Response to these troubled days

 

hallelujah-www.canichangemylife.com_

Yes, we are living in troubled days. Everywhere we look we see evidence of fallen man. Jesus said that Satan is the god of this world, and we see his fruit everywhere; hate, fear, and death.

How do we keep from getting sucked in to the pit with the rest of the world?

How do we keep our hope in the face of hopelessness?

How do we love when we are hated?

The quick and easy answer would be to pray. And yes, we should pray, but what about when we are so heavy laden, hurt, angry, sad, alone, abused, empty, afraid, blue, and if I can be honest… how about when we are just tired of hearing our own voice and see no change around us? What then?

The world is spinning fast, time is but a vapor, and time is short, and nothing is within our control. We can not control another person or what is going on around us. BUT! There is one thing we can control… ourselves. We can take control of our thoughts and our responses. Then instead of being reactive, we can be proactive.

So, again, how do we do that?

We shift our focus!

 

A man walking towards a cross with sunbeams
SHIFT YOUR FOCUS

A broken hallelujah will be made whole. In your brokenness, offer a hallelujah and He will answer.

In  Hebrew, Hallelujah transcends the languages of the world. It is not translated, it is transliterated.  (click here to read more about praise)

“Hallel” means to boast or to brag on, to make a show, even to the point of looking ridiculous.

“Jah” is the short form of the name for God.

 

What do we tell our children to do when there is a fire? Stop! Drop! And Roll!

 

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty heavens.
 
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to [the abundance of] His greatness.

 
Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.

Praise Him with tambourine and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flute.
 
Praise Him with resounding cymbals;
Praise Him with loud cymbals.
 
Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)

-Psalm 150

So I encourage you… No! I challenge you!  Shut the world out, turn the news off, lay down the paper, hang the phone up, shut down the computer, and Stop! Drop to your knees, lift your arms, open your mouth, and let the praises roll!

You can’t change the world, but God can. You may not be able to change your circumstance, but God can. You may be waist deep in what the world calls despair, but He promises if you focus on Him, praise Him for His goodness, trust Him, give it ALL to Him, when you rise you will rise refreshed and strengthened.

He is still God, He is still on His throne, He has not left you and He never will. Don’t let the world steal your peace. Shift your focus.

 

Be Free & Stay Free

Fear is a Liar! : A Short Story

woman

“Do it!” He whispered in her ear, as his unseen hand cupped hers, guiding the razor to her forearm. “This is your only way out.”

Her hand trembled and her vision blurred from the tears as she held the razor between her fingers. Cutting herself use to bring momentary relief from the pain inside of her, the warm, crimson red, flow of her own blood was a drain to the sickness inside of her. The pain of each cut was just enough to dull the despair. But this time she would cut deep enough to kill the pain forever.

Daily living drained her of strength. She no longer had energy to maintain the facade of normalcy. To get out of bed in the mornings brought increasing anxiety. She was constantly exhausted and the effort to keep breathing was an uphill battle. She had no where to turn; every bridge burnt in disappointment, rejection, and failure. Though she sought solace through relationships, alcohol, and every other substitute, it was no where to be found.

He felt her waiver and he knew if he allowed her to stall then she would change her mind. He mustn’t let that happen again. The other demons did an outstanding job separating her from help, it was his job to finish her, and there would be hell to be pay if he failed.

“Push her or get out of the way!” The other demons jeered.

“Silence!” He stood to his full height. “This takes cunning and precision.”

“Here, let me help you. She just needs a little reminding.” Another demon pushed his way through the others to join the rollicking. Shame enjoyed tagging along with the others. Though he was never the first demon to attack, he was an excellent grubber, and he didn’t mind feeding on the entails. It was Shames job to keep her in place, and to stay her from moving forward, by reminding her how worthless and hopeless she is.

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“There is no help for you, if ever there was, because people would find out who you really are and what you have really done.” Shame echoed in her mind. “You stink, you’re worthless, and a total screw-up! Who would want you if they knew you? No one, that’s who!”

