11.24.2009

My favorite song...

I love Miranda Lambert. When you see me driving down the road singing, with the windows up... at the top of my lungs... know that this is probably the song I am belting out. Tears streaking my make up... snot running.


11.23.2009

Orphan...

Last night for the first time in years, I returned to the church of my youth. It was a very familiar place, although it appeared much bigger than I remembered. The lighting was different, and who occupied the seats, but you could feel the electricity of God. When I sat down I picked up a pen and began to write on the pad I brought. I feel the need to share with you this morning what I wrote to Him last night.

Lord, I can feel you here.
My heart dances in my chest with anticipation of your divine presense. Lord, I learned to throw up or blow up in this house.
Lord, rhema - please.
Refill the empty dry places-
Welcome me back in to the house the way of the Father & the prodigal son. I don't claim to understand this season of our lives- but Lord I know that there is something in me that just needs to dance for you-
I reject the fear of rejection. I reject the orphan spirit. In the name of Jesus!
I am so tired of feeling disqualified and disposible.
Lord, I know that you have a purpose for me - Lord - Lord - Lord
Lord Jesus - only you.

As I sat there and poured this out, there were emotions and revelations. I have lived a long life of rejection. I honestly believed for most of my life that I was disposable. That my life counted for nothing... I lived that out loud with my actions... and I dwelled on it with suicidal thoughts through my late 20's. I didn't realize until last night that I also dealt with an orphan spirit. I am thinking that we dealt with some of it maybe while I was going through my restoration healing sessions. I remember maybe addressing it. However, last night it resounded in me. I tied it all together for the first time.

The only conditional love I have ever known here on earth, has come from people who didn't have to love me. There are family dynamics that I won't go into here... but both my father and my mother chose others over me. No condemnation - just revelation. I was pushed to the side for circumstances. Somewhere in me, I realized that I was disposable. I lived with a "I will never be good enough" thought pattern, I still do. I have dealt with it in my marriage, I have dealt with it when coming into ministry.

I feel as though I have no real roots. I think that is what happens when you don't grow up around extended family. My core family growing up were nomadic. There is no family land that has been in the family for generations. My grandparents relocated to Florida, then my parents followed. I don't have a sister, my brother is ten years younger than I am. Somewhere that family connection didn't form. Everything seems so compartmentalized to me. My parents, my mom, my brother. No unity, only discord and strife. There is no connection with aunts, uncles or cousins. There is no heritage, no tradition.

I don't think I put all of that together until these last 24 hours. Even within the church. The only place that I ever dug into and established roots, disqualified me. You take someone who doesn't know to how to connect, and put her continually in new enviroments, what she begins to do is stay disconnected.

I believe that this is the revelation into the root of my pain. I have floated above the surface until someone has wanted me. Sexually, intellectually, emotionally. In those relationships, I still walked away empty, the rejection, the abandonment... an orphan with no where to call home. I dread holidays at my parents house because I am always feel like an outsider, like everyone is doing me some huge favor by allowing me to be here. There is no connection.

This is just the beginning. Of that I am sure. You can't heal what is in the dark. God brings this like this into the light so that they can be examined.

God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
I'm an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I'm never out of your sight.
You know everything I'm going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you're there,
then up ahead and you're there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can't take it all in!
Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I'm about;
See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
Psalm 139:1-6&23-24 The Message



11.20.2009

Beloved


11.19.2009

Lean Into It

Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for? Matthew 16:24-26 The Message

Had a great talk with my mentor this morning. We were talking about "leaning into pain" in order to ease it. Don't flench and clench it just makes it worse. I think that is what this passage means when it says "Don't run from suffering; embrace it". As I have allowed my tears to fall, as I have leaned into instead of defending from my pain, I have found that the purging has become easier. Not to say that it didn't look like I had marshmellows under my eyelids this morning but I fell lighter. I never do things gracefully it's not who I am. I am the cat with the claws in the doorjam every time God tries to take me somewhere new. I never see it until I have already clawed everyone up around me though.

What I have found is that God is wanting to revisit some rooms in my life that have left lingering pain because I just shut the door on them and moved on. I did the forgiveness, I said a prayer, but I never dealt with my emotions of the event. I never fully quit blaming myself, and although I am really great at accepting my responsibility for an event, I am not very good at receiving forgiveness from or for myself. So what I see God doing is taking my hand into these spaces and saying, "Do you see me there, standing next to you? Do you feel my hand embracing yours? You weren't there alone, I was with you, from the very beginning."

I wish there was a simpler way. I wish that somehow I could just set fire to the building and it would all be over. I want to run, but I can't. I have to allow Him to finish the deliverance that he started when He began pulling at my root of shame. I believe what His intention is at this point is to do the same thing with my pain. So that when I look back, I will be able to see the good, I will be able to see the blessing and not just be paralyzed by the pain. I didn't realize the extent of pain that hovered just below the surface. Therapy, ministry, nothing ever touched it to this level before. This is to my toes.

I want to love my children with all of me, not with holding any part of myself because of my own pain. I want to love my husband in the same way. More than that, I want to love God with a reckless abandon and not through a pain filter. I want to fully receive His love for me, so that I can fully love Him back. For that reason, and that reason alone, I submit to the process. I surrender to the cleansing... and I walk around with Preparation H just below my eyebrows.

Be blessed. Love always wins.

11.18.2009

And all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Today is my middle son Adam's 12th birthday. Amazing how life keeps moving and I continue to do my Mommy business even as everything else seems so up in the air. I spent yesterday with tears on the brim of my eyes all day. Finally, someone asked the right questions and it was able to pour over. I rode a stationary bike for 30 minutes to sweat it out and then used the shower to hide my break down. Being a single parent isn't an easy task. Despite that I am married and that my children have a father... being the only parent day in and day out is a daunting task. My children are very resilient. I am amazed by their flexibility and their ability to just keep moving.

Being here is like being confronted with my past at every pass. I went to a funeral last week for a long time family friend. I could see the shock in some of the eyes that met mine. I did not turn out the way that they expected I would. I was the wild child of the bunch. I am not that anymore. It is amazing the places that shame can find you. It took me days to figure out the funk and where it came from. Then there are locations that remind me of past pain. Those are the ones that sneak up on you. I am afraid to drive around with my children too much because sometimes the pain is so overwhelming that the tears just fall. All of these emotions that have been stuffed for so long are sitting right below the surface. My defenses are down and they keep squeezing out. I have had so many Ahha! moments that the pieces have finally fallen into place that sometimes it's hard to keep up with the revelations. It's changing me. Again.

