Category Archives: Encouragement
Where do I begin with this one… I was sitting at my computer with my grandchildren in the living room watching TV. I heard my son come in and ask “Where is Mama? Where is Grandma?” I told him I was in the office. He came in and said “Can I have a hug?” in a whispery tone that was hard to understand him and I looked up and saw my son with tears streaming down his face as he was reaching for me. I stood up and held him as he cried telling me he didn’t know if he could take anymore. As a mother my instinct was to hold on and not let go ~ and we didn’t for a brief while. We then stepped out onto the back porch and talked. His heart was breaking due to his separation and upcoming divorce. There is no greater pain than to see your child in pain, no matter how old they are, and yet there’s nothing you can do or say that will make it better.
My son is an Iraq Veteran and I’m proud of him. I am blessed and grateful that he did come home; but, he didn’t come home the same. The issues he had from what he had gone through has taken his life and turned it upside down. He used to be real outgoing and love crowds whereas now, he can’t be in a large crowd without an anxiety attack. As his marriage was falling apart he finally went for some counseling and was diagnosed with PTSD, and praise God they gave him some medication that allows him to stay calmer.
When he came to me the other day it took every ounce of strength I had to hold it together until after he left. I truly broke down myself and thought back to when I had reached that breaking point. On September 7, 2008, I had a seizure and fell down the stairs resulting in a compound and burst fracture of L5. After the results of an MRI telling me I couldn’t have back surgery because it was too dangerous I left a message for Rick Curren, III. I had worked for him in the medical field and knew his knowledge was vast and trusted his advice. What this meant was that I would be off of work for 2 months at least. I remember crying telling Rick that I was scared of losing my house. It was his response that made the impact. Not only did Rick remind me it was just a house and this was my health but the vital part was reciting the 23rd Psalm and going over the meaning of every line in it. I then felt a sense of peace.
About 5 years earlier my mother’s Pastor told us that if you’re ever scared recite the 23rd Psalm 5 times a day. I went home that night and realized I couldn’t remember it after all these years. I took out my Bible and started reading it out loud. The first time was to remind myself of the words, I made it through the second time; but, about halfway through the third time I broke down crying turning to Jesus the way my son turned to me. I must add, I have never been the same since for it was at that very moment I felt His presence and went from being just a believer to having a relationship with Him.
You see, even though my son made it home he still fights battles every day ~ we all do. Whether as a Veteran, survivor of rape and/or abuse, addiction, the list goes on and on. We all are casualties of some kind of war or another. When my son came to me for comfort after all of these years it gave me a glimpse into how Jesus felt when I came home to him that night. No matter what war you are facing ~ Jesus is waiting to give you His sense of peace ~ all you have to do is ask.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
Famous quote ~ “To be or not to be..” ~ my friends, that IS the question of the day. Lately I have experienced a lot of tragic circumstances in my life, the main being the passing of my mother. I still tend to pick up the phone to call her. Especially on these days that the walls of life seem to feel as if they’re caving in. Yes, I miss her and especially talking with her and getting advice from her; yet, the answers come to me as if she were on the end of the phone ~ always pointing me in one direction ~ God and His Word.
Yes, to be or not to be, it’s all up to me ~ and you. First, let’s take this in the mild top layer, success and happiness. It is totally up to us as individuals whether or not we will be successful and happy. To rely on someone else for either is a mild form of either ignorance or stupidity. Was that blunt and to the point? Yes. Does that make it not true? No. I have to continuously remind myself when I start feeling bummed that it’s up to me to make myself happy. Yes, there are those “low” days and sometimes phases that no matter how hard we try, for some reason we’re feeling bummed. Answer: pray it away. If not for yourself, pray for someone else. Repeat until all better. LOL. Sounds simple, it is. See, there was a time where I hated being alone and one particular night really stands out. I was dating someone who was agnostic and I didn’t want him to leave because I just felt so alone. His response before leaving, “If what you believe is true, you’re never alone.” Wow!!! That truly hit home! Why? Because it is the truth!!! A lot of times our unhappiness comes from the ‘feeling’ of being alone. Put on some good upbeat music, after praying of course, and start dancing, cleaning, whatever may take your mind off of how you ‘feel’ for it’s just that ~ a feeling; and feelings come and go. Tomorrow’s another day.
