Faith Journey

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up Walls

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up Walls

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up Walls

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up Wall is something that I struggle with because I, sometimes, live in fear.  I am choosing, now, to NOT to live in fear because fear is a liar.  Honestly, I am so tired of living under the judgement of others.  Let me just tell you something…oh my word.  I’m fixing to use my words and all of them.  This may not be pretty but sometimes you just have to let it out.

I’m gonna have to take a few minutes and watch a Chopped episode.  My brain is moving faster than my fingers and the emotions are strong.  Let’s just say I am completely and totally over it.  A change is coming and it may take till Jesus returns, but by goodness, I am done!

Let’s Try This Again

I am not a people person.  Yet, I’m empathetic (so I’ve been told) and I have a heart to help others.  Those that are unseen, so to speak.  People that other people snub their noses at because they don’t dress/live/act “appropriately.”  I’m just saying…those are my people.  I see them, I feel them, I understand them.

Their problems, I feel deep within my soul.  The look in their eyes can tell a thousand stories and they are just yearning to tell that story.  They simply want to be loved, accepted, and NOT judged.  I CHOOSE to love, accept, and to not judge them.  Honestly, I want to meet them where they are currently at and walk into their world.  It is an honor to step into their stories.

Hard Realization

What a hard realization that most people, in this world, do not think the same way.  I just don’t get it.  How can you not love and SEE the people around you?  The unseen, the less than, the “you are not in my circle therefore you do not exist” people.

For the love of all that is holy…Jesus’ second greatest commandment is to LOVE OTHERS.  Matthew 22: 36-40 clearly states, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied:  ” ‘ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The Things that Have Happened

I cannot and will not go into detail on the struggles we have had this summer.  It has hit me hard that not everyone thinks like I think and love as Jesus says to love.  What they want is to steal, kill, and destroy my joy.  My joy is my family.  They are all I think of and commit too 100% every minute of everyday.

For anyone to presume to know what happens in my home shows their narcissistic personality in full bloom.  The things we have been accused of and the mud we have been drug through is astonishing.  I really thought 2020 couldn’t get worse…it can.  Trust me.

So Much Loss and Pain

The loss and pain was completely preventable.  Let’s try something radical.  If you think something is wrong with a friend or their family…TALK TO THEM.  Ask how you can help them, pray for them with no details, listen to them cry.  Clean their house, run an errand, cook a meal.  Be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Radical, ya think?

Or you could go the other route of gossiping, being deceitful, frightening your children, lie, manipulate.  Just because you might have money with your 2.5 kids and .5 pets…driving your nice cars with your paid off houses, does not mean my family is any less.

We do not deserve the shit you have drug us through.  All you see is a tired mama of many kids who “look” normal.  What you don’t know is what all we have dealt with and lived through.

Outcome

Well, our outcome has been standing on Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight your battle.  You simply have to be quiet.”  I was quiet.  Lots of tears, lots of reflection.  There was a period of hiding, a valley of severe depression and anxiety, another medical condition for a child due to the STRESS so called “friends” put us through.  Thank you for that, honestly.  It’s been the most fun.

We have been validated.  Proven to be good, loving parents, found out that our family does not need any outside assistance to thrive.  Honestly, with friends like I have had…who needs enemies?  We have discovered several of our “friends” are simply wolves in sheeps clothing.  Yet, now we know.

Choices Moving Forward

I will not hide.  My children will not hide.  We will parent as we have for 25 years until the Lord calls us home.  I will not be afraid and neither will my children.  When I get my Spirit filled feeling about someone, I will trust it and I will teach my kids what I have learned.  I pray that that type of wisdom and discernment is something the Lord gives them.

Honestly, I knew better with these people, but I wanted to be wrong.  I wanted a friend.  Someone who would listen and love us through it all.  What I got was satan reincarnated and the judgy nature of those people.  When bad things happen, the first person who physically showed up was my mama, my Oak.

My Oak

This woman.  She blew in like a whirlwind.  Then, she ironed out the people, in my house, that needed to be ironed out.  Next, she found me and that hug…I melted into her and I felt her love permeate every single molecule of my body.

She gently walked me upstairs and we both laid down and talked.  I cried and she sat in silence and rubbed my hair like when I was a little girl.  She gave me permission to wallow for a day, but tomorrow I have to get up and wash my face and face the day.  There will be no hiding for her little girl.

She loves me.  Unconditionally.  She sees me.  Truthfully.  She knows all that has happened, yet…she loves the ones who have hurt her baby so deeply.  If I am 1/2 the mama she is when I grow up, my kids will be blessed.  I am blessed by her.

A Few True Friends

We discovered those who would stand by us and those who judge us.  Prayer warriors surrounded us and kept us safe.  We stood before all and God clean and came out on the other side with no truth coming from the claims and lies.

