Enough Already!!!


Often times I find myself sitting on the back porch just thinking. Probably with a cup of coffee in my hands and sometimes even with a cigarette (one of the bad habits I picked back up in the last year).

This morning as I sat out there I was thinking about how much my life has changed in the last 2 years. Two years ago I sat on a different porch with different thoughts. There were no concerns about an impending deployment, there were no thoughts about the safety of my children being outside riding their bikes. My oldest son wasn’t driving, I had a plethora of friends and honestly my only concerns were finances and what my church family thought of me.

I don’t live in that bubble anymore.

It is a completely different ball game now. I don’t really care what anyone thinks about me. Although I do wish that they would think about me. I went through the entire day of Christmas without talking to any family, other than my mother. We celebrating Christmas early due to the fact that the needs of the Army consistently outweigh the needs of Ft. Grantham. There is an aloneness that I don’t think I have experienced since I first got married and moved to Puerto Rico. I feel so far removed from real life, I feel so far removed from the protective covering of a church family, of my biological family, of my friends.

I attempted to go to secular college and hated it. Somewhere in me I am programmed to enjoy dry theology books more than the those of the secular world. They attempt to fix people without realizing that people are spiritual beings and without addressing core spiritual issues that you are going to consistently deal with the same roots no matter how much therapy sessions and medications that you prescribe. I have no interest is selling anything that isn’t really what people need. I tried therapy all of those years ago, but until I allowed God to search me and know me, I consistently fell into the same pitfalls.

This next year is going to be my year. With my husband deploying, getting my children and I through this deployment is going to take the majority of my faith and strength. I am not looking to save the world. I am just looking to be honest with what I am feeling, with what I am experiencing, with what God is whispering to my heart. There will be some that won’t like it. There will be some that might get their feelings hurt, as much as I love them, until I can pour this out, until I can be honest, until I can pull these roots out, I will suffer. I am willing to let God write my life story, I am willing to live me life out loud in a way that will help others who find themselves on a similar path to my own. I can’t hide anymore. I can’t hold the beach ball under the water anymore.

I have been so quiet these last few months because I have been struggling. Not in my faith, not in my relationship with God but with the transition from the simple life that I lived to the real world that I deal with now on a daily basis. There are real people with very real problems that need a smile from me, that need the saving grace that God so abundantly poured into my life. As much as this year is about me being open and honest, it’s in that honesty, in that vulnerability that I will be able to help others.

I plan on sharing my story with anyone who will listen, there will be a lot of my emotions and story that will pour out right here. If I don’t get it out, if I don’t pour it out somewhere I am going to drown and choke on my own blessings. There is something inside of me trying to come out and if I don’t begin pouring I feel like it’s going to kill me. So much like a little child trying to find that one elusive toy in the bottom of their toy chest, I am going to pour it all out in an attempt to find the one thing that needs to be found. The one root that really ties this all together.

I am going to go ahead and renew my blog for another year. I can’t guarantee that anyone is going to read it. It’s not my attempt at fame and fortune. I am not going to go out and advertise or try to make money, I am just needing somewhere to pour out what is within me in my attempt to find the truth and the purpose of JenniLee. I am not trying to teach anyone anything, well except maybe myself. I am ready to move out of this desert and in order to do that I need to quit my whining and start throwing off the things that are keeping me bound here.

Care to take another adventure with me?

I am loved, you are loved, I am blessed, you are blessed. Let’s get real. Let’s shake off the pretenses, let’s shake off the need to be liked, or popular, or the next Joyce Meyer or Woman of Faith. I just want to walk through this life holding the hand of my Savior as He whispers truth about my life, about my purpose, about my destiny. The rest will vanish.

Love always wins. Be blessed then be a blessing.



Third Day - What Child Is This - Christmas Offerings



Over 2000 years ago, Jesus came alive during this season. This whole Santa’s Winter Wonderland can confuse us, it can distract us, but the true reason of the season is that it is Jesus’ birthday. Alive, Born, Here.
How easily I processed through the holiday this year. Bought the gifts had them delivered,the kids loved it, had a great time; as I was going to bed last night I just had this calling out to the one that really needs to be celebrated.
I have been so busy lately, taking care of FRG stuff, finishing up a semester at school. I have let my extra curricular activities become the main things. As I look forward to the next year I am reminding myself that Jesus is alive and this Christmas stuff is all a reminder of that. Even when it’s cold, even with the bad weather and the crabby people at the commissary. I am only alive because of Christmas; without Christmas there would be no point in even being here. We would be so entrenched in our sin, without hope that there would be nothing to celebrate.
I am chasing head first to my King, my Redeemer, my Healer. I can not live by appearances, there is no grace in fake it until you make it. There is only grace in vulnerability, in the arms of my Creator.There is no one that I need to impress, no one that can prevent me from my destiny. I am His and He is mine. The greatest Christmas gift of all time.
Merry Christmas from my heart to yours. Celebrate ALIVE!!!

Merry Christmas

It’s amazing to me the changes that have happened in my life within the last year. I will be pondering just that in the next few days. Stay tuned.


Too Many Opportunities

Months ago when I picked the layout for this page I found it very appropriate that I was sitting at a table with coffee with a reserved sign on the other seat. It just seems so appropriate for my life and especially this morning after dropping my husband off for two weeks. I know that I am never alone at the table, I know that his love and His love remain there, and that as my husband goes out and does his job that my Father will occupy that seat and be my husband in a way that only He can do when I find myself being Mrs. Dad.

I have been juggling so much lately. No always so successfully. I took 15 credit hours of classes this semester and ended up with 12 credits. My anxiety seems to sit comfortably at an 8. I still feel disconnected. I still long for the things I once knew, I feel like I have moved out on my own for the first time without Mom & Dad being there to direct my every move. I was so ingrained in the church lifestyle and culture to come out of it for so long, even now, I miss worship, I miss the encouragement, I miss people praying for me; actually laying hands on me and praying for me.

My culture now is so different; my role and my responsibility seem to be familiar. There are still darts coming from the back, I am still doing a lot of administrative work, I am still sitting on my porch trying to listen to the hearts of the people that relate their back stories to me. The biggest difference is that I am getting nothing in return from the people around me. I am always inviting others over, yet no one invites us anywhere. I have wives that get mad at me because I missed a status on Facebook. I just sometimes feel so alone and isolated and that there is no one in my corner. Just this morning when I woke up at 0300 I was dreaming that I was encouraging others to keep going along on this path all the while spearing huge snapping turtles that kept getting in my path. That probably describes it better than anything else I can come up with.

It amazes me that people believe that between homeschooling my kids, going to college full-time, being a part of the FRG, selling Scentsy and my husband being gone for weeks at a time, that I get up every morning and come up with a list of the things that I can do to make their lives a living nightmare. I am lucky to remember to buy milk for my kids, they often have to remind me that it's time to eat; I often wear mismatched socks... I promise I don't have the stamina or the where with all to come up with such mischievous plans.

My Father is all I have left in times like this. My faith is what keeps me moving forward, even when my eyes are full of tears, even when my heart seems beyond repair, when I feel bludgeoned. People’s lives move on. The ones that used to support me, pull me out of the ditch, they aren’t there. I have to pull myself out. I have to trust that God has something for me. I am not in crisis mode, but I am in pre-deployment mode and I feel like everyone is looking at me to be the strong one. I just trust God’s daily deposit of grace and mercy increases over the next few months. I have to reevaluate my priorities and find time to get back in the word. Maybe find a good bible study, something to hold me accountable. I miss studying the word.

