Spiritual

iStock arms open sun21 300x199 SpiritualHas anyone ever told you that God loves you?  That He has a plan for your life?  Well, I am here to tell you that God loves you.  He is there waiting with open arms to embrace you when you stop running from Him and start running toward Him.  He created you for a specific purpose, a specific plan so that you could fulfill your destiny.

He knows you by name; He knows where you are, where you have been and where you are going.  He wants to have a relationship with you, however, He also gave you free will. You can choose whether you want a relationship with the Creator of this Universe or not; it is totally YOUR choice.

iStock hand of God forming earth1 192x300 SpiritualThe very One that made YOU… your body, your organs, the ability to breathe and have your body working all day to keep you alive… He created all of that ability, but He also wanted us to have free will.  He wants you to want to be in a relationship with Him.  When you are in a relationship with someone, don’t you want him or her to want to be with you?  If you were forcing them to be there it wouldn’t feel the same, would it?

You want them to want to be in a relationship with you, right?  That is how God is, as well.  He gave us that free will so that we can freely choose Him or reject Him and if we aren’t choosing Him, we are refusing Him.  The amazing thing is that God draws us toward Him. The Bible says that no one comes to Him except if He draws that person to Him.  So the very fact that you are reading this right now, I believe that God is drawing you toward Him.  You can totally choose what to do about it – that is your choice.

I know that some have been hurt by ‘religion’; I don’t like ‘religion’ either.  Some of you have been ‘turned off’ at church by persons who appear to be hypocrites. I understand! I used to be one of them. I don’t want ‘religion’; I want the real God.  ‘Religion’ usually appears in the form of a bunch of man-made rituals and ideas about how we are supposed to live out our time here on earth.

iStock hand holding earth creation1 300x197 SpiritualI am not talking about that; I am talking about a real, personal relationship with your Creator.  The very One that created this universe with its millions upon millions of galaxies and we only live in one of them, the Milky Way.  I am talking about a personal relationship with God that is so real, so tangible you can literally feel His presence… it is truly amazing!  I pray that EVERY person reading this can experience His Presence because it is so beautiful.

It’s like nothing you could ever imagine.  He is full of joy, love and peace and He fills you with all of that! Will you still go through trials in life?  Sure, but when you have the Creator of the Universe living within you, than it sure is a lot different.  Believe me.  I have only known God for 16 years and the closer I get to Him, the more real He becomes in my life.  I experience Him now like another person right there with me. It is an experience filled with joy, love and peace just like He promises!

peaceLove joy 300x218 SpiritualI would have never believed it could be this amazing and wonderful had I not experienced it myself.  Before I really had a relationship with God I was truly living for the world and partying a lot (drowning myself from the internal pain I had) and didn’t want anything to do with God.  I thought my life was ‘all right’, but there was always this emptiness that I realized I was trying to fill with alcohol, just like I did with food and sugar.

iStock bridge scared2 200x300 SpiritualWhenever someone struggles with an addiction, I always wonder, “What are he or she trying to ‘drown’, stuff down or run away from?”  There is, most often, some void they are trying to fill with the addiction. The thing that is certainly tough about an addiction is once you are dealing with it, it gets very hard to stop and you can feel trapped, in very area of your life.

I had more of a scientific approach. I did believe we were a body with a spirit, but I didn’t really have much information farther past that awareness.  I wasn’t really raised in church.  It seemed like we moved every 6 months when I was a kid. I went to a new school every year so we weren’t really grounded anywhere. Most of the people that I was exposed to growing up were total hypocrites: attending church regularly, even teaching bible studies, yet, going home to their addictions and abusing their wives and children in every way behind closed doors.

I didn’t want any part of that ‘religion’ because what was the point?  Live like the devil during the week, then go to church on Sunday, thinking that was going to get you ‘right’ with God because you were there to ‘pay off’ for all of your sins?  I don’t think so.  I think that attitude was one thing that did repel me from church at an early age.

