Do you feel like road kill?

Photography by Julie Sheppard

There may be times when you feel that you have been beaten and you want to give up. You feel like there is nothing left in you and yet you still feel the vultures picking away at your carcass. You feel worthless. As if you were meant to be nothing more than a victim. This is a lie! Do not believe it. You may be getting attacked on every side and may feel like that you deserve what is being done to you. Don’t! The enemy comes to kill steal and destroy, but you have been given the victory over the enemy. You are no longer a victim but you are victorious.

Whatever mistakes you have made, you have been forgiven. Jesus loves you so much He died for you. However bad your current situation may look, keep your eyes on Jesus, and do not lose hope. What the world may try to do to harm you, He will turn into good for you. His love transforms the worst into the most beautiful and lovely.

When you have done all that you can, stand and let the Lord take over. He will never leave you or forsake you. He paid to high a price for your life to let it be destroyed. The world is filled with problems, strife, and tragedy. He has overcome the world, and wants to give you peace. A true peace filled with hope love and joy.

You may feel beaten but you have been given the keys to life. Take hold of His hand and let Him lead you through this world. You are not alone. Even when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, they were not alone. He was with them and He is with you. Do not be afraid of what man can do to you but trust in our Lord and Savior. Be encouraged that you are not alone and you are loved. No matter how you may feel or how things look. Trust in God.

John 10:10(ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Psalm 103:8-12 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Isaiah 54:17 (ESV) no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.

Hebrews 12:2 MSG Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

Ephesians 6:11-13 (NKJV) 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

John 16:33 (ESV) I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 16:19  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Revelation 1: 18and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

Daniel 3:19-25  Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. 20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Nehemiah 4:14 “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome.”

Luke 12:14 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare  and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.


Winter Blues

bluejulie (1)

I am not going to be discussing colors, even though blue is in the title of this writing. Winter Blues, SAD(seasonal affective disorder) is something too many people suffer from, and for those of us who deal with depression on a regular basis this time of year is or can be more difficult to deal with. Most people do not recognize this is happening to someone they know for multiple reasons. The person who deals with depression or Winter Blues may be very good at wearing a mask and concealing what is going on inside, end even when asked they simply answer ‘I am fine, or I am okay’ even when they know they are not. They either do not want to burden another with their problems or they do not want to come across as weak or less of a person. This list goes on as well, but hiding it or ignoring it will not make it go away. I know I have gone through all the extremes when it comes to dealing with my own depression. The thoughts that float through my mind especially during this time of year even scares me. I am afraid of the day where I will give into my depressed thoughts. Yet I have continued to fight and keep pressing forward in hopes of a day when I will not feel the dark suffocating force that I feel when depression outweighs my peace or joy. How can I have peace or joy? For one I have learned that peace or joy can be in me in spite of my circumstance or how I feel. It is the calm assurance that no matter how dark and hopeless things are, it is not over and I will be okay. Unfortunately this is not how I feel on most days. Yet this is what keeps me going. I look to scripture for encouragement, as well as people who are supportive and understanding. These people do more than just listen to me, or just sit with me when I do not feel like talking. They don’t pretend there is nothing wrong, but they are compassionate and loving without being overbearing. They do not try to fix me but they walk with me and offer me a hand when I am down and need help getting back up. If I pretended everything was okay and hid my inner battle from them they could not do this. Yes it may seem that I am making myself vulnerable and weak, but it takes a special strength to open up and let the right people in. Depression, blues, anxiety, anger, etc… make us want to keep people at a distance if we even want to see people at all. By doing this we are only letting these things control us instead of us controlling them. I want to live free from these disabling emotions. To do this I have to make a choice daily not to give into them, some days I do good, and there are days when I fail and I let them overcome me. But I do not give up. Not because I did it all on my own but because of Scripture, prayer and people who love and pray for me. Then my important source of comfort and encouragement, Jesus, who died for me to show me how much He loves me, for the Holy Spirit He sent to me to be my Helper and Comforter. (John 14:26 (AMP) 26 But the [a]Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name[in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you.) He is the One who is always with me even when I am alone. Loneliness is a companion of depression because when I am depressed or Blue I feel cut off, disconnected, even when I am in a crowd of people I can feel all alone. To help me deal with this feeling I focus my thoughts on Jesus (Who is the Word made flesh. John chapter .) I think about His words and how they tell me of His love, His peace, His Joy, and His victory for my life. I will not say this is easy but if it was not for His love and His Word I would not be here today sharing a part of myself with you today. I have bad days, it does not mean He does not love me, but it does mean that I am not going through the bad days alone. I like how the church (that is you and me who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior) is compare to being His Bride. Then I think of the wedding vows ‘For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, never to part’, and how this applies to our relationship with Him. He never gives up on us He hangs in there with us when life gets ugly. Do not let the Winter Blues get the best of you. I know depression is overwhelming and you may feel like you cannot go on and there is nothing you can do, but don’t give up. Say a prayer, even if it is only these simple words, “Jesus Help!” Then talk to someone and find help.

