Be contented. Be cheerful. Do not have a murmuring spirit. But give thanks for all the blessings in your life so that God can bless you more. Have a humble spirit, so that God can exalt you. Do not seek earthly things that will perish but seek the true treasures that will last and give fulfillment
and the Lord will answer you in your times of need. Seek the Lord on your knees and pray. Worship Him in truth and in spirit.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Journey Through Vision Loss


My Journey Through Vision Loss
Taylor McDonald
12-31-2014
At times it feels like my heart is being pulled into this dark whole. Like all I can or want to do is cry out to God in fear, anger, sadness, questioning why or better yet how will I be ok? I have faced many things in life that have left me terrified, but yet every experience has a different impact, feeling, memory, Vision loss is definitely one of those experiences. Even now writing this, tears fill up in my eyes. My heart says everything will be ok and that God has a plan but as I see changes in my vision I can’t help but be consumed with terror. My flesh says I can’t do this or I wont be ok. Its so frustrating seeing changes and not being able to stop it or control it.
This semester when I realize that I couldn’t recognize people anyone unless I was very familiar with them and could recognize their voices I got scared. I didn’t want to go anywhere by myself and when I did and someone said hello to me I just said hello back wondering who that person was.. People try to be so friendly yet I feel like I can’t be friendly like they are because half the time I don’t know who they are. I find myself often times saying “hey who are you? Sorry I can’t see you.”
            So much of me wants to be strong and as I convince everyone else around me that my vision loss is ok I hope that I will believe it and become ok with it as well. But, the truth is; no matter how much I talk about it and say that God has this under control, I wont be any more ok with it then I was the last time I said it. Vision loss is a big deal and a huge change that needs accepting and adjusting to. To become ok with the circumstance I must look at the situation and embrace it, working through it. I think deep down, that is what I fear. I fear excepting that this is reality.. I fear that I will have to watch my vision loss progress and change slowly and will have to adjust 10,000 times over again. I fear that in the end I wont be ok. This is something I thought I would never have to deal with or experience, yet here I am in the midst of the storm unable to “see” where this journey is taking me.
            As I was talking to a friend the other day I realized that there are little bits of blessings squeezed between the changes of my vision. As I notice my vision change I notice that God calls me closer to Himself. As my vision decreases my dependence on him increases. Without God it is impossible for me to be ok, but I trust that there is a plan for my life in this journey through vision loss. Without pain, fear, worry, I would have no reason to depend on the Lord for strength and guidance. With these feelings though, comes the process of grieving. I now know it is ok to cry over what I am loosing in my vision but remembering that in the big picture I am gaining so much more. A stronger dependence and reliance on the Lord who sustains me when I am weak and gives me the strength when I feel I can’t take another step.
            I still don’t know how I am going to be ok with the changes that are occurring and I don’t know how much vision I will loose or how long it’ll take for me to loose it, but as I cling to the Lord in desperation I know and trust He will help, protect, sustain, and guide me. Right now that is all I have and that is enough for me. 

Peace to you all,

Taylor


"To believe actively that our Heavenly Father constantly spreads around us providential circumstances that work for our present good and our everlasting well-being brings to the soul veritable benediction. Most of us go through life praying a little, planning a little, jockeying for position, hoping but never being quite certain of anything and always secretly afraid that we will miss the way. This is a tragic waste of truth and never gives rest to the heart. There is a better way. It is to repudiate our own wisdom and take instead the infinite wisdom of God. Our insistence upon seeing ahead is natural enough, but is a real hindrance to our spiritual progress. God has charged Himself with full responsibility for our eternal happiness and stands ready to take over the management of our lives the moment we turn in faith to Him."

A W Tozer

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Testimony

Ok everyone, here is the testimony I promised to post! Its kind of long but it is what the Lord wanted me to share! My prayer is that wile i am away this next year, God will use this blog to help change someones life! I don't know who you are, but if you're reading this I hope that it opens your eyes to how Great our God is and how much He truly loves you!! Enjoy!