When I was 16 (and still partying since I was in 7th grade), my mom actually got me going to this one church where I really liked the youth group.  I thought it was so weird these people could have so much fun without drugs or alcohol.  Actually, I was intrigued.  I didn’t see a lot of hypocrites in this place.  They seemed genuine, real.  I remember I would go to Wendy’s with them and eat inside and they would act like the biggest goofballs, laughing, carrying on like they were drunk but they weren’t.  They were just happy- that was weird!

iStock cross God love written in cross1 SpiritualThat was weird to me because I never acted like that totally sober. I remember the youth leader pulled me aside one night to give me ‘The Talk’… you know, the one about God and Jesus and how Jesus died for my sins.  I remember we were sitting on the ground and he was drawing this whole thing out with stones from the landscaping.  I really liked this person, looked up to him like a brother. I admired him and his wife so I wanted to listen, but I was so entrenched in my true lifestyle that I honestly didn’t even believe him.

He drew out the cross on the ground with stones and talked about how it was the bridge to our eternal life with God.   I did say the prayer, but I will tell you I only did it at that time because he was asking me to and I did not want to tell him, “No”.  I didn’t truly believe it.  That is what I mean about that free will, you have to actually believe it for it to become real in you.  I repeated the Prayer after my Youth Pastor and although it did not stick at the time, I now realize that God was planting seeds in me.

iStock igloo1 300x192 SpiritualSoon after that I moved to Alaska with my mom. Yes, Alaska!  I didn’t want to go because I thought Alaska was going to be nothing but ice, snow, igloos and eating fish eyeballs! Well, that’s what I heard that Eskimos ate! I really didn’t want to go but, hey, what could I do?  I was only 16 and if your parents move, you are moving too.

We piled up in this old beat up red pickup truck that my mom’s former boyfriend used for his locksmith business.  It had a white camper shell on the back that was his mobile locksmith shop but he took most of his tools out for trip. That is what we drove and slept in 3 weeks.  We drove from Indiana to Alaska, and, wow, what a drive!

iStock road to mountains1 300x201 SpiritualI must admit I began habitually smoking cigarettes on that trip and I honestly wanted to smoke because I knew my mom would be mad if she found out.  I remember the first one I ever smoked, I got so sick!  Why would we continue to do something that makes us so sick? Now, I realize that nicotine is just another addictive substance, so of course, people become addicted and just keep using as I did.  My mom didn’t know I smoked. I sneaked it and I liked being sneaky – all a part of my previous rebellious nature, I guess.

I liked ‘getting away with things’; I don’t know why, I just did.  I was really abused as a child just about every way a child can be abused; believe me, I had some issues! I know many of you reading this have been abused, too, because I have talked to many of you.  I know many of you are hurting, yet, there are some of you who will read this and find it difficult to relate to because you had a perfect childhood. Now those are far and few between, but no matter what your life was like, you still have a Creator Who wants to know you and longs to have a relationship with you.

iStock heavens gates2 160x300 SpiritualIt has nothing to do with how tough your life was – absolutely nothing.  Sometimes people that have had tough lives turn to God more than those that had easier lives do, but I believe God uses those tough circumstances to draw us toward Him. It can be dangerous to think you’ve got it made, life is great, you don’t need a relationship with God… then you die and you figure out there is an after life and you didn’t even know THE One that you are about to meet when your spirit leaves your body.

The interesting thing is we never know when we are going to die.  We could die when we are 21 or 87, we never know.  I live near Tampa, FL and a 21 year-old lifeguard just got hit by lightning and it killed him.  As tragic as that is, do you think he went to work that day thinking that it was going to be his last day on earth?… the day he was about to meet his Maker?  I highly doubt it.

