Thursday, January 31, 2008

Belief, Truth and lies...

What can I say to the people who have faithfully been praying for me? Thank you doesn’t seem to cover it. So many have stood by my side through this storm I have been in. Please keep praying. I have some tough decisions to make.

Right now, in the midst of this hurricane I am in, I feel like Jesus is calling me out of the boat to walk on the water. And I am so terribly afraid, because that means I have to trust Him to catch me if I fall, trust Him enough to look up into His face and ignore the screaming wind whipping around me that says I will never make it, I will drown, I will never see the light of day, or the sun rising over a calm sea.

Because right now I do feel like I am drowning, in so many ways. Too many to count. Somewhere, deep inside, I know that God is trying to help me through this. He is so wanting me to cling to Jesus and BELIEVE that He will carry me through. I have heard it said that faith is a gift given to us by God, we can ask for more faith, or for Him to give us the faith to believe in the first place. But actual BELIEF is a choice. We have to choose to believe something. The Truth or a lie. What Jesus says about us or what the world says about us. And what we truly believe shows up in how we act. We may say we believe the Truth of God’s Word to us, but our actions may show something else entirely. We may say we have been adopted by God, loved by Him, chosen by Him… but we (I) may act completely differently, like we are hated and rejected.

I guess at the crossroads I am at right now is this: Am I going to choose to believe the Truth or am I going to continue to listen to and believe the lies? Truth means getting up when I fall down, fighting, pressing on through the junk, the mire, being lifted out of the slimy pit again and again, and experiencing the real JOY of God being with me in all of it, and lifting me through it. Lies means I am going to give up, let life just swallow me whole, survive but only as a shell of the real me, go through the motions of life with a facade up, while dying inside.

So what is it, Heather? Choose. The Truth or the lie?

How about you?

Another acrostic...


Testimony to, and

Revelation of the


Thoughts of our

Holy God

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sleep... what's that?!

Well, another sleepless night. I should say, I slept the first 4 hours, and then again I woke up. This time it wasn’t at 4:30, it was 3am. Sigh. I seem to be going backwards. Oh to be able to live without having to take medication to sleep. When I could relax and fall asleep, without every little noise waking me up and sending me into a panic attack. When I woke up, I prayed, recited scripture, prayed some more for my friends and family… nothing. Finally I moved from the bedroom to the couch. There I huddled for a while under a blanket, my brain awake, unable to find the shut off switch, with a cat on my feet. (Amazing how comforting that is…) I was probably there about an hour. And eventually after some more prayer and a bunch of tears, I felt tired enough to try again. I went back to bed about 5am, and at 5:30 Dave got up. Luckily by that point I was sleepy enough that I was able to fall right back asleep… until Marina woke me at 7:30.

These early morning ramblings are not fun. Especially when the doctor is giving me medication to sleep, and it only works for the first 4 hours. We shall see how tonight goes. Time to change the dosage. I would do about anything for 8 consecutive hours of sleep.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Emotions and such, update...

I just wanted to let those of you know who have been praying for me that I did make it to my counselor appointment today. I was still scared to be there, and did not sleep well last night. I have pretty much been awake since about 4:30 this morning. As I talked with my counselor today, and told her how rough my weekend went, she said that when I left last week Friday, she was wondering how I was going to do. She said she just had this feeling that I was pretty “emotionally fragile” is how she put it. She said that she hadn’t wanted to remind me that I could call her, because she didn’t want to plant thoughts in my head that things could be tough. When she heard that I had dropped a lot of weight over the weekend, she was not real excited about that, and said that we definitely needed to do something about that. She said that part of my healing process is learning to nurture myself, and take care of myself.

Right now, the hardest thing for me is eating. Just the smell of food makes my stomach turn, so the thought of eating is even harder. As we talked today in the office, as I mentioned on my Prayer Request page, she thinks that we have pinpointed one of the main things that I have been struggling with. I have had all these traumas in the past, and for the most part, dealt with them. But coming out of those traumas, were lies that I started to believe about myself, leading to a lot of self hate. And tapping in to some of the things we did on Friday, caused me to hit a wall, because up to that point, I didn’t have a name for what it was. Now I do, and it is very scary for me to admit.

So I guess another prayer request going out here. I have 2 days until I see my counselor again. Either God is going to have to move mightily to help stabilize my emotions and anxiety enough that I don’t have to keep that appointment and can wait until next Wednesday… or just work enough to keep me stable until my appointment Friday. When I left the office, she told me that she would be glad to see me Friday if I needed it, but if I found that I was doing OK, then she would see me the following Wednesday. She prayed with me at the end of our appointment and gave me a huge hug. She said that she felt she came on pretty strong a couple of times, but she was saying stuff that I needed to hear, to give me purpose and a hope. She also asked me at the end how I was doing, and I just looked at her and said, “I don’t know.” She said, “I have a feeling that you are just about as emotionally fragile as you were last Friday.” She also gave me an assignment. She asked me if I had some time before needing to be home, and I did… so she told me to go somewhere in town, and find something small to eat. Just to eat a little, and if I wanted, journal… but she was wanting me to take the time to take care of myself before I headed back home to the kids and Dave. At the time I didn’t realize it, but it was one way for her to get me on the first step to showing myself some love… getting me to start to take care of myself.

