No Weapon Formed Against Me… 

This journey is full of ups and downs. Inner struggles and nettlesome stings of hopelessness and fears digging deeper into its comfort in my mind. My eyes tire from an unchanging path and that old friend, depression is knocking at the door. I choose each morning to commit my life and my day to God, that part is easy, it’s the actual getting through the day without a battle and today was not an exception.

My morning started great. I chased a rising sun while admiring a super moon still hanging in view from a frozen wintry sky. When I got to work, I noticed there was a huge cloud in the shape of a pure white feather. It hung there just for me. I took a picture of it feeling that perhaps my angel left it behind reminding me I’m always guarded. Little did I know God was preparing me for front line duty this very day.

Somewhere along the way, my peace began to drain and before I knew it, I was plunged into battle being the target every enemy of mine was aiming for. I panicked and ran from underneath the wings of my Father God. I felt I had to take matters into my own hands. I couldn’t grasp any common sense whatsoever. The voices were interrogating me, demanding me and pushing me to do as they say. It was more than I could bear. My trust in God went flying out the door and I honestly felt it was my duty to start acting according to my own will. I did!

I tried to do things my way, but it didn’t work. Weapons of destruction had formed against me, but even with all of my effort being placed at my will, those weapons didn’t prosper. They didn’t work! You see, that moment we earnestly wait for God to do something and we don’t see the evidence according to how we think it is to go, we feel we have to start implementing the plan as we think it should be done. Yes, we said we trusted God. We told Him we did, but when it came to words being said and meaning them, those abstract ideas became our defining moment, yeah, we figured it out and we called it God’s plan for us. But….. that’s not how it works.

I love the story of the woman with an issue. Believe me, it was definitely an issue no woman would want to deal with. Just maybe, all of those years of struggling with this problem that held her prisoner in her own body, she might have said those words, “I have faith and trust in God. ” But to truly have faith and trust in the almighty, one must demonstrate it. In her heart something powerful sprang forth a burning desire that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not hold her back from acting on it. She said,” if I could just touch his clothes, I know I will be made whole and clean.” She didn’t stop there. She made her way through the madness, through the fears, through the doubts and voices telling her she couldn’t and she crawled her way through the crowd and touched the very garment Jesus was wearing. That’s faith! It’s more than just the ceremony of words being said. It means you will be pressed, stretched, pulled and your faith will be tested. Are you ready for that? Is it worth it to you?

By nighttime, I was drained physically from my hard core efforts of worrying. I was mentally stressed from trying to figure it out on my own. I broke down and cried. I felt defeated and my giant had beat the living daylight out of me. I then realized, I had just went through a warfare of faith and fear. I went outside to get fresh air. I checked the mail, and inside the mailbox was a little pamphlet from Billy Graham. And the words written on the cover said, “Be still and know that I am God.” That was a major confirmation that I needed at that exact moment.

God was telling me the battle isn’t mine……God was telling me to rest on his promises….That my friend takes an act of faith especially when your world has flipped upside down and the only way out IS an act of God. After reading those assuring words, I felt calm. I felt the safety and comfort of God’s perfect and pure white feathers embracing me and hiding me under the shadow of His wing. Do I think the cloud feather was a coincidence? Absolutely not for I don’t believe in coincidence. Do I feel finding that booklet from Billy Graham on this exact day with the exact words I needed to calm my storm a coincidence? Absolutely not!

As I write these words, I feel peace inside. I may have to struggle again tomorrow and fight my way through my inner battles but in my heart, I know that I know that God is working on me and this faith thing and He will shine through my very darkness….

By Jane Hardin

Turn On The Light… 

It’s a familiar place with familiar emotions. The still of the silence is incredibly loud. Louder than what I care to listen to. Even an old familiar song makes his way into my head.

