Archive for April, 2014

Where does your hope lay? Do you put your hope in what you can measure tangibly? Is it in how much you brought home last month financially? Is it about driving the newest model of your favorite car or sporting name brand clothes from the coolest stores? If it is you need to wake up and quickly!

Do you trust in the order of things, in the constancy of your marriage or relationship? Do you feel a sense of belonging as you stroll down the aisle at Trader Joe’s or Sprout’s buying the priciest organic food for your well coiffed children?

I would like to put forth the idea that there are no constants on this earth outside of a relationship with God. Marriages fail, jobs get lost, we get sick, good parenting produces out of control children.

Our best laid plans are “adjusted” by God. Sometimes we live out the consequences of our choices. I know that it’s not a mathematical equation. A + B does not always equal C.

A life of faith is not predictable. If you want predictable go join a Buddhist monastery. If you want a life full of passion, a life spent trusting someone bigger than yourself consider putting your faith in God. This week we celebrate the death of Jesus Christ and the fact that He raised from the dead. That he took on your sins and the sins of the whole world, so that you could be spared from the consequences of sin…death. The only requirement is for you to surrender your heart to God, to admit you need Him and no longer want to control your life.

I did this many years ago and it was the single best choice of my life. If you are interested in making this choice drop me a line as I’d love to share my journey with you and tell you about how God is healing my heart.

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Sometimes I feel like I’m just coming up for air then boom! Since I’ve only ever been me this might be normal, I’m not sure. The very thing I long for-something constant down here on earth still eludes me. One again I am learning the same lesson over again. The only constant I have in my life, maybe that I’ve ever had, is my relationship with God.

I long for a job that pays my bills, I long for a car that isn’t twenty years old, I long for my children’s time and a place to live that’s better for us.

I have forgotten that in August 2012 I was close to being homeless. I was close to not being able to pay my rent. I had recently started going to my church and they stepped in and paid my rent and utilities for September of that month and kept me from being evicted.

I had already purchased a sleeping bag and was anticipating having to sleep in my car or outside. I was beyond stressed out. I wasn’t concerned about walking away from my “stuff” but I was concerned I’d lose my kids or the ability to see them consistently.

My mind and body finally couldn’t cope and I checked myself into the hospital. After there for about a week I became physically ill and my kidneys almost shut down. I was rushed by ambulance to the ER if another hospital to the ICU. I didn’t come to until about six days later.

Laying in that bed after I woke up, everything changed. I had circled the bottom emotionally and physically and I realized how desperately I wanted to live. And not just exist, but to really love. To fully engage in my life, no matter how scary or how hard or big. To grab back onto God in a way that changed me from the inside out.

I knew that I could never quit, that my children needed me. My life was not my own. So I re-engaged and threw myself at the Savior’s feet once again and held on tightly.

Life is still hard. I have had to choose between medicine and food. I live paycheck to paycheck. Literally. I have five dollars in my account right now. Still, in the middle of this God has met my needs, often through His people, my friends and family. I’ve received checks in the mail out of the blue, boxes of clothes, gift cards, money so I could buy my girls Christmas presents, cash in a card and more.

I am humbled. I grew up in a very fortunate life, never had to worry about money and grew up in what some would deal a perfect life. Now I have become the queen of making my funds stretch. My favorite store is now a thrift store. The other day I was taking to one of my girls about grocery shopping and talked about the price of chocolate chips and how they went up. She thought it was amazing I knew that much. I was able to share how I was called to be a good steward of what God has given me.

My definition of success has changed. I’ve never been driven to financial success but have always had it as a minor and when I was married. When I was divorced I started with nothing. I’ve accumulated a few things since then but I am still one paycheck from insolvency.

I just want to have an impact for Christ. That is my hope and desire. I desire to be a good mom and hope that how I parent will be what my children need. May they remember not what we didn’t have but for what we do have-each other.

I’m tired and life is a lot sometimes but I trust in the one who made me. I’m all in.

It’s not about stuff. I’ve had a lot and nothing and neither brings satisfaction because peace comes only in God, not in the car you drive, the clothes you wear or the size of your paycheck. Perhaps we are measured by the impact we have on others for Christ. Beyond that what really else matters?

Tonight I give my future once again to the one who holds my past, my present and has my future mapped out. Glad I’m not running this show.

