Wednesday, June 27, 2018

So, Does Contentment Mean Giving Up?

OK, I've been circling around the idea of contentment as the antidote to the ill-effects that our insecurities can cause in our lives.  And I remember, that there was a moment when I was pondering whether contentment meant giving up...after reviewing a couple of Bible passages that spoke to me about contentment, I have to conclude, that when it comes to it being able to keep our insecurities in check, the answer is:  yes.

However, I don't mean giving up in the sense of quitting on your hopes and dreams.  What I discovered is that contentment means, in practical terms, giving up on our desire to define ourselves.

As much as I'd like to take credit for this idea, I really can't.  Of course not!  The thing is that we were in Sunday school a couple of weeks ago talking about the trials of Joseph in Genesis, and how he stayed faithful to God, trusting His provision and His plan, regardless of how different his life turned out to be than the way he had probably envisioned it when he was running around his father's estate wearing that fancy, multicolored coat of his...anyway, at that Sunday school session, Dan said it:  "we need to accept that God defines us.  We need to give up our desire to define ourselves."

That totally brought me back to my meditations regarding my insecurities.  Of course, that's the one thing I have to give up:  the desire to define myself and accept God's plan for me.

God designed a plan for my life based on the way He designed me...His plan fits me!  It is custom-made to my specs.  There is no way I am not going to be able to meet His expectations since He is the Designer and Creator.  He knows all about me...and His plan for me takes into account all of me.

WOW!  Mind blowing!

On the other hand, I try to fit into a pattern of my own creation, when I don't even know myself all that well, let alone all the details that need to come into place for anything to work out the way it should.  It's as if I thought that only because I have been inside a skyscraper, I'm suddenly qualified to design and build one of my own.

Hence, the lack of contentment.  Why do I feel so disqualified and inadequate to design and build a skyscraper?  I can't understand it?  I've been to Chicago and New York!  I've been inside some of the most impressive buildings, why am I failing at this task?

I have no insecurities flare at the slightest sign of failure...I have no satisfaction with the way things are going...because I keep insisting on doing things my way...which is often, not God's way.

I need to surrender my desire to define myself and let God be the God of who I am!


So, does contentment mean giving up?  In my humble opinion: Yes!  What do you think?

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Contentment in Fellowship

"I need a minute!"

"Please, just give me a minute...we'll talk later..."

These are phrases, statements, if you will, that I say often...perhaps, not as often as I should...when I'm feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, pressured, in pain or even embarrassed.  Have you ever said them?

The last time I used them was a few weeks ago when we were in Florida on a short vacation with the kids. It was a delightful trip and we were having a wonderful time, but we were exhausted.  After a two-day marathon at Universal Amusement Parks, we spent our last day just chilling at the nearby beach.  We picked up some food on our way back to the apartment where we were staying, because we didn't feel like going out again.  The apartment belongs to my friend from work and she let us stay there for free, which added to our enjoyment, as you can imagine!

The thing is that the apartment is extremely charming and cute, so we didn't want to mess anything up.  Therefore, I decided we should eat at the balcony.  Grant helped me open the door and get everything ready.  He got his food, and I went back to the kitchen to get mine.  I saw he was already sitting out there and I kept walking to join him, plate and drink in hand, when BAM, POW, CRASH!!!! Yes, I crashed on the perfectly clean, glass sliding door...

Grant, following the common sense we have taught him, had closed the sliding door behind him when I left because the a/c was on inside...clever boy...yeah...we have taught him well!

I was so mad and in so much pain and above all, SO embarrassed, I turned around and walked away...of course, not without doing my fair amount of yelling on the way...

By then, Dan was already by my side, wondering what the heck had happened.  He wanted to comfort me and help me, but I refused.  I needed to be my shame...and in my pain, because I happened to hit my knee really hard against the thick glass, and it was killing me!!! So I said the words, and went away for a while.

Everybody needs "a moment" here and then.  However, I don't know anybody who wants to be lonely.  We are designed by a God whose very nature is fellowship among Himself.  Of course, we are not created to be alone.  Regardless of who we are, loneliness destroys humanity. It tears us apart.  Regardless of how often we seek solitude, there comes a point when human contact is needed or we go least, that's what happens to me, personally.