Memories of every relationship she gave herself to made her feel sick to her stomach. She closed her eyes tight to fight off the memories of the shameful and degrading acts. Shame reminded her of every piece of herself she gave away in each promiscuous act, until the purity of love was buried beyond recognition.

“Excellent work, Libertine!” Shame patted the lustful demon on the back. “I appreciate that you make my job easy.”

“You wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for me, you little imp!” Lust bellowed.

“Your own father didn’t even want you.” Rejection taunted her with memories of the abuse she endured at the hand of her father. “You were a terrible daughter! Everyone knew it was your fault!”

“You call yourself a Christian? Why look at you!” Religion pointed his finger at her, poking her with each word for emphasis. “You cry and God doesn’t hear you, because you are weak!”

“No one wants you!” Another demon chimed in. “Go ahead and off yourself, you won’t even be missed.”

Confusion stepped in and led the others in an orchestra of accusations, while Murdertiedup gripped her hand on the razor. “Kill yourself! Do it! You are worthless! No one loves you! No one wants you! No one cares! God will never forgive you! If there was a God why does your life suck? You are a whore! You are stupid! You are ugly! There is no hope for you! Everything you touch is cursed! Die! Die! Die!…” Accusations and taunts circled around her head, confusing her, making her dizzy.

Her hand trembled, her tears fell, and though she wanted it all to end, there was a small voice…

Come to Me.” The small voice softly beckoned. “I am your Healer and Deliverer.”

“Jesus?” Her voice was barely audible.

“What did she say?!” The demons stepped back just enough to loosen the grip on her. Although they could barely hear her words, they sensed a power coming forth, though it was faint they knew even a sliver of faith in what she spoke would send them flying.

“Call on Me.” The soft clear voice broke through the confusion and spoke directly to her heart. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool. Come.”

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“God, help me.” She cried.

The lesser demons began to flee, they knew they were no match for this war. They could feel the change in the atmosphere and their shadow began to fade.

“Stop her!” Murder screamed. But it was too late…

Jesus save me.” The sound of the Name she spoke came through as thunder, throwing the demons off her.

The demons stood in the background, eyes narrowed, poison salivating from their lips with each exhale, waiting and watching. They trembled and covered their eyes when He entered the room, unable to look upon His glory. To the girl He was Love unconditional, to the demons He was a consuming fire. Not even the largest demon was fool enough to think of staying in His presence.

Immediately confusion was replaced with peace. She laid the razor down and wept.

Oh, God, forgive me.” She wept. “I have sinned and turned so far away from You.”

In her brokenness, she laid down and confessed her sins and asked God to forgive her. “Jesus, if You are willing, You can heal me.” She cried.

“I am willing, be healed. You are forgiven.”

jesusHer tears of sorrow soon turned into tears of joy as Gods Holy Spirit ministered love to her. Where rejection once resided, she now found acceptance. Where hatred once fanned the flames of unforgiveness, she found release and forgiveness. Where there was no hope, she found hope. And her weakness was now made strong, through the Name she called upon, Jesus, her Redeemer.

I wish I could tell you, dear reader, that the demons never tried to come back. But I can tell you that when they did, they found no place in her, the door to them was forever closed, as she continued to cling to Jesus and trust Him. This is her story, this is her testimony, though she was lost, she was found. What the devil meant to use to destroy her, God used for her good and for His glory. As we read the words of her story, we can be reminded, we are never so low or too far gone, that God can’t reach us. We have an Advocate, through Jesus, to God the Father. We are sealed with His Spirit and He is forever with us.

What is your story? Let it become your testimony of Gods redeeming love.

Fear is a liar!

Call on Jesus.

Be Free & Stay Free

No More Self Loathing

forgiveness

We know God forgives us, because He says if we repent, He forgives us of our sins.

We even forgive others (with His help).

Yet…

We struggle to forgive ourselves.

Living in regret and shame keeps us in bondage. This is not God’s will for us.

