Sunday, November 20, 2011

I've moved sites!

Hello friend - I am scared THRILLED, and grateful that I have now moved my blog to this address -

www.carolineholzberger.com

I hope you will join me there! You don't have to pack or anything. It should be the easiest move you've ever made! :)

See you there! Thanks for wanting to visit! When you get there you can click on "Follow" to, ya know, follow me. Hm, that sounded a bit redundant. Also, leave a comment - I'd love to know what you think of the move! You bless me greatly!

Ok, quit reading this and click on the new site, already ! :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just the Facts, Ma'am


I am not known for my brevity.

Somebody just fell out of their chair from laughing out loud. But, for those of you who are new to my blog...you have been warned.

I love to tell stories. They are rarely short. They are sometimes embellished. But, they are almost always filled with details. I love details. I am all about talking about them and exaggerating them, but, let me be clear, my husband would be the first to tell you that I am not a detail oriented person. At all. Like, not even a little bit.

For instance, I can appreciate that my friend got a new SUV a few years ago. She was excited to have something that would hold her three growing man-boys and all of their gear. I remember when she showed it to me for the first time. I remember that it was pretty and shiny and warmed my hiney hey, that rhymes! when I sat on the leather… but I can't, for the life of me, remember what color it is. Seriously. I have seen her every week or two for years now, yet it doesn't stick in my brain. I think it's white...or silver. Ok, maybe gray. Shoot...I actually think it might be that pearly white color. Either way, that is sort of a big detail.

Another completely embarrassing perfect example is that I can appreciate how my husband loves it when people fly the American flag in front of their house. We live on an older street and have a few veterans who proudly fly the flag daily. In fact, one precious neighbor rides out to his flagpole on his hover round and puts that flag up and down each and every day. Awesome. So, I respect this concept, and I listened as my husband talked about getting one for us. I can even recall that he mentioned hanging it soon. But, I exaggerate not when I say the thing was hanging above our front door for a couple months before I noticed it. That’s right – months. Again, a pretty big detail.

As a wise thirty-something, I have learned that not everyone is built like me. Somebody say "Hallelujah!" I have quite a few friends, actually, who are built very differently than me. I often drive them crazy but they often keep me functioning. I add something to their lives too, I believe, although I’m afraid they aren’t quite sure what that is yet! One friend might say, "Oh Caroline, I love the pattern on your new shirt!" to which I may reply, "Huh, whatd'ya know?" or (while leaving Target) “Boy, Target sure hits the target!” to which I reply “Oh wow, their logo really is an actual target, like for archery or something.” Sigh. Yes, that actually happened.

I only mention this flaw of mine because I have never ever, ever, ever been one to only give the facts. It just isn't in me not to expand the story with dialogue, sub-plots, or anecdotes. I have actually been known to tell a story that leads me off into seven two or three other ones before I was done. So...in honor of all of my friends who by bribery the grace of God have stuck by me, I am going to try and defy the odds. I am going to try and give "just the facts, ma'am" about my trip to the Mayo clinic. Many of you have enjoyed hearing about what God has done, but then you are still waiting to hear what the doctors did, as well. Shocking.

But before I begin my brevity, I feel compelled to share what God told me to write about. (Don’t you love how I need to expand on the fact that I am about to be brief? Old habits die hard.) As I have seen and heard from friends since we have been home, they want the medical details about the trip. And so I knew I needed to blog about it. But, I also knew that would be very boring. And I rarely do boring. So, I thought Ok, how can I relate my ‘fact-giving’ to Jesus? Then, He hit me. I believe that, as Christians, we ok, I can always sometimes get lost in our story telling. Don't get me wrong, I love hearing about what God has done in people’s lives from their point of view. But, I am merely suggesting that when we talk to those who don't know God, it is good to keep our foundation built on facts. Not feelings. Not opinions. Not interpretations. Just the facts, ma’am.

