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Telling the Truth

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Tuesday Testimonyimage

Tell the truth. At twenty-four I admitted the truth. Born to a minister and godly mother I spent those previous years talking like a Christian, looking like a good little Christian girl, knowing about Christ, but I did not know Christ.

Married eighteen months, my relationship with Dan felt like our lives were intersecting lines and not two connected as one. Would divorce be my fate? What separated this wonderful man and me? What shot our paths to cross and not intertwine together?

A scripture shared with me three years earlier in college floated across my thoughts. Jesus came that I could have life, not some ordinary life, but an abundant life. My life teetered on mediocrity at best. I hungered for that rich life. I knelt by my bed and sobbed for God to explain to me what I needed to do to live life in abundance.

Each night for a week I sought the answer from God. Dan climbed into the shower and I hit the floor seeking an answer to my question. Saturday night I again knelt and with tears streaming from the corners of my closed eyes I lay my head against the bed and waited in silence. I sensed a presence behind me. Lifting my head to peek over my left shoulder I catch a glimpse of someone. Dan stood in the doorway into our bedroom, with his towel wrapped around his waist, staring in silence at me on the floor. He wore a puzzled look on his face. Turning he returned to the rest room to dress and brush his teeth.

We said a blessing at meal times but kneeling in prayer fell outside the pattern of our lives. We rose early, ate breakfast, dressed, left for work, came home, ate dinner, dressed for bed, read, and slept. The following day repeated the previous day.

The next evening as Dan showered, I knelt, sat back on my feet and lifted my face upward and asked God to share with me what was missing in my life. “Jesus rests on a shelf in your life life like something nice to look at. You know about him but you don’t know him. Without him in your heart your life is empty of hope, love, forgiveness, and peace. No one comes to the Father except through Christ. In Jesus alone is everlasting life with him.”image

I did not know what words to say but I begged him to come live in me and fill the gaping hole in my life. Peace rose within my heart and I knew Christ held me in his loving embrace.

That night reading in bed I turned to Dan and asked him if he love God more than he did me. Without hesitation he told me he did. Later he told me that he knew at that moment he lied. He described feeling like ice water struck him awakening him to the truth of his relationship with Christ.

Two weeks later Dan asked the Lord to live in his heart and also be the first love of his life. He explained the change in my life convinced him that I underwent a major transformation. But it was not I he saw, but he saw Christ alive in me.

What best describes your relationship with Christ? Does your life seem incomplete, unfulfilled or empty? Do you love Christ over all others? Are you confident you will spend eternity with the Lord of unconditional love? He says it best in Luke 11:9-10.

So listen: Keep on asking, and you will receive. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you. 10 All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking.image

The Voice (VOICE)
The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Monday Musings: The Power of Words

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God is with us in the storms

Storms rage around us in many forms, but God never leaves us. He is in the boat of life with us. Over my lifetime situations arose in which others attacked me with with a barrage of verbal hailstones. My heart felt ripped in half, so painful I thought I heard it like the sound of fabric torn apart. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. Untrue.

Hammer a nail into an heirloom table, then pull the nail out. The hole remains. Fill it with putty. Sand it Stain it. The table continues to bear the evidence of damage.
Careless, angry, demeaning words wound the hearts of those targeted. The invisible daggers and arrows leave injuries of excruciating pain and after healing ugly scars remain. As an amputee will not grow a new limb, the damage caused to an injured heart will not disappear.

But God heals. One of his names is Yahweh Rophe. The Lord Who Heals. God heals the broken-hearted. He’s able. Praise him and thank him for his great love for us. Praise him for his healing and renewing our strength.

Isaiah 40:31 (VOICE)

But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength.
They will soar on wings as eagles.
They will run—never winded, never weary.
They will walk—never tired, never faint.

He lifts us up from the ashes of a burned out life. He wipes the tears from our faces. He heals the wounds. He replaces the hurtful lies with truth. He affirms his love for us. He shapes us closer into a perfect reflection of his image. He fills our hearts with joy.

Psalms 30:5b (VOICE)
The deepest pains may linger through the night,
but joy greets the soul with the smile of morning.



The Voice (VOICE) The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.


Honor Your Father and Mother

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Honor Your Father and Mother

Ephesians 6:1-2
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right.2 Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother.

