Yeah... that's it!

I love this book by Lisa Bevere. It has changed my heart, my perspective on purity, before & during marriage.  It has spoken to the young girl in me who made wrong choices for all of the right reasons.  She takes my past, my present and my future, my sexuality as a tarnished young woman and creates in me the desire to be wholy and pure as a wife... and to teach this great lessons to my children.  One of my greatest desires is that my children would remain pure until marriage so that they are able to give themselves entirely with no holes to their spouse.  What an awesome accomplishment and one that I wish I had been able to give and receive.  

There is a quote in the book that smacked me upside the head last night and I feel compelled to share.  "I got tired of being a warrior or a challenge, and longed instead, to be adored."  YES! YES! YES!  I don't want to fight for my place, or have to compete for it, I want to be adored and enough just as I am.  That one sentence took how I have been feeling and put it into words, words that I could say... you know, yes that is what I want.  "...it left me empty and hungry for someone who would truly love and protect me."  Ok, so what I have been experiencing isn't new, I am not the only one.  Lisa Bevere, I love you for writing this book and speaking to my heart in a way that can let me dance when all I have wanted to do is hide and cry in shame.  

God is so in this area of my life and my marriage right now.  He is cleaning house not only for me but for my husband and my kids.  I refuse to let the beast of pornography impact my children, I will kill that demon in this house.  It will no be used to define intimacy and it will not breed self-satisfaction. My husband and I have been married for going on 15 years, and we are successful in 90% of our marriage.  We are best friends, we are awesome parents together... but because neither of us honored "purity" we have brought so much trash to our marriage bed and we have had to dig through and sort what is Godly and what isn't.  I regret every act that I have done to tarnish what should be the most glorious place on earth for us.  We are having to learn how to be holy and righteous in that place.  God is cleaning the sheets, he is pulling out old hurts and walls that have been built to keep us from true intimacy.  It is a beautiful thing.

We have decided that we are going to kill this.  One way or another.  For us, for our kids... for their spouses and for our grandchildren.  Not saying that their live will be without struggle but we are taking responsibility for this area of our lives, for the past sins of our fathers, and we are saying this far and no farther. Does it mean we are going to be perfect, no... what it means is that we are commited to walking side by side through this battle for our family.  However, we all know that you usually have to hit rock bottom before you will institute change.  Well, we have been there and done that... and now we are ready to walk away from the wreckage, holding hands - loving each other with parts of ourselves that we have held back in fear.  Loving with an ability to trust that although the hike may be hard, there may be scars that we are doing it together.  Some won't understand, but others will look at us and know that it is only God's grace because we don't deserve the mercy and the grace He has poured out on the wounds that we have created and carried.

Lord, I thank you for allowing me to find the man you had for me.  Even Lord, when it's hard.  Lord, I thank you for loving me enough to give me such a wonderful husband and thank you Lord for opening our eyes to what you are trying to teach us.  Lord, I thank you for my boys and for their hearts for you.  I thank you for the opportunity to share the truth with them and with Julia.  Father, I prayer even now for the purity of the spouse that you have set aside for them.  Father, allow them also to enter their marriage pure and with a heart that is prepared to adore.  Lord, thank you for the Song of Solomon and for the beauty that it portrays.  Father, I love that you love us... I love that you have given us this wonderful gift of intimacy.  Father, allow me to continue to learn so that we can lay aside our shame and help deliver this to others.  I give it all to you and ask for your hand upon it... today and always.


A Desperate Cry for Jesus...

Psalm 13
1 How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
 3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
 4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
 5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
 6 I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.

It's 2 am and I can't sleep.  My flesh longs to be comforted.  I long for the arms of my husband but he sleeps peacefully and I know that is not what God has for me this evening.  I slept well last night after a beer and the thought crosses my mind that I should try that again, except in my heart I know that isn't what I need at all and if I succumb to the desire tonight that tomorrow night it will come again.  So instead I read Bible Gateway and I search for my heart to sing when I read something.

I long for peace.  I long for comfort... I long for God and despite I know His hand, I know He is up to something, He is working in my heart- the comfort that I seek I can not find.  My emotions get the best of me and crying would feel really good except that the tears won't come and all I am left with is tension and sore muscles.  My world fell apart six months ago today and tonight, well tonight I long for my old life, my old friends, my old comforts and God continues with the "new well" routine and I just am so tired of drilling in this rock and I wonder when the water will be released and when the pressure and the noise will subside.  