First, as my pastor says, "God stepped out of nowhere, into nothing, spoke something in order to make everything come into existence." God made the world.There was no Big Bang, or if there was, God did the bangin'. There was no lightning that struck a pond and organisms “evolved” from there, or if there was, God made the pond and told the lightning, "Ok, now!" He is it – the Creator. Period. (Genesis 1)

Second, everything the Bible says was inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and is true. Everything.  (Psalm 33:4) Jesus came to this earth as a perfect Savior for the sin of mankind. (John 3:16-17) You sin. I sin. Everybody sin sins. Anyone who ever drew breath in and out of their lungs, sinned. Jesus, however, lived a perfect life (Hebrews 4:15) and died a criminal’s death to pay the cost of our sin.(2 Cor. 5:21) He rose from the dead three days later (Luke 23:52 – Luke 24:8) and He will return someday to this earth to claim His own. (1 Thess. 4:16-17) It’s going to happen, people. I am not predicting when. The Bible says that is futile. (Matthew 24:44) In fact, if some wacko starts predicting a date, then you can be fairly certain it won’t be that day. Only God knows. (Matthew 24:36)

Third, good people go to hell. It isn’t generally how you would greet someone at a dinner party, but it's true. “Believing” that there is a God isn’t enough. In the Bible, good ol’ James tells it like it is. I love that about him. James 2:19 says “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” Unless you have a specific time in your life where you have 1) believed that Jesus was God’s only Son, that He literally came to walk on this earth, died on the cross and rose again at Easter and  2) then have confessed with your mouth that you need God to pay for that sin with the death of His Son and 3) submitted your completely sinful heart and your destined for hell life to Him, then you are not a Christian. Just because your Mom is a doctor doesn’t make you ready to perform open heart surgery, does it? Physically being inside a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than being inside your garage makes you a car. Have you had a change of heart? Have you had a change of action? Do you love the Lord? If you aren't sure, friend, contact me, your church, or my church. We will be happy to talk it through with you. Trust me, you wanna be sure.
Fourthly, we are not entitled to be happy. In fact, we are not entitled to anything – but hell. We were born sinful and that fact should send us straight to hell. So, truly, anything better than that, we should be grateful for. We are not promised a happy life. We are not promised a healthy life. In fact, what we are promised is a life filled with trouble. Job 14:1 says “Man born of woman (and that’s pretty much all of us!) is few of days and full of trouble.” And Jesus promises us from his own mouth in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." The last part of that verse is what gives us hope, friend. But, until we have a relationship and not a “religion-ship” with God, we will not grasp that. We each have a hole inside of us that cannot be adequately filled with anything but Jesus. Worldy wealth. Skinny body. Attractive spouse. Well-mannered children. World travel. Thriving business. None of these things will cut it. They may work briefly, but only partially. If you take a minute to truly be honest with yourself, you may find that you seem to be lacking something. Well, no doubt about it, that something is Jesus. Whether you lack Him completely or you lack Him intimately – He is the only void-filler. Everything else is going to fail.

Lastly,(fifthly sounded dumb) abundant life is possible. Not easy, but possible. God is good. He is gracious, kindhearted, and righteous. (Exodus 34:6) He desires for our life to be full. (John 10:10) Not of things that the world says should fill us. But things of Him. He wants us to be aware of our enemy, Satan, who wants nothing more than for us to fail. (John 10:10) If Satan can’t have you for eternity, he wants you to be useless for God while you are here on earth. (1 Peter 5:8) So, if you are a Christian but you find yourself sleep-walking through life, then this is the time to stop and refocus. James 1:22 says “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” You think you are deceiving others? The Bible is pretty clear, it is you that is deceived.

Do you read your Bible daily? Are you an active member of your church who volunteers, tithes, and is involved in a home group or Bible study of some kind? Is God the priority of your day? Can people at work, or even more importantly, at home, even tell by your behavior that you are a Christian? Does your life bear the fruit of His Holy Spirit written about in Galatians 5? (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) If not, today is the day to make a change. Contact your local pastor, or mine and begin to live the life God had planned for you. (Jer. 29:11) Whether you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior as a five-year-old in children’s church, or ten minutes ago after reading this blog, (praise God!) it doesn’t matter. Today is the day to start living like it. Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Them are the facts, friend. They were written as briefly as I am physically able to give them. If you know someone who may benefit from hearing these facts (not my medical ones), please share my blog. I don't want to be more popular. I want Jesus to be more popular! Share it. Let them read. And let God do the rest!

But, I feel the need to confess that I have typed most of this post while sitting outside in our front yard. And, I just looked up and noticed our flag isn't hung over our front door anymore. Hmm? That’s weird, I thought. I just asked Ryan when he took it down? 

“About a year ago.”

Sheesh...I'm hopeless.

And now,  just the medical facts, ma’am.

