WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the category “About Me”

New Book: School Lunch Is Murder

Dear Friends,

I’m still writing devotions but recently set my hand to fiction writing. Please check out my first book in the Sadie Sunshine Cozy Mystery Series…

SCHOOL LUNCH IS MURDER

It’s a fun quick read and the main character is a Christian! Just 99 cents for an eBook download. Please tell your friends!

http://www.amazon.com/School-Murder-Sunshine-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01BIDRIKW/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1454719624&sr=1-3&keywords=cheryl+zelenka

*The Paperback:School Lunch

Running Home

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For just a moment, imagine that you can see the colors and beauty of a robe woven from all of your demonstrations of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. It would take your breath away! Unique in design, for everyone shows kindness in a different way, your robe would be singularly remarkable and noteworthy.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

Every small and unselfish act of kindness is noticed by God and used for His glory. A smile offered to a crying child, a dinner sent to a sick neighbor, even the helping hand offered to a stray dog is recognized. We are told to bind kindness and truth around our necks. A necklace to remind us that, with each new day, we are given opportunities to share the love of Christ.

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.Hebrew 6:10-12 (NKJV)

Additionally, we are called to put on our spiritual armor…. And it is called, “the armor of light.”

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”  Romans 13:12 (NIV)

We walk in a world where mere hints of heaven’s beauty abound, and if we take the time to acknowledge it, we are often at a loss for words. Heaven and all of its glory are much more than we can imagine. It will take an eternity to see every beauty and wonder that Father God has created for us.

This knowledge of a better place, in another world, spurs us on. It comforts those who have lost loved ones and encourages those lacking hope and faith. We are but aliens in a foreign land while we live out our lives on earth.

We must run the spiritual race God ordained, and often it is a marathon. We see the finish line but the upward climb leaves us panting for breath. Panting to the point where we no longer have any strength to continue, so the heavenly hosts cheer us on and we continue the upward climb.

Our earthly beloveds run along beside us for as long as they can, but as the race comes to an end they no longer can follow. They assure us that it is well with them and that we must finish our race on our own. Parting is so hard, but we hear the call of angels and the voice of our Father. We say our good-byes and move towards the radiance ahead, dressed in our armor of light and wearing our robes woven from the righteousness we inherited through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Every kindness, selfless act of love, compassionate act, patient response, and gentle word of grace offered in this life will continue to live on in the hearts of those we leave behind. God will cause others to water the seeds that we have sown in His name. Parting with loved ones is just another lesson from God; it chips away at our sinful man, causes us to reflect on heavenly things, and serves to refine us into the image of His son.

Reminding ourselves that death is just part of the journey called life will indeed renew our hunger for our forever home, for in heaven we will no longer be aliens in a foreign land. In heaven, a new journey will begin. A journey where there is no more sin, death, pain, or sorrow. A journey full of adventure, service, wonder, and joy.

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.Proverbs 3:3 (NASB)

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) 

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4 (NKJV)

This devotion is dedicated to my wonderful mother…. Barbara Ann Hentschel Zelenka. She passed away on May 18th, 2015

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The Train of Life

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Dear Friends,

Last Monday I got a call that my sweet mother had a brain hemorrhage. There was no hope to heal her of this injury. All we could do was make her as comfortable as possible. I was with her the entire week and in her final moments. She ran a magnificent race and is finally home with her heavenly Father. Her funeral is this Saturday. I am staying with my dad now and will return to my home a few days after her funeral. Please pray for me as I am sick and very tired. I need strength to be a help to my dad. I have been greatly loved by wonderful parents and I will miss my mom greatly.   Cheryl

At birth, we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side.

However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.

As time goes by, other people will board the train, and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize they vacated their seats.

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey.

Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.  ~Unknown

_**Mom & Flowers

 

God Prunes-And Not Just In The Spring!

*Prune

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” 15:2

I view my past illness, a brain tumor that caused nearly a decade of clinical depression and near death, as an answered prayer. In days gone by, I often petitioned God to remove me from the public school system. But my prayers were never prayers of true faith. No, they were prayers of desperation and hopelessness. I never quit my job to pursue a different career because finances were always priority. I didn’t believe God would provide for my family in the same manner I was able to provide as a teacher. Relying on myself was easier than trusting God, especially when it came down to future finances. This is where my thinking fell short. Scripture says God will provide for our NEEDS…. Not for every want and desire, comfort or luxury.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Accustomed to a certain life style, I had no desire to pursue another profession that offered less pay. After 25 years of saving, I had finally purchased my dream home. The thought of selling it in order to pursue a different career was not part of my reality. I wanted out of teaching, but only on my terms. I was not willing to make adjustments or sacrifices. Money was an idol of false security.

