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Archive for April, 2013

Part of dreaming seems to be the fears that follow. The enemy does everything he can to convince us to give up or that we must be hearing something wrong. He will use any tactic, based in lies, to distract you from what God is trying to do in you.

In the past few days I have found myself becoming increasingly more distracted. One by one, the distractions came until stresses and fears were swirling around in my head. I have been frustrated and discouraged by the physical pain I am in daily. I have been so exhausted since I have started this new job. I love it, but it can be draining because of the nature of the work. I come home and realize how much needs to be done around the house, then if I have forgotten to throw something in the crockpot I have to figure out dinner (or whether I even have the energy to mess with it). Then add to that raising 3 kids on my own, 2 of which are teens. I think about how tired I am now, and I wonder how I will ever make it through college…I mean, come on! I come home from work by about 4:45pm and all I think about is how early can I make it to bed! Then come the strings of discontentment: “I wish…” ,”If only…”,”It’s not fair that…” By the end of the day, I want to cry…yet I don’t even have the energy to do that. I fall asleep whispering prayers to God and feel bad about it.

Today, I was thinking on all of that while at work. Then I (well, with plenty of help from God!) realized I do have a choice in these matters. I don’t have to listen to these thoughts, I can choose to redirect my thoughts back on Christ. I can focus on the blessings of each situation: I have a job that I love, I could be in so much more pain, I have the opportunity to go back to school, I have 3 beautiful and awesome kids that God sent to change my life, and I have a home and bed for resting. I can remember all the awesome things God has done for me, my friends and family, and KNOW without a doubt that He WILL come through. I can choose to keep trusting and keep believing through all of this….because without Him, I would not even be here today.

There also have been fears creeping up and I hadn’t really noticed until recently…or maybe I just tolerated them as “part of me”. I am choosing to become more aware of them, and letting God help me fight them. Fear was another one of those things that triggered my depression when I was child…needless to say I am NOT going down that path! I don’t have to live with these fears: of rejection, of regret, of failure, and of letting go of control. I find myself desiring to give God my everything, but I have no idea why on earth I am afraid of what will happen! I mean God loves me, and would never hurt me…even logically it doesn’t make sense. My prayer is God will help me root out whatever is holding me back…ultimately I want nothing to hold me back from my Father, I want to grow closer to Him, I want to know Him.

I am so glad He is patient with me…He won’t leave me alone…He won’t let me stay the same. He loves me too much to let me remain in all my fear and weakness. And for that, I am thankful.

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If you have known me or read my blog for a little while, you know that I like to recognize milestones in my life, good and bad. I have several coming up in the next 3 months, and while it may seem weird to write about them or even to talk about them, God has used them to shape me into the person I am today. I hope you all understand that it’s not about holding on to the past, but about remembering where God has brought me from. If someone had told me 4 years or even 16 years ago that I would have gone through even a portion of what I have, I would have said, “NO WAY!”

It’s no real secret of the more recent “milestone” coming up. 2 years ago, God gave me VERY clear direction in my life. I did not want it to go the way it did, but I had very little choice in the matter in the end.  While I had peace over the decision and the situation I was facing, I still hurt. It felt like my heart was crushed and every dream I ever had was torn away…and the one I had wanted the most, a family, was crumbling. In the midst of all the turmoil, God healed my depression. I was left with the strange sensation of being able to feel emotions on a more normal level. It felt like I was waking up from a deep sleep. I didn’t really know who I was and what I wanted. I was left to cling to God or give up. I clung to God, feeling helpless and confused.  One thing I had realized, my dreams had disappeared.

I felt like I didn’t know who I was, it was like my inner self was unfamiliar with my body. I had spent so much time depressed the only thing I knew I really liked was sleep. I really wasn’t sure about anything else. Whether it was food, movies, or whatever…I really didn’t know anymore.  I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life as a career. Nothing interested me as it used to, and I felt so stuck.

These 2 years, I have been learning to trust God with my WHOLE life. It’s not anything I have perfected yet, but I am starting to see when I am resisting Him. Even with all the hardships, it’s been a beautiful thing watching God piece me back together again.

So this week, this year marks a different kind of milestone. This one is one of the heart. This is the week I have felt the release to dream. It’s been brewing for a few weeks now, but I recognized it a couple of days ago, and what joy it brought! I have talked about dreams before, but I really found it hard to let myself get my hopes up.  To be able to dream of college (which I am enrolled in) and even better is the fact that I am dreaming beyond my associate’s degree I am currently pursuing. Dreaming about what I might do after my associates and bachelors. Dreaming about visiting different places, dreaming about the future of my family, and dreaming about what God has in store. Before this week, these things might have brought more anxiety than anything…but today they fill me with hope and excitement. I know that there will be challenges and hard times, but for now I will cherish these dreams as I let God direct them.

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Of Grace…

One of the things that have been on my mind lately is God’s grace.  I would be lying if I said I understood it, but thankfully I don’t have to understand it to receive it!

 It’s been one of those things I have struggled with for so long, wrestling with my own worth, my own pains. I had a hard enough time accepting love from people, much less God. The more I think about it, the more I realized that was probably one of the triggers for my depression. As I spend more time with Him, getting to know Him, I am (very) slowly learning to accept His love and growing in confidence of who He created me to be. There are times when it all “clicks” and other times it’s tough to let go of the old thoughts.