I crave proximity, especially in my hour of struggle.  When fear grips my heart and I feel the weight of the world fall upon my shoulders, I need to know I am not alone.  The Lord is always with me.  I know that.  But I crave to perceive His presence.  I beg Him to allow me to feel His presence.  And oftentimes, the way He lets me know He is there is by sending His people to me.  When my brothers and sisters make their presence known, I feel the comfort of God surrounding me like a warm blanket in a cold evening.  The prayers of those around me lift me up as if on wings like eagles!  The messages of the body of Christ in reply to my requests for help provide the support I need in my weakness.  And I rejoice!  I rejoice, because I know it is God's way to show me His visible face while still on this earth.

I believe, this is part of what the apostle Paul was talking about when he wrote to the Philippians.  Chapter 4, starting on verse 10, contains inspired words that demonstrate Paul's humanity at its best.  And the reason that is the case is because Paul identifies key elements that define human nature:  the need to know that we are not alone and the need to find contentment as we surrender it all to the Lord.

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4: 10-13

Paul knew, in his heart, that his beloved people of Philippi did care about him, but he needed reassurance.  Even the great pillar of the faith, Paul, needed to know he was not alone...not because he was in need of the material contributions that they sent him, but because he was in need of the human touch that it produced.  

The other gem that this passage contains pertains to the issue at hand, contentment.  We learn here that contentment does not depend on the circumstances.  Contentment goes beyond, far beyond what our current situation might be.  That elusive feeling of complete satisfaction can only come from the peace that trusting in the Lord's strength can bring.  No matter what, He will get me through it, because my situation, my struggle, my pain, my joy, my happiness, my wealth, my health, my illness, my frustration, my accomplishments, my all belong to Him and He is in control.  

I got up from the floor where I had gone to eat my lunch tucked in the corner of a room away from everybody else.  I went to the kitchen to throw away the garbage, and stepped outside into the balcony, this time, making sure I opened the glass door.  The three guys were sitting out there still, looking at me expectantly, not knowing what to do or say...waiting for my cue...I don't know what I said, but whatever it was, it did the job and dissipated the tension enough for Grant to dare to say:  "well, it was really funny..."

At that, and much to my chagrin, we all burst out in laughter...yes, even me.  I had had enough "alone" time.  I was ready to rejoin the world, my little world...I didn't need any more minutes by myself.  I needed to feel the embrace of those around me and feel the contentment, even if my knee was beginning to swell.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Does Contentment Mean Quitting?

I've been thinking about the idea of contentment as a key to keeping our insecurities (well, mine at least, right?) from causing devastation in our lives.  However, most of the thoughts on this subject revolved around giving up.  Then, I began to think:  "well, I don't want to be a quitter!  I don't want to sound like I'm preaching we are supposed to give up on life and just build our permanent dwelling on the foundations of our current state!  What if our current state is the pit!?  Am I supposed to accept the pit as part of seeking contentment?"

So, what did I do?  I asked Google! Of course!

No, really, I did!  I searched for Bible verses that speak about contentment.  Then, I selected the two that spoke directly to me:  Matthew 6: 25-34 and Philippians 4: 12-13.  And, I examined the chapters that contained such verses.  Here's what I found:

If we read Matthew 6, we see that Jesus is continuing the train of thought that He began in chapter 5 which is all part of His Sermon of the Mount.  In chapter 6, He speaks about outward issues: giving to the needy, prayer, fasting, treasures in heaven...and...worry...sigh...

He tells us His famous:  "Do not worry about your life..." statement followed by His rationale for our need not to worry.  Go ahead, read it for yourself.  It's all there and it's wonderful! But the statement that most speaks to what I'm trying to understand today (at least in my humble opinion) is found in verse 33:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

I don't believe these words of Jesus in any way, shape or form imply giving up.  Not even a little bit!  While He tells us:  "Hey, don't worry, I've got you covered!!" He doesn't tell us to just quit and sit around doing nothing.  He commands us to action!  He says:  "SEEK ME FIRST!" 

