April 19, 2012

My PainFULL Journey!

The last 4+ years have truly been a painFULL journey!

PainFULL you ask?

Each day if not each hour & sometimes each minute is relentlessly more painFULL than the last day or hour or minute.

How is that possible?

After fracturing a vertebrae in my lower back during the summer between my senior year at Parkway North High School & beginning 2-a-days in Alton, Illinois as a Western Illinois University Fighting Leatherneck Soccer Player, I kept practicing every day throughout the season but never played in a game & I eventually had a lumbar fusion on the day after CHRISTmas 1985!

Fast forward to the summer of 2005 when I had a cervical fusion due to a herniated disc in my neck & in the spring of 2006 I had a 2nd cervical fusion as the bone from the prior fusion had literally disappeared & both of those surgeries included titanium plates & screws.

The summer of 2006 saw my wife & I move from the Gateway to the West of St. Louis, Missouri to Homestead, Florida which is the Gateway to the Florida Keys

Over the next couple of years I eventually began working out for 2+ hours at least 5 days a week & I felt wonderful physically.

Then a moment in time that would be the beginning of my ongoing painFULL journey!

I was stopped at a red light for 2-3 minutes when a SUV inexplicably slammed into the back of my Hyundai Tiburon!

What may have been a simple case of whiplash for most people was much more than that for me because of my 3 prior spinal surgeries.

Minimal disc bulging at C3-C4 and C4-C5 with no significant stenosis.

Mild disc bulging at C6-C7 producing anterior thecal sac effacement, mild canal stenosis, and very slight flattening of the anterior cord surface without true cord compression.

Post-surgical changes at C5-C6. 

So things were not good at all but have now become much worse & I shall let a combination of 2 recent MRI reports of both my neck/cervical & my lower back/lumbar tell the story of how things progressed from very bad to horrendous.

Status post spinal surgery & fusion at C5-C6.

Broad based bulging disc at C4-C5 & L5-S1.

Broad based central disc herniation at C6-C7, C3-C4, & L4-L5.

Central disc herniation with an anular at L3-L4.

Stenosis of the spinal canal & lateral recesses at C3-C4, C4-C5, C5-C6, C6-C7, L3-L4 & L4-L5.

Severe Stenosis of the neural foramina due to uncovertebral osteophyte & facet joint hypertrophy at C3-C4, C4-C5, C6-C7, L4-L5 & L5-S1.

I have seen way too many neurologists & pain management doctors & none of them have been able to give me any relief  for the pain that has been increasing every day because stenosis is narrowing my spinal canal & the nerves are getting pinched even more let alone how the 6 damaged discs are affecting my nerves & one thing that needs to be avoided at all costs is waiting until those discs explode!

Basically, my current physical condition is gradually affecting other areas of my body that depend on the nerves to work correctly. It is truly an exasperating process but it's worth it if it deepens my dependence on JESUS!

"GOD uses chronic pain & weakness, along with other afflictions, as HIS chisel for sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens dependence on CHRIST for strength each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. To live with your ‘thorn’ uncomplainingly — that is, sweet, patient, & free in heart to love & help others, even though every day you feel weak — is true sanctification. It is true healing for the spirit. It is a supreme victory of grace." — J.I. Packer

How do I feel when the LORD seems to be silent? 

"Silence" by Jars of Clay is a song that has touched my innermost spirit yet I still don't understand the depths of what its meaning is to me but one thing I do know, it is hauntingly beautiful! 

I currently think that there are only 4 options left for me now but I am definitely open for suggestions.

1) A miracle cure from the LORD!

2) A miracle opening from the LORD for finances, wisdom for the right doctor to clean out my continual smaller spinal canal from bone growth & replace the 6 herniated discs with artificial discs.

3) A miracle opening from the LORD for finances, wisdom for the right doctor to place a Spinal Infusion Catheter in my spinal canal which would then have a pump implanted in a pocket they would create in my stomach to send a dose of morphine or dilaudid or another pain killer drug at regular intervals.

4) Do nothing which would mean to stop taking the few medications that I have been taking & pray that the LORD would give me the faith, grace, hope, joy, love, & peace to wait on HIM for one of the previous 3 options to materialize!

May I please interrupt your reading of this blog as I have just become aware that I have a 5th option which may be a revision of option #2!