My brother was killed by a drunk driver at only 17 years old.  That was so devastating for all of us, especially my mother.  No one thinks they are going to die the day they die unless they are really ill and know it’s the end or tragically are successful at committing suicide.  My heart goes out to the tortured souls that have to deal with those types of tragedies.

iStock Alaska blue sky green grass2 300x190 SpiritualBack to my story about Alaska… We arrived in Alaska and I realized quickly that where we were to live for the next 6 months, working for the Denali Park, did not have igloos. It was absolutely beautiful! Unfortunately, I got hooked up with the wrong people and partied harder than I ever had before – not really the best place for my mom to have taken me at 16 but she didn’t know.  I am 37 now so that was a long time ago and I have changed SO much!

I like to visit the snow and then get right back on the plane and come back to the warm sunshine with palm trees and lizards everywhere.  I remember when I came back from Alaska I was so excited to see lizards and palm trees again. I had missed them!  It was actually very warm in Alaska in the summer, about 70 to 80 degrees and the sun shined a lot; it was really beautiful.  You don’t want to be there in the winter though because it’s 30 degrees below zero and dark 24 hours a day!

iStock mountain trail1 190x300 SpiritualOne summer day, while in Alaska, I hiked up a mountain known as ‘Mushroom Mountain’ with some friends. Hiking up that mountain I seriously thought I was going to die.  I had never exercised to any extent before and I was totally out of shape.  The group had to stop a lot for me so that I could catch my breath… along with the altitude, it was intense!

But when you got to the top of that mountain, after about 6 hours of hiking, feeling like you are going to keel over half the time, it was totally worth it!  I was in awe!  When we got to the top of that mountain and looked around, it was literally 360 degrees of nothing but mountains.  It was so beautiful! You see something like that and you can’t help but think, “There must be a God to have created all of this. There is no way that it all ‘just happened’! Like Tony Robbins, a self-help Author and Motivational Speaker, says, “That would be like saying a dictionary happened from the explosion of a print factory”.  Yeah right.

iStock mount mckinley1 300x188 SpiritualThere is way too much order and structure to this planet and Universe to think, “It just happened”.  When I turned to my right, low and behold there was Mount McKinley.  Wow!  It was so huge and so white covered with snow but you could see so many dimensions of it because of the multitude of cliffs that it has.  The people I was with said that I was experiencing quite a treat being able view Mount McKinley so clearly as it is usually surrounded by fog.

Wow, that was awesome.  We stayed up there for a little while and had to head back down since it was still a 6 hour walk – a little shorter since you were going downhill, thank God!  I don’t think I would have made it another 6 hours uphill.

At the end of our 6 month stay at the Denali, I flew back to Florida to stay with my dad for the rest of the summer. My parents were divorced when I was 2 ½ years old so I visited him whenever I could. At the end of the summer, I returned back to Indiana with my mom began attending the same youth group as I had before.  I remember them saying, “Oh, you have matured while you were away”.  Although I knew the truth, I had just become way more of a total party animal and was more ‘numbed out’ than anything.

Well, many things happened after that! I will save those adventures for future articles or for my autobiography. Believe me, there will be one!  So, to make a very long story short for now, when I was almost 18, I moved back to Florida to live with my sister and finish out my senior year of high school. I met my husband, Drew, directly after arriving back in Florida.

Drew and I Grand Canyon 2011 300x225 SpiritualDrew was in college and actually 4 years older than I was. I was still in high school so he was my ‘High School Sweetheart’ and we have been together for 19 years now (here is a picture of us in the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago).  He actually was the reason I became involved in health and fitness. He was a body builder, stacked with all kinds of muscles, and I had never seen someone so fit before! He was also a very handsome, intelligent man, going to school to be a Chiropractor and very much into studying.