Yesterday, Father God took me back to one of defining moments in my life.  He took me back to the place that I denounced Him 10 years ago.  He took me back to the scene of a horrible accident that changed me and my beliefs.  It's almost as if these last 10 years he has been trying to show me what life would be like without Him.  

We had just finised praying over our Jed Clampett like caravan.  We drove through downtown Atlanta as the trailer came unhooked from the back of the Penske truck crossed 3 lanes of traffic and carrened into a concrete barrier.  In the 30 seconds that it took, my entire life passed in front of my eyes.  For the first time in my life I was scared to my core.  As unrealistic as it seems, I thought that my entire family was going to die and I was going to be left to watch.  

That moment has defined me for the last 1o years.  I remember that Christmas following the accident my Father in law asked me about my relationship with God and I told him that there was no God.  I completely lost my faith in God and all that I knew about Him.  I lost myself in the years that followed and allowed myself the will to do anything and everything that I could find to do to fill that void in my life.  I lost my conscious.  I ran head first into disaster and found it.  Numerous places.  It took me 4 years from that moment, to get my feet back under me.  The next 5 years, I was working on my relationship with Christ.  

In November 2007, I went to a Women of Faith conference in Charlotte and on the way home we saw a trailer fish tail in front of us.  In my mind my only option was to crawl out the window of the church bus.  Ok, realistically the windows are 6"x8" and there is no way I could have made it out the window.  But the instinct was very real.  It was my first thought... crawl out of the window and get off the bus.  Forward from there 4-5 months and after an awesome Encounter with God I was able to drive behind a trailer.  Then over the course of the last year I have had times I have had to drive with a trailer attached to my own vehicle.  Small steps but I either didn't realize the magnitude or somehow I thought I could just push it out of my mind.  

Yesterday morning I was already driving before it hit me that I was going to drive IN Atlanta and not just TO Atlanta.  I haven't experienced panic like that in years.  Everyone kind of blew me off as I was beginning to panic.  I called Ande, he was a voice of reason and encouragement and I was able to keep going.  By the time I finally parked at the Civic Center all I wanted to do was vomit.  My flesh was screaming to be comforted, to do something.  My spirit however was at rest.  I knew that the Holy Spirit had been with me in only the way that the Holy Spirit could.  I had a car full of middle school boys, and my son would have been mortified had I allowed my panic to show.  Oh, he would have done everything that he could have to comfort me... but I didn't want him to have the crazy mom.  

As we are walking through the exhibit at the muesuem I realize that I have broken out in hives.  Not typical for me.  Don't know that I have ever had hives before.  My first thought was that it was the soap in the bathroom.  I really didn't think too much about it.  Then it came time to get back into my truck and to head out of town.  I literally was getting hives on my hives.  My flesh was going to freak out, no matter how it did it.  By the time we stopped for ice cream I was a wreck but I didn't say anything, like I said, my flesh is trying to control and my Spirit knows.. and is at peace.  

So we get home and by the time we arrived, the hives were gone.  I knew that I had just shown more courage than I ever had.  I tell my kids all the time that courage is doing it scared.  I did it scared and I survived.  God had taken me to Atlanta to show me that I wasn't the same woman I was then.  He assured me that I was going to be okay and that He was taking away something that didn't belong to me at all.  This fear had been crippling me for 10 years.  I know in my heart right now that if I had to drive to Atlanta tomorrow I could do it, without fear because in Christ I am more than a conquerer and God loves me enough to set me up for success.

Even experiencing that yesterday isn't providing comfort to my weary soul.  My muscles scream tonight from the tension of yesterday.  I have been to battle this evening.  I am broken, I am weary and I just long for answers.  I long to know what my tomorrow looks like.  We have been in limbo - literally for 10 weeks.  Knowing that we are leaving yet not knowing when or where.  I have continued to lay my head on the pillow and cry out for relief.  It usually goes a little like this, "Lord, thank you for allowing me to survive one more day."  Because I feel like that is all I have been doing for the past few months.  Surviving. Crisis mode.  I look back and see how far I have come.  I feel like I climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest, but the trip isn't over.  

