October 11, 2017

birthing pains

"I'm going home now."
"I changed my mind. I'm done thanks."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As silly as it sounds, this is what I said DURING labor with both of my boys. Of course, I had already been IN LABOR for quite some time, but I was so exhausted of the excruciating contractions. They came and went and came and went and came and went and felt like they were NEVER-EVER-EVER-EVER going to end!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are you going through "labor pains" in your life right now? Are you ready to throw in the towel and "go home"? Have you changed your mind and decided this "baby" isn't worth it anymore?

Breathe! Find your focal point again! Remember the promise God gave you! Breathe again! Focus! Rest in between "contractions". Breathe again! 

Are you fighting for a marriage? A prodigal family member? A promotion? Finances? Healing? Restoration? A ministry? A loved one's salvation? A relationship? A child?

At the end of the labor process with my children, it took all my energy just to focus on my breathing, and to rest in between contractions.  If I focused on the pain, I couldn't focus on my breathing. If I couldn't breathe, I couldn't work through each contraction as it came. I had to be reminded to slow my breathing down. At times, I even had to be reminded how to breathe because I would begin to panic. When I panicked, my baby's heartbeat would go down. 





Yet, if we stop in the middle of the "birthing" process, we never get to hold the "baby" God has promised us: the restored marriage, the prodigal returning home, the teenager coming back to God, the financial blessing, the job promotion, the healing, the ministry, etc.


reflections

I write. I aspire. I dream. I believe. I hope. I breathe. I persevere. I persist. I advance. I try. I succeed. I hug. I share. I love. I think. I find my way. I get back up. I forgive. I accept.

I doubt. I despair. I sigh. I fail. I fall down. I isolate. I give up. I recede. I hide. I withhold. I despise. I sin. I step back. I lose ground. I stumble. I lose my way. I bleed. I hurt. I judge. I condemn.

Some days, I look in the mirror and my reflection seems to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." 

Other days, my reflection only condemns, judges, and points out every flaw.

Lately, I've had to face some things with my son that are difficult. Past decisions I made out of fear and selfishness. Breaking his heart. Causing him to feel abandoned. Giving up when I should have pressed on. Then declaring it was God's will...

I'm having to face my heart issues, unveiled, naked, vulnerable, and without excuse...unmasked...

...knowing I can't fix it...I can't make it better...I have to trust God to fix it...to soften his heart...to help him forgive...to help him go forward...

He's broken. He's angry. He has a right to be. I told him when he was little, "Mommies never give up on their babies..."

..."But I did." 





May 7, 2017

I babble...often in fact!


I fail. Often in fact. I let people down. I lose the trust of those I love. I fail.

I love. Often in fact. I love with everything in me. I love too much sometimes. I love.

I try. Often in fact. I try until I give up. Sometimes I don't try hard enough. I try.

I seek. Often in fact. I seek until I stop. I need to seek more. I seek.

I laugh. Often in fact. I laugh until I pee. I really need to laugh more. I laugh.

I withhold forgiveness. Often in fact. Mostly from myself. I need to learn to forgive myself. I withhold forgiveness.

I text. Often in fact. I text all day long. I encourage people through my texts. I text.

I paint. Often in fact. God has given me a gift. I don't always see the gift. I paint.

I write. Often in fact. On computer or on paper. I need to write more. I write.

I analyze. Often in fact. Always asking "why?" or "when". I need to trust God more. I analyze.

I hum. Often in fact. I'm constantly humming something. It annoys some people. I hum.

I give. Often in fact. Mostly unacknowledged. I'm o-kay with that. I give.

I take pictures. Often in fact. I take at least one picture a day. I like it. I take pictures.

I dream. Often in fact. I dream big and bigger and best. I don't know what to do with them. I dream.

I hope. Often in fact. Even in the worst of times. I have to. I hope.


I pray. Often in fact. I talk to my Heavenly Father, my Papa. He sustains me. I pray.

I babble. Often in fact. To anyone who will listen. Kinda' like now. I babble. 

June 23, 2014

One year...

Unchurched. Not driven. Confused. Questioning. Isolation. Uncommitted. Inactive. Unmotivated. Defiant. Reserved. Rebellious. Quiet. Internalized. Seeking. Asking. Knocking. Doubt. Fear. Withdrawn. Unsocial. Uninvolved. Bitter. Angry. Asking again. More questioning. Peaceful. Disturbed. Naked. Vulnerable. Stripped. Uncomfortable. Unsatisfied. Questions. Lots of questions. Seeking some more. Discontent. Changes. Pain. More confusion. Declaring. Begging. Praying. Ignoring. Walking forward. Retreating. Mood swings. Religion. Laws. Grace. Mistakes. Successes. Condemnation. Shame. Realizations. Accusations. Resting. Expecting. Hoping. Reaching. Marching. Running. Limiting. Not caring. Loving. Judging. Forgiving. Learning. Contentment. Burdened. Disgusted. Let-down. Inspired. Strong-willed. Relieved. Letting go. Joyful. Enjoying/hating...

