Monday, December 8, 2014

Going Back In Time

My favorite memory of junior high/high school is hands down my church youth group.  We went through a lot together.  Sharing stories about struggles we were facing, losing a friend to suicide when most of us were just 12 years old, family trials or losses, I'd say my youth group was close.  At least, I felt that it was.  And beyond that, I felt a close bond with nearly all of the youth leaders that were present in my life during those turbulent teen years.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rest in the Chaos

I find myself almost never logging into my blog these days.  I'll hear a song, or read something cool that is on my heart to speak to, but either I'm just really exhausted or not able to take the time to sit down and write about it.  We're at this junction in our lives where almost every night is filled with something:  Girl Scouts, choir concert, after-school activities that throw everything off, worship practice that I'm now involved in at church.  My work days seem so long, as I am still battling daily pain (though it is considerably better than it was) and when I have an evening to just be home relaxing, I just want to sit and veg, watching TV or playing a game with the kids.  And deep down I know that I shouldn't beat myself up about not writing here consistently, but it starts to eat at me when so much time passes between posts.  There is a feeling of letting people down, even though I know this blog doesn't have a huge following of hundreds of people.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

God Is In Control

We often hear, and more often as Christians say, God is in control.  But it wasn't until today that I really understood why that phrase bothers me so much.

When we lose a job, we say God is in control.

When a loved one dies it is often said, in a desire to comfort, God is in control.

If the future is unknown, there's nothing to worry about because God is in control.

But we also take a look at the world and the widespread tragedy of hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, the current threat with ISIS, and we mutter God is in control.

And others, outside the church hear us say that this God we want them to believe in is in control.  And I think what they really hear is that God is to blame for all of these tragedies.

I think the phrase "God is in control" has become so overused and no longer conveys what we are really trying to say.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Trying To Understand The Inexplicable

Nothing can quite prepare you for life.

The ups and downs.

The sorrow and pain.

There is a lot that we don't understand, and maybe never will in this life.

And perhaps it's mainly in part because unlike God, we do not have access to see the "big picture."  What would we, mere mortals, think if we could see our life play out from start to finish, experiencing things that only make sense to us?  When something bad happens, is it possible that it happens because it is actually going to be better than what the alternative could have been?

We will never live a perfect life on this earth.

There will always be pain.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

There's More You Don't Know

It shouldn't surprise those who read this blog regularly that I believe there is a very real devil in this world and that he is in the business of convincing us to believe lies about ourselves.  I spent 33 years of my life listening to lie after lie, and just believing any negative thing that came into my mind, specifically about myself.  It has always been a struggle, and there are still days that I wrestle with this.  More days than I care to admit, honestly.  It will likely be something that I have to battle for the rest of my life.  And I do not think that I am alone in this.

I have written several posts about lies that women believe about themselves, and at the heart of each of these lies is a very shrewd, very evil entity, seeking to wreak havoc on our lives.  And as we allow the lies to play through our minds, very quickly they take root, and they grow until our minds are entwined with one lie after another.

This is something I spoke to yesterday, as I gave my testimony in front of 40 incarcerated women in southern Missouri.  It has been my struggle, and I God has been teaching me how to overcome this.  So it was only natural for that to be part of my story.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Broken And Beautiful, Even In Prison

Why am I always surprised that doing something to minister to someone else ALWAYS winds up being a tremendous blessing to my own heart?

This is my third Broken and Beautiful conference at a women's prison.  Two women from church spoke tonight.  One I had heard before, and was still blessed to hear again.  Another story I had never heard, and was from a girl I don't know well.  She's a little younger than I am, and always super friendly, but we just don't have the chance to really sit and talk much.  Tonight made me want to change that.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm Satisfied

I feel like I've lived in a bubble the last six weeks.  I've been playing it safe, following ALL of the surgeon's instructions.  I'm 6 weeks "post-op" and yesterday I was cleared to go back to work.  I have to follow up with physical therapy, but can finally be released of the hard neck brace I was wearing and return to normal activity.  I was very happy to hear this, as I had become frustrated at the uselessness I was feeling.  Unable to do many things for myself over the last 6 weeks, it became difficult to believe that I contributed to anything in society.  So I was eager to go back to work.

I started out by easing back in, a "short" five hour day yesterday.

Two hours in, the aching shoulder pain that had disappeared and stayed gone for the last six weeks crept back in.  And it just kept getting worse.  To the point that at the end of those five hours, though I got up, stretched, didn't sit longer than an hour, did ALL the right things, I was in the same pain as before surgery, minus the aching in my neck.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Inside My Heart - Day 3

Tell your heart to beat again.  This song needs no other words.  This is my prayer as Ferguson heals.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Inside My Heart - Day 2

Never fear, I have another song for you!  This week, my goal is to post songs about hope and focus on remaining strong and living in peace with everyone, running after peace.