I don't know about you, but when I'm on a "seeking" mission, I'm doing anything but quitting.  I can't seek while sitting (though it has been tried in my house by my kids several times to no avail, however...sigh)  Searching, to me, is almost like a workout.  I squat.  I lean.  I get down on the floor.  I struggle to get up.  I realize there are some muscles I haven't used in a long time.  My back hurts,  I remove things.  I lift things.  I straighten things.  I throw away things.  I find things I am not looking for.  I yell at people (this one probably doesn't apply to the illustration, but I'm just being honest)... regardless..."seeking" involves action...many of them, most of them very complex and often painful.  Seeking is an intentional action.  It is very far from anything linked to quitting.  Unless, you quit seeking. that is.

Also, in the process of focusing on Seeking Him first, notice what happens:  "all these things will be given to you as well."  

So, what do we have here:  
1. forget about fitting into a self-made image that is unrealistic.  
2. Redirect eyes and energy towards seeking Christ as the main purpose in life.
3. Stop worrying - Stop Obsessing about self: find contentment.  
4. See how He provides for everything.


I will get to the other passage of Scripture next time.  Let me just keep on pondering now.  See you soon!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A Day of Forgiveness

Today at church, the kids' Sunday school class walked around the hallways giving all the Fathers a bottle of A&W Root Beer soda with a label that used a play on words to spell "You are A&Wsome, Happy Fathers Day!"  It was a wonderfully cute gesture that the gentlemen who carry the title greatly appreciated.  I couldn't help but thinking, however, how Father's Day, for many, is far from a celebratory day.  This is a holiday that brings the stirring of painful memories, some, buried behind years that have piled up on them like a mountain of bricks...some, not so distant...some still too fresh.

For some, including people very close to me, and me in a way as well, the entire month of June brings anxiety and discomfort caused by the painful remembrance of the emptiness that a less than stellar earthy Father has left in their soul.  For others, me included, the third Sunday of June brings the melancholic feeling of a dearly beloved Father who is no longer here.

What to do to escape the pain of the holiday?  I don't know...but, in many cases , forgiveness might hold a clue.

I remember very vividly the moment I received the phone call...that fateful phone call that carried the news my Dad had passed away.  Separated by the distance, and in spite of the fact I was expecting the news to come sooner rather than later, I was filled with anger.  I was angry at the circumstances.  I was angry at a life that had placed me so far away from my Father that I couldn't be there when he last breathed on this earth.  I was angry that he died with a broken heart I couldn't fix.  I was angry at those whom I blamed for his brokenness.  I was angry at them because they just didn't care.  I was angry at the thought of my kids growing up without their Grandpa.  I was angry that I still needed him...and he'd no longer be here for me.

I need to forgive and let go of my anger. 

I need to forgive myself for not being there.  It wasn't my fault. 
I need to forgive those I've been blaming for my Dad's sadness.  I have truly come to realize they actually do not know what they were/are doing.
I need to forgive myself, again, for resenting God's plan and accept that He is in control.  His plan for my life and for the lives of my sons includes that we would not enjoy the benefit of having my Father around...and I need to accept that God's designs are perfect even when I don't understand them.  One day we will have a family reunion in our heavenly home that will be a marvelous one!

I need to forgive and let go.

Forgiveness is mostly for us.  It is not dependent on the other person's ability or inability to show/express/feel remorse or repentance.  After all, Christ didn't wait for us to be good and blameless before He died on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins, right?

Forgiveness doesn't mean relationships are mended and restored.    Forgiveness is meant for healing:  the healing of our own hearts.  It is meant to free us.  It is meant to restore us.

"I don't have any Grandpas...I only have a Grandma..." Dylan said today in the car as we were driving back home after church. 

"I know..." I replied.  "I also grew up not knowing more than one Grandma, and she passed away when I was 15..." I said staring out the window at the blurring images of trees passing us by.  Thoughts of my years growing up in Panama mixed into the many of the people who once were so integral to my life are now gone...but God, in His mercy has placed others to fill the holes left by those no longer here.  My experiences help me relate to my young son who often feels misplaced I thought, blessed be the Name of the Lord...

