Tuesday, September 30, 2008


This morning I woke up to the news of the state of our economy falling further. My son and I sat on the couch watching the tv, hearing the debates going on, and began to discuss what it all means. Let me tell you right off that I have never talked "politics" up until this point in time in my life. I've never really taken a full interest in politics for several reasons, but that has to change. No longer can I just sit on the side saying nothing and more importantly doing nothing. Not just for my own self, but because I have three kids looking to me as their leader. They want to know what I'm thinking, why, and what I'm going to do. I must say I'm no different than apparently the rest of the country...I don't know what the right thing to do is. We are so fragile right now, but to do nothing is not an option.

As I have said many times before I'm interested in why I'm a woman and what it means. Part of what it means is coming to light through this election...I have been reminded of how far woman have come in this country and how long it truly took us to be able to have a voice. We've come from not being able to vote to having a woman run for vice president! Regardless of political views, please see that for what it is...beautiful progress. Some would argue that a woman can't be a leader and I guess my response to that is we lead every single day.

I have two daughters that I want to know they are not hindered by being a woman. They are not less important, less intelligent, or less capable. I want them to stand tall simply because they are God's daughter and in His eyes they are perfectly beautiful. I have a son that I want to know should not be intimidated by women, but feel confident in his strength, know that he has what it takes to do what God calls him to do, and to know the difference between influence and bully.

I hope that this time of year is going to spur conversations in families that would normally be silenced by watching tv. I hope that communities unite and help one another out during this time of lay-offs, high gas, and the bottom falling out of the $1. I hope that we as humans finally see things for what it is...just floating from day to day if you don't have God's wisdom in your life.

Continue to pray for our sons and daughters because the day is coming when we are going to hand this country over to them. Pray for our current leaders to put aside their pride and do what's right not what's easy. Pray for yourself that you have the wisdom to see God's grace when you look in the mirror and the courage to accept it.

Till next time...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

To forgive

So we hear all the time that we are to forgive those that hurt us. We are too seek them out and ask forgiveness. Let me be honest and tell you there are people that have crossed my path I've yet to do this with. The number one person...me. Lately I am coming across people and circumstances that are making me jealous, making me sad. I am facing regrets over decisions I've made and directions I didn't go. I have been in a serious funk for over a week now and I think this is a big part of it. I have been beating myself up, silently at first, but lately out loud. God has brought it all to light, making me stare face to face with myself. He's refusing to let me look away, refusing to let me take my next step until I work through this one. We have been wrestling for sometime now and you'd think I know better.

I didn't see it. I didn't realize I was doing it. But everyday I beat myself up more than any man ever could. I thought that if I have "this" I'll feel better. If I do "this" I'll get further. If I please "this person" I'll feel loved inside. Always looking for something to wash away my hurt. But then Friday night, while attending a Greg Smalley seminar, I was hit smack in the face...what do you do that makes you feel safe with you? Uh. Hmm. Quick, shut down and hide. Seriously, those were my thoughts. Thankfully I wasn't called upon to see what I wrote down. Cause it's blank. I had no idea. All week I've thought about that sentence. All week I've come up with one thing...I sleep. I sleep because I don't feel safe with me. I'm always beating myself up only I didn't realize it until now. I mean I did, but not to this degree. Not to the sense of not feeling safe with myself. I knew I slept to avoid, much like an addict smokes, but I thought it was to avoid others not me.

If you know me at all you know the value I place on safety. But I've always thought of safety in terms of "do you make me feel safe". I looked to someone else to provide that for me. Never did I think about it in terms of something I could give myself. Sure protection and shutting down is safe and believe me I've done plenty of that. But true safety, healthy safety involves feeling and living..and it starts inside my heart not yours.

The other day I sat on my bed, closed my eyes, and said nothing. I just sat there. I slowly began to rock back and forth as if someone had their arm around me gently swaying with me. And then I realized that God loves me in my heart, my heart. Not my head. My head is full of mess, doubts, fears. My head is full of racing thoughts and numbing memories. But my heart, in my heart I long to simply love God, feel God, be with God. In my heart I love my children deeper than there are stars in the sky, I feel passionately for those who are recovering from addictions and habits and I deeply love others. In my heart I carry the Son.

I love you in your heart...that's why you are enough.