5) The surprise of all surprises happened, I got notice from the Jackson Medical Center stating that I have an appointment on Monday the 30th of April with their Neurosurgeon department. I am excited but also a bit perplexed as my prior back surgery was for one fractured vertebrae & my two neck surgeries were for one herniated disc along with a fusion, but I may finally find out what type of surgery &/or surgeries are necessary to remedy the pain of not only inserting  6 artificial discs but cleaning out all the bone the stenosis problem has caused in my spinal canal, lateral recesses, & the neural foramina, & there's still the facet joint hypertrophy along with my hopes of taking out the 2 titanium plates that are in my neck & replace those fusions with an artificial disc as well. 

"There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler." ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In the midst of excruciating pain I have tried to encourage other people by sharing a quote with them or a photo or a Scripture or something I wrote or a song/video & then I frequently look over what I share with them or even what I posted on my own wall so that I may encourage myself.

I'm not just interested in obtaining millions of followers on twitter as I haven't even been on there in months, or about having 5,000 friends on Facebook, & I may never reach a baker's dozen of members who regularly read my blog, but if the LORD should ever happen to bless you in even the smallest way through what HE inspires me to put in words, there will be tears of joy rolling down my face!

"While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us." — Benjamin Franklin

How am I able to control what happens inside of me when sometimes I am so frustrated that I feel like exploding?

Thankfully, "Step By Step (Sometimes By Step)" by Rich Mullins begins with the unique thoughts of Rich & I was surprised to chat with him for almost an hour after a concert as he acted like we were old friends & that evening in Columbia, Missouri gave me a glimpse into a man who loves JESUS! 

If you don't care for the thoughts or wit of the late Rich Mullins or don't like watching or listening to these videos & songs of which this song begins at 3:33, at least enjoy the profoundness of these 8 lines!

Sometimes I think of Abraham
How one star he saw had been lit for me
He was a stranger in this land
And I am that, no less than he
And on this road to righteousness
Sometimes the climb can be so steep
I may falter in my steps
But never beyond Your reach

"What you do speaks so loudly I can't hear what you are saying." ― Henry Adams

I never understood that quote until I became what I never imagined I would be, an assistant soccer coach for Miami Senior High Stings Soccer 1991-1993.

"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." ― John C. Maxwell

"We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling & dancing in the eddies & whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity." ― Paulo Coelho

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, & narrow-mindedness, & many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men & things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." — Mark Twain

All of my journeys which have included living in different countries & states have allowed me to meet so many wonderful people & some have become lifetime friends. I've recently reconnected with classmates from long ago, & I have been richly blessed by encountering new friends on Facebook that have helped me pass through some of the many sleepless nights when I don't know how I am even going to make it through another hour! The entirety of all of that has been significant in my current journey.

"Our lives disconnect & reconnect, we move on, & later we may again touch one another, again bounce away. This is the felt shape of a human life, neither simply linear nor wholly disjunctive nor endlessly bifurcating, but rather this bouncey-castle sequence of bumpings-into & tumblings-apart." ― Salman Rushdie

"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." — Robert Southey

"Among all the disappointments & perplexities which have fallen my share in life, nothing has contributed so much to support my mind as the choice blessing of a wife." ― John Adams

My wife Martha Luz is the most awesome blessing ever as the LORD created us to love each other & one of my favorite songs ever "How'Bout Us" by Champaign has been answered with an affirmative "YES!" as I  would not be here today without her love for me throughout the challenges of the last 4+ years but also during the entire 13+ years of our marvelous marriage! 

"Without love, there is no reason to know anyone, for love will in the end connect us to our neighbors, our children & our hearts." — Martin Luther King Jr.

"There are in this world blessed souls, whose sorrows all spring up into joys for others; whose earthly hopes, laid in the grave with many tears, are the seed from which spring healing flowers & balm for the desolate & the distressed." ― Harriet Beecher Stowe 

"How would your life be different if you approached all relationships with authenticity & honesty? Let today be the day as you dedicate yourself to building relationships on the solid foundation of truth & authenticity." ― Steve Maraboli 

Throughout "My PainFULL Journey!" music has been something that touches my spirit in such a way that I may have a subtle tear or two gently flowing down my face to literally sobbing to feeling like dancing.

Recently the mellow yellow part of me prefers more relaxing music & I have been amazed at how 2 singers on "American Idol" seem to be singing directly to me &/or my circumstances during at least half of their songs. 