It is time to forgive and let go.  It is time for healing.  It is time to appreciate the A&Wesome Dad I had and the A&Wesome Daddy my sons have.  I know that the time for forgiveness is not the same for everyone.  I know forgiveness is often not a destination, but a journey...a journey that is different for everyone embarking on it.  I know that the hurt, the pain, the scars might be too difficult to ignore.  But I also know that the mountain of bricks must, one day, be destroyed.  Hiding the brokenness will not heal the wounds.  Harboring anger will never make us free. 

The good news is that we have a Divine Father who is for us.  Our Father in Heaven knows...He knows...and He cares.  He is working in our souls through the pain...and the sooner we come to Him and drop it all at His feet, the quicker the healing will begin.  It's not easy, but it is necessary.  Let's, at least, get on the boat and start the journey to forgiveness.  It might be rough...but it will soothe the pain and smooth the hurt.

Let's celebrate forgiveness today.  Let's find a reason to celebrate Father's Day!!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Contentment as the Antidote of Insecurity??

"Please, Mama, please, I need it!  All my friends are reading this book.  I want to read it too, please!  It would be a great Easter know?  Easter basket?" I remember Dylan pleading with me for days. I felt guilty.  I mean, after all, it was a book.  A BOOK!  Dylan has never pleaded for a book.  So finally, about one week before Easter, while we were doing errands, I told him I would get him the book. We were at the Mall getting something else, but as soon as Dylan saw the bookstore, he asked to go in there to check if they had the book he wanted.  Again, I'm like, "c'mon, it's a book...go in there..." so in we went.  Of course, Dylan found the book right away.  I turned it over to see the price:  "WHAT!?  No way!  We'll get it at Walmart"  I said, thinking to myself: "no wonder bookstores are becoming a thing of the past."  Immediately, Dylan complained:  "But, Mama, they don't have it at Walmart!"  I was like, I KNOW I've seen that book in Walmart, but I double checked with Grant anyway.  He concurred.  "I'm not paying double for this book in here."  We are heading that way anyway, so it'll only be a few minutes.  I felt very smart...except...yeah, you guessed it:  they didn't have it in Walmart...sigh...

Well, I'm sure you can figure out what happened next: I went back to the bookstore at the Mall and bought the overpriced version of the book so Dylan would have it in his Easter Basket in a few days.

However, that's not the end of the story...nor my point in telling it.  The thing is that when Dylan finally got the book, he was, indeed, very enthusiastic about reading it.  He even took it with him to school (so his friends would see that he was also reading this most fascinating page-turner).  Inevitably, after a few days, the book ceased to be in Dylan's hands anymore.  He had replaced it with a video game controller...surprise, surprise...

Days became weeks.  Weeks became months.  School was out.  Summer vacation began.  "Well Dylan, I think this is a great opportunity for you to finally finish reading your book.  So go get it, leave it here where you can see it, that way you'll remember to do a little reading every day," I said, feeling like I was one of those seriously organized, awesome Moms that actually have a meticulously designed plan for their children's brain not to turn into mush during the summer months (I still can't believe that there are Moms like that...WOW...hats off to you if you are one of them...). 

"I ... don't know... where the book is..." Dylan replied, with a hesitation that mascaraded the fear he must have been feeling inside in anticipation of my wrath. 

I'm not going to narrate what happened next...just suffice it to say there's still a cloud of very dark smoke hovering above our house yet to be blown away...

This incident came to my mind when thinking about the idea that contentment could be a sort of antidote against insecurity. 

I mean, really!  If I think about it, the only reason Dylan (for whom books are almost like an allergen) wanted to get that book so desperately was not because he wanted to actually read it.  He just wanted his friends to believe he was reading it.  He has had the blessing of finding a really great group of kids at school who are into reading and getting good grades!  So Dylan, someone who legitimately struggles academically, wants to fit in with this group, but he feels insecure...he feels inadequate...he feels like he is not good enough. He, then obviously thought that if he was seen carrying the book around and reading a few pages at school here and there, his friends would consider him just as smart as they are...because Dylan feels that he is not...he has self-doubts about his own intelligence...about his own worth...sigh...

Dylan hasn't found contentment in who he is.  He is trying to live to the expectations of others, and above all, he is trying to live up to the expectations that he has of himself.  He is trying to fit into his self-created image.

