and a chunk out of the cartilage on my left knee two years ago while skiing in Colorado, I couldn’t walk for months—but I could read and write. But this was a different scenario—a forest of a different kind. Because the shingles were around my right eye, I couldn’t read or write, but I could walk. So, I began walking a little each day. Walking helped relieve the horrendous pain shooting through my head. I immediately began to focus my energy on what I could do—and not dwell on the things I couldn’t do.

God Did Not Give Me Shingles! 

It was NOT God’s will for me—nor is it for any of His children—to be sick. It’s an attack from the enemy (Satan). It’s God's will for us to be healed (Matthew 8:2–3). Yes, I was attacked with shingles, but I immediately chose not to surrender to them—or make them a part of my identity. I knew in my heart they were only passing through.

Believe God for Your Healing

Faith is not believing that God can ... it's knowing that God will.   —Unknown

 God's Word

I will walk in faith even when I cannot see.    —2 Corinthians 5:7

I saturated myself in God’s Word both day and night. Because the shingles were around my eyes, I couldn’t read, but I could listen to The Word of Promise by Thomas Nelson, an audio Bible on CD.

My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Proverbs 4:20–22 (NIV)

I made some note cards with the following scripture verses (see below). I also wrote a few of my favorite scriptures on my bathroom mirrors using glass markers to remind me to stay focused on God’s Word.

 My Favorite Scriptures on Healing:

     Jesus paid the price for my healing.   —1 Peter 2:24

     God heals all my diseases.   —Psalm 103:2–3

     God takes all sickness away from me.   —Deuteronomy 7:15

     O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you healed me.   —Psalm 30:2

     The Spirit of Life is making my body alive.   —Romans 8:11 (NKJV).

     God is for me!    —2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV)

     I will not waver in my faith.    —Hebrews 10:23 

     My strength is in God and in His Word.   —Joel 3:10

     It is God’s will for me to be healed.   —Matthew 8:2–3 (NKJV)

     He is the LORD who heals me.   —Exodus 15:26

     He will take sickness away from the midst of me.   —Exodus 23:25 (NKJV)

     My youth is renewed like the eagle’s.   —Psalm 103:1–5 (NKJV)

     God’s Word is healing me.    —Psalm 107:20 (NKJV)

     God wants me to live. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.    —Psalm 118:17 (NKJV)

     I will live a long life.    —Psalm 91:16 (NKJV)

     Jesus bore my sins and my sicknesses.    —Isaiah 53:5

DIAMONDS HAVE MANY FACETS

I saw my healing taking on the form of many facets—like that of a beautiful diamond.

 POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS

You can do this … yes you can!

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.    —Philippians 4:13

I continually had to fight against the lies from the devil with the Word of God. When I was suffering from tormenting pain and itching, I would look up to Heaven and smile (even though it was the last thing I felt like doing), and begin speaking positively to myself:

    God is greater than the enemy who lives in the world.

    2017 is my year of victory!

    The Word of God is my breakthrough!

    God will heal me because He loves me and I am His child.

    God is revitalizing every cell in my body and I am being made whole. 

    I am healthy, strong, and vibrant.

    will get through this.

WRITE IT DOWN

Write these scriptures down on index cards and put your name in the blanks to make the scriptures even more personal and place them where you can see them night and day.

Jesus said to __________, “________, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”   —Mark 5:34

Jesus said, “I am come that ___________ might have life, and that _________ might have life more abundantly.”   —John 10:10. 

Psalm 103 in the New King James Version says:

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul; and ALL that is within me, bless His holy name!

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and not forget all His benefits.

3 Who forgives ALL of ________’s iniquities.

   Who heals ALL of _________’s diseases.