14 years ago tomorrow was the happiest day of my life. My family and friends all gathered together to celebrate my wedding day, April 8, 2000. I was filled with wonder and joy as I walked down the aisle to marry my best friend.

It’s 2014. Fast forward from 2000. In 2008 my spouse filed for divorce and we spent two very long years trying to reach an agreement. Do I believe in divorce? I hold to the Bible’s view that it should be for adultery only. Did I want it? Nope. Did it happen? Yep.

My marriage was difficult for many reasons. I own my part in its failure and have let it go. I am not responsible for its failure. For reasons I am not ready to say in a public forum yet, I think it’s good that I’m no longer married. No one cheated but here we are.

I had a good first two years, four tops. Then it disintegrated like a piece of rotten wood. Slowly piece by piece of me was chipped away until I no longer wanted to live. Those of you who know me know some of this. I was hospitalized for depression many times, more than I want to say. My world, my marriage was ending and I felt little reason to go on often.

I knew that I could not leave my girls without a mother so day by day I hung on. God used the darkest hours of my life to become so real to me. Although I had been a Christian since I was seven, I met Him in a way that profoundly changed me life.

I had misplaced my identity in being a mom and a wife and when those things were taken away from me I no longer knew who I was. On many levels. I had lost everything that had made me “me.” I went from living to merely surviving. I had forgotten that my identity comes from who God says I am, not who others said I was. I had to erase the tapes in my head from someone I loved that were damaging. I still sometimes hear those tapes but now I know better than to pay attention to them.

Sometimes when bad things happen people wish they could undo those things and have a do over. Although the very human and somewhat still broken part of me can relate to that I would not choose to change what happened to me. Although I will have lots to ask of God when I get to Heaven I am content to know that He sees the whole picture and I just see a piece.

I trust that God has and will continue to use my shattered dreams to bring Him glory. If I would have never married I would not be the fortunate mother of the two most amazing daughters. Being their mom truly is the best part of this human life. Knowing they will spend eternity with me makes the lonely nights without them more bearable.

So it’s 14 years later. I am no longer who I once was. I don’t know that I am better but different. I trust God each and every day with, well, everything. I have no other real choice.

He has become my father, my mother, my husband, my all in all. Anything good I have comes from Him and is a blessing.

Going on over five years since I had to move out of my home. I left that day with my sofa, two chairs, a cookie sheet, wooden spoon and my clothes and a pillow. I slept on a blow up camping mattress that would deflate in the night. Living was painful but I was determined not to give up. I had this feeling that I had been set free.

There is a Steven Curtis Chapman song that sums up how I’m feeling tonight:

remember your chains are gone

I am free and the chains that held me prisoner are gone. I’m BACK

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Be still and know that He is God. For many months after my ex husband filed for divorce I would turn the lights off and listen to Steven Curtis Chapman’s powerful and worshipful song “Be Still and Know” right before I fell asleep every night.

I love how God can bring sings, verses, etc into your head at the right time. Last night I was outside briefly and I just stopped in my tracks as the lyrics from that song “sang” into my heart. It is times like that I am acutely aware of the Holy Spirit in me. God’s presence in me.

This week the chaos in my brain was helped as I was able to get back on the meds I take for bipolar disorder. I wish that I could explain what it is like to be inside my head, on or off meds. It was like things just fell back into place and I had four days in a row where I felt good. I cannot remember the last time I felt good for even a whole day and to have multiple days was a gift.

This week was wonderful and I thankful.

I struggle against my body (and mind) every day. Today was the biggest blessing. I woke up in the night to my nine year old whose toes were touching mine in bed. I gently covered her back up, smiled contentedly and thought that this is as good as it gets here on this earth.

You see, last night she came in after her shower and wanted to know if she could sleep with me. At first I just wanted a good night’s sleep because I had work this morning. Then I looked into this little girl’s heart and thought: what if this were the last night we had together? Then I smiled and told her to go get her blanket and pillows and in she climbed. We talked, smiled, giggled and eventually she dozed off.

Today I felt physically good all day long. It was like a vacation from my body and it was wonderful. It might not last more than today; I just know that in this instant I praise the One who granted me this great day. I look forward to the day when we will shed these bodies in Heaven.

Today was as good as it gets down here.

Image courtesy of FrameAngel / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.