Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Be Held

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

If I could go back and change anything about my affair and the 7 & ½ years I spent running from God, it wouldn’t be the affair itself.  Hear me out.  I’m not saying I am proud of what I did.  I’m not saying that it was right or that I harbor some nostalgic feelings about that time in my life.  I do not.  I am actually quite disgusted by the life I lived and the things that I compromised for the sake of being “happy.”

Monday, November 23, 2015

Jesus Knows My Squirrel Suffering

I have this amazing ability to deal with the huge trials in life with dignity and peace, for the most part.

So, it always surprises me when the little things of this life get me down. And it isn't just a little sadness over this or that - it's deep, unrelenting anxiety for a time, over the smallest problems this life throws at me.

It's not secret that I hate my house. I am still in the process of learning to be content in this place I am quite literally stuck in. I'm a work in progress, especially where my home is concerned. If I tried to list all of the problems in our house it would be a short story, a very long laundry list of complaints. From the start, it was shoddy, at best. Sure, it looked great! Ready to move in. Underneath all the glitter though, the contractor who rehabbed it just saw problem after problem and chose to cover it up, not disclosing any of the issues that have haunted us these last 13 years. I'm actually quite surprised he didn't cover the horrid why-did-God-create-it-gumball tree with something, pretending it was any other kind of tree.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Break Every Chain

I think I've mentioned before that my favorite book series is The Wheel Of Time, by Robert Jordan. Rich story, amazing characters, emotional builds - so many good things I can say about it. I am re-listening to it for the third time. One afternoon last month, driving home from work, I found myself in tears over the scene I'm going to share with you. It spoke to my heart and it was a battle cry of sorts, one that echoed in my own heart.

At this point in the series, there is this White Tower that has always been a symbol of strength and power for the world. It was unshakable, if you will. No one ever thought anything bad could happen to the tower.

What many could not see though was the darkness that had taken root inside the White Tower. Women turned to The Shadow, which is a representation of all that is evil, and not at all unlike the devil to us. Because of this darkness, the foundation of the White Tower (on an emotional level, more than physical) was beginning to crumble. The women in the Tower were weak. They had been pulled and prodded, and many of them were beaten down by life and the constant war with the Shadow. In their deepest vulnerability, the enemy struck. Women were captured and taken away to the land of the enemy and the structure itself was deeply wounded and damaged. Throughout this battle though, there were women who fought with everything in them to protect the White Tower and to ensure that the power of good, the Light, remains.

It is in the midst of the rubble, after the battle, that they try to regroup and a strong leader takes her place to lead the White Tower. She speaks to the women who remain in the tower, who fight for the Light, and this is what she tells them:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sitting In The Rubble

Of all that I have experienced in my thirty-six years on this earth, nothing has changed me or impacted me as much as that day I accepted God's forgiveness.  Really accepted it.  The day I understood that the Cross was for me.  That I was worthy to be called unworthy and deserving of Jesus' death and resurrection.

When my eyes were opened to the extent of my sin and I had to face what a vile person I was, it wrecked me.  It tore me apart.  To the point that there were days I wasn't sure I could survive.  I couldn't believe everything I had done, all the people I had hurt, all the lies I had believed and the lies that I told.  I still have times where I think back to that time in my life and question, "Who were you?  What kind of person does that?"  I find myself appalled at my behavior.  At the audacity I had, the arrogance in my heart.  Honestly, I hope that I never, ever stop being appalled by the choices I made for so many years.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Enjoy The Ride

There are times when I am just sitting on the couch talking to my husband or kids, laughing, just living life, and it hits me all over again how blessed I am.

I am a broken vessel.

I have made so many mistakes in my life.

As a wife.

As a mother.

As a human.

I am flawed.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Raising Children In A Gender-Confused World

I have been trying to write this post for several days now.  It's difficult to find the right words, without sparking a heated debate on a controversial subject.  I try to stay away from confrontation or from opening myself up to it.  Unless it's with my husband or kids, I avoid confrontation whenever possible.  I am too emotional and find that I cannot communicate well when I am pushed beyond my limit.

But I was faced with a situation recently that I am still not sure how to handle going forward.  I feel ill-equipped to tackle it head on and to do so with the right answer.

We are raising children in a society that allows anything to be called moral, as long as it feels okay to the person making up the rules.  As a parent, I haven't quite figured out how to keep my kids safe and instill the values I hold, at the same time teaching them to show God's love and grace to the people they come in contact with.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

We Mend Each Other

A few years ago, after reading through The Divergent book series, my daughter made this image.  I love this quote from Allegiant.

Since I was young, I have always known this:
 Life damages us; everyone.
We can't escape that damage.
But now, I am also learning this:
We can be mended.
We mend each other.

What a beautiful picture of life.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Pursuing The Dream


We have lived in the only home we have owned for almost 12 years.
We have only one bathroom and what will shortly be 4 teenagers (3 of them being girls).
We live in a neighborhood where I do not feel safe letting my children play outside (it wasn't always this bad...)
The bus system in our neighborhood is sketchy, to say the least.
While people in other countries live in cramped quarters all the time, because we have the freedom not to do so, it is very difficult to live in such confined space...i.e. there is literally no room to spread out or be alone.
We are in a position financially to possibly explore other living options.
We believe that this is God's timing, to move forward to our forever home.
We have absolutely no idea what God's time table will actually look like.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Re-Written Story

Big Daddy Weave has a new song right now called "My Story."  It is an excellent song - would I recommend one that wasn't?

The whole idea is something that Kris and I have been learning to live out these last three years.  It's about sharing all that made us who we were, and all God has done to make us who we are now.  It is just such an amazing truth that many within the church fail to practice.