Here are some scriptures  and links to encourage you included are a link to Web MD and to the Mayo Clinic. I am not a professional but I am a person who has fought depression and PTSD for many years and I am doing better with help. I hope these will help get you started.

a link for scriptures on the Holy Spirit as Comforter and Helper

a link for scriptures on depression

Philippians 1:19(ESV)  for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

links on depression and Winter Blues

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)


November 18, 2015

We all have good days and bad. Then there are the in between days. I would have to say that this is one of the in between days. It is not terrible but it is not so good either. My pain level is higher than a normal day and I am fighting frustration and depression.

I am in pain seven days a week so pain is nothing new to me. I have learned to function with the pain in my body to the most part, but even typing away on my keyboard is quite painful. Some may ask then why do it? My answer is because someone else out there may be in their own pain, and thought their pain is different knowing they are not alone can bring comfort or encouragement. I am not writing as way to have a pity party, but to find a way to overcome what the pain does to me.

My body has suffered injuries over my life that never truly healed. So my body is now more limited than most but not as bad as others. (Something I remind myself on a regular basis) Yet when the pain and the lack of body function keeps me from performing even the most simple task, then frustration followed by depression come knocking at my door. Some days I am able to keep these outside, but then there are days I may not open the door but I open a window and they crawl in. Today is one of those days.

I did not plan on letting it in but I did. I woke up unable to do much because the pain had spread from it’s normal place my head arms and back down to my legs where standing is even extremely painful. I live alone so there is no one here to help with even the simple things. So let’s add isolation to the list. I felt terrible about myself and to be honest I feel worthless. I want to give up. I want to go and curl up in a dark room and close my eyes and give in to the darkness.

Instead of doing this I am up and writing. I have spent time in scripture and Bible study. I have written notes of encouragement, and yes I still feel in a child’s term yucky, but the sun is shining in through my window. I am still alive even though this morning I did not want to be. Yet I am now thinking of some people in the Bible who had their moments of frustration, and did not have the strength to go on, like Joseph, David and Job. I am reminded that I am not really alone. God is here with me and He is not done with me. I may look like nothing to the world but I am a treasure in His eye. I may want to give up but He will never give up on me.

So you may feel like life is more than you can bear, and the pain is too much. Do not beat yourself up for feeling this way. He can’t heal you till you can acknowledge you don’t feel good. He is with you always and He cares for you and loves you when days are good and when days are bad. He goes with you through it all.


November 14, 2015 Saturday

No lesson or advice today. Just  me rambling. With all that has happened in this last week, I know that many are in shock over the attacks and lives lost. What is saddening me the most is that this violence does not come as a shock to me. People keep saying things will get better, but I do not see it. I see prophecy being fulfilled. Which is a not bad because that only means that the return of Jesus is coming. I may not know the date or the hour but the signs are becoming for more frequent.

People will ask, ‘Where was God?’ like they do every time a tragedy strikes. Which my answer is, “He was with the victims sharing in their pain and suffering’. Another question will be, ‘If there is a God, how could He let something like this happen?’ God did not plan or make these people do what they did and yes He did not stop them. To stop them would mean He would have to take away their free will and their ability to make choices for themselves. He gave each and every one of us the ability to make decisions for ourselves when He gave us free will. He is not one who gives a gift and takes it back. Which I am thankful for because I would not like for Him to take back the gift of salvation. People make their own choices to do what they will, whether it is right or wrong, to do good or to cause harm. When judgement day comes we will all be accountable for our own actions. Until that day though God grieves for us. He hurts for us. His love for us did not stop because of tragedy but is without limit or measure in spite of the terrible things that happen in this world. The tears He has shed for us could flood this earth I believe. My rambling is come to its end so this is all I have left to say.

