Sunday, September 15, 2013

Can I Really Just Be Me?

It has been a long time since I put my fingers on the keyboard here....and it is for the exact reason that I named my title - the constant feeling like I don't have the right to just be me.  Not because of my wonderful husband and sons - they love me, accept me...don't try to put me in some mold.  I constantly feel judged and made to feel like my walk with Him isn't what it should be by those so called brothers and sisters in Christ.  Mainly - because my walk doesn't fit their mold, isn't like theirs, it isn't always pretty and easy...and then comes the rejection.  I find it so ridiculously funny that Christians constantly treat each other with disdain and judgement because those of us who are not in that pretty little legalistic box they want us to be are labeled "backslidden" or running away from Him and His Word and frankly, I am sick and tired of feeling like I am not worthy because the truth is - 99% of the people that I have allowed to make me feel that way know nothing about me at all - whether it be my personal life and/or my relationship with Him.  Most of all, I am tired of reaching out to fellow believers just for prayer or encouragement and having people "see" you need it but say nothing - maybe it is because I am not part of the special clique - who knows anymore ------ the biggest hurt of it all is that you feel rejected by people who should be the last to make you feel that way, your kids feel that way.....your husband.. I take responsibility in the fact that the moment that first person made us feel rejected, I felt the wall come up, the bricks begin to form and then from that point on, each hurt built a bigger brick, and the wall became taller, and it became increasingly more painful with each passing week....and even in my responsibility for those actions, there comes the question, "Why did they not even notice?".  As I read my Bible, my devotional, books - all to push myself to grow closer to Him, to learn to accept myself and realize that what matters is that He loves me, accepts me, adores and desires to be close to me - it makes me long even more to feel that from my all fellow believers...and let me tell you that pain and longing is real and it is hard and it can shatter your faith - because rejection, for me, is the biggest form of hate...and then the moment came where a song spoke to my soul, into the core of who I was feeling like, what I was feeling like.... and you can listen to it    HERE   and below are the lyrics....

Laura Story - I Can Just Be Me

 I’ve been doing all that I can
To hold it all together
Piece by piece
I’ve been feeling like a failure
Trying to be braver
Than I could ever be
It’s just not me

So be my healer
Be my comfort
Be my peace
‘Cause I can be broken
I can be needy
Lord, I need You now to be
Be my God
So I can just be me
So I can just be me
I can just be me

I’ve been living like an orphan
Trying to belong here
But it’s just not my home
I’ve been holding on so tightly
To all the things that I think
That satisfy my soul
But I’m letting go

So be my Father
My mighty Warrior
Be my King
‘Cause I can be scattered, frail, and shattered
Lord, I need You now to be
Be my God
So I can just be me

‘Cause I was lost in this dark world
Until I was finally found in you
So now I’m needing, desperately pleading
Oh Lord, be all to me

Be my Savior
Be my lifeline
Won’t you be my everything
‘Cause I’m so tired of trying to be someone I was never meant to be
Be my God
Please be my God
Be my God
So I can just be me

So yes, I love Jesus.  I love reading my Bible and books that challenge me.  I love my tattoos, especially my new one.  I love people from all walks of life. Most of all, I am trying to love myself as much as He loves me and learn to not let what I see others view me as and perceive me to be change the way He makes me feel when I let myself break the wall down enough to get a glimpse of the person I see Him trying to make me.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

15 Years and Counting...A Love Letter to my Love

April 25, 2013

My Love, My Life, My Breath, 

How does one begin to sum up 15 years of marriage?  How do you even begin to explain what this time has done to you as a person? I can hardly believe as I sit here that 15 (+) years has passed…some days it feels like yesterday and there are some that feel like it has been the longest race…but as you run a race, there are always stations where you can grab a cup of water and feel replenished - it gives you that little bit of fuel to press on….I am grateful that in these days, the cup has been there to refuel us and help us press on…
I don’t know if there are enough words to express how I feel as I write…I don’t know how to process the depth of my love and feelings for you.  I never thought I would have this in my life, I never thought anyone would love me this way…would CHOOSE to love me this way…you changed my life the moment we went from friends to a couple.  You changed who I was, who I thought I was going to be, what I wanted in my life and you busted through a wall that I never thought anyone would ever get through…there is no one on this Earth that knows me the way you do. 
We have beat the odds…most people who marry at our age, with our circumstance don’t make it…I am grateful everyday (even the ones that I want to beat you) that we have always chosen to keep trying, even when giving up would have been easier…but I guess that is us…always doing things the hard way J 
I can’t imagine my life without you in it.  You have done so much to help me grow, to teach me how to be open to love, to make me be a better person, wife and mommy…I know that some people say that this could be too much dependency, but truly, there are days that being apart from you because of work or other schedule issues I just feel empty, like part of me is missing…there is nothing better in this life then knowing that you have someone whose love pushes you to be more than you can imagine, whose very presence fills you with joy and hope and who loves you with a love than can only come from the kind of love that Jesus gives us.
Because of you, I believe: love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious and does not boast.  It is not rude, proud or self-seeking.  It is not easily angered, does not record wrongs.  It doesn’t delight in the bad and it rejoices in the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.  Love never fails.  Even in the times that it may not seem this way, I know that your love will never fail…Your hope and optimism astound me.  I have never known someone like you; who can always find the hope in the dark, see the light in the future, and find the joy in the sorrow…
There is no one else I can imagine raising kids with, walking through the storms, the hurricanes and the earthquakes of life with; there is not anyone else that I would rather share my joy, my hope and the exciting things of life with.  You are my person, my partner, my love, my best friend…These past 15 (+) years have been some of the greatest and some of the hardest of my life, but I would not change them for anything in the world…I would do every amazing, joy filled, loving moment all over again and every tear, heartache and devastating moment again…every one of those moments have led us to where we are today and there is no one else that I would want to be standing here with. 
Babe, you are the greatest gift God has given me.  I don’t think there is anyone else that could compliment me the way you do, that could understand me, support me, guide me….you lift me up, you hold me close, you nurture my independence, you breathe life into the days that I feel lifeless, you carry me through the storms, you nurture and guide my relationship with Jesus, you push me to grow, to learn, to be filled with a joy that only comes from faith.  You are everything I could ever want, but most of all you are everything that I need. 
In the darkest moments, you are the reason that I can still see the light – still find Him – and still know there is purpose in it all.  In the happiest moments, you are the reason that I smile bigger – keep the joy close – and know that we deserve to be happy.  In times of peace, you are the reason we are steady – you are the reason we stay open to what is coming – and you are the reason we know peace comes from Him.  In times of turmoil, you are the reason I hold on to Him to stay afloat – the one who comforts me in the rawness of life – and you are the reason I find hope. 
The fact is, life isn’t worth truly living without having you to live it with…the next chapter of our lives will be a ride, this I can already tell.  One son entering high school, one moving into the teen years...I don’t know how one even begins to process the fact that our boys are turning into men before our eyes – We are barely adults ourselves J
Never stop being the man you are, the one you are striving to be…I will walk beside you in the greatest hours and in the darkest and when I get lost, I know you will be there to take my hand and lead me back to Him and to you…
Thank you for the past 15 (+) years.  Thank you for loving me like no one else ever has or ever could.  Thank you for being willing to always work it out, work it through and strive for more.  Thank you for being forgiving, gracious and full of mercy.  Thank you for giving the greatest hugs in the whole world.  Thank you for loving my family as your own.  Thank you for supporting and complimenting.  Most of all, thank you for being all I have ever needed.  I adore you, I am blessed to have you, and I love you. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

When Did LOVE stop being the focus....

I have been tossing this blog post around - trying to make sure that I am clear in what I say - that my thoughts are not misunderstood or taken in the wrong way...and as I type this, I realize that the people I am most worried about getting this from is "Christians" or "Church people".  I found myself laughing because my same thoughts and frustration is at these people.

I think that the "Church" or "Christians" are very guilty of finding a sin and making it the sin of the decade - and I think that many end up forgetting what HE is about and end turning into exactly what we should NOT be - hateful.  I am so frustrated and hurt by the way believers are using scripture and His teaching to be hateful to the homosexual community.  In the past few weeks, I have seen the constant "sharing" of posts - the pictures that make fun of the equality picture - comments like "I hope they make gum legal" and other ignorant type statements ---- and all I can think is that here are Christians, complaining about being people being "immoral" or "woldly" and in turn acting in the EXACT SAME MANNER ----doing nothing with love and everything with judgement and disdain.  Yet, these Christians are surprised that people reject His love....hmmmm, wonder why?  

I want to be clear - I believe that when it comes to anything that has to do with civil liberties and government issues, benefits or choices, our country was founded on the basis that all men (peoples) are created equal.  I want to be allowed to have freedom to worship and love who I choose, freedom to say and feel what I think, carry a weapon or write a blog without fear of persecution and hatred....and I think that it would be wrong if laws were passed telling pastors what they could and could not preach on, what the church could or could not believe in and in desiring all these things we have to realize that it is just as wrong of us to want these for ourselves, but not every other person have the same rights .... that we have decided that it is okay to group people into who deserves and who doesn't deserve these rights based on what we as humans see as what is is okay for us to be free, but not this group, etc......I can see it now, that there will be people reading this who say she must be backslidden or falling away from God ----- I assure you that this is not the case.....I am just tired of people saying they love Him and want to follow Him, be like Him and then picking a group of people and persecuting them and spewing hatred and not showing love, grace, mercy and all the other attributes that we want Him to show us.  God's love covers all sin - His love is here for all to accept --- we take scriptures in Matthew and assume it gives us rights to judge and point fingers at others sins ---- I think we all forget that we need to be making sure our own life is free and clear - clean from sins...and to be honest, how many people are really honest with themselves about their own is so easy to point fingers at others, to ridicule, to judge because no really ever wants to look within themselves.  

I have many friends in my life who live this lifestyle.  They are loving, accepting, and kind about my faith choice, my beliefs...the desire to understand what I think just like I desire to understand their thoughts... 

The above article is one of the best articles I have ever read.  The last two paragraphs are so pure and perfect.  What I don't understand is when Christians decided that persecution is more important than showing the love of Jesus...that giving what He has given to us, in all of our sins, is second to pointing out all the "wrongs" we see.  I am not arguing on what the Bible says is sin, I am not saying that we cannot talk to people about what sin is, what He says about it...I am not disputing His word to be untrue...I just believe that hate breeds more hate and persecution breeds more persecution...but love, love plants a seed and love opens is love that died for us, love that rose from the dead for us and love that took our sin and gave us a way to be with Him forever...I believe that with love, you build a relationship and when people start seeing Jesus in you, then a door can be opened....but when we hate and point fingers, it makes people turn away, feel rejected, and why would anyone want to be apart of that?  

I am not free from sin - in fact I sin a lot...I am not perfect and now, I will probably be more judged by my own group of "church" people and "Christians" then ever desire in this life is to show the same love He has shown me, to show the same grace and mercy He constantly has to show me and most of all, to show everyone that the last you should fear is rejection of that love because you are not fitting the "church" mold that people want to see....

I am not perfect and I will never fit into any mold.

So, at that note, judge me as you see fit...think what you into this more than you should...and feel free to delete me from Facebook, your cell phone and whatever other part of your life because I am to liberal or open minded...go ahead, press delete...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Book Review: Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate

I truly enjoyed and loved this book.  I have enjoyed this author before and I was just as thrilled with this book as i have been with others...Bethany House, through their awesome program blessed me with a free copy.

It is amazing when something that seems hasty and out of character takes on a life of its own and before we know it, He has made it a stepping stone to a place that He has planned for us all along. That is what this book brings...finding love, being in a instant family, new place, new atmosphere and life....yet in the midst of it all, purposes are brought out and amazing things come to be.  The characters in this story go through change in everyday, especially Mallory, our main really shows how being thrown into something new can bring things out in us that we never could imagine...from marriage, to motherhood and a lifestyle change --- Mallory seeks for answers, for her place, for her future... And through scandal and mystery she finds her purpose, her strength and a part of herself she never thought she could want.

I was gripped, intrigued, excited, nervous and from tears to fear...this book was amazing!! I recommend it to anyone who is dealing with a crossroads in their life.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Patience...not my strongest quality...

When I decided to do this blog, I made a decision to be transparent and honest about myself and my walk through is my blog after all. These past few weeks have been rough...

First...we have made an offer on a house and after it was accepted by the seller, they informed us that it was a short sale, so we are waiting for their bank to approve our offer...

Second....Kaleb was bumped into on some stairs at school and lost his footing.  After two times in the ER (second time the nurse instructs us to go back due to consistent pain that should be better) and a visit to the Orthopedic...he was in an air cast after first ER visit, moved to a boot the second and at Ortho was put into a plaster splint that will take two weeks then back to the boot after that-he is on crutches, tired of resting and elevating it all the time and having to need help for everything...

Third...Michael was having some pain in what I will call a sensitive area and after a visit to urgent care, then going up to the ER and having an ultrasound, they found a cyst--more then likely not to big a deal but he will be seeing a surgeon on Tuesday to determine if it needs removed...

So, to say the least my past few weeks having been doctors, ER and constant maneuvering and planning all of this... Recently the doctor informed me that I need to work on some health issues-nothing that I didn't realize so I am determined to get healthier and lose weight...I am not in denial  that I have a weight issue and these issues have made me realize that it is about a lifestyle change...I am nervous that I will fail or not succeed but lucky because I have a lot of support around me...

Through all this, I have decided that He is defiantly trying to teach me patience...trusting more in Him for His plan and purpose and really showing me the people who really care for me and my family....who support us and care for us has been hard to constantly lean on Him...I have been frustrated with the house process...tired of all the doctor stuff and wondering why all at once this comes down... But like other times...I know I need to learn patience and be more trusting of what His will is and I know this is a constant struggle for me to tests my relationship with Him, my consistency and strength...I wish I could say I don't question or ask why, but I do...I long to understand purposes and reasons, but I know it will be shown in His timing...I just wish it lined up with my timing... ;-) is not my best quality...not a spiritual gift...but a constant lesson...and if lessons bring growth then I know it is what I need...and sometimes our needs don't match the ones He has for us, but it is those needs that give us the I will give all of this to Him and work hard to trust and have patience...I know He is for me and for my sweet sons and husband...I know that He will do things in His and patience....

Monday, February 11, 2013

Book Review: I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp

I am lucky to be a part of a program with Tyndale House Publishers to review books...because of this program, I was able to receive a free copy of Jeremy Camp's "I Still Believe". 

I am so impressed with the true simplicity of the way this is written.  It is the first time I have really read a memoir that I felt you could tell was written by the author - the story of his coming to and falling away from falling in love and marrying his first wife Melissa - to the triumph and tragedy of her life and the loss of her four months into their the power that a true testimony can be for future finding love again and not just any love, but one that understands and has so much love for the relationship he had with Melissa....this was a book that I had to read in one sitting because putting it down was not an option.

I love worship music and I love music that is filled with lyrics that reach into my soul and bring me back to Him.  To read the story of Jeremy Camp's conversion, calling and tragedy that turned ashes into beauty was gripped me, touched me and showed me that in the worst times, in the darkest times, when it feels like nothing make sense, listening for Him and following His requests can bring about amazing things, beautiful healing and start a revival in the hearts of many...

This was a beautiful memoir of a time of trial...the grace of God and His Mercies, flowed from the moved me, it made me think about the power of His love and I would recommend this book to anyone.

You can check it out here:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Book Review: To Honor and Trust by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

I am grateful to Bethany House for the program that allows me to receive free books for reading enjoyment and to review.  This book is the third in a series and I have not read the previous two.

Like other books I have read by Peterson and Miller, I found this one to be a beautiful story of His love, grace, redemption and showing how He moves and works in lives. From a broken heart to a healed heart, from broken relationships, to ones that become richer and more full, this story takes you through the phases of hardship to full circle moments that teach us about the power of prayer, the importance of honesty and remembering that it is not up to us to understand His plan for us or in the lives of our loved ones, but to accept them and encourage with love and support.  

Callie and Wes are both searching and seeking for their life paths, healing from broken pasts and trying to find their way through the circumstances that are handed to them.  

The book was moving and spoke truth, gave life and helped remind me just how much He works, moves and is present in our lives. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Without love, I would be nothing...

I have been sitting here, thinking of a million things-the people in my life...where I have been and where I want to be...the past, today and the future...what matters and frankly, what doesn't. 

Note***this is a blog that came out of a rambling mind...

LOVE. It makes me who I am, drives most of my life and choices, it changed me, saved me, moved me...LOVE is the driving force of my life, my faith and how I want to live my life. 

If you have read my blog, you know I believe in the absolute truth of Jesus, His life, His death, His resurrection...I am a believer. The LOVE of Jesus changed my life. There is none like His and there is none that I want more than His. His LOVE changed the way I LOVE and the way I look at LOVE

I look at my husband, his absolute unselfish and beautiful LOVE for me and I am in awe. That extends to our children and in turn I believe they LOVE in that same unselfish way and all of this centers back to the greatest LOVE of all - the one that comes from Jesus because there is no greater and none comparable. 

I believe in LOVE. I believe it heals, forgives, offers grace, comforts, grows, builds relationships... It is the most powerful emotion and action we can give and do. I believe if we all gave it freely, without barriers and rules - life as we know would be radically different. I like to radical-and I choose to live and LOVE that way...many believe that my faith would cause me to have certain rules, boundaries - even prejudices...your wrong--if I did not LOVE, I could not be, but most of all, I could never be a light in the dark, hopeful in the hopeless, life in the death of humanity...I would not be but a shell - lost - alone - empty...

Choose LOVE

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: Though Mountains Fall By: Dale Cramer

Thanks to Bethany House for another great book! I received this free e-book through their review program. Dale Cramer is a new author to me. I love when I get a chance to read a new book from a beloved author but I am just as excited to read one from a new author.

This book follows an Amish community and family through their time in Mexico trying to build a new community there. It shows the trials of the culture, the time period and the lifestyle they have to learn to deal with and understand. It is a story that really show how is love and forgiveness can surpass any religion or tradition and bring people separated by rules back together through loss and change. it shows how love and lessons move from parent to child and how lovingly we capture the teachings of those who we surround our lives with.

I felt this book stood well in its time period, place, culture and really gripped my heart as we watched one character grow to understand His love and grace and then lose it and a father come to a place of knowing what the true love of God is. I look forward to reading more of Cramer's books and letting the love of God work in me through the beauty of his writing.

The path we take...

I sit here today, looking at the beautiful sun shine, having felt the blistering cold wind...grateful for the beautiful day we had yesterday, and how my wonderful husband sacrificed sleep to spend the day hiking with us and enjoying the weather...

We hiked such a beautiful trail - from Craven's House to Sunset Rock....

 Filled with mossy covered rocks...
 Beautiful sunlit paths of rocks...
 It was beautiful....
 As we walked along, the kids were walking ahead, having fun, laughing about how the path reminded them of LOTR and The Hobbit...joking around about all the Smeagol holes they found that they thought he would hide in or live in...Aaron and I were walking more slow, enjoying the day and at one point stopped for a few minutes so I could have a minute of rest...(I am a little out of shape and the uphill was a little rough on this old girl)...I realized that we could no longer hear them, but not overly worried, they are 12 and we drew closer to our destination, we ran into some people and they had seen the boys so I was excited to get caught up...the problem, when we arrived at Sunset Rock, the trail had a split and we quickly realized that we had no way to know which way they went...we split up and met back up, realizing they took the path going way past Sunset Rock and decided that I would head back to the car and Aaron would forge on, searching for our children.  As we parted, I was crying, worried that the kids would not think to stop and realize it had been a while since they seen us and dark was only a short time I headed back to the car, so I could drive to Sunset Rock (this way I could pick them all up) I prayed for Aaron to call...when the phone rang, and he told me they had met up I was so happy...they finally turned around because they realized they had been walking forever, hadn't seen us in awhile...We were so worried and they were rambling about the fun they had much they loved the path...

My point in telling this story is this...because today I thought isn't this like life...The Father seeking and searching for His children as we forge on - enjoying what is around us, laughing and having fun with our family and we run back to Him when we realize it has been to long since we saw or spoken to Him or do we always walk away, never returning the seeking and searching He always is giving to us...He is constantly following us on our path through life...sometimes we walk together, sometimes we run ahead and eventually turn around and sometimes, some of us run ahead and keep on running.  I think as a Father, He gives us the chance to walk ahead - with the knowledge He has given us, but we must always be mindful that He is with us, seeking us out, searching for us - God desires to walk through life with us - I believe that He wants us to grow and enjoy life but we should never forget that He is there  ---- like my boys becoming mindful that they had not seen their father in a while, and turning around to find him, we must always be mindful that He is the One that we should run to, that He is there and that we should be coming to Him not just with the hard times, but with stories and ramblings of fun and the beauty around us...He delights in our happiness and in what brings us joy....

The path we walked is part of His creation, and even in the 30 minutes of being worried, I delighted so much in the beauty He created, in the wonder of what was before me - just as He delights in us - sees the beauty in us, His ultimate creation. 

 More Mossy Rocks....
 Mossy and mushroom covered logs...
 The rocky path...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

One week in...

We are a week into the new year and I can already see that He is presenting things in my path to teach me, push me, make me look at myself and really depend on Him....there are things coming up that only He can work out and help me through.  At the end of every year since we have come to Chattanooga, I look back and think that I hope things go differently the next year, maybe are a little easier or "better" and I hope that we are just as blessed in the next year as we were in the last...funny how we hope for all the good we had but want it to be "better" and that it would be less of a "trial"...and I am laughing as I type this because I realize that I am kind of asking Him how I expect things to be or play out and as we all know, telling Him the plan, well usually the opposite turns out.

So, I take back my "orders" and I ask this....more of You, less of me.  Your plan, not mine.  Your will be done, even if it hurts and is hard. Most of all, teach me, help me depend on You and forgive me, because I know that I will cry, probably question, and be scared, but I will keep running to You for the comfort, counsel and provision You always give. 

I am excited for finishing James start going through Romans with some awesome friends and my husband teaching (he is my favorite person to learn from). I am excited to read through a book with a new friend and hope that relationship grows, as we grow together....

I know that even some of these hopes and excitements may not be exactly what I am imagining, but I know that He is good, He is God and there is a reason for everything that happens - even if it doesn't always make sense.  I don't think I have it all figured out-far from it, but I believe that He is giving me something to reach for.  

This year has already shown some hurts-disappointment in people that you expect more from....realizing that people you thought you had grown close to or built a relationship with doesn't really seem to care...but everything has a season...I am great full for the relationships that I have, the love that comes from them and for the strength that He has blessed them with. 

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so the the power of Christ may rest upon me.  - 2 Corinthians 12:9