Life...

One day at a time.

Each day.

Each moment.

One-by-one.

A year...how can one person experience so many emotions within just one year? How can one find so many flaws, in the life they have been living, in just a year ? How can one learn so much about themself, others, and God in only one year? How can one have everything "figured out", and end up being "stripped" of what they know, only to have them replaced with new revelations and thoughts, in just one year.

This past year has been a journey. I was silenced by (what I thought was) myself, only to realize that God needed me to be in silence so I could hear what He had to say. I have questioned my faithfulness to God and to the church because I just needed to STOP...stop all the "churchy-ness", stop all the unsolicited advice, stop all the "routines" and "rules", stop the "judging", stop the "finger pointing", so I could go back to being taught by Him...

Back to the "basics". But not to what I THOUGHT the basics were! Back to the "basics" HE wanted to teach me.

I'm not talking about "scriptural basics", theology, laws, rules, grace, or doctrines.

I'm talking about RELATIONSHIP! Not the kind of "relationship" we THINK we are supposed to have. Not the kind of "relationship" we hear others talk about. Not even the kind of "relationship" taught from the pulpit:

"Jesus 'loves/receives/accepts/forgives' YOU....(BUT will take away your salvation if you don't continue to be a 'good' Christian, follow the 'rules', and don't commit the 'unpardonable' sin.)" 

The kind of relationship I'm talking about is the kind that Jesus had with Peter, the man He KNEW would deny Him 3x. The relationship that Jesus had with the woman at the well, the woman who He knew would ruin His reputation because of His PURE love for her. The kind of relationship Jesus had with the disciples who would not recognize Him and needed physical proof He was indeed Jesus.

Let's not forget about Zacheus, the dirty, rotten thief who everyone despised, yet Jesus sought out intentionally.  What about the relationship Jesus had with the woman who was accused of adultery, about to be stoned. In today's society, she probably would have been called a slut or prostitute. Jesus STOOD UP for her, in front of all the religious leaders! In front of the community! In front of His friends and family! He gave her DIGNITY when she had none! Jesus saved her LIFE!!! 

I'm talking about the kind of relationship Jesus had with the close FRIEND who would betray Him for coins. Jesus loved this man! Judas was like a brother to Him! He was in Jesus's "circle". Jesus spent His last meal, and loved on, THIS MAN who would "narc" Him out and turn Him over to His enemies to be tortured and killed. Talk about greed! Disloyalty! Betrayal! Heartbreak!

This is the kind of "relationship" I have been having with my Jesus for the past year!!! THIS is love! THIS is UNCONDITIONAL love! THIS IS JESUS!!!

So......through my ups and downs, my good and poor choices, my doubt and unbelief, my anger and questioning, my lack of committment and "slacking", my thoughts and feelings, my defiance and rebellion....

I am finding "the" Jesus, I have always read about in the Bible!!!

I am finding out what "this" relationship is supposed to look like. I'm finding out what the word "unconditional" really means. In turn, I'm learning to love myself, and those around me.

I'm learning to open up my eyes to the people in the world around me...we really aren't much different after all...you & me.

---I pray God would "nudge" you into this journey with Him! It is NOT comfortable! It's NOT easy! It does NOT always make sense! It will NOT make you popular or help you to "fit in"! Your journey will NOT look like mine!

You MAY question everything you "thought" you knew! You MAY go back and forth, feeling like you are being the "double minded" person! You MAY resist most things you learn! You MAY be unpopular! You MAY find yourself gravitating towards, and apologizing to, the people you previously "outcasted". You MAY see your "flaws" in full color and you MAY just want to puke at who how you have treated people! You MAY be lonely! You MAY doubt! Your journey will look like YOURS AND JESUS'! 

If you say "yes" to whatever journey Jesus wants to take YOU on, you can guarantee that you will NEVER be the same! And it is soooooooooooooo good!

Blessings friends!


May 15, 2013

The "Holy" list

Somewhere in my finite mind, I have made mental rules "lists" of what it means to be a "good" Christian. Despite "knowing better", I frequently line up my flaws and compare them to this "list" to determine if I am still on God's "nice" Holy list or if I have crossed over to the "bad" "wretched am I" list. 

Now, I understand that you may SuPeR "spiritual" and may be thinking, 
"Heaven, that's silly! That's not how God is. The Bible says....x, y, & z."

I totally understand! 
It does sound VERY silly!

If I heard someone else saying such a thing, I would assure them THAT is NOT what the Bible says, and that is NOT how God views them. One of my biggest passions is that people know the truth about who they are in Christ! One of my biggest flaws is that I know who I am in Christ until I "mess up", sin, or make a mistake. THEN, I'm all about excluding myself from the race because I don't "measure" up. I don't "qualify" for the grace of God, because....ooooohhhhhh, my sin is toooooooo big! 

"I know better than to sin!" (my biggest chastisement to myself)

Most of us KNOW right from wrong. If not, we learn very quickly, whether through natural consequences or by being convicted of the wrong we do.