When we went to a financial advisor a couple of years ago he said that we were presented with “too many opportunities.” That’s how I am feeling right now. There are too many opportunities to get involved, too many opportunities to get distracted, too many opportunities to use my use my gifts and talents, too many opportunities to have too many people attack.

So this morning I am trying to organize my thoughts, despite the fact that it’s so early in the morning. I need to get a good to do list. I need to balance my checkbook; I need to see where I am before I can move on. I need to take care of my responsibilities, but first I needed to get a hold of my Father. Listening to worship music and blogging is the best way I know to do that right now.

Love always wins. Be blessed, and then be a blessing. I am blessed, I just need to take account of that, rebuke this anxiety, wallow in the love of my Father and do the first things first. I love you all. Honestly. Keep the faith. You are loved extravagantly; you are the apple of His eye, He smiles when He looks down at you, even if you are struggling. That is where my strength comes from.

Photobucket Share


Hiatus is over...

It wasn't my intention to stay away for so long, life has just been busy here in central TX. I had a girlfriend send me a message through Facebook this morning that she had read my testimony this morning and how it touched her an related so much to her life.

I have to admit that moving here and coming back into the active duty military life has been a real challenge to my character. We have not found a church here to replace the family that I once considered to be my everything. I keep asking God to bring that sense of security back to me and He keeps reminding me that He is digging a deep well within me. I may never find that sense of family again, I may never be a part of a church family like that again, but that He alone is my source.

I have struggled in that for months now and when I spoke to my mentor about it she told me that God has already given me the resources to tap into that. This morning when my friend sent me that message it was if God was answering my question, "How do I get back to YOU"? This blog has always been that for me. God often make my fingers type things that I needed to hear, or has given me revelation in trying to coordinate my thoughts for an entry. So I am coming back to where God speaks the most clearly with me and that is right here.

It is my intention to continue my series on the effects of porn on families. It seems such a foreign topic to me now, one that used to occupy all of my thoughts, when deliverance comes it's as if I don't spend as much time fretting or concerning myself with it anymore. I know that there are others out there struggling and having been there I will do whatever I can to share my experience and the grace of God with those that haven't come through to this side yet.

For today, I just am thankful for a loving and merciful God that has allowed me to walk my own path. Who has taught me some very hard lessons that I now get to share with others around me. I have used many of these skills in the last few months in my interactions with others here in my new culture. My heart breaks for those that are battling a lot of different topics and it is my  heart to minister to them, but I can't do that if I am not plugged in. So here I am this morning to plug back into my source, to acknowledge that I have walked away from my one true love as the top priority in my life.

Thank you for following my adventure.

Going back to the basics... Be Blessed then be a Blessing.

Love from Fort JenniLee to you wherever you are~~

Photobucket Share


New Series: Porn and the Effects it has on a Family Pt.1

Today, I want to talk about the spouses of porn addicts. This is something that I have been thinking about doing for a long time. I would love to live in a world that would call a spade a spade, I would love to hear the word porn and masturbation come from the pulpit in our local churches. I am adding my voice to the cause.

There is something about competing with other woman for the eyes of your husband. There is an unrestrained anger, there is a deep level of rejection & abandonment. There is a sense of knowing that you are sharing your marriage bed with a woman that you personally can't kill. If my husband was having an affair that I knew about, I would track down the woman and beat her into the ground. You can't do that with porn. There is such a feeling of helplessness.

I remember telling him that my self-esteem wasn't strong enough to deal with this. I couldn't deal with turning the computer on and wondering what I was going to see. What my kids were going to see. I was mad, I was hurt and I had no idea what to do about it.

The first thing I would tell someone, don't take it so personally. I believe that most women internalize this, they use it to define themselves. They become codependent in the fact that there must be something wrong with them if this is what their husband is choosing to do. This is a lie straight out of the pit of hell. I have heard it said that it isn't a wife issue it's a character issue. I don't know that I agree. I do agree that it's not the wife's issue because 99% of the time, his addiction started before he ever met his wife. I tend to believe that it's more of an issue with a race that is set up to fail from the beginning. More on that later.

The second thing I would tell a wife, is get counseling for yourself. Determine your codependency and get some very strong women around you that can talk about the hard issues that you are facing. Talk to your friends, talk to your mentor, talk to your counselor. Find people that will speak the truth of God into your life. This is not a battle that you can win on your own. This is a battle to the death and as women our best allies are our girlfriends. Find people that will stand with you and hold your arms us when you are tired. There is a snake in your bed, just anointing the bed isn't enough, you have to kill the snake and girlfriends bring coffee and muffins to keep you encouraged while you rage the battle.

The third thing, is talk don't nag. Berating anyone is never the way to get them to stop a behavior. Release yourself from being his conscience. Do not attempt to be his accountability partner. There is a part of you that wants to know every detail, but there are some details that you don't need to know. Encourage him to find someone that will hold him accountable. But everytime that accountabilty email comes into your account the pain will resurface even if there is nothing on it. You are going to have to work on forgiveness and seeing him again through God's eyes. That is a tough thing to do when you are hearing all of the gory details. Instead ask encouraging questions. How are you doing with this? What can I do to help you? He can not throw you a life preserver if he is drowning himself. Do not look to him to be able to help you through this or to make it okay with you. That's what God and girlfriends are for. You have the right to tell him your feelings, how it makes you feel to see this or to know this is going on.

The fourth thing, is cancel all of your Victoria Secret catalogs. There are things that we bring into our own homes that are stumbling blocks for our husbands. Catalogs are a huge part of that. I am not saying boycott VS, you can shop in the store, but don't bring things into the house that are obvious eye candy.

Be prepared to have him stumble, then be prepared to have him stumble again. I believe heart and soul that porn is an addiction. I believe that no matter how hard he fights, no matter how much I encourage, that he is still an addict. There are going to be hard days for him, there are going to be hard days for you. Feelings have a way of reemerging when we least expect it. You may have thought that you were walking in forgiveness only to be folding clothes and have the anger over take you again. His urges are the same way. It's a daily battle. I will go as far as to say one worth fighting.

There are a lot of great resources out there. A few that I have used and would encourage you to check out:

Safe Families  -There is a ton of great information on the site for the spouse, web filters, ways to help you protect your children.

XXXChurch -Great blogs that share experience and advise. They also have an accountability software that I personally use on my own computers.

Co-Dependents Anonymous -Great site for finding a support group to work on your own self-esteem and learning to set healthy boundaries in your relationship. They also have a co-dependency quiz that you can take.

Be blessed than be a blessing. God thinks you are beautiful & love always wins.
Photobucket Share


Breaking the Silence...

I have been rather quiet and that really just comes from not having much to say. I believe in that Thumper theology, "if you can't say nuffin' nice don't say anyfing at all". I am still struggling to find my place but I have at least gotten off the couch and made some attempts to talk to people other than through my facebook page and yahoo messenger. Baby steps I know.

I have enjoyed the quiet and have taken the opportunity to work on my resume and to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I don't know what God has for us but at this point I know that I need to finish my education so I will be beginning to take classes this fall. Hard to believe but I am excited, almost. I think that getting out is my solution to a lot of things.

Life is good. It's simple. We are still overcoming a lot of our financial mess from our corporation and our NC life. That absorbs most of my thoughts and energy at this point.

