I am here and alive and kicking. Kicking my way about through appointments with doctors, labs, nurses, insurance reps, x-ray technicians, and bla bla bla. Next week I fly 1,800 miles to Chicago again just to say “hello” to the transplant team who performed a pancreas on me four months ago.
I owe iBeGat.com writers and readers an apology and a plea for mercy, grace, patience, and prayer. Some of you know, most of you don’t, that I survived an unhoped for heart transplant six years ago, then cancer that is in remission, and recently the pancreas transplant. All the while the doctor’s informing my husband, my son, and me that, “You’re not going to live through the year.” But it’s almost 2012 and I plan on living way longer than they expect.
And one of the miracles out of the countless ones I’ve experienced is that there have only been seven other people in the United States and possibly the entire world that have gone through a heart transplant and lived long enough to endure a rare pancreas transplant. Most only lived a year and there are only four of us alive here in the US. So I am in an elite club. (Man. but where are the presents, gifts, cars, and hoopla?) 8^)
It’s said you trade one set of problems for another after any transplant, but at least you’re alive. I’ve learned to live with much or little as Paul said to the church at Phillippi:
“I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:10-12 NIV1984)
A few months after I accepted the privilege of editor for iBeGat.com, my health slowly descended into the life-threatening need for a pancreas transplant. No one I saw would perform this dangerous surgery, considering the outcome was grim. But God provided a miracle and I received my pancreas on May 12, 2011 in Chicago. The most difficult part for me–my donor was a 13 year old girl from the Dallas, Texas area. A teenager. A young girl with family and her life ahead to dream and reach for the stars. I’m going to write her family, and have to do so anonymously due to privacy law, but I hope to one day be in touch with them as I am with my heart donor’s family.
If you want to read about the crazy times during this pancreas transplant process, click on the link to my blog: http://cindyscinto.blogspot.com/2011/04/cindy-in-chicago-day-one.html This starts you on a list of entries from the “Cindy City.”
I’m finally recovered most of the way, and when I sent out schedules for publication my intentions were sincere. But, alas, things have fallen behind a bit. I can say that this week was a turning point for me and I am much more full of the kick I usually have. 8^)
So, dear iBeGat.com writers and readers, pray for my time to be free, health to be great, and mind to be clear, so I can get back on track and keep plugging forward with this amazing sight for teens by teens!
Thank you, really.
“… Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” (Song of Songs 2:7 NIV)
I’ve always gotten a thrill out of wearing a pretty dress. The local spring formal for home schooled high school students presented the perfect situation for doing so. While considering if I should go or not, I remembered my commitment to guard my heart and decided to explore my motivation for going. Dress aside, I realized I mainly wanted to be noticed by guys.
Don’t get me wrong–social events are not bad, and God has a plan for young people to be in community together in healthy ways. But for me, going to the dance with that beautiful dress would mean compromising what I knew about guarding my heart. Any attention I would receive at the dance may have flattered for a moment, but afterward my decision to save dating until I am old enough to consider marriage would seem so much harder. My longing for affection would be awakened.
God delights in a pure heart. Are we willing to protect ours? What steps can you take to guard yourself? Stopping to examine your motivation might be a good place to start. Ask God to guard your purity and glorify Him.
Mary Catherine is a 16-year-old home schooled high school student living in Lexington, KY. Among other things, she enjoys playing piano and violin, watching movies, singing along with her iPod, going to Disney World, and writing. She has been writing since age 8, and has spent the past few years honing the art of fiction and is working on her first novel. God has given her the desire to teach and encourage teenagers to purity.
“Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.” (Psalm 44:21 NASB)
Before I could get settled at my desk, Jessica was pulling on my arm and demanding my full attention with the shout of her whisper.
“Shh…you’re never gonna believe what I just overheard Wanda telling Joanna, but you’ve got to promise to keep this a secret,” Jessica said as if she were the protector of a priceless jewel.
The knot in my stomach told me to walk away from the situation, but I didn’t. Instead I couldn’t stop myself from saying seven words I’d later regret.
“I promise,” I said “I won’t tell another soul.”
Secrets can be lots of fun when used for the right purpose; like birthday surprises and playing Santa at Christmas, or they can be destructive and hurtful. I chose to participate in something that would eventually tear down someone’s character even though neither Jessica or I intended harm. Words have the power to hurt, cause pain, disappoint, embarrass, and to destroy when born in dark secret places.
You know–the gossip-girl affect.
The incident between me and my friends almost destroyed our friendship. God put some distance between us so that He could teach me a few things. It was hard being away from them, but I knew I needed to be obedient if I want to be like Him.