Lord, I have laid in the bed and sought your thoughts.  Lord, I see your hand, I see it on the trip yesterday.  I see what you are trying to do.  Lord, I beg for your mercy.  I beg for release.  Father, I beg for this season to come to an end.  Father, I implore you as your favorite daughter to release me from this place.  Lord, only deliverance will suffice.  I can't fight any longer.  I can't hold it together any longer.  Only you can carry me through this valley of the shadow of death.  Lord, I cry out for you... I cry out for you Father God.  My hope is in you... I will do what you desire of me Father.  I will hold fast to your love and your promises.  Lord, I want to be willing, let me will be willing.  To love, to trust.  To understand and to walk through these dark places knowing that you are guiding our steps.  The only comfort I find is in the tapping of these keys... hear my heart Father.  Even if my flesh doesn't always line up... hear my heart.  I love you... I need you... only you satisfy.


Jesus loves me this I know... for my broken heart tells me so.

I am just feeling a little isolated this morning.  It's still odd to wake up on a Sunday morning without a purpose.  We have visited, we have tried and I am just still not willing to make an investment any where.  Just where I am... the pain is still deep and I am just not ready to take on another congregation that wants to be my family.  Say what you will, but families hurt you more than anyone else and I am just not willing to lay myself out there for any more pain right now.

Momma Jan always says that we can be hurt in healing because we know the Healer, and yes, I know Him and I love Him, with all my heart.  I know that He is wants me invested into the Body of Christ, but I am just kicking and stomping my feet.  I know it, He knows it... I have had to break agreement with many a judgement, and I have forgiven...and forgiven... and forgiven... daily, minute by minute at times.  The issue isn't the past it's the present.  Right now, in all reality... my perspective stinks.  

We know we are leaving so I don't want to "invest".  I don't want anyone to "invest" in me.  I don't want to risk the rejection, I don't want to say the goodbyes and I just want to slip out of town (on most days).  Six months ago my phone rang off the hook... the last 6 days, it's hasn't rung once.  When all is said and done, the laundry on the line... I will take a very small hand full of friends with me.  

I know that God has reknit my family.  I know that He is continuing to work in my heart with a newness and a freshness and freedom in areas that all I have ever known is rejection.  I know that.  I know that He has answered thousands of prayers and has heard millions of tears and has given me the deepest desires of my heart when it comes to my husband and my children.  I am thankful.  From the depths of my heart I am thankful.  I will still stand before His throne and thank Him and worship Him because He knows my needs and my desires more than I do.  

I have chosen, albeit sometimes not always willingly, to make Him the cake in my life.  Sweet and filling, he leaves only room for decoration and icing that comes from the rest of my life, my family, my activities.  I know that when I take my eyes off of Him and allow them to look anywhere else that I often find myself in the ditch with no way out but to cry out for Him again.  So many times He has found me in an Ezekiel 16 moment.  Whether self induced, or by others, situations, etc.  But He has never left me uncovered, He has never left me dirty, He has always wrapped me up and pulled me closer to Himself.  Even when I didn't want Him, He wanted me.  When no one else wanted me or had time for me... He always does.

Lord, I know that I am hosting a pity party today, but I am thankful that you always remember me.  Lord, you know where to find me even if I don't get up and seek to find you in a church on Sunday morning.  I am thankful for your time and your investment in me, and I am thankful to have to the time to invest in you without distractions.  Lord, I lay my heart on your throne, and pray Lord that you will have your way with it.  That Father, no one knows the hurts but you and only you can heal them.  Teach me to accept love again, allow me to be vulnerable in friendship again, in love again.  Lord, teach me to love you without distraction and with disregard to others opinions.  It's you Lord, just You that I desire.  I know that this is but a season, and even as the trees are budding, there is a new season on the horizon.  


Where the men are men and the steers know it...

I have thought a lot about this these last few days.  Here is where I am today.  Because we all know that I am always open to revelation...

I do believe that by not being honest that we don't let men bear the full weight of fatherhood.  I have several friends that never told thier father of abuse and never gave him the opportunity to be thier protector.  "Don't tell Daddy". I think as women we are more interested in keeping peace, and we will control and manipulate our enviroments until it appears that we have peace.  We so fear rejection and abandonment.. we operate solely from a place of fear but we turn it to say that we are protecting someone else.

I tell my children when they are dishonest with my they tie my hands at being able to protect them and come to their defense.  When it comes to my children I always want the truth.  I  think of Jack Nicholson "You can't handle the truth" every time someone is trying to protect me by only giving me half truths.  John 8:32 tells us that the truth will set us free.  Free from responsibilites that we weren't supposed to have in the first place.  Lies take work, even if it isn't a lie, even if it is just hiding of the truth I believe that it makes a big difference.