We love Texas. Nothing compares to jumping on the bike and hitting the Farm to Market roads. I love shopping at the commissary and I even love just hanging out with the new people in our lives. It's definitely a new culture for me. We have been out of the active duty lifestyle for a long time. It's a challenge but one that we enjoy.

We are good, can't really complain about anything. I do need to start writing again. I am currently reading The Pilgrims Progress and I am finding it quite enjoyable. Just a slow paced life with a little Zumba mixed in. I often think of Paul being content both with and without. It is my hearts desire to be content either way.

Be blessed then be a blessing. Love ALWAYS wins.

Photobucket Share


What Great Friends I Have...

After my last post one of my besties sent me this. I just thought I would share, I think it's something that we can all use from time to time.

It's Between You and God
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
(Mother Teresa put these up on the wall of her children's home in Calcutta, which is why this is sometimes attributed to her)

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness they may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway.

Which reminded me of this song:

Be blessed then be a blessing. Love always wins!!


My Best Attempt to Not Whine...

There are some times that I find myself sitting here on my new red couch (that I so love by the way) and it hits me, JenniLee, darlin', you are in Texas. You are in military housing, you are 18 hours drive from everyone you love and miss. I have struggled a lot with loneliness. Ande's booty belongs to the Army and there are days that I never see him but I know that he has come home because his side of the bed is rumpled. ACU's, combat boots, and gear litter my living room when he is here. He has a designated gear closet but there are a lot of times that he isn't here long enough to even unload it from the truck much less put it away.

I feel isolated, discarded  and frustrated. I listen to stories of home and wonder if I have been gone so long to them that it's no longer a big deal. We have visited 2 churches since we have been here. One was just plain out funky, like you want to go home right afterwards and wash the funk off. The other one, wasn't bad, I cried the whole service. I usually do when the spirit is moving inside of me. I am so desperate for that reconnect. Not that God and I have disconnected but I feel disconnected from the body and have for months. The little church in Florida, those people loved us and supported the kids and I through one of the hardest seasons of our lives. We can't run back there now, as much as we would love to. But we have to find something here, I know it, the kids know it.

The logistics of this new lifestyle leaves me with questions. When you get involved in denominational churches they have this time line, membership requirement, time served policy before you can be in leadership, ministry or teach. You have to learn their system, see their vision, submit to their house rules. I get all that, but not knowing how long we are going to be in this gypsy lifestyle, it makes me gun shy to get overly involved. I know that God will use me where ever we are. I understand that fully. If I never get to hold another teaching position, if I never preach from anywhere but from my kitchen table I tell myself that is enough. To be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known and how do you do that when you don't know how long you are going to be in one location? How do you jump in, open up, get involved, then pack up and leave... continuously for the next 15 years? Only God knows what His plan is. There sure are days I wish I had one of those heads up displays. Really, just a forecast.

There are words of prophecy that roam in my thoughts. I am reminded of them often. I chew on them, ponder them and bring them to the Lord's remembrance. I always end up back with Beth Moore's book A Heart Like His.  I relate to David. I love him more and more every time I read this book and get in over my head into 1 & 2 Samuel. I always come back to him when I feel like I am in the desert, when it appears that everyone else is walking in God's will and I am left to hide in the caves. There is blessing in the caves. There are swords and holy bread. There are priests that meet you in your time of your need. But mostly, you grow up and you learn that you can survive "if God". David uses all kinds of words to describe his God. They are all learned through experience. Worship, an uninhibited love of Jesus, only comes when you realize that if not for our Savior we would have nothing at all.

God has been faithful to me. I have had so many desires of my heart deep seeded for a long time. One being the red couch, that God has reminded me that He took note of that and suddenly here it is. There are simpler things, like we couldn't bring our propane tank with us to our grill, Ande was surprised when the man next door came and knocked on our door and had a full one to give us. God has such a amazing way of always showing up. I don't believe in the whole name it and claim it prosperity message but I do believe that just as I know the wishlists of all of my children, that my Pappa knows my wishlist. He got me to Texas, he got me a red couch, and even a gas stove. I just sit in awe when I realize how detailed He is when He blesses us.

So I continue to lay in the dark and ask God for local like-minded friends. For a church home for my family that feeds all of us, where we can be known and loved.  I pray for the seeds I left a long the way, that if they were of God that they will grow deep roots and if they weren't, that they would be scorched by the sun. I have loved many along this road, I just pray for many more to walk beside me. My heart breaks, my Healer shows up with a balm that can only be His love.

Be blessed, then be a blessing. Love always wins.



Pink Elephants in Marriage... faking or taking it by the Tusk.

So often in our society marriages come and go faster than a Texas rain storm. As a woman about to celebrate 16 years of marriage I was disheartened to read that the Gore's marriage was splitting after almost 40 years. As I was reading this article, Evangelical: 'Separation' for Married Couples Can be a Good Thing, I was elated to read what Focus on the Family had to say about marriages. This one in particular.

So often our churches want people to put on fake faces and pretend that there aren't issues in marriages. I know that my husband and I have walked in that path and then when crisis finally hits everyone is so shocked by the truth they don't know how to react. How many couples suffer in silence about the pink elephants that live in their living room. We may not even know what is wrong but we know that our marriage isn't what we expect it to be, maybe it isn't meeting our needs, maybe our expectations are too much for one another. What I know is that there are a lot of lonely married people out there.

We are bombarded with what sex should look like and how often we should be "doing it". I am going to go out on a limb here and say that our contemporary media outlets and the accessibility of pornography set  marriages up to fail before they ever begin. Pornography requires nothing out of the person that is watching it, there is no trash to carry out, there is no responsibility to love and care for the fantasy. It can easily be picked up and set down and it has bred generations that want instant gratification without responsibility. I was talking to a man the other day, he told me that he and his wife hadn't had sex in months. That she wasn't into toys and stuff. I looked him square in the eye and told him maybe all she wants is you. Just moments before I had overheard him talking about the best porn sites and how he erases the history as a habit every time he gets off the computer. The bad part is that he was talking to a single woman who was throwing more sites at him.  When single woman share the same interest, and the wife is wanting responsibility and a relationship is it any wonder that affairs are so rampant? Then the man invited me to his church.

I have often thought that marriages and sex should be talked about in church. Men should be able to come clean, women should be able to come clean. We hide all of these feelings of insecurity when we walk into the church. We put on a pretty face, we sing, we clap, we take notes of the sermon and then we leave with the pink elephant sticking out of the back of our SUVs.

So how do we get rid of the elephants? We eat them, one bite at a time. Marriages are a precious and sacred union that God gave us as his first gift to man. Marriage is the toughest kind of love there is. There is no greater reward than looking at my husband after 16 years and knowing that we went to the pit of hell so many times but that we have a God of reconciliation and restitution that has destroyed everything we built up as an idol in our marriage. He tore us back down to our foundation. Are we going to get it perfect from this day forward? Probably not. But the greatest lesson that God has taught me is that there is no one else I want to share this adventure with than the man that God gave me in my youth. Has he broken my heart, absolutely, and I have his. Our union is so much stronger now, after learning to set aside our insecurities and talking to one another about our deepest fears and most unreal expectations of one another.