4 Who redeems _________’s life from destruction,

   Who crowns __________ with loving kindness and tender mercies,

5 Who satisfies _________’s mouth with good things,

    so that _______’s youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

__________ called upon God in the day of trouble; and God rescued her/him and she/he honored Him.   —Psalm 50:15

Even though _________ walks through the shadow of death, she/he won’t be afraid… she/he won’t fear any evil … because God is with her/him; God’s rod (Word) and staff (Comforter) will comfort her/him. Psalm 23:4:  and she/he is safe in Him.   —Proverbs 18:10 (NAS)

WORSHIP GOD

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.   —Hebrews 13:8

God is the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He’s not in Heaven biting His fingernails wondering what’s going to happen next. He already knows the outcome. Don’t fear the future because God is already there.

Instead of worrying and fretting over the things we can’t change, we must begin to worship God in the midst of our suffering and pain. Lift up your hands toward Heaven and thank Him (in advance) for your healing.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.

So don’t let your heart be troubled or be afraid.    —John 14:27

If anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.   — John 9:31

My sweet friend Nell shared this with me:

Place your hands over your forehead and on the back of your head and say out loud, “I have the mind of Christ (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV ... I have a clear and sound mind.”

Fear is NOT of God. God has NOT given me a spirit of fear, but of POWER (the Holy Spirit lives in me) and of LOVE (perfect love casts out ALL fear) and of a SOUND MIND.

FEED YOUR FAITH!

Don’t fear! I will help you.    —GOD (Isaiah 41:13)

Are you taking the path of fear or faith? Perfect love drives out ALL fear. Stop letting fear of the unknown (future thinking) drain you of your positive energy. Choose to believe God’s Word over your fears. Remember, whatever you feed upon grows bigger and stronger—so feed your faith. Guard your thoughts and remember past victories. Find a notebook or a sheet of paper and write them down.

God is greater than all my fears.
He already knows the outcome
…and it’s all good.   —Jeremiah 29:11

Fear believes something bad 
that hasn’t happened yet is going to happen.
But faith is knowing something good 
that hasn’t happened yet
is going to happen. —John Paul Jackson

It’s all in our perception. Worry is a form of unbelief so we must STOP IT!

Fear is not from God, so we must take authority over it and rebuke it!   —2 Timothy 1:7
I took authority over the sickness in my body.   —Matthew 18:18

Do not fear, because I am with you,
Don’t look anxiously around you,
Because I am Your God.
I will strengthen you—surely I will help you.
Surely, I will hold you up with my righteous right hand.   —Isaiah 41:10 (NAS)

Be strong and courageous…
Don’t fear or be discouraged
Because I will be with you wherever you go.   —Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

PRAYER

Father, You have NOT given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. This fear is not of You, God—it’s of the devil. I'm commanding fear to leave me right now! I am casting all my cares upon You Jesus, because You love me and I am Your child. Fill me with perfect love and embrace me with peace. In Jesus’ precious Name I pray.  Amen.

Now, relax in your healing. Be still and let go of your cares, fears, and worries. The minute you begin to feel anxious, relax and meditate again on God’s Word:

LET GO!
RELAX!
BE STILL … AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. 
—Psalm 46:10

HEALING comes when we CHOOSE to walk away from darkness and move toward a BRIGHTER LIGHT. 
—DIETER F. UCHTDORF

DODIE OSTEEN’S PRAYER

This is such a powerful prayer taken from Dodie Osteen’s book, Healed of Cancer
(Write your name/sickness in the blanks.)

O God, our Father, Your Word says that You are a very present help in the time of need. I come to You now on behalf of _________ who is suffering with ______. Father, I ask You, in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to touch and heal _______. 

Distance is no problem for You, God. As I pray, You are with ___________, even as close as the very breath ___ breathes. So I am asking You to touch ________’s body and heal ___. 

Right now, you foul disease called _______, I speak to you. Go from this body in the Name of Jesus! I command you, _______, to wither and die at the roots in the Name of Jesus! Devil, I bind your power in _________’s life, and I permit healing to come to __________ now, in the Name of Jesus! 