My prayer lately has been that I would be able to look at my past without feeling the shawl of shame resting on my shoulders, and without the knife of pain in my heart. I am not there yet. There is only one way to reconciliation... especially with oneself. I have forgiven so many but have held so much judgement for myself. I have lost faith is so much. My marriage, the church, my parents, my country, my security, my hopes & dreams... There isn't much left but a faith that everything that I have been taught about the Trinity is true. My hope is only that there will be a "coming forth" and that God's will is for all of this to be worth it.

No one but God himself, with the redeeming work of Christ and the comfort of the Holy Spirit is going to be able to put me back together in His design for me. I have to believe that He didn't intend for me to live with so much pain in my life. I have to believe that when I laid it all at the altar and said, "I surrender", that He in that moment took my welfare into His own hands.


11.04.2009

Sunshine through the cold...

There is nothing like a crisp cool day that is full of abundant sunshine. One of the best things in the world. So simple and yet so perfect at the same time. I am a Florida girl. I love it here. I love everything about it... including the fall weather that my NC counterparts would say is summer temperatures. There is something about open skies, that makes me feel a little less clausterphobic and like I have room to spread my wings and fill my lungs fully.

We found a great little church here. I had lunch with the co-pastors yesterday. So humble, so kind, so open to this woman in transition. So willing to hold up my arms, to encourage through this "leg of the journey". How appropriate a response. I am having to learn to trust God in the strangest of places. I am having to learn to be open to whatever he lays before me. I am having to learn to transfer the weight from me to Him. I am learning to put my faith where my mouth is. Learning that there is no crutch other than Him that I would choose in my life. If I can't have Him, I don't want anything else.

I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the woman that I have become. I have spent a lot of time sharing the heart of a woman that had held everything inside for so many years. My parents are meeting the woman for the first time. This honest, truth seeking... unafraid, confident, woman. Sometimes we don't realize how strong we have become, how broken, how "poured out", until we have to tell someone that used to know us when we were so full of it.

I am hoping that I will have more time to write again. I am trying to find the voice inside of me again. She has been silenced with tasks and transition, but I truly believe that she has a lot to say from a new perspective, from a softer heart of understanding. I hope to truly talk about the things that bother me... to not live in fear and shame for the the experiences but be willing to talk openly about how God used those circumstances to mold me and shape me into a new creature. How He continues to do so. That's my heart's desire.

Because truth brings healing...

10.15.2009

Season's Change...

Ok, so just when we get a plan the plan changes.

I am sitting in Florida at my parents house, Alex is at the bar working on Algebra, Adam and Julia are playing with Legos having finished their morning lessons. Ande is in NC doing some extra drill days. We are homeless, and unemployed. Except we have parents that love us. Ande is living alone at his parents house, struggling to buy his own groceries and make his own meals & coffee. I am here with my stepmom and we are leaning on one another. Enjoying the Florida sunshine.

So I have two options, I can either sit here and pitch a fit, yell & scream at God, or I can just look around and see what is going on. First of all, Ande and I are now mobile. Everything we own is in storage. We are half here in FL and half there in NC but either place can be packed up and moved without much ado. For some reason this seems to be very obvious to me. Who knows why. The kids and I are enjoying the summer fun here in FL despite the fact it's midOctober. We spent the day at the beach yesterday. I need to remember to send some of those pics here to blogger.

No big epiphany's lately. Just trudging along. Not asking questions, just moving forward. Enjoying the slower pace of life. Despite the fact I miss my friends, and my husband I am pretty content in this moment. Maybe it's the coffeehouse station on XM radio that's doing that though.

Hope you all are blessed in your thinking today!

XOXO


9.14.2009

Mobile home schooling

One of the greatest challenges of any mother is keeping up with laundry. So when my less than 5 year old Kenmore front loaders quit working I had to get creative with time management. Welcome to Village Cafe... And where we hold class on laundry mat day.

9.13.2009

Emmi Lou Who!

Playing with the baby.

9.12.2009

26 Days and counting...

I spent the day cleaning out my closet... what an adventure that can be. I know why I am not a collector, I am a thrower-awayer because let's face it I am not the most organized mom in the world. I am a little on the slob side... not like dirty slob but like... clutter slob. I always have more important things to do than to rehang the outfit I decided not to wear kind of slob. Just pitch it in the top of the closet kind of slob. I have more shoes than the local shoe store in town...they tend to crawl out of my closet and never quite make it back into the closet. All of my daily wearers (like my fav 6 pairs) are on my side of the bed which isn't anywhere close to the closet, and when that accumulation gets too big I tend to just toss them haphazardly over my bed into the general direction of my closet. I know, I know. My parents tried, they really did. I am married to a military man... He exudes organization & perfection. I exude spontaneity & creativity and am in constant demand ;) and have little time for such tedious tasks.

I am just being honest here. We all have out quirks. That whole cleanliness is next to godliness thing... I am so glad that isn't a direct quote out of the Bible. Because Lord knows... I don't have that gene. I don't know how I missed it but boy I don't have it.

My husbands family are "collectors". I missed that gene too. Not to say that there aren't some material things that have sentimental value... but not every material thing. I have the rocking chair that my Dad bought my Mom when she was pregnant with me, my grandmother's china and her upright mirror... my mother in laws china cabinet. My husband has every Mustang Monthly printed since 1986, as well as JP magazines... Chilton manuals for every vehicle we have ever owned in the last 15 years. What he values and what I value are very different. I am a read once and donate unless it was life changing kind of girl. He is a keep in case anyone we ever come into contact with wants to read it kind of guy. He can't help it. It is how he was raised. He is a cataloger.

So what happens when slob meet neat freak, and thrower-awayer meets "collector". In a word... lightning. I find it excruciating because I want to sell or donate 80% of our belongings. He wants to ship 25% to our next post, sell 10% to appease me, and store the remaining 65% for the next 15 years until he retires. It takes what should be a simple process and makes it a huge project. ARGH!!!

Time is running out... let's get this ball a rollin'!!

My blue eyed Cole...

I have my eyes on you Aunt Jen!

9.11.2009

My heart is dry but I'm still singing!

Sometimes in life there is just no going back. God puts us on a track and no matter how much we may want to run in the opposite direction we are already committed. We have given him the power, the dominion, in our lives. What a blessing. Really. Think about that... we have committed and He is committed and there is no undoing a covenant with God. He is so faithful.

Today, today I am just full of gratitude. For a Lord and a King that walks beside me through it all. When the poo is flying He gently reminds me, they threw it at me too. Persecution? I eat persecution for breakfast. Leaving everything you have known... I walked on the earth, I gave up my everything so that you too could share in my inheritance. Unto death. Lord, I can walk here because you have lead the charge. My feet seem so clumsy on your path. But, walk with you I will.

8.29.2009

It's Time

I love to sit here at this spot in the mornings, just as the sun streams in through my dining room window. I have to be in just the right spot at just the right time of day or I miss it. The sun gets above the covered porch pretty quickly and the shadow that it creates of my coffee cup doesn't last long.

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

Transitions are never easy. I have sat still for so long I am almost unsure how to get myself moving.

I heard a pastor say once that when wine makers pour wine from one barrel they are careful not to stir up the dredges in the bottom of the vat. Imperfections, skins etc. settle to the bottom. So when they are pouring the wine they are very careful not to reintegrate the junk with the wine. I feel like that has been the stage I have been in for the last year. Waiting for all of the sediment to settle to the bottom. Let the imperfections fall away so that when I was poured into the new wine skin I am more refined than before.

I have held on to so much this last year that God was just waiting for me to let go. As we talked about the list of things He wanted to give me freedom from I was amazed at some of the things that I had held onto, or had held onto me. I had to break agreement with a lot of verbal commitments, a lot of spoken word curses. Things that other people had said to me that I hadn't disagreed with, that were holding me here. People don't realize the power in the tongue. I honestly think that if we did, we sure wouldn't say nearly half of what we say. There was a lot of clean up to do. There are possessions to get rid of. Habits that have to be broken. Hearts that have to mend.

It's time... there is no need to hold onto anything that wasn't mine to begin with.

Acts 16:26, "Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose."



8.24.2009

Well, here we go.

It's surreal. Nothing more, nothing less.

We are officially heading back to active duty Army. After all of these months, God opened the door and we are crossing over into new territory. Leaving our home here behind, our lives as we know it. No idea what lies ahead.

God and I were talking this weekend while we were camping. I was watching this lizard crawl on a tree and the realization that there is no security in nature. That lizard has survived with no job, no future, no savings acct, he doesn't need a second bathroom, or a steady paycheck. I think we as humans put too much weight in security. What do I know? I just think that it's over rated. The things that we use to create an illusion of security is a mile long. All of them a farce.

The only true security is in Christ. Friends, family, spouses, plans, IRA's can and will let you down. Christ, the Redeemer, the Savior... He alone has never let me down. I don't claim to understand anything, because the more I begin to understand the more I realize that I don't know anything, but I know that His plan for me is greater than I could ever imagine. So for now, I have a house to pack, kids to school and a life to transition.

Welcome to the rollercoaster, I prefer to call life.

This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." - Jeremiah 29:10-11 The Message

8.15.2009

Matthew West... The Motions


Blood of the Lamb...

They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb and the bold word of their witness.
They weren't in love with themselves; they were willing to die for Christ. Revelation 12:11


Willing to die for Christ? Willing to die to yourself. Everything you have ever wanted, dreamed of, thought that you needed. Are you willing to die to your preferences, your desires, your dreams. Are you making a sacrifice of praise or are you playing pattycake? Do you say you are willing to die for the cause and yet set up boundaries to protect yourself. Do you hide? Behind pain, rejection, fear?

I said I was ready. I put all feet towards the mark. Then God laughed at me, and my pride, my self-sufficiency. He laughed as a father laughs at a little girl the first time she dresses herself and her shoes are on the wrong feet and her shirt is on backwards. I loved my comforts, my home, our business, my "pretty" marriage. I loved the pretense of perfection. I hid behind a mask, a wall. I was real with God, but I was lying to everyone else. I wanted so bad the position. I wanted so bad to finally be enough. Just when the mark was placed and it finally felt like God called my number... WHAM. I found myself lying face down, close to death - gasping for air. I sat on the edge of my bed and cried tears of years of frustration, years of "works" to achieve what I finally had and now, now, it was being ripped from me like an infant from it's mother. "I" had worked so hard. Strived so hard so that everyone would know me, need me. What a farce.

Only now a year later will I pour out my heart. I am not writing for anyone but my God except maybe myself, praying that it will bring the healing, the peace, the umph, to help me towards being a triumphant overcomer like Christ. I don't want to wallow, I can see the surface just above my head... but I just can't get there. I want to run, I want to go, I want to start a new life, yet, here I sit.

I don't look to man now to give me relief. This has all be orchestrated by God Himself... no one else could even attempt to pull this off. I know that He has me, I just wish that I could hear His voice, taste His tears.

Lost love...

I seek God... I lay in total desperation for His fresh breath in my life. I have sought and yet not found refuge in this last year. My marriage is better, but I am lazier. I have been a martyr and I am just too worn down by the whole process to stand up and fight. I feel like a weaking... failure has never been an option but there are days that I know it's only through the grace of God that I have survived.

The pillars of my life have been destroyed in a hurricane like manner. Everything I have used to prop myself up, to evade the storm. Everything I have used to set up a sense of security... I have built it high, to avoid the turmoil of the waves but this is was a tsunami and no matter the height of the strength of pillars when it's God's hand that is destroying there is no safety, no hiding, no levies strong enough. I did everything I was taught to do, took the right classes, led the right groups, tithed... served, and yet, God looked at me and said, anguish. Somehow I thought that it would be a temporary situation. That the light would come... that I would hear a voice, a direction. I still sit in silence. There seems to be no real path... although I know in my heart, I know that I know that I know, that there has to be one.

There is nothing without Him. There is no hope, there is no love, there is just an inability to get unstuck. I am worn out, worn down and eroded. I have no need for others problems. I have nothing to prop myself up against and therefore nothing to share. I am barely holding my own head above water. Silliness, drama... just wears me out. Be brutally honest, but don't lie. My emotions are untrustable. I don't trust what I feel because all I feel is tired. Other's expect so much more, they "know" that I will be okay. Will be... maybe... but right now, I just hold on for dear life to my husband and my children. Stuff is just stuff... I don't care about any of it. I can either hold onto stuff or I can let it go and grab a hold of God. I choose God. Always.

I long for sun on my face, I shudder at the thought of winter. I hoped all winter that spring would bring salvation, and all spring that summer would bring it. There has been none. The thought of hunkering back down wondering how to keep my soul warm, is just more than I can bear. I trust the salvation of Jesus, I just long for the salvation of my life... that my children won't suffer. That my children will not know of homelessness, or hunger. I wanted my children to have so much more, love so much more, find God so much bigger. Yet, they have had to ride this ride and I hate it for them. I hate how poverty defined my life, I didn't want that for them.

There isn't much left... of myself. I don't long to be bitter, I long to be better, I long to lay in the loving arms of my Father. Yet, my heart hurts. Tears flood my eyes and I just cry out for relief that does not find me. Woman of no preference. Of no regard... He told me I was His favorite... yet I have been left on the curb. I have sat on a shelf and waited...

I will continue to wait.

Lost...