I love marriages. I love talking about marriages. If you ever meet me in real life it's probably the first question I will ask you. I honestly believe it's a question that needs to be asked. How is your marriage? I grew sick of the elephant in my living room. I didn't know what to do about it. I prayed for relief and was surprised in the way that God showed up and gave me a fork and knife. There is no way to eat an elephant by yourself. You need God's help and the cooperation of your spouse. It's worth the fight. It's worth the time at the altar, the prayers, the tears. Whether your elephant is sexual, financial, spiritual, or any combination thereof. Don't give up, don't give in. Eat it roasted, grilled, sauteed. Take a bite out of it today!!

Be blessed then be a blessing. Love always wins, give it a chance.


Thank You Papa

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:35

I have been feeling a little overwhelmed, a little out of step with this new life. Having a bit of a pity party. I love Texas, my Dad coming to visit, my childhood friend and her family coming. My day to day life isn't quite what I expected it to be. I went searching for some encouragement and that is the verse that God gave me.

My confidence is wavering, not in Christ, but in myself. I haven't found any like minded people to hang out with. Most of the guys in Ande's unit aren't married and if they are, they are going through a divorce or are wanting to go through a divorce. Stripper girlfriends abound and I am left wondering what my role is in this. I know that God has planted me here, along side Ande for a reason, I am just struggling to find my niche. I don't know enough about active duty Army to really step into any roles of leadership in the Family Readiness Group, we haven't found a church yet to be our home while we are here. I just feel like a fish out of water.

There doesn't seem to be anything to challenge me. Maybe that's what's wrong. I don't have any new books to read and have resorted to reading some things that I have read before just to bide some time. I am reading A Midsummer's Night Dream by Shakespeare just to read something other than the 100's of theology books that I have already read. Would love to find another ladies bible study to find some fellowship but at this point all of my friends live on my Facebook page.  I feel like a missionary into a foreign country. There are very few believers and if they are believers they aren't living it out loud.

So, happening upon God's word for me, I am encouraged to keep my head up, to keep fighting the good fight and trust that when He is ready, He will let me know. I am thinking that it might be time to pick my classes back up and finish my bachelors in theology. Might be the spark that I am looking for. I am going to begin praying for God to bring friends into my life. He has them out there... I trust Him to arrange the meeting.

So I look forward to the future and know that God has given me this down time to recooperate and prepare for the next step. I am thankful for the time with my family all under one roof, our gorgeous home and my new fancy shmancy red couch and loveseat. We also have a new addition to the family. An adorable little kitten that my daughter has been begging for. We have each other, we have our God and we are blessed abundantly. So for tonight I am going to take off my pity party hat, take a hot bath, drink some tension tamer tea and enjoy some Shakespeare before bedtime.

Be blessed then be a blessing. Love always wins.

All my love from TX!!!



Prayers for my Girls...

I was laying in bed this morning thinking about my friends and everything that they have going on in their lives right now. Women face so many challenges in their every day lives. I was overwhelmed and humbled to think of the prayers that God allows me to give Him for these beautiful women in my life. There is no greater gift that I can give them but to join my voice and heart with theirs bringing their desires and cares before our Father. If you have a moment will you join me in these prayers today:

A widow mourning the one year anniversary of her soldier.
A mother of three who got diagnosed this week of breast cancer with bone metastases.
A friend who is heartbroken by infertility.
A friend who is in the adoption process that arms ache for that new child.
A friend that just adopted a beautiful baby from Africa.
Multiple friends with marriage issues & financial matters.
A friend whose husband is in recovery from yet another surgery after being hit with an IED.
A friend that is being funneled into a new life and seeking real answers.
A large group of people engaging in a spiritual intensive this weekend.
A friend whose husband is deploying next month.
A neighbor who has 3 young children and lives with a high anxiety level daily.
A woman trying to reengage into the world after a lifetime of hurts.
For a mother that mourns her sons move so far away that it keeps her from him and her grandchildren.
For a daughter that is just trying to be obedient to the promptings of her Father despite health and family concerns.
A group of women heading on a mission trip in July.
A women in ministry that is still hurting from Daddy issues.
A friend & her daughter that recently came through a divorce.
A woman who is going to add baby number three to her clan this week.
A young woman that has to move across country and doesn't want to say goodbye to her friends.
A friend who has a custody hearing for her babies today.

I really feel God changing my own heart this morning. So often I walk by women in my daily routine that are really facing big issues. I honestly believe that right now people have subscriptions more than they have issues. It is my prayer that God would soften my heart to intercede for these people daily. I know that when I was going through my crisis there was no sweeter words to my ears than "I am praying for you". There were literally times that I couldn't pray for myself and knowing that God was still hearing my name out of the mouths of my friends was a great encouragement to me.

Take the time today to make your own list. I was flabbergasted by the intensity of the challenges my friends are facing. Real people with real hurts, real situations, real struggles. It is my prayer that God will give me the ability not to stop and smell the roses, but to stop and pray for the women who cross my path. We need each other, we can't isolate ourselves. I used to sell Mary Kay and the one thing that has stuck with me all of these years was, "Sometimes you need the meeting, sometimes the meeting needs you". I think that is true in life. There are times that we need our friends, that we need encouragement, that we need fed, coddled, edified. There are times that we need to do all of those things for those around us.

To all my friends, I am blessed by you all. Everyone of you. I am praying for you all today. My sisters, my friends, the promise of the Lord is that "Love always wins"!!

Be blessed and be a blessing!!



Life in Texas...

Well I am officially sitting in my own living room, hijacking someone else's wifi until mine gets connected today. My entire family is still sleeping and I am stealing a few moments to myself. It's been Mr. Toad's Wild Ride to get this far.

Lessons I have learned thus far:
1. No matter how much you downsize you will still have too much stuff.
2. Dogs don't adjust any easier to transition than humans.
3. No matter how far you move you always take yourself with you.
4. There are more flies in Texas than any other place in the world.
5. The full time military life takes your husband from playing army to being a soldier.
6. Jason's Deli is my new favorite place to eat.
7. Military families show extreme hospitality skills.
8. No matter how big your yard is your dogs are still going to want to go through the fence to meet the neighbors.
9. Having a washer and dryer is essential to the life of a family of five.
10. The things that you never thought you would need are the first things you will have to rebuy.
11. Hanging shower curtains is the first order of business in moving into a new home.
12. It's not the size of the dishwasher it's the skill of the loader.
13. You don't need an extra blanket on your bed in Central Texas.
14. No matter how far away you go, your friends are still your biggest cheering section.
15. The paper used by the movers will come in handy when you run out of paper towels.
16. Having three toilets is convenient for a family of five, however, buying a toilet brush for both floors is a worthy investment.
17. Don't make any plans that you don't want the military to mess up.
18. The first things your kids will want after a long period of transition is the meal that makes them feel the most at home.
19. When playing cards with your daughter, be prepared to lose with grace.
20. When your family hears the tapping of your keys on the laptop, no matter how quiet you are trying to be, they will wake up.

Hope that this Tuesday morning finds you with a hot cup of coffee and a house full of people that love you. Be blessed and be a blessing. Love you all!!



Hanging Out Poolside with Beth Moore...

Just had to share this incredible quote from her newest book, "So Long, Insecurity you've been a bad friend to us".  This is the cycle that I have lived on most of my life but in Beth's wisdom she was actually able to put it into words.

If we can't be the most attractive, at least we can be the best of something. And if we can't the best at something, we can at least be the hardest working. And if we can't be the hardest working, we can at least be the most congenial.  And if we can't be the most congenial, we can at least be the most noticeable.  And if we can't be the most noticeable, we can at least be the most religious. And if we can't be the most religious, we can at least be the most exhausted.