Father, I ask You to replace with new cells those that have been damaged by ________. God, You can do that, because what is impossible with man is possible with You. You are a God who cares, and we believe You will do it just because we have asked. You love us that much. 

Father, may strength and wholeness come into _______’s body this very day. Thank You, Lord, for doing it. 

Thank You, Father, in Jesus' Name.  Amen. 

PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD AND RESIST SATAN’S ATTACKS!

When we get up each day and put on our clothes, we, too, must line our minds up with the Word of God—putting on God’s armor so we don’t give into that old stinking thinking.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.   —Ephesians 6:10–17

HEALING MUSIC

When I was not listening to the Word of God, I was listening to Pandora One. Julie True and Misty Edwards are some of my favorite musicians for deep healing. Add them to your playlist.

There were many dark nights around 2 a.m. when all I could do was sit on the couch in excruciating pain and itching—with what felt like a gazillion bugs crawling throughout my head. Music was a way of comforting me and helping me cope in the midnight hours when it was just me and God.
The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.   —Unknown

FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Talking to my family and friends was so comforting to me during this time. 
I received numerous texts from loved ones letting me know that prayers were going up from all over the country. My mother and sister in Colorado both shared how their churches were continually lifting me up in prayer. Sometimes, those we thought would never come back into our lives turn out to be our greatest gifts—wanting no glory for themselves, and like beautiful and fragrant flowers, they are there for us simply because they care, wanting nothing in return—be forever grateful for them.

ROSIE

Rosie—a most treasured friend, and one of my favorite Bible study teachers, made me homemade chicken noodle soup and fresh fruit. I don’t know what she put in it, but it lasted for days. I called it miracle soup from heaven. There’s nothing better than chicken noodle soup when you are sick.

THE JOY FM

It was also comforting to know that the morning I emailed The JOY FM radio station asking for prayer, a sweet friend (Peg) said she heard them praying for me over the station and knew it had to be me. Sometimes, I think about all of the strangers I will one day meet in Heaven who prayed for me that day.

 AGREE WITH SOMEONE FOR YOUR HEALING 

Is anyone among you sick?
Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  —James 5:14–15

  Two faithful women of God, Sara and Nell, brought me lunch and anointed me with oil. 

Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. —Matthew 18:19 (NKJV)

It’s so important to be surrounded by those who believe in healing and stand on the Word of God. 

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. -1 John 5:14-15 (NASB)

COMMUNION

I began taking communion every day—just me and God
This excerpt from Joseph Prince (see http://www.josephprince.org/daily-grace/articles/single/the-power-of-the-holy-communion/was such a helpful guide for me.

To partake, first, hold the bread in your hand and say:

“Thank You, Father, for the gift of Your Son. By the stripes that fell on His back, my body is healed from the crown of my head to the very soles of my feet. Every cell, every organ, every function of my body is healed, restored, and renewed. In Jesus’ name, I believe and I receive.” Eat the bread.

Next, take the cup in your hand and say:
“Lord Jesus, thank You for Your precious blood. Your sin-free, disease-free, poverty-free life is in Your blood. And Your shed blood has removed every sin from my life. Through Your blood, I am forgiven of all my sins—past, present and future—and made completely righteous. Today, I celebrate and partake of the inheritance of the righteous, which is preservation, healing, wholeness, and provision. Thank You Lord Jesus, for loving me. Amen.”  Drink the wine.
Note: It's such a wonderful experience when your church participates in communion together. 
(Unleavened bread/wafers and red grape juice is what many choose.)

GRATEFULNESS

It's so important to focus on what we do have and not get caught up on the negative. It's a beautiful day because God loves me! 

Create your own list of what you’re grateful for.

Although I could not be around my family or friends because I was contagious, I could talk to my children—and we talked often. It was hard not being able to see my grand angels (two of them were fresh out of the oven), but when I finally saw my precious grandchild Mason for the very first time, my heart wanted to melt with JOY!

