Be Strong & Courageous-Hanging on a Ledge

**** Warning may cause triggers with the mention of Suicide in this article.****

If you or someone you love suffers from suicidal thoughts reach out to 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. check your local state for additional resources.

Joshua 1:9 (NIV) Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

The pain was indescribable, from the throbbing headache, chronic fatigue, constant ringing ears and the sharp stabbing pain throughout my entire body. I had been living with this since January. I remember going to see the doctor and being told to increase my water intake and they added another blood pressure medication. I was completely exhausted from being in so much pain. Then, I had another doctor appointment and the same experience as before,  the provider wasn’t listening to my concerns or understanding the immense pain I was enduring. I felt completely defeated; I was done! Yes, I was done! 

March 23, 2022; I will never forget the day; I was just hanging on the ledge by my fingertips. I was anxious and during that time the question, “Why am I even alive if no one was willing to listen to my voice. Since no one was listening to me this created a huge block in my mind. I allowed my mind to go to the darkest of places; I was done;  I was hanging on the ledge ready to let go.

I was emotionally, spiritually and physically drained from all the pain. Throughout the day I was having uncontrollable bouts of tears streaming down my face.  That day, I had talked to both of my sisters. (my sisters are my people.) They both encouraged me to reach out to my resources. They insisted I contact my therapist and get an appointment with her. What they wanted was for me to get help. They demonstrated unconditional love, mercy and grace; they listened to my pain and provided empathy and understanding. 

After I got done speaking to my sisters I called my therapist office and guess what? They had an appointment available for me at 4:00p. I was sitting there with tears still coming down my face wondering what am I going to do until 4:00. Then I remembered I needed to reach our employers’ Employee Assistance Program (EAP). I talked to a lovely person. They heard the pain in my voice, they kept asking what they could do to help. I knew in my mind I would never end my life by my own hand. I experienced what it was like to have someone close to me die by Suicide. I am fully aware of the emotional toll death by suicide can create for loved ones. The person from EAP asked me 1 question, “do you want to die because of the physical pain or because you are done living?” I answered because of the physical pain and also because no one was listening to me.  This person helped me back off the ledge, she explained to me that because of my physical pain was the reason why I didn’t want to live. She reassured me that I was not suicidal. The person from EAP then asked me, “what can I do to help you in this time and in this moment?” I expressed, they had done it already; this person had listened to me; she empathized with me and assisted me in getting therapy sessions set up with my personal therapist. 

I could feel all the emotions lifting off my shoulders. (didn’t realize how heavy the weight of emotions could be until that moment.) I could finally breathe again.  The pain was still there but it was a little bit more tolerable and the anxiety-it was gone. A few days later I received a handwritten letter from the EAP person who assisted me. She thanked me for sharing my story with her and encouraging me to remember,  I was not alone.

Another appointment was coming up and this time I wasn’t alone. I brought my support with me; my husband. This time I was being seen by my pain clinic provider. The nurses in the pain clinic and the provider were very empathetic and understanding. When the nurse was checking me in the question was asked; If I had thoughts of suicide? I answered yes. I was in so much pain I wanted to die. I didn’t see the look on my husband’s face but I can only imagine it was one of shock. I then explained; my reason for answering yes. As a result of the amount of pain I was in I wanted to be done. The follow up question is always about a plan, “do you have a plan?”  I answered no, I do not have a plan. That was when they knew I would be okay and not require psychiatric admission.

The provider listened to me,  she explained to me I didn’t have complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) like 2 previous providers thought I had. I told her I knew I didn’t have CRPS and that I felt one of my problems was the tendon on my ankle was torn. She said I was right and she was going to refer me to the orthopedic surgeon to have my ankle further evaluated. A relief; wow! Again, the weight of the emotions lifted off my shoulders and just to have affirmation that there was something wrong was a relief. Someone was listening to me. She then proceeded to suggest I see an additional pain clinic provider that was going to help evaluate the rest of my physical pain. But I had to have a referral from my primary care provider to see the new pain clinic provider. 

I was still breaking down and crying awaiting the new appointment with my primary care provider and the pain clinic. 