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king. ~JRR Tolkien



7.28.2009

Oswald Chambers & other words of peace...

I laid in bed tonight for an hour hoping to doze off. It didn't happen so I snuck back out to to grab a few minutes with my thoughts. What I found was so much more...

After Obedience - What?

And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side… ."
Mark 6:45-52

We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God's purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end.

What is my dream of God's purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process - that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.

God's training is for now, not presently. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience; we get wrong when we think of the afterwards. What men call training and preparation, God calls the end.

God's end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present: if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious.


It amazes me how God finds me. How he seeks my heart. One year ago today, I was on a plane to Managua, Nicaragua. I did not yet know of the storm that was raging in my family. Here I find myself one year later, a whole different woman.

I used to have a desire to be something, someone, to have my name in lights, or at least on the cover. I dreamed of suburbia, with 3.5 kids, and a Volvo station wagon. My like last year looked very much like that. Now, I look around, and none of that matters anymore. I have become a woman without preferences. I have become a woman, that wants to please the heart of God. I want to trust him with no goals, no destination, no future plans.

I have been pushing myself lately to limits, to extremes some would say. Physically and mentally I have learned I have endurance, and stamina that I didn't know I posessed. I look around at my life and realize that I am at the point in the work out that it burns like hell... but you keep walking. You keep walking until you realize that something besides the pain has occupied your mind and you have covered ground that you can't recall.

God has cut all the roots in my life. The things that bound me to things, to people, places, posessions. My husband, my children, those he gives me for a season. I love them with all my heart but God is my focus. I want God's heart. I want my mere act of life be worship to Him. I want to love those He sets in front of me for now, without taking ownership. I want to love them with His arms. Where ever I end up, that is my heart. Where ever this road rambles to, it is my heart to get closer to my Savior. I long for Him with an unending thirst.



7.16.2009

Jealous...

Do you know why God won't leave us in our slop? He is jealous for our attention.

When Moses when to the mount to meet with God, when Moses returned they had melted gold to make a cow, a golden "sacred" cow. People will worship something and if they don't have God, the Risen King, the Creator, they will find whatever they can to fill that void. It doesn't have to be a long time, we the created have a short attention span. If God isn't doing what we think He should when we think He should how quick we are to find our new idol... food, drugs, sex, popularity, pride... we even take our God given talents and set them ahead of God Himself.

I am approaching the 1 year since my world blew up anniversary. Only now am I seeing my passive aggressive, rebellious reactions. Only now, that I have begun to get my feet again beneath me has God again began to put his finger on those places that we are going to have to work on. There is still a river of rage and anger below the surface that can hide itself, that has submitted to the spirit of self-control and only allows itself to be stired from time to time. I believe that God is ready to redirect that river... I believe that it's time to break the dam.

I identified the anger months ago, I confessed it to God. There are times of righteous anger, anger that keeps you from repeating mistakes, anger that motivates you to change. I believe that God has allowed my anger to do those things. He used it in a sense to hedge me in. I also think that it's time to come out from behind the barrier, and establish new boundaries. Am I ready to be all encompassed again, I don't think so. But I am ready to grab His hand and allow Him to show me the newness that He wants to share.

It used to be I never traveled without my Bible, because I was reading it all of the time. Today, I had to dust it off. It's almost as though He has allowed me this time to pitch my fits, to try and replace Him with everything I could think of. It's as though He has been watching my every move waiting for me to see Him standing there. Arms crossed tapping His foot... You want food, you can have as much as you want... but does it calm the storm? You want shopping, fine buy as many shoes as you can fit in your closet, how is that storm now? You want to complain and mock, slander, go for it... Your mouth will be your guide down this river of anger, where do you want to go?



Lord, the only place I want to go, is to where you are. No where else, no one else, nothing else, can calm the storm of your love in my life. Thank you for being a jealous God, the seeks nothing but my heart and my life. I am reminded of that sign today Lord. Growth is the sign of Life. Thank you for fertilizing my life... to give me the chance to grow closer to you. Praise you Father. I love you.

7.11.2009

The day I realized... I was FREE

Until you have lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is. -Margaret Mitchell

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

I had been feeling so unproductive. I kept thinking that I was sitting on the bench just watching everyone else, until I realized, that I truly didn't need to be apart of the hussle. There is no one that I am striving to impress. I am comfortable in my own skin. Ande last night said I was more beautiful now than ever, more confident than ever, and that in 15 years of marriage this is his favorite me. What is that? Why is that?

I truly believe, that I have been unburdened of a yoke of slavery. I have learned to say no so that I can fully say yes. I used to say yes because that's what was expected of me. This week, I said a rather large no. But the things that I said yes to, what a beautiful site they were. If you aren't careful, everyone's crisis becomes your driving force. I don't need a driving force, I need a quiet day with my beautiful little girl, listening to some encouraging music. I need a day baking in the kitchen, just because I want to and not waiting for a birthday or an event to have a reason to do that which I love.

I had allowed myself to be put on this fast track to ministry... I was the one you called when you needed a system built, or to know that something would be handled down to the most minute detail. I could get it done and add glitter and sparkle. I got a lot of phone calls. I headed a lot of projects. I built a lot of systems. I was too busy, to be a good wife, or an attentive mother. My priorities are so much different now.

Now when the phone rings, those who used to expect me to pick up the ball and run with it are shocked when I say no. I saw somewhere that maturity is the need to not explain yourself. I don't have to give anyone a reason for a yes or a no. There is no obligation. When I learned to say no, I could look at my little girl and say yes. Yes, at this moment in time, this quiet afternoon, you are more important than anyone else in the world. Yes, I value our time together, and I don't have to run off to save the world in order to feel like I am accomplishing something.



Thank you Lord, for letting me fight through the nothingness of this life, to find your true passion for me. I give everything that I am for you... and I enjoy every moment of your breath in my lungs. I continue to move closer to the purity of you.

You give yourself and take away the barriers... I love you.

7.08.2009

Loving my life... as Mommy and Honey...oh and Aunt Jen

It's amazing how busy one can become while...

Renovating a farm, maintaining a home, adding 2 extra kids to the mix, planning a yard sale, and prepping 2 boys for camp. Not to mention trying to exercise, and spend some similiance of time with my family that isn't work related. We have a family wedding this month, my daughter is in it which just creates it's own list of things that need to be done and bought. Hotel reservations to make, deciding if we wanted to add an extra night to spend a day at the beach. The chaos never really gets managable but somehow we have all made it through. This morning, I sit in an empty house, save the 2 dogs. Over the dehydrator (making jerky for camp), I can hear the birds singing outside and the tapping of my keys. Ah BLISS. Carole King is serenating me... ah, home.