 JOY

Sometimes, we just don’t understand what God is doing. Things don’t seem logical. I would never have chosen to be attacked with shingles. I don’t like pain or suffering because I’m wired for fun and joy! If I hadn’t experienced deep suffering and pain, I would probably be on a yacht somewhere eating bon bons—but having a very shallow existence. 

Sometimes, there just isn’t an easy route or any other way to get to the other side of something unless we 
go through it
Sometimes, we have to turn our minds off and listen to what God is whispering in our hearts. Then we must take a leap of faith, jump into the unknown, and get our feet wet. 
JOY is the reward waiting for me at the end of my pain and suffering. 

 MY CHURCH FAMILY

As I shared before, I couldn’t have many visitors. But some very determined women from my church would not give up on me and came up with a great idea!

They put a cooler on my front porch, and for many weeks, a different family would make a delicious meal for Brett and me. When they placed the meal in the cooler, they would text me so we knew to bring it in. This was such an awesome example of Christ’s love and kindness. There are no words to express how grateful I am for my church family. 

My eye doctor was concerned there could be eye damage, and ran several tests. I am SO grateful that I got a good report.
I will give testimony of my healing   —Revelation 12:11 (NKJV)

MEDICATION

Although I believe in natural alternatives, there are times when we need to take the heavy stuff. For me, it was heavy doses of prednisone (800 mg of acyclovir) for several weeks, butalbital, tramadol, etc. Although I didn’t want to put another pill in my mouth because I was so weak, Brett made sure I took acyclovir every 5 hours along with the pain medication for several weeks.

When I took my medication, I prayed God would allow the meds to do only what was healing and restoring for me—nothing more and nothing less.

A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Eat wholesome foods, drink lots of water and exercise as much as you can.

A HAPPY HEART

A HAPPY HEART is good medicine 
and a CHEERFUL MIND works healing, 
but a broken spirit dries up the bones.    —Proverbs 17:22 (AMP)

Watch or listen to someone who makes you laugh.

Since I couldn’t read much, I listened to Chonda Pierce, Mark Lowry, Jeff Foxworthy, Dennis Swanberg, and Jeanne Robertson. You can pull them up on YouTube or if you have Pandora, add Chonda Pierce’s station to your playlist. I pay a little extra (Pandora One) to eliminate the commercials.

I love Lucy was one of my favorite shows to watch on TV. 

Surround yourself with friends who make you laugh!

The JOY of the Lord is my strength.   —Nehemiah 8:10

THE PARABLE OF THE WISE OLD MULE (author unknown)

There was a farmer who owned an old mule and one day that mule fell into a dried out, abandoned water well. After assessing the situation carefully, the farmer reluctantly concluded that neither the mule nor the well was worth saving. He wasn’t happy about it, but what else could he do?

For the mule, the future was not looking very hopeful …

So, the farmer called his neighbors and enlisted them to help him bury the old mule right there in the well and put him out of his misery. Initially the old mule was frantic, but as the dirt kept hitting his back, something happened. It dawned on the mule that every time a shovel load landed on his back, he could shake it off and step up! And that’s exactly what he did. Blow after blow that old mule would shake off the dirt and step up … shake it off and step up.

Be Persistent!

No matter how painful the blows or how distressing the situation, the old mule fought the urge to panic and just kept right on shaking off the dirt and stepping up! It took awhile, but eventually his persistence began to pay of because with each step he was moving up ever so slightly.

Before long, the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly through the mouth of that well. What seemed like it would bury him actually helped him … all because of how he demonstrated persistence in the face of adversity.

Don’t fall into a pit of hopelessness—keep on persisting! Shake off those shackles and step up out of the well!

YOUR BEST DAYS ARE STILL AHEAD OF YOU! 