“Hello darkness,  my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again….” I feel the shadows gathering and I begin to question,  what will become of me? With the darkness come fear and a basket full of ugly…So again, I ask, what will become of me? 
“In restless dreams I walked alone.” Paul Simon must have experienced a real encounter with something that shook his world with an influence to  pen this song back in the early sixties. At 5:30 this morning, I was still awake staring into the abyss outside my bedroom window. I’m very fortunate to have such a beautiful view at night from my room upstairs. The trees, the moon and stars that peep through the branches is an incredible sight which is why I leave the blinds pulled, just so I can lie in bed and adore the sky above me.

But adoration was far from my mind. The only occupants in my head were hard tears that spoke without speaking and those voices hearing without listening and dared me to disturb the sound of silence, the dark which seemed more like a fearsome jungle. 

At a quarter till six, my two cats, Rodimus and Optimus Prime cuddled up to me together. It’s rare that they do this at the same time. I choose to believe they too felt the awkwardness of the darkness or the nagging nudge of first dawn arriving knowing their human would rebuttel the adage, “rise and shine.” . They knew something wasn’t right with me. That alone caused a shift in my silent behavior sending me out of my bed and straight to the light switch where I killed that sullen black emptiness. 

It was quite liberating actually. I got the full vision of all of my surroundings and the light casted a new view, a new perspective. All of those dark emotions that entertained me all night long suddenly vanished and I could smile simply because there was  light and my confidence increased with my new visibility. My old friend, “darkness” was relinquished and there was noise. Pillows being fluffed a bed being made and talking to my sweet adorable cats while they sat there staring at me in unison, I knew they thought I was crazy. But I noticed with the light on, I felt calm, peaceful and was able to hum a tune or two. I could sense a new destination arise in me, fears being diminished.

It’s amazing what light can do to the darkness. Jesus IS the light! The light that is the true gospel. There will be moments we all will face some harsh battles in the dark. You will cry. You will feel empty, hopeless, worthless, guilt, anger and the list goes on. This is where we should run to the light. There is safety there. Jesus said, ” I am the true light that lighteth every man that come into the world.” When we realize the light is our source, it’s comforting to know that our next battles with monsters of the night can be tamed by simply taking charge and turning on the light.

We have the gift of light. Not only is it for our own battles, but for others who fall over the stumps and roots of the earth at night. When your brother or your sister fall into hard times, don’t just offer your prayer, take your light to them and extend your hand. What would Jesus do? He would do the same! He would pick you up and remind you to fear not and assure you He’s with you always. A little light is a sure cure for the sound of silence….

By Jane Hardin 

Take My Hand… 

The news wasn’t exactly what I was expecting today but knew eventually it would come. I had been telling myself to prepare, but also could not let go of my hope that it would last a little bit longer.

The new year, 2018, is upon us. Only two days away. Today, I learned my job will end in February of this new year rolling in. I was the only employee called in to be told the news face to face. The other girls were sent texts which I felt was incredibly sad feeling they too deserved to be told in person.

I came back home feeling kind of numb, yet relieved. Just this morning, I committed my day and everything in it to God. You see, I’m learning to trust. My trust issues have been one for the books and it has proven to be a sloppy area in my life. I suppose God doesn’t like sloppy and now it’s sink or swim.

I sit on my sofa all noise blocked out and I whisper to my Heavenly Father. There are moments I don’t know what to say, then other moments I remind myself out loud that I made a commitment to God to give each day  and comitt everything in it to Him. But, that familiar battle begins in my mind. That inner struggle. Tears swell, then overflow. I catch myself falling, regressing back to a past I have tried to escape for so long.

For a moment, I close my eyes and there I am. Alone on a boat, on an angry raging sea. I feel fear begin to rear it’s ugly head but I tell it not this time! No more! Then out of the darkness,  a hand reaches toward me and I hear His words softly and tenderly, “take my hand and wade out with me. Not in the safety zone, but where the waters are deep.” I didn’t waste time taking His hand. I felt peace surge through my being.