So......
Back
to
the 
"list"...

 Immediately Upon "sin"/mistake, I dig out "the" list from my mind. 

It goes something like this:

- "good" Christians serve God at all costs.
- "good" Christians don't "do" depression.
-"good" Christians do not make "big" mistakes.
-You need to punish yourself (suffer) in order to be forgiven.
-Your sin is not covered until grace because you purposely sinned.
-Don't repent & move on or you are "abusing" God's grace.
-Other Christians don't do THAT kinda' stuff.
-Can you say FAILURE!!!
-You "blew it" again. God's grace is running out!
-"good" Christians don't make the same mistakes over and over.
-Your sin is bigger than God's grace.
-"good" Christians would have it "together" by now.

Now, you may or may not have a similar list that you survey to determine if you are in "God's good graces". Look at my list. Is that list pointing back to Jesus or is it pointing towards my sin/actions/behavior? Is it filled with love and grace or is it full of condemnation and shame?

Check out this "list":

-You are forgiven.
-I remember your sins no more.
-My grace is sufficient for you.
-You are made in my image.
-Press on toward the goal.
-I ordained every one of your days before they came to be.
-I know you inside and out.
-I don't keep a record of your wrongdoings.
-When you are weak, I am strong.
-I love you.

What "list" are you living by?
Which "list" is embedded in your mind and your heart?

~Holy Spirit, I pray that you would open our eyes to see the glorious inheritance we have because we are sons and daughters of the Most High King. I pray that you would reveal the incorrect "lists" we have been living by. I pray that you would pour out YOUR Truth of who each person is in Christ...not just when we are acting "good", but all the time. I pray for Your Spirit to rise within each person reading this. Draw them into the Truth. Draw me more into Your Truth. Let the lies be revealed and a renewing of the Truth be instilled deep within each person. In Jesus' name, Amen.





April 25, 2013

Writing again...

It has been quite awhile since I have publicly written for I have been privately living. Much has crossed my mind and my life since my last entry months ago. Although I have written over 400 posts on this blog, I'm beginning over with this post. I'm not sure what the focus of my writing will be...

I just want to write again.

Sometimes, in one's life, focus is lost. Life gets distorted. Forgetting one's purpose can also disappear.

I write. I encourage through my writing. I love to write. I love to encourage.

I do not claim to be perfect at it. Grammar is not my strength. Expressing my emotions is. Sharing my stories and my experiences, to encourage another, is.

So, here I go again...

September 25, 2012

Trophies, pride, healing, and success...

Dictionary.com defines "Trophy" as a memento of success, a memorial to a victory, a monument from an enemy's defeat.

I personally do not have any physical trophies. I never conquered golf or karate or volleyball or drama (well, drama is to yet to be decided!), or any other sports or accomplishments. 


Trophies make people feel accomplished, almost special, set apart from other people. I guess that's why people polish their trophies and put them in obvious places so that others see them; therefore, leading them to good conversations about the memories surrounding their moment of victory.

About a year ago, God showed me I had a trophy room and I visited it often, (like almost daily) depending on who I was talking to or what I was writing for. I was shocked at the newsflash of my trophy room! God could definitely see my house, and I did NOT have a room full of trophies! 

But...God showed me I had a heart full of trophies.

"Excuse me?!?!?" 

How could that be! I mean people knew my life! It had not been pretty at all! The abuse. The men. The drinking. The drugs. The junk. I couldn't possibly have a trophy room in my heart! I mean really! 

People knew I used to be an addict. Was angry. Abusive. That is totally nothing to be proud of! 

Except...that I clearly was NOT that person anymore! I had come a long ways! I had survived many obstacles! In fact, it's a miracle I even survived all that! It's a miracle my body was able to have children! It's a miracle I could even function after such a horrible childhood, full of abusers and alcoholics and "innocence stealers"!

In fact, it was pretty amazing I could even share such a horrible testimony of brokenness, because clearly, I was a survivor and an overcomer, and because I followed God, and because I did x,y,z, I definitely survived!  I couldn't possibly have a trophy room! 

Dictionary.com defines "Trophy" as a memento of success, a memorial to a victory, a monument from an enemy's defeat.

I built a memorial in my heart of every single victory I overcame, every obstacle that I had walked through. Every painful memory had been rehearsed and refined throughout the years. I knew the stories by heart. Every detail. Every person involved. I knew what the looks on people's faces would look like as I described every detail. They definitely thought I was an overcomer...a surviver...a miracle...a strong woman.

After I realized my heart had trophies, I repented to God. I prayed that He would fix it, and help me destroy the mental trophy room that had become my idol and my encouragement when I felt like a nobody. 


Sometimes we "trophy" the wrong things. It's totally o-kay to be proud of an accomplishment, but be careful it doesn't become an idol or a trophy.


birthing pains

"I'm going home now." "I changed my mind. I'm done thanks." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As silly as it sounds, ...