I REJOICE IN HOPE …
I PERSEVERE IN TRIBULATION …
I AM DEVOTED TO PRAYER …
—ROMANS 12:12 (NAS)

John Ramsey shared when we are in the midst of deep suffering and pain, we must believe that our best days are still ahead of us. This gives us a reason to go on … to have HOPE. (See Jeremiah 29:11)
Today, choose to learn from the experience and then start creating NEW MEMORIES. Your best days are still ahead of you!


FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT!
 

I began acting like I was healed … by doing as many “normal things” as I could. This helped me each day to get back to my healthier lifestyle. 

When you've done everything you can do, 
that's when God will step in and do what you can't do.
—2 Corinthians 12:10

DOTERRA OILS

I continually had my diffuser on—using Doterra Oils. I used a few drops of OnGuard to purify the air around me. 

The ones I loved the most were peppermint, lavender, and lemon. I put a few drops of each onto a washcloth and kept it in the fridge—then I placed the cold washcloth over my neck and back—it felt great! 

I also added a few drops of the lavender oil along with ¼ cup of Epsom salts into my warm bath water to relax me and help me sleep better

I have a friend who truly cares about helping others. She was a lifesaver for me during my darkest hours. She gave me ointments for my head and feet. The oils helped me feel nurtured and calm. 

NATURE

Getting outside in nature helped tremendously—especially on clear, crisp sunny days. I wrapped myself in a warm blanket and relaxed on my glider for many days—listening to the Bible on CD and basking on God’s every Word.

PETS

Our pets are such nurturing gifts when we are sick.  My faithful dog, Sierra, comforted me when I was in deep pain and stayed by my side night and day.

 BREATHE 

Tactical breathing exercises also helped (breathing through my nose to the count of 4, holding my breath to the count of 4, and then exhaling through my mouth to the count of 4). As I inhaled, I told myself, “I am not alone. God is with me. I am calm and healed. By His stripes, I am healed. I will make it through this.” While exhaling, I would say, “I release all sickness and toxins from my body.”

 CLEAN WHITE SHEETS

White is a very calming color for me, so I slept on fresh white sheets. I washed them every few days and hung them outside to dry on a retractable clothesline (as much as possible). I loved smelling the scent of clean fresh air as I snuggled under the sheets each night.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Give yourself some grace and BE KIND. You are SO WORTH IT! When I had a meltdown, I would begin wrapping my arms around myself, and saying to myself, “God loves me and good things will come from this!” This simple act of kindness nurtured my soul.

STAY POSITIVE

I chose not to call those who were constantly negative or grumbling about their pain and circumstances. I didn’t want to reflect the same, especially since I was not able to hold my new grandbabies, read, or focus on anything for too long, seeing my hair fall out, not being able to color my hair for several months, and not being able to swim with a cap and goggles (which I absolutely love to do).

I love this little story …

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she did and she had a wonderful day. The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror, and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "Hmmmm," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today." So she did and she had a grand day. The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "Today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun, fun day. The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head "YEA!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"   —Unknown

BE REAL

You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.
―Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

PAY IT FORWARD

Give God all the glory by sharing your testimony with others...
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. —Revelation 12:11

There are two ways of spreading light:
To be the candle
or the mirror that reflects it. —Edith Wharton




Are You Being Attacked by Fear?
(Based on my book, Learning to Dance in the Rain)


I, too, struggle with great fears, but I'm well on my way to becoming an overcomer!

Just listening to the news can send us into a whirlwind of fear, hopelessness, and despair. The stock market is unpredictable, foreclosures are at an all-time high, and the job market is at an all-time low. But God is still the same yesterday, today, and forever!

I believe God is stretching our faith for what is to come. He's throwing out the lifeline (His Word) to rescue us. God loves us because we are His children and we are worth saving.

Many, many years ago, King Jehoshaphat was a man who also struggled with great fears. (I've nicknamed him King Joe for short). His story can be found in 2 Chronicles, Chapter 20. I've learned some life-changing lessons while reading about him, and I can't wait to share them with you.

King Joe wasn't a quitter. He was an overcomer! His mission was to rid Judah of all false idols and to lead the people of Judah into worshipping the one true and living God.

