Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

This New Year is already shaping up to be very different than I had thought it would be! (And that is not really a bad thing!) A few short weeks ago, I brought in the New Year with some awesome friends, staying up way later than I have in a long time. I knew in my spirit that things would be different for me this year, a strong sense of expectation filled me…knowing God was doing something (I know, He is always doing something!) A day or so later, I got a very unexpected, yet welcomed message from someone I have known for quite a while.

So here I sit, now “officially” in a relationship (cue friendly joking comments about my “official” relationship). But this post is not about all the details or gushing about him, or bragging about my new relationship status.  It’s about what God can do when you step back and trust Him to work things in His time.

This all did not happen because I planned it or he planned it. I know that in my own life I had so much to work through in these past few years. I had to learn to trust what God was doing, especially when it came to relationships. Had he decided to ask me out when we had first met, or even last year, I am not sure what I would have said. I was in such a different place in my life and Lord knows I would have screwed up somehow because I hadn’t dealt with a lot of my junk.

There were plenty of times over the past couple of years where I questioned what God was doing and what I should be doing. I also didn’t have the right motives for being in a relationship. But time and time again He lay on my heart things that would not leave me alone: I knew I was not to manipulate to get into a relationship, it would be someone I was friends with first and served with, and someone who would take my standards seriously. No matter how I tried, God kept reminding me to keep trusting Him and serving Him and He would handle the rest.

Now, even in this early part of our relationship, there is peace and trust that God is writing this story. Things are just different, and it’s been absolutely awesome so far. My biggest struggles remain in my mind…like the struggle of what God says about me and what I say about myself. Given what I been through in my life, I do also struggle with fears that creep up. I keep holding on to God’s steadfast love, trusting in Him thought all of this. I know that wherever this may lead, it’s all in His hands.

Know that you can trust God in everything, including relationships. Trust that He does have your best interest at heart. Be honest with God, sometimes you have to yell and scream, and He is ok with that! Be patient knowing He will do a far better job than forcing or manipulating your way into a relationship. Focus on working on your own heart issues, building friendships and serving and loving God.  There will be plenty of times where it will be difficult, but in the end, no matter where He leads, it will all be worth it!

Read Full Post »

2014: Abide

This year we were challenged at church to pray for a word to concentrate on this year. After some thought and prayer, I believe my word is “abide”. It’s also one of my fave 2 words in the bible! (right after the word “steadfast”) There are several definitions of abide, but the meanings that I will be concentrating is this : to remain, to continue, to stay, to dwell.

I know that one of my weaknesses is remaining with Christ even when things are going well. It seems like I cling to God during those bad times with no problem but if things are ok I have a bad tendency to put God on the back burner while I do what I want. Then it cycles into things going not so great (probably because God was not my focus before they got bad!). I end up having a crazy roller coaster spiritual relationship, and get so worn down. This year I want to remain with God more, make Him a constant focus during good and bad times.

Here are the verses that I will hold on to this year:

John 15:4-11

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that ears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Read Full Post »

There are few things as moving as witnessing some one show genuine love for others. Big hugs, and sturdy greetings with sincere eye contact. The receiver wears an expression showing how much it means to them to be loved as they are.

In my adventures this weekend, I was blessed to witness such an exchange and it was beautiful. I spent the evening observing and processing, while inwardly scolding myself for being such a goof when introduced to quite a few people that I did not know. Nothing quite like standing there awkwardly after giving my name, while the others are standing there waiting for some polite conversation to occur. This was one of those times where I wished I had a t-shirt or memorized phrase to spout off something to the effect of: please excuse any weird behavior. I am an introvert trying to cope with a new situation and/or human interaction.

Lately God has been bringing back to my heart the desire to love people, build relationships, and serve them in whatever way possible. I am not talking about the pretty, everything is perfect type stuff. I am talking about the beautiful, messy, walking with imperfect people toward a perfect God journey. I am talking about Mother Teresa in the slums of India loving lepers and helping people die with dignity, and Shane Claiborne becoming “family” with the people in a not-so-pretty neighborhood in Philly.

Honestly, I don’t know where He wants me to go with this or what He wants me to do from here. It scares me a bit, like the anxiety of going up the sharp incline of a roller coaster. I don’t even know how to go about it when I struggle to interact with people. I don’t know if it will be something I will just discover and do one day, or whether I will be a part of a team that could help me in the areas I am weak in. Sometimes it can be so terrifyingly exciting thinking about it! I am thankful that He is the one orchestrating it, because I have no clue how its all going to happen.

All I know is this I want to serve God. I want to serve others. I want to love people, not just say it. Family is my main core value and I want others to feel the sense of family, especially those who don’t quite fit in. If I could do anything with my life, I would serve others full time, whether it be local mission work, helping local churches or smaller non-profits. When I think about all those things, it makes me both happy to know where my heart is, but sad I am not there yet. I am in a place where I don’t know where that fits into my current life, especially as a single mom of 3 kids. There are times I feel so discouraged because it feels impossible, yet I feel excited to have a goal to attain even if I have no clue how I will get to it or what it will look like.

So for now I keep praying, hoping, and learning as I go. I know God has this all mapped out, and will guide my steps. It gives me a peace know that its ok to go through all these thoughts and feel overwhelmed and excited all at the same time. My prayer is that in the end, it will be yet another small chapter in the big story of God big love for us.

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?”

In her eagerness she did not realize how queer the words would sound and that they were not the ones she had meant to say. Mr. Craven looked quite startled.