My wrestling match with God was long and intense. It lasted more than a night and it didn’t leave me with a dislocated hip. Instead, I end up with a non-malignant brain tumor. When I refer to this tumor as a blessing sent from God I am sincere. For you see, this illness changed my life. It became the catalyst that reignited my spiritual walk.

Thankfully, God knew the best way to answer my prayer. I believe He led me into teaching and I believe it was also God who placed a desire in my heart to leave teaching. He didn’t let my attachment to worldly possessions interfere with His plan for my life. He designed me with a purpose and there was a “next step” for me in this life. It could only happen by stepping out of the classroom.

And although sin was ruling my heart with fear and covetousness, He graciously pruned away those dead branches for they were hindering my spiritual growth. By cutting out the dead wood, I was able to recognize these sin areas that required further refinement. Every year God must prune these sin areas in my life for they are aggressive in their attempt to grow back, yet never do they bear any fruit.

So, who can understand the mind of God? His ways are so much higher than our own ways. His thoughts are just not our thoughts! Bu sending a serious illness my way, or merely allowing the tumor to grow for ten miserable years, God answered my prayer to move past elementary teaching. It was a part of His sovereign plan for my life, before He knit me together in my mother’s womb.

God was not surprised by my illness but I surely was, for It brought about a lot of change I didn’t expect or desire. Not only did I loose my dream home, but I also left a community I felt comfortable with and never wanted to leave. God was pruning and stretching my faith throughout my journey. He provided the means for a new beginning and moved me to the place He wanted me to grow.

God’s sovereign will is always fulfilled. How He answers our prayers can truly be very surprising and unexpected. And when He decides to prune His children with challenging storms of adversity, we will do well to remember that the pruning of the Lord is an act of love. For God will instruct/discipline those He loves.

Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, a father the son he delights in.”    Proverbs 3:12 (NIV)

James 1:2-4 reminds us that we are to count trials as pure joy, not that the circumstances are the joy, but the outcome they produce is the source of our rejoicing.

God teaches us not only through His Word. He also teaches us through trials that refine us into the image of His son. These times of trouble mature the fruit of the spirit within us so that goodness, kindness, gentleness, peace, love, joy, patience, faithfulness and self-control are more evident in our life. The pruning of the Lord is painful but the fruit it bears is profitable to God, others, and us.

Suffering is a part of the process by which the children of God are made holy. They are chastened to wean them from the world, and make them partakers of God’s holiness. The Captain of their salvation was made “perfect through suffering,” and so are they (Hebrews 2:1012:10). There never was a great saint who had not experienced either great hardships, or great persecutions.

 Let us try to settle this in our hearts also. The children of God all have a cross to bear. A suffering Savior generally has suffering disciples. The Bridegroom was a man of sorrows. Therefore, the Bride must not be a woman of pleasures and unacquainted with grief. Blessed are they that mourn! Let us not murmur at the cross. This also is a sign of sonship.”    ~ J.C. Ryle

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_Dec 2014

How Is God Stretching YOU?

7) Young Woman:Cheryl

God is once again taking me out of my comfort zone! He likes to stretch (mature) His children and to be honest, I like being stretched! I don’t ever want to be stagnant and slow in my spiritual growth. I have tossed the baby bottle of milk aside because I so enjoy feasting upon the prime rib of sold spiritual foods!

I was once a public school teacher (25 years) but God called me into a new career as an author. Boy, that was a shock and a stretch! With God’s help, I wrote 3 devotionals and a Bible study. Non-fiction is now my comfort zone.

Well, now He is calling me to once again use the gifts He placed within me to teach. He has asked me to enter the world of FICTION, or Historical fiction. I am writing a children’s rhyming book inspired by the book of Esther. As of now it does not have a title. I am praying about this and I know it will come to me in God’s timing.

A wonderful illustrator (She is also an author, publisher, etc) has agreed to work with me. Her name is Cheryl Ellicott. Please keep this project in prayer. I would like to see this book in public schools, libraries, and of service to the home schooling network. There will be a curriculum sold separately for 2nd-5th graders.

We are to use the gifts GOD GAVE US for HIS glory and the edification of the Body of Christ. I challenge my readers to use their gifts!! God will see your labor of love and be pleased and glorified. Posted are samples of Cheryl Ellicott’s work. These are NOT for my book. They are posted to show her style.