I got my referral to the pain clinic provider and after the appointment I became upset. The nurse had come in to check me out and indicated to me that the pain clinic provider believes I was experiencing a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) episode. Keep in mind, this is  based on my 1st appointment with this provider. So, I had to get an MRI of my brain.  These types of tests are to be used to rule out or to help draw conclusions for a proper diagnosis. Fortunately, this test revealed no lesions on my brain; however, I was still in complete physical pain with no solutions but, I was given reassurance this provider was going to help me get to the bottom of what was going on with me. What we do know, we cannot rule out MS yet. Based on what has happened a full diagnosis of MS could take 2-3 years. We have been assured I definitely have an autoimmune disease. 

I was still hurting, completely emotionally, spiritually & physically drained. I was alone, my husband couldn’t comprehend what was going on with me. No one from the congregation we belonged to was just checking to see how we were doing. I was hurt and disappointed. I finally reached out to my online Facebook group. I just poured it out, I let this group of ladies pray for me. They are from all over the country and I trusted them so much that I asked them to pray for me and with me. They always demonstrated unconditional love, grace and mercy at all times. They have a Christ-like love without judgment.

I knew there was something still missing within.  It was my relationship with Christ. I had lost my faith and trust in people doing the right thing and by doing this, I walked away from Christ and didn’t even realize what I had done. It wasn’t until one day at work; I was asked if my relationship with Christ had changed since I had started working? I was not offended by the question, it actually made me think. I reflected back on the past 18 months and thought to myself Yes, I have been separated from Christ through this whole ordeal.  Again, I walked away. By walking away from Christ this allowed my mind to go to the darkest corner of my mind.

Why do we walk away from Christ when we need to have that relationship the most? There are several reasons: 1) being let down by people. 2) I was ashamed because; I realized we should be walking along with Christ in all times good and bad. 3)Then I behave with such pride and arrogance that I’m going to figure things out for myself. We are going to get the answers we need and we will do it all on our own. 

I sat and looked at myself; the behaviors I  saw were disappointment, being ashamed and full of pride.  Once I had made my post on the online FB group for prayers my dear sister in Christ called me. She talked me through the emotional, spiritual and physical pain I was feeling. She helped me realize, if we don’t ask for help no one will respond or will help.  I needed to use my voice to speak up. She helped me realize, I am not a burden. Then, she prayed with me on the phone. She helped the holy spirit within me to reignite. She demonstrated Christ Love-unconditional love, grace and mercy-helped guide me back to my relationship with Christ.

Who is your 1 in 4 people you can contact when you are in a crisis? The person you can reach out to and realize they are not going to judge you, but they will demonstrate unconditional love, grace and mercy. Who is this person?

I have learned:

  1. Use your voice to advocate for yourself medically or no one will  advocate for you.
  2. Check with your employer to see if they have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to assist you in a time of need.
  3. Find the individuals in your tribe you can reach out to for help and support.  (See attached worksheet)
    1. Family-
    2. Friends-
    3. Therapist-
    4. Church Family- If you are not connected to a church, find one. 
    5. Online Family-
  4. Physical pain sucks; it creates a triple threat with a person emotionally, spiritually & Physically. If we don’t manage self care properly each of these areas will suffer.
  5. God’s emergency numbers. What is your go to scripture to give you the best comfort and peace in the meantime. My Scripture is Psalm 23.(See attached list of scriptures you can use incase of an emergency)
  6. Even in the darkest and murkiest of times; I wasn’t alone. All the time Christ was carrying me through these storms and murky moments. He was allowing me to become more aware of him during this time. He was showing me that I had the strength and courage to be the child He has always intended me to be.  Remember what Joshua 1:9, we are to be strong & courageous. Don’t be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will always be with you wherever you go.

I found the other side of the darkness, I had to humble myself and realize I couldn’t go through this alone. I needed someone else to pray for me not just for me but with me to help me see the light of Christ again. To realize the balance comes with being emotionally, spiritually and physically balanced each is tied together. 

This is where I’m at now, I’m still awaiting another appointment, another referral and more tests in addition to all of the different medications I have been placed on. I had surgery to repair my tendon on my ankle and have been on medical leave. This time of reflection and spiritual renewal has given me time to realize my priorities.  I no longer feel defeated, as I wait for a diagnosis. I have been working on “Self-Care” taking care of me, working on a plan for my future and learning how to cope emotionally with my pain. Reminding myself, to never walk away from Christ.  

