Is it only in my mind? On a hill / The story continues

Is it only in My Mind? On a hill chapter 3
Julie Sheppard

There you are, my friend. I am glad you wanted to see me again. The last time we were together was not pleasant for you. Ah, but now you are like David who destroyed his giant with a slingshot and a stone. You look good today. You no longer look as you are carrying the weight of the world. Is that a smile I see on your face? I amuse you, don’t I?
The sun is bright and not a cloud in the sky today. I love the sound of children laughing as they play. Everyone is out and enjoying this beautiful day. Do you see that boy sitting over there? He does not look like he is having any fun, sitting alone. Wait! He has a friend and they brought him an ice cream cone, how sweet. His day has just gotten better. It does not take much to make a little one’s day better. A friend and something sweet, and all is better.
I am enjoying our new-found friendship. You are no longer a skeptic. I can see in your eyes that you are opening up to so many new possibilities. So shall we just sit here and maybe feed the ducks? No? You are ready for another journey. Well then my dear friend let us take a walk. We will go to a place that is more peaceful than the last. It is where I became friends with a very special and dear man He came up to me one day and took me there and showed me beauty I had not seen before.
Who is this man? He is a friend that has and never will let me down. One day he started talking to me and I wanted to listen to what he had to say. As we walked and talked I found that he had led me to this place. When I stopped to look at where we were, I see what you now see. Beautiful rolling hills surrounding that small pasture down below. You want to know more about my friend. Why did I stop to talk with him? I think it was his eyes. They are gentle and kind, but at the same time there was a fire in them I cannot explain. You could say I was like a moth drawn to the light, and this is the place he lead me to.
It may seem strange that a man I never knew before had just become the most important friend in my life. That is what happened though. I am not sure how long it took for us to walk to this place, but when we arrived our friendship was sealed. We have not gone a day since without talking. I share everything with him.
Yes, I did share with him about our last trip together. I hide nothing from him.He would like to meet you. He is over on the next hill sitting under that tree. You saw him already? Yes he watches his sheep carefully. He does not take his eyes off of them for a moment. He is both protector and provider. He is a good shepherd. He does not let harm come to his sheep. However, when one does wander off they do sometimes get hurt, but he goes after them and brings them home.
The first time I stood on that hill over there with him, we looked over this little valley, The sheep were below, and he pointed to them. Then he asked me to do something for him. No, he did not bring me here to make demands, and if I said no he would still love me. What he asked me to do had honored and humbled me all at once. He stood beside me with his arm around me and asked me to care for his sheep. He was telling me that he trusted me with the lives of those he cared for. We had only just met but he had known me long before we met. The person who I had been was not one I would trust, but there we stood together and he was giving me a chance of a lifetime. I could not say no, so I said yes. H now uses me to go after the ones who wander off and get lost. No man has ever honored me with more.
He is waiting for us, let us go to him now. He knows we are here, he just did not want to be rude and interrupt our conversation. he is truly looking forward to meeting you. i know that you have a lot of questions. He is the one with the answers. I will take you to him now.

Is it only in my mind? the story continues/ Facing the monsters

Continuing the story(fiction can be a lot of fun)