Drew also had the more scientific type mind and was really into physics, chemistry and anatomy… a straight-A student in college.  I was so intrigued by him, for he was so different than anyone I had ever known.  I was always on the Honor Roll in school myself. Even though I partied a lot, I kept close to straight As in college for 5 years!  Even though I did do things I shouldn’t have been doing, I liked learning and still do.

iStock empty fridge1 189x300 SpiritualDrew is the one that started dragging to me the gym to work out and actually encouraged me to get good grades, so my senior year I got straight A’s – thanks to his encouragement.  The funny thing is that when he met me all I had in my fridge was a bottle of ketchup and broccoli. The ketchup was for my fast food I ate every day and the broccoli was for the iguana – true story!  One day, Drew said to me, “If I am going to date you, I have got to put some food in this fridge!”  So he filled it up with food that is good for you. People that work out eat a lot, especially people who have a lot of muscle.

When I began thinking about when God began His Mission to capture both of our hearts, I remembered that Drew wore a cross on his necklace but didn’t really believe in God.  His mom was a non-practicing Catholic and his dad was a Baptist so when people when ask him what ‘religion’ he was, he would say that he was a Catholic Baptist.  Obviously, we were both very confused when it came to ‘religion’.

iStock Jesus open arms red head wrapping1 300x199 SpiritualWhen I first visited my soon-to-be husband’s home, I noticed a picture of Jesus on his desk. I thought that was sweet, even though he just had it there because it was something that his mom had given him. At that time, he didn’t really know who Jesus was and didn’t really even believe in God.  He, again, had more of a scientific approach to life. It shocks me that most Scientists don’t even believe in a Creator. How can you see all that has been created and not believe some magnificent Power had to have created it?!

One day I discovered that one of Drew’s cousins had taught Drew how to box years earlier. His cousin had been trained by one of the Trainers of our World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, George Foreman.  And of course he also is the guy who now has the Foreman Grill. Drew’s cousin had been in training himself to become a professional boxer and he was really good; however, a serious car accident left him with a bad back, ending his hopes for a career in boxing.

Grand Canyon Oct 2011 220 300x225 SpiritualThe reason my husband’s cousin taught him to box was because when Drew was around the age of 20 he got jumped at party by about 20 men. He was in excellent shape, however, immaturely flaunted it at parties, wearing tank tops, displaying muscles, etc. and some of other guys became jealous and reacted in a very negative way. He was attacked by a group of almost 20 young men that began beating him with sticks and bats.  He remembers even hearing them say, “Let’s just kill him, no one will know who did it.”  By the grace of God, he was able to escape, stayed conscious and flagged down a car that would drive him to a hospital for he had a broken jaw. Fortunately, he is now 41, still in excellent shape and doesn’t flaunt his body anymore. He just stays in great shape to honor his body as the temple of God, be healthy, feel great and look good for his wife! This is his picture 21 years after that happened to him.

So one benefit I got was Drew really taught me how to box and showed me the ‘ropes’! I liked it because when I was in middle school, I was wishing I had known how to defend myself when I had gotten into a couple of scraps with some girls; both times they started the fight.  I liked learning how to box so I knew some skills.  I liked feeling confident if any bozo tried to attack me I could defend myself!

Drew and I had been dating for about 3 years when he began teaching another body builder at the gym, where we worked out, how to box. One day when my husband was training him, the guy mentioned that he was attending a church that was “on fire for God” –  not a religious church but a real church, the way it was meant to be.  Every time Drew would train him, he would talk to him about going with him. At that time, we both had no desire to have any part of ‘that’ life.  We both felt we had ‘been there, done that’.  Sure I said that prayer 6 years earlier but I didn’t really mean it, although I believe it was a seed that was planted for my future relationship with God.

iStock arms up person praising God1 268x300 SpiritualOne particular day, near Easter time, the guy kept bugging Drew to go to church. Drew finally said to him, “Listen, if I go with you, will you stop talking about this?  I don’t want to ever hear about this again from you! I just want to work out and box, that is it!”   The guy agreed so my husband and I went on Easter, April 16th 1995.  It was interesting to me that these people were actually happy to be there.  They were having fun! They were smiling! They were laughing! And nobody was drunk or doing drugs – amazing! Even though we didn’t ‘know’ God yet, we could feel something very different about that place.  Some other churches I had been to were so dead, so ‘religious’, just going through rituals, it felt more like a funeral service!