It's starting to become clear to me. Starting. God accepts me just as I am, past and all. I need to do that too. I need to make peace with all that I've said and done, decisions both good and bad...and I need to live for who I am today, not who I was. I think a part of my heart was stuck, hung up on what I could have been by now, it's time to get unstuck to forgive Carla and love who I am if no other reason than the fact that God totally loves me.

I've made mistakes. I've caused pain. I've felt pain. I am forgiven. I forgive...me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

life with trials

I've heard the phrase be careful what you wish for...like patience. People will be quick to tell you not to pray for patience because instead of God poofing patience on you, He makes you endure trials that teach you to be more patient. I will admit I'm one of those people saying oh don't pray for patience! But I quickly follow it up with I'm definitely a more patient person now! So I guess in a way what we're saying to you is through your wanting to be more patient just know you'll feel pain first, then patience.

As I've mentioned before I'm on a quest to discover why God created me a woman and what my role is in His plan. Last night I took a bath and cried, harder than I've cried in a long time. I just let it all out..finally. I cried because today I am going to the doctor for a third procedure to be done since I've had my hysterectomy in March. I just can't seem to heal completely. Today is not a fun day to be a woman. I cried because what I really wanted last night was for my husband to hold me and pray with me. I long for a godly man to come alongside me and be my best friend in times like this. I cried because my kids are moving into the teenage years and I'm entering it alone, being Mom and Dad. I cried because I don't have any job offers coming in and Christmas is right around the corner, but I can't even pay my rent this month. I cried because I am overwhelmed with life in general.

Part of being vulnerable is allowing myself to be weak in the presence of God. Allowing myself to say I can't take another step and trust that He doesn't shake His head at me and say "How can you be so weak?" Instead He scoops me into His arms, holds me close, and says "It's ok, I'll am strong enough for us both."

So, today I say be careful when you set out on a voyage to discover who you are because you'll endure pain first. And I quickly follow that with this statement "The idea of being lost and then found has such profound meaning for me. The pain I am enduring along this journey in discovering who I am is nothing in comparison to the feeling of not belonging which I felt the first part to my life. I would walk this path any day over the path I was on, including today. I love who God is molding me to be, I love being a woman, and I absolutely love being His princess."

It sure would be nice if He could just poof things on us though!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

christian words

The other day I got into a tiny debate with someone over the definition of sanctification. There was a group of people around during this little debate and I wondered to myself how many of them had ever even heard of the word, and furthermore did it really matter? I mean I doubt when you die and finally see God face to face He's going to say "Ok, YOU, what's the definition of...". So why do we as Christians feel the need to throw around these "big" words? Is it to make ourselves look important? Scholarly? Is it so we look more Christian? Or is it because we hide behind those words hoping no one sees just how shallow our relationship truly is with Christ?

I wrote the other day about learning to be a partner and it's occurred to me I have yet to learn to be a partner, a true partner, with God. God is to be the leader of my family, meaning I must give up that control; God is to be my best friend, meaning I am to tell Him my secrets and desires; God is to show me the way, but I am to have the courage to actually do it. It's a side-by-side, yet being lead all in one package. A true and deep relationship.

I know way more "Christian words" now than I've ever known and there's still so much I have to learn. I am comfortable talking about my faith and about the Bible yet there's so much of the Bible I've yet to read. I'm not ashamed of either of those statements. But I am bothered that I allowed myself to get so worked up over a word, when the point is relationship. Community. Togetherness.

So as Christians maybe we should check our "words" at the door and simply talk to people, meet them where they are not where we are. Maybe we should open up more, to others and too God. Maybe, just maybe we should ask ourselves why we feel the need to hide behind words...

If you don't feel you have a relationship with God, a true side-by-side relationship, I encourage you to admit it. Just admit it. Then sit down and talk to God about it because I promise you He wants a relationship with you more than anything else in this world. Promise!

Oh and if you are throwing around the big words, please know the correct meaning or else we're all gonna be really confused...as if this life isn't confusing enough.

Till next time....