The farm is coming along, we spend 4th of July out there. Goal is Labor Day move. My oldest son starts highschool this year and I really want to be settled in one place by the time he and I have to conquer biology and algebra. We are both very excited, although for Mom there is a twenge of sadness. High school? Really? Of course, it seems like I myself was just a student, but that was close to 20 years ago. He's growing up. There are days I just long for his little bowl hair cuts and the nonstop story telling. But there are days that I enjoy sitting with him and talking about music. He loves grilling me about old rock. Someone has to educate him on Led Zeppelin, Heart, and Lynryd Skynryd.

My newest music exploration has come in Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra. They just make me happy. Makes me want to collect antiques and bake bread. Somehow it just makes your life seem movieesk. Dancing in the rain, or your pajamas really seems to be ok when they are singing in your living room. My little girl has gotten an ear for it too. The best part of Ella, she is always telling a story, with a sax in the background. Etta Jones is wiggling her way in my heart.

I guess I am just tired of living in the box. My huge revelation this week, I am comfortable in my own skin. Even if it is a little pudgier than I would prefer. I am happier than I have ever been. I love my life. It's busy, it's chaotic, but, it's mine. It's beautiful to watch my kids, to look at them and carry on conversations with them. My husband and I are enjoying a new level of intimacy, we have grown up a lot in the last year. Fifteen years of practice to get right here.

The funnest part of my life right now? Getting ready for the yard sale. There is so much stuff that I have kept just to appease others around me. Ha! Not now. I am going from an 1800 sq ft ranch with a full basement, to a 900 sq ft house. There must be love or it must be sold. Ande came home yesterday and was looking through my boxes of stuff I had pulled for the sale. We have come to the agreement that I get to decorate the farm house. He and I don't see country the same way. I have explained to him, that I know this is the house he grew up in. But I have to make it my own home. There are renovations, there are paint colors, there are things that I want to do. It will not look the same. My taste is different than his folks, I just want to update it. He understands and has resigned himself to getting to decorate the barn. So he would ask, This?. Yeap. I thought you liked that. Nope. Never did. I haven't truly decorated a home since 1998. Since then it's just been too much with the kids. I have tried in this house. I have painted and pulled carpet but it just never got finished. I don't want the farm to be like that. Not that I ever expect the decorating to be finished, I want it to be organic, I want it to have life of it's own.

God and I have spent a lot of time talking about the body of Christ. Where I fit in. What my role is. Right now, God has just released me to be a mother, and a wife... oh, and Aunt Jen. There is no pressure to be up to my eye balls in lexical greek, there is just a breeze through the back screen door to remind me that He is with me. There is a peaceful feeling. No striving, just breathing deeply. Loving every minute as it comes. Not getting wrapped up in the demands of the world. Just doing what I do, and loving Jesus for this season in my life. I don't have to commader every crisis that hits close to me. I can pray for them, maybe bake them something... and let them find their way to Jesus. What a great relief.


6.30.2009

Summer and Daddys...

Ok, remember all that complaining I did about winter. I promise you I am reveling in summer. Every moment. I am browner than I have been in years. Peace has found me pool side. I just love this time of year... the food of summer, the laughs of the kids in the summer. Swimming. There is nothing about summer that I dislike... except maybe bee stings.

I have also spent a lot of time thinking about all my Daddy's...

I have my biological father. We are close, I am and forever will be his little girl. I learned a long time ago that we are as much a like as we are different and that's ok. I love him with all my heart and I know that he loves me... and that in and of itself is enough. I have come to appreciate him more as so many of my friends lose their Dad's. Off the top of my head I can think of oddles of my friends that don't have their Daddy's anymore and I am blessed. I am proud of my Daddy, he has in the last few months come out of a career that spanned the last 29 years of his life. He walked away from a desk job, to see the world. He is getting to chase an adventure, and I am so delighted for him. Go Daddy! GO!

I have a spiritual father. My biological Daddy isn't saved and has never been able to teach me biblical truths. God sent another wonderful, powerful man to do that for me. He's had a hard time of it health wise lately. I spent some time with him today. It just breaks my heart to see him lie there. His wisdom just oozes out... he doesn't even have to try. He has taught me so much. But the two quotes I will always remember... "Don't worry your pretty little head over it" and "Don't say anything you are going to have to repent for later". He always likes to remind me in times of crisis I have a big enough mess without my mouth adding to it. He always encourages me, always edifies me and I always know, that I am his and he is mine.

My Pappy, I miss that man, Lord, do I miss that man. All of his strength, and dignity. Blue blooded Yankee that he was, with his ruddy red cheeks and his clear blue eyes. Listerine and Old Spice that's what my Pappy was made of. So patient, and loving. Only once in all my years did he EVER raise his voice at me. I deserved it. He was my harbor in the storms of adolesence. His motto was, "I refuse to get upset over anything I have no control over". He gave me great teachings in politics. I am a conservative to this day because of him. He loved me... and always called me Pookie. Always. Even on things he mailed to my house which he did quite often.

My father in law... it's been a long 15 years. But he has fathered me. He has been God's provision more times that I can count. Just this year I went from being Ande's wife - to his daughter in law. He's had a hard life, he sometimes can have a hard heart. But he loves me, I know he does. I love him too, but don't tell him. He will just think I am out to get something. He has already given me everything I could ever need, in his son. He has blessed me. BLESSED me.

I think of the different faucets of men that God has put here on earth to teach me different loves that the Father has for me. I am blessed. I am loved. I am taught and accepted and fathered. I am blessed.

Lord, thank you for all the Daddy's. I love them all. Protect them Lord, lay your hand on them tonight. Give them peace, and rest and comfort. For all the nights they have so willingly done it for me. You are amazing.

6.26.2009

Where the girls are...

Well, these past few weeks I have been drying off after my last few months of under water experience. I am standing on the edge of the pool now, chamois in hand drying my legs. My lungs are still a little sore but they feel strong.

I have a friend that is going through a separation from her husband. They are family, thier kids... are 4 and almost 2. My family has agreed that we would help this family. So we have these 2 little kiddos running around our house a lot now. I had forgotten the fun of toddlers and preschoolers... they have been quick to retrain Aunt Jen. Buy they have needed my time and energy so that hasn't left a lot for here. I am here. I am ministering to these little ones and thier Momma when she makes the time and I am just loving summer. We bought a pool for the backyard. Just big enough for the kids to hand out in... 8 foot diameter and just a hair under 3 ft deep. I am the Pool Supervisor and I can't tell you how much fun the kids and I have had in it. The sun had done us good after such a long cold winter.

