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!!!