   You have come back my new friend. It is good to see you again. Would you like some coffee? I have been enjoying watching the clouds and all their wonderful shapes. Yes it is a little cold outside. I like this table. I can see so much when I sit here.  I am missing my park bench, but the coffee is hot and the aroma lifts my spirit.                                                   Well since you have come back I am sure that you would like to talk about more than coffee and how it smells. I know I should probably share a memory of one of my journeys that was more enjoyable, but talking about smells has reminded me of a specific scent though. Unfortunately it is not as pleasant as the smell of this coffee. It does however take me to a place that I once thought I would like to forget, but now I am glad that I can remember. If it was unpleasant why is it good that I remember it? I will tell you about the place and the events that took place. I hope that you do not think I am trying to scare you with this story, but if you are willing to listen, I will tell you how it is not one of horror but of victory.
Where shall I begin? I love the smell of gardenia flower. Their fragrance would come to me at times when I could not see any flowers around me, but I could smell them as if they were right in front of my nose. On that day it was not the sweet scent of this flower that had hit my nostrils. It was so strong I could almost taste it. The metallic scent of blood flooded me, and in an instant I found myself in a ring of fire. I was covered in blood and they hid themselves in the flames as they struck me with their blades.
Who were my attackers? To be honest they stayed well hidden but their blows did make contact. The flames were high but they did not close in on me, and I did not feel more than the heat of the fire. In my own hand was a sword that even covered in the blood of my attackers held a silver shine. Surrounded and unable to see my attackers, I could only see their blades as they cut me. The strange thing was that even though most of my body was being cut, I was able to stand and not grow weak.
I struck at the flames with my own blade and it made contact. I could hear them fall one by one as the screamed with their last breath. The fire seemed to be a wall of protection, because even though their weapons made it through the monsters were kept behind it. They could not reach me. I fought with all of the strength I had. Wondering where it had come from. Then standing in the middle of the ring of fire I took one last swing with my sword holding my head high, I let out a scream. It was over, and I was still standing. The monsters were dead and consumed by the fire.
The blood I had been covered in was gone. Only scars remained. Scars seem ugly to those who do not know how they were etched into ones body. To me they are badges of victory. I like to call mine beauty marks. Yes I may be strange, but I like I how I see things.
This place that I had traveled to, invited by a scent I did not like, had a purpose. I asked you in our last meeting if you had monsters you needed to destroy. Well now you know why I asked that question. There are places we must go that are not pleasant and causes us pain. That place or places can make us stronger and can take us to a better place if we will take a stand and not become discouraged, even when under attack.
You see that attack was meant to scare me off of my journey. Yes the monsters wanted to take my life, but all they could do was swing their blades at me. They could not take my life, because I would not give it to them and the fire protected me as a shield.
You look a little pale my friend. Is it because you do not believe me, or is it because my memory has terrified you? Let me show you my arm. The scar beneath the inside of my elbow has grown faint with time and can barely be seen unless you are looking for it. You can feel it if you want to. Oh, I forgot about that scar. Yes it is where a blade hot from the fire struck me, or should I say pierced me. It was actually on my hand between my thumb and forefinger when it happened. I have grown since then and this scar marks my growth as it travels up my arm, which is now upon my wrist.
I did not just survive that day. Through blood and fire I was delivered from my enemies. The monsters who wanted me dead are now dead themselves. That was a good journey and it took me from a place you could call hell and gave me a better life. It is a memory I am now happy to look back upon.
I think the look I see upon your face is one of fear. You do have monsters who are tormenting you. You are afraid to fight them alone. I will go with you, do not be afraid. You too will slay them and find a much better place. No, we do not have to go there right now, but we should go soon. For now drink your coffee. Would you like some pie?

 

Is it only in my mind? Short story

Trying my hand at some fictional work.

   Hi there. I know you do not know me, but I wonder if you could take a moment and answer a few questions. Why? Well, depending on your answers I would like to take you to a place not many have seen.
Yes. Please have a seat. It is a beautiful day and I enjoy sitting outdoors where there is so much to see.
I appreciate you giving me some of your time, so I will get to the questions I have.