My son is still a kid. He is a boy soon to be entering adolescence.  Of course his insecurities are at his highest.  Of course I can't be mad at him for feeling that way.  Of course, I can't expect that he is going to do a deep introspection of the situation and conclude that he needs to find contentment with who he is as he lets go of the fantasy image he has designed of himself.  But, what about me?  I do the same thing Dylan does all the time...and I'm FAR from being just a little girl.  Why can't I find contentment in who I am rather than striving to be whom I'm not?  Why can't I be contented with God's design?

Well, this is as far as I've gotten in my meditation on how contentment could cure or at least, greatly diminish my insecurities.  I'll continue praying and I'll let you know what else comes to mind soon.  Please think about it too!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Facebook-Perfect Life

Yesterday, I wrote about how pride is one of the main elements that fuel my, I think of another kindle, which once thrown into the fire, it ignites my self-doubt and sparks my sense of inadequacy as well:  envy.

I know I've often referred to myself as a type of Mommy Hulk... a green monster in itself.  Envy, however, is that other, age-old creature that is also closely linked to the color green.


It takes a very special...a TRULY special person to never feel, even a distant pinch of envy.  Maybe it's wishful thinking, and I am the rare one...which wouldn't be surprising at all!  But I do feel the attacks of the green monster of envy every now and then.  The problem is, that the chances to feel envy creeping into my heart are exponentially higher now, in today's social media era, than they were ever possible at any other time in our history. 

The readily available capability to instantly communicate to the entire world all that is going on in our lives has made it impossible to be unaware of how "the other half" lives!  We are constantly, 24/7 caught into the flux of news and posts.  We play games with people all over the world.  We have more "friends" now than we ever had before.  We follow and we seek out followers as if we were some kind of apocalyptic cult. We are permanently connected...yet...we've never felt so alone...

It is a paradox, I know...but, at least in my experience, it is true.

We are one with our cell phone, tablet, laptop, whatever.  We endlessly and mindlessly scroll down our devices in the social media of our choice.  We see more people than we ever imagined we ever could...but it is all done while we are sitting somewhere on our own.

And the thing is, that, at least to me personally, while I'm sitting, lonely, at a place where I need some distraction from my disappointing life, I scroll through a blurry collage showing people sporting their cool outfits, always smiling or being silly, embracing one another in love, posing at the amazing locations they are visiting during their vacation, eating the most delicious dishes imaginable, drinking the most colorful beverages, enjoying the most intricate treats...

I saturate my mind and eyes and soul with the sights of everyone else's life, which resembles an episode of a hip TV sitcom...and then I turn my eyes to my own pathetic life...and I crumble before the reality of my obscure, low-ratings existence, that resembles a low-budget amateur cable show that is about to be cancelled.


I envy the lives of those smiley-face-Facebook-friends who seemingly have it all together.

Double sigh...

The anxiety of envy crawls all over me when I see people having the vacations I'd like to have.  I worry about my kids, when I see how everyone else's kids are getting honored at the end of the school year (social media has replaced the refrigerator when it comes to hanging our kids' achievements), or are having fun with friends at the pool during lazy summer afternoons, while my kids' report cards are hidden at the bottom of the drawer of shame, and they are laying on the couch playing video games.  I get nervous about my marriage, when I see married couples having a blast, doing exotic activities, enjoying the outdoors, playing sports, basking in the sun...while Dan and I are just sitting right there, on the same couch next to our kids...wasting the time the same way they do.

I envy the Facebook lives of my friends!  Witnessing other people's fantasy lives triggers my deep insecurities...because I believe I'm not good enough to have a social media worthy life of my own.

Until I realize, that...perhaps...often...for them too, the Facebook life might also be just a fleeting mirage.

We only see one side of the social media coin.  We only see the side that people want to share.  Our postings are mostly about the things we want to showcase, not about the things we want to hide or that make us ashamed.  We share the things we are proud of, excited about, joyful for!  Typically, at least in my case, we tend to post pictures of our happy moments...not of our deepest and most personal sadness, disappointment, failure, disillusionment, depression, fear, loneliness...

However, one doesn't have to be a genius to know the truth:  regardless of how life might seem in the social media extravaganza, everybody is carrying a burden.  Regardless of how picture-perfect life might seem through the lense of Instagram...behind every smile, there was or there will be, at some point, also a tear ... a frown.

