Monday, November 23, 2015

BRING THE LIGHT

It happens to all of us ... we wake up with a dark cloud hovering over us. We shrug it off, crawl out of bed and begin our day.  Unfortunately, that cloud stalks us every second, minute and hour. No matter what we do, we can't seem to shake it. Pressure is building up behind the weakening dam in our eyes that is threatening to rupture, releasing torrents of tears.

I'm not a theologian by any means, but I believe days like this emerge because we've neglected our prayer life.  Jesus misses us.  Next time we wake up with that dark cloud hovering, let us pray:

Good morning most merciful Jesus,
Let your light shine through this threatening darkness.
Forgive me my neglect.
I've missed you too.

Amen!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Take on the Syrian Refugee Crisis



Okay, I have been trying to bite my tongue (or block my keyboard) regarding the Syrian refugee crisis, but I cannot, in good conscience, stay silent any longer.

I am a practicing Catholic. I do my best to follow my faith in all aspects of my life.  Recently, I was accused of being heartless and sinful because of my concerns allowing Syrian refugees into our country.

Well, folks, nothing could be further from the truth.  My heart breaks for the refugees and I would love nothing more than to welcome them into our country, but there are several factors that need to be considered:

        * The FBI admits they do not have the adequate resources to do the proper vetting.
        * Paris has shown us that terrorists infiltrate refugee groups to access targets.
        * Our country is already at risk with all the illegal immigration that is not being controlled.
        * Our Social Services are overburdened already with so many of our citizens (and non-citizens) on welfare, food stamps, etc.
       * Our country cannot even take care of its homeless population, including women, children and our veterans.

Yes, we need to be compassionate and our government needs to do something for the refugees. However, the government's first and foremost responsibility is to ensure the security and well-being of its citizens.  

One more thing … how hypocritical is it when our current administration intends to give safe refuge to those in danger from other countries, but allows a child in the womb to be ripped out if its safe refuge and sold to the highest bidder?  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book Shopping? Grab a 30% Discount Now! Plus ~~~ A New Paperback Release!


Just wanted to pass along a 30% discount from Helping Hands Press Bookstore, not just for my books (e-books, paperback, audio), but for everything in the store!  Just go to Helping Hands Press and use PattiJSmith30 at checkout!  What a great time to Christmas shop for book lovers on your gift list!!!

Also .........

My e-book, "Redeemed - Rosary Meditations for Post-Abortive Women" was just released in paperback.  Although written as a rosary, it can be used as prayerful reflection for women of all faiths.

If you are struggling with your decision to abort, these meditations will help you in your healing journey.

Thanks to all of you who support me and Helping Hands Press!!!!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Puzzle - Pulling Myself Together


The psychiatrist enters the room. “They tell me you want to end your life, can you tell me why?”
I lower my head murmur, “I’m already dead inside, I just want to finish the job.”

The morning of November 8, 1997,  I was holding a bottle of prescription painkillers in my hand with a six-pack of beer in front of me to wash them down.  My world had collapsed.  I was in my second loveless marriage; one more failed attempt to fight my alcohol-fueled life of promiscuity, as well as other self-destructive behavior. I was empty inside and hopeless.  The emotional pain was excruciating and I wanted it gone.

Before I could twist off the child-resistant cap, "something" compelled me to pick up the phone. Little did I know I was in the midst of Divine Intervention. The call I made was to the AA hotline and resulted in my being taken to a psychiatric hospital.

During the admissions process, they went through my stuff, searching for items I could use to harm myself.  They confiscated my toothbrush, comb, cigarettes, and lighter but what made the most impact was the removal of shoelaces from my sneakers.  For some reason, having to walk around in loose shoes made me realize how sick I really was.  While being escorted to my room, we passed the recreation room. I observed a man putting a puzzle together and I hoped that maybe, just maybe, this commitment would do the same for me.

I was transferred to the rehab ward several days after surviving the painful process of detox. I emerged from the fog and the journey to recovery began.

After my first year of sobriety, I divorced my second husband. He had continued to drink and I knew if I stayed, I would eventually surrender to temptation and end up right back where I was before hitting bottom and I didn’t want to die.