Ande and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary last week. I will have to make the time to write a little something about that... it just won't be today. The kids have had VBS this week so I have had the mornings almost to myself. This morning I have a toddler with me... we just finished watching Winnie the Pooh... reminds me of chaotic days when my 3 were all 4 and under... can't dwell there too long my eyes either twitch or tears up...

What I know is that God is awesome. Faithful... He wants to answer our questions and will put resources in our hands when we cry out for His will... His direction. He has mended some fences and answered prayers so deep I never shared. I am the most content I have ever been... with less stuff and more unknown. I have no idea where the land is that He is going to show me... but I know, that it will be exactly what He wants me to have.


6.19.2009

Life... and other thoughts that just consume time.

I went visiting my past this morning. I hate when that happens. It's no longer the shame that consumes me as much as regret. I just wish I had made different decisions. I look back and realize I was so eaten up... with so many ungodly beliefs that I just wallowed in sin. Not that I don't still sin... but now maybe I am more aware, more conscious of my motivators.

I don't regret the things that made me, me. I regret the stupid things that just hurt people. I look back at pictures and don't like the emptiness I see in my eyes. I am thankful for a God, that delivered me from myself.

I am thankful for teachings on reconciliation, and forgiveness. I am thankful for a new definition and a new name for myself. I am thankful for a Savior, and a Redeemer. I am thankful that I am not defined by others opinion of me. I am thankful that only God Himself has the power over my destiny. That He trumps all others. He wins, Love never fails, and His word never returns void. He uses people with a past.

I am humbled that He would choose me. Call my name in the darkness and have the patience for me to crawl out towards Him. Just a slight movement and He came and saved me. He has laid so much love in my heart for others. So much grace, and mercy. Which I never had before. He wants to meet all of us face to face in the tunnels of darkness we hide in. In His eyes, we are all His children. I just find that to be the most awesome thing.


6.18.2009

Mended Fences...

1 Peter 5:10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

Somedays you just know it's time. Today was one of those days.

In the process of Sit, Walk, Stand... I am walking again. I was laying in bed last night fretting about some things going on in our lives. I just remember saying "God, I trust you", and it was as if the cloud of worry just rolled away.




6.16.2009

Paul...thank you Paul, for coffee.

Sometimes when I am really needing encouragement I turn to my friend Paul. Paul is good to teach and to bring to my rememberance my purpose and my destiny. He and I have been enjoying sometime together over coffee this morning. I have missed my friend Paul, and need to remember to invite he and his Father over more often.

I have spents some time in Ephesis, and Corinth this morning and realizing that so many generations have battled the same battles. So many others have fought a good fight. The other night, as I was laying in bed, the thought comes, "You are a bondservant to Christ, he is not your servant to come only when you call Him." I think I have had this a little out of proper perspective. Yes, I have struggled to find a place to belong in the Body of Christ. But Paul was so awesome to remind me this morning that I am still a part of the body. I can still serve through teaching, through administration... here in my own home. I can minister love to those who need it the most. I don't want to be a ministry, I don't want to have a ministry, I want to minister love. I am not always successful.

Lately, I have succumbed to feelings that aren't God like. I have teetered on the edge of morality. I have been defiled by words I have allowed to come into my ears and have defiled others by the words coming out of my own mouth. My mouth, my words are my gift. Always have been.

Ephesians 4:29-32 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I haven't been reflecting that. Not even close.

I need a good day, with my iPod in my ears filling me with worship music. Watering my soul. Reminding me of the sacrifice of Christ, and grace for me. I need a day with my kids, just splashing in the pool, without the demands of life. I need a good cry, and some tearing out of some roots. I need to quit being the martyr and just live a life worthy of my calling. I love my life, I am not overwhelmed, I am not tired, I am blessed. Abundantly, exponentially... to the ends of the earth... Blessed.



Thank you Lord, for sending Paul to me this morning. Father, for the rememberance that the Old Testament led to the New Covenant... and that You will fulfill the purpose. I love you Lord.

6.04.2009




I am a swimmer... I wanted to dance but I swam, I swam until... I realized I was too short to ever be a winner. But in my heart... I am a swimmer. There is something about the caress of the water, and the trust in your own lungs while flying that just appeals to me.

I was at my favorite little bookstore last night and a this magazine cover caught my attention. The artist's name is Eric Zener. There is just something about his work that resonates within my soul. Not that art hasn't spoken to me before but this cover just made me stop and stand there for a minute.

The name of the piece is "The Arrival". Let me try to articulate what my heart feels when I look at it. It's the culmination of climbing high, to the top of the dive board. It's looking out over the pool, knowing that others are watching, because you were taught as an infant to never swim alone. It's knowing that you are about to jump off of a perfectly grounded board... into the depths. It's holding your breath in anticipation. Anxiety dancing between your shoulder blades, the sound of your own heart in your ears. Walking one step, two, three.... bounce, bounce, bounce. Jump! Eyes closed even under the goggles, clouded goggles, you can't see through them anyway. Head first... the coolness of the water encompassed your body... The realization of survival... and a small splash set your mind at ease. Relaxation takes over as your body is pulled to the surface... submission is the only answer.

The piece says to me victory, survival... just below the surface, but yet so close to the end. This is how I feel right now. This is the best way I know to put my emotions into words. Just waiting to break the surface and to be able to open my eyes. To fill my lungs anew. So close...




5.28.2009

Praying fo' ya!



5.26.2009

Papa...



5.25.2009

I wait...



I am really ready to get to the point that I don't "hate". That was my realization this week. I hate. I have hurt before, but I don't know that I have ever hated. Hated isn't pretty. Hate is an ugly word... that's what I was taught as a child. You don't hate anyone. Right now I can't say that. I have only "hated" one other time in my life. How is it possible to love and hate at the same time. It's not. When hate comes in... love goes out. It's doesn't mingle. Hatred seeps in other areas of your life... quickly, almost like a cancer.

I am a firm believer in until you know what it is, there can't be healing. So the realization of what it is... is progress. Being able to label it.

Friday night I went with my family to our favorite local mexican restaurant. There was someone there that used to be my friend. I won't even make eye contact with her. I have nothing left for her, no pain, no animosity, no trust, no respect. No sooner did we go in and sit down and the man that raped me five years ago walks in. He makes it very obvious that he is there... I am no longer intimidated by him. I take responsibility for my role in it. I am no longer his victim... but again I have nothing for him. No feelings of maliciousness, no desire of retaliation... no respect, no trust and just pity for him and his family.

What I hate... is that I can't just walk away. I hate that I have had to face every one of these people. I hate that I feel like I am being punished. I feel like God has turned his face from me. I have been so deeply hurt by so many that I love. I don't trust well to begin with and everyday that goes by it seems that I trust others less and less. I feel like... I can't do one more day and yet, somehow, another day passes and I am still here. Still moving forward. I don't understand it. I love God but right now I am hating the delay. It's doesn't seem to let up.