But on an ordinary day, something terrible happened. King Joe and Judah suddenly found themselves surrounded and greatly outnumbered by three armies of their strongest and most violent enemies: the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites. Their mission was to destroy King Joe and his household ... leaving nothing behind.

We may not have the Moabites, the Ammonites, or the Meunites coming against us, but we could be facing a different kind of "ite." Maybe you've just found out that your husband has been cheating on you, and you're still trying to make sense of it all. Maybe you've just been diagnosed with cancer. Maybe you're in the middle of a lawsuit, bankruptcy, foreclosure, or divorce. Maybe you're unemployed or you are close to retirement and you're not sure what the next chapter in your life will bring. Maybe you have just lost a limb, or are dealing with rebellious children.

Maybe you are so overwhelmed by life that you think: I can't go on another day! I'm exhausted from trying to fight these giant "ites" in my own power and strength. I just want to pull the sheets over my head and quit!

Keep reading ... there's great news for you ahead!

At first, King Joe also feared. But he knew he had to make a choice: either to dwell on his fears and be consumed by them, or to rise above them. He refused to allow what he saw, heard, or imagined paralyze him with fear because he knew his God was greater than all the "ites" coming against him.

King Joe refused to get into that woe-is-me thinking, and he refused to waste his time fretting and worrying about his future. He trusted God to provide what he needed and when he needed it at just the right time. He chose to step out of his comfort zone and DO IT AFRAID!

II Timothy 1:7 (NLT) says that fear is a spirit and causes us mental anguish and torment. Fear binds us and shackles us in heavy chains of darkness. In short, fear contaminates our faith.

Fear can make us want to run as fast as we can in the opposite direction or take matters into our own hands. Fear makes us think God doesn't care about our great hurts. We feel abandoned, forsaken, rejected, and alone.

When our faith increases, our fear decreases.

Now, let's talk about love. I believe the only antidote for fear is love. When I first read that perfect love casts out all fear (I John 4:18), I didn't understand what it meant. But I am beginning to understand that the more I know how much God really loves me, the less I walk in fear.

I believe the first step in overcoming any battle is to trust that God will pull us through no matter how fierce the attacks are coming against us. The battle must first be overcome in our minds. And we are more than conquerors!

When the spirit of fear attacks me, I must stop entertaining those fearful and negative thoughts at the onset. I must not give into reasoning trying to figure everything out or trying to fix or change the situation in my own power and strength. It's so important that we submit ourselves to God's perfect will for our life. God is greater than our strongest fears.

Even though King Joe feared, he chose to put his hope in God. He knew God loved him and had a glorious plan for his life and for Judah. He knew God wasn't biting his fingernails and pacing the floors of Heaven with fear, and worry fretting over King Joe's giant "ites." God was at peace and already knew the outcome would be victorious! God was more powerful than all King Joe's enemies. All that was required of King Joe was to walk in God's light and peace.

King Joe had to fight the battle mentally before ever stepping onto the battlefield. In II Timothy 1:7 (KJV) it says, "God did not give us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." The best advice I can give you is that when fear knocks at your door, answer it with God's Word, "It is written ..."

King Joe then proclaimed a fast in all Judah. He was desperate to hear from God and needed His guidance and direction. So he sought God with his whole heart. He had to first step through the walls of fear, doubt, and unbelief before he could ever help anyone else cross the finish line ... so to speak.

King Joe knew God loved him and the people of Judah. He stood strong in God's confidence even though he couldn't see the outcome. He chose to remain faithful--no matter what the odds looked like. He knew the battle was not his to fight, but God's. He knew if God gave him a miracle, then God would receive all the glory! The more King Joe focused on God, the greater his faith grew.

King Joe refused to listen to negative and faithless people. I'm sure some were saying, "What's wrong with King Joe? Doesn't he know he's about to be wiped out?" But he chose to stand still and listen to God, and he remained firm in his faith.