Let me give you an example, my daughter at 9 has a crush on a little boy.  She pours her heart to me and says but don't tell Daddy.  What if I don't tell my husband, her father?  Some would say I would break her confidence and she wouldn't trust me again and I would agree.  What if when she said that I replied, Honey, we don't keep secrets from Daddy, we want him to know what is going on in your heart so that he can pray accordingly, and he can keep his eye on the situation.  Then I have helped build her confidence in her father.  I have made him approachable.  I have set them both up for success.  There is no manipulation, no stories to keep straight and he gets to build a relationship with his daughter.

It also opens his eyes to her world.  He is able to take that time to talk to her about his heart for her, what he thinks of her and to fill her with his own words.  Julia and I talk a lot about purity, sex and all things female.  That is my job as her mother to have an ongoing conversation so that she has enough of my words in her head and heart that if she ever finds herself in a compromising position she has already decided what her answer is.  We practice saying no.  My words of teaching are important to her, but just as important is Daddy telling her his own words his feelings and the boundaries he has laid for her as her father.  He is able to articulate to her that he would stop at nothing to defend her, to love her and to help her run a clean race to God. 

When we hide things from our kids, we miss on the life lessons that we could and should be teaching them.  Our family hit crisis a few months ago.  We have been able at this point to talk to all of our children about it on their own levels.  As they grow they will have more questions and we will be able to expand our answers, but what if we just put on a face and pretend that nothing is wrong?  I am not saying defile your children with details, and I am not saying put a spirit of fear on them but I am saying, teach them as you are being taught.  Teach them that Daddys and Mommys make mistakes and don't live on a pedestal.  It's a lesson in authority that they are going to have to learn sometime in life.  

I am going to tie this ramble up by saying, if you want him to be a father, you have to treat him like one.  If you want him to be a man, you have to treat him like one.  If you want him to be a hero, a knight on a white horse, then you need to treat him like one.


Question for you....

I have been doing some thinking and before I reveal what my thoughts are... I was just wanting you to ponder something.  We talk about how men aren't men, father's aren't fathers... what if any role do we as women play in that?  Believe me I am not seeking to lay blame or shame... never my intention... but do we as women keep them from being what God has designed them to be?

The second part of that question... and while you are already pondering such deep things on a rainy Saturday afternoon... what role if any do men play in keeping women from being women and mother's being mother's?

I am going to throw this on Facebook as well.  I am geniuinely curious.


For the broken hearts...

Lord, teach me to allow you to love me.  Lord, open my eyes more and more to see myself how you see me and not the smallness that I see when I look in the mirror.  Lord, I don't want pride, I want your unconditional extragavant love, not for myself, Lord, I know that you love me but, Lord for others.  I want to be so full of your love that I no longer operate out of fear, out of shame, out of need.  But Lord, that your outrageous love for me would cause others to desire and know that outrageous love for themselves.

Lord, teach us, your daughters... your precious little girls to receive love.  Lord, we have been hurt by what is called love.  Lord, teach us to open our hearts to you.  To trust you in such a way that we are changed.  Lord, that we can not only help ourselves, but our mates.  Lord I am reminded in your word, in 1 Peter 9 where you tell us:

"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. "

Lord, teach us to be submissive, to allow them to be the men that you have created them to be.  Lord, allow us to love them in a way that they feel no pressure to love us.  That Lord they are so drawn to you in us, that nothing else can turn their heads.  Lord, let us be Delilah to our husbands, that they long to come home and lay their heads on our breast and pour out their pain.  Lord, allow us to lay down our need to control, to save them from everything including you.  Lord, we want trust you to work on their heart... so that we don't have to do it.  We just want to be a vessel of your love for them... through your outrageous love of us.  

Lord, we want to be your kind of beautiful.  We want to allow ourselves to be the feminine beauties that you created us to be.  We want to dance before you with tamborines, and without regard to shame and fear.  We want to love you without bounds.  

Lord, I just want to love you... so please Father, Savior, Comforter... teach me to love myself. 


Yes, Lord!