Yes, it was a moment of imagination but only because I immediately thought of Christ’s followers on their mission at sea one night when they became faithless and fearful as a monstrous storm found them. Jesus came to them saying “do not be afraid.” Jesus reached His hand out and told his follower, Peter, to leave the safety of the boat and walk with Him on water. Peter did! But quickly took His eyes off of his safety net, Jesus Christ, and fear began to sink him.

As for me, I’m tired of sinking. I want and need a brand new start. I don’t want to look back in my past moments and relive those fears. I’ll only look back to look at what God saved me from. I will take His hand now and step out of the boat. Many claim the boat is the safety net, but God tells me to take His hand and not depend on what I think I know,  but rather believe and trust in what His plans for my future are and it certainly doesn’t involve a boat on an angry sea….

By Jane Hardin

Faith, Fear, Insanity oh my. 

As I stared at the brilliant, faceted stone on my finger, I felt that familiar ache in my belly.  My mind had begun war within itself. I found myself looking full face into the eyes of fear just minutes after telling God I trusted Him. 

I’ve been carrying a heavy load on my shoulders for over six months. That load held my financial burdens, my health issues and a great fear with two annoying words attached, “what if?” But, in my moments of doubts and fears, there was a paradox: though I felt so all alone in my messed up crazy mindset, I wasn’t alone or so the Bible told  me so. This is where insanity kicked in. 

I’m the type of person who is constantly doing reality checks and in one minute I’m pouring my heart out to God when fear launches itself into my mind and the next,  I’m confident and at peace that God has got this. It’s like my mind is on some kind of acid trip or it has a vicious case of bi-polar on steroids. The struggle is definitely real. I often feel like I’m the referee and my contenders are always faith and fear. I see myself standing between the two trying to keep the one from attacking the other. It’s enough to make anyone crazy! 

So, while staring at that ring on my finger as I lay in bed sick with pneumonia, left brain and right brain hashing it out, insanity sitting on her pinnacle, I wondered. I stared and I wondered about how messed up can a human really become. My thoughts swarming with chaos and voices screaming in both ears, “you’re going to make it” “you’re not going to make it!” All of this accompanied by another voice, “it doesn’t have to be this way, you could end all of the madness right now and never worry again.” I’m not sure if that qualifies me as suicidal and I choose to say I’m not suicidal because I know I could never pull it off. But still, that one voice I believe the majority of us encounter, you know the one where you too hear those same words,” you could end all of the madness right now…” 

But….. somewhere in the grueling mess of my mental struggle, there’s another voice. It’s kind. It’s soft and peaceful. It doesn’t scream out at me. It whispers and is calming. It’s God! He reminds me to cast all of my fears, struggles and contenders on His shoulders. He reminds me that the battle isn’t mine to let Him have it.  I always wind up apologizing to God for doing exactly what He tells me not to do over and over again in His word. DO NOT FEAR! 

Tonight, that war was raging in my head. It felt like a searing wilderness and the land of promise strategically placed side by side and all I had to do was make a choice to decide which side I wanted to be standing on. The battle was breaking me to the point I started questioning the almighty one. You know. Questions like, “where are you in all of this God?”  “Why are you allowing this to happen when you know I want so badly to just trust and believe?”  His answer? There wasn’t one! 

Until….. 

 In my moment of collision, I’m reminded that fear is not of God. I’m also reminded that it only takes a little faith, you know, a little dab will do you kind of faith? It’s a choice we are given. Who and what are we going to believe? In my moment of chaos, I cried out to God to please calm my inner storm more like an inner violent hurricane and just give me some kind of something, anything, a sign, just something to let me know He’s listening. Then, I open my Bible app on my phone and there was my peace card. A sign. My favorite Bible verse in big print jumping out at me. “But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they  shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:13

My sovereign Lord. He measures waters in the palm of his hand and holds dust of the earth in a basket and even weighs mountains on the scales. He knows the number of hairs on my head and even knows every tit and tat that finds it’s way into my crazy brain. After all, He did create me and promised me and you, He would never leave us nor forsake us even when we beg to differ. It’s up to us! It’s our decision to make that choice. Faith or Fear…. Trust me, you can’t have both going on, that’s insanity! It’s my belief, that it’s not a one time choice. We have to decide every single day upon awakening how it’s going to be. I’m learning this on my journey in my crazy messed up world. 