Something I have been working on the last 2 months is believing Gods best for me in His word. Believing that He has a plan in place for my life and believing what He says about me is true. Seeing myself as “beautifully and wonderfully made” or “perfect in his imagine just the way He made me to be.” In our society looks are taking over everything, from Tv to billboards to magazines. Our perception of what is healthy or beautiful is distorted!
For the last 5 years I have been battling an eating disorder on and off. It wasn’t until this last year that I felt I couldn’t take it anymore but I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid that the control I thought I had would be taken away. In reality I had no control anyways. I was loosing weight and loved getting complements all the time, it made me feel good about myself, even though I still hated myself for what I was doing! Things started going downhill fast and then 2 months ago happened.

A word I want you to remember today is Repentance! Its durable and brings about Gods kingdom in your midst, it’s the key to the abundant life full of grace that God desires for us.
Repentance means to change ones mind because of the consequences of sin. Or a change of mind consequent to the after knowledge indicating regret for the course perused and resulting in a wiser view of the past and the future. To regret because of the consequences of ones act or acts to comprehend. We repent not because we are in trouble but because we have a wiser view of the past and future. We comprehend our actions; we choose to change our minds to agree with Gods word and to believe Gods word and what He says.
            In my case I have recently repented and am choosing to place myself where God is and trying and see what He sees in me rather then what I see in the mirror or what the world sees in me. I am choosing to change my mind, to agree with Gods word and to believe what His word says. This hasn’t been easy! Its taken a lot of wrong turns to get to this point but I am happy to say that I am thankful for a God who loves me unconditionally and always takes me back no matter what!

            2 ½ years ago I stood up here and told my testimony.. The story of my life and how God was molding me into the beautiful creation that He made me to be. Through the good times and bad, but to be quite honest I thought this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Admitting that I was not perfect and had a lot of things to work though! So I thought.. Little did I know I was about to encounter trials that would make standing up here seem like nothing. Well the mane reason why I wanted to talk to you today is because I want you to know how great our God is! I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and everything I’ve faced in my life is going to be used for the glory of God! All things working together for good not bad!

            I don’t know what needs to be said today but I am trusting that whatever comes out of my mouth is from the Lord and needs to be spoken to you. I don’t know what you are struggling with or your life circumstances but I do know that we serve a mighty God! A God who is forever understanding, forgiving, comforter, a shelter from the storm, a resting place and a foundation beneath our feat!

            Today I turned 22 and honestly a couple of months ago I didn’t even know if I would make it to this day.. I’ve never felt so low in my life… I would wear a smile on my face but those who really new me could see it in my eyes.. They could see that I wasn’t alright, that I didn’t want to be alive anymore. Hiding behind a smile only did so much.. And the little that it did do wasn’t anything good! I lied to my family at home so they wouldn’t worry about me but then it got to the point that I was scared for my life.. I was confused. I wanted to be alive but I didn’t. Deep down I was broken and trying to cling with all I had to the hope I have in the Lord. The hope that He would never give me more then I could handle., but on the surface of it all I didn’t think I would last another night.. Every day I would say “Taylor you just have to make it through today.. just make it past this 1 minute, you can do this!!” I new I didn’t have the courage to actually take my own life but I didn’t want to test the waters! I was hardly eating anything and couldn’t sleep, I was restless and didn’t know what to do! Being on the ledge is not a fun place to be, technically speaking. But The Lord is bringing freedom, healing, comfort and wisdom through all of this!