Who is your 1 in 4? Attached is a link to a google worksheet to help create your list of contacts in case of an urgent situation. Along with that is a referral of scriptures for when you are… Print and add your list of names, phone numbers & emails for your tribe/your circle. Keep it in a safe place that is readily available to be used.

Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

Stop the Fear

“There is no more devastating blow against evil then when a human being choose God in the Face of suffering, disappointment, unbelief, chronic pain, frustration, abandonment… before the circumstances change, to get up and proclaim that GOD IS GOOD is a devastating blow to evil.” -John Eldredge

Surrender to Him

Trust in Him

On our knees

Praying to Him.

The chaos ensues and we have forgotten who, what and where we are.  All sense of “common sense” is gone. We have lost all of our own way of being. We lost the sense of it being okay to be an individual; after all, who would want to deal with everyone being the same?

My mind, heart and soul cries for the family and friends of George Floyd. My place has and never will be a place of judgement but a place of respect- I found myself in the very recesses of placing judgement, making threats of anger for the injustice that was done to this man. Then I realized I was wrong-I am human with flaws but the true change comes when we take time to look at our own selves and realize; what can I change? How do I make a difference when there is so many injustices in the world going on?

We were all created with magnificent characteristics. There is a plan however, when we close our eyes to the injustice of the world and don’t want to give to respect and understand each other because the enemy of this world tells it’s not okay for us to be different because he is counting on us to be afraid. Having fear of what we don’t know.

Fight each other

Eliminate each other

Adversaries to each other

Rebuke each other


What do we need to recognize is that cooler heads need to prevail. The things we are seeing around our country is the result of the enemy telling us time and time again we need to fight in order to have true justice.

God is allowing our free choice to influence the decisions we make-So when it comes right down to it do we STOP or FEAR? The choice is for each one of us to make. Me personally, I’m choosing to STOP. I want my relationship to grow in Christ so I can wipe away the fear.

I do not and will never pretend to always have the answers,  I do know I need to first turn my fears into surrendering, trusting and going to my knees to pray for God to be in control then ask him to guide and direct me to break free of the fear. So with his strength I will have peace, understanding and courage to get to know and understand who the person is to the left or the right of me regardless of race, politics or religion. This will allow me to grow and have respect for them. I’m not the judge, there is only One and I believe that when He gave His only begotten son He encouraged us to “love our neighbor” not to stir up more injustices or lack of respect for one another.

So when facing fear, I focus on HIS word.

Psalm 61:2-3 (NIV) 2) From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3) For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.

Count on God to help us pull ourselves from whatever fear it is we have.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Don’t be discouraged, He is always with us. When we surrender and trust; we gain strength from him.

Isaiah 58:9a  Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I

Turning to him for the HELP! we need HIS help in ALL things!!


At this time I surrender to you, give you praise glory and honor upon you; you are my savior and redeemer. You are the king of kings; the alpha and the omega! You are everything because I know in my heart without you I am nothing.

Lord, this unsettling and unrest in our country is tearing us apart. Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ I ask for you to heal us, heal our heart, help us to right the injustices of this world. Anoint the spiritual leaders to become your vessel to make the wrongs; right again. Lord, In your hands I place the family and friends of George Floyd even through the uncertainty because of the riots going on I ask that you please Lord help them to heal! Place your shroud of protection upon them and comfort them.  Please stop the riots from happening so the healing can begin. We ask for your spiritual protection upon our country Lord.

Please Lord!! You are the great God of redemption, healing, the great physician; make these wrongs right! We lift our hearts you for the healing to begin! Through your Son’s holy and precious name Christ Jesus-Amen.

Becoming Priesthood of Believers

The world can be a challenging place to live in if we do not have a relationship with God. With God as our focal point He helps us cope when we are faced with difficulties.  Before I became a member of this congregation I was a victim of abuse; I was a victim, I remembered each anniversary like it was a birthday, I was lost and confused. Soon I learned that God will also place people in our lives who have strong influences on us. One person He placed is in my life is Pastor Helen, she has been influential in my spiritual walk and it all began with a simple phrase, I needed to stop being a victim of my past and become a survivor.

