A New Season

As I walk through this new miracle season, God is stretching me in so many areas. Here are six items God has laid on my heart to challenge and strengthen me in this new season:

1). The Power of Prayer

2). Being Totally Devoted to the Word of God

3). Boldly Share the Gospel

4). Expect Miracles

5). Embrace Suffering for the glory of God

6). The Power of Our Testimonies.

I am looking forward to what God wants to teach us as we walk through this season of Miracles, Healing and Revival. ~OC

Dream Killers

If God has placed a dream on your heart, do not let anyone or anything try to destroy that dream. Dream Killers can be the the following:

Doubt

Criticism

Comparison

Intimidation

Failure/Discouragement

People

These dream killers can happen everyday. Do not allow them to destroy the dreams God has put on your heart. Step out and trust God. ~OC

How To Help

During my 17 year crazy beautiful health journey, I was often asked how people could help Laura and I. Here are a few suggestions:

Stay in Contact: Nothing brightens a patient’s day more than hearing from friends. It could be a phone call, visit or a simple text. Even when I could not eat or drink, I loved the interaction with friends. So never be afraid to call that loved one or friend. Also the doctors have shared keeping a person’s mind active is very important. So, when you are thinking about someone, take that opportunity to reach out to them. Do not miss out on a beautiful memory.

Remember to Check On The Caregiver: The caregiver can get lost during the journey. As my caregiver, Laura had the toughest job. Working full-time and taking care of me could be overwhelming. And remember, she did this for over 17 years. So, make sure you are asking about the caregivers physical, mental and emotional well-being. One of my main concerns during my journey, was that Laura take care of herself and enjoy life. A caregiver can always use a night out.

Don’t Start a Pity Party: Dealing with health issues is tough enough. At times people want to go crawl in a hole and isolate. Don’t let them do it. Offer some words of encouragement. Get them out of the house. Go make some memories. My journey was a tough one, but so many people had it tougher than me. Remember, a lady gave birth in a tree. True story!

Just listen: Sometimes hurting people just need someone to listen. Not to fix. Not to have all the answers. Just listening is a beautiful gift.

Be Flexible: The one thing about illness is everyday is different. My health issues bought new challenges each day. Sometimes each hour. So be flexible when dealing with a family member or friend struggling with health issues.

Learn About the Illness: Some people are dealing with illnesses we have never heard of, but asking questions and maybe a quick Google search can help. This can help you better support that loved one. Just don’t believe everything you read online.

Be Available: People dealing with health issues face different challenges. So be available to help when possible. That help could come in the form of bringing someone meals, sitting with someone during their treatment, visiting them in the hospital or transportation. For years, I could not drive based on my health issues. So, having rides to my appointments were important. I am thankful for my team of drivers during my journey. Getting out of the house and enjoying live is so important.

The Long Haul: Be there for your family and friends. Did I ever think my journey would last 17 years? No way! But what I learned was that some friends put an expiration date on how long they could endure my new normal. Having friends that have stuck it out and supported me has been a true blessing.

Acceptance: Stop comparing who someone was before they got sick, to the person they are now. Simply accept that who someone was and who they are now has changed. So when that family member or friend has a life changing experience, embrace the new them.

I hope this helps. There is really not a blueprint for this stuff. So don’t beat yourself up, if you say or do the wrong thing. The most important thing you can do is be present and engaged. ~OC

Words Matter

Today’s a new day! Our words are powerful. Make no mistake. They can inspire and elevate or they can cut down and destroy. A seemingly simple comment, without consideration, can devastate and once it’s out there you can never get it back. ~OC

Running With Endurance

As some of you know, I am a former long distance runner. I would still be running today, if not for my failing health. I still miss running and competing in marathons.

We marathon runners are a rare breed. That’s putting it mildly. Not many people wake up before dawn to go run 26.2 miles. People often joke with me that they get tired just driving 26.2 miles. I used to run multiple marathons a week. Yes, you read that correctly. I just loved running. Did you know that only half of one percent of the population in the United States has completed a full marathon.

Can we be honest? Completing a full marathon is hard. There is the training. The diet. The miles. The cost. The time and effort. For what? A t-shirt and a finishers medal. The t-shirts and medals are great, but there is more to running marathons than all the things I listed above. But I really did love the medals.

So, it is not surprising that not many people actually complete a full marathon. It takes a lot of effort and commitment.

As Christians, we are running a race that requires proper training if we want to finish well. It takes a commitment. It takes some work. It’s not always pretty. Here are just a few tips for running this race called life.

Prayer and God’s Word. Marathon runners do not head to Krispy Kreme or a buffet before a race. No, we full up on food that will give us the proper energy needed to cross the finish line. We also stay properly hydrated.

God’s word is our fuel. It fills us up. The Word prepares us for the long race ahead. God’s word draws us closer to Him. The Word helps us stay on course. God’s word and prayer strengthens us when we fill like saying No Mas. The scriptures and being in prayer sustains us for the journey.

Watch Your Pace. Every runner has their own pace. Some runners are just naturally gifted as runners. They have perfect stride and can cover more miles at a quicker pace. That was not me. I definitely did not have perfect stride. Thank goodness God blessed me with the ability to run for hours.

As a runner, I had to be realistic about my finishing time. I definitely was never going to be an elite runner. But that did not stop me from training and striving to be an elite runner.

In life, we will be tempted to run someone else’s pace. Their pace is so much better than ours we tell ourselves. Look at their stride. If only I could run like that we tell ourselves. But God did not design us to run someone else’s pace. We were not created to run someone else’s race. God designed a beautiful race just for you and me. Maybe it’s not at the pace we want, but it is the perfect pace for us

Never Stop Training. I was not your average runner. I never took a day off from running. Probably not recommended by the experts, but it worked for me. I believe God knew my running days would be short, so He gave me the extra energy to run everyday. Oh the memories. Wait a second, get back on track OC.

I did not wake up one morning and run a marathon. No, I trained and worked my way up to completing 26.2 miles. As my endurance increased so did my miles.

I love what James says in James 1:2-3, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

Just as a runner needs to train for a marathon, we have to continue exercising and developing our spiritual muscles. During this marathon called life, we will face many obstacles and trials. Something or someone will try to knock us off course. Our spiritual training will help us overcome those trials. Can I get a amen?

I love 1 Corinthians 9:24, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

Thankfully when this marathon called life weighs us down, God is there to shower us with His amazing love, patience, understanding, grace and mercy.

Maintain Your Vision. Finish Strong. During my running days, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish. I had my eyes on the prize. Having goals helped me to keep running towards the finish line. To finish strong.

Knowing that our hope is in God, encourages us to keep running forward even when life gets hard. God has given us everything we need to run the race. To strive for the prize. To finish strong.

I love Philippians 3:14, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

We all have a race to run. I pray these tips help you to run the race God designed specifically for you. ~OC

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