I am "Dedicated to the One I Love" my wife Martha Luz as well as to JESUS my LORD & SAVIOR!

If I were to write continually for the rest of my life about how much I love my Heavenly FATHER, it would still fail to completely express the love that HE, JESUS, & the HOLY SPIRIT have for me, my wife, & everyone reading this, & everyone else in the world.

However, getting back to my ongoing daily life, stenosis in the spinal canal normally doesn't happen until 65 years or older & I'm still 2 decades away from that so do I just sit back & wait until all of my motor skills diminish which is happening at an alarmingly rapid progression or do I try my best to reach out to others with the kindness that I myself am longing for?

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." ― Ralph Waldo Emerson  

"I don't play accurately ― any one can play accurately ― but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life." ― Oscar Wilde 

WOW is all I can say to that performance as it was an unique twist on the original & it reminded me that in elementary school I started to play the piano & I got very good as I even memorized some difficult pieces & played in a prestigious concert but those skills are long gone!

My point is that I was recalling many childhood memories & that was cathartic & cleansing to me until I forgot what I had been thinking about! 

"Did you ever stop to think, & forget to start again?" — Winnie the Pooh

Anyone ready to "Return to Pooh Corner" with Kenny Loggins at least for just a few moments?

How should someone live their life when they are constantly on the verge of a mental breakdown & a plunge into a cavernous depression as they've not only lost the ability to compete in sports they love; or enjoy briskly walking for 90 minutes in the heat of Alajuela, Costa Rica to play basketball at 5am only to have a return 90 minute walk before finally eating a typical Tico breakfast like "Gallo Pinto" or fresh mango from the backyard; or to naively venture throughout the dangerous mountain filled barrios of Medellín, Colombia looking for a place to live; or sometimes not even being able to pick up a jar of peanut butter without dropping it on the floor; or having so much numbness in their legs & feet that simply walking is hard & broken toes are almost a monthly occurrence?

Has anyone ever fractured all 5 toes on the same foot? I accomplished that feat this week during 3 different incidents!

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." ― Robert Frost

"Adversity is like a strong wind. I don't mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, & not merely as we might like to be." — Arthur Golden

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ― Albert Einstein 

My life really couldn't be better than it is because I have an amazing wife who loves me & the LORD allows me to share HIS hope, joy, love, & peace with others no matter how I am feeling!

"Passion is passion. It's the excitement between the tedious spaces, & it doesn't matter where it's directed. It can be coins or sports or politics or horses or music or faith. The saddest people I've ever met in life are the ones who don't care deeply about anything at all." ― Nicholas Sparks
A lot of people with chronic pain as bad as I have been living with, believe that nothing in the world matters anymore & that absolutely no one cares for them & this results in many tragic stories as they think there is no one to turn to in dealing with their emotional, mental, physical, & spiritual issues they have had since their childhood, their youth, or even adulthood ... but these 3 young people may change that thinking for at least a few minutes as "It Doesn't Matter Anymore"by Buddy Holly is performed by Jessica Sanchez, DeandreBrackensick & Candice Glover.

There is a song that has literally brought me to tears several times during the last few weeks but the powers that be have taken every version of Jessica Sanchez singing "The Prayer" off of YouTube so let's see if I am able to find the original duet!

"I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time ― waking & sleeping. It doesn't change GOD ― it changes me." ― C.S. Lewis  

Here is "The Prayer" with Céline Dion & Andrea Bocelli.

If you have not watched &/or listened to any of the video or songs via the links I've shared, please, please, please take the time to watch from at least the one minute mark of 1:00 until 3:05 & notice not only the power beyond Jessica's voice but the reactions of the three judges as they are captivated by her performance!

This may be taken off YouTube soon but anyone who sings this song better than Céline Dion, well ... you decide for yourself!

I pray YOU'll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way

Lead us to a place
Guide us with YOUR grace
To a place where we'll be safe

A one where pain & sorrow will be ended
And every heart that's broken will be mended
And we'll remember we are all GOD's children
Reaching out to touch YOU
Reaching to the sky

Lead us to a place
Guide us with YOUR grace
To a place where we’ll be safe

"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too." ― Paulo Coelho

Whitney Houston's passing made many think we'd never hear a voice like that again but I give you 16 year old JessicaSanchez & "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton

"GOD loves you just the way you are, but HE refuses to leave you that way. HE wants you to be just like JESUS." ― Max Lucado

"Love is the key. Joy is love singing. Peace is love resting. Patience is love enduring. Kindness is love's truth. Goodness is love's character. Faithfulness is love's habit. Gentleness is love's self-forgetfulness. Self-control is being the reins." — Donald G. Barnhouse 

Since everybody has a dream, what is your dream? To change the world?