From the world-renowned neurologist – MRI scans were normal, both of my head and my entire spine area. I have no scar tissue from the MANY procedures I have had (praise God!). He does still suspect that I have a “slow-flow leak” which can heal itself eventually or perhaps gets worse and grow into a more severe leak again. If I do get another spinal fluid leak, he assured me that I can simply come there to Mayo for treatment. He will do a fibrin glue mixed with blood patch which should seal the leak more permanently. Normally, here in our area doctors will not do that procedure unless they can specifically locate the leak, but this doctor has seen so many successful cases even when the specific leak is not found so he is willing to do it. HUGE Praise God!

From the endocrinologist – My thyroid, adrenal glands, pituitary function, kidney function, liver function, autonomic systems function all came back normal. Most of my blood work came back in normal range. My iron “stores” are depleted and I have reactive hypoglycemia. Both of which will be helped by vitamins and monitoring my eating. 

From the precious family medicine doctor - I need to lose 25 pounds. Thankfully, the doctor didn’t say this to me, but it is obvious and can only help my body. Overall, they think my fatigue is most likely caused by the severe trauma my body has been through the past year. I have heard numerous times that you have to give your body at least the amount of time that you were on steroids to recover and begin to act like it was never on steroids. I was on steroids for 15 months. I have been off of them for 10 months. And, I was on four times the regular dosage for a normal person. Wowzers! The iron supplements should help with the fatigue. And hopefully my body will seal this slow flow leak, which should help too. 

Overall, I think that is it. Like I’ve said before, I didn’t go there and get healed. But, I was checked over extensively to rule out anything else that could be causing this. And more importantly, I have a plan for the future, in case I get another spinal fluid leak. If this is all new to you and you don’t know my story, feel free to check out my post describing how I got to where I am. 

Love, love.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Cool Kids


Do you remember what it was like when you were younger? How easy it was to spot out the “cool kids”.
Maybe you were in elementary school at recess playing dodge ball. Before one kick was made, the teams were divided into your team and the other team. The other team always won. Those were the cool kids. 

Maybe you were in college, sitting in the University center falling asleep studying for a mid-term. Students filed in and out like cattle. But then it would happen. A group of people would enter, perhaps with Greek letters splashed all over their shirts (and backpacks and socks, for goodness sake) and the energy in the room instantly changed. You watch as they laugh, play around, and just generally attract attention wherever they go. Yep, those were the cool kids.

It doesn’t even matter what the scenario, you can generally find that there will be a group of people that rise above and set themselves apart. Maybe it is for their good looks. Maybe it is for their intelligence. Maybe even for their athleticism. Good grief, it may be for all three. That part doesn’t matter. What matters is that they exist. And they are cool.

Something about them draws you in like a magnet pointed at a box of paper clips. You want to be in that group. You may play it off and fool others into thinking that you don’t want to be cool. But you do. You want to surround yourself with that kind of coolness all the time. Don’t fight it, you know it’s true. 

Well, friend…if cool kids were Muslims, I have found their Mecca. 

It is called The Mayo Clinic, and it is for real.

I was blessed enough to be a patient at Mayo for three days. That’s right, three days. That’s all it took for me to become a believer. To be honest, it took about ten minutes. I cannot explain the energy of this place. And no, I’m not talking weird, cosmic energy the “world” speaks of. I’m talking about excitement, professionalism, genius, efficiency, love, joy, precision, and peace. 

This place could not be in a more random area of our country, I mean, Rochester, Minnesota? Seriously? Yet, it is arguably the best hospital/research center in the world. I kid you not when I say that presidents come here. The Dalai Lama comes here twice a year for his physical. (Man I wish he were here this week, so I could give him some Jesus.) Royalty from all around the world fly here for medical care. This is the place.

Here they have answers. 

Here they have hope.

Here they have peace.

The doctors and nurses here know with certainty that there is nowhere else in the world they could work better than this.

The support staffers know they are a part of something bigger. Something powerful. 

The patients are instantly united here. We all can glance at each other quickly as our wheelchairs whiz by and just know. We are here for help. This is the place to be.

This ain’t no Miracle Whip clinic. This is the Mayo clinic. 

This is for real.

While there, I found out that the Mayo Clinic employs over 30,000 people. 

Thirty thousand people who are a part of something great. Thirty thousand who are one giant, united magnet. Something that people are drawn to. I can’t explain it better than that. 