            Around the middle of October I decided I would check myself into a hospital so that I would have a sense of security knowing that I would be safe there! This was one of the newly discovered hard things I never thought I would have to do; yet God was with me through it all! He placed amazing people in my life that would be willing to sit there, wait, listen, and support me! No matter how hard it was for me or them.. At first I felt completely ashamed that I was going to a hospital for suicidal thoughts and an eating disorder but I knew I had to protect myself and if that is what it took then I was going to do it! One thing I have learned is that this is not something to be ashamed of! In the moment wile I was going through it, yes I felt ashamed but now as I look back I now know that God intended for me to go there! It gave me a great opportunity to get to know others who were struggling with similar situations and it opened the door for me to share with them my faith in the Lord. I prayed over a young girl who is schizophrenic and then the next day lead a bible study which resulted in a bible study the next 2 nights as well.. Yes I was struggling.. yes I was in a hospital because of it.. But was God still able to use me?? YES! It is because of our obedience in Christ that allows Him to use us in every single circumstance we face in our daily lives. DO NOT count yourself at loss because you feel lost, broken, alone, afraid, it is when we are weak that He is STRONG! HE IS STRONG! Not us! But it is Christ in us that pulls us through the hard times! We cannot get through this life without Christ and I promise you that if it wasn’t for Him I would not be alive right now! It is because of my hope in Him that I can stand up here today and tell you how great he truly is!
           
            When I got out of the hospital I was at school only for 3 full days until my parents made the decision to have me come home! Here is another very difficult thing I thought I would never have to encounter. My goal was to survive to the end of the semester! Just 6 weeks more, and here I was being told that I was flying home the next day, without a choice in the matter. I felt abandoned, alone, afraid, lost, broken, helpless, as if everything I have worked for was now gone.. But what I didn’t realize was how bad off I really was.. At this point I could hardly walk on my own and was passing out. I could hardly go an hour without having a panic attack; I would have never made it to the end of the semester!  I realize that now, not then!

            Now I want you to see where I am headed with this! God HAS a plan for your life!! It may not line up with your plan but just because it doesn’t match doesn’t mean it wont work. Chances are if you just let Him lead, you will be much better off! My plan was to last till the end of the semester; Gods plan was for me to come home! Because I obeyed and came home I had more free time to spend with the Lord. Because I came home I was able to rest and focus on healing spiritually, mentally and physically and began to enjoy the things I loved again such as playing the piano!

            This next year will mark a victory in my life! I am taking on a challenge that I thought I would never have to take on, but you know what? God is faithful and good and He has a plan that is far greater then any plan I could ever put together! I’ve trusted and waited on Him and His timing and because I have I will be spending the Next year living on a farm in NH. I will be going to a facility called His Mansion! A Christ centered residential treatment center that will help me find freedom in Christ from all the issues I’ve experienced or have had to deal with in that last couple of years. God has truly opened up the doors for me to go to this place and I honestly had my doubts.. I thought I wasn’t good enough to go.. I thought that maybe I wasn’t sick.. that it was all in my head.. In a sense that is correct. It is all in my head but wile I’m away Ill learn how to let the Lord lead and how to surrender my pain, fears, anger and whatever other emotion satin can use to trap me and Ill find freedom in the Lord! This place is free to anyone 18-35 years of age and is there to help young men and women find healing through the Lord in a community like environment. 

            It is because of the Grace of God that I am saved and it is because of my faith in the Lord that allows me to stand up here today! A friend of mine once told me “Taylor If satin didn’t see you as a threat then why would he be trying so hard to get rid of you?” I have no idea what Gods plan is for my life but I surrender it all to Him! Because I’ve done this I can sleep peacefully at night now.. Not dreading the fact that I have to wake up in the morning, but celebrating the new day that I have been blessed to have so that maybe I can be used to change someone’s life. Yes I have been through a lot in my life but I wouldn’t change a thing about it, because God HAS a plan and as long as you obey and follow Him, trusting that He knows what He is doing, then everything will work out great! Far greater then anything you could possibly imagine!

“I want to be the kind of person that when my feat hit the floor each morning, satin yells “OH NO!!! SHE’S AWAKE!!!”