I wish that I was not sitting here writing about the tragic situation in Ferguson, MO.  But it is hard to be unaffected by something that is so close to home, and worse, something that continues to escalate.  This post has nothing to do with my opinion.  I do have one, but this isn't the time or the place for it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Inside My Heart - Day 1

I began a post this morning that was cut short by taking Kaleb to his first day of school.  The girls started last week in the public school system, but for those of you who know some of the struggles Kaleb has had, we made the decision to put him in a local Catholic school.  And we are pleased with this decision.  We were even welcomed anonymously yesterday and it made my heart happy to find this sign in our yard.  Thank you Sacred Heart for making us feel welcome and for providing what I believe will be a safer and healthier environment for my son!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Living In Fear

My heart is heavy again tonight.  I've had trouble really sleeping these past two nights.  I'm uneasy.  I am working hard to fight against anxiety.  I do not want to give in to the fear that in years past would have crippled me.  Battling anxiety, fear and paranoia for much of my life, what is happening right now in my community is unsettling, to say the least.

In my previous post, I wrote about the need for peace.  That we need to run after peace.

It seems that there are still large groups of people completely unwilling to live at peace with one another.

Maybe I'm naive.  I'm sure you'll tell me if I am.  But when five days have gone by and there is still unrest and protesting, some turning to violence, I stand behind the police using the means within their possession to protect the city once the sun goes down.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Do Not Retaliate - A Candid Response To The Violence In Ferguson MO

When bad things happen, I think it is only normal for our first human (i.e. non-Christian) reaction to be anger or desire to retaliate.  What happened wasn't fair and so we should DO something.  We should somehow take action, to get vengeance.

All throughout the Bible, God instructs us not to retaliate.  That vengeance is his and his alone.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Joy In The Morning

It's mornings like today that I find it incredibly easy to think on God and thank him for his blessings.  It is something I try to do regularly anyway...but when the temperature is 66 and there is a nice breeze out, and it just begins to hint at the fall weather coming in a couple of months, I find myself filled with joy and gratitude for this life I have been blessed with.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

You Belong to Me

I heard a song over two years ago and in the midst of a billion other songs that spoke straight to my heart, this one fell by the wayside.  And as God is so fond of doing, he brought it back around recently.  Tonight, feeling anxious and alone, I am coming back to that song.

I haven't even listened to the entire song yet.  Just these lyrics. And already I'm torn up inside.

Monday, July 7, 2014

It Was A Bad Day

There's no way around it.

Today was a bad day.

Not just your run of the mill down day.  When I say bad, I mean that we were trying to finish our month end closing at work, I didn't sleep well last night, and my pain was out of control.  Top that with being on the verge of running out of pain pills on Wednesday and worrying that my surgeon (who I see tomorrow) for some crazy reason will not give me enough to get me through until surgery next week, and I have been struggling today.

Monday, June 30, 2014

That's Not Your Name

For most of my life I struggled with believing the truth about myself.  Unless it was the ugly truth.  I had no problem embracing the lies that told me I was not enough, or that my sin was too great to ever be forgiven.  I held onto the belief that if I did something wrong, THAT is what defined me.  That is who I was.  My sin is who I was.  I was broken.  Messed up.  I could never be fixed.

Beyond that, I've struggled with more shallow things.  Like, not being pretty.  Being overweight.  But the biggest thing I have wrestled with throughout the years has been my ability to be a good mother.  There are voices all around.  Some are encouraging.  But most, however well-intentioned they may be, are downright hurtful.

Monday, June 23, 2014

At A Crossroads

It's so hard to watch your children flounder.  As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to protect your child.  Whether it be from bullies or hardship, or their own mistakes, we want the best for our kids, don't we?

I never imagined that I would agonize as much as I do over my son and his schooling.  Some of you know what we went through with our son just after Christmas.  I didn't write much about it, and still want to be careful how much I share because I don't want to hurt my son, now twelve.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Leaving The Island

I can't help but feel emotional thinking about my 15th wedding anniversary. 3 years ago there is no way I would have ever imagined that I would feel the way I do today.  3 years ago I was as far from caring about my marriage as could be, with no desire to change anything. I was perfectly content to live my life on the sidelines, or worse, in darkness as I tried to live two different lives.