Isn't it amazing how men and women struggle with the same things with thier sexuality.  I know that Kirk sings this to the men in the house but how many of us have been the women that he is talking about?  Maybe it's just me.  Maybe no one else can relate, but Kirk sings this song and I cry because I know, I know that I married a man that walked that past.  I have met and encountered many men like that in the past.  I was raised by a man like that and had grandfathers that were like that.  I know that I am not alone in seeking out God's direction, for his purpose, and like Kirk I know it is a part of my destiny.

I want wholeness.  I want to be more Christlike.  We often like forget that Jesus encountered everything.  He hurt for the people he saw.  It ached Him, He had to walk away and find time to get ahold of the Father, not because He was weak and He couldn't do it, but because it hurt so bad that the only option Jesus had was to lay it before His Father.  

Jesus gave hope to the prostitutes, He didn't judge them, He didn't kick them out of his circle.  He looked them in the eye and gave them the gift of hope.  He didn't wait for them to come to Him, with the woman at the well He spoke first.  I have been taught that if  you need something you have to ask, I believe that Jesus's approach was much different.  He sought out the ones with the most pain and shame and offered Himself to them.  He called them out of the trees by name.  He didn't sit on a throne in the middle of the town square and wait for them to come to Him.  He called them by name and said, Yes, yes, I see where you are, I see your sin and I see your shame and I want you to know that I love you.  No matter what.  He walked by the docks and called brothers... He saw their destinies and He called them to Himself.

We live in a society where everyone has so many choices.  We are bombarded with the wrong choices.  We know how to fail, but no one has ever taught us to succeed.  There is a society where fathers aren't fathers and mothers aren't mothers and every generation that goes by becomes more and more dilussioned.  My heart cries for the children.  What we began to experience in school they are dealing with everyday.  What used to be taboo is now common.  Where the fathers started looking at Playboy at 12-13 their daughters are now sending naked pictures of themselves on their cell phones to their classmates.  Then we all want to sit around and blame the kids.  We open too many doors for our kids.  We have let our guard down and the enemy has found an entrance into our families and into our lives.

Jesus, I call out for you to enter my family, my neighborhood, my community, my country.  Lord, this is not regional this is international.  I just pray that you begin to open our eyes.  Father that we don't get so distracted by our government, by our economy that we quit fighting the fight for you.  Father, we want strong families, we want morality, we want the be Christlike and pour out your love.  Thank you for circumstances Father that have led me down this road, so that I could find you.  My Lord, My Savior, My Redeemer.


Captivated by Captivating

I have been reading the book Captivating for my second time through.  I loved the book when I read it the first time a few years ago and somewhere in my heart I knew it was time to reread it.  I would highly recommend it to women, who have been hurt and who seek to attention in unhealthy ways.  

So many of us struggle with trying to be the center of attention.  I have in the past used sex as a way to be the center of someone's world.  Even if only for a brief time.  For that time there was nothing else that matter but me... ha... what a crock.  It had nothing to with me... I was giving myself to someone else who was trying to fill a real need with a moment of pleasure.  I used to dress to get other men's attention.  Somehow I just didn't feel captivating to the man that God had given me.  But the game started way before I ever met him.

The thing about being a BS Artist, is that you can spot one a mile away.  My heart aches for young girls I see that don't know, that have never been told that they were worthy of respect.  They have never heard that they were precious, or that the gift of intimacy is something that you can't receive no matter how many partners or how much experience you have.  You search for something but never find it in others.  I tried every way to make sex enough.  It just never was and it never will be.  If anything, you lose more and more of yourself along the way.  Whether you go all the way or part of the way... the compromise leaves you empty and full of shame.  Then the next time we go farther because we don't know that we can lay boundaries, and respect ourselves.  

Over the last few years... wow, has it been that long?  I have been learning what sex, what intimacy really is.  We live in a fast world, a convienient world... a world that would rather masterbate than engage fully.  We don't believe in ourselves, we don't trust anyone... including God.  We wait in anticipation of rejection and abandonment.  We do whatever we have to do in order to find some sort of comfort.  Then we hide it.  

All we want to be is captivating.  We want a safe place to land... someone to share our lives with.  God has created intimacy to be so much more.  Maybe others have known this thier whole lives but I know many a girl friend that didn't know and some still don't know.  We think it's lingerie and orgasms.  I am thankful for the past few months of crisis in my life.  I am thankful to a God that wanted to teach me what intimacy is.  That wanted to show me the gift of marriage and the ability to love without regard to feelings, and without fear.  