Sure, those words didn’t set well however over time this statement changed my life. Where was I going to begin learning how to become a survivor.   I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and stop becoming emotionally draining to those around me so, by developing a relationship with Jesus I was able to turn my past over to HIM.  I then learned the meaning of true forgiveness so I would be free; by forgiving those who have caused harm to me in my life allowed me to find my true happiness in God and understand the healing grace of Jesus.

God wants each one of us to find true happiness and have a relationship with him.  As a result of Jesus’ death we have salvation; God used this (Jesus’ death) act of love to bridge the gap of sin and death which at one time separated us from God, and us from other people. God has called on ALL of us to become servants; we need to show others how to make the grace of Christ real in their lives but, first let’s start with our own lives.

There is a biblical concept of priesthood of all believers, it is important to understand the church and everyone’s role who serve in the church. All believers, laity and clergy alike are called and given the authority to be priests to one another. We have all been baptized in Christ and we are one in Christ. We all have a role to play by being a member in the body of Christ; in God’s eyes no role is more important than the other. Often times there is a misconception that pastoring/ministering is left to the clergy; when in reality it is left to ALL of us to be pastoring/ministering to each other.

Each one of us play a role in being a priest in our community. What is a priest?

  1. A priest functions as God’s representative in the world, communicating God’s word and shedding light on God’s will in people’s lives. A priest pronounces God’s word of forgiveness and healing grace.  As believers we give words of forgiveness by stating, “I forgive you” this demonstrates the healing of a relationship through forgiveness and grace.
  2. A priest also acts as the people’s representative to God. A priest intercedes for the people, going to God for the sake of the people, and offering sacrifices of love on their behalf. Each time we lift someone in prayer or we are giving of ourselves selflessly we are being the representative for them.
  3. A priest is not only the ordained clergy but anyone who has experienced the love, acceptance and forgiveness of God, and who helps others experience this grace as well. At one point or another we have experience the love God has for us and accepted Christ as our savior.  There have been several members of this congregation who have surrounded me with unconditional love when I have reached out to them. I refer to them as God’s vessels and I am reminded their words of encouragement are words from God.

There is one great high priest and that is Jesus, He is the supreme mediator between God and people. In Christ, the separation between God and humanity is overcome.

  1. There is only one representative to God and that is Jesus. He is the Word made flesh, mediating God’s grace and truth to us. The only way to the Lord is through the son and the son is Jesus. He is the one we develop a relationship with; which draws us closer to God.
  2. Jesus is our representative to God. He shared our humanity and loving sacrificed his life for our salvation. John 1: 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

All believers share this priesthood-in partnership with Christ. The members of the Christian community are a royal priesthood. As described in 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10

1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10: As you come to him, the living stone-rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him-5) you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

9)But you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10)Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

  1. We are part of the priesthood of all believers, each of us is called to represent Christ and share his grace with others. We need to stand with Christ in the gap to help those who have lost their way with God or we have a friend on the outside looking in; God wants us to extend a hand by using our relationship with Christ we bring them closer to God.
  2. We also participate in Christ’s ministry when we perform loving, sacrificial acts and share the good news of God’s grace and forgiveness. Live by example, how are we demonstrating the love God has shown us; we also must be able to have grace and forgive as God did.

The phrase “priesthood of all believers” doesn’t mean every person should act as their own priest. What it means is we are given the authority to love to be priests to one another.  Christ laid down his life for others to make the grace of God real; we are also called to do this. Demonstrate the grace, love and forgiveness of God to each other and those in need of a relationship with Christ.

The church is the body of Christ a place where people come to experience the love, acceptance and forgiveness of God. The Church is also the place where we have also committed our lives to Christ and also to the ministry of sharing God’s grace with others.