Daddy was not the perfect father. Oh, he loved us and we were his sunshine. He parented in the manner he thought best at the time just as most parents do. His father treated his eleven children harshly and that’s what Daddy knew. We knew when Daddy spoke we obeyed because we feared the consequences. All four of us grew up dealing with emotional struggles. He caused deep wounds by his words, but especially to two of my sisters.

Growing up my sisters and I awoke to Daddy singing the chorus to You Are My Sunshine. That was his song to his babies. Singing us awake, singing us to the table, singing us to dress, Daddy had a song for just about anything. He grew up being sung to by his mom who also taught him to play the piano, to dance and to sing.

His mom wrote music, choreographed it and traveled the Vaudeville circuit with Daddy and his sister Florence performing. Later he sang in churches and at revivals. After returning from World War II RCA offered him a recording contract. He turned it down. He told the record company that God called him to preach and pastor. Daddy walked away from the glitz and glamour of musical fame to the grit and grind of ministering from the pulpit and homes. He wanted to honor his Heavenly Father with the gifts he felt God entrusted to him. He wanted to preach and not perform.

Daddy continued teaching us to sing four-part harmony and arranged for us to perform. We sang in churches, fairs, fundraisers, competitions and around the piano just for fun. We sang hymns. We sang jingles. We sang country ballads. We sang Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Doris Day and the Lennon Sisters. No matter the venue we included in our repertoire the chorus to You Are My Sunshine.

He spent the last few years of his life in a nursing facility. While there he desired to live his life continuing to honoring God. The first few years there he sat in his doorway greeting each person entering or leaving. Some chatted with him, some asked him to pray with them or some to sing with them. He took each hand in his and affirmed each one. Bedridden his last two years he would sing You Are My Sunshine with different staff members, harmonizing with his beautiful tenor and slowing the last note, holding it and fading the “away.”

My sisters and I spent those last two years, a week or two at time staying in town so he would see one of us each day. We desired to honor our father and pour out the love of God on him. We watched baseball or football with him, read to him, or sat with him while he napped. But before leaving him we sang hymns or old ballads harmonizing and concluding with You Are My Sunshine. As he grew weaker he reached to hug each of us often and repeated, “Sorry.”

Daddy died October 19, 2014. Prior to him leaving us my sisters and I stood around his bed holding hands and singing in four-part harmony Amazing Grace and the Doxology. We each went to him, again told him we forgave him and we loved him. Soon after we crooned You Are My Sunshine he went “away” gazing into the shining face of the Son standing at the right hand of God. I imagine him singing hallelujah’s with the angels.

Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible,
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission.” (