Jesus is the Lover of my Soul.  He chases me, persues me, and looks for an opportunity to be my hero.  He can whisper in my ear and send a breeze to send chills down my neck.  So often we take that and think it's dirty, inappropriate to talk about Jesus that way.  I think that Jesus loves us enough to want to fulfill all of our needs... if only we would take them to Him.  If we would take our needs to Him and not to the mall, or the casino, or the strip club, the bar and anywhere else we go to hide and soothe ourselves He would fill us fresh and anew.  He has placed those needs and desires in me, I have just been taught an inappriopriate response.  

Lord, please continue to teach me to hear your voice... to heade your advances.  Lord, I thank you for persuing me, even in your Soverignty still you chose to make yourself available to fill my needs and my desires.  It is you I long for... you that I desire.  Thank you for finding my captivating... and for singing and dancing over me.  I love you, and I love the life that you have crafted for me.  For him, for the kids... this life is more than I ever could have imagined... your love is extravagant and I am blessed.  I give you my heart, my soul, my mind... full of the love I have received from you as my offering... and as the token of my affection.  Because you, My Lord, my King... are what little girls dreams are made of.  


The day I quit crying...

I don't know that there will ever be a day I quit crying.  I used to control my tears and not cry on the outside but I cried on the outside... a lot.  I remember being a child and getting my feelings hurt.  My grandmother had a pool and I would swim, crying under water because I didn't want anyone to see me cry.  I would be told how silly it was what I was crying over... and that you refused to get upset over anything you had no control over.  I love my grandparents, and I always have, they were trying to grow me up and I understand that now.  What I was taught was to "Don't Cry Out Loud"... "Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone."  What a thing to teach a young girl with tender feelings.  

I was taught to stuff feelings and to just grin and bear it.  Wow... I have done the same to my daughter, I will have to remember to apologize to her when I see her.  

I used to love to swim. I would swim for hours and hours.  I had a dream last night that I was underwater.  I saw my feet push off of the bottom of the pool... and in my heart I knew - that I was coming to the surface.  The alarm woke me before I broke the surface but my heart was full knowing that God was whispering to me that the end is in sight.  That I can push off the bottom of the barrel and find myself floating again.  With force, with speed.  

The weekend we went on our tour of the Carolinas.  This is the first time that I have seen these mountains in the distance that my heart didn't sing.  There is a dread to come here.  A place that I used to love has become the last place that I want to be.  I know that God has prepared me for departure... I was going to grow deep roots here and I had started.  However, it wasn't God's best for me and my family.  He had to pull every punch to get it through to us that it was time to leave.  We have lost our church family, our business, our home... our financial security, our friends... our "ministry".  Everything that we have strived for had been taken from us.  It used to be I never wanted to leave and this weekend I realized I never wanted to come back. 

Some of it is the pain of the loss, but the other part of me... is just ready for some sunshine.  I loved Charleston this time around.  We ate breakfast on the patio at 8:30 in the morning and it was already in the 70's.  The seagulls and the pelicans.  Flip flops, caps and capris.  The water, the boats, the tan skin.  

Lord, I love you and you alone know the desires of my heart.  You alone know what you have in store for us.  I trust you.  Lord, even if you decide we will stay here, I will trust you.  I will love you and cry out to you from the love in my heart.  I chase only after you.  I chose to be your beloved... and to let you lead the dance.


It was 78 degrees today...

My lover said to me,
“Rise up, my darling!
Come away with me, my fair one!
Look, the winter is past,
and the rains are over and gone.
The flowers are springing up,
the season of singing birds has come,
and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
~Song of Solomon 2:10-12

Ok, most of you know that I grew up in Florida.  I remember when temperatures in the 70's meant breaking out winter clothes.  Then I moved to NC and 70's meant summer!!  Boy how times change.  But the changing of the clocks tonight means that Spring is sprung and we are going to be dancing in the daffodils soon!! 

I am reading this wonderful book by Lisa Bevere, "Kissed the Girls and Made them Cry".  It is hitting my square between the eyes.  The fact that I walked into a used bookstore on Thursday and just happened upon it reminds me of God's provision... and his perfect will for our lives.  God and His timing.  I find it impeccible.