As I go through this next year I am going to build up into this kind of person! Yes I know I will fall along the way but I am not perfect. None of us are! That is something I’ve been trying really hard to comprehend, that I am not perfect and I do mess up. Wile I am away I will not have Internet or my cell phone.. But I can receive mail! I have with me cards that have the address on it so if anyone would care to write me wile I am away please feel free to pick one up! Your support and encouragement is greatly needed and appreciated! I can’t get through this alone but we can get through it together as a body of Christ! With that being said I would like to end with this statement and verse.
Your circumstances may not be what you envisioned, but they are no obstacle for God. Paul learned that God was fully capable to reveal Himself, not only in the expected places, but in that which was unexpected as well. Paul wrote, But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place (2 Cor 2:14). As you exercise your faith, as you rest, trusting in Him, do what Christ would do in your circumstances. Unbelief will flee as you become Christlike in the crisis. God will turn your setback into a setup that releases destiny.
Thank you!

With Lots of Love
Me

P.s- As I mentioned in my last post, NO MORE SECRETS! God has given me a testimony to share and as far as I am concerned, I want it to be used for the Glory of God! I am done hiding and living in fear or shame! I am going to find freedom from my pain! I PROMISE, because God is faithful and knows the desires of my heart! 1 year from now ill be back here with LOTS of glorious stories to share of my adventures with the Lord! 

Until Next Time! 
Peace! =)

Friday, January 13, 2012

3 Days In Counting!

Hello my lovely readers!

So my official last week at home is coming to an end.. I cant believe how fast time has been flying these last couple weeks.. Its kind of crazy to think that I've been home since October 29th and It doesn't feel like its been that long, I mean its Almost been 3 months! Pretty crazy if you ask me!

Well God is still GOOD and keeping me pretty calm about leaving to NH in a few days. I was starting to freak out a little bit the other night but then I remembered what God has been telling me.. "Taylor I have a plan for you! You are not going alone, I am going with you." Its really comforting to know that I am not going alone and that God does have a plan and if you just trust Him He will provide when the time is right!

Today I got to talk to a girl named Taylor who went to His Mansion last year and graduated in the Spring. It was so comforting to here first hand testimony about this place and how much she loved it there! God is so great and He has completely transformed her life! I can't wait to be free from my pain and be better able to allow God to transform me! Taylor had so many encouraging words to share and advice to give and even put it out there, that I could call here any time if i have any more questions on what to expect or what to bring and such. It was such a blessing to have the opportunity to speak with her! I know this will be a very hard year but the reward in the end is going to be so worth it!

3 days left and still so much to do! Its coming so fast and to think back in October I was ready to leave and go somewhere then! I never thought I would be able to make it till January, and here I am sitting in amazement on how fast time as flown! Funny how life happens to us like that!

Plans for the weekend
Saturday
- skype date with a friend in the morning
- lunch date with another friend
- packing and organizing some more
- um.. i guess thats it. lol

Sunday
-Church in the am (giving my testimony)
-Celebrating my 22 birthday with my mom sisters and brother
-Dinner with the twin, my step mom and dad

Monday
-Making sure everything I need is packed and organized
-taking care of some last minute stuff
-Spending as much time as I can with my family...

Tuesday
-leaving on a plane with my daddy
-Arrive in NH that night

Wednesday
-Explore as much as I can NH
-Go to His Mansion at 3...
-Say goodbye to my daddy.... :(

I know it'll be hard at first but I look forward to the challenge God is placing before me! I love me a challenge!!

Please be in prayer for me over the next year! I am not allowed to have my computer but you never know if there will be an opportunity some time for me to get on and blog! I guess you just have to wait and check back every now and then to see if I've updated!

With LOTS of love,
Taylor

P.s Ill post my testimony on here some time Sunday hopefully! If not then, for sure before I leave!

I never thoughts I would ever be able to post my testimony on here, but you know what? I am no longer afraid! I trust God completely and I truly want to change and be healed! I want my story to be used to change lives! If that means no more secrets, that by golly NO MORE SECRETS!!! I am DONE living a lie! Its about times I speak the truth and let God use me! With that being said, keep your eyes out for my next blog either Sunday or Monday!