Wow, she is reading my mail. At least the archives. I pray that you all are having a great day and enjoying the grace and extravagant love of our Creator and our Savior this morning. Mercy is new every morning.

Be blessed and be a blessing. Love always wins.



Living in a Parallel Universe...

Yet, I know He is here. My friends aren't, my husband isn't, I look around and it's just the kids and I again, another hotel room, another state, same view.

I have come to understand that God has held me safe against His chest for months and months. I know that He has hedged us in and provided safety and provision in a very tangible way.  When I lay on my stomach at night to go to sleep it is God that I give my anxieties to. I thank Him for our new life, our new start, and I remind Him that I trust Him enough not to ask questions. As a woman who has striven to be all that she could be, I know that there is none of that left for me now. I have stepped out of the drivers seat and have given Him alone the keys.

There will be a new church to find, there will be friendships to make, questions to ask, to do lists to accomplish. That all comes with transition and I trust that He alone will guide my steps and that my "knower" will go off when I have something that He wants me to pick up.  I won't live in fear or what tomorrow brings, I won't live in fear of the field gear in the closet and I refuse to live in fear of the "what ifs".  I have ridden the train on a few thoughts lately and I keep bringing myself back to God. That God will give me what I need when I need it and until then I am in the place to love my kids, to encourage my husband and to love my God with a love that is deeper, stronger, more confident than ever before. I don't have any answers but I have faith and trust in a God that has orchestrated my future and the destinies of my family.

I have been rather quiet. The confidence that I had found for myself in FL has waned, the anxiety that I felt in NC is gone. It's just me and God walking through this life.  Everything else is going to come and go. My kids are going to grow up and move on. My husband is going to deploy for schools and to theaters that I will never know or understand. It's not a declaration of loneliness in as much as it is an understanding that God is the constant.  The same yesterday, today and tomorrow. There is a life for us here, I know that, our housing will come available later this week, we will move out of the hotel and begin to establish a new normal. It's the sitting still that begins to wear on me. The hurry up and wait philosophy of the military, yet knowing, that it's God's time frame, and not theirs that causes the delays and accelerations.

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. Ephesians 2:7-10



So close... and yet so far away.

Three days left here in NC. We are hitting the critical points of saying goodbyes and making the last minute tweaks to our schedules.  We are tired. Exhausted.

The kids are trying to keep their attitudes in check although I don't know how successful they are when they are up against their Dad. There are some things that he won't tolerate that to me are no big deal and vise versa. We are reacquainting ourselves to being a family of five.  Some days more successfully than others.  Ande and I spent the weekend without the kids.  My in-laws wanted the time with the kids and we needed some face to face time just us so that we could appease our own insecurities before folding the kids to far into the mix. We were able to get out on the Blue Ridge Parkway on the Harley and just spend some great time being together.  After all of this time, although a lot of things have changed family feels familiar and we are adjusting well.

It's been a long road but one that we are ready to actually be on. We have mapped out our route to our new location and have made arrangements for lodging along the way. We are almost there. For such a time as this...

I wish that I had been able to blog more during this experience but it seems that wasn't God's will.  Know that you are loved and that you all bless me, everyday.

Jeremiah 31:2-4 Thus says the Lord: "The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness- Israel, when I went to give him rest." The Lord has appeared of old to me saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice."

Be blessed then be a blessing.  You are loved, extravagantly, by a God that wants you to pour it out on someone else.


You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Well I find myself sitting here in the dark in a dark hotel room listening to my kids sleep.  My husband is heading to the airport in TX and I will get to have my family back together for the first time in 11 weeks and 2 days.

It's been a long road to this point. My kids are champs. The past few days have been rather stressful for all of us, but they are hanging on. Nothing like TV and internet to make them happy. They know that their Daddy is coming today and the know that the hard road is almost over. My mentor Momma met us last night for dinner and as she was talking to my oldest son I was just amazed at his level of faith. In God, in life, he knows that the end of the craziness is almost here. We have moved and packed and packed and moved so many times in the last 7 months and the biggest one is yet to come. The song that I have always sung to my kids is "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet", he feels that is God talking to us.  The past is over it's been a hard transition but the best is yet to come.  He often has to remind his tweaked out mother that good times are coming if we can just hold out a little longer.

Just because my flesh is freaked out doesn't mean that my soul isn't at rest. Everyone has been so concerned that I keep the faith. I just giggle on the inside because without my faith I would have given up this journey a long time ago.  I would have bailed so many times and just ran until I reached the Pacific Ocean. God has kept his hand on us the entire time and has been so good to show us His ways and His provision. I haven't always gotten it right. Sometimes my emotions (aka my mouth) has gotten the best of me. There have been some harsh words spoken to and by some of the most important people in our lives. God is a God of reconciliation and love always wins, I look forward to seeing that take fruition.

I have found NC to be deflating. I left FL so full of energy, so confident of our future.  Our time here has diminished that. I have spent some time with my awesome friends. Friends that I will miss terribly after our move, but for the most part I know that this chapter of my life is over and that the longer that I sit here the weaker that I feel. Think Superman and kryptonite. Maybe it's my own sense of rejection that has kept me feeling beat down, maybe just being in a place that I only want to see those that I love has left me exhausted from my position of defense.

I have missed my husband. Though I know that God set aside this time for me to find Him in a tangible way. My husband, though we have had a ton of issues, has always been my best friend. The one at the end of the day that I could share my heart and the stress of the day. It seems lately that all of our phone calls are business and to do lists. I miss the softness of marriage. I miss the intimacy of sharing our lives together. For the past few months I have felt like we were living in parallel universes. He has experienced so much, the kids and I have, too. I think separations and deployments do that to families. But tonight when I crawl into bed, I will be able to curl up in his arms and put a period at the end of this chapter of our lives. Not that there won't be more separations, the Army will guarantee them, but this one is almost over and we will be able to establish a household together again.  His boots will again be in the doorway and his toothbrush will hang next to mine. We won't be living out of suitcases, laundry baskets and duffel bags.

So this morning I smile, there are more challenges to come for sure, but for today I am going to take my sons cue and just jam to...

I love you all. Be blessed and be a blessing. Love always wins, even when you are in the heat of battle, in the moment of silence that follows listen for His voice. Always reassuring, always loving, always reconciling.

You ain't seen nothing yet!!!!


Insecurities and other tormentors...

When I was a young woman, starting at about the age of 14, I began to build a man beside me in my bed with pillows. It was in the night that my fears would come to fruition, it was when the suicidal thoughts would come and I would question if I was truly lovable, was I disposable, was I enough or was I going to be too much for a man to every truly love and know. I would listen to music to try and ease the thoughts, to give myself something else to think about, to give me a different feeling about myself. I remember lying there so many nights wondering if this would be the night that God would let me take my own life and let me find peace. I lived with a packed bag in my closet for years, wanting to run, but not knowing where to go. I used to talk with God and lay out a fleece before Him although I had no idea what a fleece was. How many nights I would lay there in the darkness of my room and say to God: If I am not asleep by midnight tonight is the night that I will end it all.