We all have a journey we are on and are becoming more aware of our role in being part of the priesthood of believers. God has a plan; a mission for each one of us.  While I was on the walk to Emmaus (Which is a 72 hour retreat; to help you individually to develop a relationship with Christ. At the beginning of the walk we are assigned a table group. This group was our family for the next 72 hours, my table was the table of Rebecca.) By the time Pastor Helen told me to become the survivor my faith journey was just in it’s infancy by the time I participated in the walk to Emmaus. Well, I experience a brief argument with Jesus, he was urging me to share my story within my group. I resisted very hard and I even remember walking down the hallway and verbally stating “Why? I am no longer a victim, I’m becoming a survivor.” Little did I know at the time; if Jesus wanted my story shared it was going to be shared. So by the discussion got to me; the words were just flowing from my mouth. In that moment I was ministering to someone else and giving them the strength they needed to share a part of their past they had never shared with anyone in their lives not even their spouse. They were also a victim of abuse.  In that moment I realized, the Lord DOES have bigger plans for me and I may not always understand at the time but, how can I question his plan. I share this experience with you because:

  1. We need to make Christ real for people; we need to embody Christ in all things we do in life; personal, family, work and leisure. The building we come to worship in is not the Church, the Church is a ministry of love; we are a community of believers in ministry, the royal priesthood whoever are the body of Christ in the World. Not only do we belong to the Church; we are the church, wherever we are.
  2. We need to be a gateway of God’s grace, share love, acceptance and forgiveness with other people. God has put in our had the keys of the kingdom, we have the power to bind or unbind a person by the way we share or withhold the grace God has given us. Words from God can be expressed in many ways; when a person is in pain we can tell them “God Loves you,” “You are forgiven,” or a simple prayer. For someone who is overwhelmed with life, a simple touch of a hand on the shoulder, the company of a friend, or an offer to help also represents God. There are so many different ways to represent God in different situations.
  3. In the world today there is so much darkness that surrounds such as narcissism, cynicism, and hopelessness; so, we want to be the light in the darkness and also become a promise in the midst of problems to help others overcome these things.

Our journey/mission is personal. The only person who can guide you on your mission is yourself and the relationship you have developed with Christ. Just as Jesus struggled in the wilderness with his own temptations we are going to have our struggles as well. We need to be true to ourselves, look at ourselves in the mirror and remember our relationship with God is personal and avoid religious language and stereotypes. We want to be a Witness for Christ in a way that is natural to us.

Our journey is spiritual; spiritual doesn’t mean after we have passed on it is about how we live today to the fullest in this time according to God’s will. Just as Jesus worked for God’s deepest desire for people in this world; live in the fullness of God’s grace and truth. This is our mission from God once we have accepted being a part of the royal priesthood this will help us interpret God’s will for people’s lives.

Our journey is service oriented we are reminded we do not act on our own authority but we are a representative and our journey should be one that demonstrates serving as Jesus served.

We share our journey, we work together as a team we are one body of Christ in this community and we must remember; we cannot accomplish Christ’s ministries alone, Jesus called along 12 others to share his life and his journey with. (Just as I mentioned earlier) I have had several members of this congregation I have called on to help steer me in the right direction or just in a moment of needing a little reassurance.

Our journey calls for our best, each day when I wake I have the free will to decide what type of day is it going to be. Each day is a journey in strengthening my relationship with God by becoming closer to Jesus and in doing this I want to ensure I put my best foot forward in attitude, ability and action. After all, Christ did give his best for us in turn we should do the same for him.

I was saved on November 11, 2006; my mother passed away on July 17, 2007 I believe with all my heart; me being saved at this time was part of God’s plan. Hindsight is 20/20 after all; then my younger sister was asked, “How is Melanie handling your mother’s death?” her response was, “Not too badly, she has a strong relationship with Christ.”  At that moment when I heard her retell me the conversation I realized I was being used as a vessel of God’s to show how coping with difficulties of this world which cause heartache we still find comfort of the Lord’s arms.

God wants Christians like you and me to become active partners in our journeys/missions; he calls on us to be the church. We are blessed with an opportunity to write our own modern day version of the Gospels, telling our story and how being active participants in the body of Christ we grew in our relationship not only with Christ but with others within the body of Christ; we became messengers for God to those of little faith. We each have a responsibility, a mission, a journey and that is to continue each day to make Christ real in our lives; share his grace so that others may know what God’s salvation is really about. We have the ultimate responsibility to be the church right where we are; it is about our personal relationship with Christ and being the example to others who strive to have the same relationship with Christ. Be a vessel/or messenger of God in someone life today. We are all called to be priests.