My Road Home

My road home led to security, safety, and comfort – a place of acceptance and of unconditional love.

In the cold winters of Michigan, the road led to  warmth. Daddy stoked up the huge, round, iron furnace in the basement, and gravity drew the heat up the square-yard grated register in the middle of the living room, radiating the heat throughout the house.  When the thermostat, bracketed on the window trim outside the “picture window,” reached sub-zero temps, we were cozy inside. The long, cold drives from town, or from Grandpa and Grandma’s house were over once we saw the hill ahead and reached the end of our road home, where we found comfort in our big old yellow house.

Because I grew up in the country, of course I rode the school bus. And coming from either direction, the north or the south, the road home took me to a peaceful place , where Tippy, our collie mix, greeted me in the yard, and a place where I skipped up the porch steps into a house fragranced with freshly-baked breads and cookies or of a hot chicken pot pie, baking in the oven. My road home was the avenue to the promise of rest and refreshment.

I grew up, moved away, then settled once again at the top of that hill – this time, in a home, built by my husband and me – next door to the yellow house. In the summer, the road leads me to my place of serenity, amidst the greens of nature, the voices of birds, and the distant sounds of the bleating of sheep and the farmers working their fields. As it did throughout my childhood, my road home continues to bring anticipation of  security, safety, and comfort – a the expectation of a place of  acceptance and unconditional love.

Our driveway – at the top of the hill – in the autumn season.

But perhaps the most beautiful time to travel my road home is in the autumn, when palettes of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows, blend with greens to create landscapes, ever-changing from day-to-day, sometimes from hour to hour.

When I reach that place in the road where I look ahead and see the hill, knowing that I’m nearing home, I’m reminded that the Lord  led me through another summer and another beautiful autumn. I’m reminded that He will lead me through the long, cold winter ahead. And I’m reminded that I can trust Him through it all because the place where He leads me is a place of security, safety, and comfort – a place of acceptance and of unconditional love.

My friend, perhaps you didn’t grow up with that place of security at the end of your road home. Perhaps you don’t have that place of acceptance and unconditional love now – at this time of your life. The place of which I wrote is not only a physical place but it is a place of rest and assurance that God offers to each of us. It is a place of security, safety, comfort – a place of  acceptance and of unconditional love we find when we belong to God the Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ suffered in your place on Calvary’s cross, so that you can have eternal life with Him, as well as abundant life here on Earth. Just reach out to Him through prayer, believing on Christ alone. Click here to learn more!

The Father loves you and wants to give you a place of security, safety, comfort – a place of acceptance and unconditional love!

Back in Time.

Everyone needs a break – a change – even a few hours away from the typical stressors of life. Because of COVID, many events were cancelled during the spring,  summer, and still in the fall of 2020. Our hearts drew us to Woodward, but it was not to be. We look back with fondness to the last time we drove that Avenue just a few hours from home.  It is a great memory, which took us much further away than we had ever dreamed. Let me tell you about it:

For quite some time, Ron had wanted to go to Detroit to the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise.  It is the world’s largest one-day automotive event, drawing 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year from around the globe. They all caravan to Metro Detroit, driving or hauling their vintage and muscle cars to participate in what has become, for many, an annual rite of summer.

That summer, it became a new “annual rite” for us!

 Many of you remember cruising! It was an elemental part of our “coming of age.” It’s a huge part of Ron’s and my history as a couple because we met while cruising the Alamo, a local hangout in our town of Coldwater, Michigan. The first car we cruised in was a friend’s red ’69 GTO, and a few days later, Ron first took me out in his green ’69 GTO.

Young people our age were experiencing the same thing at the same time a few hours away at Woodward Avenue in Metro Detroit. At these locales and others, roller-skating waitresses, sporting white bobby socks, delivered and served hamburgers and milkshakes to duck-tailed greasers in leather and their beauty queens sporting their boyfriend’s class rings and varsity letter jackets.

