Happy Easter

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Happy Easter! Spring is my favorite season. It’s a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. Flowers are blooming, birds and butterflies are in the air, and the hillsides have turned green and are picture perfect. Aside from the weather changes, I usually take the time for “spring cleaning” in my house to get organized and I make new health and physical goals. As the seasons change, it can feel like life will go on forever; the cycles continue over and over. The truth is that life can unexpectedly change in an instant. We should always remember that as assuredly as we have new beginnings in the spring, we know that one day this life will end and it may end without warning. When I was kidnapped:

2:00 PM, I was sitting in my 7th grade class-room anxiously waiting for school to end so I could go to my Camp Fire Girl’s meeting.

4:00 PM My life was in the hands of a mad man as I was being strangled, beaten and then later, eventually left in the hills to die.

I remember my feeling of surprise at that moment when I realized that, even though I was only 12-years-old at the time, living was not a permanent thing. I could die at any moment. We all could die at any moment.

When I was finally released into the hills, I had the sense that, “Okay, so I’m not dying.” – well, not yet anyway. This was just a temporary reprieve. One day I won’t get to exhale. One day I might not see the sun. I know my body has an expiration date – as we all do.

Some people may think it’s depressing or morbid to consider your demise, but I think it’s helpful. We should all remember the fact that we will NOT be here, breathing, walking, and talking forever. We all know people who were here one day, healthy and productive, and then in a second, life as they knew it was over. We don’t know when our ticket will be up, but we do know that our time is coming and every day that we live brings us closer to that date.

So the natural question to ask ourselves is: What do I want to do with time I have left?

Each day is a new beginning; the chance to make a difference… the chance to live life with fulfilling purpose.

We would never regret putting our time and energy here:

Spending quality time with loved ones, laughing with them, sharing with them.

Letting go of resentments. Forgiving others and living life with love. Showing mercy and grace.

Not comparing yourself to others. You are your own unique person. Finding the gold within yourself and focusing on the good stuff. Being the best “you” that you can be.

Treasuring every wrinkle and grey hair. Each one represents what you have overcome and the lessons you have learned. Embrace this new status and the wisdom that comes along with the journey.

Passing your knowledge to others. Letting others learn from your mistakes and from you accomplishments.

Being kind to everyone you meet. You will never know the inner struggle that others are dealing with. When people are rude, be kind anyway.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Desmond Tutu

Life sometimes takes us through difficult detours in which we can be overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair. Some people may have lost their sense of purpose and meaning in life… At times like this it can be difficult to pull yourself out. Yesterday, was Good Friday, the day we remember the crucifixion of Jesus. Imagine the horrific experience the Jesus endured. He didn’t deserve the pain and betrayal that he received. He was beaten, spit on, ridiculed, forced to carry a heavy cross on his back up the hill to then be nailed upon. Imagine the pain and suffering that he endured… Even throughout this pain, He didn’t let the situation change His heart. He called out to His Father and said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” He wanted the Father to show mercy. Jesus understood the struggles that each person had. While on the cross, Jesus told the criminal on the cross next to him, “I’ll see you later today in paradise.”  Easter is a reminder that our life here on earth is not forever, but life does continue. Death is not the end and one day we will be free from pain, sorrow, illness and death. Until this day comes, let’s live our lives to the fullest as we love one another and live our lives with meaningful purpose.

I hope you all have a Happy Easter!

I’m happy to announce that today, my book, Through the Fire is on sale 15% off on Amazon. Thank you for sharing with your friends and family. I appreciate the positive feedback and support that I have been given. Thank you! 🙂

 

Through The Fire ~ On Amazon Today

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After nearly a lifetime of preparation and years of writing, re-writing, and going through the grueling steps of the publishing process, I’m very pleased to announce that my book, Through the Fire, is available today on Amazon. For years, I have had this project in the back of my mind constantly. I was always working on an aspect of this process. It’s such a strange, silent, and still feeling to be at this stage of this project. I hope that in sharing my story that others who have experienced struggles in their lives will find greater peace.

Kidnapped and left to die- this was the headline the kidnapper expected to read after abducting twelve-year-old Katherine. However, God had a different plan. Join the author as she recalls the inspiring true story of suspense, survival, and miracles. You will be amazed as this determined little girl works side-by-side with the investigators to stop the kidnapper from hurting others in the future. The bravery she revealed at the trial as she stood face to face with the man who swore to kill her if she talked was extraordinary.

Have you ever wondered where God is in our suffering? Katherine shares numerous miracles, including a near-heaven experience. Through this story, she shows how God is with us in our darkest hour. God doesn’t cause the struggles in our lives, but He is there to help us through the fire. You will be on the edge of your seat as you witness these miracles and Katherine’s description of how she finds her way to freedom.

After a traumatic event such as this, are we really free? Is it possible to forgive the unforgivable? You will be inspired to see how this young girl found strength beyond her own to survive and move past this traumatic event. Read how it is possible to break the chains of yesterday’s suffering and move forward into a life filled with love and happiness.

Thank you for sharing! Happy reading!