"The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does." ― Hugh MacLeod

That song touches me so deeply in my spirit as my dreams have fallen by the wayside of overwhelming pain?

What was my dream?
I don't remember why but back in June of 2010 I was day dreaming what my life would look like if I had $100,000,000 tax free deposited in my bank account overnight & for some reason I wrote about it. 

My first act would be to make sure that my family & friends who had needs were taken care of in a way that they would have the freedom to help others in need, backed financially by my wife & me!

A farm in the Redlands with avocado & mango trees of several varieties would be next on the agenda & if there was not a lake, there would be one soon as I have been blessed by the waterfowl & other creatures that visit Lake Wolfe in Homestead.

My wife & I would both enjoy an indulgence of our choice with mine being either a silver BMW Z4 Convertible or a silver Jaguar XKR Convertible.

After all that, my wife & I would be taking trips of a lifetime to Africa, Alaska, Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Hawaii, New Zealand, & South America. 

We may even invite you to join us for a particular part of that journey!

We would like to buy properties in all or at least a couple of the following locations: in the beautiful rainforest of Costa Rica, a breathtaking villa in Hawaii with both mountain & ocean views, a home worthy for the best sports fishing in all of the Florida Keys in Islamorada, a chalet in the mountains of Colorado next to a stream filled with Rainbow Trout, a cabin on a lake in Minnesota near the boundary waters with Canada, & of course a home overlooking the beautiful city of Medellín, Colombia!


In addition to allowing my family & friends to use them whenever they wanted, I would provide them cost-free to people who serve others either in humanitarian or spiritual ways!

How so?

A large amount of my time would be dedicated to visiting people & various ministries throughout the world who love JESUS or at least take care of those the world has seem to forgotten to see if I should support them financially & if so, I would do so much more!

I would make arrangements for people like my father-in-law who have been unable to even take a small vacation, sometimes for years or decades, to have no financial burdens at all during a time away from their serving.

All they would need to do is say "Yes!" as I would not only pay their bills when they were gone but would supply them with food, spending money, transportation & whatever else they might need to get away from it all & recharge themselves, so they might continue to bless all the communities & people who they serve on a daily basis.

In at least one of those properties, I would create a state of the art recording studio so that my friends & people who move me through their music, would have a place to come & not only work on their gift of music but also have a place to unwind & enjoy the beautiful creation that is all around us but unfortunately is so easily overlooked in the busy culture of the USA.

That would also mean that I should probably start a label that would make sure the people who are falling through the cracks due to popularity demands only, would have my support based on the music they create ... real music!

Writing is something that I enjoy when there are things that move me either emotionally, morally, physically, or spiritually. Many people have told me that I should publish my work. I would put together my favorite things that I have written & allow my journey to be known!

What has happened with my dream since that time? 

"It wouldn't do for us to have all our dreams fulfilled. We would be as good as dead if we had nothing left to dream about." ― L.M. Montgomery

My only dream now is to be free from pain for a few seconds, a minute, an hour, a day, ... enough already BPK!

A new body in HEAVEN is going to be epic but might I request that new body ASAP? 

"Dreams are always crushing when they don't come true. But it's the simple dreams that are often the most painful because they seem so personal, so reasonable, so attainable. You're always close enough to touch, but never quite close enough to hold & it's enough to break your heart." Nicholas Sparks

Jessica Sanchez "SweetDreams" by Beyoncé

So do you have sweet dreams or beautiful nightmares?

How can a nightmare even be beautiful?

I suppose if you were to discover you have a purpose in this world, that might qualify but is it possible that the creator of Huckleberry Finn & Tom Sawyer has wisdom coinciding with the best missionary in the history of the world!

"The two most important days in your life are the day you were BORN & the day you find out WHY." — Mark Twain

"For we are GOD's workmanship, created in CHRIST JESUS to do good works, which GOD prepared in advance for us to do." — EPHESIANS 2:10

You know why I titled this "My PainFULL Journey?"