Lessons I learned about secrets, gossip, and friendships:
- Follow my gut instincts—that’s the Holy Spirit
- Walk away when someone says they have a secret to share (code word for gossip)
- Create an atmosphere in my life where dark secrets and gossip can’t exist-Pray, read my Bible regularly and surround myself with friends who are doing the same thing
Remember God holds me accountable for everything I say and hear
Crystal Y. Hathcock and her husband Tony, live in Liberty, South Carolina and have been married for thirty-two years. They have two puppies, Hankie and Calvin. Crystal is a freelance writer; a student with the Christian Writer’s Guild and writes religious articles for the area’s local newspaper. She enjoys cooking for family and friends, couponing, jewelry making and singing. (read more…)
But God shows and clearly proves His love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 8
Let love for your fellow believers continue and be a fixed practice with you. Hebrews 13: 1
But if one loves God truly, he is known by God. 1 Corinthians 8: 3
For whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3: 12
I love those who love me, and those who seek me early and diligently shall find me. Proverbs 8: 17
But God–so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us. Ephesians 2: 4
I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. John 13: 34
By this shall all know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. John 13: 35
And this I pray: that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight. Philippians 1: 9
Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4: 8
Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? Romans 8: 35
Read the rest of this article at Real Teen Faith!
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 3:16 ESV)
Every girl wants a valentine—someone who will love her with that special love she knows must be out there somewhere. Teenage drama centers on the constant search for the perfect person, but disappointment prevails when that person doesn’t turn out to be who we thought they were. Could it be that this desire for “perfect love” was planted there by God so that he himself could fill it?
In the Bible, we find that there is one Man who has loved us more than we could ever imagine. Stories of self-sacrifice melt girls’ hearts, but God performed the ultimate act of self-sacrifice. He knowingly gave his life to rescue us from our captor: sin. He died a horribly painful death so that you could know his love. Instead of fighting a dragon, He fought death itself and won. One day we will go live with him in his castle. But until then, He has written us a long love letter called the Bible and shares his secrets with us every day in prayer.
How can we still be so short-sighted as to crave love from another place? Even in these moments when we are unfaithful to our Prince, He only reaches out farther to draw us back to himself. That love he displayed for you as he went to the cross is still the same today and forever.
Next time you are craving earthly love, take time to talk with your true Lover.
Aimee Lynch is a homeschooled high-school student in Gaithersburg MD. She has a heart for children whose parents are divorced because she grew up in a single-parent home after her own parents divorced when she was five. Her blog, allfilledup.wordpress.com, is a place where she seeks to encourage other kids in difficult situations. In what little free time she has, she enjoys gardening, reading, getting involved in various youth projects, taking walks on the beach, and writing articles. (read more…)
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him.” (Psalm 28:7 NASB)
I stood beside the blocks waiting to get started. If I’d had boots on, I’m sure I would’ve been shaking in them. My friend stood beside me ready to start the timer for my first 500 yard freestyle.
Was I ready for this?
Sprinting had never been my thing. But was that what God wanted me to do? At least this was long-distance and I didn’t need to go fast.
I’d done long-distance before. I liked the 200 Breaststroke the best, mainly because I didn’t have to sprint all out.
But a 500? What if I got a DQ? What if my time was horrible?
The whistle blew and I climbed onto the block. My friends cheered for me and gave me “good lucks”.
God, help me do this. It was a short, but definitely sincere prayer.
“Swimmers take your mark…”
Beep! The buzzer rang.
I was off. I went slow; a nice easy pace. And after the first 50 yards I was totally into it. God gave me incredible strength and power I didn’t know I had. As I thanked Him I realized how many times I’d doubted. How many times I thought I couldn’t do something. And yet there I was, swimming the 500.
Thanks to God, the amazing Grace-Giver, I was able to get through the 500 free with no problems. And no DQs.
Although I was scared, I know He was there, smiling down on me. And if I can make Him smile, that’s good enough. No matter how good or bad I do.
It can be the same for you. Give Him your best.
Thirteen-year-old Kayla Woodhouse’s zest for writing comes not only from her natural ability, but also from her love of the written word as witnessed by her voracious reading appetite. One of only a few dozen cases in the world, Kayla was born with HSAN, Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy, an extremely rare nerve disorder. Unable to sweat, or feel pain, she’s also been through brain surgery. But even through a life of extreme hardships, her ever-present smile encourages others to pursue their dreams, no matter the obstacles. In addition to being homeschooled and writing with her mom, she’s an amazing swimmer, and spends up to thirty hours a week in training. She has appeared on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Montel Williams Show, Mystery ER, and numerous other national programs. No Safe Haven, her first release from B&H Publishers in 2011, written with mother, Kimberley, makes her the youngest author to have a full-length novel published by a royalty paying publisher. You can find Kayla at http://kimberleyandkaylawoodhouse.com and http://kaylawoodhouse.com (read more…)
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31 NIV)
“Come on Hanna, Jeff is waiting. We’ll miss our ride.” Sam was tired of bugging her to get done.