I searched in many beds of many men to find that peace that I so longed for. I added shame and guilt on top of my feelings of wanting to be desired and needed. I longed to be enough, I longed to be loved, to be appreciated, to be noticed. I put myself into the same position over and over again and though some would say I was a “bad girl”, I was a girl overwrought with feelings of worthlessness, feelings of never ever being enough. I wanted to be the kind of girl you wanted to take home to Mom and yet more times I found myself sneaking into the windows and not walking through the front doors of the boys that chose me.

When I was a senior high school I found this boy that promised me the love that I was looking for, he wrote poetry for me, he made me feel good about myself. Like I could conquer the world and for the first time in years I found that at night I dreamt of him, I no longer had the suicidal thoughts. There appeared to be an end in sight to the need to die because someone, someone had noticed… me. I began to open up to him and to share my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams, aspirations; my desire to be a writer, my desire to be married, and to have a family. It was a few months after graduation that I found out that I was pregnant. Though I don’t remember what he said to me, what I heard was that I was not enough to be the mother of his child, that I wasn’t enough to be his wife. He didn’t love me enough to work through the process. Yet, I had so intertwined myself with this boy that it took 2 abortions and countless heartaches and realizations for me to walk away.

I met my husband just mere months after getting out of that relationship, when he noticed me, and began to seek me out; again I felt that my needs had been met. He never stood a chance. He had his own baggage for sure. He met a broken woman, with very fresh wounds, and I looked to him to be my deliverer. My husband was in the military and already had orders in hand to leave the country. I contemplated my escape. I was willing to marry him when he proposed 4 weeks into our relationship and I said I do to him just short of our 5th week anniversary of knowing one another. I thought that I had found my knight in shining armor and that all of my nightmares would come to an end.

Our story isn’t pretty. I wasn’t pretty, he wasn’t pretty and we had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into. It was a few short months before we found out that we were expecting our first child that had been conceived on our wedding night. I remember sitting with him at the beach there in Puerto Rico and we discussed our options. We were both scared to death. Abortion wasn’t an option, but there was thought given to me coming back to the states and raising the child on my own. There were a lot of tears that day for both of us. It was the first of many intense moments that have defined our almost 16 years of marriage. We are both intensely tenacious and neither of us wanted to admit defeat to our family and our friends. I believe it is that stubbornness that has left us the only of our friends from that season in our lives that are still married. We walked away from the beach that day committed to the building of our family. However, within me, I heard, “You will do until I find someone or something better. You will suffice as a mother, but I am holding out on the possibility that there is another woman out there that is a better fit for me.”

I have lived a life of insecurities and fears. I have learned to mask them for the masses, I have portrayed myself as a fighter, as someone strong and courageous but in the still of the night, when I crawl into bed my tormentors return and I am left to battle on my own. There have been many nights that I have crawled into my marriage bed feeling guilt, remorse, shame, unlovable and even unloved. My husband and I have both tried to ask the question dozens of times “Are you the true one that God has for me?” I continued to seek the attention of other men, he of other women. The irony of the entire situation is that though we kept looking, we have never found anyone else that could fit us the way that we fit each other. A testament, that God is so much smarter than we can even fathom.

In these past few months I have found myself crawling back into a bed for the first time in almost 16 years without the warmth of my husband next to me. I find myself plagued with the same questions. Am I enough? Am I too much? Is he going to find someone else better suited to him? Is he still going to love me when we reunite? Have the changes that God made in me going to leave me unattractive to him? Is he still going to want me? Would he fight for me? I don’t know the answers. Honestly, my experience usually trumps my theology in these areas. I struggle internally with this battle, daily especially without him next to me to comfort me or to speak words of encouragement to that young woman that still questions her self and her worth.

However, what I have been accepting more and more every day is that there is someone out there that loves me more than he does. That all of these years, the one thing I was searching for, caught every tear I cried. Just recently I had this understanding that Jesus was with me all those nights, crying his own tears over my heartbreak. Every time I sought to ease my flesh, He too was there. There hasn’t been one moment of my life that He has ever left my side. As I look towards the future I have a lot of those “If____ then___” scenarios that run through my head. I have chased all of them to the end and what I have discovered is, no matter what the “if” may be, the “then” is always the same. God. Then God. Then I would seek the healing for the pain, I would begin to again put one foot in front of the other, then I would start writing again, then I would begin telling my story and sharing how “if” “then” God changed me. Made me realize my weakness, and revealed to me that God is the only answer no matter what the circumstances. Always and forever.

The beauty of life is so simple, or maybe he just keeps it simple for me. It all comes down to there is no need to fear “if” because “then” is when God will step in and wrap you in His arms and become the Deliverer and the Healer that can never found in any human solution.

“I will fight for you – I will die for you. I KNOW that you are worth it”. ~Jesus


Playing a little game...

The “Is that contestant on American Idol a Christian? Scorecard”
80. During one of their performances they do a bit of the “single hand raise” = + 1 point
To add up your score with over a 130 other ideas on this scorecard, visit stuffchristianslike.net.



Here We Go Again...

I hate packing. Hate it. Abhor it. Detest it with every fiber of my being. Who knew how much stuff we could accumulate in a short six months.  I say short, but in reality it's been a very long time.  My husband likes to discount the amount of time I have been doing this on my own because we were able to see each other a few times over the time.  Saying that the separation didn't really start until he actually left here the last time.  I would beg to differ.

There are traces of us all around this house that need to be sorted, packed and donated.  The goodbyes have already begun.  I hate goodbyes. Honestly.  Packing and goodbyes tend to go hand in hand.  I hate them both. I hate them for my kids and their friends, and I hate them for my family and my own friends.  Me, well I tend to want to say that we will meet again.  Not knowing when is the hard part.

We have spent the morning trying to gather our things.  My kids have outgrown two large bags of clothes since we have been here.  My daughter the pack rat has gathered two large bags of trash.  I spent the morning going through my bathroom bottles collection... its amazing to me how many miracles I have accumulated under the sink and yet I pretty much look the same. Well, except I am tan and down 15 pounds. *giggle*

I have spent six months living with my parents, six months integrating into a new church, six months homeschooling and balancing the checkbook, six months trying to make the best memories for my kids during this time.  I have been flexible for beach days and play dates.  I have watched my children build friendships and have welcomed a lot of people both old and new into my life.  Now, again, I find myself trying to figure out how to take our lives and pack them into a trailer and my Excursion and make my way out of here.  My heart breaks, but I do have anticipation about the next leg of our journey.  There are not enough words or time to say how much the people here have changed my life.  How they took this little family that was orphaned and left naked and alone and wrapped them in their love.  There is no way to say thank you and there is definitely no way to just say goodbye.

Next Sunday, we will travel back to NC Jed Clampett style. Three kids, two large dogs and I, driving over 400 miles to a place that we would rather not be, to make yet another pit stop on our adventure.  It it my hope that we will remain in the memory making business while we are there with our friends and our family. It is my prayer that we will leave behind any traces of heartbreak and only take with us the love of those precious few that are still willing to love this little family through a drastic transition.

My mottos for this week:

I will be a blessing and not a cursing though I walk through the valley of packing and then moving.

Please God give me the endurance to do the 'what' and submit to knowledge that you will handle the 'how'.

Psalm 23 The Message
God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I'm not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook
makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.



IF = I Fear

My stomach has been giving me a fit for days.  My anxiety levels are off the charts. I am tempted to be a "mean" girl and certainly tempted to be a "mean" mom.  I don't do change well, even if I have had months to prepare, I am slow to transition.  Wish it wasn't that way. My flesh and my body revolt even as I try to keep my spirit in check.

