Monday, November 5, 2012

Healing Comes in Ways Not Imagined



God had put a dream on my heart many years ago. He wanted me to write my story. Mind you, I am not a counselor, not a professional in any sense of the word, have never written anything that didn't need a grade or would ever find it's way out of my nightstand, and I still have issues to wrestle through.

But, my message was clear. I was to write my story. The story was to include the loss of my parents, my experience of having to visit my dad in prison, the reckless way I chose to live my life, and where God found me in all this mess. I knew I needed to do this but I was terrified. Of what? Good question.

I was afraid of what I would encounter, on an emotional level.

I was afraid this 'going back in time' would cause me the same pain I felt when I first lost my parents. I did not want to go back there because all I could ever do was cry so hard my gut hurt. But thankfully, that no longer is the case.

God has done some incredible healing in my life. I've been able to think of fun memories I had with my parents and not break down in a tearful mess. I honestly thought all areas in my heart that held any pain, sadness, or anger towards my parents were all swept clean. But what is that verse in the Bible..."I don't think the way you think. The way you work isn't the way I work...so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think." (The Message)

God proved that to be true by presenting me an opportunity to write a small piece of my story in a compilation book titled: "Journeys to Mother Love, Nine Women Tell Their Stories of Forgiveness & Healing", compiled by Catherine Lawton.

This opportunity made me focus on the tragedy I experienced. I have come a long way since the first time I knew I was to write about my story many years ago. I no longer am afraid of what emotions I will encounter. I am able to dig up memories, whether good or bad, and still feel o.k. I was able to smile for the first time, in a long time, when I thought about my mom. Through my time of writing for this compilation book, I experienced healing in ways I never imagined. Who knew?

Um, God knew. The whole time.

He knows of another plan for me, which He revealed a small tidbit through writing for this book. I am so excited for it! I am to help those who have experienced the type of tragedy I had. Mainly, those who are under eighteen and have no one else to talk to. There are thousands of children nationwide that experience this every year. I will somehow reach them. How? I do not know. When? Once again, I do not know.

But, I have learned to 'trust God from the bottom of my heart; and not try to figure out everything on my own.' (Proverbs 3:5, The Message, italics mine)

'Journeys to Mother Love' has a great blog to follow.
Go to: http://journeystomotherlove.wordpress.com/fall-book-fling/ or
http://www.cladach.com/Journeys-to-Mother-Love.html

Friday, August 3, 2012

Journey to Contentment


I never thought there was such a thing as contentment.  That is, until I saw her. 

I was at the park with my children and this woman caught my eye.  She had a stroller full of plastic bags stuffed with clothes.  She held a toddlers’ hand and it looked as if she was expecting very soon.  I was uncertain if she was homeless, but I could tell that she didn’t have much.

I am not one to stare but my eyes somehow forgot that fact. I was not being judgmental, but instead, I was taken back by the joy on her face as she played with her toddler.  She seemed like a mom who was doing her best teaching her child how to be content no matter the circumstances. 

I was in awe. 

I later learned that she in fact was homeless and had given birth.  I could not stop weeping and praying for her. 

I pictured that day at the park and asked myself, “Would I be able to teach my children contentment in the midst of us living on the streets by day, homeless shelter by night?” Another question quickly came, “Am I teaching my children contentment in our life now?” A shameful no was the answer to both. 

I knew God was giving me a lesson here.  My hunt for contentment began.

I started with the definition and found a version that made me wince. Here is my paraphrase:  Not finding fault. 

Ouch! 

Lately, I have been finding fault with everything, from my husband to the forest green carpet in our family room.  Seriously, dark carpeting and small children do not mix well.  Just sayin'.

My husband is by far the best man I know and my children follow suite.  Finding fault with them was not something I normally did because I thoroughly enjoy them.  I knew it was time to get to the bottom of my discontent and take action to change it. 

Due to the nature of my husband’s business, we move a lot. This is so unsettling for me.  Give me predictable any day. I laugh when I think of God’s sense of humor though.  He gave me a risk taker for a husband and three children very close in age.  I knew from the moment I met my husband that he was far from predictable. And let’s face it; there is nothing predictable about raising children. 

God revealed to me that my discontent was not with them, but with myself.  My journey to contentment has started with choosing to be thankful regardless of my circumstances and making a decision to trust God everyday. This practice is not an easy thing for me.  And unfortunately I fall short of gratitude almost daily. 

But, I am inspired.

By observing that mom at the park, I know that contentment is real. By putting my faith to action, I know contentment is attainable. 

...for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquited) in whatever state I am.  Philippians 4;11 (AMP)

The learning part is easy.  The doing...not so much.  Thankfully I choose to look to a God that is stronger than my emotions and offers me victory, in every situation I face, through trusting Jesus. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What Road are You On?