Do you see things as only black or white?
Does everything have to be in perfect order to make you happy?
Do you have to stick to a specific schedule?
If something happens that interrupts your routine, what do you do?
Do you like going on adventures?
Do you color in the lines?
How creative are you?
Do you ever do things at the spur of the moment?
What is your favorite color?
Have you ever taken a road trip for fun?
I know these questions are random, but they have you thinking. Now that you have kindly answered these questions it is time for me to tell you about that place. No it is not in some far off country that you can find on a map. It is also not on another planet. It is a place where the landscape changes in a blink of an eye. Where one moment it is day and in the next it is night. The sky can be your favorite color, and trees can grow out of the sea, or float in the air. You say this place cannot exist, but I say that it does. You say it is only in my mind. You doubt me and think that I am crazy, that is okay. I am sure you heard of a man named John, who went to a place that was not on this earth or in space. Do you recall what he wrote about where he went?
I am glad that you are still here. You are curious to know if this place can really exist. Are you ready to see this place for yourself? Close your eyes. Tell me now what do you see? Nothing but darkness? Reach out there is a door right in front of you. Open it. Can you see now?
How did I find this place? As a child I spent a lot of time reading books. I loved them. They were my escape. They took me places I had never been to. The words came to life and I found myself in new and wonderful places(Like the place John wrote about). Sometimes I would become afraid and I would run and hide. I would be so filled with fear but in those places I learned to face my fears. I could be as big as a giant and step on what had frightened me. I learned to fight and be courageous. I could choose my role. I could even be the bad guy if I wanted to be, but that was a character I chose to fight and not give into. I could walk through fire and not get burned. I swam in stormy waters and did not drown or run out of breath.
Books opened the door to this place. They opened my mind to see beyond what was in front of me. I learned to see what others could not. Now I do not even have to close my eyes, and I can be anywhere I allow my mind to take me. I am no longer limited by the physical world around me. For not only is my battle one that is not of flesh and blood, but the wonders and beauty of life are not limited by the physical things around me.
You can now journey to this wondrous place that has no limits. Are there monsters that you need to destroy? Are there places that bring you peace and joy? Is there an adventure you have been wanting to take? Do you want to go to a place that you can only imagine?  Then join me, or take a journey that is all your own.
If you would like, I could share with you some of my experiences in this place, if that would help you decide. You have somewhere you have to be right now, but still want to hear more. I would be happy to meet with you again. You can find me here most days. I enjoy this bench, because I can see so much of this beautiful park.  If the weather is rainy, you can find  me at that cafe across the street.  I am looking forward to sharing more with you.

Until next time.

Thought for the week Feb. 9, 2019

As we end another week, I am thinking about the weather here in Texas. We began the week with warm and sunny days. Temperatures even rose into the 80’s. Then winter temperatures returned down to the 20’s. So sitting here bundled up, bone chilling cold. I think about what scriptures that speak about being double minded, and how easy it is for us to be tossed about by waves. The weather here cannot seem to make up its’ mind and neither do we. How many of us agree with things that we know to be wrong to keep the peace. Are we afraid of being judged a hypocrite, or that we are speaking in hate if we call a sin , what it is, sin? Do we tolerate idols because they have been a part of our traditions and have been given christian names? Do we want only to hear words that please our ears and turn from harsh words of truth?

A couple of months ago God had told me the Body is out of alignment with His Word and Way. The body being the church, this being every believer no matter your denomination. He did not say that we are not believers and we are still His, but we have compromised His truth, His Word, giving only half of what He has given to us. To afraid to offend or be judged as being hateful. We tolerate sin afraid to speak correction, saying we are forgiven. Forgetting that to receive forgiveness we first must repent , acknowledging our sin. We know the name of Jesus, we believe He sacrificed His life to pay for our sins and that He rose from the grave, conquering death, giving us the keys to life. We go to church read the Bible, but for too many it stops there. We continue to live our lives to please ourselves and not God. Then there are those of us who know the truth and live it but we do not speak out when we see wrongs committed we are lacking in our responsibility.  We love God but not as He loves us. We love as the world loves. Tossed about by waves of compromise and opinions. Unstable in all we do.

We need to get out of that boat and be firmly planted upon the Rock of Truth. We need to make some changes. Our lives should reflect the love of Christ in every area of our life, not just when we gather in buildings we call church, but be the Church. Love the sinner but teach them to turn from sinful ways. Rid ourselves of idols and compromise. Live in His Truth, His Way, and His Love. Get aligned with Him, a body that is perfectly aligned functions at its’ best.

 

January 19, 2019 Starting off the year right.