How is God stretching YOU in 2015? Please share!

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” Colossians 1:9-10 (NKJV)

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” Hebrews 5:12 (NKJV)

2) Cheryl Landscape w:Woman and Child14) Sparrow:Cheryl10) Girl w:Bible Cheryl13( Corrie ten Book:Cheryl

Get a FREE eBook Download of Facing Storms NOW!

 

*Facing Storms Front Cover 1.1

Dear Reader,

I am giving away free eBook downloads of my book FACING STORMS: DEVOTIONS FOR THOUGHT AND MEDITATION today and Sunday. Please let your friends who have Kindles and iPads know and remember…. IT’S FREE!!

http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Storms-Devotions-Thought-Meditation-ebook/dp/B00O1OJS0Y/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419741302&sr=1-3&keywords=cheryl+zelenka

Facing Adversity: Thoughts of Wisdom, Praise, & Promise

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The last book of my devotion trilogy, Facing Adversity: Thoughts of Wisdom, Praise, & Promise, is now available on Amazon. Here is an excerpt from a devotion titled SUFFERING UNITES US ALL

http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Adversity-Thoughts-Wisdom-Promise/dp/1503377989/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417501877&sr=1-5&keywords=Cheryl+Zelenka

“God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. Nobody is insignificant. We are, after all, created in the very image of God. This includes the homeless person living in a cardboard box and the abused child in a home of neglect. We all have a part to play in God’s divine design, and sharing in the sufferings of Christ is part of His game plan.

Suffering is an effective tool God uses to refine our spiritual character. Adversity is permitted, or sent, as a loving gift from heaven above. Perspective is critical here. God gives good gifts therefore trials are beneficial.

So how can our painful moments be of any use? How can something hurtful, shameful, or grievous actually be a blessing? Do not trials teach us valuable lessons? Do we not gain insight, knowledge and wisdom as we muddle through our adversity? Is this not something we can share with others? Healing and lessons of perseverance are not only a witness of God’s grace but also an encouragement to others.

The process of sanctification chips away self-reliance and causes even the most prideful of mankind to cry out for help, help that only God can provide. Learning to depend on the Father is a major lesson in our spiritual walk. When we trust Him with all things and remain peaceful in the midst of an uncertain fate, faith has carried us. Others will notice our manner and desire the same inner peace we exude. Life style witnessing is a powerful tool and useful in the work of the Great Commission.

Suffering unites us all. Each person has experienced pain. Therefore, we can compassionately connect with others through this common bond. No race, creed, social status or level of education can escape the reality of suffering. Because of this fact we have an open door, a first step in sharing the Good News. We can build relationships in many different ways and there is a fellowship of suffering, with Christ Jesus and with others.

Here then is the great blessing found in adversity. Because of the pain you endured, thanks to the grace of God, you are now equipped to encourage and bless others. Your victory over tribulation will give them hope.”

Heart Break And His Healing Balm

*Broken Heart

Our God is a healer. He is the “Great Physician,” and this means spiritual and emotional healing, not just physical healing.

“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)

I won’t assume that all of you have suffered through the death of a brother, a brain tumor, cancer, or clinical depression. These are my bag of troubles and woes. However, I am pretty certain everyone has (or will) come to know the pain of heartbreak.

Many different circumstances cause such a malady, but one common side affect is agony. The level of torment will vary, but the discomfort it causes is one we can all relate to, empathize with, and comprehend. Jesus was a man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief. Our God is not without understanding, for surely His heart broke when He witnessed the death of His only begotten Son.

So why? Why must we experience pain and broken hearts? Why would a loving God permit or even cause His beloved children to experience the sorrow of heartache? Could it be because He loves us? Is it possible a broken heart is God’s means to break apart our self-will? A surrender of self would cause a believer to lean all the more on God.

1 Peter 5:7 tell us to cast all of our anxieties and cares to God, for He cares for us. Our heavenly Father wants to take on our worries. In addition, Philippians 4:19 reminds us that God will provide for our every need. He is the “Great Provider.” God wants to furnish us with all we require.

When we are too self-reliant, we take God out of the picture. However, if we are suddenly faced with impossible odds, a cry to the heavens is often our response. Tribulation is one way God gets our attention. Sadly, it takes affliction for many of us to notice Him.

“O Lord my God, I cried out to You,and You healed me.” Psalm 30:2 (NKJV)

So, affliction is allowed to enter our lives, permitting an open door for pain and heartache to pass through. It is only after these “guests” have entered our home that we truly experience the blessing of God’s miraculous healing. The one we love may die, so where is this healing? Why didn’t our beloved recover?