AA not only showed me a new way of living, it reintroduced me to God.  It was at an AA meeting I met my current husband. After we had married, we continued to be active in AA but it didn’t seem to be enough. It took a while, but we finally realized we needed  AA but also a strong faith community. Since my husband was Catholic, we started attending Mass and both felt like we were finally home. I was baptized on April 15, 2006… But the blessings didn’t stop there.

A year later, Divine Intervention struck again. I felt compelled to attend a Faith in the Spirit Seminar, even though I had no idea what it was.  A woman gave testimony on her abortion experience and how it affected her life.  As she spoke, my tears flowed.  It was as if she was speaking directly to me.  That was the first time I heard about Rachel’s Hope After-Abortion Healing Retreats, but I knew by the aching in my heart I needed to sign up.

Although sober and on the right spiritual path, there had always been something hovering over me like a dark cloud.  That dark cloud was the pain, regret and self-loathing I had kept buried in the deep recesses of my soul for over thirty years. I had never mourned my children, even the one I miscarried.  I never acknowledged their existence at all. My abortions propelled me into the darkness of alcoholism and the reprehensible behavior that resulted. I drank to be free of the emotional pain and slept around for what I thought was love and acceptance. Rachel’s Hope gave me the emotional and spiritual tools to forgive myself and ask forgiveness from God and my children. I had never connected my abortions to any psychological or behavioral issues. The puzzle was finally solved.

I am blessed and privileged to now be part of the Rachel’s Hope family by leading retreats. As women enter the retreat house, I see in their eyes the same unrelenting shame, remorse and self-hatred that I carried for so many years.  I also witness a miraculous transformation and watch them leave with a renewed spirit and something they haven't had in a very long time:  HOPE.



Monday, November 2, 2015

An Inspirational Guest Blog and Contest by Amber Schamel


Author of over half a dozen books, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. 
She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".  She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Visit her online at:  www.AmberSchamel.com/


Look Like One of Mine

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. ~Luke 21:28 

The time that we are living in is truly amazing. We can see Biblical prophecies being fulfilled on the left and right. Truly, our redemption is drawing nigh!  

However, as I travel in our ministry, I see an epidemic circulating in our Christian churches.  Depression runs rampant, suicidal thoughts,  anxiety and stress weighs down the people. It seems like Christians everywhere have their heads drooping toward the ground.  I admit that I have often found myself hanging my head in discouragement.  

As I prayed about this, the Lord spoke to my heart. He reminded me that in His Word it tells us to "look up" to "lift our heads", especially as the time of redemption draws nigh.  So if His children are supposed to be looking up, lifting our heads, is it any wonder that Satan would do everything in his power to make us depressed? To cause us to drop our heads in shame? 

But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. ~Ps. 3:3 

The Lord convicted me that, when I give in to depression and/or discouragement, when I let my head hang low, I don't look like one of His. That's not how a child of The King looks.  Ouch, Lord. 

In light of this thought, I searched the Bible for 'head down' and what I found is that the Scriptures only portray the bowing of the head as a good thing when it is in worship to God. We can worship in humility, heads bowed to the Most High God, but we are not to bow to circumstances and the trials of the enemy.  
"Easier said than done, Father."  I thought.   

Keeping the right attitude is a continual battle, but when we take shelter in the Lord, when we look forward to what He has in store for us, when we glimpse the promises He has left us, a joy will fill our hearts. 

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
 ~Ps. 24:9 

I'm going to share a few words to a song that came to my mind as the Lord was working through this issue with me. I hope they will be an encouragement to you as well.  

Lift your head, my child; Why do you wear a frown? 
You can't look like one of Mine; 
When you're constantly looking down. 
Does life get so hard, you forget who you are? 
Open your eyes and see; I am everything you need. 
I send you a sunrise every morning; 
To brighten up your day. 
The longest love letter of all ages; 
Is the one I wrote to you. 
I traced it in the stars; 
And I signed in my own blood. 
I'd rather die than let you go; 
And I proved it, just so you'd know. 
With all the storms that I've brought you through,  
This is how much I love you. 

Now that I've shared my story, I'd love to hear from you! Have you battled depression or discouragement? How has the Lord helped you to overcome it?