How do I keep social media from negatively affecting the way I feel about myself?  Cultivating contentment. 

Since I don't know how to do that...I must stop here and get back to it next time...I certainly need to pray about this more.  In the meantime, I will try to keep in mind the command to count others as more significant than myself so I can truly, honestly rejoice in their victories without allowing the green hues of envy to color my feelings.  I pray I am able to love others in a patient, tranquil, calm way that is kind and does not envy...for that is the only true way to fully love.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


I know I've written about this before...but, like a chronic disease, suffering from insecurities keeps coming back at the most inopportune of times.  Just when I think I'm finally walking on more solid grounds, something triggers my insecurities and I step into quicksand.


Insecurities make us feel uncertain about ourselves.  They fill our mind with self-doubt.  They strip us of our confidence.  They make us feel not adequately guarded or sustained.  Insecurities are a synonym of unsafe... and these are just a few of the ideas surrounding the word insecurity, which I found when I visited my trusted friends Merriam and Webster. 
Non of the words associated with the concept of insecurity have any positive ring to them.  They are all anxiety-prone and darkness-oriented...sigh...

Like many other anxious and dark thoughts that dwell in the corners of my mind, I want to get rid of my insecurities.  I'm afraid, however, that in order to begin to allow the Holy Spirit to sweep His Holy broom within my soul to clear it of all the cobwebs woven by my insecurities, I might have to go into a journey that I'm reluctant to embark upon.

I realize, however, that even though this journey to the center of my insecurities is not one I'm willing to embrace, it is one I must at least, begin.  Even if I have to travel in less than comfortable accommodations, I must step into my steerage cabin, make sure I find my life-jacket, and start the voyage, before I sink.

The one thing that would signal that I've taken the first step is to understand the nature of my insecurities.  That, in itself, would take a lifetime.  Perhaps, I might find a more direct route instead:  honesty.

If I'm honest with myself, I'd see that the strongest, most viable root of my insecurities is surely grounded in the fact that I am pursuing to reflect the image of myself that I have created.  I'm trying to live up to the expectations that I have designed for myself.  I am trying to be the Mother, the Wife, the Friend, the Teacher, the Christian, the etc. that I have molded in my own imagination.  I am trying to become the picture I took of myself without realizing that such picture is artificially colored by pride.

At the center of the person I strive to be resides the engine of pride, which sets the whole thing in motion and keeps the whole thing running, as if a movie in my brain that continues playing in an endless rotation for I believe the more times I watch it, the easier it would be to become the person that plays me in it...totally unaware that such a person is but a fantasy...a ghost...a paper doll at best...a marionette with its cords manipulated by my pride which makes me believe that person is whom I should be...that I should be my own creation.

It is not a surprise, therefore, that when the light of reality flips on, and I am able to see that I will never be the paper doll who plays me in the psy-fi movie of my life, I snap.  It is not a surprise that when the light reveals the real me, anger overcomes me, and the taste of failure embitters me.

I will never be that person I have created in my own image.  And my pride cannot take it.

Why couldn't I be?  Why couldn't I be the perfect person I envision?  She is a good person!  She is so much better than who the real me is!  What is wrong with wanting to be her?

The thing is that...I am not supposed to be her.  I am supposed to be who God designed me to be.  But, the issue remains:  I have trouble understanding/accepting, that the person God created me to be is way better than whatever person I imagine I want to be...  

To counter that lack of understanding, I must remember the truth:  It's so much better to be created at the image of the Almighty, than to live up to the Frankenstein-style image I concocted of myself.  And in order to remember this truth, in order to make it mine, I must allow the Holy Spirit to dissolve my pride and fill my soul with humility, so I can truly Praise Him for the person He made me.  I need to whole-heartedly adopt Psalm 139 as my life poem, so I can proclaim, from the bottom of my heart and with all the strength of my mind that:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Psalm 139: 14

I pray that, even though I am embarking in this journey through my insecurities somewhat reluctantly, that the Lord will light the way and lead me through it with the Lamp of His Word, Compassion, Wisdom and Love...and above all, I pray that my personal journey may bring truth, comfort, peace and light to those who embark on it with me.