God sees the whole picture at such times and His number one goal is to save souls from eternal damnation. He looks for opportunities to bring all men to their knees, hoping they repent of their evil ways. He wants every one of His children to acknowledge the redemptive power found only through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, if the one we love must suffer or die, breaking our hearts in the process, God has allowed it for some greater good. One death is able to produce a full harvest of repentant sinners and immeasurable spiritual healing. Is this not what every Christian should long for and desire; Even if it means loss and the pain of a broken heart?

There is a comfort we can cling to regarding such times of suffering. Solace is found in knowing God will faithfully heal all wounds and broken hearts, so long as we let Him. This occurs when we lay down our hardened hearts and feelings of bitterness. Submitted before His sovereignty, we can then ask God to make our hearts once again pliable and useful for HIS purpose. For it is by the stripes Jesus endured on the cross that we are healed.

Our lives are not our own. I will say this again, dear one. Our lives are not our own… they are for the pleasure and glory of God. What He chooses to use us for is His divine right. What He decides to ask of us is appropriate and fitting. His will should be our heart’s desire. Our love for Him should be so great that whatever He requires from us is our good pleasure.

If trust is an issue, will you pray about trusting God with your care once again? Let Him put a balm over your wound or heart-crack. Decide right now to move forward. If grief has bound you in chains break free, for He came to set all captives free. There are joys to be found in the remaining years of your life. There is much joy to be found in service. Use the life He has given you and totally dedicate it for His purpose. He has turned the wailing of many into dancing. Joy WILL come in the morning. There are many new wonders yet to be experienced. Your best day has yet to be lived!

God knows your frame and what you are able to withstand. You are stronger than you think, for God is your strength and He can do all things. Reach out and call upon His grace! Let go of the old and step into the new. It will be hard but it is time! Your Savior will never forget your heartbreak. It has great meaning and value; otherwise it would not have hurt BOTH of you so much. Your broken heart will serve as a lovely stepping-stone into a new and specially designed future.

We were created for service and for the act of worship. God deserves all glory and praise. Living a full life of joy and moving out of the past is a true sacrifice of praise. With each heartbreak there is a healing balm, and with each scar we don there is a badge of honor to be worn throughout eternity.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.” Jeremiah 17:14 (NKJV)

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,He was bruised for our iniquities;The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)

Find this devotion in my book FACING ANXIETY: THOUGHTS OF WISDOM, PRAISE, AND PROMISE (The first of December 2014) My other books are now on Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cheryl%20Zelenka&sprefix=Chery%2Caps

eBook FACING STORMS #3 Ranking in Kindle Store!

 

_Facing Storms Front Cover 1.1Be sure to get your free eBook of FACING STORMS: DEVOTIONS FOR THOUGHT AND MEDITATION this Saturday and Sunday. It is rated #3 in the Kindle Store. (Hopefully I will get another #1 ranking by tomorrow.) Be sure to also download my first devotional, FACING TRIALS: THOUGHTS FOR MEDITATION for just .99 on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Storms-Devotions-Thought-Meditation/dp/B00O1OJS0Y/ref=sr_1_3_twi_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413059317&sr=8-3&keywords=Cheryl+Zelenka

_Facing trials 3 (1)

Prayer: Brain Tumor Ashes To New Growth

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Those of you who know my story, and if you do not…. well, a brain tumor nearly took me in 2011. My life appeared to be ashes at my feet when I woke up in ICU. No home, no job, away from friends, uncertain financial issues, etc. But GOD IS FAITHFUL! (Read my testimony… on right under My Story)

Even though my future IS STILL pretty much in the dark… I am alive, healthy, working, and serving God. This is a prayer I wrote today. I hope it blesses you and makes you think….

“Lord, I praise YOU for YOUR love and stand in awe of YOUR might. I see now how there is growth coming forth from my ashes. YOUR living Word is such an encouragement to me. Help me to persevere in the new direction YOU have set before me. I know that YOU are the perfect guide and will help to move me forward on my path. Joy and gladness have already filled my heart, for I have all I need…. YOU and YOU alone.”

** Remember there is ALWAYS HOPE! God loves you and has never left your side. Keep praying and trust He has the very best for you!

” For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; Joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” Is. 51:3 (NKJV)

*6 Days aver brain surgery/ July 2014 visiting my dog Bubba.

**Me and Bubba

 

 

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