This, friend, is where all the cool kids are. 

Whether they have M.D. at the end of their name, or whether they are, like me, being pushed in a wheelchair and only here for a day or two. You can just tell on the looks of everyone’s faces – they know. This is big.

I belong to an amazing church in Keller, Texas. Ryan and I have been going to The MetChurch for almost nine years. It is home to us. Is it a perfect church? Absolutely not. There is no such thing. In a world full of imperfect people, I am confused as to why people expect churches to be perfect. In fact, when suggested that our church has some hypocrites in it, our pastor replied, “That’s right! And we always have room for one more.” We are not disillusioned that The Met is perfect. But, we serve the One who was. When you walk into our church, you feel something. You can tell you are surrounded by people who have a certain something. Yes, I think my Met family is most certainly the cool kids. They have a love and joy and peace about them that draws you in. You just want to be with them. 

This is God’s idea for the church. 

We, as believers should have something about us that people are drawn to. And no, I don’t mean our fake personalities or blingy cross d├ęcor. 
 
I mean Jesus.

If you are in relationship with Him, you should stand out as the coolest kid of all. Something about you shouldn’t make sense to those looking in. How is she so peaceful? Why doesn’t he ever get too angry? How can they be happy when they have so little money? 

You and I should stand out.

I sometimes question if I do. Do you?

Does your life bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Do you show love? Do you spread joy? Does peace reign? Are you quick to be patient? Do you display kindness? Are your thoughts, motives, intentions and actions good? Are you faithful? Do you speak gently? Do you exhibit self-control?

This is not weakness. This is strength. This is not about being popular. This is about making Jesus’ Name great. This is not about you and me. This is about them. This is about all those out there who feel they are on the outside looking in. For all of those who feel like they’ve been rejected before. For all of those who have been burned before. For those who have surrounded themselves with “stuff” but still feel so empty. For all of those many people out there who are just…plain…lost. 

We are the church. We are for real.

Friend, I challenge you, that if your church is not this way – change that. I don’t mean you should set up a meeting with your pastoral staff and tell them they need to whip this place into shape. I mean you (and I!) need to pray for our church leaders. We need to SERVE in the church and use our gifts to build up this family. We need to spend time in the Bible so that we have the spiritual food we need to look different in this world. 

I cannot count the number of hospitals I have been to in the last four years. Ok, I can, it’s been three. But, still, three different hospitals, countless doctors, nurses, staff members that I have come into contact with. And nothing even comes close to the Mayo clinic. Not even in the same galaxy. 

This place is for real.

Most people change churches every 3-4 years. That is a recent statistic I heard and just couldn’t believe. What kind of world do we live in that we can’t even stay committed to the church we go to? We aren’t “happy” with every single thing they do and every choice they make, so we bail. We move on to bigger, brighter, more popular churches are satisfied…for a little while.

That stops here. 

Friend, this isn’t like the Mayo clinic where it is simply a matter of life and death. This is the church. And this is a matter or eternal life and death. Get invested. Commit. Tithe. Serve. Volunteer. Pray. Remember what you are here for. Be a part of the type of church that draws people in. 

Friend, if you have a relationship with Jesus, then, congratulations, you are the cool kid now. Period.

If you aren't sure where you stand about this whole God thing - check it out. Talk to some people who claim to love Him. Ask your questions.Visit a church or two and see if you get what I describe. This isn't something you want to be unsure of. 

Because, friend, this is about Jesus. 

And, He is for real.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Milk and Honey


Mayo. Prior to this week, that word would simply have been a disgusting white condiment that I avoid at all costs. After this week, it is one of my favorite places ever. Ever.

I have had the unique blessing of being a patient at, arguably, the best medical facility in the world. I have endured four years of medical drama looking forward to the possibility of this, the dream of it, the hope in it. And now I've been there. And in true God fashion, He totally outdid Himself. Friend, Let me explain. (get comfy :)

First of all, is the fact that He divinely arranged for some of my favorite people in the world to live just minutes away from this place. He wanted Ryan and I to be surrounded by loved ones. By people who loved the Lord, loved us, and were standing in faith beside us through this journey. But that’s not all. We actually got to spend time with them, eat meals with them, hang out on the couch and just have fun with them and their precious kids. I have known this family since I was seventeen years old. Don't do the math, just trust me, it was a while ago. When I met The Nelson family, their kids were little. Daniel was 11, Scott was 9, Brent was 6, Gregg was 2, and Colleen was still in Sue's belly, about ready to pop out! :)