These people may never answer for what they did on this side of heaven, but rest assured…Jesus has it written in His book.  Each of these people will stand before the throne listening to him read their story from beginning to end.  They will answer for it.

For Now

I choose self-care.  Pet a cat (or 12), bake, eat candy, smile more, block people on social media, keep loving on the “less of these” people, wash my hands, wear a mask, parent my kids, love my husband, and love my God.  My enemies cannot hurt me because God goes before me, after me, and stands on each side of me.  If you want me and my family, you must go through Him first.

Good luck to ya.

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Faith Journey

I am NOT a Failure

I am NOT a Failure

I am NOT a Failure

Repeat after me:  I am NOT a Failure.  Those words still resonate in me after a late-night chat with one of my closest friends.  After a particularly hard evening, I texted my friend and said: “can you talk?”  She has as many kids as I do and her life is not easy.  My friend is raising these kids from hard places and trying to maintain a farm.  Inspiration.  She is my inspiration.

What’s Going On?

That was all she said. Not even a “hello” just a statement.  In fact, I don’t think we ever say “hello” when we call each other.  It is rare when we get a few minutes, within a month or so, to dedicate to chatting.  Yet, when it comes to me needing her or her needing me…we make time in the chaos.

Last night, she made time.  I am forever grateful to my friend.  She means the world to me.

Tears Flowed

I couldn’t even get words out…all I could do was sob.  There was a sentence I mustered about a life-altering decision that we have to make in regards to one of our children.  Instead of instantly telling me all the things I already know, she sat, silently, and let me cry.  Throwing in phrases, between the sobs, of “I love you.  You love your children.  He is not a failure because of his mental illness that I did not create.  I am not a failure because I did above and beyond what needed to be done in order for him to live a successful, safe life.

You are not a Failure

She said that over and over.  I repeated it and then I let it sink in.  He is not a failure.  I repeated that and it is sinking in.  We are not failures.  He just needs more help then maybe I can give him.  That doesn’t mean I’ve failed him.  It means I have loved him enough to get the help that he needs.  In having to do what we may have to do does not dictate my love for this child.  If I didn’t love him, I wouldn’t fight so hard for him to succeed in life.

Yet…who does what I’m doing?  Who does what he is doing on a constant basis?  Why can’t love just fix everything?  What about God…where are You in the chaos?  I know He is there.  Yet, I can’t hear Him through the storm.

My Support System

Is very small.  I mean, I have my husband.  The love of my children (whom I try to shield from all that swirls in my mind).  I know my mom loves me and supports me.  There is my sister who never waivers, never judges, never gives advice without me asking, faithfully prays for me…what would I do without her?  I simply don’t know.  Also, I have a couple of faithful friends that I can bear my soul with and never be betrayed or judged.

Struggling

There is some serious trust issues that I have always had but have peaked the last few months.  I’m battling with anger (which is fear and/or sadness).  I can easily identify the fear that no one believes me, that I have no self-worth, no confidence, that love comes and goes like the ebbs and flows of the ocean.  Feeling like a failure because my dreams of raising kids is not what reality is.  Honestly, feeling like all the things wrong is my fault and that I can’t fix it.  Sadness because of the loss of what I thought I knew…I’m not sure it is even there.  Maybe it is there but buried deep inside and doesn’t want to appear because of fear.  Such sadness at the choices of a child.  Sadness for an uncertain future.

Emotionally Stagnant

That is what my counselor said that I was.  When we got off the phone, I told my husband and he AGREED.  Then, I called my sister and told her…guess what…she AGREED as well.  I have a hard time expressing my needs, feeling safe, accepting help, and just being vulnerable.

I am not emotionally stagnant.  The emotions are there, I just pick and choose who sees me have a moment.  Emotions, to me, instill weakness and if one is weak, one doesn’t think clearly and can be overtaken.

That’s how I perceived my father growing up.  He is not the emotional kind of guy (forever police officer).  I rarely remember him yielding to emotion. He did, I guess, just not where us kids could see him.

My mom, however, is free with her emotions, for the most part.  I just took more after Pop.

What People Don’t See

Is when I’m alone, in my room, crying my eyes out.  People don’t see me taking long drives down roads I don’t know…crying my eyes out.  Screaming.  The poison gets so intense, inside me, that I just scream.  So, I’m emotional, in a controlled environment.  If I were to say to the people who have hurt me, how badly I feel wounded…they will not respond well.  Many things can be said.  Also, those things that were said cannot be unsaid.  If I did say them, they would no longer love me.

Fear of not being loved or belonging…that’s a big one.