Exodus 14:14 (AMP) says, "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest." King Joe didn't question God about why the "ites" wanted to destroy him and his family. He had no answers or solutions. He stood his ground in the midst of his fears and refused to give in, even though the waves were high and rising well over his head. He planted his feet firm in God's Word and chose to never give up, no matter what

King Joe was a humble man and had a personal relationship with God. He prayed because he knew that prayer changes things. He remembered God's everlasting covenant, that no one could oust him without God's permission. King Joe knew God was on his side and that nothing was impossible as long as God was with Him. He had a heart of expectancy and believed God for the victory before he received it.

Sometimes, for new doors to open, old doors must shut. I've learned that if the horse is dead, it's time to dismount! We must be willing to step out of our comfort zone and walk in blind faith.

God knows it all, even our broken promises and dreams. Hebrews 13:5-6 (NIV) says, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

King Joe remembered the covenant relationship God had with Abraham, and that he, too, was part of Abraham's seed. He took God at His Word and clung to it. When we enter into a personal relationship with God, we, too, become part of Abraham's seed and enter into a covenant relationship with Almighty God through His Son, Jesus.

King Joe didn't feel sorry for himself or compare himself to what others were going through. He knew God cared greatly for him.
God cares for us too ... He has even given us our own set of fingerprints and DNA.

King Joe remembered his past victories. He knew if God brought him to it, then God would bring him through it. God was his provider, his healer, his deliverer, his redeemer, and his restorer. God is a good God, and He will never abandon us.  Genesis 18:14 (KJV) says, "Is there anything too hard for the Lord?"

God sent an encouraging word through Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah. Jahaziel told King Joe not to allow the "ites" to make him afraid or discouraged because the battle was not King Joe's to fight. It was God's battle, and God would receive all the glory, honor, and praise. And the same goes for us. Our part is to trust God and allow Him to intervene on our behalf. Sometimes, it's taken weeks or even years for me to be delivered from a situation, but God's timing is always perfect!

King Joe didn't become impatient and run ahead of God's timing. He did exactly what God asked him to do ... he humbled himself and waited patiently until the next day. He rested in God's peace and chose not to have a back-up plan. He understood what it meant to fight the battle God's way ... and not in his own power and strength. I believe the most peaceful place for us to be is resting in God's perfect will.

"I am leaving you with a gift ... peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid."   -John 14:27 (NLT)

King Joe wasn't a quitter. He knew how important it was to keep a positive attitude and a grateful heart, despite the "ites" coming against him. He trusted that God would bring him deliverance, despite all the odds! He ultimately pressed on and persevered!

Even though King Joe was surrounded by those three major armies (the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites), and it didn't look like he had a chance, something awesome was brewing.

King Joe gathered the people of Judah together, lifted his eyes toward Heaven, and began to praise God before the victory.

The Levites stood in front with their musical instruments and continually praised God with songs of victory. They sang in a loud voice, "Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever!"

On the day of battle, King Joe got up early and sought God. He believed God would deliver him and give him back his territory. He believed God would prosper him even more than He did before.

With the boldness of a lion, King Joe marched into the enemy camp singing and shouting praises of victory. He remained strong in his faith, and didn't waiver in fear, doubt, or unbelief. While King Joe and his family were singing songs of praise and victory, God confused King Joe's puffed up and proud enemies and the "ites" slaughtered each other!

God delivered King Joe in the Valley of Berachah (now called Wady Bereikut), which in Hebrew means Blessing. Isn't that wonderful? From the summit, King Joe could finally see the outcome and the best part is ... he never had to fight in the battle. His enemies were DOA (dead on arrival).

It took King Joe and his men three days to gather up the blessings God had given them (equipment, clothing, and valuable articles). And God is waiting to do the same for us! And just like Job and Joseph, God restored him double for his trouble. What a testimony! I can see King Joe smiling from ear to ear ... with a huge watermelon-slice smile! Can't you?