If God is good, why do we have so much suffering?

 

Thanksgiving beach.jpgA question that readers many times ask is, “If there is a God and if he is good, why is there child abuse, war, and violence?” I understand how difficult it is to see violence in the world; especially when innocent children are hurt. Having been one of these children who was hurt, I understand how people feel. I was fortunate that as I was going through this terrifying ordeal, that I witnessed many miracles, including a near heaven experience. My conclusion from these experiences is that God didn’t cause the pain, but He is with us and helps us during difficult times. We are all given free will and unfortunately the kidnapper used his free will to hurt me. God clearly helped me through the kidnapping and for that, I’m so thankful.

Someone wrote to me this week and said that she understands my need to believe in this imaginary God, but that, “it was only my strong spirit that got me through. A loving God would never allow such things.” I appreciate this reader’s message. This is a topic that people have struggled with since the beginning of time. Historians all agree that Jesus lived on earth. In 1980, award winning investigative reporter, Lee Strobel, utilized his skills to try to disprove the claims of Christianity. His wife was a new Christian and he wanted to scientifically prove that atheism is right and God was imaginary. To this investigator’s surprise, he proved to himself that Christianity is true. The book, and now movie, is called Case for Christ.

That being said, when innocent people get hurt, it’s hard to process. There are terrible things that happen to good people. Really painful. We can’t change what people have done in the past, but I love the teachings of Jesus because he shows us how to respond in ways that we can live with peace and happiness, despite what has happened in the past. He is always there to help us to get “Through the Fire.”

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

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Forgiveness – The Road to Peace and Happiness

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One of the questions that I’m asked the most about being kidnapped is if I have forgiven the kidnapper. If I decided NOT to forgive him, I don’t think anyone would blame me. After all, he took me, held me against my will, tortured and attempted to kill me. Finally, he left me in the hills to die. For someone to take an innocent person against their will and hurt them –it’s just wrong!

When I returned home, this was a difficult time for my family. Everyone was happy that I was alive, but there were many other emotions that my family was faced with. Anger, resentment, sadness, fear… everyone was on edge. The kidnapper said he’d come back and kill me if I talked and now the story was all over the news. Would he come back and kill me? Would the police catch him? Would he be punished for his acts or would he continue hurting other innocent children? How could God allow this to happen?

It’s in these tragic moments, when emotions are raw – these are the times that the decisions we make on how to respond become forks in the road of our lives. Our responses to these tragic events determine the level of peace and happiness we will experience for the rest of our lives. (Unless another decision is later made)

It’s not easy! People who hurt innocent children don’t deserve to be forgiven! I’m sure we all agree to that! The problem with staying in that space and hanging on to that anger and resentment is that those emotions will destroy us. They will steal our peace and happiness, along with the peace and happiness of our loved ones. Anger doesn’t destroy who we’re mad it. Anger only destroys the one who is angry.

When I was being held by the kidnapper, I was a victim. I had no power and no control. That was a terrible feeling! If I remain angry and resentful, I remain a victim. If my loved ones remain angry and resentful, then they too become victims – casualties of this tragic event.

We can get past our tragedy. The terrible event can become a simple bump in the road of our life. Our futures are in our own hands and not in the hands of a person or situation that may have harmed us in the past. It takes work, but with perseverance our future is our own. We are free to create the future we want!

Previously, I wrote about how our thoughts determine the degree of suffering we will endure. Our thoughts will also determine the degree of peace and happiness we will experience.

I trust that God will take care of all the details in the end so I don’t need to worry about what will happen to the kidnapper. I don’t need to think about him. God will take care of it.

Forgiveness is not something that you do one time and then you’re done. It’s more of a constant attitude. It begins as a commitment to yourself. Once you choose to forgive, you may have to remind yourself to be loving, to not judge, to let it go over and over. The more you practice forgiveness, the easier it becomes.

When I had the opportunity to have a small sampling of heaven in a near heaven experience, even though my body was dying and in a violent situation, suddenly the terror disappeared and I was part of a completely peaceful and loving experience. There was no fear, no pain, no anger, no resentment – it was pure heaven! I want to live my life like that! Perhaps that’s what Jesus meant in the Lord’s Prayer when He prayed that we would live on earth as it is in heaven.

I would like to challenge you with today with a thought. Instead of focusing on the injustice and bad aspects of your tragedy or struggle in life, begin looking at the difficult situation as a gift – as a blessing. I know that sounds strange, right? How could I possible see my tragedy as a gift? For me, I have had the opportunity to see people’s lives change as I share my story. That’s a gift. When I was kidnapped, I should have died several times and the only explanation is that I experienced miracles. That’s a gift. If I had died, I would have remained in an amazing place! That would have been a gift. Don’t be a victim of the tragedy by hanging onto that anger and resentment. Use that energy to ignite a passion to make a difference in the world.

Let’s live our lives on earth as it is in heaven!

I hope you’ll check out my Instagram page this week. I added some great quotes from Nelson Mandela about forgiveness. (Find us on Instagram at Through the fire book)

Katherine

Throughthefire.blog