Oceans

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made…

My Thoughts

In the everyday chaos and uncertainty, He calls me to walk out on the waters, where it is completely unknown and my feet will fail in the deep ocean.  Yet, He says I will stand on my faith.  When I call upon His Name, He is faithful to keep my eyes above the waves.  He is calling me out on the waves to confront, in love, the people that I need to confront.  One of those people is me!!
I need to know that I don’t depend on anyone’s love but His.  My battles are not for me to fight according to Exodus 14:14.  “The Lord will fight my battle.  I just have to be silent.”
I won’t look around at all the things going on around me and the struggles that I am facing.  My job is to step out on the waves, in the deep ocean, where His grace abounds.  I am always loved, always believed, always worthy, in His eyes.

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Faith Journey

I Need a New Narrative

I Need a New Narrative

I Need a New Narrative

Sin.  It sucks.  We are all susceptible to it and all do it.  It isn’t pleasant, it grieves God, and it can be ugly.  Thankfully, as a child of God, He casts our (mine) sin from as far as the east is from the west.  Honestly, that humbles me.  He forgets my transgressions but do I forget others?  I Need a New Narrative.

Life as I Know It

I struggle with bringing up the transgressions of others.  Stewing no it.  Marinating, so to speak.  I know the power of forgiveness and it is a beautiful thing.  Yet, there are some people that I just hold on tightly to the hurt, anger, and pain.  I claim that I have forgiven, yet I know I haven’t.

Dangit.  I am to be like Jesus with skin on.  Yet, here I am harboring the hurt and pain.  I know how to counsel people into the beauty of letting go, but I do not always follow my own wisdom.

Free-will.  It sucks.

Anger

Anger is secondary to fear and/or sadness.  I am angry a lot.  Sadly, more than I should be.  Is it my depression?  Can I use that as a crutch?  Is it unresolved trauma?  Probably.  I’m working on that.  Yet, the “working on” part is HORRIBLE.

What do I fear?  I’m not good enough?  I suck as a wife and parent?  Everything I touch, I screw up?  That my inner human of insecurity is right and what I try to tell myself is a lie?  If I were better, I would have friends and my children wouldn’t struggle with what some of them struggle with.  Sad because I never feel like I am enough and I live in a shame swirl.

Good times, huh.  Welcome to my brain.

Who I Am in Christ

This picture has been floating around for years.  I’m going to post it here.  Mainly to remind myself of what I know is true.  This is what God has to say about me (and you).  As I continue to change my narrative, I’m going to print this out.  I want to read it, have Big Daddy read it, and my children.

During this quarantine time where we have nothing to do but live with our thoughts, I want my thoughts to be going in a different direction.  I need to quit filling my mind with things that are wrong.  Find peace that surpasses all understanding.  I want to stop being angry and enjoy those around me.

My kids need to know that I do my best and I love them.  I want them to be the best they can be despite some of their disabilities.  Their minds and bodies can be healed, in Christ.  I need to try and show that, daily, by my example.

I Need a New Narrative

Read and Reread

Please, print this out.  Buy it.  Write it down.  Read it.  Reread it.  Then, read it again.  The things that you tell yourself are lies.  These are the Truths of what God tells us.  He created me (us) to bring Him joy.  We bring Him joy by simply breathing in and out.  He shows us so much grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness.

I’m going to start by getting back into the Word.  Also, I found great peace when I kept my prayer journal.  Every day, I would date it, write 5 things I was thankful for, and then 5 things that were a prayer concern.  As things were answered…whether the answer I wanted or not…I would highlight/date/write the answer.  Over time, I would be able to flip back through and visually see how the Lord works, even if I don’t “feel” it or “see” it.

Over Time

I would branch out.  You can’t be in the pit of despair, as Anne Shirley would say if you are reaching out and praying for others.  From time to time, I reach out and am able to focus on others instead of myself or my current situation.

So, today I begin.  When will you begin?

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Faith Journey

Blessed Assurance

Blessed Assurance

Blessed Assurance

This hymn, Blessed Assurance, was sung yesterday by our praise and worship team, at church.  I love old hymns.  We do not sing them often and when we do, it is played with instrumentation.  My old soul truly loves the piano and the hymn.

I was quite surprised that this one came up to sing.  We had Hunter in the service with us because we are trying to keep him as contained as possible from the cooties that are so freely shared amongst kids his age.  He had been standing by Bart and then wanted me to hold him.

Now, he is almost 50 lbs. so he is a bit heavy for me, yet, I held him for as long as I could.  Then, while we were still singing, I sat down and we rocked while this song permeated my soul.  He had his little head on my shoulder and he was playing with my ponytail.  Such a precious moment that I wanted to soak up.

This Song

I have sung 1005 times over the course of my life.  I know it by heart and I sing it just like I was taught when I was younger, sitting by my mama in “her pew” at church.  However, my season of life has ebbed and flowed since I was a child.  There have been lots of things that have happened throughout the last 40 years.  Honestly, it has been a long time since I have heard this song being sung.