"Even now," declares the LORD, 
"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning."
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
~Joel 2:12-13

Rend means to tear.  I think of the times in the Bible that people "rent" their clothes and I can imagine them falling to their knees in dispair and yelling up at the heavens and tearing starting at the neck of their tunics.  I hear God saying tear away what has covered you, what you have used to hide your shame and rip it away from your heart with purpose.  That's what He has been walking me through in the last few months.

I would say to you, welcome it with open arms.  When God wants to work on your heart... I will warn you it hurts like hell ripping hurts... but the master surgeon can and will... heal it.  I kept wanting a new one... but this one is mine and I kind of dig it.  It is full of love.

I love God.  With everything he gives me.  


The winter...

that we survived.

God is good all the time.  People are asking me what the future holds for us and I promise you that I don't know.  We will know in God's timing... we think we know but when we are honest about it we are unsure.  

I was reading Psalm 51 the other night.  It's the psalm that David wrote after the confrontation with Nathan the prophet.  I would just like to share it here...

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
5 For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6 But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
18 Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.

When I read this Psalm it was almost like the fog had lifted.  I was able to see things through God's eyes and not my own.  This was no longer David's Psalm it was my own.  My own cry to my Heavenly Father.  It seemed to cover everything that I had been thinking lately... especially about myself.  I know that David was pouring his heart out just as I was able to take his words and make them my own.  There was a breaking... a resolve that was quiet yet transforming.  In my effort to strive to be "good" all I had done was become a victim of the "to do" mentality.  In order to be a Christian you have to... you know what I am talking about.  Every denomination has them, I won't smoke, or drink, I will serve until I am empty and then serve some more.  God so got into my heart and said...

If you knew how much I loved you, how much I love to just sit and watch you.  I find you beautiful and intreging.  I adore listening to you breathe the breathe that I put into you.  I created you because I wanted to love you.  I need you, not to complete me but because I am so full of love and there is a special portion just for you.  You don't have to be afraid, I work on your behalf... and have since the creation of time.  There is nothing that you can do to make me stop loving you.  I love being the Lover of Your Soul.  I enjoy dancing over you, and whispering intercession on your behalf.  

It changed me.  It made me see my life so differently.  It made the main thing the main thing.  If I keep Jesus as the cake, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my writing, my studying... they are but the icing.  They don't have the pressure of keeping me filled... or full... they just make life so much sweeter.  It brings peace to know that I can quit looking to them for my needs.  God is my provider, my husband and the lover of my soul.  He has numbered the hairs on my head and the heads of my family.  We are in His hand.  He has bonded us with the glue of crisis.  I look around and know with every ounce of myself... that we are reflecting more Christ now, than we ever have.  When God fills us overflowing with His love... we have no option but to pour it on others around us.

Thank you Lord... for your words, for your love, for your provision, your sacrifice.  You are what sustains me and I submit to your will.  Whatever that looks like.  My rock, my salvation, I take comfort in the palm of your scarred hand.  Bless you.  I love you.

Breakfast Burritos

So what do you eat the night after Olive Garden?  When you are still full of pasta and cheese, and breadsticks and all the goodness that you licked off your plate the night before? Especially if you have a hankering for spicy mexican goodness??

Low Carb (because that's how you roll after a night at Olive Garden)

Breakfast Burritos

High Fiber Low Carb Olay Wraps
10 eggs
1 pound of bacon (I used thick)
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red onion
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tsp sea salt
shredded colby jack cheese

sour cream
hot sauce

Fry or bake your bacon.  In a seperate skillet in 2 tbsp of butter saute diced onions and green pepper.  When tender add spices.  Pour whipped eggs over top and scramble until done.  Allow everyone to assemble their own burritos with condiments and bacon.  Enjoy! Quick simple, and cheap!!  You could use sausage, ham... whatever really floats your boat.  

Be sure the check out my new cooking blog... 


Life just isn't fair...

Yeah... to which we parents reply, "Whoever told you life was fair, lied."

Ande and I have been doing no-carbs and working out at the gym 4-6 times a week.  Me ususally more than him at the gym.  So how is it that he is down 20 pounds and I am down... get this TWO.  Yeah, short of killing him there isn't really anything that I can do about it.  Now granted, I feel stronger, my heart feels stronger.  I was able to climb Max Patch without 1. dying and 2. hyperventilating.  However, I stand on the scale and I swear to you it laughs at me... OUTLOUD!

