Tag Archives: Blind Latina Inspirational Author and Speaker

Finding joy in the midst of loss

2 Dec

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

 

 

Reblogged December 2, 2017

 

Finding joy in the midst of loss.

December 1, 2017

 

Like fog in the morning, the spirit of Christmas had vanished. Still, I shuffled in the garage. One by one, I retrieved the bins I’d stored the previous Christmas. While the aroma of sugar cookies wafted through the air and Silent Night played in the background, I began the decorating.

Placing the nativity scene as the focal point of our family room, I spread the rest of the decorations around the house: red and green candles, musical boxes with winter scenes, and bright red poinsettias framed with green garland adorned with burgundy, velvet bows. They all transformed our home into a lively winter land.

Next, I retrieved three stockings to fill the marked places above the fireplace; each embroidered with our sons’ names: Jason, Jeff, and Joe. Once Jason and Jeff’s were hung, with tears burning my eyes, I clutched Joe’s against my chest.

The empty stocking seared my heart. It had been years since Joe’s tragic death.

Long years that his absence left an emptiness we can almost touch.

Christmas didn’t call for a celebration. Not anymore. Not when you had a vital part of your life missing. Festivities didn’t have the joy they should. And Christmas trees didn’t emanate the scent they should.

Actually, my days needed to erase Christmas, the birthdays, the holidays—as all ushered pain rather than delight. They reminded me of what I once had and now what I missed so terribly like the air I breathed.

The world continues to celebrate; greetings of good wishes fill the room. But when tragedy turns your world upside down, no amount of cheer can bring clarity to the fog of sadness.

Strange, though, because often, it’s the scorching pain that forces our eyes to open to a bigger picture. It did for me as I rewound memories of Christmas years ago.

Back then, when our three sons, including Joe, were still young, I focused on providing a perfect Christmas; a perfect tree to wrap a perfect celebration. As a result, little things tended to roil in me such as a light strand that refused to shine because of a burned bulb. Annoyed at the glitch, I promptly set off to resolve it —I fussed, I rearranged, plugged and unplugged until frustration grew hot in me.

How foolish and silly. I focused on that one bulb, dismissing the glow of the star atop the Christmas tree. I’d done the same with light bulbs that burned in my life—from broken relationships to shattered plans. Exerting tons of energy trying to fix them, I missed the star– the one that gave significance to my life.

Joe had left that radiance to my life. He’d been the star that should still shine in my heart. His sweet smile, his tender hugs and his sense of humor should be what sits atop of my life, casting off that glow to bring back the joy. To remind me that he’s not gone, not from my heart, not from my mind, nor are the images of his spunky self…gone.

When that void in our heart aches to be filled, it’s the star of comfort that makes it whole. When bitter sorrow robs the spirit of Christmas, it’s the star of genuine love that whispers joy. When a health diagnosis shakes our world, it’s the star of reassurance that shines the certainty of new tomorrows. When the economy robs our security, it’s the star of endurance that ushers the radiance of expectations. It’s the same star that never loses the brilliance of hope, incomprehensible hope, one we can only embrace when all strands of life burn out.

With eyes focused on the star, I hang Joe’s stocking along with his brothers’; not empty anymore—but filled with sweet memories—his wit, laughter, his hugs and kisses.

God called that bright light His “Morning Star” to dispel our darkness, dry our tears and repair strands we cannot fix.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16).

__________________

Stories like this one appear in Janet’s release, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta. Your copy filled with inspiration and path to healing waits for you HERE.

Janet

Video sneak peek:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO20Wabf0TU

 

Source: http://www.janetperezeckles.com/blog/inspiration/finding-joy-midst-loss.html

Help! My Life is Way Too Busy

4 Nov
Walking by Faith, Not by Sight
Janet Perez Eckles
His Way
Reblogged November 4, 2017
One funny fact is the quail’s ability to freeze at the sign of danger.

Have you asked a friend lately, “How are you?” Their answer is usually something like “Busy; I’m so, so busy.”

That might be your answer, too. I know mine could be as well. We’re all ridiculously busy.

Strange though, a group of quails taught me just how crazy that is.

A lovely piano tune echoed through the house where I stayed during a recent trip. My friend’s piano faced a window. And during one of his melodic tunes, a group of quails gathered outside.