As I Listened…Things Happened Within Me

There was a peace.  Not just any peace.  It was a blessed assurance type of peace.  See, I’ve been so angry over so many things.  I mask my anger with laughter and lightness.  Or, occasionally I mask it with organizing or cleaning.  There was no masking anything right now.  I feel like I see it all so clearly.

Here I am, sitting with my son whom I was told would “succumb” to his illness and there was nothing that could be done for him.  Then next to him, I sat next to my #2 daughter who is struggling with finding herself, finding her truth, and direction.  She is excited and scared and ready for a certain journey.

Next to her sat my #6 son

Who is struggling to fit in because he was born to not fit into any box.  He is deaf with a magnetic in his head.  Sadly, he is perceived as rude or disrespectful, or absentminded because he cannot hear you, yet he doesn’t announce it.  He struggles with wearing his hearing aid because he is made fun of.  To add an element of fun, he has been bullied and had some racist remarks made to him.  Recently, he was diagnosed with narcolepsy which comes with a whole nother set of issues.

Next to him was daughter #3.

She is angry all the time.  There is so much that she wants but does not have the capability to stick with it unless I micromanage her life.  She does not want me doing that, so she is stuck.  Desperately, she wants to be loved and heard and do all the things that kids do her age.  Sadly, her mental capabilities prevents a lot of that dynamic. Everything is one or two steps late but she will eventually catch up, she just wants it all NOW.

Then we have, sitting next to her, our #5 child.

He is struggling with fitting in, being appropriate, remembering anything, confabulation, yielding to peer pressure and getting punished and “earmarked” for that yielding.  He has no clue who he is or the direction he is going in.  Honestly, he just knows that he is angry and jealous.

Behind us was #4 child with his female friend.

Again, he is searching, struggling in areas.  Learning how to grow up and act the age he is.  Wanting more than what he can afford or have.  He is wanting those freedoms but not at the price that is set forth for him to get them.  Trying to find his place in the life choices he is making for his future.  This is tough stuff.

His female friend is getting her feet wet in independence and learning some tricks of the trade.  She is making hard decisions about her future in a month that is very difficult for her and her family.  Sadly, she is missing parts of her family and there is just a lot of layers to unfold with her.

Lest We Not Forget #1 Child and her Male Person

Things are better with them, but still lots of communication growth required.  So much learning in that first year of marriage.  There are some medical issues cropping up and boundary issues that need to be addressed.  Big life decisions that are being discussed.  Just a whole lot of everything.

As I Sat

I realized how angry I was that we were “still” dealing with the things that we deal with on a daily basis.  We have children with special needs (remember that phrase.  It is NOT special needs children…they are CHILDREN first!)  Yet, we have the same issues day in and day out.  It’s like I’m living in the movie Groundhog Day all day long, every day.

Anger is fear and/or sadness.  I am fearful about their futures and what will happen.  Honestly, I am sad that a few of my children may have a limited future due to their specific needs.  It hurts my heart because I cannot eloquently explain all the reasons.  They simply do not understand.

But Today,

Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine…..this is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long….. As  I was holding him, that phrase stopped my singing and before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face.  All of this insanity around me IS my STORY.  It IS my SONG.  This STORY and SONG was written specifically for me before God created anything.  He knew me, my life from beginning to end, the children, the needs, and He perfectly wrote the lyrics to my SONG.

I have been singing my song out of tune for a lot of years but today, I felt myself finally singing in tune with this beautiful hymn because I had a glimpse of understanding.  There was a moment where I thought this is my purpose.

Now

I don’t know what I’m going to do with this knowledge.  Hopefully, the Lord will continue to press this into me and I will glean more from this epiphany that I truly felt like I had had today in church.  Always, I ask for prayers for my children and my husband.  Now, I ask for prayer for me to fully understand and discern this thought that is traveling through my brain.

Lyrics

 

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of his Spirit, washed in his blood. This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long; This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long. Perfect submission, perfect delight, Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; Angels descending bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of love. This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long; This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.

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Faith Journey

Just Be Held

Just Be Held

Just Be Held  I am, quite literally, having a come apart right now.  It has been a week, month, year…just a lot.  Here are the lyrics to this song.

Just 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

Thoughts

As a mom, we all know this, we are the superman to all the issues of life.  We put things back together with superglue and a tampon.  My son has tells me that if I cry, that is like Superman with a broken arm.  Honestly, moms do not cry.  I have chosen my life, or maybe I am living the life God chose for me…hmmm…I need to ponder on that.

My life is one giant complication.  Marriage is not easy.  Parenting at any stage is not easy. Throw in control issues, have special needs kids that were out of your control and theirs, a medically fragile child, aging parents, death, poor choices and you have a mess.