Monday, September 15, 2008


I have been single for awhile now and during that time I've tried really hard to work on myself, understanding my failed marriages/relationships were not all their fault. I put up a wall, shut myself off from feeling, and looked inward to begin the healing and growing I so desperately needed. I know that someday I will marry again and when I do I want to know I'm the best wife I can be, I want him to be proud to say he's my husband. I've worked so hard on becoming a better person; there is no wrong in that, but I think part of my motives were still wrong. I want to grow so God can use me, absolutely, but I also must admit I want to grow because I'm still focused on "my husband" and making "my husband" happy. I didn't see it until this morning. My friend wrote to me that she had to learn to be a partner, not the boss and it suddenly hit me. I've said many many times I want a man that is strong enough to lead me, yet respectful enough to walk beside me; but every time someone tries to do that I freak out and take control or walk away (which is taking control). I've said I want a partner, but I haven't been one. As much as I've worked on taming some of my traits, I've missed a huge one! Or did I? Maybe I needed to work on those other things first, peel some superficial layers off before I could get to this one. Maybe this is the next step in the journey, a deeper level. Deeper---vulnerable---there's that word again. I should have picked a different word. :)

I want it. Desperately. More nights than I care to admit out loud I've cried for a husband. I pretend I'm ok being single. I say it's no big deal. God's all I need. But it's a lie. God is not all I need, because God didn't make me that way. The shift has happened in me though, I went from having a relationship being the center of my world to God being the center of my world. I no longer look to a man to fill that hole in my heart. God is there, and now I am whole. But I still long to be married. Truthfully I thought to myself "ok, got "God is your center" part down now where's the man?" Silly girl. I'm sure I make God laugh often by my thinking.

Today I realized there are more layers to work through and learning to be a partner is the next one. I realized today that I won't be "exactly like I should" when I finally get remarried. I won't ever be where I know I should be. And neither will "my husband". Maybe the first step in becoming a partner is allowing room for humanness. This partner thing is gonna take awhile....

till next time :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pray for me...

When I was a little girl my mom and I lived with my grandparents while my mom finished college. One night I didn't feel well and I remember my grandma and grandpa coming in my room and laying hands on me and beginning to pray for me asking Jesus to heal me. That moment is forever burned in my brain...the feeling of love and devotion was amazing! So of course I wanted it again and therefore would pretend to be sick so they would lay hands on me and pray again! :) Growing up I never forgot what it felt like to have hands laid on you by those who love you and go on your behalf seeking God. When I was in 8th grade my grandpa died and that set me on a path of not speaking to God anymore for nearly 14 years. You see, my grandpa was a minister. He was the best person to ever cross my path and I could not understand how God could take the life of a man so devoted to living for Him. Over the course of the next several years my family would, at different times, tell me they are praying for me for various reasons. Inside my response was always the same...pray for yourself. I didn't want anything to do with prayer. I didn't want to feel that feeling from when I was a young child ever again.

I am starting a recovery ministry at my church which qualifies me as staff at the church. Yesterday was staff meeting and we did something that caused me to remember being that little girl from so long ago, and it also caused me to remember why my grandpa loved God so passionately. We took turns laying hands on each staff member and praying for their ministry. It was powerful. Moving. Loving. When it came my turn I stood in the middle of all these people that I know love me, accept me for who I am and who I long to be, and people that I would absolutely fight for. One by one they laid their hands on me and began to pray for me and this adventure God has called me to. I was, for a brief moment, that little girl all over again.

Many times over the last 5 years I have called upon various people simply saying "please pray for me". I understand the power of prayer now. I understand the power of being covered by the blood of the Creator. And I understand the power of being loved by those who are walking in this journey with you. God waited on me, patiently whispering my name all those years I refused to turn my face to Him. Not once did He turn His face away. Not once. I know the things I have said to Him. I know the feelings I had towards Him the morning I woke up to the sounds of my mom crying because my grandpa died. I know the devotion I have towards Him this very minute and I can say with no hesitation that when I pray He listens, when I cry He cries, and when I seek I ALWAYS find Him.

I am amazed that God wants anything to do with me. I am more amazed that He seems to think I'm good enough for Him to work through. Yet today, I received an email from a dear friend asking me to pray for her. Me! I couldn't help but smile remembering all those times I didn't want anything to do with prayer and now someone is asking me to go before God on their behalf. Funny how things come full circle...

till next time, oh and please pray for me...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today my youngest turns 6!! I woke her up this morning singing happy birthday to her and the giggle that came from under the covers was priceless. It's hard to believe it's been six years! So much has happened already in her short time on this Earth and this morning as I watched her get on the bus to head off to school I felt such pride to be her mom. E is strong-willed, funny, and at times very shy. She loves to give hugs and kisses and can count to 11 in Spanish! Thanks to Dora! :) But above all of that, my little E loves God.