My Story by Darla Bell

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A few days ago I shared an article about Big Daddy Weave and their new song, “My Story”. I told you I was going to share my story, so Lord, help me. Here it is. I accepted Jesus as My Savior when I was 12, at Camp Gilead in Polk City, Fl. My life was forever changed! I have faced many challenges in my life, but God has strengthened and sustained me through each and every one of them. As a result my relationship with Him keeps growing stronger. I constantly saw God’s hand guiding me through tough high school years and hectic college years. One of His greatest blessings was meeting the Love of My Life, My Soulmate, the one that I know without a shadow of a doubt that God meant for me to share the entire rest of my days with- Matt Bell!!!❤
My biggest challenge in my life, marriage, and family came after we had our first child. I thought I just had postpartum depression but it never went away. The negative and devastating thoughts, emotions, anxiety, and fear that became an everyday part of my life was so very crippling and overwhelming. All of that in addition to the normal adjustments to being a new Mom and the all the changes and challenges it brings in marriage. I was left with little energy to enjoy the life I know God wanted me to have. I can’t even begin to imagine how all of this weighed on Matt, but God is faithful! Matt has always been right by my side, encouraging, praying, and holding me through times when I know he must have felt so helpless and bewildered as to what he should do to help me. That kind of love and support can ONLY come from God who has put a love so deep and strong in our lives, first for Him and then for each other!
I didn’t want to be around people, always in a bad mood, couldn’t control my emotions, crying uncontrollably. The devil would feed me lie after lie and I would believe all of it. The mind is truly a battlefield and I rely on God and His Word to combat those damaging lies like how can anyone love me, I’m a terrible mom and wife, I’ll never measure up to anything, I’m unattractive to my husband , and on and on. I used to want to bang my head into a brick wall a dozen times to try to get the thoughts to go away! Many times I thought of getting in my vehicle and leaving my family because The devil was trying to convince me that they would be better off without me! But I would immediately pray- I knew this was NOT what God would want me to do and in my heart I really didn’t want to leave those I love. I would go through cycles of trusting God for a while then shaking my fists at Him and crying asking Him why He allowed this to happen to me. As our family grew, I continued to struggle , but I was always thankful for Matt and our children.
Over the years I continued to serve God and He gave me the persistence to never give up and to continue to seek Him even though I didn’t understand. Eventually, I came to the place a few years ago, where I refused to allow Satan to defeat me. Through Christ I am more than a conqueror and I knew that God still had a plan for my life. You see, since I am child of God the devil knew he couldn’t have my soul so he wanted to render me useless for God’s Kingdom, but SATAN FAILED!!! You see, what the devil meant for evil, God is using for His glory. In 2 Corinthians 4:7 it says that we have this treasure in jars of clay that this all surpassing power is from GOD and NOT us! We are broken and damaged human beings but even though we are weak, as a Christ follower HIS POWER is IN US! More than anything, I want to fulfill God’s purpose and plan for my life by encouraging others and showing them CHRIST is the ONLY way to find real love, joy, peace, and eternal life.
God is helping me get out of my comfort zone and be obedient to Him in many different areas of my life. He’s been guiding me to use the talents He’s given me to make a difference for His Kingdom. Do I still struggle with my issues? Pretty much everyday of my life- many times it’s in my thoughts. Other times I get overwhelmed with anxiety or feel like I’m going to burst into tears at the worst possible times and even though I still fail Him many times each day, I wouldn’t change ANYTHING about my past! I probably wouldn’t have the depth of the relationship I have with Him right now and I probably wouldn’t be serving Him the way I am now if it were not for my depression and anxiety. It keeps me constantly on my knees, admitting I need Him every second, every minute, every hour of every single day! Some may call me pathetic or weak, but that’s ok-I love being a Jesus Freak! Now I’ve told you my story… “You heard Hope that wouldn’t let go…love that never gave up….VICTORY over the enemy” and sooo much more… ALL by the grace and glory of God! “To tell you my story is to TELL of HIM! This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long! ‪#‎IAMNOTASHAMED‬!!!!!!

Tell Someone

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When you’re stumbling around in the darkness,
When there’s a crushing weight on your back,
When you’re struggling to take every breath,
When you feel your heart and your mind are numb,
Reach out.

When you smile or laugh on the outside,
But you’re weeping in pain on the inside,
Ears are listening to hear your voice now.
Ears are listening to hear you calling.
Cry out.

Hands are extended to grasp you and hold you.
Arms are open to take and embrace you.
Hearts are longing to pour out love on you.
Voices are calling to come to safety.
Step out.

You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
Hearts longing. Hands reaching. Ears listening.
Calling you, embracing you, loving you.
You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.

Tell one, tell someone of the emptiness.
Tell one, tell someone of the pain you feel.
Take hold of the hands reaching out for you.
Believe and receive the love that they give to you.

You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
Hearts longing. Hands reaching. Ears listening.
Calling you, embracing you, loving you.
You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.

It’s okay to be broken into pieces.
You can be put back together again.
You will be stronger than before you fell
You’ll be the masterpiece you’re made to be.

You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
Hearts longing. Hands reaching. Ears listening.
Calling you, embracing you, loving you.
You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.

You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
You’re not alone. You’re loved. Tell someone.
You’re not alone.
You’re not alone.
You’re not alone.

How Will You Answer the Questions?