But God
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held
If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will
Thoughts

Right here.  These words.  They pierce my soul.  I do see things falling apart.  In the span of 8 weeks, I’ve had two sons bullied by students and administration.  Suspension has happened twice for one son.  We’ve had a flare-up with another son.  One son is spreading his wings.  Daughters who are dealing with the hardships of lost relationships, a new marriage, jobs, school.  Just so much.

Yet, He is not upon the throne biting his nails or eating popcorn wondering what is going to happen next.  He has already created the perfect provisions for all these issues.  Then there is control.  Me.  Free-will.  If I would just take my eyes off the storm and gaze them upward.  Frankly, how would my perspective change?

No Tears Wasted

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Thoughts

Honestly, I love those verses, in the Word so much, that I have Isaiah 61:3 tattooed on my body.  Frankly, the other verse may need to go on my person as well.  For instance, He has captured EVERY tear of mine (and yours) and placed it in a bottle.  This is how much He cares for you.  Furthermore, it is like you are the only person on Earth and His sole job is to love you and comfort you.

Chorus

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

In the Midst

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Thoughts

In the midst of the storm, however, lift your hands.  Furthermore, gaze your eyes above the waves.  He is there, holding your heart in His hands.  In Him, He has already fixed the problem.  I pray that I will always remember that truth.

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Faith Journey

#Loveyourself

#Loveyourself

#Loveyourself.  Never be any different than who you are.

Always be true to yourself.

Stop putting on a mask for every place/person you go/meet.

You be you.

Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

#Loveyourself

It took me a long time to be okay with who I am…and to be honest, I still struggle.  I have been told for SO long that no one will love me, no one will listen to me, no one will believe in me, no one will take me seriously, I’m too much, I’m too outspoken, I’m too loud, etc.

Now, bear in mind, it was NOT my family telling me this….these lies came from “friends” or people I thought I trusted.  My family loves me and has done nothing but edify me and love me.

About Me

I am loud, outspoken, and I speak my mind.  Quite often, I march to the beat of my own drum.  I do not color inside the lines or conform.  That is something I never will do.  There were times when I tried to cover up those traits up.  I tried to play the game.  I tried to make friends and be “normal.”

Let me tell ya, it was exhausting and I broke.  I mean, I did not just sort of chip a nail, I broke in half.  Completely and utterly shattered.  In a very dark place…I guess it was the year my granny went to see Jesus.  That was the same year I lost 2 children due to the lies of a social worker (must be noted that we had STELLAR social workers after this loss…this particular gem of a human, did not need to be a worker)…I snapped.  It was so bad, that when I called the nurse to tell her that I needed an appointment, the dr must have overheard us.  He took over phone call because he thought I was suicidal.

I would NEVER do that to my family.

Once he realized that I had the support of my family, he prescribed me some antidepressants to help even me out and get my mind in a better place.  The meds did just that.  I was able to see a bit clearer and I realized what I was doing to myself.

I did a lot of self-reflection and I examined my friendships, my hobbies, my marriage, my walk with Christ, the foods I thought I liked, I mean every single detail.  Sadly, there was a period of time that I did not leave my house.  My life consisted of parenting, being a wife, and self-reflection.  There was a time when I had to relearn who I am, what I stand for, what I like, what I don’t like, and what I would and would not accept.

Now, there are times I still revert back to that old mindset but then I quickly remember who I am and what I will allow and not allow.  I have learned to stand up for myself and believe in myself.

Never forget who you are.

Never forget WHOSE you are.

You are a precious person in Jesus’ sight.

He loves you even when you do not love yourself.

Reevaluate your life.

Keep the good and eject the crap.

Believe in yourself.

Love yourself.

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What Does Comfortable Mean

What Does Comfortable Mean

What Does “Comfortable” Mean?

What does “comfortable” mean to you?  According to Websters Dictionary, it means affording or enjoying contentment and security.  Okay, so what does “contentment” mean?  It means feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status or situation.

That is the world’s view.  So, according to the world, I need to be secure (home, money, job) and I need to feel satisfied by my home, money, and career, to have the possessions that I deserve.  A sweet little life where it is all wrapped up, with a pretty red ribbon.

Is that the answer?  Is that the answer to a good life?  Great job, making great money, buying great toys and bigger houses…..2.5 kids, a dog, a cat, and a fish…a manicured yard, well educated/rounded children and peace wherever you go?

If this is the life that you want….then stop reading and good luck to you!  If you want more out of life, more than money can buy, then keep reading on!

God Does NOT Want us to be Comfortable!

He wants us to be up and moving and going.  We need to sincerely pray to Him and ask Him to send us where He is working…then when something comes up, all you have to do is GO.  He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips those whom He calls!

My husband and I have lived an exciting life.  We married young, had kids young and we fought, oh so much.  He wasn’t walking with the Lord, and I was walking very slowly.  He was saved at an older age and even though the fruit wasn’t very big…it was there, and it was growing in God’s time, not mine.  I learned very quickly that I was not my husband’s personal little Holy Spirit.