From my heart to yours, don’t settle for crazy! Don’t allow fear  a very ugly,  vicious contender to sabotage your world. It will! 

By Jane Hardin 

February- Heart Month

This blog is dedicated to my precious mother, Savannah I. Hardin.

Since the death of my mother, I vowed to educate women to the best of my knowledge on heart disease which is the number one killer among women. Cardivascular disease is also the leading cause of death in the USA with one in every three deaths being related to heart disease and stroke which equals to  two thousand, two hundred deaths per day.

It is my mission to do all I can to stress the importance of good health and healthy habits. I have had to make choices for improvement and prevention. Heart disease runs rampant in my family genes due to high blood pressure and cholesterol problems which are brought on by bad choices and lack of exercise. There are many things you can do make changes to better your health. If you are a smoker, seek help and be determined to quit smoking. Eating habits are also very important. Opt for healthier recipes and drink lots of water. Exercise is also essential for good health and prevention. Just thirty minutes a day can change your life in many ways.

February is Heart Month which has been put aside by the American Heart Association which I suport. Each day this month, I will post motivatational pledges and encourage those who want to make changes in their everyday lives to improve and prevent. There are many helpful things you can do for yourself or someone whom you love. “Million Hearts” an association that has the support of multiple federal agencies including the American Heart Association and the Pharmacists Association and many others have pledged to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by the end of 2016. Their goal is to empower Americans to make healthy choices and improve care for people who need treatment. I ask that you join with me as this is a very important and personal endeavor to take the Million Hearts pledge at www.millionhearts.hhs.gov . You can also take classes at the Red Cross Assocaition for CPR and AED which is Automated External Defibrillator. It is a regret of mine for not being much prepared when my mother died in my presence as I was not qualified to help her when she needed me the most. But on her behalf and many others, I ask that you take the time and take a census of your health and be aware of the seriousness of the diseases that can claim your life in a matter of seconds.

This month wear your heart on your sleeve and show your support. Be heart healthy conscience at all times and together let’s bring those numbers down and bring healthy living up…

 

Al Anon

I am finally finding serenity through the strength of others. For over a year now, a friend of mine has encouraged me to go to Al Anon. Even though I am no longer with a family member with an active drinking problem, it was still in my best interest to find true inner healing. I had no idea just how much unhealthy leftovers were still embedded deep inside my self. Living with someone with an alcohol problem is very painful and we find ourselves caught up in the behavior of that individual. There was a time in my life, where I realized I could not change the one I loved, so I gave in and joined the band. My drinking festivities began to escalate, but by the grace of God and a strong will, I was able to back down from an everyday alcohol splurge.

My problems did not end there. I figured if I could do it, so could everyone else. I had become the self-righteous one. It was at this point, I began to blame and focus on the faults of the one who became the enemy. My husband. I felt I could honestly change his ways to match the way I felt he should be. I tried to control the situations as I saw them getting out of hand. There were public scenes, the shoving and the pushing emotionally. Then the abuse. I took on the blame and the hurt. The fears and the guilt of that alcoholic making myself sick. I would talk to others, but realized I was talking with the wrong people. The ones I confided in had no idea what I was going through. They never dealt with it nor had they been exposed to it. All they would say to me was, “I’ll pray for you.” There is nothing wrong with telling someone else that you will send up a prayer for  them. We all need it! But what I needed was for someone to tell me to get help. I needed to know I was not the problem. But there were those who made it a point to put me on that cross and place the blame on me. I began to lose my self-esteem. I started concealing my feelings and filling my self with anger and frustrations that became unmanageable. I now wanted to strike back. I felt the need to punish and make my alcoholic husband pay for all of the damage he had brought into our marraige. After all, I felt cheated, hopeless, and like life has had it’s final moments with me.