I just don't understand.  So today, while we were in Asheville picking up Alex's birthday gift (yeah we won't even talk about the fairness of that)... we were driving down Tunnel Road and I hear it... Jennifer...psst...Jennifer....over here.  At first I thought it was IHOP calling me but it wasn't.  We kept driving and Ande says so what do you want for dinner... IHOP I say.  Well Ande makes the best pancakes and they are much cheaper than IHOP (yes we had that conversation), so we keep driving and I am thinking... mexican... no our favorite mexican restaurant is within walking distance of our house.  Then I hear it... the italian accent... so sweet I swear it sounded like tiramisu tastes.  Think Carmela from Sopranos... Jennifah - Jennifah .... (Yeah I dreamt once I was Carmela and had a Porche Cayenne).  Olive Garden... bada bing bada boom!

So we are walking to the entrance and there was a debate between Olive Garden and Carrabba's.  Steak Marsala with cavatappi ameritriciana... oh yeah. However, we figured in our logic that Olive Garden was less expensive.  Meanwhile Alex is acting like we have just landed in Tuscany.  The boy says, "I don't remember ever eating here before."  That is the first time I have ever felt like a complete failure as a mother.  

Let the eating begin... we order stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer to go with our unsweet teas.  Yeah - same idea as going to McD's and ordering a Big Mac, a large fry, an apple pie and a Diet Coke.  I gorged myself out of my deprivation for pasta.  The salad was fabulous and oh my we aren't even going to discuss how many breadsticks I ate.  I was officially a member of the clean plate club.  Not one drop of sauce, one smidget of breading was left on my plate.  I didn't order dessert... I was proud of my will power.

So we are heading home and it hits me.  Carb guilt.  Shouldn't have eaten so much.  Should have only had a half of dozen breadsticks...  yeah it was bad.  In an effort to console myself I texted my friend and rubbed it in that I had Olive Garden for dinner.  Even her jealousy wasn't enough to curb the guilt.  So we got home and packed our gym bags and went to the gym.  I usually ride the bike for 30 minutes and do the elliptical machine for 30 minutes.  I threw an extra 1o minutes on the elliptical just to ease my troubled mind.  Then I stood on the scale and guess what... it says the same thing today that it did yesterday.  And suddenly all seemed right in the world.  Justice has prevailed and I had eaten carbs and hadn't even tipped the scale.  But tomorrow night, I am eating a no carb wrap and I am not going to complain one iota... because... well just because.  I want to lose these 35 pounds and I know that if I complain that they are just going to linger.  

Psalm 34:8  Taste and see that the LORD is good; 
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Lord, thank you for a great day.  Thank you for happiness and laughter around a table with my husband and my children.  I am blessed today, not only by the pasta, but by your abundant love for me.  I dig being your favorite.  


The birds are singing...

Yeah I know that there was a huge snow... on the first day of March.  It should have dampened my spirit but it didn't.  It rejuvenated it!  There is something about the whiteness of snow that reminds me how cleansing God is.  How that is how he sees us... and those who have offended us... hurt us... He sees them as white as snow too.

We are walking out of a fog.  We are exiting crisis mode.  I looked at Alex the other day and told him that we were on the otherside and that we had survived.  It was hard... but I know that God did it for His divine purpose to get us to where we are.  Where we are is a beautiful place.  We didn't quit, we kept the ax to the grindstone and we let God have his way.  Spring is coming... despite the snow.  

There is a trinkle of joy flowing in my heart.  I didn't know if I had lost it forever... it's not flowing, yet.  The cleansing has begun and I am able to fully inhale to my lungs capacity.  My family is stronger, my kids are more mature... they blow my socks off actually.  We have bonded... we have survived and we have grown.  I am almost willing to say it was worth it to get here.  I didn't know that I would ever get to this point to say that.

There are still challenges and hurts... there are still things that I am laying before the throne, but I am able to do it.  That in and of itself is a major accomplishment.  I have cut off a lot... given up a lot... realized that I could do it without crutches.  Friends are essential... and loyal... and brave.  Those songs about you find out who your friends are.... are true.  My heart is full... my smile has returned. 

Thank you Lord... for finally turning on the light and giving me your vision.  For severing what I wasn't strong enough to do on my own.  Lord, I love you... and I do trust you with my future even with no details in place.  I used to say I just needed a forecast... Lord, I don't need anything but you.  You are my rock and my salvation.  Bless you Father.