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other." Matthew 6:24

I tell women this all the time: at the end there, before I surrendered my selfish desires and sinful heart to the will and discipline of God, I was in love with another man. And I felt nothing for my own husband, the man I had vowed to love above all others, until death parted us. While I would not have called what I was doing hatred towards God or my husband, it really was. I was devoted to my life of sin, I loved the darkness for the "protection" it provided, and I despised Kris. I didn't care about God, right or wrong, or my husband. There was always a small part of me that worried about the pain I was causing others - but the farther away I got from God and what I knew was right, the less important this became to me. Until years later, all I cared about was what made me feel good in the moment. All that mattered to me was "him." I was devoted to that relationship, and despised my marriage and all it was supposed to stand for.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hope For The Hopeless

I wrote this post last week and it will be shared on Intentionally Yours, but I just really felt like sharing it here as well.

Once again while driving in to work I found myself face to face with God. It's easy, when you've been a Christian for a while to miss those moments. Moments where you can literally feel God's presence all around you, and it is as if He's sitting right next to you. There is no awkwardness in the silence. God's voice isn't usually audible for me, and sometimes the silence makes me uneasy.

But not when God is concerned. There is so much peace in that silence. When you are overwhelmed with merely His presence, you don't need words. You don't need sound.

Because it isn't what you hear in those moments.

Friday, April 18, 2014

He Brought Death To Death

Just like I will never forget the birth of any of my children, I will not ever forget what happened to me two years ago today. How life was given to me. This time, not through the birth of one of my own children. This time, the birth came about in my own heart. Just as Christ was put to death on Good Friday all those years ago, my old self was put to death two years ago. Though I had been a Christian for as long as I can remember, and while I knew of God, I didn't KNOW God. I didn't understand the hope that has now shaped how I live my life now. I lived my life alone and sad, though surrounded by life and family and what should have brought me great joy. I was desperate to find fulfillment, a way to fill the emptiness I felt deep in my heart. So I tried to fill that void in many different ways, the last of which nearly destroyed my own heart and my marriage.


Because, as I have recounted before, Good Friday in 2012 was a very significant day for me. It was the day that I finally let go of my shame and my guilt. I stopped punishing myself for the sin that held me captive. I stopped convincing myself that everyone was forgivable but me. That God held out hope and joy and restoration to everyone except me. I was so deceived that I tried foolishly to convince myself I was unworthy of even God's love. As if I could somehow prevent him from loving me? Seriously? I was such an think that I could sway God one way or another into loving or not loving me. I look back now and think, how arrogant was I to think that?

But the good news is that God chose to shake me loose from my self-loathing and stripped away the lies that I had spent years believing. The lies that God didn't love me quite as much as he loved everyone else or that my sin was just too bad for him to bear. I was such a fool. And I am so incredibly grateful that I can look back now and say that! I've never been more happy to realize what a fool I was. Because that is who and what I WAS! It is not who I am today and this fills me with just as much joy, maybe more, as what I had at the birth of each of my children. Because I was given new life as well.

And while I may have shared this song before, and it is likely I will share it each year on this day, I want to post this here. Because it is not only a song that hits home for me; it is a song that each of you can listen to and hear God's truth in. Jesus' death on the cross, his resurrection, it brought DEATH TO DEATH! It put death in his grave! That is good news for us and something that I never want to take for granted!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Troubles Of Today

I'm holding nothing back from You
It doesn't really matter what I lose
Got a heart that's open
I'm broken
And I want you to know that
Jesus, I don't want anything coming in between
You and me
Jesus, it doesn't matter what I have to go through
I'm holding nothing back, nothing back from You

When I heard that song this morning, I began thinking about this concept of holding nothing back.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Trust Without Borders

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Whereever you would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Over the weekend I made a decision, after talking to some wise sisters and a brother in Christ. After spending two hours minstering at a women's prison, I finally broke down before God and basically told him I was finally ready to hand over the reigns. I was ready to trust him. I was ready, no matter the outcome, the stop looking to my own strength to manage the pain. To stop waiting for it to get a little better before I give it to him. It was very freeing, as I knew it would be. And you know what?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

He Bought Me Back

Late last night I wrote a blog post about refusing to quit. In that, I referenced a Jason Gray song called "Love's Not Done With You." One of my favorite lines in that song is this:

Everything's redeemable.
The God I know is capable.

EVERYTHING is redeemable.

That means that no matter how far gone you are, or how many mistakes you've made, no matter where you find yourself right now, the brokenness can be redeemed.