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Ask yourself these questions:
Is God a liar?
Is God all powerful?
Is God love?
Is God real?
Is God just?
Is God kind?
Is God compassionate?
Is God peace?
Is God patient?
Is God merciful?
Is God faithful?
Is God perfect?
Is God pure?
Do you know God personally or do you know about Him?
Do you love God more than you love yourself?
Do you love God more than you love anyone or anything?
Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?
Do you believe Christ and God are One?
Do you believe without a doubt when you die you will go to Heaven?
Do you believe man is pure?
Do you believe man is perfect?
Do you believe the impure is allowed into Heaven?
Do you believe you are pure enough to enter into God’s Presence?
Do you believe you can be made clean and pure enough to enter His Presence?
Do you believe Christ can forgive you and cleanse you from all impurities?
Do you believe you can turn completely from your impure life choices?
Do you believe you can confess your impurities to Christ?
Do you believe you can confess your sorrow for your past?
Do you believe a price must be paid for the impure actions?
Do you believe Christ paid that debt for you?
Do you believe you can ask Christ for forgiveness?
Do you believe He will forgive you?
Do you believe He desires to be the first love of your life and Lord of your life?
Do you believe by confessing, repenting, asking forgiveness and accepting Him as Lord you will be saved to live with Him now and forever?
Do you desire to know God personally and live forever with Him?
Is God rejoicing over your giving your life to Christ and accepting Him as your Lord and Savior?

Hidden Treasure  

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Truth sweet spoken.

Blogs By Bethany

Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field”

I came across this verse the other day, and instantly, it became one of my favorites. This verse is so simple and to the point, yet filled with so much hope, desire, and meaning.

I liked this verse so much, that I decided to do some research on it. I came to find out that Matthew 13:44 is one of the shortest parables that Jesus ever spoke. A parable is story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. Jesus left us with many parables to use as “directions” when following and growing closer to him. I think this verse was meant to reassure our hope and joy in Christ and the kingdom…

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Potholes, Patches and Pastiches

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Pastiche- {pah-steesh}
a work of art that mixes styles, materials;
a literary, musical, or artistic piece consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources

The driver behind me must think a bobble-head is driving this truck. Each drop of a wheel into a pothole bounces me up and down, jarring me left and right. I grip the steering wheel and pray I remain on my side of the road. Jostling along I ponder potholes. Do paved roadways and life’s pathways mirror one another?

I slammed into a few devastating, deep potholes along my journey of life. Some were apparent to all and some were known only to me. My fishbowl life as a preacher’s kid kept me struggling to survive in waters of inadequacy and imperfection. My dad attempted suicide when I was sixteen. Two of my daughters suffered sexual assaults as young adults. My father-in-law ran over my two-year-old daughter. Stresses at work where I was the recipient of workplace abuse reinforced my sense of failure. My mom’s cancer returned and rapidly grew to stage four. My health crashed with anemia, hypothyroidism and exhaustion. Physically, mentally and emotionally I felt like I was drowning. The stresses and pressures became so jarring I eventually careened off my pothole pitted roadway into a murky, dark ravine of depression.

I attempted a Band-Aid-like approach to these difficulties and pain. I avoided discussing them and pretended as though they had not happen. I worked ten to twelve hours daily preventing myself from thinking about my circumstances. I withdrew from interacting with family and friends. I owned the heartache of others who suffered tragedies and wept with and for them. Pain and hopelessness crippled me. I believed the lying voices of darkness. Despair. Discouragement. Defeat. I wanted to die and I made a plan.

God had a different plan. He said in Isaiah 41:9-10 (MSG),

I pulled you in from all over the world,
    called you in from every dark corner of the earth,
Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side.
    I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
    There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
    I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Through the prayers and loving hands of family, friends and my doctor He held me and opened the eyes of my heart to see His light in this dark world. He reminded me this world is temporary and we are engaged in a spiritual battle. In Ephesians 6:10-20 (NASB) He told me,

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. In John 10:10 He stated,

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

We all have life-jarring moments that toss us hither and yon like limp rag dolls splayed askew wondering, “What is happening?” Our painful experiences pierce our hearts and minds causing us to crumble. The powers of darkness desire to crush us but we do not have to remain broken. When we give our damaged lives to God and trust our pieces into His care, He comes in and cuts away the wounded, festering areas of our hearts and creates something new. He takes the shattered, splintered parts of our lives and makes something beautiful, better and stronger than the old.

He said it Himself in Isaiah 43:19 (VOICE),

Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak,
        and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert;
    Waters will flow where there had been none.

In Isaiah 65:17 (VOICE) He promised,

Now look here!
I am creating new heavens and a new earth.
The weary and painful past will be as if it never happened.
No one will talk or even think about it anymore.