I pray for the families and loved ones who lost people this week not only in France but all around the world. I pray for the children who are being abused, used and discarded like trash. I pray for all the victims of violence. I pray for the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect another, who serve in the military, are policemen, and firefighters. To the stranger who sees a wrong being done and gets involved to help. For families whose lives have been torn apart for any reason. For those who are battling cancer or any other disease. For those who have no job, home, or food. I pray for those who battle depression, suicidal thoughts, anger, and other mental issues. I pray for those who battle addictions. I pray for those who are grieving. I pray for those who are lost and hurting who do not know Jesus to be found. Lord I pray for your people my brothers and sisters in Christ. We need You. You are the Only Way! Forgive us of our sins and deliver us from the evil one. Give us the ability to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. All this I pray in Jesus name. amen.

Take off you mask.

  Years of working in bars and restaurants taught me to put on a mask. The reason was because that customers do not want to be waited on by a sad, depressed, angry or bitter, waitress. So no matter how I was feeling, I had to cover it up with a happy mask. Concealing how I felt because I was there to do a job, and you will not get tips when you appear miserable. Even when I had to serve customers who were rude abusive, or vulgar, I had to laugh and put a smile on my face, and be pleasant to them.

Now the same can be said about people in church. I had heard the term ‘Church face’ and I thought it was an appropriate description. We cover up what is really going on inside because we are afraid of being judged or rejected. We also do not our faith to be questioned. (This does not mean when you are struggling with emotional or other issues you have lost faith, it just means you are human and we have our weaknesses that we individually have to deal with.) Yet one reason for fellowship is so that we can help each other. It is like the wedding vow, in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, and for better or worse. The church is the bride of Christ. We are His body, arms, legs, hands, feet, eyes and ears, the list goes on. When we put on our masks to conceal our true feelings, our frustrations, our disappointments, etc… We are closing the door on receiving the loving help we so desperately need. God said it was not good for man to be alone. This was not just for a man and woman to be married. We need each other. Scripture tells us if two are walking and one falls into a ditch the other is there to help them out.

We need to take off our masks. I know that it is scary to expose ourselves and be vulnerable, but it is in our weakness that God is the strongest. One of God’s blessings in my life are the people He gave to me to be my true friends. These are people who I can be real with. They have seen me when I have been at my worse. When I have been so angry that I was intolerable to be around. When I was too depressed that I did not want to go on. They have listened to my screams,and let me cry till there were no more tears to fall. When I have felt that all hope is lost, they have sat quietly, showing great compassion. They do not try to fix me, or tell me what I am doing wrong. They show me they love me by just accepting me as I am. Many times they just sit quietly and listen. Their presence alone giving comfort. When they speak, they use words of encouragement. They never doubt my faith, but remind me that they know how strong my faith is, and that Jesus loves me at all times, just as they do.

I thank God for these friends, who have let me remove my mask without any fear. I can be myself with them, no masks, no pretending. God uses these people to hug me, and hold me, and to speak words to encourage and heal me when I am hurting more than I feel that I could bear. If you take off your mask you will find there are people already in your life who God has blessed you with. who will do the same for you as my friends have done for me. You won’t know these people till you take off your mask though. So take off your mask and see truth. See God’s amazing love for you.

In my weakness

I am told that I am strong

That my faith is inspiring

but in this I do not agree

I would like to say that my faith does not waiver

and that i trust in God at all times

If I did this

I would be lying

Yes Jesus is my Savior

Yes He is my Lord

but I am weak

I have fears and doubts

I feel overwhelmed

and I have no strength to go any further

I want to give up

I cannot hold on

God in His mercy

picks me up

and he carries me

He gives me grace

He gives me love

He is my hope when I have none

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring

but I do know

that even when I want to give up

He will never give up on me

In my weakness

He is my strength

In the darkness

He is my Light

In my despair 

He is my joy

He is my everything

Sleep the elusive dream continues, September 22, 2015

Yet another sleepless night. Instead of fighting for sleep I chose to spend the night hour with my Heavenly Father. I spent part of the night reading,another part praying and praising Him and another part cleaning and anointing my home. My mood today is surprisingly good considering the fact that I did not even sleep an hour this last night. This I take as a gift from God, especially since I am not a morning person to begin with add a lack of sleep my mood is not usually so joyful. I would also like to report since the other night when I wrote asking other insomniacs to join me in prayer I have had two people contact me and said they too would be praying and will pray with me during the night if we are awake together. I am glad for this because it is turning the sleepless night into a blessing. The more who join us in prayer the more people we can pray for, and together we can also praise our God and praise Jesus our Redeemer, our Healer, our Savior, our Lord. Sleepless nights are becoming less of a burden, and more joyful. I still look forward to peaceful sleep, but taking advantage of every waking moment seeking God and petitioning Him for the needs of others.