Throughout it all, there has been the unmistakable presence & FILLING of supernatural faith, grace, hope, joy, love, & peace because the LORD created me for specific works & even though they aren't in the time frame I would prefer most of the time, that's when we need to trust HIM because of HIS love for us as HIS sons!

The stunningly powerful song "Conquering Lion" by Dominic Balli expresses that we should never be dismayed even though we feel a battle has been lost because the war has already been won!

"Do not weep! See, the LION of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll & its seven seals." — REVELATION 5:5 

"Character cannot be developed in ease & quiet. Only through experience of trial & suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, & success achieved." — Helen Keller

"The storms of life are sure to come but a world without them would not be the same. As thunderstorms are necessary for flowers to bloom & trees to grow, they also light up the sky in a truly awesome light show. Yet, the sun shall break through the clouds, causing that which has just been watered to grow. May the SON break through all of our storms, causing us to shine & grow!" — BPK 

"Do you know how GOD controls the clouds & makes HIS lightning flash?" — JOB 37:15

"¿Sabes cómo controla DIOS las nubes, y cómo hace que SU relámpago deslumbre?" — JOB 37:15

With the exception of living through Hurricane Andrew in 1992, I enjoy the breathtaking electrical storms over the Everglades: The River of Grass & the Florida Keys but "The Great Storm" is an exceptional 148 second Emmy winning video about the []_[] which expresses to any logical person why the MIAMI HURRICANES make me bleed Orange & Green

My friend Derrick owns Top Taste Jamaican Restaurant in Florida City & always joins me for tailgating before at least one University of Miami Hurricanes football game each season. One of his cooks is a uf gator fan but has given me the nickname "Happy Man!" because he knows about most of my medical issues yet he always sees me decked out in CANES gear with a smile on my face & a friendly disposition to him despite his shortcomings as to what football team he supports.

In addition to the absolutely delicious food that Derrick creates, he is always smiling & laughing despite the challenges of trying to survive in the current climate with a small family run restaurant while also raising children, yet I can call him on the phone & we have a blast chatting if only for 5 minutes. I almost flashback to the 5 weeks I lived in the mountains surrounding Christiana, Jamaica as I was only a week or two away from mastering a Jamaican accent. Oh well, everything is going to be alright! IRIE!

Even so, there have been lots of tears over the past 4+ years.

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief & unspeakable love." ― Washington Irving

My favorite song of prayer has caused tears to flow in the past when I lived in strange cities or foreign lands but now on a daily sometimes minute by minute basis, I have been shedding a beautiful waterfall of tears over many things & I don't even understand what most of the tears are for!

Enjoy "Worlds Apart" by Jars of Clay which is an extremely precious & powerful song of giving up our battle to do things our way & allow the HOLY SPIRIT to do with us whatever our sweet HEAVENLY FATHER planned for us before we were born.

What about the state of the church as an institution?

Now that's a heavy topic for another day, where did that come from?

My bilingual friends & readers will get a glimpse of what JESUS desires HIS church to be from this anointed song "Mi Iglesia" por René González.

In the coming days & weeks I will gradually be sharing things that I've written in the past which will provide a background for who I am & why I did some bad things, some GOD things, & some good things.

My hope is that the LORD will also fill me with wisdom for me to live each day as it may be my last because it might very well be!

All of us have lost someone close to us & I learned at a young age that I wanted my friends to know that I loved JESUS & wanted them to love JESUS too.

During my senior year of high school, my former Cub Scout Leader who was a Chief of Police from a local city was forced to retire because of his age & he murdered his wife, his son, his daughter & finally took his own life.

I had been in their home numerous times throughout my childhood & their basement was great practice for the Pinewood Derby. I first met his son as a second grade classmate & going to the funeral to see 4 caskets going down the aisle of the church with firemen & policemen in dress uniforms was almost too much to bear.

One of my soccer teammates at the high school was dating the daughter & what was for the most part an awesome last year of high school became a sad & even angry time as it touched virtually everyone from freshman to seniors! 

After that traumatic event, a  few more years went by when several former high school classmates of mine who I didn't get close to until our college years were in a car accident & one of them was killed just before I went back to Jamaica to live & volunteer at the New Vision Children's Home.

I never shared about JESUS with this friend & when I heard of his death, the following song shook me to my core!

I was more worried about losing him as a friend than possibly losing him forever as I didn't even tell him what I knew & believed about eternal life, that there are only two options of where we will live eternally, with the LORD or without HIM!