We start getting ahead and then that ol’ lying devil comes and reminds us of all of our failures, our past sins, bad choices, and the people we have hurt along the way. Our minds get filled with “if only I’s…”

My friend, please hear me when I say this…

God is BIGGER! He knows where you have been. He knows how you have been hurt and who you have hurt. He knows, He knows, He knows… But that did not stop Him from redeeming you! It does not stop Him from loving you! It does not cause Him to reject you!

Are you tormented by your past? Is your heart still breaking for those you have hurt? My dear friend, His Holy Spirit is able to do far more than anything you could ever do. Do you not know He cares for you AND those you care for?

You can not back track. Nothing you can do can change where you have been.  But, if you  forgive yourself, make restitution if you have to, but do not be bound any longer to the past… if you will do this, then you will be free and healed.

You are not the same person you were before. You are a new creation! You are redeemed! You are His now!

Call on Jesus, my friend. Cry out to Him. Give it to Him. Open your mouth and your heart and just lay it all down at His feet and trust Him to work it out.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Ultimate Makeover

who-am-i

The question we all ask ourselves, huh. Who am I?

For many, the answer to this question changes depending on the season.  Sadly too many base the answer on emotions, experiences, or what others have said about us; as if someones opinions define us.

Times and seasons change. Society is a fickle people. With the ever increasing need in the world to be the best, it is not hard to understand why so many feel they are in competition. It is no wonder so many young girls are insecure and so many women are broken. Shew, it is even a no wonder why men do not even know how to be men anymore.

We have been robbed of our individual gifts and uniqueness. In all of the trying to fit in and be like everyone else to please someone else…

who-are-you-s_800x600

You have heard the saying it is the suit that makes the man and the shoes that make the woman. Nope, that is not true and I have the sore feet to prove it.

who-are-you-really-21449257The beauty industry is making a lot of money on peoples insecurities. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying there is anything wrong with dressing up the outside, there is nothing wrong with accentuating the beauty we already have. Shew, some of us need some help. But, my dear friend, beneath everything, all the make-up, newest fashion, hair color, you are still you and I am still me. No amount of make-up is going to take the place of the inner peace and desire for acceptance we all have.

There is only One who can give you the peace you yearn for and He already accepts you. He created you, you are His masterpiece, with His very own hands He formed you.  He put so much detail in you that He knows the number of hairs on your head, He knows how many times your heart will beat, He knows where you will live, He knows your first day and your last breath. In addition to all of this, He gave you gifts and entrusted you with gifts to use to glorify Him.

While you may be looking around and comparing yourself to others, you do not even recognize what and Who He has placed in you and you do not see the one person only you can reach, or problem only you have the answer to. So you walk around, bent over, looking at your feet instead of lifting your head and knowing who you really are and Who you belong to. Royalty should not live like paupers. It is unbecoming to wallow in the pig pen and eat slop when your Father is the King.

And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

I am going to get personal with you for a minute, OK.  I didn’t meet Jesus personally until I was already an adult in my 30’s. Before Christ, I had already racked up a long laundry list of what was wrong with me; from childhood and on.  I made choices based on fear and insecurities that were ingrained in me. I believed every lie and was on the path to confirm every lie was truth.

After I met Christ, although all my sins were forgiven, I still harbored guilt and shame. Of course this was concealed very well; so well that I didn’t even fully realize I was carrying all the heavy baggage until later…

Then little by little my slip started to show (know what I mean, ladies?). So I tried to pull it up, tuck it in, cover it up, because I am a Christian and Christians aren’t suppose to have these issues.  The more I tried to cover it the heavier it got and on top of it all I took it upon myself to add shame, guilt, regret, and perhaps a lil’ unforgiveness to my suitcase.

I looked like this…

suitcase
Nah, I’m good, I don’t need any help,      I got this.

I just couldn’t understand why everything was going to pot; no matter how much I prayed or read my Bible. I was good at encouraging other people and believing the word, God’s promises for them, but not for myself… I was a mess.

You know why? Because I was sitting outside of the palace eating in the pig pen. I knew I was saved. I knew God loved me (even though I couldn’t understand why), but His word said He did so He must, right.