As always, everything has it’s layers. Let’s take a look at our Spiritual life. To be or not to be an every day Christian ~ yes, that choice is always up to me, and you. What does that mean? Have mercy people, open up your Bibles and read what that means! Loving and forgiving others, giving to those who are in need, not judging others; and the list goes on. Now, some people think that there’s so much you can’t do if you’re a Christian and living a Christian lifestyle. Again, read the Word ~ if you look closely you’ll find there’s a whole lot more do’s than there aren’t don’ts; so if you spend your time doing the do’s you don’t have time to even think about the don’ts. Ever feel like your life isn’t ‘exciting’? Go ahead, start walking everyday with Jesus and get ready for the ride!
Digging down deep now. Let’s take a look at our home lives as spouses. Our marriage, to be or not to be. “Things just aren’t like they used to be.” Nope, sure not. People grow up, have children, responsibilities and all of a sudden there’s the feeling of “I don’t have a life.” My friends, yes you do. That IS life! Satan continuously attacks in the home putting thoughts of what we’re “doing without” and our fleshly desires and he’s good at it. You have to realize it for what it really is. All of us have a tendency at some point or another of bringing up the past when disagreeing. Stop it! Satan wants you to look at the past so you can’t even believe in a wonderful future that God has in store! We’re human. We have flaws and we make mistakes. In 1 Corinthians 13 there is a verse that specifically states, and I’m paraphrasing, that love does not keep count of wrongs. Look it up! That’s God’s instructions! So, at this point we have a choice when we feel like all hope for our marriage is gone: our way or God’s way. To bring this “Christian” lifestyle and thoughts into our marriage will make your decision whether this marriage is to be or not to be.
Yes, we need to look back once in a while so we don’t continue to make the same mistakes. At the same time, don’t pitch a tent and camp there ~ there’s too much of a future ahead of you and you don’t want to miss out on what God has in store for us! God loves you and forgives you daily, show this love to others, especially within your own family. In every aspect of your life you have a choice. To be or not to be ~ you decide.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
On June 7, 2014 I received a call I was not ready for ~ my mother passed away. It wasn’t as if it were a total shock for she was 93 years old and had lived a wonderful life. There just wasn’t a forewarning of her going to the hospital, getting worse ~ nothing. I received a phone call from my sister and she told me she had been at Mama’s all day, my only response during her pause was “OK. What’s up? Is anything wrong?” A silence came over the phone and then I heard those heartbreaking words ~ “Mama’s gone.” At that point I fell to my knees in tears as my sister spoke to me trying to help me through the phone line. Assuring words we all hear at this time “She’s in a better place” just didn’t matter at the moment. I am so grateful Peter, my husband, was here that day. I don’t think I could have made it without him. I called my son, my Pastor and friend, Bob Stacy and other family and friends so they would know. Within the next week me, Peter and my son, Marcus, made arrangements and travelled to Florida for the funeral only to turn around and come straight home. The two men in my life were there for me when it mattered the most.
I was expecting a funeral that would be about my mother but it wasn’t ~ it was about salvation. You see, my family meant the world to Mama and in her heart, so did their salvation and their walk with God. She truly lived a Christian life by example and anytime my life went astray she would always tell me I needed to get back into Church, have a long talk with God and get my life straight; not necessarily in that order either!
About a month and a half prior a girl came to my house and while we were talking she opened up to me all of her problems and issues in her life. My response was “So, how is your spiritual life?” This question was asked by Bob Stacy during our marital counseling and I never quite understood it until these last few months. I find myself asking people this question to help guide them back to God and His Word for answers and guidance.
I’m sure by now you are wondering what this has to do with my mother passing away. Nothing. But they do intertwine. I wasn’t prepared for the phone call even though I lived with Mama for a couple years and saw her health decline. Yes, it did help in the grieving for over those two years I periodically broke down as I saw that I was losing my mother. Here’s the question(s): Where are you? Are you prepared to meet Jesus? How’s your spiritual life these days? No, it doesn’t matter what church you were brought up in or belong to ~ how’s YOUR spiritual life? Are you talking with God? Are you in His Word? Are you seeking His guidance?
In closing I would like to remind everyone to take the time and look closely at your spiritual walk with an honest eye. Just as I was not prepared for the phone call, are you prepared for the Angels to blow their horns? If today was the day you would meet Jesus face to face ~ are you ready? Don’t just assume you are, make sure you are ~ know where you are.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
I don’t know about the rest of you but lately I am going through some serious identity crisis issues! It really boils down to my life changing from being able to live doing anything I put my mind to, to a life of hardly being able to do anything. There’s a big difference in being born with some disabilities than having them occur later in life.