The real attractions, though, were the cars. Hot rods and muscle cars. Convertibles and hard tops. Oversized tires and custom-painted flames. On Saturday evenings, hot street machines cruised the Alamo in Coldwater,  while others cruised Woodward Avenue, all emanating rock and roll from their AM radios, coupled with the rumble of a big block V8. Little did we know that one day we would join thousands from all across the country and cruise together. That happened one Saturday at Woodward.

But let’s go back to that first date – the one in the ’69 GTO.

The first date led to more. Marriage soon followed, and along came the first baby. Babies and car seats simply don’t complement a muscle car with Ram Air 4, and a 400 cubic inch engine. One or the other had to go, and it certainly wasn’t going to be the first-born son!

So the days of the favored GTO were long lost, until . . . the kids were grown, the debts were paid, and the Auburn Auction offered a red ’69 GTO!

We loved the car. Ron took it to Stanton Dragway and to Martin many times and raced it in the Pure Stock Muscle Car quarter mile, always improving his time by tweaking his engine. The days were good. We were simply a retired couple who owned a beautiful, fast muscle car – until Woodward.

Everything changed at Woodward.

The 6-lane highway became one big cruise lane.

We began by circling Pontiac and heading south toward Ferndale. We ate at the Hamburger joint along Woodward where black and white checkered flags covered the outdoor seating areas.

Then we pulled our car onto Woodward again, and

suddenly, we were back in time.

The street was lined with people. Everyone was there to see the cars, to breathe in the smell of racing fuel, to hear the motors revving and tires spinning. They sat in 90 degree heat, some under shade, others directly in the sun. Nothing discouraged their desire to experience the cars. They gave the “thumbs up” and they cheered. They held up signs.  Some  signs “judged” the car; some signs “judged” the spinout or the burning rubber. Ron was receiving perfect “10s” and I was laughing. Laughing like I hadn’t laughed in a very long time.

The heat was reminiscent of the 60’s. Racing fuel was the sweet aroma to thousands of car lovers.  Big block engines provided music to our ears.

And for hours, Ron and I were young lovers again, captured in a nearly-forgotten block of time. The past held very few regrets or troubles. The future was before us and was filled with promise.

There was no sadness when later in the day, we left Woodward, and pulled onto 13 Mile. There were no regrets of going back to the present time. The windows were still rolled down, as the sun lowered in the sky. A refreshing presence filled the interior of the GTO. Beside me, sat a 21-year-old, muscled, tanned man behind the wheel. I was a beautiful 19-year-old woman once again.

The future was before us and it was filled with promise!

Have you read Kathi’s new book, When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers?

Click here to order.

Hope for the future; Joy for the present

My soul sank deeper each day.  Into a place I recognized but didn’t want to be. I tried to find a different place, a place of happiness, a place I hadn’t seen in over six years. But I couldn’t find it.

There is a place of joy. I know that place. It is pleasant place and one which sustains.  My soul, protected by my comforter, the Holy Spirit, exists in that place of joy. It is His promise. I don’t have to do anything to attain it. It is mine. But joy is quite different than happiness. I know.

The days passed. The weeks passed. The years passed. Until the point I could barely remember that place of happiness, that place I yearn for.

And recently, for a short time, I began to lose hope – the hope of healing for my grandson, the hope of peace for my family, and the hope of happiness once again.

One morning last week, I looked at my Bible, open from the night before, where I had been studying Psalm 73, reviewing and remembering God’s goodness in the midst of the oppression in the world and His faithfulness in holding my right hand and guiding me.

But that morning my eyes were drawn across the page to notes and highlighting made throughout the years, of chapter 71. My eyes fell upon the words I had written:

I will always have hope!

Psalm 71:14

 

And then He reminded me, as He whispered to me through His word,

“I am your hope, Kathi, and I have been since your youth. Even when you are old, I will not forsake you. I want you to reaffirm me to your children and to your grandchildren. Though you have troubles, I will restore you and will lift you up. I will restore your honor and will comfort you. Always have hope, Kathi, always have hope.” Psalm 71

And once again, I was strengthened by His Word. Not by my doings or by happenstance, but by His Word. I remember His faithfulness in the past, and my hope is renewed for the future. My joy is in the Lord and His faithfulness. My hope is in Him – the hope of healing, of peace, and of happiness.