iStock love heart1 300x199 SpiritualI have realized that some can go to church their whole life and not really know God or have a personal relationship with Him.  It is so not about the rituals; it’s about a personal relationship with God.  We soon realized that this church was different in a wonderful way. You could actually feel the presence and the power of God in there.  Then at the end of that sermon, the Pastor talked about Jesus Christ and how He is The Bridge that fills the gap between God and people.  The Pastor explained that humans have a sinful nature; just look at the state of what the world is going through today and reminded us that Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins so that we could be free, cleansed of the sin, and not only have eternal life once our spirit leaves this body, but also experience a heaven on earth with God. Available to us was a connection with God to enjoy a peace, joy and love that we have never known before.

The big difference this time was that I actually believed it!  I actually really ‘got’ what the Pastor was saying.  Just like I mentioned earlier, God draws you toward Him, then you respond… that is how it works.  Six years ago, He drew me toward Him but I didn’t respond. This was different.  As the Pastor kept talking, it was as if the heavens opened up and I could see it as Truth, there was no more doubt, it was the truth.  It was like in my mind I saw the reality of Jesus coming to this earth, dying on the cross and being raised from the dead and that He did this for you and me.

iStock Jesus out of tomb 300x197 SpiritualThe awesome thing is that He was witnessed by hundreds of people that saw Him after He miraculously rose from the dead and came out of the sealed tomb in which they had placed Him.  Being still fond of the scientific info, I recently read a report by a professional statistician regarding the prophecies of Jesus. His opinion was that it was a 1 in a 1 billion chance that any one man could fulfill even 5 of the over 500 prophecies that were spoken about Jesus in the Old Testament – and spoken thousands of years before He even came to earth!

I am talking about where Jesus lived, how His life would be carried out and how He was crucified.  It was said thousands of years before He even got here that not a bone would be broken in His body. The legs of one being crucified were usually broken so that they could not crawl away in case they did not actually die. When they crucified Jesus, they did not break His legs – the fulfilling of one of the many prophecies.

So as I am sitting there, in that church. It was my moment.  It was real. I could not run anymore. God had found me and I was actually going to listen this time so I got up to go forward.  It just so happened it was my husband’s day of awakening, too, so we both went up there together.  He said that the same thing happened for him.  Now, you don’t have to have some intense vision about Jesus to believe that He exists. He is real and He is alive, but one thing you do need is to believe that this is the truth, a trusting, and a knowing.

iStock believe2 300x199 SpiritualSometimes you have to put your doubt aside and just believe. Ask God to help you.  I believe that you were brought here by Divine appointment.  There is no coincidence that you found this site. There is no coincidence that you read this entire article!  Some stopped reading half way through; it wasn’t their day but I believe it is yours.  This is the day to meet your Maker, here on earth, right now… not waiting until you die, then it’s too late. You want to do it now because you never know when you will have your last breath on this earth.

I have found it’s not just about spending eternity in heaven; it’s also about experiencing Heaven on earth.  Living a life of freedom, joy and peace; is that the life you would like to live?  I encourage you to leave all your past behind, your past experiences with religion and just let that all fall off of you now and just believe.  Just like that – it’s that simple.  Is this your moment? I believe it is because why else would you be reading all of this… He is tugging on your heart.  You have a choice, a free will to respond to the amazing, loving, caring God that longs to embrace you with open arms and show you the plans He has for your life. So if you are ready to meet God and open up your heart to Him, say this prayer out loud…

Freedom 300x221 Spiritual“Dear God,

I’m a sinner. I’m sorry for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe that He died for me. That He rose from the grave. That He’s alive. I want to invite Him to come into my heart to take control. From this day forward forevermore. And I pray God that You help me forgive anyone that has ever hurt me and that I start to live for you daily. And I pray this in the name of Jesus.