Within the course of my life I have accomplished most anything I put my mind to. Let’s look at the list: President’s Physical Fitness Award, Beta Club, Honor Roll, 1st chair 1st clarinet in band, majorette, A.S. in Computer Programming, B.S. in Biology/Chemistry with a 3.924 GPA, worked in accounting, legal secretary, owned a bookkeeping business, traveled playing piano, recorded CDs, music director for Anni in Theatre, EMT, even a black jack dealer! The list actually goes longer if I look at smaller stuff. Not to mention mother and wife and now Grandma. Hmmm, with this list one would kinda’ wonder where someone could feel insecure and lost? I lost my capability to do most everything overnight. I am finding it hard to be content with “just being”. Since I have played the piano since the age of 5 my self-esteem has always relied on my accomplishments. I have always had a lust for life and living it to its fullest ~ now to find myself spending most of my time sitting watching life go by and not being able to “live” as I once knew life. It can leave one feeling dead while they’re alive.
I think everyone has had this empty feeling from one degree to another. It’s not something that you have to have disabilities to relate to. The feeling of just merely existing. Why does this happen? What causes this? How do we conquer this feeling? Oh yeah ~ like there’s a simple answer to these questions!
One thing we all tend to do is to allow our identity to be what our job is, what car we drive, the income we make, our abilities, etc. And yet, it’s ignorant for us to continually think this way as Christians. One thing I am learning is just how useless I really am. This blanket statement is really for everyone though ~ without God we ARE useless. As Christians our identity is being a child of God, our abilities and everything else are gifts. So, why do we allow ourselves to get hung up in everything else? We’re human. We’re all Peter. Think back to when he was walking on the water. As long as he kept his eye on Jesus he was fine. Once he took his eyes off Jesus he started sinking. That’s basically the answer to all questions in my opinion.
In closing I would like to remind you to keep your eyes on Jesus. If you start feeling bad about your life, your accomplishments, etc. just remember ~ Jesus, the Son of God, came down in human form and was a true humble servant. Should we think we should be more than that? When we get to the core of our lives, we are not here for us, it is not all about us ~ we are here for Him and His purpose.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
As I wait for the answer from filing for disability our financial reigns get tighter and tighter. I called my attorney and was told that there was a small amount I could bring in and it wouldn’t affect the case. There was a restaurant that was thinking about hiring me to fix the carry out bags. Once they realized that Sunday morning and night and Wednesday night was out of the question due to my commitment to the church choir I was not what they needed. Anywhere I went I was not able to lift certain amounts and stuck to my guns about the time I have set aside for worshipping God. It didn’t bother me at all that things didn’t work out because of me sticking to my guns about my prior commitments to the choir; although, having to admit what I am not able to do has yet torn me apart again.
Having limitations after being independent my whole life has been, and still is, quite a daily struggle. I have always been able to do whatever it took to make ends meet and get the bills paid. Now, my whole life is twisted 180 degrees. Accepting that I have to file for disability was hard enough; much less to continue to have to try to explain to others about invisible disabilities. I don’t mind explaining; what I do mind is people judging what they don’t understand. My qualifications are off the chart between college degrees and previous job experiences. For financial stresses to be as they are and not being able to take the jobs offered to me because of my qualifications, I truly look in the mirror and wonder ‘why.’