The whispers are not for me alone; the whispers found in His Word are for you, my friend. You’ll find them in His Word.

Let the message of this song speak to you today.

 

Click here to order Kathi’s book, When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers.

Where should I go now?

I’m asking that question of myself! Where should I go now?

Do you ever feel that way? Wondering whether or not you should go a certain direction, take a specific path, or pursue a different avenue?

I’m in that place right now – regarding my writing.

Where should I go now? I ask God. I know He will answer. Just not sure when or how.

Meanwhile, . . .

I’ve decided to continue,  one step at a time, down a path, onto an avenue.

I know He will lead me as I go.

What about you? Don’t be dormant. Move forward. Don’t stand still.

You’re not too old, too busy, too sick, too discouraged, or too weary. You’ll find Him directly ahead of you in that direction, that path, and that avenue. “Come to me,” He says!

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

From Matthew 11

He’s leading. You’re following.

Seeking. No, Needing, Solitude

Are you trying to spend more time alone with God? I am. As I’ve shared before, I don’t find it easy to do so. My excuse is probably a lifetime of multitasking. Reading and watching TV at the same time. Using my Bluetooth to talk on the phone while doing dishes or completing household tasks. Writing while watching the children play. Always something – rather two or three somethings going on. Not sure how or why it came about – how I got this way. I observe others quietly reading for hours at a time, napping on the back porch in the summertime, leisurely humming while fixing dinner. I covet that contentedness.

So today, I’ve made the effort to be alone with my Father, to read His Word, and to listen as He speaks to me. Today’s lessons – His whispers to me – were threefold:

a bit about family love,

a lot about compassion,

and a reminder about the importance of occasional solitude.

Here’s what His Holy Spirit taught me today:

I call him John the Baptist. I’m sure Jesus just called him John – His cousin, John. A cousin like none other, I assume, for while both babies were yet in their mother’s wombs, cousin John leaped noticeably when he heard the voice of Mary, his mother’s cousin, whom John’s mother Elizabeth referred to as “the mother of my Lord.” Mary responded to this honor by singing and glorifying the Lord God. Both baby boys heard their mothers’ voices magnifying God. Both baby boys were sent from God for specific purposes. John’s father was Zechariah. But Jesus’ father was Almighty God. A beautiful familial bond was set. The baby boys were born just months apart.

John the Baptist “prepared the way for the Lord,” baptizing people in the name of the Lord, whose “sandals I am not worthy to untie,” John said. Unlike those people John called to baptism, Jesus went to John for baptism.

Shortly after Jesus was baptized, John was imprisoned for his message. Scholars believe it was about 15 months later that John was then beheaded. When the Lord Jesus heard this news, He was undoubtedly grief-stricken: “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.”

Have you ever done this? In grief or in sorrow or in exhaustion, you’ve withdrawn to a place of solitude. Jesus did. But the Bible tells us that when he had arrived at the place of solitude, he discovered that He wasn’t really alone at all. A large crowd of people had followed him, along the shore. They were desperate for Him. I understand. Do you? I’ve been desperate for Him in the past. And I am desperate for Him now, as I write. a desperation I’ve had for years now. I do understand. And so does Jesus. I know this because of His response to the people who interrupted His desired solitude.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus saw this large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Then he fed them by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish. That’s my Jesus,!. That’s your Jesus, beloved! Compassionate. Loving. Healer. Bread of Life.

After He met the needs of the people, He again sought solitude, this time succeeding. He went up on a mountainside. To pray, the Bible says.

To pray. I let that “sink in” to my desperate, multitasking mind today.

I don’t know how long He was alone in prayer, but I assume it was through the evening and most of the night. We read that along toward morning, He went out, on the lake, walking on the water during a storm, to meet, comfort, and teach His disciples who were in a water-drenched boat, tossing to and fro, thinking they were going to die. That’s my Jesus! That’s your Jesus. Teacher. Comforter. Savior. The Great I Am! The Son of God!