Amen”

Well, My Friend, welcome to the Family of Believers!  I am so proud of you!  Now, if you are a woman we are Sisters in Christ and if you are a guy, we are Brothers in Christ.  We are all Family now!   I am so excited for you!  The most important thing you can do is make sure you get a Bible and start reading it daily, even if it’s only for a few minutes.  Pray to God on a regular basis and find a spirit-filled church you can attend.

Easy as 1 2 3 Steps 300x144 Spiritual
Remember, it’s not about ‘religion’, but there is great power in getting into a strong church that you feel the presence of God in there, not a ‘dead’ church.  Going to a great church increases your faith; it strengthens you as a Believer.  You definitely want to look for a Christian church and I have found the most spirit-filled ones tend to be non-denominational, Assemblies of God and Pentecostal churches.

They are usually the ones I feel the power of God most and they have fun in church.  You might have to try a few different ones, at first.  For a while I went to a different church every Sunday for about 3 months until I found the one I liked.  And believe me I saw a lot of different styles of church so many churches express themselves in different ways.  If one doesn’t resonate with you, then go to a different one but be sensitive to God and see if He wants you to stay there.

Samantha Taylor Flying over Grand Canyon 1024x576 300x160 SpiritualThe most important thing is to get started on your Journey with Him and start looking for a church. At first, a spirit-filled church may seem a little different to you, especially if you have never been in a church or you grew up in a traditional church where they do not express their love for the Lord by clapping, singing, dancing, praising out loud – outward forms of expression of faith. I encourage you to investigate spirit-filled churches, though, and experience the wonderful, life-changing difference.  That is why I say to be sensitive to God because if you go to a Spirit filled church and you are not used to people expressing themselves and having fun in church, at first it might be getting you out of your comfort zone, so go a few times.  Freedom in your worship with God should almost feel like you are flying, not chained down by a bunch of ‘religion’.  This is a picture of me ‘flying’ over the Grand Canyon.

And if you have been attending a Catholic church I encourage you to try attending a Christian church, they really are different. Yes I know you might have a lot of family that go to the Catholic Church but I encourage you to check it out for yourself; you might just find you love church a lot more!  I enjoy the experience so much at the church I go to so I never want to miss a Sunday.  That is the way church should be, not some ritualistic session where you feel like you didn’t get anything out of it.

I am really excited for you and I would LOVE to hear from you! If you just made that decision to get closer to God, email me and tell me and I will send you even more resources than are listed below.  You can email me at: itsmyday @ sugaraddictionspecialist.com

If you want a free Bible online you can go to this website, www.biblegateway.com. I think for Beginners, it’s best to read the New Living Translation, New International Version or the Message Bible.  See which one you like the best, but even if you look at it online I would also get a Bible you can read in your hand.  If you don’t have a Christian store around you, you can go online to www.amazon.com, order a Bible and have it shipped directly to your home or office.  One thing I also like about using the online Bibles is that you can search different words and find all the Scriptures that have that word in it which this can increase your knowledge of where to find the specific Scripture pertaining to any subject.

Get yourself a Bible right away, don’t wait!  If you have any friends or family that you want to send this story too, please forward it to them.  If you saw one of my videos or took a quiz or read a blog post that got you here, send them that, as well.  You can do it indirectly and just say, “Check this out, its pretty cool.  I also liked the page where she talked about God, check out this tab that says…”  Say something like that.  Spread the love of God, He wants us all to do that…

One has to be brave to put the truth ‘out there’ – to be so upfront about God on a blog or on videos – but that is what God wants me to do. That is why I am even writing this blog post. I want to encourage people just like you to come meet Him, get to know Him and develop a deep relationship with Him.

Have a wonderful day and I hope to talk to you soon!  You can also get connected with me on face book at www.facebook.com/sugarbreakthrough. If you are ready to overcome your sugar addiction, go my site to get help now at www.sugaraddictionsolution.com.

God loves you!