If the farm is where we are heading, Let's get this show on the road. It's like swimming through quicksand. I feel like I am up to my hips in mud. I want to get excited but I can't... because we can't seem to get out there. I want to get this house packed up and get out there... but there is no point until that house is ready to move into... it's this constant... waiting. It's this constant... looking the enemy in the face. It's this unrelenting pain.

The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. ~Isaiah 51:3

5.22.2009

Floods...





No wonder I am feeling a little washed out.


5.21.2009

Jealous... and I hate it

I am ready to go... no really. I am ready. So ready. READY.

There are really times that I want to erase my entire friend list on Facebook and start over. Really. As time goes on I know that I can and will put greater distance in some of the relationships. I know that reading thier statuses won't hurt.

I am making new friends... I am transitioning. We will find a new place to belong and I won't always feel on the outside looking in. I will eventually release the final breath in the pain on this issue and I will move on. I know that... but DADGUM sometimes I wish that I could just throw a switch. Green is my favorite color but not like this.



Lord, I am happy for them. I am happy that they are moving forward in the desires of their hearts. I am glad that they have an opportunity to serve you. Lord, remind me that I am too. Remind me that you know my heart and my desires. That you have not forgotten me. That you are still cleansing me, us.

Jeremiah 29:11. Lord, I stand on Jeremiah 29:11.

5.19.2009

The Road to Nowhere... and light at the end of the tunnel.


This is a photo from the inside of the tunnel on the Road to Nowhere in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I took this picture on Mother's Day while I was hiking with my wonderful family. Maybe it's just a burning desire... maybe it is revelation but I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.

So many things... well, they still hurt. Being seperated from those I loved, losing friends. It's like someone came along and pulled up my anchor. I have drifted aimlessly for this past year. It's hard to believe how much time has passed. The storm has destroyed so much... things that I coveted, relationships that I clung to... ideals that were shattered. I have been broken. I have cried to the depth of myself and have found that I need so much more. There is still so much within me what is hard, and set in it's ways. What I have also found, is that God... in His awesomeness has heard my cries. He has opened doors to opportunity to talk about things that I never would have brought up otherwise. He has allowed words to comfort me... by the ones that inflicted the wounds to begin with. There are some more fences to mend... but I am willing to wait on God to open the doors.

I don't want my relationships to be based on emotion. Not with God, my husband, my children. I have always told my kids that courage was doing it scared. Today I was making my bed and the thought comes... Love is doing it in pain. I think of God as love... I think of Jesus as love... and I can't even begin to fathom the pain that they endured for me. That in that moment on the cross that Jesus applied my sins... the pain in that moment was for me alone... he could bear it and yet even now I could not. Jesus loved me as He hung there. Through the pain... He endured. He never quit, He never gave up, He never lost hope. Even in those moments before His death... He cried to God that His will be done... although His flesh cried out for the cup to be passed from before Him.

Jesus didn't do it on some warm fuzzy emotion LOVE. He didn't do it on anything less than gut wrenching.... if feels like I have been to HELL & back love. There are times that I believe that Jesus never married because then we would all have a list of rules to follow for our marriages. There are no rules in Love... The rule is... Do unto others...

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Love never fails... the 3 words that I love more than any other 3 in the entire book. What a promise that Jesus makes to us. NEVER fails. Never... ever. Failing isn't an option. We quit to easily. We throw our hands up. It doesn't "feel" right. It "hurts". But... Love never fails. He never gives up on us. He always protects, trusts and hopes. Through perserverance the snail reached the ark. Through following the calling of the Father... it made it to its point of destiny. How powerful that is.

Jesus... he still... still whispers intercession on my behalf. He sees the pain in my heart... He sets me up for success. He orchastrates it all... and I just follow His lead in the dance. If I allow Him to lead... it will be beautiful.

I don't understand... but I do get what you are beginning to show me. I want it to be more than a worship experience, more than just a warm feeling. It will be tested & tried... I want it to never seem like a mere affair... I want the whole relationship... not just the heavy breathing. I want to walk in the truth that I am enough for you... because you created me to love you. You whisper my name... you know my heart, my desires, my hope... my pain. But most of all you know my love. I have nothing to offer if I have not love.




5.17.2009

Tears...

I have had a long weekend. Spent the day today in my pj's napping and just taking it easy. Sometimes we all need a mental health day. I guess that was me today. Just enjoying my bed, reading, listening to the rain fall outside. It's a cool evening here in the mountains and I am again looking forward to the comfort of my bed and snuggling with my honey.

I spent too much time on Facebook... tends to be a time stealer for me. I keep thinking I just need to give it up. So what I have started doing is shutting it down for hours at a time. Researching recipes, and canning jars and other things that I am going to need in my new life. I love to cook, Ande and the kids, well, they love to eat. It's a good combination. But today, I saw pictures of a young married couple, he is deploying and I literally just sat here and cried. For her, for him, his mother. There is nothing like it. I can't even pretend to comprehend it. But I know that it breaks something in me.

I have been a military wife for 15 years. Somehow, God has spared Ande and I from being separated for more than 5 weeks. In all these years, Iraq, Afghanistan... 9/11. Part of me and I know him too feels like we are on the outside as we watch others go, our nephew is in the Navy... he was out to sea last year. Friends, family member... but never us. It's just strange. Trying to go active duty only to be sent home. I just don't understand... still.

Then I am reminded that I don't understand God at all. There is no part of the trinity that makes any sense whatsoever. The more I learn the less I know. It's overwhelming and frustrating all at the same time. Some make it so complicated, some just call it love. I just call it a relationship.

But today, I cried. When I woke up I was teary. The stupid thoughts plagued me again this morning as I laid in bed between the alarms. I am struggling to step out of the chains. The thoughts that have kept me silent, and still for so long. The ones that hurt that no one knows about. The scars that still seem to remind me of days long ago. I lie there and forgive, myself, for the offender... and yet somehow I just can't shake the pain. Time doesn't send any relief.

The only time it seems to diminish is when I am covered in God's love. But it's like these thoughts and God's love are like oil and water. I can't have both... it's either one or the other. One prevents the other from seeping in. I go back and forth.... but never quite get it blended.



Lord, I feel like a bird caught in an oil spill. I fly, then I fall back into the mess. I just need you. Like air, water, I need you.

I am editing this post to add the scripture that God gave me this evening... I just felt compelled to add it here.

Romans 12

Living Sacrifices

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Love

9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[d]says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."[e] 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Love always wins... even if he has to keep you awake.

Thank you Lord!

5.15.2009

The Beauty of God...