And it didn’t end. His ministry didn’t end when He was crucified. He’s still compassionate. He still comforts me. He’s still loving and healing. My teacher. My Savior. The Great I Am! The Son of God. The Bread of Life. That’s my Jesus. And if He is your Savior, that’s your Jesus too.

He’s the one who becomes family.

He’s the one who is compassionate.

And He’s the one who teaches me that occasionally I need to get to a place of solitude ~ to pray.

Click here to learn more about trusting Jesus as your Savior.


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A Little Bit of Jesus

Pharoah, the ruler of Egypt, the enemy of the Israelites, detested the words of Moses and Aaron regarding God’s plan for the Israelites. He referred to their words as lies and told his overseers to “Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”[1] You might be familiar with the many plagues God put upon Pharoah and the Egyptians to force Pharoah to let the Israelites go – to leave Egypt. After plagues of blood, frogs, gnats, and flies, Pharoah agreed to let the Israelites go – but only a certain distance. “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far,” he said.[2]

Has the enemy, Satan, ever suggested similar ideas to you? He stirs you to find fault in your Christian leaders. He detests the Word of God they are preaching. Oh, he lets you worship – perhaps pray – a bit – but not too often. “You must not go very far,” he says.

He doesn’t mind if you go to church, as long as you don’t get “religious.”  “Don’t listen to those who speak God’s Word. They speak lies. You must not go very far,” he says.

It’s fine with him if you give a small offering to ministry, but he shows you many faults with giving a tithe or more. The church doesn’t use the money properly – or you certainly need the money for something more important this week. You can “give” next week instead. “You must not go very far,” he says.

He makes the Christian look foolish – you know – the one who speaks to others about being saved. The one who prays in public. The one who prays with the sick or the grieving. And he tells you that you would certainly appear foolish in front of others by revealing your Christian faith. “You must not go very far,” he says.

He causes you to be totally worn out on Sunday mornings. Your children aren’t obeying your directions to brush their teeth and get dressed. An argument is brewing with you and your husband. Going to church isn’t worth it. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, you tell yourself. “You must not go very far,” he says.

I’m familiar with these lies, as the enemy throws them at me quite often. But just as God willed Moses to lead his chosen people out of Egypt, He wills us to leave the burden of slavery to sin and follow Him, as Peter and the other disciples did when they recognized Jesus as Messiah, the one about whom Moses had written.[3] Once we belong to Him, He offers us abundant life.[4] The enemy doesn’t want abundant life for us, so we mustn’t listen to his lies any longer. He tricks us into thinking we’re just fine with a little bit of Jesus.

[1] Exodus 5:9

[2] Exodus 8:28, italics added

[3] John 1: 35-51

[4] John 10:10

Take off your sandals!

The nation of Israel had just crossed the Jordan River. And before they undertook this awesome journey, they had consecrated themselves, as Joshua had told them to do.

“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” (Joshua 3:4)

And the Lord did amazing things!

Next, the Israelites had another huge, unimaginable task before them – to bring down the city of Jericho – literally bring it down, with a SHOUT, making Jericho totally vulnerable to Israel’s own army – the army of the Lord. But just before this was to happen, Joshua saw a man in front of him – a man with a drawn sword in his hand. This man told Joshua that he was “commander of the army of the Lord.” Was he the Lord himself? Perhaps he was.  We can assume so, as Joshua certainly recognized the authority of this commander. He fell facedown and asked the commander a question:

“What message does my Lord have for his servant?”

“The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy, ‘ And Joshua did so. ‘”(Joshua 5:15)

We see obedience. I, too, must ask the Lord,

What message do you have for me, Lord – for me, your servant?

Do you want to stand on holy ground? I do. I want to obey my commander’s orders. I want to be ready for the huge, unimaginable task before me. In order to do that, I must ask the Lord what His message is for me. And I need to take off my sandals. They’re dirty; they carry the dust and grime of the path I’ve been on. I want to be rid of them. I want my feet to be clean so I can step on to God’s holy ground. I want to be cleansed.

