Return To Sassafras

After a grueling long year of hibernating under restrictions of Covid-19 and trying to breathe through those dreadful masks, I was more than ready to get out in nature and enjoy the enthralling brilliance and refined beauty that exists on our planet. I consider myself fortunate and blessed to have in my back yard, well, practically in my back yard, regal landscapes fit for a Queen. Blue skies that canopy mountains with a bluish color from the isoprene released into the atmosphere contributing to the haze on the mountains thus giving them their blue hue, and this is why they are called the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachians Mountains.

At 3,563 feet in elevation, and a very windy day, I was able to hike and take in fresh air and grab some beautiful photos all while going solo. When you’re alone you can take your time, observe, discover a living and breathing environment as birds make their distinctive calls while other mountain creatures scurry about inhabiting their territory. I keep in mind its their domain and we are allowed to visit and while given this honor to be a part of their environment, we should take note of how unprejudiced and content they are to cohabitate without retribution to color, race and any other factors that we humans seemingly have forgotten about. I must say, there is a wealth of understanding to be learned from our fellow creatures of the land.

The following photos were taken by me with my handy dandy cell phone camera. Not the best by any means for photography but being that my GoPro was empty of its SIM card, unknowingly, and all those photos taken were not there, the cell phone has to suffice.

As you may know by now, I cannot create and write without one of the cats being part of the equation. They all are fascinated by the laptop, maybe the brightness of the light or the clicking of the keys, whatever it might be, there is always one of the cats here to offer their contribution and help for each piece. This blog is not complete without giving completion its due respect. Today, due respect goes to Miss Lilly, the Queen of the cat lair here in the foothills of the those blue mountains…

Truth: Segment 1. The Sabbath

I grew up a preacher’s kid where honoring God’s word was priority in our household. As I grew older I had many questions about many things in the Bible but no one was able to provide an answer that I was satisfied with. Just a couple of years ago, one of those questions came to mind and I haven’t been the same since. I began studying and researching for the truth and during this time, the devil started strategizing and scheming against me, even assaulting me with a barrage of insults against my intelligence because he knew once I realized the real truth I would become a real threat to him. Thus, that is now my strategy.

I know you’re wondering what that question might be so I’ll just jump in and tell you. But before I tell, I want to reiterate that God’s word, the Holy Bible, has become my standard for living and through many hours I have concluded that the Bible does not contradict itself, nor is it false in any account as many have made it their life to discredit the Word of God and try to prove that it is not truth. The question today is; is the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday?

Let’s get into it…

Firstly, I am going to be raw, brutally honest with no sugar coating of the truth I have now embraced and honor. A part of me is angry that I was never taught the real truth but the other part of me believes that ignorance kept those of old from realizing the truth as well. I don’t blame them, but I will say this; for those who do know the truth and do not honor it and refrain from practicing it, you are in danger spiritually and I am about to show you. I will be taking questions from a book called Mark Of The Beast by E.G. White and answering with scriptural verses so that it will be easy to understand.

If you have a Biblical question its better to go to the source than take man’s word for it.
Q. Tell me, Lord, do you have a special day of rest for your followers?
A. ” I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” (Revelation 1:10)
Q. But which day is the Lord’s Day? Which day are You Lord of?
A. “The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” (Matt. 12:8)
Q. There are seven days in the week. Which day is the Sabbath day?
A. “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” (Fourth commandment) (Exodus 20:8)
Q. Which day, according to our reckoning, is the seventh day, Saturday or Sunday?
A. Pay close attention to this verse: “And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James…very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre, they saw a young man…And he saith unto them, be not affrighted; Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth which was crucified; he is risen.” (Mark 16: 1-6). (Note: everybody knows that Sunday was the ressurection day. The Sabbath was past when it dawned. Thus it is evident that the Saturday is evident that the Sabbath is Saturday, the day before Sunday.)
Q. But Lord, didn’t you abolish the law which contains the Sabbath commandment?
A. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matt. 5:17)
Q. Well, at least, didn’t you change one of the commandments so that today your followers may keep another day than the seventh day?
A. “For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt. 5:18)
Q. But, Lord, isn’t Saturday a Jewish day? Isn’t the seventh day the Sabbath of the Jews?
A. “The Sabbath was made for man.” (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath was made and given to man 1500 years before the existence of a Jew. (See Genesis 2: 1-3)

