Saturday, August 20, 2011

Just quit striving...

The past few days have been emotionally upside-down and side-to-side. I tend to get a little down (ha!) on myself when I behave a little less than perfect.

I realized that I have not been relying on the grace of God like I should be. See, God's grace is there because we aren't expected to be perfect. I'm not expected to be perfect...

(except by me!)

No matter how much I have been learning about God's grace over the past year, I still find myself striving to get "better", striving to be "less depressed", striving to "be" whoever it is that God wants me to be.

My common question to God is: "Am I ever going to 'get' it right?" I am looking for a destination to "arrive" at. I am seeking an "end point" to my journey. I am looking to fulfill some expectation I have put on myself. I have to strive to be someone other than who I am.

With all my striving and effort placed on changing myself and my behaviors, I have diverted my attention from God to myself. In the moment, I would tell you that I am just trying to be more Christ-like, more in sync with God, trying to line up my will and emotions with God.

Talk about a deception!

And THEN I wonder why I fall so hard in defeat and despair and depression! I can't MAKE myself "better". I can't change my behavior, permanently, on my own. But what I can do is:

Cling to Jesus.
Lean on Him.
Seek Him.
Meditate on God's Word.
Worship & praise His holy name.
Confess God's promises in my life.
Declare TRUTH...Jesus.
Get to know TRUTH.

When my focus is on loving and getting to know Jesus and who HE wants to be for me, the focus is automatically shifted from myself to Him. As I meditate on His truths, HE begins to change me from the inside out.


...just keep striving...



just quit striving...

just quit striving!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just keep weaving...

Don't despise the past.

Don't live in regret over your mistakes.

God knows! God plans! God uses!


God uses every detail in our lives to weave together a beautiful tapestry called our lives. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

A mistake often looks ugly. We sometimes spend so much energy wishing we had not made that mistake.

Picture the mistakes of our lives as brown strands of string. One brown strand (our mistake), by itself, is rather unattractive. It is bland and plain.

When we allow Jesus to touch our mistakes (the brown strand), He makes them shimmer and stand out, often causing them to be part of our biggest ministries.

Look at a piece of material or a blanket and notice the gold strand weaved throughout it to give it that beautiful and completed look. Without that, it is a plain, pretty, but plain color. God takes the pretty, but plain part of our lives and weaves in those things we think that God could never ever use to make us beautiful. God takes our "brown" and turns it into "gold"...

& God just keeps weaving...

Just keeps weaving.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just keep enjoying...

My soul is coming alive again. My desire to dream is awakened again. My voice of declaration is full of holy passion again. I want to dance. I want to live. I want to go forward. I want to scream, "I am free!"

My first thought is:
"I've been here before."
"I let it die before."

My second thought is:
"Yes, I've been here before."
"I'm here again."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Just keep receiving...

I sin. Often. I occasionally lose my temper. I occasionally will swear. I tend to still judge. I make poor choices. I smoke. I lust. I get jealous. I will tell a white lie here and there. I can be selfish at times.

I don't want to...but I do.

I grew up in a judgmental family full of the law and condemnation. I expected lightning to strike every time I sinned. I was going to hell no matter how many times I asked Jesus into my heart. If I was sinning when Jesus returned in the rapture, I would be left behind.

I had to be perfect, but even all of that would be canceled out if I committed even one sin. I was tormented at night with dreams of Jesus returning and taking everyone but me. My "best" wasn't good enough. Ever!

I lived in fear. I lived in a world with a "conditional" God. He only loved me when I was "good enough". When I was "bad", God turned His back on me. That's just who He was. Or at least, how He was portrayed to me.

I'm now in my 30s. I still try to be "good enough". I fail. I can't ever be "good enough" for Jesus. Never!

My walk with Jesus in the past 4 years has been one of learning who He is all over again! He never runs out of grace. He always loves. He always sticks around. He never walks away. He never turns His back.



I have to fight my insecurities often. I have to claim scripture often. I have to tell myself the "Truth" daily.

I DO NOT have to try to earn God's love. I DO NOT have to be perfect. I DO NOT have to be afraid of God walking away from me. I DO NOT have to be afraid of God's grace running out.

I AM God's daughter. I AM precious to Him. I AM beautiful in His sight. I AM cherished. I AM a new creation. I AM being renewed day after day. I AM going forward. I AM pressing on. I AM important to Him.

Grace. Amazing grace. Saved a wretch like me. Grace. Sweet grace.

I think I am afraid of abusing God's grace; therefore, I keep punishing myself just a little bit because then I will teach myself "a lesson" and never do it again!


That's NOT how God operates! That's NOT who God is! Jesus died and rose again for all of that. People are so leery to talk about God's grace because they are afraid of giving others permission to sin. What happens is that people, like you and I, torment ourselves because we can't ever reach that "state" of being "good enough".