This morning I started down a road called 'self-pity'.  It's a road I have traveled many times. You know the road...'I can't even get one second to myself because for some reason no one in the house can find anything on their own!' 'The moment I get on the phone someone needs something at that very second!'

For some reason the road of 'self-pity' is a saved favorite in the gps of my mind and emotions. 
At times I wake up and declare, "I refuse to travel the same pitiful road today!"

But my actions are no different.  I don't stop to declare God's word over my life, my family.  I don't use even one minute out of my 24 hours I have in a day to ask for God's grace for my day.

 I quickly get ushered into the crazed-filled morning of having three young'uns wanting breakfast, needing milk, yelling "all done", but no way in hades are you about to leave the table with oatmeal smeared all over your face, hands, and clothes!  Quick get the wipes from upstairs, quick run back downstairs to get the clothes caked with dried oatmeal off and new ones on.  Oh, wait!  I smell something not so pleasant from my youngest who is still in diapers.  Grab the wipes and dag-on it!  Only one wipe left and by the smell of things, one measley little wipe will NOT do the job.   Aaaggghh! Let's run back upstairs to grab a full container of wipes, dash down the stairs to tackle some business.

In an instant, I have all three children either yelling my name, crying because one stepped on a toy that was supposed to have been cleaned up the night before, and hearing the other say, "uh-oh".  I never realized how those two syllables (are they even real syllables?) could evoke instant fear into me.  The results of those two uttered sounds in my household never is a good thing.
'Uh-oh' is right.  My two year old opened up the box of cereal I had packed in our bag the night before, so I would not be late this time to my playdate today, and dumped it all out onto the carpet.  Nice. 

It can go on and on from there but the anxiety in me is welling up even as I write this.  Good stopping point.  But can you see why I need God's grace?  Grace...equipping me to do what I cannot do in my own strength. 

God knows how hard and exhausting raising kids are.  Every little 'uh-oh', cry, mess, exploding diaper, just chips away at even the strongest of hearts. With every child born, God has given every parent the capabilities needed to raise that child the way God designed. We as parents need the power of God's grace to do our job well and stay sane!  We desperately need it. How many of us ask for it?

But I have realized that if I do not take a moment to whisper, think a quiet thought, or even yell out to my God before the day starts, I automatically hed north on that dredded road of self-pity.  If my actions that put me back on that road do not change, then destination self-pity here I come.

 Isn't that the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.  Huh.

I don't want to be insane.  Not really in my plan of life.  So, I will take my minute before "crazy" starts and declare, "God has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of strength, power, love, self-discipline and a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

Friday, July 13, 2012

Free to Live

Free to Live

We have so much freedom to do what we want, to live how we want.  Yet, we live more imprisoned than those who are physically behind bars.  In a sense, inmates live with more freedom than we do because at least they recognize their imprisonment.

There have been so many times I had not even realized I was allowing something to hold me captive. 

I have been convicted lately by feeling the sense of holding myself back. Placing my faith behind prison walls so to say. I experience joyful situations on a daily basis, yet hold back my laughter. I experience so much generosity from my husband, children, and friends, yet hold back my gratitude.
I hold back.  I ask myself "why?"  I hear no answer.  I only hear the faintest sound spelling out a 4-letter word...FEAR.

I can be afraid of EVERYTHING if I allow it!  Spiders & snakes (ok, who isn't?), vehicles slamming into mine, falling & busting my head wide open, getting a freaky skin eating disease, an airplane crashing right into my bedroom as I sleep.... Get my point?  It goes on and on and even gets more ridiculous the more I give way to fear.

Fear can imprison me if I allow it. Fear is the number one lie in my life that I allow to hold me back.
There are times when I recognize it and I choose to fight it with the weapons God has equipped me with, His Word.  Then other times, I run and cower, hoping the fearful situation just disappears as quickly as it came. 

In my cowardliness, I feel the weight of the shackles on my hands and feet.  I am paralyzed, unmoving.  This is when I need to break free my faith that I casually placed aside.  Faith means believing.  Believing is choosing.  Choosing is action. 

Fear wants to paralyze us.  Faith wants to propel us into action, freeing us.
My prayer is that freedom is not just a word from my mouth but an action from my faith.  That I will live in freedom everyday and not take it for granted.  For now, I will tackle Fear and all its false realities. I will choose to live in freedom for that is the gift Jesus died to give, not just me, but us all.

He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce freedom to all captives... Isaiah 61:1 The Message
You are not slaves; you are free. 1 Peter 2:16
So Christ has really set us free. Galatians 5:1


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Perfect People

‘There’s no such thing as perfect people

There’s no such thing as a perfect life

So come as you are, broken and scarred

Lift up your heart and be amazed, and be changed

By a perfect God’

This is an excerpt from Natalie Grants song ‘Perfect People”

How many of us try to live this illusive perfect life?  I admit it.  I do.  I try and try until I just want to collapse under the weight of the lie. 