“Search me, O God . . . See if there is any offensive way in me . . .” (Psalm 139:23-24) “Create in me a [clean and] pure heart, O God. . . Restore me” (Psalm 51:10, 12).

It is only then, after taking off my sandals, after cleansing, that I can be ready to follow the seemingly huge, unimaginable task the Lord has set before me.

It is only then, that it could be written,

“Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy. And Kathi did so.”

Do you want to stand on holy ground?

Then take off your sandals.

The God Who Whispers

Last night, as I knelt beside my bed and prayed – a habit I developed as a child – I felt like my prayers weren’t reaching God. But knowing Him as I do, I knew my thoughts were foolish. He is faithful, even when I am not.

The troubles and trials of life become overwhelming at times. My soul is thirsty for Him. My body is weak from work. My mind is boggled. Yes, He is faithful. But sometimes I can’t sense His presence and that faithfulness for which I yearn.

This morning, after a restless night, I awoke to light instead of darkness. The light brought refreshment to my weary soul. I was thankful for it, but . . .

I dropped to my knees again – this time in the light of day – and simply prayed something like, “You are faithful, even when I am not. And I need You, Father.”

No photo description available.Then I saw a posting I had put on my Facebook Writer’s page. It was from Psalm 63:8, and it read, “My soul followeth hard after Thee.” (It was the King James Version – beautiful Shakespearean language!)

My own posting caused me to wonder – Does my soul follow hard after the Lord? Is my soul “clinging” to Him? Am I yearning and seeking His Word? Am I pursuing the message of my own posting, intended to be a piece of hope to others?

And so I opened the Word to Psalm 63, and I read it first as my question to Him:

“Oh, God, am I earnestly seeking you? Is my soul thirsting for you? My  body longing for you in this dry, weary life, where nothing else quenches my thirst? . . . It is true that I have seen you in worship; I have witnessed your power in miracles – both in my life and in others’. . .”

And as I read the Word as my question, it soon became my praise!

And my soul clung to Him and to His Word. When this happens, He whispers. And I listen!

Let your soul cling to Him in this sometimes dry and weary life.

Let Him whisper to you, my friend, through His Word.

I respond by speaking and praying His Word back to Him:

From Psalm 63

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
My soul thirsts for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

Kathi

Increasing Weight.

It’s one thing. Or another. You know. For you, it’s a certain situation – a health issue, break in a relationship – whatever. For me, it’s a grandson’s health problems. Healing that’s needed. Restoration that’s promised but still unfilled. For all of us, it’s uncertainty in this unprecedented time of trouble.

Some days are harder than others. The anxiety builds. One situation compounds upon another. And another. The weight increases. It’s not new. It was written about long ago:

Anxiety weighs down the human heart . . .

~ Proverbs 12:25

And it certainly weighs down my heart.

But in the midst of this broken world, with the increasing weight of the burdens it brings, God tells us he will make the riches of His glory known to us – His “loved ones – the objects of his mercy .” (Romans 9:23-25)

And today God did three things to show me that I am His “loved one . . . the object of His mercy,” in order to lighten my heart.

First, He drew me to an excerpt of Max Lucado’s writing. I read,

Healing from anxiety requires healthy thinking. Your challenge is not your challenge. Your challenge is the way you think about your challenge. Your problem is not your problem; it is the way you look at it.

 I also read about Satan – messing with my mind – coming as a thief. You’d think this would have been foremost on my mind, as I had just spoken about it to a group on Sunday. I had encouraged them that although the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, Jesus comes to give us abundant life. Yet, I wasn’t feeling the abundant life – just three days after speaking about it. Instead, the enemy was telling me lies. Now I recognized what he was doing. Through my reading, God reminded me that I mustn’t believe the lies of the enemy. Our Lord overcomes.

Next, God showed me the but part – the second part of the Proverbs verse:

An anxious heart weighs a man down,

but a kind word cheers him up.

Proverbs 12:25

Today I was cheered up by two friends, through a small group text, before I even read this verse! I had asked for prayer. They had granted it. They had encouraged. They had comforted. They had cared. Two friends – like the two hands of Christ. Another evidence of God showing me I am His “loved one . . . the object of His mercy.”