He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”
The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”
But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”
But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” ~ Luke 9:59-62

Do you think that sometimes we get so wrapped up in persueing our healing that we never fully take the land we have already conquered? Are we always so concerned with continuing to fix the past that we can't have a vision for the future? I don't know too much about farming... but I know enough to know that you can't plow a straight line if you are looking behind you.

I do believe that God has to free us from our chains. I do believe that there has to be healing, but I also think that if all we ever do is stand there with those loose chains around our ankles, if we never step forward we are no better off. I have spent way too much time looking at the chains of my past and being so used to bearing their weight that I haven't been able to move forward. Even as Jesus has continued to heal me I have just allowed the chains to puddle around my ankles. Freedom but still secure in my chains. They have defined me for so long can I really just step out of them and move on towards my future.

This has really been hitting home for me in the past few months. My life right now isn't even remotely close to what I pictured when I was younger. First off, I never really had a vision of a future. I was consumed with suicidal thoughts, plagued by the belief that I wouldn't live past my early 20's. I lived in such huge vats of shame that I really expected to die. I wanted to die, I remember laying in my bed and praying to God, "If I am not asleep by midnight, tonight is the night I am going to do it." I, honestly, in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be a 36 year old woman, married 15 years, homeschooling her kids and moving to a farm. I never saw a career path, never had a desire to go to college. I wanted the parties, not the long term benefits.
I sold myself short. Way too short. I added my own chains, of sexual identity, addictions, coping mechanisms. Crutches. If I get married I will be happy... another lie. A baby... another lie. I start looking back and my whole structure was built on lies that I put on myself.

Chains of despair, grief, shame, suicide, alcoholism, promiscuity.

So Jesus comes along... and gets a hold of me. Five years ago, I sought Him head on. He has over the past years taken the snips to those chains... But I have allowed myself to be paralized by a power that they no longer hold. I am not rejected... I was bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:20, tells me that I was bought with a price and I should honor Christ with my body. I am not abandoned, John 1:12 tells me that I am a child of God. There are more than 300 versus that tell me who I am in Christ. They combat every thought, every belief that I have held onto. I think it's time to let them win. I am going to quit allowing my thoughts to be over run with negativety. I am going to allow the Words to be like hydrogen peroxide and bubble out the infection... and I am going to step forward. I have been taught the process, I have walked with others, but I don't know that I have ever really let the same things penetrate my hard heart. It's time to destroy the stronghold...



Lord, I am tearing down the vines that have kept me from you. I am allowing the scales to fall from my eyes. Lord, you have never left me. Since I was a little girl, watching The Crystal Cathedral, Father the prayer of a 3 year old little girl watching the TV. You have been with me, every step along the way. I am sorry for allowing pain to seperate us. I am sorry for not walking in the victory that you have already declared over my life. Lord, thank you for your grace, your ultimate gift and Lord, my life. Thank you for preserving my life so that I could enjoy the blessings you have so willingly bestowed. I love you... doesn't express it... but I am willing to show you with my life, and not just my mouth.

Thank you Lord,

5.13.2009

Love songs...

I have been hanging off of a ladder painting for 2 days. One of the benefits of being married to a contractor. Spring painting. Nothing like a little sunburn and paint in your hair to make you feel alive. Well, that's what it does for me.

The thing about painting is that you spend a lot of time in your own thoughts. There were times that I could hear the radio but most of the time I couldn't. Finally today I put my iPod on to get me through some high work (which I hate). It seems that God knows what to load on my iPod, I purchased the new mp3 album Revelation by Third Day to make a CD for my Mom for Mother's Day. I like them, but they aren't really my style... but they are one of her favorites. So I am painting a long today and it's just like God grabbed me gently by my chin and looked me in the face as this song played in my ears.



This has just been a season of Jesus getting into my hard heart. Of not flailing, not striving for my own way. It has been excrutiating. I have begun to allow Him in the deep places of hurt. Places that you forget about until He puts His finger on a memory, a smell, something that seems so insignificant takes you back to a place that meets you with pain. All of my worst fears, all of those memories that have defined me but that I have shut out and not taken to the Cross. I have lived my whole life in fear that God's grace wasn't enough for me. For everyone else, but not me. That my salvation, is conditional, on performance.

I have spent years working on degrees in theology so that I would "feel" qualified. I have read so many Christian Inspiration books that they all sound the same. I have danced at the altar, I have been baptised twice, I have been in all of the "right" small groups. I have worn myself out trying to please man, and trying to earn a place. With this move to the farm, it's like God is screaming at me... you are already in your place. Not that wife and mother is all that I am. I am so much more than just labels of responsibility. But at the same time I don't need anything more. I don't have to be the Homeschool President, the Scoutmaster, make all of the costumes, and attend church every time the doors are open so that I have all of these qualifications to list on my Application for Salvation.

I do believe that we walk out our Salvation. I do believe that God calls us to a process of sanctification. Holiness, seperate behaviors... not alienation from all things evil. Not a list of do's and don'ts. But a heart that cries out to Him... a heart that desires to know Him, for the sake of loving Him. A heart that knows fear of the Lord, honor, obedience to His Word. Loving ourselves enough to be capable of loving others the way that we love ourselves. Allowing God's love to flow in and through us, a cleansing stream. His Word, the two edged sword... seperated the bone from the marrow. What is skeletal versus what is the source of the skeleton.

I kept thinking that I miss God over the last few months as we have searched for a new church home. If only I could find a good worship event, if only the Pastor would call, if only someone would lay hands and pray on us. What I have missed is an emotion. God hasn't left me, He has had His hand on the small of my back guiding me and whispering in my ear every step of the way. The pain, He saw, the tears, He caught, the sobs, He heard. The accusations, He held at bay, the enemy, this far and no farther. God has implanted a faith, a hope so deep in my heart. It makes no sense. I can't explain it. Others ask where it comes from and I can say it's only through Him... Christ Jesus that I am even alive. I know the places He has walked with me, I know the times that He could foresee the damage, and yet, allowed it for my growth. He did it with Abraham, Job, Paul... David.

It is because of my love of the Father and the Christ, that I am able to love my husband, despite his humanness. My children through the tough days of adolecence. My parents through years of rebellion, and misunderstanding. My own self, despite the weight, the past, the sin, the shame... the things I have done to cover for the real me, that no one would love. I have begun to allow Him to love her, and as He does, I am able to show her to Ande, my children, my family... my friends. I am not who I have portrayed. I am a weak woman, that needs her Father, her Savior and her Comforter... everyday. I am done pretending to be strong, I am going to allow myself to cry, I am going to allow myself to laugh. I am going to allow myself to be me. I am going to be true to the Creator and care a lot less about what creation thinks.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”- Proverbs 31:30