He called us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB) to come to Him.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

 Again in John 10:27-28 He told us,
 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

Winding roads, curves, precarious ledges and potholes of hurts and disappointments dot our lives. God desires to smooth out the rough terrain created by hardship and heartache. God is able. God is willing. He is the seamstress taking sundry scraps of fabric and piecing them together into a patchwork quilt. He is an artisan using colored shards of glass creating a stunning stained-glass window or lampshade. He is the Master Craftsman. He gathers us to Himself, with all our broken parts and splinters and creates a masterpiece. He makes us into something new and never before seen. Will you respond to His loving voice and tender embrace? Will you surrender your broken life into His capable hands and allow Him to mold you into a pastiche? He is waiting.

Holding My Fathers’ Hands

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So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you;
don’t be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, help you.
I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up.
Isaiah 41:10 (The Voice)

Some glad mornin’ when this life is o’r
I’ll fly away
To my home on God’s celestial shore
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away, Oh Glory…hallelujah…. (Brumley)

Daddy gazes up at me from his bed, a hint of a smile on his lips. Beth, Belinda, Susan and I sing this favorite hymn in four-part harmony as Daddy taught us when we were small. Trembling he reaches for me and with a raspy voice whispers, “Hold my hand.” I enfold his boney, cool hands in mine. He tightens his grip on my fingers staring at me through fear-filled, glazed eyes.

He moans and whimpers, twisting his head from side to side, searching for something or someone. Shift change at the nursing home and the staff scurries past his room, arriving and departing. Eyes wide with anxiety he hoarsely repeats, “There goes another one. There goes another one!” I wonder, “Another what?”

What in Daddy’s childhood or past affects him that floods terror through his heart and mind? Has he returned to World War II and the horrors he and the 409th Infantry experienced liberating the prisoners in Dachau? Is it the wounds from the cruelty of those he served during his years as a pastor? Is it the scars from the sexual abuse he suffered as a child?

My heartache and sense of helplessness transport me back fifteen years to my last few moments with Momma. I cradled her tiny fingers in my hand, applying the clear polish and finishing her desired manicure. Her breathing waned and she raised her arms, smiled then lowered them. She stilled. Sensing the presence of the Holy Spirit I watched in wonder. Did Jesus grasp her hands and lift her from her cancer-riddled body? I knelt by her bed and lifting my voice in song thanked God for His comfort and grace.

Once more I bow before my Heavenly Father, confident He holds my hand and I pray. Grant the doctor wisdom to determine the medication and dose that will ease or relieve this anguish in which Daddy dwells. Impart to my sisters and me grace and discernment to best love, honor and comfort him. May he sense the Holy Spirit’s Presence and peace.

With tear-filled eyes I smile and stroke Daddy’s thin, weathered hand. I derive comfort from another of his favorite hymns and croon to him.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace. (Hemmel)

So it shall be as Jesus holds Daddy by the hand and he flies away to heaven’s celestial shore. Hallelujah!

The Beginning

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1 (KJV)

Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking.
The Voice was and is God.
John 1:1 (Voice)

For years the desire to write words of encouragement and hope for others has been like glowing embers within my heart. This is the beginning of that calling coming to fruition. I am officially a blogger.

I’m no physicist or engineer or historian. I am, however, an expert on learning to live my life to the fullest with Jesus leading and guiding me. A friend said that we hear we all have A STORY to tell, but the reality is we all have STORIES to tell.

So begins my story-telling of some of my life’s lessons. I will share my joys, sorrows, hopes, disappointments and more. This is my responding to the Lord Jesus calling me to come along side others who are experiencing some of the same struggles, successes and seasons of life through which He has carried me and those times yet to come.

Let me list a few of the moments I wish to share with you.
My daughter being run over by a car that her grandfather was driving
One of my daughters being sexually violated
My having breast cancer
The time I believed my marriage wouldn’t last
My miscarriage
Winning the war of depression

Join me, please, as I begin this new journey. Let’s travel through the valleys and over the mountains together. Sometimes the road may be rough and full of potholes and other times it may be smooth, gentle and relaxing.

The best part of this trip is Jesus is in the driver’s seat. Buckle up! Crank up the engine and let’s get going! Thanks for riding along with me!