By no means am I perfect.  I am so very far from perfection and yet I have a desire to pretend to be.  What is up with that?! 

I truly desire a perfect life.  I want the perfect, well -behaved children, the perfect husband.  I want to over hear my husband telling another how perfect a wife he has in me.  And don’t forget the perfect house and the perfect d├ęcor that goes with it; the perfect vehicle to fit in the garage of that perfect house.  Whew!  Are you exhausted as I am just reading my “perfect “list?! 

So I ask myself, “Where does this desire of perfection come from?”  I am about to get raw here, so hang tight.  As a child, I always felt lesser of a person to everyone else except in the eyes of my parents.  My parents esteemed me to the hilt which I am grateful for.  However, I did not know how to cope with those who did not see me as the greatest.  I am not placing blame on anyone; it’s just how I felt.  Knowing what I know now, our feelings can distort what truth is.

 I’m sure people did not think I was the greatest, but so what?  I did not have enough self confidence at the time to ask myself, “How does God see me?”  If I knew to ask that question every time I was teased at school or looked down upon by another, this would be the outcome.  I would ask myself, “What does God think of me?”  I would look in His Word, His Truth, to find the truth about myself.  God created me for a purpose and He created me in His image.  However, He is perfect, I am not.  God loves us even though we are far from perfect.  That is why God sent a perfect Savior, Jesus, to help perfect us on a daily basis.

But what I heard when I was a child growing up in a Catholic church was that God was perfect and we are not. Period.  Either they left out the rest of the message or I chose to not hear about letting Jesus help us change from day to day, moment by moment. 

So I went about life trying to be perfect on my own, in my own limited way that I knew how.  Oh how limited it was.  I strived to make good grades and yet never conquered my procrastination.  I strived to be a good friend and yet never stopped gossiping.  I strived to be a loyal girlfriend and yet never stopped my roaming eye.  I wanted to be the best at these things and more, but I did not know that I needed someone much more powerful than me to help me conquer the inadequacies in my character.  I did not know to ask Jesus for help.  Thankfully now I do and He has changed me.  I am so thankful that He changed many dysfunctional things in my character before I met my husband, who is not perfect, but completely perfect for me. 

I still have many inadequacies and I am not cured from the desire to be perfect.  I don’t know if I really will ever be in this life.  But I am aware when that desire to be perfect  tries to creep up much quicker than before.  I try my best to take it to God every time and ask Him to help me see my wonderful, flawed life.  Thankfully, God opens my eyes to see all the humor my life with three active children and a loving, adventurous husband brings.

Life is such a cool journey.  When we feel life is not cool but instead exhausting, maybe we should ask ourselves, “Are we being real?”  Or are we just trying to be “perfect”? 

My challenge to you is, ask God to open your eyes to things you may have never seen before in your life.  Strive to enjoy your life as is, not as you think you wish it to be.

“As for God, His way is perfect.  All the Lord’s promises prove true.  He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection.  God is my strong fortress.  He makes my way perfect.” 2 Samuel 22:31-33


Saturday, May 12, 2012

In Time

In time pain becomes bearable

In time life holds a normalcy again

In time tears are less, smiles are many

In time color is brighter

In time darkness holds no fear

In time feelings resurface

In time laughter hits the heart

In time a shattered soul is pieced back together

In time restoration is mine.

I am so glad God created time.  Thank You God for my time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tug Of War



I am in the midst of a tug of war.  Unfortunately this is not in a literal sense where I could see my opponent face plant into a muddy hole.  No.  This tug of war is in a realm unseen, but surely felt.

I have an important project that needs the left over attention that I have after I have been a wife and a mother of three young children for the day.  So when all is in bed, whether it is late at night or early before everyone rises, I have been dedicated to this project. 

Problem is:  I meet resistance at every angle. This resistance is not the occasional interruption.  This is full fledged 'My rope is slipping out of my hands any second now' resistance.  Oh yeah...it's on. 

I have an enemy of my soul who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.  A cool break down of our soul is:  mind, will, and emotions.  This enemy of our soul wants to kill my mind with negative thinking, steal my will, my determination, and to destroy my emotions, rendering me helpless and incapable.  This enemy of mine is messin' with the wrong gal.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I am weak at times, very much so.

 But thankfully I know the One who is strong and mighty.  A force to be reckoned with.  My Mighty One strengthens my soul, every piece of it.  God strengthens my mind, sets my will, and calms my emotions. 