Q. Someone told me that after Your cucifixion, Lord, your followers no longer kept the seventh-day Sabbath according to the commandment. Is this true?
A. ” And that day was the preparation day and the Sabbath drew on. And the woman also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the Sepulchre, and how His body was laid. And they returned and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.” (Luke 23:54-56)
Q. But didn’t the apostle Paul always meet with the early Christians on Sunday in honor of the ressurection? What was his manner in regard to a day of worship?
A. “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, nd three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.” (Acts 17:2)
Q. Did he meet with the Gentile converts on the Sabbath, too? Perhaps he met with the Jews on the Sabbath and the Greeks on Sunday. What about that?
A. “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” (Acts 18:4)
Q. What did Paul teach in regard to Sabbath keeping?
A. “There therefore remaineth a keeping of the Sabbath (margin) to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works as God did from His.” (Hebrews 4:9, 10)
Q. But, which day did Paul mean when he spoke of resting as God did?
A. For he spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, ‘And God did rest the seventh day from all His works.'” (Hebrews 4;4)

Q. Is this, then, your instruction in regard to Sabbath keeping?
A. “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27). (In the New Testament there are no less that 59 references to the Sabbath. The book of Acts records 84 Sabbaths on which the Apostle Paul and his associates held religious services. Yet there is not one word in the entire Bible authorizing Sunday keeping).
Q. Then why is it so many people keep Sunday instead of Saturday? If the Bible teaches Sabbath keeping, how and by whom was Sunday keeping introduced into Christianity?
A. ” And he ( the ‘little horn’ power) shall speak great words against the Most High…and think to change times and laws.” (Daniel 7:25)
Q. The Roman Catholic Church is the little horn of Daniel 7; do you mean that it should think to change the law of God?
A. “Ask now the priests concerning the law.” (Haggai 2:11)
Q. Very well, I will ask Stephen Keenan, a Catholic Priest: Does your church think it has the power to change the law of God?
A. ” Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day of the week, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.” (Doctrinal Catechism, page 174).

Q. Do Protestant ministers agree with this?
A. Congregationalist: “It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath.” (Dr. R. W. Dale, The Ten Commandments, page 106).
Methodist: “Sabbath in the Hebrew language signifies rest and is the seventh day of the week….and it must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day.” (Buck’s Theological Dictionary).
Baptist: “There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week… Where can the record of such a transfer be found? Not in the New Testament-absolutely not…Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did not come into use in early Christian history…But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the Papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism.” (Dr. E.T Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual).
Q. What difference does it make which day I keep? A day is a day isn’t it?
A. “Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16)
Q. Then what shall I do, obey the Sabbath of God’s commandment or keep the Sunday of man?
A. “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
Q. Well, Lord, what do You think of Sunday keeping?
A. “Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15: 6,9)
Q. But surely the millions of people who keep Sunday can’t be wrong, can they?
A. ” Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7;13, 14) (Only a few obeyed God in the days of Noah, in the days of Lot, in the days of Christ. The majority were lost).
Q. But Dr. So-and-so is a very wise man: Why doesn’t he and all the great preachers keep the Sabbath?
A. “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Cor. 1:26, 27). (Note: The great religious leaders in Christ’s day rejected the truth also. His followers were of the common people).