So........... Here's what I've learned about GRACE:

  • It never runs out!
  • God freely gives it.
  • When you TRULY understand grace, I don't believe you can abuse it. The key word here is "TRULY get it".
  • Jesus WANTS us to receive it! He doesn't want us to beat ourselves up over our mistakes!
  • IT'S FREE! You never have a bill hanging over your head. There isn't a balance being added up every time you receive it.
  • It truly is AMAZING grace!
Satan is a liar. He wants to deceive you. He wants you to believe that you will NEVER be good enough. He wants you to believe you are "too bad" for God. If he can keep us stuck so we do not receive God's grace, we condemn ourselves, and it makes his job alot easier. We will sin MORE when we don't feel like we can receive God's grace. Satan is a liar.

Jesus died for you! Jesus died so you could have life! Life involves receiving grace! Every time! All the time! And it doesn't run out!



Jesus loves you! Turn your face and your heart towards Him. Receive His GIFT of grace and love!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Let's keep growing!

I've spent the last half hour listening to a woman speak on YouTube about Radical Obedience out of love. It is great. It is wonderful. It's so amazing that I had to stop the video because I couldn't listen to even...


She speaks on God's love. She speaks on saying "Yes" to God. She has amazing joy. Amazing happiness. She lives an amazing obedient life.

I don't.

To be honest with you, at times I feel like a "little-girl-throwing-a-temper-tantrum" in a grown woman's body. Granted, I eventually say "yes" to God, but in the moment, I usually tantrum. Not always, but sometimes I really do! Especially if it involves ME giving up MY will or "MY way".

Now, if God asks me to give away my most comfortable pair of shoes to someone who needs a pair, I will GLADLY give that up. If He asks me to give away money or food when I have very little, I will do that as well. I've given plenty of material things away. It's easy for me. I do it, most of the time, without a second thought.

If He asks me to give up my time, I get a little squeamish, but I give in pretty quickly. "Ok God, I will do that." If He asks me to go pray for someone, I get a little squeamish, but once again, it's a pretty quick decision. "Yes Lord."

If God asks me to babysit for someone, I become just a little bit more irritated, BUT I eventually I joyfully serve those children. If He tells me He wants my poor attitude in exchange for His perfect joy & peace, I also get a little more irritated. Some days, I think I like my attitude. It keeps me safe. It keeps pe0ple out. It keeps me in my own little bubble, and on most days, I really like my little bubble.

When God asks me to give him my DREAM??? CONTROL of a situation??? My DESIRES??? My CIGARETTES???

really God?
"What if I say NO?"

(I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in the world with such responses to God! NOT!!!)

But, in the event that I am the only one who would challenge God's question with my own attitude, He's still pretty patient with me. EXTREMELY patient with me!!!

I LONG to say "Yes" every time to God, but I don't. I LONG to willingly give up ME for HIM, but I always don't.

I tantrum often.

I'd like to think that I don't kick my feet very long anymore. Nor do I argue as often as I used to with God. I would also like to mention that I usually wait until I'm in private with God before I start my "discussion" with Him, whereas, arguing in the middle of the peanut butter isle in a grocery store kinda' makes one look crazy!

I say "yes" faster than I used to. I trust more. I don't ask for AS MANY explanations as I did in the past. I'm getting better. I'm growing. I'm learning. I'm going forward. The story of my life!

Jesus, in me, is growing me up. Little by little, moment by moment, reaction after reaction, and day by day. Question by question, I'm learning to say "Yes God' faster and with less arguing.

I may not be the woman in the video whose life is the perfect example of obedience; however, I'm not the infant on the floor throwing her first temper tantrum either.

I'm somewhere in-between


God doesn't want to make us into carbon copies of each other, but into carbon copies of Jesus. From what I have read of Him in the Bible, I think He's pretty versatile, wide-ranged, and extremely creative. He is also very "out-of-the-box", which would leave me to believe that He loves the fact that you, me, and the rest of His children make up such beautiful threads in the tapestry of His kingdom.

So although you and I may have big shoes to fill, we can rest in the fact that Jesus doesn't expect perfection, but progress. He doesn't expect us to become robots, all identical to one another, but to become the beautiful "you" He's created you to be.

growing :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Just keep trusting...

Just so you are aware, this may be a very...


A lot has happened since I blogged regularly on my other blog. My oldest son went to live with his father last fall. This was hard for all of us. I had to give my "baby" to God. I had to trust his father with parenting him. I had to trust God to take care of him and watch over him. I had to give up my control. I had to learn to let my son be who he was. I had to let my son make his own choices.

I've had to sit by and watch my son make poor choices. I couldn't rescue him. I couldn't "save" him either. I couldn't tell his father how to parent him, and have had to watch him make mistakes from afar. I had to let my ex-husband learn to be a father again...that included letting him learn from his own trial and error solutions to my son's behavior.

I chose for my son to go to his father's house. My son didn't have a choice. Life got complicated and I ran out of options. At the time, it seemed like the best choice. I had to face the fact that I wasn't "super mom", and that my child needed more than I could give him. I really cannot go into all the details because he deserves respect, but it wasn't fun, nor was it easy.

I drove 1 1/2 hours to meet his father. My two friends came with. I said good-bye to my son, and sobbed the whole ride home. I faced horrible judgment from different people who believed I "copped out" of my responsibilities. Maybe I did, but either way, it's what I did. I raised this young man, mostly as a single parent, for most of his 14 years of life. I prayed his dad would do a better job.

I spent the first 6 months trying to heal. Trying to get used to my "new normal": me and my youngest son. Because of the distance, I saw him one weekend a month. I called it "boy swap". My ex would take my youngest son to spend time with him, and I would take my oldest with me for the weekend. My family was suddenly divided again. I didn't have both boys together anymore. It was no longer the three of us at the supper table, but the two of us. Christmas was the hardest. I did not have my boys together on Christmas morning. Even as I write, I get a hint of sadness thinking about it.

Guilt! Oh, I felt guilt. Such horrible guilt. I felt I had to "get rid of" one son just to save the other son. One son began to thrive and bloom, while the other felt abandoned, rejected, and "thrown away". Why does a mother have to choose? No mother should have to choose.

He was my first born. That pregnancy saved my life because I had to choose to quit the drinking and drugs, or die in that lifestyle. I chose my unborn baby. I chose to change my life. I chose to stop drinking and partying. I chose Zachary.

As a child, I was sexually abused so bad, that the doctor told my mom I would never be able to have children. I had so much scar tissue from years of sexual abuse. At age 7, I was a medical case of a little girl who had been scarred so bad that I had a 3-4% chance of ever having children. Well, obviously God is BIGGER because I have two healthy boys, and a little girl in heaven.

Guilt! No mother should have to choose. I spent the first six months healing while my oldest son, Zachary, continued to go downhill even at his father's house. His grades plummeted. His addictions grew. I felt responsible. I failed at my job of being "mommy". I failed him.

Meanwhile, my youngest son, Dylan, thrived at home with me. His behaviors lessened at school and at home. He was able to sleep all night long. His fears were subsiding. He exploded less. He began to bloom at school. His life was saved.

Through all my tears and every situation that came up, God assured me that He had Z in the palm of his hand. He assured me that He was in control. He assured me that He was Z's perfect father. He assured me the end picture was beautiful! God would turn this heart wrenching situation into a beautiful tapestry of restoration. This would all be part of Z's testimony one day.

I prayed for God's eyes. I prayed to see God's heart and vision in this situation. God plainly told me over and over to let Him fight any battles. I was to let go and let my ex-husband be the father that God wanted him to be. I protested. I stomped my feet. I grew impatient. I screamed at God many times... "God, do you SEE what is happening here? Are you going to intervene yet? Do you see this God? DO YOU???"

I had to let go. I had to trust. I had to believe in the promises God gave me for Z. They were plans to prosper him and not to harm him. They were plans of hope and a future. That meant that what I was seeing in the moment was NOT the end of the story. That meant that somewhere between here and there, God still had a plan.

Tears. Pain. Heartache. Grief.

I suddenly had no control. (Don't be jealous, but I'm fairly good at being a control freak!) Suddenly, I had none.


I still have to trust God. Daily. Momentarily.

Z's been here with me for the summer. It's been good. It's been hard. It's been eye-opening. It's been real!

I try to see the gems that God has placed in his heart. It's kinda' hard to see through the 15-year old, tough exterior, the "floppy-skateboarder-in-his-face" hair, the language, the smoking, the music, the anger, and the brokenness...


...But once I see past all that...

...I see a beautiful heart, an artistic spirit, a creative mind, a compassionate soul, and even further down, I see a young boy who still loves his mommy, and who hasn't totally given up on Jesus yet!

In that moment, I know that I know that I KNOW that God is holding him close! I KNOW that this lifestyle is simply a temporary resting place for him! I KNOW God still holds the key to his heart! I KNOW that He's gonna' be alright...

...Because of the Jesus I serve!




just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Keep calm and carry on

Today was "a day" !!!

"One" of "those" days!

Oh, yes it was!

Actually, my day did not turn sour until I talked to a few family members. From that point on, the tension was ONNNNNNNNNN! After 4 hours of family interactions, I was...


& Exhausted...

I had to walk away...

FAR away!

I was completely...


I had to breathe.

(You know, the Lamaze type breathing.)

I had to pray.

(You know, the prayer that locks my mouth shut.)

I had to breathe.


And then I realized... was o-kay...
...I could handle this... would not fall apart...

And I remembered a poster I saw earlier today that reminded me of the one my friend, Nicola, sent me on my birthday all the way from the UK.

And so.....

to keep calm...


carry on...


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The reason for THIS blog!

A NEW journey!!! I'm excited as I begin a new blog with a new perspective. See, I'm not the most consistent girl. I tend to be...

...a little...

...flighty at times...

...unstable often...

...emotional mostly...

...BUT (I love that word!!!)...

...BUT, I'm good at getting right back on the horse I fell off. Well...


I stand up.

Brush the dirt off.

Apologize when needed.

Stand tall...

And I continue the journey once again.

Life IS hard sometimes. I don't know about you, but I fall down. I grow weary. I have moments where I just want to give up. On some days, I even sleep all day to cope.




This blog :)