“Just a little bit more spray and I’ll be ready. I’m not going out in public with my hair a mess.” Hanna pulled and tugged as she froze a tuft of hair in place.
The girls got into Jeff’s car and he took off in a hurry. “What was the holdup?”
“Oh just miss prissy and her ‘not-a-hair-out-of-place’ obsession.” Sam was totally disgusted.
Hanna defended herself. “Look, I have a standard to uphold and Lisa Tillerman will not beat me out of homecoming queen this year. All she does is worry about her perfect hair and her perfect body and her perfect wardrobe. Must be nice.”
Everyone met at the mall and car-pooled to Barb’s house for her birthday party. After a while, Hanna and Sam noticed that Lisa wasn’t there.
“Where’s Lisa?” Hanna asked Barb. “It’s not like Lisa to miss a chance for a public appearance.”
Later that night when Hanna got home, her mom was waiting up to talk to her. They sat in the kitchen and Hanna listened to the news. It just didn’t seem real. Her mom told her that Lisa had collapsed earlier in the day and been taken to the hospital. The doctors discovered that she had Leukemia.
After weeks of treatment, Hanna went to visit Lisa. Jeff arrived to pick her up and she was on time for once. When Hanna walked in the room, Lisa let out a cry and turned her head away. A turban was wrapped around her head. She had lost all her beautifully kept hair.
Hanna’s first instinct was to run out of the room, but with tears running down her cheeks, she leaned over and grabbed Lisa. The two hugged and cried. Hanna looked at Lisa and wiped her tears. “You’re still beautiful Lis’. And you know, Kelly shared a scripture from 1 Samuel 16:7 at youth group last week, ‘The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’ (NIV) I can’t think of anyone with a more beautiful heart and as much courage as you.”
Hanna placed a flower in Lisa’s turban. “Besides, God won’t have to worry about knowing every hair on your head for a while so He’ll be able to concentrate on getting you well!” Lisa smiled through her tears.
As they left the hospital, Hanna turned to Jeff. “I don’t feel like running for homecoming queen anymore. The real beauty is Lisa and I don’t think I could compete.”
When you just can’t seem to get it right, look at each strand of hair and remember that the Lord has numbered every one. Then try to figure where the importance really is.
On one of the bulletin boards I have hanging above my desk, there is a small blue card that reads “The task ahead of you is never as great as the power within you. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
Most of you know that verse by heart; you’ve heard it so many times. It’s everywhere – Bible book stores, sermons, bumper stickers, t-shirts. For such a ubiquitous verse, it’s easy to not pay attention to it. And if we do happen to actually notice it, we don’t really take it literally. “Oh, sure, I can do all things, blah, blah, blah. Great.”
Why do we get this reaction from reading this verse? Because, living in the society we do today, we don’t often see miracles performed. Nobody blind randomly starts walking, we don’t hear news reports of a bunch of pigs throwing themselves off cliffs, and we certainly don’t see anyone who was dead come back to life (Elvis aside).
But just because those huge, gigantic, jaw-dropping miracles don’t happen before our eyes any more doesn’t mean that there are no more miracles. I have had many miracles happen in my life. My mom suffered a heart attack not long after we moved to Georgia a few years ago – and during the heart attack, she died. My mom’s heart stopped beating, and she was dead. But do you know what? With everyone praying for her, God allowed her to live again. Defibrillators were used, and she came back to life.
I’d call that a miracle. My mom was raised from the dead.
Not long ago, my Dada also had a heart attack – and underwent bypass surgery. But in spite of these events, both of my parents are now whole and healthy. God came through for them in an amazing way.
But what does this have to do with us? We KNOW God can perform miracles. But we can’t.
And what I have to say to that is –
No, we can’t.
So what does that verse have to do with us personally? The fact that God can perform miracles through us. In and of ourselves, we are powerless. We have nothing. But if we allow God to use us, he can work miracles in the lives of others that you would never dream. Allow yourself to be used by God, and you can do the impossible – through Christ who strengthens you.
I am many things, but I’ll just share a few of them with you right now.
I am, first and foremost, a Christian, and have been since I was six years old. I love the Lord and am trying to please Him to the best of my ability. I am an avid reader, and lean toward fiction although several of my favorite books (the Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Blue Like Jazz, Primal, The Barbarian Way, the Soul of C. S. Lewis, etc.) are non-fiction.
I love animals, and I love music (soundtracks, Christian, Korean and K-pop, some secular music, Immediate Music, X-ray Dog, Taylor Swift, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Owl City, Hayley Westenra… the list goes on and on). My favorite movies are the Last of the Mohicans, G. I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, Inkheart, the Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Robin Hood(s), Star Trek, IRIS (Korean drama – use caution when watching), the Fantastic Four(s), the Spider-mans, Batman Begins, Iron Man, (I love Hero movies) and many, many more. (read more…)
Check out the Leven Thumps Series