I spent so much time trying to fit in to what I thought would help me accept God’s grace. Sometimes it was being apart of certain denominations. Other times it was looking a certain way or believing in one (or more! ) particular standards or “passions”.  Then there were instances of saying and doing the right things, so that by some mystical formula I would be able to feel and live in His grace. My prayer these past few years has been, “Father, please help me to truly accept Your love, without trying to earn it. Help me to unlearn the bad habits and teachings I have picked up over the years.”

The beautiful thing is that I don’t deserve grace. I don’t deserve to be loved…but He loves me passionately anyway. Just like I still love my kids when they mess up, He loves me even more than I can even fathom. I don’t have to wear certain clothes, I don’t have to go to a particular church. I don’t have to jump through hoops for Him to give it to me. He loved me before I was ever born…before I was ever conceived.  He knew when and where I would be on this earth, and He knew every heartache I would have. He knows everything I will do, yet He loves me anyway.  I still don’t understand, and I still struggle with accepting it…but thank God He is patient and loves regardless

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Writings Part 7

Its been a while since I have shared some of the things God has helped me write…

_____________________________________

My heart sings a new song

that rose in my heart.

For Your love has redeemed the lost years.

I am worth more than I allowed all that time…

Your love overflows,

and the more it does,

the more I want to serve You…

to show others.

 

_____________________________

 

Gratefulness pours out

  overflowing

    as the heart continually

      seeks the Giver

        overwhelmed by blessing

          there is no other choice

            but to pass along.

              So the cycle continues…

                until His return.

_______________________________

 

Even as the heart aches

He is there catching every flow.

Tears streaming down

for fear acceptance is real.

The truth hurts when it’s told,

but not forgetting the path

that lies within.

Hope abounds in every rainbow,

Every moment a whisper

  of His love.

Carried on forever in each light.

__________________________________

 

You are a shield about me.

Your shadow is comfort,

 as a child chases their daddy’s shadow.

You protect me of fears,

 even those not yet realized.

You redirect when necessary,

  guiding my every step.

I walk with confidence,

  knowing You are their defending me.

 

 

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This is one of those posts that has been brewing in my head for several weeks. The more I think about the who thing, the more I hurt that people actually say and do such things to others that also serve Jesus.

For my birthday last month, one of my best friends and both of our kids got to celebrate by going out and grabbing dinner. Afterwards we went to go check out purity rings…

Image

This was something we had talked about several times, and we thought it would be an awesome reminder of our promise to God to wait for marriage before having sex. I will be honest, it took a little more prodding for me and my daughter getting all excited that I was going to get a purity ring too. Any reservations I had, dissipated when we got our rings on our fingers, and I knew this was something awesome.

Little did I know that the biggest opposition would be from other Christians. My friend was caught off guard by some comments that someone had made to her, and it broke my heart that someone would say things without thinking of the damage it could do. I won’t go into all the details of what was said, but it did give me a lot to think about.

It seems like there is some sort of weird standard when it comes to purity. It’s great to do the whole “True Love Waits” thing when you are a teen (or single adult). If you had sex then you be a “born-again virgin” or something.  Everything is great, and people supported you 100%.  Now let’s say you are a divorced parent… then things change a bit. Apparently, you are suddenly in a whole different category. It is assumed that you obviously didn’t wait for your “true love” and you are damaged goods. You might as well not even try, just go on keep having sex because it’s not going to do you any good to even try to be “pure”.  Essentially, it means nothing to God for you to wait for whatever, and it’s totally ridiculous to even want a purity ring.

People can choose to believe what they want about the whole thing, but it really upsets me that they find it necessary to vocalize those beliefs. Here’s the deal, they have no idea what the circumstances were surrounding the divorce or having kids. They have no idea what people like us have to deal with emotionally.  We struggle daily with our choices both good and bad.

I can tell you that most days I do think about my past, and wonder who would even want me. But what keeps me going is my love for God and wanting to do what He wants me to do. What I pray is that my brothers and sisters in Christ will encourage each other more. And I pray for those who feel like they need to make others feel like they are worthless, that God will give them a glimpse of what it’s like in our shoes and what Christ has done for us. I am thankful for my other friends in Christ who are in similar shoes, choosing purity after divorce. For myself, I don’t regret this decision. The fact is that I will be able to look back and not regret it. It will serve as a great example for my kids who have been through so much. Most of all I am so excited by what God is doing in my life as a result of obedience.

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It’s been a while since my last post, mostly because of my job 🙂 Its still pretty awesome, and I still feel like I have so much to learn. Everyday I love it more, and know that this is what I am supposed to be doing right at this moment. I know its not perfect, but I love it imperfections and all. Most of all I love working with my team, knowing that they also have a heart for helping these teens learn the skills they need to be successful in work.

I am super excited that I will get to start school again in June. I have waited for quite a while to go back, and thank God, He helped take care of the stuff that had to be taken care of to make it happen. I will have to take it much slower than I wanted to when I first started a couple of years ago, but that is totally ok with me.

God has really pulled through lately, and for that I am so thankful. While there have been many challenges, it has given me more time to trust Him more. I still think about what He has done in my life everyday, and I hope I don’t ever lose the sense of thankfulness. I know I say it a lot, but I am so in awe of the changes in my life in the past 2-3 years. All that stuff seems like a bad dream. I try to keep focused on the now and my goals of my future. Whatever I do, I want to do it for the glory of God. May my life tell the story of what God can do…

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