Ever since then, people know where I stand but I don't hit them over the head with a BIBLE either, unless of course there's a bee in their hair! (Sorry Mom for that memory of you running your hands through my hair when I told you there was a bee & after it stung me, I guess I was right!)

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul & healing to the bones." — PROVERBS 16:24

"Panal de miel son las palabras agradables, dulces al alma y salud para los huesos." — PROVERBIOS 16:24

In English or Spanish or any language that exists, we have the choice to tear down with negativity or speak with a sweetness that brings healing! 

This week has been horrific for me in more ways than anyone other than the LORD will ever know, but there are still a few more things I must share before the pain welling up within me literally explodes throughout my neck & back!  

"Born Again" by the Newsboys is a truth about JESUS that I want everyone in the world to know because once we know HIM & live as sons, we will see things as HE sees them!

"I pray for you, that all your misgivings will be melted to thanksgivings. Remember that the shadow a thing casts often far exceeds the size of the thing itself, especially if the light be low on the horizon & though some future fear may strut brave darkness as you approach, the thing itself will be but a speck when seen from beyond. Oh that HE would restore us often with that 'aspect from beyond,' to see a thing as HE sees it, to remember that HE deals with us as with sons." ― Jim Elliot

"Another Hallelujah" by Lincoln Brewster is an amazing tribute of forgiveness instead of revenge by the families of Edward McCully, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Peter Fleming, & Roger Youderian who were speared to death on Palm Beach in the jungle of Ecuador in 1956.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." — Jim Elliot, A missionary killed by the Auca AKA Waodani Indians in the jungle of Ecuador in 1956.

Why does it sometimes seem like the world is against anyone who loves JESUS? 

"How great is the love the FATHER has lavished on us, that we should be called children of GOD! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know HIM." ― 1 JOHN 3:1
An amazing passage from the book "Shadow of the Almighty" was shared with me as I was preparing to live overseas to serve the LORD however HE so desired & it's by Jim Elliot whom I've been sharing about. This was from a letter written to his future bride when he thought getting married might get in the way of what the LORD's plans were for both of them!

"Dearest Betty, I charge you in the name of our Unfailing Friend, do away with all waverings, bewilderment, and wonder. You have bargained for a cross. Overcome anything in the confidence of your union with Him, so that contemplating trial, enduring persecution or loneliness, you may know the blessings of the 'joy set before.' 'We are the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.' And what are sheep doing going into the gate? What is their purpose inside those courts? To bleat melodies and enjoy the company of the flock? No. Those sheep were destined for the altar. Their pasture feeding had been for one purpose, to test them and fatten them for bloody sacrifice. Give Him thanks, then, that you have been counted worthy of His altars. Enter into the work with praise." — Jim Elliot

How can I do anything but praise the LORD after such profound words were shared with me so many years ago?

"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Hallelujah!" — PSALM 150:6

"Todo lo que respira alabe al SEÑOR. ¡Aleluya!" — SALMO 150:6

Spanish is an amazing way to praise the LORD & Ingrid Rosario singing "Eres Mi Respirar" always brings me into the presence of JESUS if I'm not there already!

Eres mi respirar
Eres mi respirar
Dios tu presencia vive en mi
Eres mi pan senor
Eres mi pan senor
Dios tus palabras fluje en mi
Y yo te anelo senor
Estoy perdida sin ti

You are the air I breathe
You are the air I breathe
Your presence God is living inside me.
You are my bread Lord
You are my bread Lord
Your Word God flows inside of me.
And I…I desire You Lord!
I am…lost without You!

"En Tu Presencia" by René González is also in Spanish but all the words appear & allow even a non-karaoke person like myself to not only learn a bit of Spanish but also to sing along!

If that last song didn't bring your soul in touch with your spirit then there is only one more thing I am able to share with you before I allow some SCRIPTURES & photos to wrap up "My PainFULL Journey!" in a quite surprising ending! 

"Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?" — JOB 12:11

"The lions roar for their prey & seek their food from GOD." ― PSALM 104:21

"When they first lived there, they did not worship the LORD; so he sent lions among them & they killed some of the people." — 2 KINGS 17:25

Fathers & Sons is how our Heavenly FATHER always intended our relationship with HIM to be. We all should walk in the Sonship that HE longs for us to participate in & I am more than ready to be part of the family & not only walk with the LORD in my personal relationship with JESUS but to run with the pack of fathers & sons!

"Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of GOD & co-heirs with CHRIST, if indeed we share in HIS sufferings in order that we may also share in HIS glory." — ROMANS 8:17

So what is the conclusion of "My PainFULL Journey?"

"Endure hardship as discipline; GOD is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?" ― HEBREWS 12:7

In spite of pain that each day is even more overwhelming than the day before, my painFULL journey has been a blessing to learn & understand that my hardship & suffering is discipline. Just as I support the Arsenal Gunners in London, England; Atlético Nacional in Medellín, Colombia; Liga Deportiva Alajuelense in Alajuela, Costa Rica; Miami Heat; St. Louis Blues; St. Louis Cardinals; & of course the []_[] which is the University of Miami Hurricanes for the discipline they live out on a daily basis to be the best at what they do, I must continue to endure this hardship & suffering as discipline because I entered into a relationship with my spiritual father as his spiritual son as I am still a baby learning & observing those who are part of the House of GOD & the devotion it takes to grow in maturity!

I have faith & hope that this season of discipline & suffering will bring me to a maturity that leaves the orphan spirit behind & will be a testimony of walking in the inheritance that is available to all of us as sons of GOD even though we will have to go on without those who have never been & will never be sons!

"Anyone who runs ahead & does not continue in the teaching of CHRIST does not have GOD; whoever continues in the teaching has both the FATHER & the SON." — 2 JOHN 1:9

"Cualquiera que pretenda avanzar más allá de lo que CRISTO enseñó, no tiene a DIOS; pero el que permanece en esa enseñanza, tiene al PADRE y también al HIJO." — 2 JUAN 1:9
"If we are to walk in the richness of our inheritance, we have to live, think, & believe as sons." — John Kingsley Alley

I was adopted when I was one year old but that's not the orphan spirit I desire to put to death as I long to know the FATHER so intimately that I may not only say what JESUS said about a son knowing his father, but that it would become my way of life & change "My PainFULL Journey!" into a new journey lived in the FULLness of the son of the KING building relationships with all of those within our family!

"I tell you, the SON can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his FATHER doing, because whatever the FATHER does the SON also does. For the FATHER loves the SON & shows him all he does. Yes, & he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed." — JOHN 5:19-20

All of what I what I have written & shared is logical but does not seem to be so easy to do because I have been trying since I was 11 years old to be who JESUS wanted me to be, how do I actually begin to live differently & live as a mature son because it's much easier to write about it than it is to live it?

"The mature son is capable of accurately & consistently discerning the Father's intent, & of executing that intent precisely." — Sam Soleyn

I want "My PainFULL Journey!" to become "My Journey in Helping to Reestablish FULLY the House of GOD!

What does it take for me to be part of that Household of God & Restoration of Rule that our sweet Heavenly FATHER desires?

How am I to understand & grow into maturity & who must I acknowledge first?

"My principle acknowledgement ... is to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who, under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ, has pulled back the curtain and revealed mysteries that have been veiled in the folds of Scripture, waiting for a time and a generation for whom they were meant to be given as bread from heaven for this journey." — Sam Soleyn

I am truly blessed to know Sam Soleyn & he has written a book with his son Nicholas Soleyn entitled "My Father! My Father!" & that link I just shared will allow you to download an e-book or they will mail you a paperback copy of the book for free!

Enjoy this brief 90 second video as Sam will express succinctly what "My Father, My Father!" is all about!

What's on the back cover of "My Father! My Father!" is much better than what I could write as a final conclusion, so let's be blessed by Sam & Nicholas!

"In the Kingdom of God, each person's destiny is the playing out of that person's unique identity as a son of God, regardless of gender, race, or background. To embrace one's identity as a son, one must change his prevailing culture.

In this season, God is building His House in the earth, with the relationship of fathers and sons as its foundation. Effecting cultural changes requires a trans-generational effort, in which a change in the culture is but one of the first steps of a long journey to reestablish, fully the House of God. This journey is meant to reposition man in the relationship with God as Father, as God intended from the beginning. The purpose of repositioning humankind as sons and heirs to God is to establish the family of God on the earth and to display the love of God, through his sons, to all creation. Whereas the destiny of each son of God is vitally important, the entire purpose of God can only, ultimately, be accomplished through the corporate formthe House of God." — Sam Soleyn & Nicholas Soleyn

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