I have been doing Beth Moore's study on Esther titled "Its Tough Being a Woman". I have to agree with her.  Somedays it just tougher than others.  With just over a week left here in Florida my kids have finally kicked into revolt mode.  Not that they are being bad or crazy, they are just expressing their anxiety and I get that. Honestly, going back to NC does that to all of us.  Are our friends going to want to see us, is it better to just not make contact at all. There are a few that I want to see but as a whole I am pretty much planning to sticking my nose down and doing what needs to get done so that we can move on.  My defenses are already planning an attack and I think that's what is happening to my kids as well.

We were hurt there, all of us, in one way or another.  Everything that we knew, well, is gone. My oldest son, the one thing he was really looking forward to, decided it was easier to not engage.  He is heartbroken, but will do what it takes to get through the process. Me as a Mom, I want to fight his battles for him, but I know that this is his testimony, this is his walk to salvation and I can only silently point him in the right direction.  My middle son, he doesn't appear bothered by the process of going to NC, he is more bothered by the process of leaving Florida.  He in the last 2 weeks has discovered girls.  Don't know that I am prepared for that. One always primping is enough, 2 of them constantly texting and engaging with girls, oh jeez.  My little girl, who well isn't quite so little anymore, she doesn't want to have to say goodbye to her best friend, AGAIN. Did I mention that I too was feeling a little anxious?

My husband sent us all dogtags that contain the Joshua 1:9 verse that we are all declaring right now.  We wear them with pride and keep the verse in the forefront of our minds. Being a military family we are accustomed to acronyms. IF = I Fear. What if. The IFs are out to kill us all. Fear is what pours concrete around our ankles and keeps our minds in confusion. My kids and I have been amazed as we have read the bible especially over the last year how many times God, the Angel of God, and or Jesus start so many statements with "Fear Not". That is the command most given in the Bible.  More than love, more than do this, or don't do that. Fear Not. FEAR NOT.

I do have a lot of fears in this move. It hits on a lot of different levels and a lot of different experiences in my life.  It conjures up moving from Atlanta to Jacksonville in 1999, when I thought we would all die in that car wreck.  It dances all over moving from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico in 1994. Jacksonville to North Carolina in 2002. Saying goodbye is never easy.  Loading up everything and reestablishing yourself somewhere else is hard at best. I am still learning to let my theology trump my experience. So I have to play the worst case scenario game and come to understand that no matter what God is still the answer. That no matter what this looks like God is with me, Jesus is interceding on my behalf- dancing over me even, the Holy Spirit is comforting me even as I kick my feet and try to hold onto to something that really has no significance in the Kingdom only in my little world.

I again find myself singing this song...



We Aren't Losing Anything

As this transitional phase comes to an end my kids are talking about leaving what we have found here.  It has definitely been an adventure and the people that have come into our lives during this season have been pivotal in our journey.  Now that the "crisis" seems to be over, there is some sadness to leave here.  What God has been telling all of us is that we aren't losing this, we have gained this.  There are some relationships that we will take with us.  There have been friendships formed that will last the test of distance.  We have been blessed here, I can see it in the eyes of my children, I can feel it within my own heart. There has been a lot of reconciliation here.  From family relationships to long lost friendships.  It's been a long six months.  It has proven to be one of those defining moments that changes you forever.

It is always bittersweet to step into a new chapter.  I remember flying to Puerto Rico almost 16 years ago, I was excited about starting my new life with my new husband, even as my Dad held me and cried. Everyone was at the airport to watch me leave, my family, my best friends. They have had to say goodbye to me so many times since then as the chapters of my life have unfolded.  Those who are lifelong, have never been too far away.  Even if distance was an issue, there are bonds that just can't be broken. The other thing that I have discovered is that you never lose them forever.  With this move I will be closer to one of those people that stood beside me at my wedding, that was at the airport that day when I left to start off on the adventure of marriage. More sweetness to add to the bitterness of leaving here.

Raising my kids in NC, they have missed out on really getting to have a relationship with my parents.  There is nothing cuter than my daughter curled up with my Dad on the couch giving Grandma grief.  My Dad started driving last year, and he is home for 3 days every three weeks and his granddaughter loves nothing more than for him to be here.  She always threatens to tie him to the bed so that he can't leave again.  There is something special in that bond.  Grandma has been great to take the kids on their special dates.  Trying to invest in them in ways that they weren't able to do when we lived so far away, and may not get to again over the next couple of years.

I guess the greatest joy of this, is that I know that I am not alone.  When we first moved to NC and started attending our church there I purposed myself to build friendships, to create a hedge of protection for myself.  I love people, I just do.  I love interacting with people, gregarious is a word used to describe me.  I love to observe and study relationships.  It's just part of who I am. The lie comes that I am walking into this with no friends.  The fact that I am moving somewhere new, again with no church family, no friends for my kids, or myself could be daunting and force me to live in the land of fear. However, I know better.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other." ~John 15:9-17

Jesus, calls me His friend.  No matter where I go, He goes with me.  I walk into this new chapter, knowing that I need to love His people, love the ones that don't know Him.  Love them like He loves me, knowing that there is possibility of pain and heartbreak.  Yet, knowing, that I know the Healer, I have a friend that will listen to my ever hurt without judgment and just pour out a love on me that can't compare to any of the scratches I may receive along the way.  That is my hope, that is where my joy comes from.  Grace and Mercy abound!

Realize that you are blessed and loved extravagantly, then bless others by loving them outrageously.



"The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." ~1 Corinthians 7:4-5

As I was switching over laundry just a bit ago this verse came to mind.  My husband and I have been separated since October 8th of last year.  There has been some visits through out that time but for all essential purposes, have gave mutual consent to the separation.  We knew that we were in transition, we knew that the kids and I needed to be here in Florida, we knew that he needed to stay there in North Carolina until the Army opened up a spot for him.  What we did carnally, was agree to God's greatest give of reconciliation. We had no idea at the time.  I wasn't sure we would survive the finances, the shutting down of our corporation, the eviction of our church family.  I wasn't sure that our marriage was going to endure losing everything.  There were moments that I wanted peace and rest at all costs, even if that meant my marriage.

God has been so good to meet me in this place, I know that sounds so cliche, however, it is so true.  I have spent almost 6 months allowing God to heal my heart, my pains, my wounds.  I have begun to pull back the bandages and realize the actual healing that has taken place.  I would never want to go through the process again.  It is always my prayer that I would learn the circumference of this tree that I am tied to.  But, I am thankful for the fruit of the prayers.  The opening of my heart and the reconciliation of a marriage that a year ago, was on a rocky road to no where.

I have talked before about the separating of the pens from the pencils, and how God has sat with me over the last few months and helped me sort my issues from my subscriptions. Day by day, little by little, he has pulled out the shame that was so intertwined into my core that I could barely breathe. He has purposed to show me the good and not just the bad in the snapshots of my life.  I had pictures I wouldn't look at, parts of town that I would avoid, just to not have to face the pain, or be overwhelmed with the anger and anxiety that they induced in me.  I haven't always gotten it right (somehow I feel relief that God never expected me to) and God has allowed healing into the places that I was willing to reveal and look through his lenses to see.