ThiefIt is like locking your door, but leaving your window open. Sooner or later the thief is going to try to break in and steal your stuff.

Jesus told us the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  He also told us that Satan is the father of lies.  When we believe anything contrary to what God’s word says, we are to cast it down, because it is a lie. We are not to believe it!  But it doesn’t stop here!

When you know God’s word, you can recognize the lie and you must combat the lie with the truth!  You can’t just ignore the devil and hope he goes away. No! You have to kick him out! He takes your silence as agreement. You have to open your mouth.

God has already set you free! To walk in His freedom you must take the steps. If you want out of the prison cell of shame, regret, fear, insecurity then you must walk through the open door.

Dear prodigal, do you not know your Father is waiting for you? Sweet woman, there is no need to die of thirst at the well when He gives you springs of life and a refreshing that overflows and never stops.

Stop looking at the outward appearance. Your beauty is deeper than flesh and your worth is far more valuable than rubies.

The next time that lying demon whispers in your ear you put your foot down, stand your ground and fight back with God’s truth!

I am leaving you with some thoughts, ammunition, to get you started. Read it, meditate on it, remember it, AND BELIEVE IT!

This is God’s word and God doesn’t lie. This is the truth of who you are!

If you would like to share more of Gods promises to us, please leave a comment below.

Until I write again, or we meet in heaven…

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Secure in Father’s House

cartoon_house

I do not live in Mayberry or Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, but I still like my neighborhood. I have only lived here for a short while, but I have gotten to know some of the neighbors and people and businesses close by.  As an extrovert I tend to say hello, good morning, or good evening to nearly everyone I come in contact with.

stick girl and dogBecause I have a little dog who loves to be walked I get the opportunity to be out and about the neighborhood several times a day. My little buddy is a people person and he loves to meet new people, too. Actually, I think he just enjoys all the extra attention, In fact, because of him I have made new friends with other women who walk their dogs.  Dog people are friendly people… just sayin’

Everyone knows JJ (that’s my lil’ buddy’s name). Most of the people I meet are friendly and harmless. Some are lonely and just need to talk to someone. For some reason a little dog helps to break barriers and people are more inclined to open up and tell you all about themselves. I like people, so I will smile and listen and try to leave them with an encouraging word.

But then there are people who are not good people. I am sure I do not have to draw a word picture for you to understand what I am saying. We have to use wisdom and practice boundaries for our own safety. Sometimes it is best to just cross the street and walk in the opposite direction.

I grew up in a big city, but I now live in a smaller city. Being a city dweller I am well aware of precautions and safety measures we have to take. For example, while it may be fine to say “good morning” to a neighbor, it is not wise to bring a stranger into your home.  While I do not live in fear and paranoia, I do lock my doors. If someone knocks on my door I will not just open the door without first knowing who it is. There are some people that I do know and I still would not just open my door or invite them in.

I may share the same zip code as my neighbors, but I do not share the same address.

When my children were small I was even more careful. I took great care to be sure they were safe. I allowed no one into my home who could harm them, be a bad influence on them, or steal from us. As a parent it was my responsibility to be sure my children were safe. And I am just a mere woman. No matter how good of a parent I am, God is a greater Father.  Which brings me to the point of this post…

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If you try to enter a home uninvited… you are a trespasser.

If you do not know the owner of the home… you are a stranger.

If you mean harm against the family in the home… you are a criminal.

If the Judge finds you guilty and throws you in prison… He is just.

There is a half truth circulating that is meant to deceive and to kill you. We all know what a half truth is… it is a lie.  This is how the deceiver tricks you. He tells you a half truth and because you do not know the full truth you will believe it, because it sounds familiar.

Does this sound familiar to you?

“God is love, we are all His children and He would never send anyone to hell. If you believe in God you will go to heaven. It doesn’t matter how you live, He understands.”

This is a very dangerous deception!

Here is the truth…

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Yes! God loves you. He loves all of us, saint and sinner.  If you believe in God then good, even Satan believes in God, but Satan isn’t going to heaven. Satan was thrown down from heaven and a place called hell was created just for him and his followers.