Peace!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Having Faith Is What It Takes

Hey Lovely readers! Sorry its been a wile since i wrote last.. A lot of things have been going on in my life.. Some good, some bad but overall I have a sense of peace. The Lord is so good to me and I am so blessed and honored that He still cares so much and still wants to help me... I have taken so many wrong turns in my life that I feel so unworthy of this kind of love... I know I don't deserve it in the least bit but, He still cares.. 

About a month ago my parents made the decision for me to come home from college.. I wasn't doing a very good job of taking care of myself.. I guess i was hoping that the more I helped others and payed attention to them and there needs, that maybe my issues would just go away.. I LOVE helping people and being there for them.. Well what I thought would work, didn't.. I came home feeling so broken, so alone, helpless, trapped, abandoned, betrayed... But the one word I now realize i didn't feel, was "Hopeful.." I felt like I had no hope.. Like there was no point in living any longer.. I felt as if I had lost everything I've worked so hard to get.. My friends.. the clubs/organizations I was involved in at school, my health, my life, and in a little way, God.. I couldn't understand why this was happening to me.. why couldn't I just take care of myself in the first place? My family was frustrated yet scared all at the same time because they have never seen me as low as i had been.. No one new how to act or what to say to me, which was very difficult.. But the Lord is ALWAYS faithful!!! I had no idea what I was going to do next, so I prayed... I prayed and prayed and prayed.. Asking the Lord to guide me unto the way I should go.. doors began to open before me and that was when I realized that there is always room for Hope.. The Lord did not give us a heart of fear but a heart of courage! God was telling me "Taylor I know you are scared.. But trust in me and everything will be ok!! I PROMISE!!" So I began to trust that He new what He was doing.. Even when I had no clue what to do or what to expect, God had a plan so why should I be afraid?? 
Like I said Doors began to open unto me and resources and connections began flowing in like a blanket of monsoon rain. With the God given free time I now had (since I wasn't at school) I began the search for a treatment center to go to. A place that was Christ centered, a place of healing and restoration, a place that God wanted ME to go to, and of course a place that wasn't extremely expensive.. (which is hard to find..) So I continued to trust the Lord even though i had fear that it wasn't going to work out.. Fear that I wasn't worth the time or effort, fear that I didn't deserve healing.. Now I don't know why I felt this way.. Maybe that was just Satan in my head.. 
I found 2 places- Christian based and FREE
Mercy Ministries (MM)
http://www.mercyministries.org/homepage
His Mansion Ministries (HM)  
http://www.hismansion.com/
Patiently waiting.. I filled out my applications and sent them in.. (let me tell you... waiting for the unexpected is one of the HARDEST things to do.. In my opinion anyways!) So I waited and waited and then got a phone interview for MM, then had to wait another week for the actual interview.. I honestly think that there is always room for improvement when it comes to patience.. We could all use some help in that area.. haha I know God is always testing mine!

Well then a week later... I got a call from HM! They wanted to set up a phone interview!! The interview went great and I just had an overwhelming peace that this was the place I needed to go!! A friend of mine whose nephew went to this facility had so many good things to say about it.. Then her sister (who has a prayer ministry in Dallas tx) told me that she would sponsor me to go there if I got in! Then on top of all of this her sister knows a girl whose name is also Taylor. Well ironically Taylor just got out of HM in the Spring of last year! She called HM for me and gave them a heads up that they would be receiving my application soon and told them a little about me. How COOL is that???  It was as if God was telling me.. I want you HERE!! I am going to make the way before you so that you will not have to worry about a thing.. 1 month later I got excepted into HM.. actually just found out last Monday, November 28 2011!!! It was the most reassuring feeling I've had this whole time of waiting.. I felt so hopeful that my patience and faith in the Lord payed off!! Now there also was the doubting feeling in my head.. like "oh my gosh.. do i deserve this?? Do I really need to go to a treatment center??" But as those thoughts pop in and out of my head I remind myself that the Lord is taking care of me and if I wasn't supposed to go to HM then I would have never got excepted in the first place.. The Father is in control and I trust Him with ALL of my heart!! What else do I have to do.. Except waist my time worrying about something that is already being taken care of for me! 