This week, as Ryan and I had the blessing to invade this family's home, we enjoyed hearing about Daniel and his lovely wife (who I also grew to love through working with at camp!) and their precious two-year-old. We got to hear about Scott and his wife and the youth ministry they serve in and their excitement of expecting their first child. Ryan and I got to go to lunch with Brent and hear about his upcoming boot camp as he has decided to enlist in the Marines. Sweet Brent was in my very first 5-6 year old group at camp, such a sweet boy and now such a fine young man! Gregg was a joy to see maturing into his soon to be adult self, and hear the antics of his senior year of high school. And then there's sweet Colleen. I held her as an infant, she was a flower girl in my wedding, and we got to hear her excitement to be driving soon and the pure joy of owning her very own first horse. Blessing upon blessing.

More than anything, Ryan and I got a beautiful gift- a glimpse of the type of family we want. Everyone is different. Their personalities, their interests, their hobbies, but one thing is for sure about the Nelson family - they love God and they serve Him humbly. Each one of them. Ryan and I would have been blessed by staying at a nice hotel, we don’t ever do that kind of thing...but instead God arranged for us to be encouraged, uplifted, and spiritually challenged in our road to godly parenting.

That's milk and honey, friend.

Like I mentioned in a prior post, the method God chose to use to get me into The Mayo clinic was through a friend of this precious family. This doctor friend, Dr. Furst (catch his name, I think this was God reminding me Who's planning should come 1st!!) basically accepted me as a patient and then did EVERYTHING to make sure I saw all of the best doctors in every area of concern. I didn't necessarily need to see a family doctor, like he is. But, by taking me as a patient, I was in. He knew I needed help. And he had a heart to do so. Now, keep in mind, I don't know this man. All I know about him is what I have been able to gather from our few email correspondence and the positive things the Nelsons said about him. I knew he was kind and personable, because he enjoyed calling me by my camp name, "Pele" which is what the Nelsons still call me. So, I was walking into yet another doctor's office somewhat blindly.

Let me remind you that I have, conservatively, seen more than twenty different doctors over the last four years. Each one of those doctors had a nurse or two that I have dealt with as well. So, all said, I have come into contact with at least fifty medical professionals throughout this journey. They had different areas of expertise, different personalities, different medical practice styles- they were all unique. I only say this to assure you I have been around the “medical block” a time or two or twenty, and I have never, ever experienced anything like this.

When he walked into the room, he shook Ryan and I's hands, introduced us to his medical student and sat down. So far, so normal. Then he adjusted some of his papers on the desk as he welcomed me to Mayo and asked about our drive up. Then he put everything down and looked me dead in the eye and said "Pele, we are going to get to the bottom of this. Don't worry. You will get better!"

Whoa. No doctor has ever been that bold, that encouraging, that sympathetic.

Ever.

But wait, friend, it gets better.

We then spent the next HOUR going over all of the history of my last four years. I had already given him this info but he wanted to hear it from me personally. He wanted not just my medical records, but he wanted to hear me tell my story. After answering all his questions and asking some of my own, we were about done. Then it happened. Something that I have never experienced, nor ever thought I would, in a doctor's office.

He said, "Now, Pele, I know you are a woman of faith, and so if it is Ok with you, I'd like to pray for you."

I was speechless. Stunned. Shocked. Surprised. Honored. Humbled. I have no idea what my face looked like but I managed to muster up enough mental ability to say "You bet! I'd be honored."

Then my doctor prayed for me, "God, we know that you are with Pele and that you know everything she has been through. We ask for your healing. I ask for you to be with her. Thank you for bringing her here. We trust you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

That was it, I was crying. I was blessed that God brought me to Mayo. I was blessed simply to know that my doctor was a Christian. 

But that, friend, was milk and honey.

Goodness gracious, I could go on and on.

About how nice it was to have time for me and my man for a while. Don't get me wrong, I missed our babies something fierce! But, God truly gave me a peace that doesn't make any sense at all. Just like He promises in my life verse, Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding (i.e. Doesn't make any sense at all!) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Boy, were my heart and mind guarded!! I am a worrier. I am a control freak. I should have been much more nuts about it. But I wasn't. Instead, my hubby and I got some much needed, looooooong overdue "us time". Heck of a way to get it. 