Q. But I have accepted Jesus; I know He is my Saviour; I know He has accepted me and I have been keeping Sunday. Surely I would not be lost if I did not keep the Sabbath now, would I?
A. “A time of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30)
Q. I know you, Lord. You wouldn’t condemn me for breaking the Sabbath, would you?
A. “He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4)
Q. But isn’t it sufficient that I love the Lord and live by the law of love?
A. “If ye love me, keep My commandments.” (John 14;15)
Q. Does that mean all ten of them?
A. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)
Q. Well, I think that if we try to follow Jesus, that is all that is necessary. Isn’t that right, Jesus?
A. ” He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” (1 John 2;6)
Q. How do you walk, Lord what was your custom?
A. “And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up for to read.” (Luke 4:16)
Q. But, Lord, that was over 1900 years ago. Wouldn’t you keep some other day than Saturday if you should come to earth today?
A. “I am the Lord, I change not.” (Malachi 3;6) “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Q. Does my salvation depend upon my obedience to this Sabbath injunction?
A. “And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” ( Hebrews 5:9)
Q. Do you think it would be absolutely necessary to keep the commandments to receive eternal life?
A. ” If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matt. 19:17)

Q. But I still can’t see why You insist on the seventh day, Lord. Isn’t Sunday as good as Saturday?
A. “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” (Gen. 2:3) ” He hath blessed and I cannot reverse it.” (Numbers 23;20) ” For Thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed for ever.” (1 Chron. 17:27)
Q. Well, it seems to me that if I keep one day in seven, regardless of which one, that ought to be good enough.
A. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25) ” Spiritual things… are spiritually discerned.” ( 1 Cor. 2;13, 14)
Q. But, Lord! Lord! Can’t I do something else? Won’t my profession get me into heaven?
A. Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21)
Q. But I pray.
A. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9)
Q. But, Lord, look at the people who work miracles in Your name. Some heal the sick, others talk in tongues and do many wonderful things; yet they do not keep the Sabbath. What about them?
A. “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: Depart from Me.” (Matt. 7:22, 23)
Q. Yes, I know the Sabbath is right; but my business would suffer if I closed on Sabbath. I might lose my job. I wouldn’t get ahead in the world.
A. “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)
Q. Well, for myself I wouldn’t care; but what about my family? Wouldn’t it be better for me to work on the Sabbath than to let my family starve?
A. “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things; but seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:32,33) ” I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Ps. 27:25)
Q. My friends will laugh at me and ridicule me.
A. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you…and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake; rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.” (Matt. 5:11,12) “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)
Q. But suppose my own family does not agree with me. Should I go against their wishes, which would mean in some cases a division in the home?
A. “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; And he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me: And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matt. 10:37, 38) “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all he hath, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:33)

Q. I am afraid I won’t be able to withstand all these trials. I am too weak.
A. “My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness…When I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9, 10) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” ( Phil. 4;13)
Q. Then, Lord, what is the reward for being faithful to You and the commandments?
A. “There is no man that left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children. for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come, life everlasting.” (Luke 18:29, 30) ” Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Rev. 22:14)
Q. Lord, I’m looking forward to a home in the earth made new, will we keep the Sabbath there too?
A. “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain; and it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 66:22,23)
Q. Then, Lord, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. With Your help, I will keep the Sabbath.
A. Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matt.25:21)

Way back in history in the early part of the fourth century, there was an Emperor named Constantine. He made a decree and issued it making Sunday a public festival, a day the sun was revered by pagan worshippers and that same was honored by Christians which is what the goal of Constantine was all along to bring together heathenism and Christianity. Gradually, throughout time, Christians became accepting and to this day most honor Sunday, the first day of the week, as their Sabbath. I was one of them until my eyes were opened. So if you were to ask, which day do you observe as the Sabbath? I would proudly proclaim as a memorial to my Creator, my Father God, that I now observe the true seventh Day, Saturday! I will not go back as I have been directed to the Scriptures that safe-guard me against influences of false teachers. and the delusive power of spirits of darkness.

I’ll leave you with this; We are free to obey whoever we want and whenever we want. But Paul says, “Is he now free to transgress God’s law? Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.” “How shall we, that are dead to sin live any longer therein?” And John declares, “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandment: and His commandments are not grievous” (Romans 3:31; 6,2; 1 John 5;3) “In the new birth the heart is brought into harmony with God, as it is brought into accord with His law…” E.G. White

This Side Of The Daisies

As I stare at my omnipresent cellphone quietly giving it thanks that I don’t have to bother with it when time goes through its change, it makes me feel some kind of way. I hardly wear a wristwatch anymore, but have welcomed the smart watch that actually sits in the box it came in, rather than on my arm. I purchased it because of the fitness tracker feature and I liked the fact it did more than just keep time. I think I was really bored that day when I purchased the watch, needless to say, I’m not that impressed with the little gadget, but how can I be when it stays inside that box?