So ~ the question boils down to what can I do? Well, yes I am disabled. As the title also reads “yet abled.” I am able to continue to put my faith in Jesus. I am able to worship His name and call on Him for the comfort I need through these emotional dark moments. I am able to witness to others how great our God is with the disabilities as a part of my life. I am able to share my experiences with you praying that it may touch at least one of you. Yes, I am disabled but definitely abled as well! Remember Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
It has been approximately six weeks since I have written. I am happy to be back. Ever notice how much life is planned out and looks great on a piece of paper ~ that is, until life happens. I have been staying in Florida to take care of my mother since January of 2011 and visiting my husband once every 3 months for a week or so. A week before I planned to travel home for 3 weeks this time, my mother fell and fractured her pelvis bones. I camped in the hospital for 5 days and nights with her and was able to rest and pack once she was moved to rehab. She was doing better so I continued my trip as planned to make my own doctor appointments. Within the time frame she went home and almost fell again ~ the results were her being so dependent on someone physically that my next visit would be to pack up all of my belongings and move back home. At the same time I got back from Florida with everything to finally unpack, the exact same day my son, his wife and two children moved in as well. He had gotten laid off and things had gotten bad quickly. At this point there are 4 adults, 2 kids and 3 dogs under the same roof. The mere fact that I haven’t gone to jail within the last 3 weeks has been proof that God truly exists and how wonderful His grace is! 🙂
I am facing many storms right now as you are too. We had not had the chance to start saving for whenever I came home for good so how we are going to make ends meet is all in God’s hands. The haunting sadness that I had to leave my mother in someone else’s hands due to my own limitations and that she is slowly drifting away; being the ‘strong’ mother for my son and his family while they face their trials ~ yes, we all have our storms we are facing every day.
Am I afraid? Sometimes, yes. The good part is that it’s ok to be afraid. In the Bible, and I’m paraphrasing here, we are told that when we are afraid to trust in Him; not if but when. Peter was walking on water with Jesus in the storm and was fine until he became afraid and it was then he started sinking. The reason was he took his eyes off of Jesus. He is our beacon in the darkest of storms that will guide our paths.
I want to urge you all, along with myself, to keep your eyes on Jesus throughout all of your storms. He is the Lighthouse!
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home…
The holiday season is here and everyone is rushing all about trying to find the perfect gifts for everyone. Happiness tends to drift in the air as lightly and gently as snowflakes and in most cases, continuing to layer only to add to the feelings of the holidays. At least that’s the way we picture it and for most of us it is a happy time of the year ~ but not for all.
My heart is heavy tonight as I think of the tragic death of Paul Walker and his friend. I intentionally leave it as ‘his friend’ because that is what you will find in the media. The continuous efforts of Paul Walker to give to the needy, especially those victims of natural disasters, shall never be forgotten. His friend ~ even though we haven’t read a lot about his contribution to the world while he was here ~ was just as valuable, we all are. Some people are famous while others are the backbone of what keeps everyone going. Then again, even that can change quickly ~ in one moment.
In one moment someone can go from poor to rich (lottery) or from rich to poor. In one moment another death is added to the statistics and another life is brought into this world. In one moment you can say something that slaughters even the hardest of hearts. In another moment you can say something that mends the deepest of wounds. We all go through our lives moment by moment, taking for granted that there will be another; not considering how much of a difference we could be making for someone else. God did not give us another day to live for ourselves; we are given another day to be here for someone else.
Do you stay so busy you aren’t having much time to pray or read the Word? If so, you’re busier than God intended you to be. Remember, we celebrate the holiday “Christmas” as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. Throughout this holiday season try not to rush so much that your moments don’t count. Be a blessing with your actions and your words. Make every moment of your life meaningful.
~ In Memory of Paul Walker ~
Thank you for making your moments meaningful for others.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
God has blessed me with His grace but left me out with grace walking in high heels. OK, so not just high heels, more like walking itself. My parents even found out it would be cheaper to buy me a pair of crutches when I was young. Unfortunately, sprained and broken ankles followed me into my adulthood as well. If nothing else I learned the one fact about pain ~ it reminds you that you are alive! Even emotional pain reminds you of this. Many times we get our heart broken and don’t feel we can go forward. When we take a moment to look back in time though we realize we obviously found a way. There’s always good that comes from pain. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? If someone hurts your feelings at least it shows you have a heart that is caring and loving. That in itself is a sign of life.
Remember when our children started walking and got many bumps and bruises, and it was up to us to ‘kiss and make better’ and yet we encourage them not to give up and keep trying. That lesson we teach them is the hardest to apply in life. The bruises will go away. The one saying we’re used to hearing is to take life one day at a time, one step at a time. Again, go back to an infant learning to walk. Part of walking is falling. Take that concept and bring it into your adult life. You’re going to fall, you’re going to get hurt, and that is life. There will be pain in your life and tears. These are all signs of life.
The wonderful part is that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. When we become saved, we are born again ~ once again learning to walk. As Christians we will fall, we will hurt, we will be hurt, we will have tears ~ we also have Jesus to turn to for our healing just like our parents were there for us, and we are there for our children. Remember, this is God the Father. As long as we keep getting up each time we fall, there’s always a sign of life.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.