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Art by Julie Sheppard

Hello Everyone!

I am sorry that I have not written anything for a while now. This last year has definitely been busy and a lot has happened. I have also learned a lot. I started working on’Right Relations’, last year and it does not feel like I have gotten very much accomplished on this project, but it has given me time to reflect on the relationships I have had and the testimonies of how each of the relationships had effected me and my relationship with Jesus, and even my current relationships(none that are romantic). I am praying to share my insights through out this year and possibly help or give hope to at least one person.

This year has started off well. I was able to share my testimony on my last suicide attempt which I have shared here, ‘Testimony, I gave up on life and survived’. Even though I had posted this a few years back I had not publicly shared it, with those who knew me or went to church with. I am grateful I did though because since I gave shared that part of my testimony, I have had people talk to me and share about themselves and how my testimony did help them. I have many chapters in my life and many testimonies of the things God has done for me through some very dark periods of my life, and I have written some down and shared them here. I guess it is coming to the time to share them in person.

All of you reading this have testimonies. You are alive and lived through so many different things, some good, some bad, and some tragic. You have a story to share. I encourage you to so so. Share your testimony, break it down into chapters so you do not become overwhelmed. In Revelation 12, you will read …10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down—he who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they did not love their lives so as to shy away from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea; with great fury the devil has come down to you, knowing he has only a short time.”…

Life shared is life given, and that is what you give when you give your testimony. I know how afraid you can be when thinking of sharing yourself with another, and how even writing your testimony can be a draining experience. Pouring yourself out, exposing yourself, and knowing that once it is out there you can’t take it back. Then fear of judgement and rejection begin to work on our thoughts. Afraid that if they learn who we truly are and what we had done in the past they would no longer love or want us in their life. One word of encouragement is, ‘god knows you, and He knows everything you have ever done and He still loves you!’ Proof is in that He loved you so very much that He sent Jesus, His Son to die for you. So that you can live. Yes some may criticize or even condemn us when we open up and let His light into the dark areas of our lives, but His light overcomes the darkness. His love never fails, and He will never abandon you.

So it is now your turn, speak up and share what He has done in your life, and reach out to someone you do not even know that is hurting and give them hope.

P.S. I have not stopped working on Right Relations and I am still looking for testimonies on relationships, both good and bad, that I may include in this work. If you feel led to share with me please leave me a comment and I will give you my contact information. I also would like to tell you anything you share with me if used can be kept anonymous.

Thank you and God bless

Who do you serve? Who do you live for?

Joshua 24:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

How many of us profess with our lips ‘Jesus is Lord’, but continue to live willfully against His commands? We say, ‘Sorry God, forgive me.’, but we do not even try to turn away from the sins we are committing. We rebel against His commands and continue to live selfish unrepentant lives.

Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

His grace is not a license for us to continue to live in sin.

Romans 6:1-4

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

When we repent and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, who we were is not who we are to be. we are new creations in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

None of us are without sin. We repent and turn from the sins we commit and we hold fast to His Word and show Him we love Him by keeping His commands. No excuses can erase any wrong we continue to commit.

Romans 6:15-18

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

He will not force you to obey Him. It is your choice. He has given freewill to each of us to choose for ourselves how we live and who we live for.

So I ask, ‘Who do you serve, and who do you live for?

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Sunday August 8, 2018

Hello and long time no see! I have not run off and forgotten everyone. I miss my fellow bloggers and reading your posts but I have had to take a break from social media and dive deeper into my studies and prayers. I pray for you often for so many of you have blessed us all with the wonderful messages you have shared here.

I will confess I have been struggling with some personal issues. Feelings of discouragement and whether  or not if I am capable of doing what God has called me to do, and in general a negative attitude that I hate having. My Aunt lost her daughter to cancer, as a dear friend also lost her father to cancer as well. There is also my project on Right Relations that I am still working on. So as I am letting God work things out in me you will not be seeing much of me here for a while. Until my return love and prayers to you all.