Talking about time, I remember this time last year, walking into the house from a gold-mining trip with my oldest son only to get the disturbing news we had just entered a lockdown. Covid-19 made its debut! Even though its been around for a while, Covid decided to go global. Little did we know our business would shut down, toilet paper would become a necessity hard to find anymore, and our lives would change. And boy, did it!

We learned to appreciate fresh air and ” I don’t have time” had become an outdated excuse. We accepted the fact that those conversations about who does what and when it needs to be done was no longer on autopilot but we all agreed that we should survive! During this time of uncertainty, I reflected on many things, especially things that were very important to me and understanding “quarantine” finally became reality. I dove into my bible studies and it has helped me to reconnect to my spiritual side. I embraced the time allotted me to work on my arts and share them with my surrounding neighbors. I even recharged some old batteries in my physical being and started a work-out routine that I have been faithful to and its paying off.

Just like many of you, I have experienced many ups and downs this past year and at times, I really couldn’t see the sun for those dark clouds which hung around for quite some time. I have given much thought to those who have lost their lives to this dreaded pandemic and the lives of those who were left to grieve such a horrible loss. But many people were left to cope with sudden death, and there were those who are left with the haunting grief and sadness from not being able to be with their loved one as they breathed their last breath. These images stick in my head and brings tears to my eyes as I understand all too well the gripping fate of losing a loved one more times than I care to mention.

However, I am thankful that we made this far even though we lost so much, we didn’t lose each other and the value of life is so precious and priceless because we do not set a value by material possessions, our successes, titles, etc, even though our government seems to put an economic value of life upon us, the real value comes from within, from our actions and attitudes, the wisdom we learn as we grow then pass it to our children, how we live and how we love but most importantly, how we learn about our own value, our worth and how we contribute our lessons in the lives of others. Its not what you were born with but what you choose to do with it. None of us know exactly where this year will take us, but we have the lesson we learned from last year to remind us to love whole heartedly and never take for granted our loved ones, our friends, our planet.

Every morning I remind myself to be happy that I opened my eyes and feel the breath of my cat, Lily breathing closely in my face reminding me it’s time for her to eat. I am so thankful that I get to write about things while sipping on hot tea and trying to explain to the other cats that I don’t need their help writing my blog. I am so blessed to be on the other side of the daisies and I feel honored to be given this time that I can work on and improve myself to give back to God who gives me life and my fellow earthlings whom we all share this same big rock and make my time something worthy of giving an account for when my time comes to stand before God. But until then, life goes on……

Fight For Sanity

I hear your portentous roar as you blast my last ounce of peace
Leaving thoughts scathed, only to conspire my joy to incessantly cease.
Once a trickle, now your favoring gales, pursues its course to kill
Relentless force, dark clouds churn, your felon winds no longer still.

You blot my mind into a dark canopy above my culminating sights
This ineluctable arraignment within my being is the trying hour I fight.
The storm continues his grim seduction drowning me in the depth of darkness
Where lies my strength in this pinnacle of time, renounced from my tender catharsis.

(If you suffer depression, don’t stand in the fury of your storm alone. Don’t wait until you’re bent from the beating of its thunder where you must crawl your way out. We can’t control nature’s fury, but we can control the horrific winds of depression by reaching out for help. I have suffered a very deep dark pit where longing to die was my prayer. I tried to reach out for help only to be told “just snap out of it!” I learned I could not trust my sanity with just anyone, for not everyone understands depression and you need safeguards whom you can trust to throw out that life-line when you need it. If you are a sufferer or know someone who is, don’t be afraid to ask for help, it could save your life).

A Higher Love

Robed in starry wonder as the tick of time carries on,
Through the space of the eternals, love dances like angelic swans.