“Earth!” he repeated. “What do you mean?”

“To plant seeds in–to make things grow–to see them come alive,” Mary faltered – from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

So many times this quote comes to mind when working in my garden.  There is just something about clearing out things and the organic smell of freshly turned ground…Then nurturing living things to grow into all their beautiful potential.

Image

I know from this picture it may not look like much of anything to most people. About a month ago it was completely full of grass. In fact I had to mow it or use the weed eater on it! A few years ago I had it cleared it and looking pretty great, but I had pretty much given up on it when I was going through my separation and divorce.  I felt so hurt and broken that I could care less about such a chore. I didn’t really care about much of anything since my world was crumbling around me. I gave up on gardening, letting the weeds and grass take over, as if it were a representation of what had happened to my life. Then God healed my heart and my mind, but I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with work, taking care of my kids, physical pain and life in general.

I don’t know exactly what changed in me this spring. Maybe it was looking at that garden, seeing my own reflection. I saw in that bit of earth potential for life…and set it on my heart to make it into something that will bring some joy every time I look at it. Working the ground, I hear God talking to me, giving me glimpses of how He works with us.  He looks at all our weeds and digs down to get them out by the roots. Sometimes it may hurt, like when the weeds are choking the good plants out and He pulls the weeds anyway. He has the vision of the finished garden in mind as He works and plants to create something full of beautiful life.

I see what He has done in my own life, everyday it’s growing into something more beautiful than I ever dreamt it could be.  Just like the picture is only a fraction of my actual garden space in real life (I have a whole other section in the front and a HUGE area in the back), I know what God has done is only a tiny bit of what He will continue to do.

So I work, slowly clearing out the grass, smiling to myself with each earthworm discovered and each root taken out…knowing I will hurt a little more in the morning. I keep focusing on the bigger picture, dreaming of 2 particular gardens I want to create…one full of all sorts of edible things and one full of old fashioned floral memories…using the time working towards the dreams, to grow closer to my heavenly Father. The more I work, the more I realize that this is quickly becoming to my soul what writing has been for so much of my life.

I think again about the quote at the beginning of this post. I imagine that maybe my spirit must have asked Him something similar when He created me. “Father, might I go down there and tend to a bit of earth? Might I somehow experience life down there?” I don’t know what He might have said, but I like to think that He gave me permission, and warned me of the pains I would experience in human life, but with those pains would come a growth spiritually that would prepare me for my eventual return home and a greater appreciation of His power and glory. I would accept the challenge, wanting to see all the beauty that life has to offer and to know the Father even more.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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…

Read Full Post »

Here I am relaxing a bit, with lights on the tree blinking and shiny glittery stuff all over the place. For the first time in several years, I allowed myself to have a little fun this Christmas. The past few years was tainted with personal reservations and hurts…but this year I was determined to make it different for the kids and myself.

Fall and winter are my favorite times of year, Christmas being the climax. Growing up it used to be the presents expected, but now it’s a different type of expectation and hope. After I had children, it all seemed to change. Specifically when my 2nd child, was born, I remember looking at her close to the holidays, and FINALLY I got it. I got a glimpse of the love of God, the sacrifice of Jesus and now had a brand new understanding of what Mary and Joseph went through. After that revelation my relationship with God was radically changed for the better. Now there is not a Christmas that passes that I don’t reflect on all of that…and all I can to do is be in such awe and cry.

Even though Christmas is still a couple weeks away, I am already looking toward the new year. 2012 has had its share of challenges, but looking back its been the best year in quite a while. God is good! After some thought and prayer, I realized there was something missing or at least something I miss. I miss  that fiery passion for Christ I had way back when. Here, I am talking like I am old lady! 🙂

I have been a Christian since for 20+ years, and rededicated about 11 years ago or so. I can say that I didn’t really understand what the whole “being saved” stuff was when it happened (I was 12), but I knew I believed there was a God and I believed in Jesus, I just didn’t understand what I was supposed to do afterwards. When I became an adult and had a wake-up call about what real life was like, I realized more than ever I needed God or I wasn’t going to make it.  After the rededication, God was all I could cling to in the middle of the abuse I was going through. I had conversations with God, sensed His protection, studied the Word because it was what I longed to do, and spent every day possible up at the church doing whatever I could. Everything was new, I had so many questions, and I couldn’t get enough of God.

Then so much happened over the course of years: 1st husband dying, 2nd husband abusing kids and starting to abuse me, church I attended for years crumbling, abandoned by best friend,  lifelong battle with depression and anxiety and more recently 3rd husband cheating on me and ultimately picking her over me and on and on. My faith was shaken, for so many years I felt like I was in a desert spiritually and no way out. I wanted to pull away and just be alone, as so many people I thought I could trust hurt me so much. But God, used that last situation to wake me up, and remind me that He was still there and always had been.

While my relationship with Him has been renewed and refreshed, I feel like there is still some passion and desire missing. I know from experience that I do not want to live the roller coaster of mountain highs and valley lows , you know, extremes. I also don’t want to be stuck on a plateau. I also know that when God restores that fire, it’s going to be different than before. So that’s my prayer this year. I want God to restore my passion and fire for Him. I want to read my Bible and pray because I want to, not because I feel its some sort of formula. I want to be closer to Him and not pull away. I want to trust Him more. And as weird as this sounds, I want to quit being afraid of what He could do If I just let go completely…(and that thought, my friends, is a topic for another blog… 🙂   )

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »