Saturday, December 29, 2012

Worn....but not in despair

I can't believe how quickly this year seems to have passed by.  This has, as every year has, been an experience of ups and downs, joys and sorrows and growth.  Frankly, as I sit here, I am worn out...I heard this song, and I think it explains exactly how I feel...

But, the truth is, I am seeing redemption win and I believe that my time of being worn is being used to help me grow personally---I know that when I am in this kind of place, I am always seeking to see Him and looking for Him to show up...and I have seen Him do amazing things in the past few months in the lives of others, in the way that I view the times that He has told us no after thinking that He was moving us in a new direction....I have seen Him and maybe not always in the ways that I was expecting, but in ways that I never saw walk with Him (as you can see in past blogs) has been up and down, but in all the different times, He has always been the same God that He says He is and He has never changed, let go or loved me less...I have let go, changed and loved Him less and more....but He is always constant...I want to be more constant.  

I don't like "resolutions" but I do like goals.  Since I have gotten behind on my James study, I intend to finish that and start a new one...I am excited to read and work through a book with some friends and to begin a small group with my husband leading a group of us through the book of Romans...I want to grow in my personal walk, in my walk with my husband and in my walk with other believers.  I want to become a better me....i want to blog more and most of all, in a lesson that I have recently realized I really need to do, praise Him in the good and in the bad...not every answer will be yes, not every dream will come to be, not every moment will be easy, but He is still God and there is too much good to do anything but praise Him....

I praise Him for all the good He has done this year....from providing jobs, our needs, loving us in the hard times, healing relationships that have become true and important, to bringing new friends into our lives (especially in the life in my husband), to doing mighty and amaizng things in the lives of people that matter to us and for blessing us with another year of life, love and growth.   

I may be worn, but the dawn is coming on a new day and it is easier to rise, to look to the heavens and to see what beauty lies in the future. God is still God when it rains and when the sun is high....He is the great Healer, Provider, Counselor, Father, Savior...He is more than enough for me....

Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Review: The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann

I was once again lucky to be chosen by Bethany House to receive a free copy of this book for review.  I have read many of Kristen Heitzmann's books and truly enjoy her writing and the way that she weaves Him into her books.  

This book was such a wonderful story - weaving the lives of two people and their past hurts, hurdles, trials and turning it into a beautiful story of grace, redemption, love, hope and acceptance.  Morgan and Quinn both have individual hurdles that must be overcome and end up doing this in an unexpected way, together.  The way that she makes them connect and realize how much they need each other at first it is thought to be for a solution but comes quickly to be for everything life has. God is woven into this story in such interesting ways, from the way that He can be used for good and evil and how evil never wins, but leaves consequences....I was kept on my toes and ended up finishing the book in one sitting.  

I love when I read something and see how people can twist and turn something so beautiful into something bad and how even in scheming and wrongdoing, God always shows that He is in control and no matter how hard evil tries to grab a foothold and sometimes even succeeds, the foothold is not successful for long and He shows up in mighty and powerful ways.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Have I become Cynical?

I have been going through Beth Moore's study on the book of James by myself and this morning, I watched session 6.  There were two parts to this session, but part 2 focused on James 4:11....

     "Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. "

As I sat there listening to her talk about the pains of finding out the things brothers and sisters in Christ have said about her - negative things- I thought to myself I am guilty of thoughts and thinking judgmental things about others....aren't we all, but what hit me is that I have become cynical for the same reasons she is talking about.  Let me be clear before I say where I found myself being, I know that be no means I always think or say the right thing, about everyone, I have expectations sometimes on people that I look to as an example and when my expectations (and I realize that I really don't have the right to have them) are shattered, it really floors me.  I AM NOT PERFECT and I this is something I have known and recognized about myself always....I realize that I am guilty of the same thing that I am going to talk about....but here is what I have realized about myself becoming cynical.

I find myself frustrated with Christians because I feel that there is constantly a "talk" about loving one another, being there for each other and praying for each other and I have seen that this is not always the case.  I have always felt more judged by believers then non-believers...I know that I am not cut from the same cloth as others...I am more outspoken, I am passionate about what I think and feel and I am not ashamed to share my thoughts or ideas....I prefer jeans and sweats and am not so much into looking the part...when I feel, I feel deeply...and life affects me....I feel that people have this idea of what I should "look" like, "act" like, etc and frankly, it annoys me and frustrates me...I feel that I have become cynical because I think that believers focus so much on what they can do for nonbelievers (and it is important to bring others to Him and reach this group) but if we forget about each other...I don't think that there should be cliques among Christians....I am not talking about groups of friends, but actual cliques...I don't think we should feel excluded, yet I have, do and know for certain that others have too....and these things make me realize that in my love for Him, in my desire to grow in Him, in my hopes and prayers to have closer relationships with other believers, I would much rather hang out with nonbelievers and that the relationships I have with them are sometimes more deep and fulfilling then ones with other believers.... and I realize that in my place of being cynical, and after this session of Bible study, that if I am not careful, He is going to kick me right out of that place because at the end of the day, what matters is my walk and relationship with Him and the things that have me feeling this way, though they matter, I cannot allow them to change the way my life with Him goes and is.....we all fail, we all have our things and what matters is that I know that who I am is who He is pushing me to be, that His opinion is what matters and I know where I have changed and I am going to take my cynical self and throw it out the me, don't love me...judge me or not, I know that I can't let myself become cynical and in the same regard work on the things I said above...He is not done with me yet.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Book Review: "All Things New" by Lynn Austin

Again, I was lucky to be picked by Bethany House to receive a free book by an author that I already enjoy. 

Josphine, her sister and her mother return to their Virgina plantation after the war between the North and South.  Her father and one brother lost their lives in the war and her other brother comes home completely bitter and broken.  Their home is just a shell of what is was and only one couple has chosen to stay on as employees after their freedom has finally been won.  Josphine finds herself in a broken relationship with God, struggling to finally find herself and place in this new life without what used to be and battling with family and a community who still believes that slavery is what is right.  Through an unexpecited relationship, Josphine begins to find her place, her heart and her relationship with Him....

I loved this book, and found myself constantly wiping away tears....there is nothing more beautiful that people finding spiritual freedom, but when their actual freedom is given, the struggle to find their place and realize just who they are --- this book is an absolute treasure of learning, loving and understanding what just one community was like after the war was over....I see His love and handiwork in so many different situations, struggles and it is beautiful to see where people realize that the mindset they always had, was not what was really right....Lynn Austin has a wonderful accuracy in the historical aspects of the time, the feelings and just what really happens when a family divides.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A book review: "A Hidden Truth" by Judith Miller

I am an avid reader and love all types of books. I am a Judith Miller fan so I was excited to try a new book of hers. When presented a way to review books through Bethany House publishing, I jumped. I was quick enough to be be part of the group to receive a free copy and was excited to receive the book.

The main characters Karlina and Dovie are both at crossroads in their lives. One is doing a job that is not common for a girl to do in her culture/community of the Amana Colony. The other is coming to visit to learn more of her late mother who was originally from this same Colony and trying to understand more of the mom who passed away to soon.

I was caught and intrigued quickly with in the first chapter because I think Judith Miller is incredibly historically accurate in all her books and I was excited to learn about a new culture/community. The trials and crossroads the main and other characters of the book show a deep honesty that in all different walks and times of life, we all have similar struggles...the gentleness of the way she showed Jesus and His lessons was beautiful. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to be touched in the ways that He works, who enjoys learning about other ways and time periods of life and who just wants to enjoy a wonderful read by a truly gifted author.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tyndale Rewards

I am excited that I have recently found another way to earn free books.  Through a friend, I was given a way to link up with Bethany to possibly review books for them and will be posting my review soon as I just received my first book to review from them!

Tyndale also has an amazing rewards program and you can earn free books by reviewing books that they publish as well!!! Check it out at 

For those who love to read as much as I do, this is a great way to earn points towards free books and who doesn't love a free books!!!

If you desire to sign up with them, please use this link to help me earn extra points -

Happy Reading :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Do we notice....

Life has just been in a mode that is exhausting.  The constant battle to make sure that you are doing what is right for your children, your spouse, and for yourself makes a person weary.  Aaron's schedule is hard on us.  Working afternoons T-Sat makes very little time for family and each each other.  Since Sunday is his only day off that we are all off, we have decided to take a step back and spend the next few weeks focusing on our family unit and reconnecting as a family.  We are taking a break from church and teaching and are going to spend that time together, just the four of us.  Some may think that giving up church for a few weeks is wrong or unchristian like.  Frankly, I have hit a point where I do not really care.  If you base me faith and belief in Him on how many times I grace the door of our church, then you obviously do not know me or my husband.  This wasn't some lightly made decision, but it is one that is necessary and needed because our family is suffering - mostly our kids are suffering.  They miss their Daddy and he misses them - and the disconnect is hard and taxing on us all.  Our responsibility is to them and to make sure that we are not losing touch with them and our mutual love for HIM.  Sometimes I think we as Christian's get so caught up in doing and reaching out to others that we forget to look in our own homes, in our own churches and we do not see that there are people in those walls that are hurting, suffering, feeling alone and unaccepted and we drop the ball on what is just as important as the lost - we forgot the lost and seeking among us.  Life gets so patterned - sometimes rejuvenation is necessary.  

We are in  the midst of making huge decisions for our future - purchasing a home, continuing education...the fact is that we need to breath.  I want to eat a meal with my boys and not have to worry about where we have to be or what we have to do in a day...I want to sit back and watch my husband and boys laugh and find joy in just being able to relax and spend time together.  I want to wake up without having to rush around for the sake of what is "right" and instead wake up, sit at the table with the three most important people in my life and talk about the most important things in our lives - God, each other and our next step as a family.  

Honestly, when my relationship with Aaron struggles, when my family is hurting, my relationship with HIM struggles.  They are so interwoven and connected...and when one of us four is struggling, it infects us all....whose to say that anyone will even really notice is we are missing for a few weeks - what I do know is that HE won't miss us because we will be worshiping HIM in our own home, as a family.  

James teaches us that our faith without works is dead.  A family without faith is dead, a family without the ability to connect within that faith is crumbling like a house built on sand.  So I look forward to filling in the cracked foundation with cement instead of the creeping sand and letting my family become solid again.  God has given us a beautiful gift in giving us our sons and with that gift comes responsibility to nurture and guide, teach and has made it hard to do anything but daily tasks and halfhearted moments...I won't be the parent whose kid loses their way because looking like the perfect family became more important then actually doing what needs to be done to be a strong, loving family -

Do we really notice that there are people who need us to do works within our faith right next to us?  Do we really notice that the daughter or son down the hall needs us to be a parent?  That our spouse needs us to just notice that we NEED hugged?  That the person in the pew in front of us, next to us, behind us is smiling for looks but crying within themselves?  Have we forgotten to look in the room and see what is in front of us because we are more focused on the block over?  

Maybe nothing I say here makes much sense.  There will probably be some that think or assume that there is sin or we are backslidden...there will be some that won't notice or care...but I tell you that there will be two boys without a doubt who will notice that there parents took time to notice that they needed them, who will get personal time to talk about Jesus, ask questions and have their parents be fully present with them...there will be a family of four who will notice each other...and give each other the grace and mercy that comes with healing, support and love.  Most of all, my boys will get to see that their parents chose them over anything else, heard their cries for time with each other and who know that at the end of the day, we put HIS command to us, for them, into action.  That is what matters to me.  Teaching my boys that not only are they to treat us in the way HE has commanded, but that we are just as commanded to them...

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Road is Long...

Over three months...that is how long I have went without posting my thoughts, though I have had gets crazy and before you know it time has passed...I can't guarantee that everything I type from this point on will make perfect sense...that my ramblings will seem ADD in their placements, but it is real and it is honest...

It has been a few months of ups and downs and lately, more downs...I think that there are times I fear posting my thoughts, or where I am in my life, because there is the constant fear and repercussion of being judged...just because I am in a rough place, doesn't make what I know to be true any less true and I have been scared that if I allowed myself to be honest about where I was, people would try to invalidate what I was still trying to give to others through ministry....

I think we all struggle personally and in this struggle, I have seen to many Christians make assumptions that someone has fallen into a sin or they are just not doing what it right and that they have no business ministering to others if they can't get their own life together....Ministering to others in my pain, is one of the only ways that I have been able to see Him in life right has been such a time of confusion and emptiness, that feeling of being in a time without Him feeling close...and it is in this time that seeing Him work in others lives and through others that I have been able to hold to knowing that He is there...

I get so frustrated with myself because I hate that I struggle with my worth and value...I hate that I can't wake up everyday believing that I am who He says I am because I am too busy seeing all my flaws and feeling the things about myself that I deem unworthy.  I hate that I feel distant from Him and I don't understand why----I hate knowing that this just may be a season of having to really push myself to trust and know what I know to be true without the presence of Him that I so desperately biggest fear is that He has chosen this time to really push me to work through some deep rooted pains that I would rather leave alone and that He has chosen a time where schedules and jobs do not allow me to have my love be there with me through it all and I have no choice to only cling to Him...because it is in these times that I see myself more terrified to let go of control and let Him take over....

I have made a choice this time to push myself farther out of my comfort zone - rather than creep away from Him, I began to immerse myself in a Bible study...and I chose the Beth Moore study "James" because in my love for that book, I knew it would push me to really look at the things I see Him pushing me to deal the end of the first video session, I knew I had made the right choice, and I felt terrified for what was to I get ready to start day three of the homework, I have the feeling of fear and of awe because I am scared of what may come, but in awe of knowing that this was the perfect time for me to go through this study...God works things out in ways that still astound me...

I am not perfect, I have never pretended to be this way....I know Him to be who He is and I believe in all He does, all of what He says and all of what He promises...yet I feel I choose to fill myself with His Word....grateful that He has put people and ministry opportunities in my path to see Him work and change others - grateful that He has given me some people who don't judge me and who don't assume anything...

Some of the hardest times in life are just there to stretch and grow is not about sin and what we are doing wrong, but about pushing ourselves to seek more, desire more and make us run to Him instead of even in my emptiness, I know that instead of running away, I need to run towards...not knowing how long the run may be, not knowing what I have to encounter and overcome in the race, but knowing that in the finish - He will be there to catch me as I fall in exhaustion, dehydrated and sweating out the pains and tears --- and in that catch, will feel His cleansing love, re hydration of grace and most of all, knowing that my race was for a purpose and that the time spent in training (this time of emptiness) and the time spent running (this time of pushing through that emptiness) was a hurdle to be more of who He has desired me to be ...

The last study I did was on "Believing God" and it impacted me in such a powerful way...someone asked me if that was really true, then why do I feel the way I feel now...I have sat with that question for awhile now and what it comes down to is matter how often my husband tells me I am beautiful, no matter how many times he tells me how wonderful he thinks I matter how many times, I read and know that God sees the beauty in me, that His book is filled with love letters to me and truths - I still look at myself and don't see it --- I still allow myself to believe the lies that satan whispers in my ear....I am unworthy, I am ugly, I am never going to amount to anything, my past defines me, I am dirty, I am not good enough to be used for His is embarrassing to know that I believe all the good He says for everyone else and I can't believe it for myself.  

So I am off to journey with James, and I prepare myself to get through mile one of my marathon...hoping that my honesty doesn't bring judgement and shame, but an understanding...that He will allow me to see grace in others, love in lives just beginning and miracles when I least expect it...I know He is there...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Rest....something our body not only needs, but it is something that a lot of us feel like we do not get enough of.  I am in awe of how are human bodies are able to adapt - even when they are screaming for the needs it has to be meant, we still manage to get through days completely exhausted.  

There is so much going on in our lives right now - sick family members, choices that need to be made in a shorter time period that we would like and they are ones that could change a lot in our lives - schedule issues, time is overwhelming and frustrating, but in the midst of it all, I have a peace of knowing that He is truly in control - I don't find myself frustrated or hollering to the heavens - it is because I am Believing God - I am believing His promises, in His unfailing love, in His comfort and most of all, I am believing that if we keep looking to Him, the answers will come and that the rest we crave, may be one of spiritual rest instead of physical.  

I have loved the Beth Moore studies I have been blessed to be part of and this is only my third, but this one has worked on me and in me in such beautiful and powerful ways.  I have found a different kind of peace in my life, one that I did not even realize that I needed and I have finally began to understand what it means to come full circle, how to search for Him in the times that I think He is not there and how to really look at my life and choose to see that even in the bad, something can be used for His glory.  I can REST in Him in a way that I never have let myself before - there is so much we have no control over and there is so much that makes no sense in our lives and in the world, but one thing always reigns true and never changes - HIM.

He has placed such wonderful people in our lives, people who love us without waver, who support us with just being who they are and who teach us  - not only that, He has restored relationships that mean more to us than we thought they ever would and more than they even know.  

Resting in Him is not something that has always come easy to me.  I like to fix and control and figure it all out - but frankly, I am tired and have come to realize that I can't do it in my own strength anymore and that I need to Believe God for who He says He is, what He says He can do and who He says I am and REST in the presence of pure, true and endless physically, I may be tired and maybe I put my shirt on backwards when I changed after work today, but spiritually, I have found a REST that fills my soul with a longing for Him that makes me cry tears of joy and hope...

Coming to know Him may seem like a long lost cause to some, it may seem unrealistic and leave some feeling like they don't deserve that kind of gift, but I assure you there is no one He doesn't already love, He is just waiting for you to allow Him to bridge the gap and be accepted for the Savior He is....and I promise if you accept that gift, that amazing love, you will never look back and the peace and rest you constantly crave will be filled with more than you could ever hope for.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The only one who can hinder me is me...

In Bible study today, Beth Moore said that, "We are the only ones who can keep ourselves from our Promised Land."  Could this be any more true?!!!  I know personally, I am my own worst enemy.  I am the first to bring up my past faults and failures, the times that I ran from Him and His desires for my life, the times where I felt that my sins were just to many and to much to deserve His grace and mercy - She talked about how we wear scarlet letters like we have to keep bearing the weight of our sins and past transgressions - and then she said (main idea thought here, can't remember the word for word) that we bear these letters like what He did is not enough to cover those things....Wow...who am I to carry my scarlet letters (and believe me, I have plenty to carry) like what my Jesus did on the cross - that His death - is not enough to cover those sins and make me new in Him....Isaiah 43:25 says, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, form my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."  REMEMBERS NO MORE!!!  I am a huge believer in taking my past and using it to bring Him glory, to help and love others through the same pains, to have compassion on those who feel that they are not good enough for Him, because I know that feeling!  I can believe God when He says I am new in Him, I can believe God when He says I am new every morning, that my sins are no more, that He loves me and has a purpose for is only when I allow the lies of the enemy to tell me different that I find myself hinder my path to the Promise Land He has for me - a land of freedom and grace - of hope and love - of promises and purpose...God is so good....

I have read this many times and I can count many of these traits as my own - 

 If You Think You Aren’t Good Enough

The next time you feel like GOD can't use you, just remember...

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer...
Lazarus was dead!

What do you have that’s worse than that?

I have to say that if any of them had allowed their pasts to hinder them, where would we all be?  It is time to stop bearing the scarlet letters of our past and accept what He has done - His mercies are new every morning and our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west....The only thing we should be bearing is the love that has freed us - there is no greater love than the love of the Father....

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Four years later...

I can't believe it has been almost a week since we walked across that stage and graduated...Four years ago, we packed up and moved here on God's calling  - no jobs, no family, and He made the path clear and last week, we completed that part of our calling - knowing that there is more to come.  This journey we started will be a life long journey.  We are so blessed to have met and grown close to so many amazing people here and I am so grateful for the lessons He has taught us in the past four years.  Lessons of grace, mercy, healing, deliverance, forgiveness...Learning what it truly means to have a relationship with Him and with each other...we have been through many valleys and hiked the mountain - sometimes falling on the way, but never without His loving arms holding and carrying us through...
This past graduation weekend marked the start of our next phase, one that is not completely clear yet, be we are excited for what it holds and we trust and know HE will light the path.  This weekend gave us answers to prayers, a new hope in relationships - His love came down in beautiful ways this past weekend...I am so excited for what our future holds....for what God is going to teach us next...
We serve such an amazing Savior... There is none higher, none greater and none more matter what happens next, I am blessed and grateful to know that I have Him to lead and guide our family, that my husband's deepest desire is to follow Him and answer whatever calling He has for us....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Let the Waters Rise"

As I sit here today, I have a heart that is full of His love, His promises and His teachings - He is working in my life in many different ways, but my heart is also heavy.  People I love are suffering, people I love are going through major health issues, people I love are waiting on news that could be devastating and I find myself praying constantly for love and peace to flood their lives - for Him to open the hearts and let those who do not believe - BELIEVE, for healing and for the ones who are hurting to just be touched with grace and love...

I am part of a Beth Moore study called "Believing God" and it is rocking my world - I recently heard another amazing song by Mikeschair called "Let the Waters Rise" and I find it very applicable for this study, for the things that I am seeing go on around me, for the trials mentioned above...

I know that even in the times that I feel empty, unloved and deserted by Him, that it is just not true - and I think that it has really come clear to me through this Bible study, my own time spent in the Word and learning through hard times, that I should embrace those times because following Him is not always easy - but if I trust Him and follow Him, He WILL never be out of reach...and those will be the times that there may only be one set of footprints in the sand, but being carried by Him is a blessing and a gift. His love is enough to pull us through - and embracing the raging sea, with the waters rising is faith in knowing that He will bring us through it.  It is accepting His times of sifting us to bring us closer to Him, His will and desire for our life and it allows us to grow.  In our last session, there was a focus on Ephesians 1:3-8 (ESV)

...Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has BLESSED  us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  even as He CHOSE us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for ADOPTION as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have REDEMPTION through His blood, the FORGIVENESS of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight...

In this verse, we can know that: "In Love, I am blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, forgive....I am believing God."

So as I see what it going around me, as I hurt for the ones I love, as I pray for healing for the ones that need His healing touch - I know that some of these things will be answered in ways that will hurt or cause loss, some will be answered in ways that may bring joy and peace - some may sit in questioning times for awhile...the raging seas are upon me and I say let the waters rise if You want them too because I am following You, I am believing You and I know that You have never left me before and won't leave me now.  What we must realize as believers and for those who are nonbelievers is that His LOVE is enough to pull us through.  That He came here to die, out of LOVE and He LOVES us still.  Our God is a God who performs and He will fight for us, comfort us, love us and bring us through any raging sea that is set before us - we just need to BELIEVE.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How He Loves Us

As I begin another "official" year of my life, I find myself reflecting a lot on the past year - and as Aaron and I are only 25 days from graduation, reflecting on the past four.  It is hard to believe that we have been in Chattanooga for almost four years - that four years ago, only by faith, we packed up our belongings and in tears (well I was), left our families in IN and MI and moved on to a new place and start.  

Moving here was one of the hardest things I have done...and as much as I know that leaving family and being away from them has been hard and painful, I know that this is where we belong.  Aaron and I (and the kids) have been stretched in our faith in ways that I thought would break us, we have been slapped in the face with serious reality checks, we have been broken down and rebuilt and then broken and rebuilt again ----and through it all, we have come to a new understanding of what it means to LOVE JESUS and LOVE PEOPLE, how much religion is not what we desire to follow, but relationship is where the heart and soul is....Jesus is the way, He is what matters, following His will and His desires for our life (which may be different from yours) is the top priority  

I am so grateful that I have been pushed into corners that have shattered me - broken me - made me question everything that I believed about Him and even doubt His grace, His sovereignty, and even made me question His love for me - the past few days, I have really seen the blessings in the pain, the growth in the brokenness and the grace that I know that I need to be given everyday - God has shown up for us in such huge and faithful ways...I am in in utter awe as I watch His plan unfold even as I type this...HE LOVES US....I love Kim Walker's (Jesus Culture) version of the song He loves us - particularly the one that I am posting below...the lyrics are full of truth and love and the beauty of what we are to Him...

...He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by Glory
And I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me...

...We are his portion and he is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking... 

...He loves us
Oh how he loves us
Oh how he loves us
Oh how he loves.... 

I am so GRATEFUL that He loves us, that He loves me, that He loves and desires those who reject Him, that He chases after us when we are running from Him....I am so blessed to serve a God who loves and who pursues... Someone asked me recently if we would do it again, move here by faith, now that we know that we would go through things that we have and I said we would...when they asked why I said we would, I told them that because in all the bad - nothing but good has come of it - the things that made no sense, the things that hurt us - all of them came to the same conclusion and that was that something better was given to us, in the healing we drew closer to each other and Him - in the end, we knew even more how much He loves us...For every door closed He has opened a bigger one, for every broken moment, He has blessed us with more....

God is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do and there is nothing that I cannot handle as long as I have Him to hold we celebrate His death and resurrection, remember the LOVE that is all came from...

 For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to   condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.            John 3:16-17(ESV)

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:9-10 (ESV)

Earlier I said that I was grateful for the shattering, the breaking, the doubting and I say that because I know now that it is what was necessary to grow my faith and love for Him...It helped me understand LOVE.





Saturday, March 24, 2012

If Your Gonna Get Told, Who Better to do it then Beth Moore

I am currently going through the Bible study "Believing God" by Beth Moore.  This is my third study with her and I can say that I am hooked.  I have nothing but absolute respect and appreciation for her ability to be used by God to speak truth and light into the life of women.  Not only does she have such a deep connection with her faith and with Him, but she is educated.

Last time I blogged, I talked about the situation my family (specifically my husband) was going through and how it was weighing on me spiritually and emotionally.  Through last weeks study and Sunday morning church, God showed me much, but in the is past week study - He blew my mind!  I had to laugh because this study is years old, but it was breathed into my life in just the right time.  I got told and if God is gonna use someone to put you back in your place, why not Beth - we are old friends ;-)

I hate being in a place of unbelief and as we hit week three, my world was rocked open.  We have a place to journal at the end of our everyday homework and I have been consistent in asking Him to move me into a deep rooted spirit of belief, to push my faith into an even deeper place and to grow even deeper in my relationship with Him.  Now this is something I ask for all the time, to grow closer and draw more near to Him, but since this study has started, I have been really begging for it.  

Beth said during our video session that, In our moments of despair, we cheat ourselves out of hearing Him tell us that He has got this for us. She also later told us that we can't base our theology on what we see with our eyes because most of what we see has a stronghold of unbelief. The world is a wicked place, filled with people living for the wrong things, striving for the wrong way and life and we see things that make us question and doubt the goodness of God, but God is still God and He is still good and the world that strives for and does bad things, are not living for Him and walking in His ways.  That is not His fault - we have free will and when we allow those things to change our perspective on who He is - then we are not believing the God of the Bible and we are denying the truths He has given us in His word.  I am guilty of this sin and I am tired of being guilty and doing nothing about it.  As the words from the song "You Love Me Anyway" by Sidewalk Prophets says:

I am the thorn in Your crown, but You love me anyway.
I am the sweat from Your brow, but You love me anyway.
I am the nail in Your wrist, but You love me anyway.
I am Judas’ kiss, but You love me anyway.
See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd,   
for Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground.
Yes then, I turned away with a smile on my face
with this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life
But You love me anyway 

And praise Him because in-spite of me living in unbelief, questioning and doubting Him at His word, He loves me - I am the one who knew this sin in my heart was there and tried to bury it deep in me, not wanting to face my unbelief, but in the end, I found myself crying to Him - with tears streaming down my face, begging Him to free me from myself and I am ashamed to say that I have been a Christian for years and still find myself doubting Him in times of despair, but He still loves me and He still shows me that I have no reason to doubt Him because in my time of unbelieving, He showed me just how much He is God. God is so good!!! And as He started showing me, He used this last session of study to pound in every single thing because my God is the God who performs!

Mark 9:23 tells us that, Everything is possible to those who BELIEVE.  Psalm 77:14 says that He is the God who performs miracles... and many may say that what I am about to say is not a miracle, but I say it is because this is the God that is making me from one who questions Him about every despairing thing, that is confused and doubtful in the times that are rocky into one that stares those times in the face and says: God IS who He says He is, and He can do what He says He can do, and I am who God says I am, and that there is nothing that I can't do through Him and that His word is alive and active in me! because having His word is having truth and His truth is life - like it says in Habakkak 3:2 - Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds... I have heard of His fame and I believe His name and most of all, I have seen His amazing deeds in my life since the moment we started this study....and I am on fire in my heart to learn more, to let myself become a woman of GREAT FAITH! Just like the Canaanite Woman I spoke of in my last blog (Matthew 15:21-28) bring it on Beth! I look forward to digging into the homework and hearing you drive it home every video session - my prayer is that at the end of my life, He will look at me and say that I became one of His children who truly believed Him - not just for who He is, or what He says, but for what He can do - that I believed Him. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Learning to Strive for the Narrow Gate - Through My Unbelief

Before you read - know that I do not post this to gossip or to be hateful.  These are my feelings and I do this because of what I allowed to happen to my faith in this time and where it has left me.  I am reluctant to post because I do not want to be dishonoring to God so I have tried my hardest to be as evasive as possible with the situation and who and what caused it.  This situation put me in a place of being in belief to unbelief and I think that it is important to show what this is doing in my life.

Last week, my husband was completely wronged and was treated so poorly - by "Christians".  He had been told one thing for weeks and that ended up being a huge lie and he was left hurt and disrespected while the one who had done the things gave no care or concern.  Yes, I am angry and yes I am so hurt for my husband.  This situation has impacted our family and our lives a lot and it has really shaken my faith and belief.

I was left asking Him "why?" and getting no answers, confused because I felt like this was something  unnecessary and I did not understand why it was allowed to happen.  I have watched this person do ungodly things for a long time - lying being at the top of the list and constantly caring only for themselves - to see my husband be a recipient of this behavior was abhorring to me.  My husband is truly a good and honest person.  He has amazing ethics, values and morals - puts others above himself and even throughout this situation, has never once spoken a harsh thought or word about the person...He has truly set a powerful example of what it means to Christian in a time that would be hard for most.  I could not wrap my head around this.  I just was shaken to the core of who I am and what I believe.  I felt like God allowed the serpent to spew his venom on us and that we were just left alone with the repercussions - I was broken and I was angry at Him - 

Ironically, the day before, I started the Bible study Believing God...and the next day, I went from having that belief to not believing in His promises and truth at all - in my anger I thought there was no way I was going to keep going with that study - He was crazy to think that I wanted to hear this now, but Sunday morning I began to be humbled.  We are going through the book of Matthew on Sunday morning and ironically (again) he was preaching on Matthew 15:21-28

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

This woman was constantly being thrown barrier after barrier by JESUS and she never stopped pursuing Him - in turn was reward by her GREAT faith. (The word great here is actually the greek word MEGOS which means "mega" so He is telling her that she had mega faith...) He was testing her and narrowing the gate 
 Matthew 7:13-14  “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. 
She kept on striving to enter through the narrow gate - the one that is hard to find...

I found myself realizing that I was allowing myself to pursue the wide gate - allowing my anger and confusion to push me into a place of feeling left and done wrong - frustrated because my husband was treated poorly and letting the after affects put in a place of unbelief.  So I decided to continue with my Bible study homework and realizing that I had no right to let go of my belief - I was wrong to let the evil of the world and of others shake me when I should have been clinging to the five pledges of faith given to me the night before all of this happened:

1. God is who He says He is
2. God can do what He says He can do
3. I am who God says I am
4. I can do all things through Christ
5. God's word is alive and active in me

 Scripture tells us that God works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and in my hurt, I should have turned to Him instead of away from Him.  My husband said that God has put us in this place to teach us something and that He believes that He will work it out for us and it will be better than it ever was.  The key thing here is that my husband has never let go of his belief and I did - 

The irony of starting a Bible study about Believing God the day before is not lost on me - I let it become lost in the overtaking of my feelings - but He quickly humbled me in many ways - 

Let me be clear - I never stopped believing in Him and who He is but I let go of the Truth and promises that I know to be true (makes no sense, I know) so I begin my path back to belief - one that I will seek diligently, more careful and that I will allow to root in me and learn to cling to those promises when my faith is met with barriers - to strive to be like the Canaanite woman...

It is embarrassing to me that I have been a Christian for this length of time and that I go through ups and downs in my faith, but I think that it is important to realize that others go through similar times and that what is important is to learn from these things - I was not so closed off that I did not hear the messages being given to me to come back to Him - I am so grateful for grace and forgiveness because I defiantly need both - God will work something mighty through this and I believe that we will be better for it...I look forward to the next 9 - 10 weeks of this study, to become a woman who believes God in a whole new way.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

I need Him to "Steady My Heart"

I have been through seasons of quiet in my walk with Him.  The first few times it happened, it absolutely devastated me...I could not understand where He had went...for me, I have realized that these are the times that I have to be the most trusting and faithful...faithful in my effort to spend time in His Word, in prayer and trusting that even though I think He is not there, He really is...

I believe when He is quiet in my life, it is because He wants me to seek Him out more and look for the things that I need to work on in my walk with Him - unfortunately, this is one of the times where I epically failed...for about 5 days, I felt myself being confused, frustrated for no reason, irritated....I just felt out of sorts...I was aware that He was choosing to be quiet with me and in that time that I should have been seeking Him, I wasn't - hence the feeling out of sorts...I have really come to realize how much I NEED to read His Word and meditate it into my important it is that I slip my iPod in and allow myself to praise Him with song and let my heart speak to Him through music...When I don't do these things, I feel empty.  I need Him to "Steady My Heart"...

There has been so many things going around me that doesn't make sense, things that are painful, things that are heart wrenching, but when I am faithful to my God - seeking Him, searching His Word, I feel a peace that even in the times that do not make any sense, my heart is steady....Kari Jobe's new album is amazing...(I know I have plugged this album a few times now, but it is amazing) and her song "Steady My Heart" says exactly what I am trying to explain...I know that I am not able to go through life in my own power and control and that I need Him...that I can't do anything without Him - so even when He is being quiet in my life, as long as I seek Him, He really is not because I have His Word and I have the truth in my heart - His promise to never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5) and that He holds me in the palm of His hands...


Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I am sitting here with my windows open with a beautiful breeze blowing through my house...that is a beautiful thing!  

Last night I was watching a TV show and there was a man on there who has been through a lot rough times and he made the comment that when people ask him how he manages to smile and go on, he says that he tells them that "I am too blessed to be stressed."  I was struck... all the times that I have allowed my self to be stressed over things that I can't control - only focusing on the bad and not thinking about all the good I have in my life...

This morning I was reading one of the Psalms ( I am going through a plan to read the Bible through in a year and have chosen to the schedule some...I also decided to do a more in depth study of the Psalms and eventually in Proverbs) and ironically, because we all know that nothing happens for a reason ;-) my Psalm today was Psalm 31, which is about being in times of stress and completely committing to depending on God.

   PSALM 31 - ESV

  In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
        let me never be put to shame;
        in your righteousness deliver me!
    Incline your ear to me;
        rescue me speedily!
    Be a rock of refuge for me,
        a strong fortress to save me!
    For you are my rock and my fortress;
        and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;
    you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
        for you are my refuge.
    Into your hand I commit my spirit;
        you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
    I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
        but I trust in the LORD.
    I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
        because you have seen my affliction;
        you have known the distress of my soul,
    and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
        you have set my feet in a broad place.
    Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
        my eye is wasted from grief;
        my soul and my body also.
    For my life is spent with sorrow,
        and my years with sighing;
    my strength fails because of my iniquity,
        and my bones waste away.
    Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
        especially to my neighbors,
    and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
        those who see me in the street flee from me.
    I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
        I have become like a broken vessel.
    For I hear the whispering of many—
        terror on every side!—
    as they scheme together against me,
        as they plot to take my life.
    But I trust in you, O LORD;
        I say, “You are my God.”
    My times are in your hand;
        rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
    Make your face shine on your servant;
        save me in your steadfast love!
    O LORD, let me not be put to shame,
        for I call upon you;
    let the wicked be put to shame;
        let them go silently to Sheol.
    Let the lying lips be mute,
        which speak insolently against the righteous
        in pride and contempt.
    Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
        which you have stored up for those who fear you
    and worked for those who take refuge in you,
        in the sight of the children of mankind!
    In the cover of your presence you hide them
        from the plots of men;
    you store them in your shelter
        from the strife of tongues.
    Blessed be the LORD,
        for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
        when I was in a besieged city.
    I had said in my alarm,
        “I am cut off from your sight.”
    But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
        when I cried to you for help.
    Love the LORD, all you his saints!
        The LORD preserves the faithful
        but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
    Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
        all you who wait for the LORD!   

I really just sat here and thought to myself - above all things in my matter how bad or horrible, no matter how much things hurt or sadden me, I HAVE THE LORD.  Does this mean that I will never feel stress or worry - probably not, but I have found a deeper understanding in what it means to cling to the Lord because He is always there, He will make all things work for good according to His timing and purpose, He will never leave or forsake me and when those things put me in a place of despondency, He will carry me through...

So today, I will focus on my blessings:

My salvation and beautiful and growing relationship with husband, who loves me more than anyone ever beautiful and healthy boys...a loving family  and friends....a home...a job....a basic needs and even many wants are met.....hope in reconciliation and new beginnings....beautiful weather....

Truly, the list could go on and on...I can't guarantee what my tomorrow holds, but I can guarantee that I have Jesus to walk with me yeah, I am to blessed to be stressed.