We have walked through several fires, with little grace and forgiveness.  Moreso, we wanted to hurt those who hurt us and we allowed that bitter fruit to penetrate every ounce of our hearts.  I’m sure that devastated God.

We’ve Gotten Older

We’ve learned to lean not on our own understanding, but to lean on God and remember that His grace is sufficient.  We are currently walking through some hot fires….we have lost so much, over the last 2 mths.  We have lost loved ones, we have lost respect towards some people, we’ve experienced a loss of innocence, and we’ve had our eyes open to many many truths.  Every day, there seems to be a new thing.  One where we are now not saying “God, you aren’t funny,” but we are standing there, shaking our heads, knowing that He is continuing to refine us.  As painful as it has been, we have drawn closer as a family unit and as a couple, and we have most definitely drawn closer to our Lord.

I have more peace than I’ve ever had and my circumstances have gone from “comfortable” to “chaos.”  It seems as if we are standing in the middle of a field and God is getting us with some pretty good zingers.  We are standing strong in His Word, and we are hanging onto His truths and promises.  We aren’t trying to independently walk through this world “I do it myself” mode, but we are hanging onto God’s belt loops, and we are following our Daddy through all this muck.

Comfortable, in my Terms

Is an unmanicured yard with weeds and dead plants, everywhere; 4 dogs that shed horrendously…our cats are living in the house, our pigs try to escape and our chickens refuse to lay eggs more days than not; a scary job, making little money, raising 7 children..all with their own needs.  Leaving a place that we thought we’d never leave….to go towards the unknown.  We are no longer detail-oriented people. We are merely trying to follow where He leads.

If you don’t know the Lord as your personal Saviour….please savor these next steps and pray with a yearning heart.

We ALL deserve death.  That’s why Jesus came, to save us from our sins and be the ultimate sacrifice, on the cross.  Please know the plan of salvation and what my God can do for you and how He can change your life.

Salvation is Really Simple

Admit that you are lost; Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth.  He came as 100% human and 100% God.  Jesus came to die on the cross.  He did so with your name on His lips. Confess that you are a sinner, separated from God; Repent, turn away from your sins; Ask God to come into your heart and you will be saved.  Baptism would be next, but baptism does not save you.  It is done in the act of obedience to what Jesus did, and it is a public profession of your faith, to show the world of your decision.

Please, don’t put off tomorrow what can be done today.  Our days are numbered.   You can take this moment to ask Christ into your heart.  Please reduce the number of hell by 1.  Secure your mansion, in Heaven.

Faith Journey

Our Story

Our Story

Our Story of one girl who had the courage to ask and one wonderful Lady who had the courage to say YES!

Titus Mentoring

Mentoring….something that has piqued my interest for a long time.  I never knew where to begin, so I just pushed that thought on the back burner.  I am too busy, I have too many kids, life gets in the way, I’m too screwed up, no one will understand me, and I’m closed off emotionally.  All these thoughts filtered through my mind.

New Church.  New Friend.

When my family and I decided to start looking for a new church, I went into it looking to fly under the radar.  I’m loud.  I’m outspoken.  I can be misunderstood easily and I certainly didn’t get along well with pastors.  We found a church and one of the very first people I saw, sitting in the pew, was a TALL, white-haired woman who looked to be in her 70s.  Her presence was commanding.

She was faithful to attend morning, evening and Wednesday night services.  I could hear her sing above anyone.  One could almost read her story in her wrinkles.  She is captivating.  Honestly, I watched her for about 2 years and I never spoke to her.  I would hear people say “someday, you need to ask Ms. Jo about her love story.”  From that moment, I was determined to ask her…but fear of rejection would pound in my head and I would not ever ask.

Candyland Coming to Life

One year, we were doing a type of “trunk or treat” for Halloween.  The ladies of the church transformed our fellowship hall and our downstairs children area in a giant Candyland game.  I went to help out and to bring my children.  As we walked downstairs, I saw this tall precious woman sitting in a rocking chair and the children would come and sit out her feet and listen to her tell the story of how much Jesus loves them.

I went in, without my children (they were in another area) and I sat at her feet and I was captivated by her ability to quietly and strongly tell this story.  There was not one child who didn’t have their eyes on her.  I sat, right by her, entranced by this woman.  When the children left, I asked her if someday, she would share her love story with me.  This smile that could light a thousand Christmas trees flashed across her face.  She simply replied with “my Jerome.”  You could feel that love that she had for him.  She told me that she would be glad to tell me, sometime.

Another Year Passes

Another year or so went by and I got up the courage to always hug her neck when I saw her.  Her smile is so inviting and welcoming.  I knew, though she didn’t know me and my scars, that she loved me.  She loved me completely and unconditionally.  Ms. Jo, well she was my peace.  She was correcting my words towards my children.  Yet only did that if she had the feeling my words were out of line.  Also, she would talk to me about how I spoke to my husband, at times.  However, she is bold but never condemning.

Hitting Me Between the Eyes

There was a particular moment that I had been in the pit of depression for over a month.  I mustered up enough courage to go to Wednesday night ministry and I saw her come through the door.  I walked up to her and hugged her.  She asked me how I had been and I just looked at her, fighting back the tears, and said “I haven’t been well.  I’m struggling with depression and I can’t seem to shake it.”  She stood as straight as I had ever seen her and she said “well get over it.  You are loved by our Jesus, your family, and me.”  Her boldness took me back and I thought…well, she is right.  I am loved.  God is bigger than this depression.

Courage

That moment, I knew what I had been praying for so long, my prayers had been answered.  That next Sunday, I went to get my hug and I sat by her. Her sweet aged hands, with that one crooked index finger (I seriously love that crooked finger) held my hand and I put my head on her shoulder.  At that moment, there was no one else in the sanctuary.  It was like the Lord had blacked out all the chaos around me and allowed me to focus on her and me, at that particular time.

I Have a Question

I leaned into her and I said “Ms. Jo, I have a question.  Would you consider being my mentor?”  She looked puzzled and she said, “well, I don’t know what I have to offer you, but whatever I have, you can have.”  My thoughts started whirling and I know I looked like I could catch a thousand flies with my open mouth.  I just looked at her and said “seriously, have you met yourself?  How you love your Jerome, how you love your boys, your grandchildren, how you love the Lord.  Simply stated, I want that and I want you to teach me that.”  We agreed to set a date for that Thursday.  The thrill and excitement could overwhelm me!

Our First Meeting

I showed up that first Thursday and we sat on her back porch.  I sat in the swing and she sat in her chair.  When I say she knew NOTHING about me, other than my name and my family’s name, I mean that.  The Lord drew our souls together.  She looked at me and said, “how can I help you?”  At that moment, time stopped again.  In an uncontrollable moment, I started weeping.  I could not stop.  Rarely do I cry.  Usually, I fight it, I suck it up.  I couldn’t even get a word out.  Then I heard her sweet voice say “well, for goodness sakes, let’s go in the house and work through this.”  She tells me, a lot, that I am “almost there but not quite yet.”  I wholeheartedly agree!  I am teachable and I am learning.

That One Defining Moment

There was a day, recently, that my heart….was shattered.  Normally, I would fall into a depression and not get out of bed.  This time, my first thought was to get to my person!  I vaguely remember driving to her house and I knocked on the door.  She opened it and said, “Hey girl, how are you?”  I fell into her arms.  She wrapped her arms around me, not asking me any questions and she hugged me so tight that I not only felt her love, I felt Jesus’ love through her.

Her Beautiful Hands

We made it to her table and I muttered out, through tears, what had happened.  I laid my head in her beautiful hands and she caught every single tear.  She made a phone call.  After that, she put her sweet hand on my head.  Then, prayed for me and for my family.  She carried me through such a tough tough time.  Also, she never judged, condemned, fussed out, bad-mouthed anyone. She loved, prayed, and encouraged.  There are not many people who would do that.

Love and Encouragement

The love, the encouragement, the lessons, the simple joy of being in her presence, and her love story with “her Jerome” has been a staple in my life.  There aren’t many days that I don’t either speak with her or see her.  I run errands for her, we go to lunch, I take her suppers, she holds my hand, and she has the best ice cubes on the planet.

We run around town, we talk, we pray, she encourages, I have heard a thousand stories and I love each and every one of them.  I have learned how to love my husband, my husband LOVES her too!!!  My kids WILLINGLY do yardwork because, in moments where we are resting, we all sit on the back porch and we just listen to her wisdom.  In the first place, she exudes the Proverbs 31 woman.  Now, she is the living example of the Titus 2 command.

He Created Her for Me and Me for Her

The Lord knew I needed her and she needed me.  She is my blessing.  To help her in any way possible is a joy.  I can never repay her for her love and graciousness she has shown me, my husband, and my children.  She will forever be a part of my heart and my family.  Oh, how I love that woman.  Oh, I am thankful that the Lord granted me the desires of my heart and brought forth the most precious mentor and friend a girl could ever have.  She’s my Lady.  She’s my person.

Find a Mentor

I encourage those who are curious about being a mentor.  Honestly, if you need a mentor, pray for the Lord to meet those needs.  He will raise up those who can mentor.  You don’t have to be 80 to be a mentor.  You just need to have a willing spirit to vest in the lives of others.

Passing Down the Wisdom

I had a sweet sweet friend ask me to mentor her.  My first thought was “I have nothing to teach you.”  Sound familiar?  I went and spoke to my Lady…..she said that I am perfectly equipped to mentor this sweet friend.  What I have learned through the trials of my life, what I’m learning through my Lady, I have passed onto this sweet friend.  She still has a long way to go, but she is getting there!  What I learn from my Lady, I pass onto my friend.  My Lady prays for this friend, which is what it is all about.  She is my blessing.

Faith Journey

Praying for our Children

Praying for our Children

Praying for Our Children

Week 1

1 SALVATION
Lord, I pray that my children would obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
2 Timothy 2:10

2 GOD’S GRACE
I pray that my children may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18

3 LOVE
Father, grant that my children would learn to live a life of love, through the Spirit who lives in them.
Ephesians 5:2

4 INTEGRITY
Lord, may integrity and uprightness protect my children because their hope is in you.
Psalm 25:21

5 SELF-CONTROL
Father, help my children not be like many others, but to be alert and self-controlled in all they do.
1 Thessalonians 5:6

6 LOVE FOR GOD’S WORD
Lord, may my children regard your Word as more precious than gold and sweeter than honey.
Psalm 19:10

7 JUSTICE
God, help my children to love justice as You do and act justly in all they do.
Psalm 11:7 & Micah 6:8

Week 2

8 MERCY
Oh Father, grant that my children would be full of mercy and compassion as you are Lord.
James 5:11

9 RESPECT
Lord, help my children to show proper respect to everyone, as your Word commands.
1 Peter 2:17

10 SELF-ESTEEM
God, help my children develop a strong self-esteem rooted in the realization that they are Your workmanship.
Ephesians 2:10

11 FAITHFULNESS
Let faithfulness never leave my children, but bind this virtue around their necks.
Proverbs 3:3

12 COURAGE
Lord, may my children always be strong and courageous in their character and their actions.
Deuteronomy 31:6

13 PURITY
Create in my children pure hearts, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in their lives.
Psalm 51:10

14 KINDNESS
Father, I pray that my children would be kind to each other and to everyone else.
1 Thessalonians 5:15

Week 3

15 GENEROSITY
Lord, I pray my children would be rich in good deeds, generous and willing to share.
1 Timothy 6:18

16 PEACE LOVING
Father God, help my children make every effort to do what leads to peace.
Romans 14:19

17 JOY
Heavenly Father, grant that my children would be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 1:6

18 PERSEVERANCE
Lord, teach my children to persevere in all they do, and help them run with perseverance the race set before them.
Hebrews 12:1

19 HUMILITY
God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility toward all.
Titus 3:2

20 COMPASSION
Holy Father, I pray that You would clothe my children with the virtue of compassion.
Colossians 3:12

21 RESPONSIBILITY
Lord grant that my children would learn to be responsible, for each one should carry his own load.
Galatians 6:5

Week 4

22 CONTENTMENT
Father, teach my children the secret of being content in every situation, through Him who gives them strength.
Philippians 4:12-13

23 FAITH
Lord, help my children to fight the good fight of faith, taking hold of the eternal life to which they were called.
1 Timothy 6:12

24 A SERVANT’S HEART
God, help my children develop servants’ hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly.
Ephesians 6:7

25 HOPE
God of hope, grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

26 PATIENCE
God, strengthen my children with all power, so that they may have great endurance and patience.
Galatians 5:22

27 PASSION FOR THE LORD
Lord, I pray my children’s souls would pant for you as the deer pants for streams of water.
Psalm 42:1

28 WISDOM
Father, I pray my children would ask and that you would generously give wisdom to them as you promise.
James 1:5

29 PRAYERFULNESS
I ask that my children would be committed to prayer, and not faint, lose heart or give up.
Luke 18:1

30 GRATITUDE
Lord, help my children to live lives that overflow with thankfulness, always giving thanks to You.
Ephesians 5:20

31 BOLDNESS
I pray that my children would fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel of Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 6:19

Faith Journey

Just the Dark Before the Morning

Just the Dark Before the Morning.  My morning is here.  Today, the pain and hurt of yesterday is gone. I choose joy.  This song carried me through some very dark times.  This was during our most difficult time with one of our children. Also, it was during our adoption journey with Jude.

Learning to Trust

I would listen to this every single time I would go to work.  It filled my soul and it gives me a sense of hope that I felt was diminishing.  Even when I listen to it now, I go back to 7 years ago during that season of my life.  The government had dictated how I live my life.  It told me to put my kids in school, go back to work, do XYZ, and then you could possibly bring your son home.

Seasons of Life

Through this time, however, I met some people in my life.  One person is still in my life and he is a dear friend that I completely treasure.  The other, well, she was there for a season.  What a beautiful season that was and I hold that time dear to my heart.  It is always Just the Dark Before the Morning.