Help was no where in sight. I had to try and learn to heal on my own. I survived the best way I could find. But, something was still missing. It was me! I had not healed as I thought I had over the past few years of being alone. Those seeds that were planted inside of me grew even deeper and rooted resentment and bitterness deep in the heart of me. I did not realize how messed up I still was until a dear friend recognized our conversations were about the alcoholic and what he did to destroy me. That was a definite indication of someone not healed. He kept insisting I go to Al Anon. “But why should I. I am no  longer with this man,” would always be my excuse. Finally after the pleading and the pushing, I gave in. Now, I will forever be indebted to this man for caring enough and having the knowledge enough to know exactly what I needed to heal. A place where judgement is not allowed. No pointing fingers and condemning. I am learning it was not my fault. I am learning to forgive myself so I can better forgive others. Now, I want to encourage you to join Al Anon. If you have a member of your family, or know someone close who is an alcoholic, I strongly urge you to give in and take that step. It’s never to late to pick yourself up out of those ashes. You will be accepted no matter what. The support is there and it will turn your life around. Then, you will be able to truly reach out to others who might be facing the same as you. You will also understand you and the alcoholism.

Al Anon Family Groups are located everywhere. They offer hope for families and friends of alcoholics. You can go to wso@al-anon.org. Or  if there is a teen who has a problem, you can find help at www.al-anon.alateen.org.  Take that step and go the distance…

Grief

This week has been an emotional land-mine. From family issues to news of those in my past who are no longer with us. My heart could not find a moment of safe haven as the news, bitter as it was, made constant it’s comfort as it broke through the lives and brought grief unbearable. I, like so many others, know grief first hand and it’s unwelcoming bite. I remember my first real encounter with this monster was when my brother died. No one expected such a tragedy. I had feelings I could not understand. At first, there was denial, then anger. I watched my mom slip into nothingness as the pain was too harsh for her. My dad tried to be strong, but even I could recognize the hurt that eventually brought him to his knees.

Then the unthinkable happened. I lost my mom when her very life source gave way and claimed her being. Again, I watched my dad suffer as loss made him prisoner holding him in the chains that none of us choose to wear. Then recently, death came once again to claim my father. Many times during these horrible moments, I heard so many well-meaning people try to offer their condolances. “Be strong during this time” or “you’ve got to tbe strong for your family.” Unless you have walked down this path, you really have no idea about how being strong is at the very bottom of death’s totem pole. I could not quite get how to be strong. I even tried but failed miserably. It’s been 8 months since the death of my dad and I still grieve. I find some moments are worse than others, but I have learned grieving is as individual as our lives.

Our grief is our emotional healing. Shock, anger and guilt. I felt these three as they hit me hard and sure. I even felt angry at God and casted my blame upon Him. After all, He is the giver of life. He gives and takes away. But what I failed to understand is that God’s purpose is not always for me to grasp it’s understanding. We know the saying, “you never know what you have until its gone.” But, we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives. We are blessed to have those we love in our lives and once they are gone that does not mean life is over for us. We must carry on and press forward accepting the goodness that waits for us. The ones who have left us have recieved a life far more superior and rewarding.