Sleep the elusive dream

Another sleepless night. I could say I dream of sleep but to dream doesn’t one need to sleep? I lack the understanding of why my mind and body will not shut down. I have tried everything and still nothing brings the rest I can only find in sleep. I pray, I read, and I even find a mindless TV show to zone out with. Yet I have had no success.

I sometimes wonder if this is training for my time in Heaven where time has no clock or calendar. Yet here on Earth sleep is a necessity. This bodies we live in need time to rest. Yet here I sit typing away, not really saying anything.

As tired as I may be, I try to find peace in the quiet dark of night. The good thing is there are no distractions, and my thoughts can focus on Jesus and His Word. During the day there are so many things to do and so many demands, it is easy to lose that focus. So I am thankful that even though I may not be sleeping, and I may live alone and not have anyone I can call at this hour, but I am not alone Jesus is here with me. He is watching my fingers type these words. So as I ramble He is with me. Sleep or no sleep, He is with me. He is my peace.

So to you who are sleeping I pray your sleep is peaceful. For those of you who are like me I pray Jesus is your companion and you are enjoying your alone time with Him.

Good night.

Broken and Torn

Broken and torn
Never again to be worn
Black and blue
is not my best hue
Trust is broken
Empty words spoken
No cure
No longer pure
Damaged beyond repair
there is no hope here
No one can help
what is done is done
My life is gone
heart pumps
blood flows cold
never to grow old
broken and torn
Never again to be worn

© By sheppaja On 6/9/2009 3:37:09 PM

I had written this poem a while back while I was still dealing with the aftermath of an abusive marriage. The view I had of myself only mirrored how I had been treated. From childhood into becoming an adult I had been abused. I kept finding myself in bad relationships, only two had actually been physically abusive but the others still did their damage. I didn’t realize it at that time that I had for most of my life felt I deserved what happened to me. Abuse warps the way we think and how we look at ourselves. We live in in fear and doubt plagues our minds, we are prisoners in our own minds. What has helped me to stop this way of existing(I call it existing because you are not truly living when you live like that) was Jesus reaching out to me. Through His Word He told me who I am, and who I am to Him. He taught me my life had purpose, and it wasn’t to be anyone’s punching bag(verbally or physically). He has a better life for me. Yes I still have troubles and face trials and temptation but I have Jesus to walk with me each day no matter what the day holds. When I look into the mirror using His eyes I see a better person than who I used to think I was. I have a lesson that is good for anyone who has doubt, unbelief in themselves, feels they deserve to be treated poorly,,this list can go on and on but the point of the lesson is to transform how you see yourself to how God sees you. I had titled the lesson self portraits. I will find it and post it and hope that it will help anyone who looks at themselves the way I used to look at myself. The freedom I found in letting the love of Jesus into my heart has definitely changed me for the better. Yes I still have bad days and get down on myself but now I don’t stay down because He is always there to lift me up. If you feel broken and torn turn to Jesus and let Him in. Look for my lesson, “Self Portraits”, hopefully it won’t take me too long to find.

His Words

My head is aching
and my vison is blurred
what was it that he said
that knocked me to my knees
The pain I feel
will it ever heal?
How could he be so cruel?
How could I be such a fool?
He could have struck me with his fist
and it would hurt much less than this
Not with a sword or with a knife
but with a word he cut deep
No blow has ever left me so low
Bruises fade and bones mend
but with his words
he hurt me without end

Julie Sheppard

The Bible tells us that the power of life and death are held in the tongue. You can speak words of life. These are words that give comfort, encouragement, hope, healing, and peace just to name a few. Then there are words that cut deeper than a knife, they stir up anger, cause pain,  are destructive to name the negative power words can have. Emotional and mental abuse can destroy a person and have lasting effects on the abused. A person doesn’t need to be hit and have bruises or broken bones to be abused. The abuse starts with words. Words however can heal those wounds. I have found healing in scripture. Reading God’s words has given me comfort and healing from the damage of abusive words, as both a person who was on the receiving and giving end. For I have been forgiven by Jesus for every hurtful and hateful word I had previously spoken before I learned this lesson. I am hoping other will learn before they have done damage that cannot be undone.