Suddenly, the strangest thing happened. Each quail, big and small froze, no movement, no twitching. They turned to feathered statues.

Why? Their keen ears had picked up a pitch from the piano that mimicked that of a hawk. As a defense mechanism, they instinctively freeze in place.

That night I reflected on that rare reaction by those cute quails. And I vowed I would follow their example.

More than once a day, I would stop my insane busyness and be still. I’d pause enough to listen to God’s Word. I’d not move until, in my soul, I felt His presence. In my heart, I’d hear His whisper. And sense His voice in my ear.

Not only our ears, but our whole being needs a quiet break, away from the busy and away from the stress.

Are you game? Let’s give it a try. When we want victory, pause. When we want results, stop. When we want solutions, freeze…He’s about to reveal something huge.

When the Egyptians chased the Israelites, God was about to do something big as well. That’s why Moses gave the same advice to the Israelites as they ranted, complained and shook in fear.

We do the same, don’t we? When stress, demands, conflict, illness, disappointment chase us, we grumble, too.

That’s why Moses’ words ring true today as they did back then: “Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.’” (Exodus 14:13-14)

While they were still, God did something huge. He fought on their behalf. He delivered them from danger. He did the impossible. He supernaturally parted the Red Sea so His people could cross on dry land and be free of the Egyptians.

Why wouldn’t He do the impossible in our lives today? He would. He will because He can. When we’re still, the path to a better life is revealed. A renewed panorama appears. A fresh answer is found. And best of all, when we learn from the quails, and stop, He turns the busy to the best.

Father, show me to the quiet spot of my day. May I be faithful to seek You for strength, for wisdom and for serenity. In Jesus’ name, amen.

How will you stop your crazy busy and find a calming moment?

Janet

Video sneak peek: https://youtu.be/Ey1UJZnp4JU.

Source: http://www.janetperezeckles.com/blog/help-life-way-busy.html

So You Want to be a Sheep?

28 Oct

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

His Way

 

Reblogged 10.28.2017

 

Today, for you, our final guest blogger in our October series.

Sometimes we need to be humbled before God can do a mighty work in us. And sometimes we need to be lost before we find The One to take us to victory. Can you relate to Maureen’s story below?

 

October 27, 2017

Sheep are mentioned in the Bible more than any other animal; symbolically they refer to God’s people. All the sheep that belong to the shepherd are of one flock.

God has many names; each one describes an attribute of His character. A favorite name is Yahweh-Rohi – The Lord, Our Shepherd. Here is the description of the relationship our God wants with us. The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).

What a beautiful picture of the rest we have in Him. Are you stressed today? Find rest in the green pastures of His finished work. Find hope and restoration as He restores your soul.

The Lord tells us in Isaiah 53:6 that most sheep will go astray and follow their own way. Are you a stubborn sheep, straying on the wrong path and in need of guidance and correction?

A shepherd’s rod redirects and corrects the sheep. The staff is used to lift and restore the sheep.  Trust and hope in the Good Shepherd to lead you out of the pit of despair.

I once traveled on the wrong path. This misguided search led me into a painful journey of drug addiction and life in a motorcycle gang. I was that stubborn sheep that got caught up in a violent gang war and became a broken victim. Crippling bullets forever changed my life.

Eventually, I encountered the hope and healing of God’s transforming love. A victorious life in Him is meant to be lived on the paths of righteousness and not in the past.

So why would you want to be a sheep? Like sheep, we need only to trust the Lord and follow Him. We need Jesus, our Good Shepherd to lead and guide us, to care for us, and to protect us from the enemy. What contentment and sufficiency we can have in Him.

Yahweh-Rohi leads us home. He lovingly rubs the healing oil on our broken and wounded hearts. The Shepherd knows our needs. He will restore us when we are broken, pick us up when we fall, and strengthen us in our weakness. Now that is a love I can trust!

John 10:27 (NKJV) “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”

Source http://www.janetperezeckles.com/blog/so-you-want-to-be-a-sheep.html

 

Maureen Hager is an author, speaker, and blogger. Her passion lies in empowering women to receive hope and healing from their brokenness through the love of God. Her testimony of deliverance and restoration has impacted women of all ages. Her book, Love’s Bullet is available Fall, 2017. Website: www.MaureenHager.com  Blog: www.OutoftheBrokenness.com

 

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