Every day I remind myself that the Lord HAS a plan and if He opens a door I WILL go through it! Yes it may be hard and terrifying at times but if the Lord is with you no one can harm you! WE as Christians are untouchable!! Often times I forget that... Satan gets it in my head that I've already lost so why keep on fighting or are you really worth it? But the TRUTH is; Jesus already paid the price for our sins! Victory has already been won! I am the child of the King and untouchable because the same power that raised Christ from the dead is the SAME power that lives inside of me and every other Believer!! What CAN'T we do if we have that same power?? 

I know i've talked a lot but I feel like this has to be said! God knows we are NOT perfect!! But He doesn't want us to live broken lives either.. He is the healer, the bringer of good things! Some times we ask for prayers to be answered and things don't work out the way you wanted them to.. Remember that God KNOWS what He is doing!! He can see the big picture!! We just see a tiny conner... Trust and know that the Lord is Good! He is the ONLY thing that can give you joy in life even in the worst part of the storm.. You will always have that Joy in your heart!! Happiness comes and goes but Joy lasts forever!! 

If I didn't have my faith or hope in the Lord I wouldn't be alive right now.. I would have given up a long time ago.. I know that God has a HUGE plan in store for my life and apart of that plan involves me going to His Mansion for a year... Seeking healing, guidance, comfort, strength, and knowledge on who He is, who I am in Him, and how He sees me! One year from NOW I will be free from all of my pain! Yes I know that the road is going to be rough ahead but I know that God is always going to be with me and will help me through the many storms I am going to encounter. 

Im terrified about going to a place, a place I've never been and going all alone, knowing no one there... But although the fear is boiling up I remember that God has a plan! This is where He wants me to go! Its just another adventure I get the privilege to go on with my Father in Heaven and another test of my faith!

Know that the Lord is always faithful!! He loves you SO very much and everything we go through will build you up and make you a stronger believe in Him! If life was perfect we would have no reason to to have faith or to trust in the Lord when times were tough! It is because of the difficult times in our lives that make us who we are today! The amazing person God made you to be! Perfect in HIS IMAGE!! (I am working on this last part!) 

Things happen for a reason right?? 
Because I came home I have been blessed in many different ways!
-Time of relaxation 
-More time to spend with the Father
-Communication with my family is getting a "little" better (definitely hard at time.. lots of miscommunication as well)
-Time to research and meditate on where God was calling me to go
-Time with my church family and being able to receive there encouragement and support as well
-Time to practice piano again!!! Life at school left me with no time to play anymore and that was really hard.. 
-Having the opportunity to learn new piano music and play in my friends piano recital
-Being able to see my sister as she goes through the end of her pregnancy and being able to meet my nephew! (that is when he is born...any day now!)
-Having the opportunity to make a baby quilt for my new nephew 
-Learn new recipes
-Got to have thanksgiving with my family
-Don't have to stress about finals and can focus on regaining strength and healing for now!

All of these things would have never happened if my parents never made the decision for me to come home. (2 months shy of the end of the semester..) I am so blessed to have a family that cares so much about me.. I know it has been hard for them to see me hurt but its because of that pain that I am able to write this to you write now.. Times get hard and although I was VERY angry (at first) with the fact that I couldn't finish the semester, I am now blessed beyond belief that things have turned out the way they have and I now trust God completely, more then ever before!!

Blessings come in many different shapes and sizes, so even if God sends you a blessing and its not in the form you wanted it in.. Except it and remember that God HAS a plan! It may not line up with your plan (most of the time it doesn't) But NEVER stop believing! Never for one second let Satan convince you that YOU are not worth anything.. Because you are worth EVERYTHING!! 

I pray that in some way what I have shared with you has given you a sense of hope, a sense that you are NOT alone! 

Hope Sustains,
~Taylor~