Then God showed me mercy a third time today – through a song He presented – just for me.

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It is Spring here in Southern Michigan, and this year, we have an abundance of birds, particularly Orioles; Cardinals; Red-breasted Grosbeaks; Blue Jays; Mourning Doves; and Redheaded, Downy, Pileated, and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers. We rejoice with others as we share photos on Facebook, boasting the numbers of these beautiful creatures which grace our feeders. So, after filling the bird feeders with oranges and grape jelly, I sat on the porch in the quietness of my country setting. God graced me with a beautiful message through a songbird – which bird, I don’t know. It was resting in a tree a short distance away,. Its melody was sweet, refreshing, and I knew it was meant just for me. It sang this song for awhile before moving on. It was a third sweet reminder that God calls me His “loved one . . . the object of His mercy,” that I am not alone, and that His promises will be fulfilled.

As I write this, opening my heart to you, revealing my inmost thoughts, truths that I would rather hide, the sound of the Mourning Dove resonates across the lawn, through the screen of my open door. It mimics my heart, still hurting, still pouring out its burdens to the Lord, but lighter, nonetheless, having released anxieties to Him, having been reminded through friends and through His Word that I am His “loved one . . . the object of His mercy.”

Trials come to us all, but as a Christian, you are “His loved one . . . the object of His mercy.”  Perhaps you aren’t really sure you are a Christian. Learn more at
https://kathiwaligora.com/become-a-believer/

Click here to contact me through this website to speak to your group – your event.

Order my books, When Life Roars Jesus Whispers and Shh! Listen to His Whisper! through this website (Click here)

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My Great Defender

I’m always fascinated – and thankful.  Women marched – and marched – and marched! Then 100 years ago, women gained the right to vote.  And because of them, we women today have not only the right to vote but equal rights overall. Those marching women changed history for all women in our country, positively affecting women in other countries, as well. It was the huge step for women. They stood together with very few men supporting them. They were our early defenders.

As significant as those women were, no one in history has done more for women than Jesus Christ. No one.

He healed them. He healed their loved ones. He listened. He met their needs. And related to my beginning statements about women’s rights, He defended them. He stood for them when no one else did. The greatest barrister ever.

They composed a large segment of His followers. Although they most likely did not yet recognize the fullness of His Deity, they undoubtedly sensed it, as evidenced in the manner they served Him and sat at His feet in worship. They followed the Savior.

One woman, in particular, had been married five times and lived with at least one other man, as well. Not one of those men had yet her needs. She was spiritually thirsty.

Some women grow up recognizing that no man will ever meet her needs, nor does she care. Others, as they mature, sometimes early – sometimes later, come to this realization, grasping the understanding and moving on. We don’t need a man to be happy. We are strong.  I am woman. Hear me roar. Yet for others, it’s a difficult, disappointing discovery, especially for those of us who were expecting it, who were enthralled but misled by fairy tales and Hallmark movies, duped by countless social media posts revealing unending smiles and accounts of unlimited ventures of happiness. Reality hits. We most often move forward. In any of these instances, outwardly, our bodies may reveal no signs of dehydration. Yet inwardly, we all are thirsting – not for a man but with a spiritual thirst, unquenched by anything or anyone in this world.

It seems we are born with a thirst for a true relationship, one of unconditional love and acceptance. A true commitment. And why wouldn’t we be? Just as we were separated from our mother’s body when we were born, the world has separated us from our true Father – our Maker – the one who knew us in our mother’s womb and who has loved us since.

My thirst is for Him – the Living Water.

I am that woman at the well to whom Jesus purposely met.

I am that woman He loves unconditionally – no matter my past.

I am that woman who says, “Please, sir, give me some of that water.”

I am that woman who drops my empty bucket and says, “Jesus, I thirst – Quench me. You’re all I need.”

Further Reading: John 4:16-26; 7:37; 8:1-11

Click here – Let Him quench your thirst.