And it does matter how you live! If it didn’t matter then He would not have told us to repent. Of course He understands, that is why He died on the cross for us. Just as He gave His life for us so we may live, we must give our life so we can be born again and live for Him. It is through rebirth we become heirs with Jesus and we are adopted into His family as sons and daughters. His death and resurrection has reconciled us back to the Father and now all that He has is ours. We share in the inheritance of eternal life.

It is only through faith in Jesus Christ we are saved. It is not by being a really good person. There are many “good” people and old grandmothers going to hell. Not because God doesn’t love them or because He is unfair. But because they have chosen to deny Jesus and refuse the free gift of salvation. They are guilty and the penalty for their guilt (sin) is death (hell) and this is a just judgement.

There are many people in prison right now, maybe even on death row, and ex-cons, drop-outs, wash-ups, thieves, unwed mothers, you know… people who would clear a sidewalk; who will be accepted into heaven.  Don’t believe me? Remember the thief on the cross?

No matter how much you think you know… you better know Jesus.

I don’t write this to condemn anyone. Rather, I hope this challenges you to pause and ask yourself, do I know Him? Does He know me?

We all have our struggles. Trust me… no, don’t take my word for it, take His word for it.

 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me[following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls.  For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

No matter where you are, you do not have to stay there. You want peace of mind? Then know you can’t save yourself, no one else can save you either, only He can. No matter how far you have fallen, you can still come home to Jesus.

He is a place of refuge for those who call on Him. He is a good Father and He is preparing a place for you and He will come back and collect His children.

Home with Him is a safe place to be. You have no need to fear. Just as a good father here on earth will not let anything in the home to cause his children harm, you better believe God is even greater!

The next time you hear someone preach salvation without repentance… run from them!

Your best life is not now, your choices do matter, you matter,

If you are truly His then your character will become like His, the fruit of His Spirit in you will be evident. The things you used to do will no longer be appealing to you, because quite simply…. you are dead to the old you and alive in Christ.  With God this is possible.

Listen! We are all HIs creation, but we are not all His children. Many are called, but few are chosen.

If you want to know peace, then you better know Jesus.

Call on Him now while He may still be found.

If you have any questions, or if you want to follow Jesus and just don’t know what the next step is, then contact me or leave a comment and I will be happy to introduce you to Him.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

 

Safe in the Storm

cross

I cling to the cross when the storms roll in and the dark clouds try to distort my vision. The work Christ did and completed on the cross is my anchor.

When the waves tempt me to row in the opposite direction, Jesus calls me to the stern and He tells me to rest.

I have no need to fear when the One who created heaven and earth and speaks to every storm (even the waves obey Him) holds me in the palm of His hand.

My eyes do not have to see what my faith believes.

He is andI find my being.

Be Free & Stay Free 

 

 

Hope for Healing

John 14 18

I didn’t know my Father as a child. He knew me long before I was born, but I didn’t meet Him personally until I became an adult.

The father I knew as a child was a hurt, abusive, and angry man. I spent my early years being the recipient of his hostilities.  Since a seed reproduces from it’s own kind, he passed his hurt, abuse, and anger onto me; just as his father passed it down to him.

The trauma of living with an abusive parent manifests in different ways; causing a survivor of childhood abuse to adopt a chameleon personality. I learned to be whoever I needed to be according to the situation. Don’t misunderstand me; it is not that I purposely set out to deceive people, it was a self-protection defense. Growing up in close quarters in fear of the one who is suppose to nurture and protect you can alter your self identity and value.

You see, when you grow up walking on eggshells, you quickly learn how to tip-toe so you will not upset the one you fear. Unfortunately, this skill does carry over into other areas of your life and relationships; it’s a learned behavior. The very thing I ran from, I ran to, and if you have ever experienced long term abuse then you understand what I am saying. I ran-away from an abusive father to end up in one abusive and unhealthy relationship after another. I was so beat down I didn’t know my own worth or who I was; and if you don’t know your worth then you will accept anything.

The pattern that was embedded into me led to failed marriages, depression, anxiety, and an inability to finish things. Where I failed in one area I would try to overcompensate in other areas, leading to imbalance, more failure, self-loathing, deeper depression and guilt. I was plagued with the constant thoughts I was never going to be good enough. I became an expert at self-sabotage.

I share this with you, not to bash my father, because I have long since forgave him. Nor do I seek any kind of pity, because I have learned I am not a victim, I am conqueror. I share this personal information about me to give you hope.

What I have done in the past (and probably what you are doing now) to numb the fear and anger I had inside of me, simply did not work. Healing is for you now and for your future; it is not to change your past. Your past can’t be changed, but you can be empowered to not let your past dictate your future.

There is only One way you can truly be free. Any other way is only a temporary fix and will lead to more heartache.

Allow me to backtrack to the beginning of this post and start over. OK?

I didn’t know my Father as a child. I met Him at a time in my life when I was so low that death began to look like an option. I was weary and tired of being tired. Know what I mean? Have you ever been there?

Yet, there was this quiet inner voice of hope, almost like a whisper, and He told me to not give up. Then His voice redirected my footsteps right to the bookstore to buy a Bible. I have tried everything else and failed, so I figured I will give God a chance. Of course I didn’t understand a word I read, it may as well have been Shakespeare to me. But, He still continued to call me, He didn’t give up on me, He led me to a church filled with people who loved Him and it was there I met my Father for the very first time. Well, it was actually in my car, but God used His people in this church to lead me there.

At the advice of my pastor, I opened my Bible again and read the book of John. It was no longer Shakespeare, it was the voice of God speaking to me. It was as if my eyes had been opened for the very first time and all I could do was weep as I read about His great love for me. It felt as though Jesus Himself was sitting right next to me. Have you ever experienced this?

Can I tell you what the difference was? It was His Spirit!

For the first time in my life, I did not feel alone. For the first time I felt loved.

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What He did for me, He wants to do for you, too. He fully immersed me in His love and bathed me in His righteousness.

All the shame I carried… gone.

The fear… gone.

Anger… gone.

There is something you need to understand. From the foundation of the earth, before you were conceived in your mother’s womb, God knew you. All of your days were fashioned before Him when there was none. 

It was, and still is, never God’s will for us to suffer; especially children. You may ask, “Then why does He allow it to happen?” Ah, my friend, you are His Beloved, and because He loves us He gave each of us the freedom of choice to choose to love Him, so we may be conformed into His image. He never overrides our own will; though I can personally testify there have been many times He has super naturally came to my rescue. He has written His law in our hearts, this is what is known as a conscience. Since the fall of man, sin has entered the world and the consequence affects generations, even the innocent. Do you understand this?

The second greatest gift He gives us is the ability to forgive. When you have reached the sweet place of being able to forgive the one who hurt you, then you will be truly free from your past. Please, understand forgiveness does not excuse or justify the wrong, it sets you free from the injury. Forgiveness cuts all ties with what was meant to destroy you. Forgiveness works hand in hand with the cleansing of God to purify and renew you. It brings healing and deliverance and sets you free to be the person He created you to be from the foundation of the earth. It is like taking off the sunglass in a dark room and suddenly everything becomes bright and you are able to see.

When His Spirit helped me to remove my sunglasses of unforgiveness I was able to see who the true enemy really was. It wasn’t my father. It was Satan and the works from hell working through my father. Forgiveness gave me the ability to see my father as a hurting man who carried injury from his childhood and passed it down to me. He is a lost man in need of a Savior, just as we all are before we know Christ. We have all hurt people out of our own injury; it may not have been the same injury that was caused to us as children, but we have all been in a place of needing forgiveness.

For your own soul’s sake, do not withhold forgiveness. I am not saying it will be easy. You may have to forgive everyday until you come to the place where you can say, “It is well with my soul.” You may even need some help walking through this, a Christian counselor perhaps. But, I do know His Holy Spirit can and will comfort  and help you.

And know this, you are never alone. Your Heavenly Father is close to the broken hearted and He has not left you as an orphan.

 Be Free & Stay Free