No matter who or what is tugging on your rope, tug harder.  The moment I speak God's Word, I gain one more inch of footing bringing my opponent closer to defeat.  It can get real sweaty, it can be exhausting and I can become weak.  But I know that in every 'tug of war' I need to go just one more. 

He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak.  Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.  They will fly high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:29

Sunday, May 6, 2012

How Cool It Is

Last night I was able to have a great discussion with a 17 year old who babysits my children.  A storm was doing its best at making a statement over our area, so as parents my husband and I suggested she let the storm blow over before making the trek home.  She agreed. 

Her and I made ourselves comfortable on the sofa and struck up a conversation.  I wanted to know a little more about her and her faith.  I was amazed at the strength and determination this young adult held.  I was also encouraged.  I have three little ones that are not even close to high school age, but one day too soon.  They will most likely face challenges at an earlier age than I did.  I can get so fearful just at the thought of it.  My "mama bear" instinct wants to protect them and shelter them from the "meanies" out there.  But didn't Jesus say something about being the light of the world?  Oh yes, he challenged all believers to let their light shine.  Well, there goes the cave I was scoping out to relocate my family! 

My discussion with this teen, who has a strong determination to seek her Maker's will, left me with  hope.  I pray for my children constantly and I know God hears my prayers.  I know that their faith right now at this young age is my husband and I.  It's our responsibility to teach them and show them what faith in Jesus is all about.  And since God's word never returns void, I know that one day my children will walk in their own faith, experiencing their own unique relationship with their Maker.  As our babysitter put it, "It is not easy being under a watchful eye by many unbelievers."  I agree.  It is not easy and it will not get easier the older we get.  But....it does get way cooler. 

I think I read this from one of Karen Kingsbury's books:  The bigger the mountain, the better the view on the other side. I also think of it this way:  The harder the mountain is to climb, the better the rewards will be once we have reached the top. 

My prayer to all the children and teenagers who strive to do what is right in the face of all that is wrong: ' May you be strengthened with His glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need'.  (Colossians 1:11)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Faced with Grace

I honestly want to pull my hair out right now and say words that no Christian gal should say.  I've been working hard exercising my self-discipline on this important project, only for it to be taken away by the world of technology that we have come to love and rely on so dearly.  My new computer snatched a big portion of my work away and I am now left staring at this machine trying my best to understand its complexities.  To no avail. 

My sobbing has stopped.  I am now ready for action.  I realized this is a good time to take a crack at this blogging thing so thankfully God calms me down enough to go through the steps to create this blog.  I swear I tried this the other day and it did not come as easy as it just had.  Thank you God for redirecting me. 

As I am asked to input the title of this blog, my fingers get into position over the keyboard, my mind is blank.  However, my fingers start to move and these words form...faced with grace.  Grace.  A word that soothes my emotions.  I just ran across a good definition of grace.  Funny how God works.  I had not seen this in many months, and yet I stumbled upon it earlier today.

Grace.  Grace is God's power freely given to you, enabling you to do what you cannot do on your own, no matter how long and hard you try.  Grace is always available to you, in every situation, every day of your life.

 No matter how long I work at it or how long I try to fix this problem I just came across, I cannot do it without God's grace.  I have no clue how God is going to fix it but I know He will because  He is the one who called me to start this project in the first place. 

As I said to myself, "I don't know how to do this.  But God, You do know and I trust You." a peace swept over my soul.  I was instantly reminded of Proverbs 3.  It was one of my devotions today from the Bible app.  It says to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take."  Another version says, 'don't try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He's the one who will keep you on track."

If this doesn't fit my situation, I don't know what will!  I can sit here and choose to be mad and waste my time sulking or I can choose to believe God's word and act on it.  Which choice will bring me the most success?  I am tired of standing and waiting in the "I don't know what to do" line, so I'm going to mosey on over to the "action" line and move forward to my success. 

Maybe God did not want me to work on my project tonight the way I wanted to.  Had I done that, I would not have saved time to create this blog which is something I needed to do.  I have no understanding of why my saved files are lost in this computer with a mind of its own, but it is so now what?  I move to the next thing until I can get the main problem fixed. 

My sweet girl saw me upset and asked in her beautiful four year old voice, "Mommy how can I help you?"  I realized this was a great opportunity to show her how to respond when things go haywire.  I looked at her and told her the problem (in 4 yr old lingo) and said "But God is in control and I trust Him."  Through all the emotions I just felt tonight, I do believe that.  I also believe that this will not be in vain.  My daughter was able to see a healthy response to a problem that is out of my control, only because I choose to seek the will of the One who will show me which path to take. 

"My grace is enough for you[sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect[fulfilled and completed] and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 Amplified Bible

God, I would be a walking disaster without Your grace.  I gladly receive it.