I believe the greatest miracle King Joe received was who he became in the process ... a victorious overcomer!



My Testimony

I created this website to encourage you to never give up ... no matter what you are going through. The storms we go through in life don't last forever ... the sun will shine brighter again. Someone shared, "Don't ever make a permanent decision in your temporary pain."

There was a time in my life when I was so broken that I walked into a local mission and asked them to love me. And they did. I am living proof of how God can take the broken pieces of our lives and turn them into something more beautiful than we could ever imagine.


My message is very simple: God loves you!

Sometimes, people overlook the beauty in the lost and outcast, seeing only the tattered, worn-out body and not the beautiful person that we each are inside. All of us are important because each of us has something special to give ... with our own unique blend of gifts and talents.

I've noticed that some of us will become bitter when tried and tested, while others, even though they have been crushed deeply, will become even sweeter. Some of us will wilt along the way, while others will put their energy into blooming.

In my younger years, I faced lots of rejection and tried many things in search of love: partying, drinking, drugs, compulsive eating and spending ... and lots of unhealthy relationships. But I only became emptier than I was before. 

My father's drinking caused our family to live in constant fear and chaos. His behavior was always unpredictable. But my father was also hurting. He was in the Army and served in Vietnam, and back then ... there just weren't many places for him to open up and share the depth of his pain. 

At the age of 19, I moved to Mammoth Lakes, California.

One day, I went to church and listened to the pastor share many wonderful things.  He said that John 3:16 says, "For God
so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

Did you know that Jesus would have died for you if you were the only one in the entire world? That's how special you are to Him. We each have our own set of fingerprints, and pain and experiences
Did you know that the way others treat you is absolutely no reflection upon your own self-worth and value? It's only a reflection of how they feel about themselves.  God has a mighty plan for your life. He loves you right where you are, but He loves you too much to keep you that way. He has a picture of you engraved on the palm of His hand. You are the apple of His eye. You are the only light some around you will ever see. Always remember and never forget that Jesus catches His fish first, then He cleans them up.

It's been almost 40 years now since I prayed and asked God to come into my heart and change my life. Since then, I've experienced many ups and downs, but through them all, God has been faithful to me and has never abandoned me.  And I'm learning to trust Him more and more each day!

I now understand that hurting people hurt people. Daddy was hurting and drank. And I've done the same thing in different ways.

I've stopped looking BACK at my past and AT my present circumstances, because today, I'm looking UP to God for my strength.

My mess has become my message ... through writing my books and by helping others get back on their divine path with God through our Serenity Girl workshops and retreats. 

I'm seeing my past as a gift, because it's helped me to become much more compassionate to those who feel hopeless, rejected and in deep pain.  


Our greatest hurt in life can become our greatest gift
if we choose to become better and not bitter.

What God has done for me, He's waiting to do for you too. Each of us is special in God's eyes.  It was hate that nailed Jesus to the cross, but it was the love He had for me and you that kept Him there.
And when we ask Him into our hearts to become our personal Lord and Savior, we are saved by grace and not by works. Isn't that awsome? There's nothing we can do to ever pay Him back ... that's why I love Him so


Maybe some of you have experienced these things in your story too. I've learned that I'm not the only one. Maybe some of you have just gone through a painful divorce, bankruptcy, the death of a loved one, or maybe you're suffering from sickness and disease. Maybe some of you are dealing with rebellious children or come from a divided home.  Maybe some, like me, have struggled with addictive behaviors, faced lots of rejection and felt deep hopelessness and despair.  Maybe some of you are feeling so overwhelmed by life that you think, "Things will never change. This is my life ... always has been .. and always will be."

But I'm here today to tell you that your story can change. In fact, I'm living proof of it. Your past doesn't have to be your future. There is hope for the hopeless, restoration for the tattered, and healing for those who have been deeply wounded and broken.  

You are So-Loved ...