Grieve as you may, but live life to it’s fullest with all the potential it offers you. Welcome the newness that arrives as healing gives wings and brings warmth to your soul. There is a time to live and a time to die and while you live, offer hope. Show more love. Bring joy to the tired and weary. Laugh out loud. Don’t just exist, LIVE…

This post was inspired by my loved ones that have already gone, and for those who are experiencing death’s leftovers. Janice Mau, Mark Parsec, Barry Fergusson and many others, life is beautiful you’ve proved it with your love towards those you’ve lost. In honor of my friend Jan Nydell, you will be missed, but your journey cleaves now to life eternal…

Drops Of January

I love the old proverb; “he loses his thanks who promises and delays.” But with my own experiences, promises like babies are easy to make, they’re just hard to deliver. Every year of our lives, we come to an end and start anew on the first day of January. It’s almost like a spiritual rousing in one’s life. It’s all about newness, freshness, new beginnings. Get rid of the old, start over. It’s always a second chance we give ourselves.

We celebrate January, as it is a new month in a new year. It’s all about “new.” But as we make a promise to make changes, for most of us,  somewhere along the way we become blindsided falling off the wagon and resorting back to the place we vowed to leave. Sometimes, we find a way to get back up and get back on that wagon, while most times we give in and give ourselves reasons to continue with the old ways we wanted to change to begin with.

How do we build a custom-fit plan of loyalty to ourselves and commit to the vows we make and deem to carry out starting on the first day of the year? The first place to start is in the mirror. You know, the place where you have that conversation with yourself from time to time. It’s not a one-time promise and expecting your world to change. That monkey on your back did not decide to vacay when you decided to do things differently. Those little demons that like to argue with the angels on the other shoulder are not easily intimidated. They are going to fight to win. For every reason you will have to better your self, there will be a hundred coming from that monkey and those demons trying to convince you why you should’nt. So, every morning, start anew just like it’s the first day of the year. Keep that January spirit inside you all year long. When you feel like giving up, celebrate those drops of January and know that each new day brings a new start…

Dear Abby Moments

Digging through my archives, I found this little blog I did back in 2012. I think it’s worthy of a reblog, and if you enjoyed it as much as me please leave a comment and let me know…..

My favorite part of reading the paper is reading the Dear Abby column. Most of the time, you read about sincere advice seeking inquirers needing sincere answers to their dilemmas, at more rare times, you will find humorous posts that you will never be able to forget about. I found one of those unforgettable post many years ago, but have never forgotten it.

I can only imagine what it would be like to try and answer some of those letters that she receives, such as:

Dear Abby,

My neighbors are two women who live together and there is never a man seen coming into or leaving their apartment. I am curious if it might be possible that the women are Lebanese?

Or how about the man who wants to know what he can do about all the sex, nudity and fowl language on his VCR?

Not to mention the worried young woman who says she has a man she can’t trust. He cheats so much, and she is not sure if the baby she is carrying is his.

My favorite of all is the young man whose reputation is at stake. Here is his letter to Abby:

Dear Abby,

I am a crack dealer who has recently been diagnosed as a carrier of the HIV virus. My sister is married to a transvestite. My parents are from Philadelphia and were arrested for growing and selling Marijuana, and they are dependent on my other two sisters who are prostitutes in Jersey City. One of my brothers is serving a non-parole life sentence in Attica for murdering a 14 year old boy. The other brother is being held in the Wellington Remand Center on charges of sexual misconduct with his three children. I am engaged to a Thai prostitute in the Bronx. She is still a part time “working girl” in a brothel. We plan to open our own brothel with my fiance being the working manager. We hope my two sisters will join our team and make it a family buisness. However, I prefer they wouldn’t prostitute, but I feel like it would be getting them off the streets and their heroin habits. I love my fiance and look forward to bringing her into the family and I certainly want to be honest with her. Should I tell her about my distant cousin who is French?

Signed,

Worried about my reputation,

Hello World

Happy 2012 everyone and welcome to my blog page. As most of you know, I love writing about this and that and the other, and this year, I am going to be blogging more than usual. I invite you to sit down for a read and maybe perhaps leave  a comment or even a suggestion.

This is a new blog and I don’t have any posts ready yet, but I am leaving you with the awreness of my best not-so-kept secret. So watch for upcoming posts and I will try and keep it non-boring for your reading pleasure.

From my mind to yours,

Jane