I believe that it's only through this separation that this healing could begin.  I can't tell you the hours that I spent full of anxiety about my marriage.  It became and idol and stole my time in a way that I am just beginning to understand.  I had to break agreement with a lot of judgments and inner vows I had made growing up.  I had to learn to let Jesus be my Lover, I have had to learn to lean on Him first.  I would never say it was easy.  I would never say that I have it all together now.  I am not the same.  I don't look at things the same way.  I don't want to be so desperate for my husband that I forget sight of my true love. The reintegration of our family will probably bring new challenges.  Old habits die hard.

"Throughout the period of his separation he is consecrated to the LORD." ~Numbers 6:8

I am thankful for the time alone learning to be heartsick for my Lover. I am also thankful that reconciliation has taken place and that I also long to be married to my husband for the rest of my life. It wasn't a pretty road, but it was one that brought me to the place that I could trust my heart, trust my husband, but most importantly trust my God.

I am blessed.



Patience, we are His Patients.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”- Jeremiah 17:7-8

We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world. ~Helen Keller

Patience, to my understanding is the greatest test of faith.  I have heard many times not to ask God for patience because it isn't something that He gives you, it's something He teaches you.  We are still waiting for the next leg of our journey.  Still unsure where our final destination of this journey will put us.  The pure endurance of this process has begun to leave me feeling out of sorts.  I don't know why the last few days before change become the hardest.  Our patience is testing on a new level and it's easy to succumb to the anxiety.  I have listened to friends stories as the countdown to the homecoming of their loved ones coming back from "over there" and all of the stories seem to hit a crescendo in the final days.  I feel like I am beginning that season.  Just this morning I was begging God for something new, something to hold on to, to encourage myself with.  I am tired, at the end of myself, and I am beginning to lose my ability to make this okay for other people.  Making it okay for myself and my kids is tough enough.

So this morning I go into church and guess what the message is about.  Be patient. I so wish that I carried a Nerf gun with me to church this morning because I would have loved to shoot my Pastor.  That's nothing new.  Patience.  Wait. It's almost over.  Reminds me of one of my husbands compassionate coworkers when I was pregnant with my oldest son.  He told me I looked like I was going to explode.  I was going to explode alright, all over him.  I am thankful that no one has tried to encourage me during this season, or to tell me that it's all going to be okay, it's almost over because I am thinking that my reaction would remind me of the tension I felt that day.  Yes, I am about to explode but Captain Obvious I don't need you to remind me of that.

Patience is my biggest challenge of my faith.  Do I trust, yes.  Do I have faith, yes.  I know it's all going to be okay.  However, my preference would be that I would know NOW.  It feels like I am again (or still) in this holding pattern.  I am a mother of 3 kids, there are things that need to be arranged for where we are going.  There are doctors to pick, activities to enroll in. Sometimes I just wish that I knew where we were going so that I could plow through my list of things I need to do.  God however, has kept me on the table, He is still working on me.

I am His patient.  He is digging deep roots, He is trying to get me to relax and enjoy this time next to the river so that He can feed me from Himself.  I just want to jump off the table and run with my gown gapping in the back and He has His hand on my knee telling me to let Him finish the procedure.

Lord, keep me here as long as you need to.  I am here, enduring, trusting and receiving your love.  My receiver is wide open.  You are God and I am not, and I am more than okay with that.


Trusting God instead of Pleasing God

I have been in a struggle for the last few days.  I am reading TrueFaced by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol & John Lynch. I am also doing a bible study called One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer.  TrueFaced teaches that you can't control sin, until you have entered the room of grace.  That until we truly understand God's definition of us we are only trying to control our sin, that we are trying to go into the room of good intentions.  This really lines up with my spirit and my own theology.  One in a Million I find to be trying to teach me to do the right thing in a feeble attempt of pleasing God.  I know that I am in the bible study for a reason but while doing my homework my heart is yelling, "I don't need more pressure to do the right thing, it's only through God's grace and his definition of me that enables a face to face relationship with Him."

We are a fallen people, we have sin in our lives, no matter how pretty we try to make it, how many discipleship classes we take, we can not control our sin.  When the mask begins to break and people begin to see the real us they shove us out the door because we are no longer willing to put on the fake Sunday morning smile and fake it until we make it.  God so wants us to be real.  Fragile, broken vessels that love Him and seek a relationship with our Savior, not do the best we can in an attempt to earn a gold star on the chart, that if we earn enough we will enter the gates of heaven.  He knows that we are broken, frail and hurting.  We are in his righteousness, He gave it to us and there is nothing that we could do to earn it, or to keep it, because it is already paid in full and when we get that, then we take our brokenness to Him, and He wraps His arm around us and says, "Yes, Beautiful One, I know, I know, but let's face this together as joint heirs, as friends.  Don't let it keep us separated but allow it to pull us closer together."

I don't know about you, but I beat myself up over my sin.  Daily, sometimes moment by moment.  My anxiety is sin, my mouth, Lord knows my mouth sins, I lean onto my own understanding way too often.  Then, I beat myself up over it.  If God were bigger in my life, if I take one more class, if I listen to one more lecture, maybe, just maybe the light will go on and I will be able to do the right thing and be qualified enough.  Jesus was the only human to be with out sin.  He had scars, but He had no sin.  Our sins, were the causes of His scars.  He paid the price for them already.  So trying to keep them at bay, trying to live in holiness without grace, we just find guilt and condemnation.  Satan says we can do it on our own, we don't need face to face, if we just get it right finally, then we will be better.

"In essence, God says,"What if I tell them who they are? What if I take away any element of fear in condemnation, judgment, or rejection? What if I tell them that I love them, will always love them?  That I love them right now, not matter what they've done, as much as I love my only Son? That there's nothing they can do to make my love go away?
"What if I tell them there are no lists? What if I tell them I don't keep a log of past offenses, of how little they pray, how often they have let me down made promises they don't keep? What if I tell them they are righteous , with my righteousness, right now? What if I tell them they can stop beating themselves up? That they can stop being so formal, stiff, and jumpy around me? What if I tell them I'm crazy about them? What I tell them, even if they run to the ends of the earth and do the most horrible, unthinkable things, that when they come back, I'd receive them with tears and a party?
"What if I tell them that if I am their Savior, they're going to heaven no matter what- it's a done deal?  What if I tell them they have a new nature- saints, not saved sinners who should now 'buck-up and be better if they were and kind of Christian, after all he's done for you!' What if I tell them that I actually live in them now? That I've put my love, power, and nature inside of them, at their disposal? What if I tell them that they don't have to put on a mask? That it is ok to be who they are at this moment, with all their junk. That they don't need to pretend about how close we are, how much they pray or don't, how much Bible they read or don't.  What if they knew they don't have to look over their shoulder for fear if things get too good, the other shoe's gonna drop?
What if they knew I will never, ever us the word punish in relation to them. What if they knew that when they mess up, I will never "get back at them?" What if they were convinced that bad circumstances aren't my way of evening the score for taking advantage of me? What if they knew the basis of our friendship isn't how little they sin, but how much they let me love them? What if I tell them they can hurt my heart, but I will never hurt theirs? What if I tell them I like Eric Clapton's music too? What if I tell them I never really liked the Christmas handbell deal with the white gloves? What if I tell them there is no secret agenda, no trapdoor? What if I tell them it isn't about their self-effort, but allowing me to live my life through them?" (TrueFaced pps 51-52)

Wallow in it today.  Wallow in His love.  Be blessed, then be a blessing. Love always wins.