I think we, as the church, have grown up believing we have to hide who we were, or who we are.  Especially if it would implicate us as sinners.  Sure, we can admit to others that we sin.  Of course we sin.  But to be frank and honest about what sin continues to follow us around?  It was unheard of when I was growing up.  At least, in my circle.  Even as I became a young adult, a wife and a mother, it was a shameful thing to admit what you had done wrong.  To anyone but God.  Sure, we urge confession of sins to God.  But I think much of the time we miss something that I believe is VITAL to our overcoming sin.

Monday, July 13, 2015

What Hope Does

I have this magnet on my desk at work that I look at from time to time.  It has Isaiah 40:31 on it.

...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.

I was reading it this morning and found myself really trying to understand what it really meant.  I've always loved this verse.  It seems poetic and it just sounds appealing.  I don't know about you, but I'd love to go through life not feeling weary.  I'd love to walk this road without feeling the spiritual and physical exhaustion that often accompanies the burdens we tend to carry.

I believe that it is possible to live in such a way, where your heart is fully surrendered to God, so that in the toughest times, you can endure without feeling as if the world will come crashing down on you.  What I love about this verse though is what is says you actually need in order to live this way.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Grace Wins. Every time!

Have you ever made a mistake and then spent days, months, or even years tearing yourself down and hating yourself for it?

I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I'm an over-achiever in many areas of my life. I suppose it shouldn't surprise me then that I overachieve in not only making mistakes, but punishing myself for them. And because I am a perfectionist and a rule follower, when I break the rules (i.e. living a secret life of sin for 7 1/2 years), I am my harshest critic. I heap insult upon insult upon myself, and I bear a very heavy burden of guilt.

Monday, June 15, 2015

I Believe In Resurrection

I mentioned back in February that Kris and I had the privilege of seeing Plumb perform the day that we celebrated three years of restoration.  It was an amazing concert and I have been eagerly anticipating her new album.  Now that it is out, I couldn't help but share what is probably my favorite song on the album.  Knowing that her marriage was destroyed and then gently put back together by the trusting hands of God, this song is so close to my heart.  Because our stories mirror each other in many ways.  

The devastation that Kris and I put each other through and the healing that God brought about and the resurrection he performed - she experienced these things too.  And she has the God-given ability to put her experience into song.  This song is a balm to my heart and a reminder that even though things still get tough in my marriage, what God did in and for us is nothing short of miraculous.  
Everything I have, everything I am, I owe it all to Him.  

I am nothing without Christ. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Joy Overflowing

One thing that really bothers me about depression is how it steals our joy.  It does it so subtly though, that we don't even realize it is happening.  This is the first real bout with depression I have had since I came home three years ago.  What really showed me where my mental state was at was my inability to weep over songs like I had been.  It was not uncommon, as you know if you've read this blog, for a song to bring me to tears while driving or in church.  It was a common occurrence once I came face to face with the reality of the Cross.

And over the last few months, I found that while I could still appreciate the words of different songs and know the truth of the Cross, I wasn't FEELING it.  That's the thing with depression.  It disrupts what you feel.  It leaves you callous and really for me, removes most feeling, leaving me apathetic to life.  Waves of sadness or despair come and go, and then once again I'm left not caring about anyone or anything.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Depression Takes Its Toll

Nearly three months is the longest span of time between blog posts for me, typically.  I'm sure there is a clever way I could explain it away, or maybe a funny story to tell you about why I've been away.  However, I've never been one to shy away from honesty with this so I'll just tell you the real truth behind my absence.



I said it.

The big, ugly "d-word."

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Another Day, Another Failure

I've been wrestling for a while now with my inability to keep my temper in the morning while I drive my son to school.  We pulled our son from public school last year, after a traumatic end to the year which resulted in our son being expelled.  We had concerns previously about having our son in public school and the influences he was exposed to there.  Certainly it doesn't just apply to our son, but those who are familiar with our situation know why we chose to remove just our son from the public school system.  This year he has been attending a private Catholic school in the area.  In order to ensure that our youngest has someone there to see her safely on the bus in the morning, I have been the one primarily responsible for taking our son to school each morning.

I'm not going to lie.  It has been a strain on our relationship.  It is only recently that I have begun trying to evaluate what is causing the tension, and I feel like I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, after yet another morning that sent my son to school mad and left me in tears.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Day I Chose To Leave

An amazing thing happened the day that I chose to leave.

I had spent so many years trying to make it work.

Trying to heal what was broken in my own heart.

Time and time again I would fall on my face, wondering why I just couldn't get it right.  Why couldn't I just be happy?  Why couldn't I fight off the constant anxiety?  What was wrong with me?  And how could I fix it?

I was unhappy.


That's not quite right.

I was miserable.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Excellent Wife

I would never consider myself to be an excellent wife.  Most days I don't even feel like a good wife.  Or even a halfway decent wife.  Because the truth is I make mistakes.  And I'm not talking about the mistakes I made in the past - big and little.  I'm talking about day to day "I messed up in how I treated my husband" mistakes that still occur with much repetition.

Friday, January 16, 2015

When Your Daughter Feels Insecure

You hate to see your children suffer.  As a parent, you want to gather your children under your wing and protect them from all the bad in the world.  I find myself in a place where, as a mother, I am not sure how to navigate.  From time to time, one or more of my children (and not just the girls though this post is about them) exhibit signs of insecurity or feeling bad about how they look or their personality or any number of other things that girls and women wrestle with.  These feelings all stem from lies that the world tells them, that they tell themselves, or that the devil whispers in their ears, in an attempt to tear them down at an early, pivotal age in their development.