Each night I tuck her into bed and we say our prayers. Hers always starts with "Dear God, thank you for this BEAUTIFUL day. Help us to have good life, good food, good dreams..." Sometimes she prays for her dad while he travels the country, sometimes she prays that she will stop fighting with her sister and brother. And sometimes she just prays those two sentences and says Amen. She then opens her eyes and says ok mom, your turn. So then I pray and during my praying she rubs my face and plays with my hair. But the best part of the whole thing is when we are both done she hugs me and says those were great prayers Mom!

I started taking my kids to church when E was just seven months old. Up until then I wanted nothing to do with God. I can't even begin to describe how different our life is now compared to where I know it would be if we didn't start seeking out God. In many ways being a Christian is wayyyyyyy harder than I ever expected it to be. But each night as I pray with E I am so thankful He welcomed me home with open arms.

So today, September 9, 2009 I pray that my daughter Miss E will grow up knowing how much God truly loves her, knowing how beautiful she really is, and will always know that I love her regardless of the path she follows. I pray that I allow her room to explore and grow. I pray that I allow her to become the woman God wants her to be, not the woman I want her to be. Above all I pray you have the chance to know her because I promise you will truly be blessed!

:) Till next time...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

tiny steps are all that's needed

I'm starting to think this quest to discover who God intended me to be and feel beautiful is one that will never end. Something I didn't really think about when I set out on this particular journey. Honestly. I thought God would give me a few life experiences that would in turn show me His plans for me, the way He sees me, and would show me once and for all who this lost woman really is. Nearly three years later I feel like I have only taken one step forward.

Last night while laying in bed I got a picture in my head of very tiny feet taking a BUNCH of steps in order to match my one step. And in many ways my heart sank. Three years...one step. Man. I have heard our Christian walk be compared to that of a child growing up. Infancy gives way to toddler, then adolescent into teenage years, adulthood into what we hope eventually becomes true maturity in Christ.

The picture of tiny steps reminds me of infants learning to walk. Is that where I still am? Seriously? Cause I don't think so. I think I'm so much further in my walk with Christ than I have ever been, but maybe I'm looking at it wrong. Maybe I am still thinking "whew! That's over. What's next?" When really it's a serious of moments linked together by His grace...it's never really "over".

I think my journey is a process of tiny steps, running, jumping, falling, and flying on His wings. I guess instead of looking at it in a sense of finality, I need to look at it in a sense of we're still stepping! No matter how big or small, it's a step. Whew!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I wanna be....

I rarely watch the Oprah show for a multitude of reasons but the main one is I think she's of the opinion she is above us. Anyway, I happen to turn to her show the other day and the author of Eat, Pray, Love was on...again. I have yet to read the book, although I must admit my curiosity is peaked, but there was a comment by an audience member who said the book is her bible now. I felt everything inside of me cringe. But immediately I asked myself why. Why does it bother me that this woman, who said she was an atheist until reading this book, is now using the book as a spiritual guide? Why does it bother me that this book is getting so much attention? And for that matter why do I have such a grudge against Oprah?

And then the answer came. I'm jealous. OUCH!! That little thought hurt so badly as it passed through my pea-size brain that I literally stopped walking and just stood there for a moment, letting it sink in. In the quiet of my house, with no one around, I sat down on the floor and said out loud that I am jealous of their success, their experiences, their influence on others. I want that.

Ok, back to the bible thing for just a moment...I need to clarify that I, in no way shape or form want someone to view what I write as their bible. Never would I even in the quiet of my being want to replace God's Word for one reason...He is our Creator. I'm glad to hear she is now seeking God, or a "spiritual connection" as she called it, but I'm sad to hear that she's stopping at this book. Someones opinion.

Now, back the jealousy thing...deep breath...my desire when I was growing up was two fold, 1)Be like Oprah and 2)change the world. Seriously, that's what I wanted to do. I watched Oprah ALL THE TIME, until I became a Christian. I think I've pulled away from her because in some sense she was my direction on how to think and feel and live. My lens was clouded by my desire to become something great; therefore, I didn't see her as someone who made mistakes, I saw her as someone I wanted to BE in every sense of the word. As my faith has deepened and I've begun to learn what it means to "be" I see life through a different lens, including Oprah. But if I'm to be honest, I still like her and I guess what I'm learning now is that my view of her is just like with everything else in life...learning to live with boundaries, filtering out what doesn't belong in my life and keeping what does.

I love to write. I love to challenge people. I love to make us squirm, pushing the line to see where we all truly stand. I also love to be on the stage, the center of attention. Some would say it's the only child thing, I say it's just part of how God wired me. At times I feel I must apologize for those characteristics, but I'm beginning to understand that God doesn't give us gifts only to make us feel we must apologize for having them. Someday I would love to have a book published. Someday I would love to be on the Oprah Show and have her tell everyone they MUST read this book, blah blah blah. But I can tell you my reasons have changed from when I was a kid with those same dreams. I want the chance to tell people how having a relationship with Christ has changed my life. I want to tell people that He wants to have that same encounter with them. I want my mistakes, my hurts, and my at times crazy thinking to somehow be used for good by positively influencing others to become who they were created to be, before life happened. I don't want it to be about ME.

So, I'm jealous but as I sat on the floor God's voice comforted me by saying jealousy in its self isn't good, but my intentions behind it is. I'm not anyone else. My experience on this Earth will be like no one elses. My challenge, God pointed out, is to learn to be comfortable with that. Learn to own my own life, own my path, own my dreams, own my past. And then lay it all down and let Him light the next step.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Yesterday our church service was about perseverance, something I'm not that great at. When I went to bed Saturday night the thought of skipping church entered my mind, not because I knew what it was about and wanted to avoid it, just simply because I wanted to be lazy and stay home. I woke up Sunday morning with a strong sense of "you're going to church young lady" milling around in my brain. I'm trying really hard to listen to that little voice, the one many call your gut instinct but I call God, because things seem to go much more smoothly when I do. So, I went. And then church started and as we were singing I was so happy I did. And then Pastor started talking; I had to smile because I knew the service was one God wanted me to hear. The whole things was packed full of good stuff, stuff I needed to hear, stuff I didn't want to have thrown in my face as if to say "Yoohoo, you need to work on this!"

Do you struggle with hanging in there when the going gets tough? Maybe you're like me and have a history of quitting. As a kid I quit gymnastics, I quit the swim team, I quit piano. I quit two marriages and countless jobs. I blame the last two on a number of things, some of which are totally true, but mostly it was because the tough came rolling in and I bailed.

There were four things Pastor said to do in order to develop perseverance...

1. Give your life your best...regardless of the hurt.

Ok, not so easy! Give LIFE your best? All of life? All of my best? Then I was reminded that you develop this by living by your commitments not your feelings. For a huge part of my life I had that backwards. I had no idea it was the other way around, honestly. As a Christian was are told that we have joy. It's important to note that joy is NOT happiness. I have found myself many times over the last few months making statements like "I have a great life!" and "I'm so blessed". Just so you know...the last year has been the worst year of my life, ever. But regardless, I have a peace in my soul because no matter what's going on I am still a Christian. That is joy.
2. Do the right thing...keeping integrity no matter what
Man, this is getting harder. That's what I was thinking while sitting in service yesterday. I am prone to do and think later. It's that whole feeling thing I guess. But I'm working on this, trying to think about things before I simply react. I'm seeking counsel from wise Christians and I'm spending time in prayer and silence with God. I tell my kids all the time to do what's right not what's easy, understanding we sometimes fall short.
3. Actively resist bitterness
I wrote in my notes yesterday to spend some time seeking what I am bitter about. I mean really sit down and give it some thought, dig deep. Write it all out. Cry over it. And then...accept what I can't change, make peace with my choices, and instead of crying over what I don't have be aware of what I do. I see bitterness in so many people in my life right now. It makes me sad. But if I were to be honest, it's in me too. And bitterness only hurts the person who's bitter.
4. Trust that God is at work...always!
The last two years I have had to walk many times in pure faith. I have been put in situations that went against every ounce of who I am simply because I felt God asking me to. I didn't know the outcome. I didn't know if I would be ok, if my family would survive, if I would lose everything. Sometimes I'm good at remembering that God is in control even when I don't feel it. Sometimes I'm not. The verse we ended on yesterday is a verse that has gotten me through many dark days...Colossians 1:11 God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient.

Looking at all of this at once, trying to work on it all at once is very overwhelming. If you struggle with perseverance, like me, I encourage you to pray over the list and ask God to point out what to work on first. Break it down into bite size pieces. Talk to your accountability partners so you will not walk through this alone. But above all remember that we are running a marathon, we are called to be Christlike not Christ and we will not "get it right" until we die and He makes us right.

Till next time...