Refuse To Quit

At the chiropractor recently, I saw a poster on the wall. You know those motivational posters? The doctor I see there works with a lot of athletes and sports injuries. It is not uncommon for an athlete to be injured at some time throughout their athletic career. For some strange reason, I always used to think that athletes were immune to injury. Until I started seeing this doctor and I finally understood that they get injured just like everyone else does. Sometimes it's sudden, and other times it comes after years to pushing their bodies to the limit.

Being overweight for most of my adult life, I do not consider myself athletic. I hate to exercise and there isn't a sport that I just love to play. Unless eating bacon can qualify as a sport. Which it should.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Something To Celebrate

This summer, Kris and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. It's such an exciting benchmark in our relationship, in our lives. It fills me with joy when I think about what we have gone through, and how I am looking forward to celebrating this milestone with my husband.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Remember Your Calling

I feel like I have been failing in the ministry God has entrusted me with. I received an email today from someone who is hurting, because the marriage this couple began has faced trouble and been split apart by it. As I was reading through it, I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

I've been a mess lately, to be honest. Emotional, moody, angry, sad. I go from one to the other, then back again. I know that I have not been an easy woman to live with. And those of you that know me are likely thinking, "Well, how is that different from usual?" Yeah yeah yeah, I know. But really, it's worse than usual. I've struggled to find joy. To look at all of the good in my life. It hasn't been long-lasting, and yet I feel as if there is something weighing down on me.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Want A Life

I love anything sung by Lennon and Maisy Stella. I do watch and enjoy the show Nashville-it is an added bonus that these awesome young and extremely talented sisters perform on a few episodes. So tonight, as I reflect on my day, and the two years that Kris and I have experienced restoration and redemption, as well as renewed love, my mind goes back to a song on the newest Nashville soundtrack. The lyrics fit right in with where my life is at right now, and it seems sufficient to close out the night with this video and the lyrics. I never want to forget to cherish each blessing in my life.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Peace In The Darkness

I just can't believe
Where my life was at
All that I know is that my heart was broken
And I don't ever want to go back

Those lyrics are from a new MercyMe song called "Shake" - a song that I don't truly care for. Maybe if I liked to dance I could appreciate the song in its entirety, but no. However, I do love the first four lines. This is how I feel. Often, I find myself comparing where I was to where I am now. Not just during the affair until now, but also as I grew up and began my walk with Christ. I see who I was in college, and how much I have changed. How much my faith and my understanding of God has grown. I suppose that's quite normal. It's just that I remember that idealistic college girl who took the Bible at its word, didn't question anything God said in it, and dreamed of some day working in some remote Indian village in another country.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Reflections Of The Past

I read an article over on Intentionally Yours today called "I Ruined Valentine's Day."  It is written by a man named David who made some bad choices in his life.  It is his reflection on how confessing his sin to his wife on Valentine's Day tarnished the implied joy the day should bring.  We all know that Valentine's Day is a day for love, for couples to celebrate that love.  So for David, it was devastating to his relationship that this bomb was dropped on that particular day.  And yet, at the same time, David found hope that day.  In the eyes and heart of his wife, he found forgiveness and it was just the beginning of a fresh start for his marriage.

What is it about Valentine's Day and confessing sin?  As I sit here and reflect on my own life, I find that today marks two years since my husband found out about my affair.  Two years since I turned my back on my marriage and was ready to give up and bring out the word we had always refused to allow into our vocabulary:  divorce.

I was done.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Hate Pornography

I HATE pornography.

The word "hate" isn't even strong enough to encompass the depth of repulsion I feel towards it.

There is nothing good about pornography.

You know, I have read in books and heard other people agree that pornography can make a marriage or sexual relationship better.  When we were much younger, before we had kids, Kris and I went through a period of time where we tried to prove this idea.  Because he struggled with it, and couldn't seem to escape it, we thought that maybe if we watched it together (thinking then he wouldn't be hiding in sin alone) and were intimate with one another that it could enhance our sexual experience.

There is nothing to say besides this:  it did not help.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Refusing The Remedy

Motherhood is rewarding.

Having children can bring great joy to your life.

But do you know what I used to hate when my kids were little?


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Body I Was Born With

Oftentimes we go into a new year with high hopes.  We want to change our eating habits, or lose weight.  Perhaps we vow to read our Bibles more, to pray more.  We don't go into a new year (usually) wondering, "Well, I wonder what can go wrong this year..."

And while I did not go into the new year with any of the thoughts I mentioned above, the new year dealt our family a blow that we are still recovering from.  I've thought about sharing some of that struggle here, but I just haven't felt a prodding in my heart to do so.  I will say though, parenting is tough on the best of days.