A starlet brow across the expand is wisdom from the high throne,
A silvery delight from a world far away, designed by love that’s unknown.

Time is resplendent enchanted by hues of the grand design,
We exist for sacred worship upon this rock, our mortal shrine.

May peace be our gate we enter and gather like stars thereof,
May love be our splendor and fly us beyond the pinnacles above.

by Jane Hardin

Misty Rain

Misty rain come softly, dampen my unquenchable soul
Awaken the delusion of love’s emancipation
For on winged l’amour shall your hallowed dew flow.

May the rain soften burdens, water barren deserts within
Augment my place of dry mournful plight
Then forth love shall arise and to heights love shall ascend.

Come oh misty rain…

by Jane Hardin

Photo by Internet Wallpaper

Love Of My Soul

My heart to thee I succumb to your passion,
I melt in your scent fall into your ascension.
Touch my lips orchestrate your love so tender,
I whisper dance me sweet in all your splendor.
Lose me in your heart where I long to stay,
Where love beats unrestrainedly passions never fade.
I simply adore you O’ love of my soul,
I want I need you please never let me go.

by Jane Hardin

I Wait

I waited for you to crash into my life
And leave me breathless
I waited for your touch to make me feel alive
And love to compel us

I waited for my wings to spread and take flight
And fly us beyond the stars
I waited for lovely unconsciousness of sprite
To free us from these bars

I waited for your fingerprints upon my skin
And your signature across my heart
I waited and waited for love to begin
And love found not its part

I waited for you to realize my love for you
And us to be as one
I waited and waited but you wished me adieu
Yet, I still wait while your heart runs

by Jane Hardin

The Sacred

The thirst for your voice, the sweetness of your words, oh how they fill my void
Take me to the fount where you pour into my soul a drop of your wondrous joy.

The flow caresses me in soft, tender light from the wondrous face of heaven
Oh you, my most high, dismantle my throes and acquit my throne of leaven.

Embrace me, under your sacred wing from whence my help doth come
Allow your steadfast truth to cleanse the heart of this broken one.

With bright’ning hope on rays of light that penetrate the depths within
Send forth your burning flame of love let the sacred in hearts live therein.

by Jane Hardin

He Prepares The Heart

So often, mankind departs from simplicity immersing himself in the cares and pursuits of his own doings. He becomes scattered among the throes inside his heart and delves into the paroxysm of his mourning. Oh what sullen temperaments we bring upon our own beings! I for one have held that title of guilt and the hauntings that were attached to its veracities that never faded. But God in His simplistic yet mysterious and sovereign ways came inside the darkest of dark and took hold of that which had settled and made its home inside my heart and sentenced those very antagonizing holds to death and tossed the remnants into that sea of forgetfulness far beyond my realm, as far as the east is from the west.

This morning I sang a song, one that we all are familiar with, one that rises from within us every Christmas season, and I do realize it’s not Christmas, but a song that inspires my writing today. “Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room.” “LET EVERY HEART PREPARE HIM ROOM! I stopped here and pondered on those words, “let every heart prepare him room”. How do we prepare a heart? How do we make room for Him? God! First of all, we need to make room by clearing out all the stuff whatever that stuff might be, clutter, lots of clutter perhaps and as for me, my clutter was stashed in every corner and empty space, its no wonder my mind was consumed to the point I couldn’t form a complete sentence in my thoughts, nevertheless the clutter had to go and it wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen on my own doings.

I began to wonder if my heart was a stanza of allegory or fable, whatever the mode of accounting was, it was not stable in any sense of the word. A coupe of weeks ago, I broke! I gave in to the battle of my mind. I found myself grieving deeply of my past sins. Sins I had already been forgiven of but had not forgiven myself. I wept bitterly until my eyes became swollen and burned from intensity of my groanings. I felt far from peace. Far from anyone who meant anything to me, far as in deep exile. A sorrowful constraint that words do not describe. I told God that I accept my lot in life and I didn’t expect blessings from Him nor did I feel worthy. But little did I know that God was already preparing my heart for this season in my life. And indeed, what a blessing it truly is!

In 2016, on a cold Wednesday night, I sat on the back pew during a bible study in church in Aiken, S.C. Each person was given a little sheet of paper with nothing on it but a scripture from the Bible. Mine was from Isaiah 57:15. I tucked the little piece of paper in my Bible and after service ended, I went home and read my passage. I really didn’t think much of it, nor did I consider it relevant and left the little nugget inside perhaps for another space and time. As the years have passed, I have often seen the paper while flipping through those sacred pages of the word of God and would read the passage but no magical phenomenon occurred, no light bulb moment intervened, until last night.

Since that night in 2016 my heart was being prepared through pruning. As a Christian, it’s necessary for God to prune our hearts since we are chosen to bear lasting fruit. And more times than not during this pruning process, God seemed millions of miles away. He seemed distant to the point that I felt He had separated himself from me. But as truth will have it, He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He might step aside to allow his Spirit to do deep works in our hearts but he will NEVER abandon you. This depth is a journey not an overnight miracle, and in my heart there was a lot of pruning to be done. God also prepares the heart through repentance like the heart of king David. God wants first place in our hearts and if He isn’t first place then He is a jealous God. If He is not first place, then we should do a census on the idols and destroy their very nature to make room for our Creator. What is your heart representing spiritually? Its a good question one we all should ask ourselves.

Last night, while tip-toeing, so-to-speak, through scriptures, that little bible verse handwritten on that little piece of paper fell out. If you know me, you know I do not believe in coincidences. I picked it up and sat it on the table beside me. I read a couple of chapters, random chapters nothing that seemed to be a characteristic of any particular aspect of any certain emotion I was feeling. Just a mere moment of reading just to be reading. But I quickly learned I had an assignment to be where I was exactly when I was there. I picked up that little piece of paper to put back inside my Bible. I stared at it for a moment wondering why I had kept it for so long. I knew the Bible verse, but something deep inside me told me to go back and read it again.

Isaiah 57:15 NIV “For this is what the high and lofty One says- He who lives forever, whose name is Holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.'” I knew this was a divine appointment. So I began to study those two words, “lowly” and “contrite.” My eyes welled up in tears as I took sincere notice of what contrite really is. In Bible terms, a contrite heart is a heart that is filled with a sense of guilt and a deep longing for atonement, penitent, a show of deep remorse. Someone like me who had been broken from her past, full of regret full of deep sorrow, and from deep moral earnestness, someone who even had nerve to ask God to allow her to go back and start all over. That’s how deep I had plunged and how contrite my heart really had become.

After reading this verse I broke yet again. This time, it was tears of joy, thankfulness, gratitude to God who was opening my eyes to a fact that He indeed had forgiven me but I had to forgive myself and the only way I could do that was to know that God truly understood my heart and know He was and has been with me through all this lingering sorrow. He knew this day would come hence preparing my heart for such a time as this since 2016 in a church on a cold Wednesday night, holding that little piece of paper that has more meaning to me now and will always reside in the address of the book of Isaiah. This may seem minute to someone else maybe perhaps even you, but to me it has been a major feat in my walk with Christ. One I could not wait to testify of.

I felt every regret, every remorse, every guilt being lifted from my soul just knowing that the God who lives in a high and holy place also lives inside my heart, my contrite and lowly heart where his love broke through and gathered all of those emotional infirmities and healed that brokenness and restored comfort to me where now my words are words of praise to Him.

If you are experiencing the same realm of emotions and are not sure of where your heart is when it comes down to the matters therein, God wants to meet you in your place of need where He will prepare your heart for the healing that you so desire. It’s a process, but soon your joy will come in the morning and you will find yourself immersed in the love and compassion God has for each and every one of us if we only share our sorrows with him. Sometimes, you can only communicate with tears and that’s okay because to God, our tears are a language and they are so important to Him that He puts them in bottles. He knows the story behind your tears and He is there to comfort us, heal us and give you joy that you will not be able to explain. Man cannot do this for you, no licensed therapist can come close, only the One who designed and created you can bring you this completeness.