But, friend, that's milk and honey.

About how THE most brilliant doctors in these fields were also THE most caring, personable, thorough doctors I've ever met. I would have been blessed to just receive care from brilliant doctors, but the fact that they could laugh with me (and at me!) and each genuinely cared about hearing all about my story. 

That's milk and honey, friend.

About how financially burdensome this trip was going to be. Don't get me wrong, we were so happy that I got accepted, but in reality, medical care ain't cheap. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am convinced that I'll be voted "most popular" by Blue Cross Blue Shield this year - fourth consecutive year of holding that title, I might add. Yet, before we even left our house, friends donated generous love offerings to us...arranged meals for my family while we were gone...booked hotels for us for our looooooong  commute there and back at no cost to us...bought gluten free treats, fun Minnesota-worthy warm boots for my little feet...paid for our rental car...given magazines...books on CD...coolers with Ryan's favorite drinks, Scripture for us to read each day...the list goes on. We would have been blessed to know we were lifted up in prayer, but all of this!?! 

That is milk and honey, friend.

So, what do I mean about this whole milk and honey thing?

Well, for the last eight weeks or so, I have been super blessed to get to be a part of a Bible study at church written by Priscilla Shirer. It is called One In a Million and it is just flat out awesome! I mean it, go check it out!!

This study isn't just a workbook with a cool cover and a catchy name. This is the real deal. Priscilla took us on a journey with the Israelites. Like I’ve said before, I swear my maiden name should have been Israelite. I have done studies on this subject before. I relate to those silly people. God always gets His loving 2x4 out when I read about them, I guarantee that.

But this study was different. I had studied about God calling Moses. I had studied about God parting the Red Sea. But, this study wasn’t just about an event. This study was about the journey. This study truly focused on the two million who took this long journey and the two men who actually made it. Scholars estimate that the number of people who traveled on dry ground with Red Sea as the walls beside them, were about two million. But if you read through the book of Exodus, which I know doesn't sound like the most fun thing to do on a Friday night, but I promise if you do, you will be shocked! Only two of those men actually made it. Only two stepped foot on the land promised to them. And one of them was not named Moses.

Joshua and Caleb were the only two men out of two million people to make it to the milk and honey. Two out of two million. Do the math...that's one in a million. Not a catchy phrase - a reality.

All throughout the book of Exodus and also in Deuteronomy, God promises this land "flowing with milk and honey" to these people. They rebelled. God forgave. They disobeyed. God forgave. They complained, grumbled, whined and basically threw God's grace back in His face repeatedly. That was it. Our perfect and righteous God was done. In Joshua 5:6, we hear that it took forty years for the generation of wicked to die off, so that the next generation could inherit this Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb remained. Only those two would experience His abundance.

During the study, Priscilla opened my eyes to, not only what that meant for them, but also what it means for you and me today!  Milk and honey? I mean, personally I always thought that was a little odd. And messy. But, I agree with the interpretation Priscilla gave - "the milk represents the provision, but the honey represents the abundance".

Friend, God didn't want them to just get out of Egypt, He wanted them to have an abundant life. To have milk for sustenance, but honey for sweetness.

John 10:10 Jesus says "The thief (our enemy, Satan) comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that they may have life (the milk) and have it abundantly (the honey)."

Ephesians 3:20-21 says "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (the Holy Spirit), to Him be the glory in the church and in Jesus Christ to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

Friend, God wants YOU to be the one in a million. He wants YOU to be living a life filled with milk and honey.

Don't misunderstand me...I do not believe in the mindset that Christians should think they're entitled to always be healthy, wealthy and wise. In fact, like mypastor says, I think God is more concerned with how, or if, you praise Him when you are sick, poor and dumb. Friend, I am not healed. I didn't receive divine healing while at The Mayo clinic. I absolutely believe God could have done that. But He didn't. Instead, He gave me a heaping spoonful of milk and honey. And friend, I am thankful!

I believe He wants each of us to be so faithful to stay close to Him. He desires our relationship not our religion. We wants us to, like Joshua and Caleb, get to experience what He has available to all of us...the life of abundance!

A life with practical and pretty.

A life with the meat and the sweet.

And messy or not, friend, I'm in!

You with me?