This is going to be a long painful process. Learning to replace all the lies (and discovering them) with the Truth of God’s word. See if some of these lies sound familiar to you, that you may believe as well. I am a mistake. I have no worth. My opinions, concerns don’t matter, I have no voice. I have no purpose. I deserve to die. I am no good. No one would notice if I were gone. People would be better off without me. I am unlovable. I am dirty. I am alone. There is no hope for me. I am evil. These are just some of the ones I could think of off the top of my head. Not all of them apply to me, at least not right now. Some of them are ones that I have started to tackle. Some are ones that I haven’t been able to face yet. Some of them have really turned into strongholds in my life, and are going to be extremely hard to remove.

There are two scripture verses my counselor left me with. The first she started the session with. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She used it as a reminder for both of us. Because she reminded me that she isn’t perfect either and had a really hard morning, and was pretty emotionally stirred up inside, and didn’t feel adequate for the job of counseling today. The other was one that she wanted me to repeat a bunch of times on the way home. “Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world.” She said, “I know that the battle we are fighting here, is not just emotional, or biological, but it is spiritual as well. And the enemy really wants to get in there and accuse and condemn and tempt you.” Even in the middle of the night when I wake up, I need to be able to recognize the accusing thoughts and start verbally saying the truth… God is in me, He has chosen me, He has adopted me, He has sealed me with the Holy Spirit… all for the praise of His glory. (some verses paraphrased from Ephesians chapter one)

“Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we may be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1

It sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? The Father God, creator of the whole universe, loves us no matter what, and calls us His children, adopted through Christ, and co-inheritors with Him. It is something that I know in my head. But right now, I just can’t get my heart around that. I keep looking at myself through my eyes, not Gods. I keep seeing the junk in me, junk I have done, the things I am so ashamed of and I just don’t understand how God could possibly love me. Please pray for me as I go through this process, and I pray that you don’t have to learn these truths the hard way like me, but if you do, I pray that God will convince you of His presence with you and guide you to godly friends, counselors, doctors, or whom ever you need to get you through the process. I pray that you won’t have to go it alone. If I had, I would have never made it… not by myself…

An acrostic...




Upon the

Savior and the


Something I am working on every day…

Monday, January 28, 2008

Emotions and such...

Well, I am not really sure how to write this, or what I am going through right now. I really just don’t know what to put down in here, and what not to. Most of the details everyone doesn’t need to know. Let’s just leave it at this: I have been struggling with depression on and off for about 10 years. The last few years it has been getting worse. I finally have started on medication, and have been seeing a counselor. She has really been helping me face some of the major issues from my past that have really affected me and how I live today.

Last Friday, we were working through some things. And as I tried to explain them to my counselor, neither of us could quite figure out where the feelings were coming from, or even what they were. When I got home, I started processing (like I always do) and started to realize what was behind the emotional wall that I just couldn’t get through or face, while in my counselor’s office. As I did, I have started to get more anxious and afraid of my own thoughts. They have been pretty dark. Now, the medication has kept me OK, and able to function, but I just don’t want to face these emotions alone. Even if God is with me all the time, I just don’t even know how, especially when they are so negative. So, I called my counselor’s office today and was able to get in for an appointment tomorrow morning. I thank God that she is also a Christian and relies on God’s guidance and wisdom in helping me.

I guess the biggest thing would be to pray for me that I would be able to stay open and honest with her, and be able to work through things enough for me to feel more stable, and more at peace.

God, give my counselor and I both wisdom to know Your will for me, and discernment into the emotions and thoughts I have been dealing with. And God give me the ability to get beyond this barrier that I am up against so that I can become more free in You.

Amen and Amen!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Act of worship...

About a month or so ago, our pastor did a sermon series on worship, what it was, the depths and heights of what it meant to be able to worship our God. There were some things that I had never thought of. I am only going to touch on one here right now, but maybe sometime down the road, I will be able to share some of the other stuff.
One of the things he mentioned was worship is not just being in church and singing. We tend to call our church services “worship service” and we even have a time during the service where we lead in worship. We title that time in our bulletin “worship in song” and I think that alludes to the truth that music, singing, etc. is not the only way to worship. We are worshiping God with our lives and the things we say and do all day. We are doing that by bringing the glory and honor to God with our actions, thoughts, words, deeds… no matter if we are shoveling out a cow stall, collecting garbage, changing a diaper on a wiggly baby, taking care of our kids, walking outside in the sun, or leading the singing at church, or preaching a sermon. If we are doing what God has placed in our lives to do, equipped us to do, we are worshiping Him by doing those things to the best of our abilities. Using our gifts, and especially using them to show that it is God, not us, that needs to be honored and admired for them, is a sincere act of worship.

Today, I did a little bit of that. I have been sick from the stomach flu. I woke up this morning, feeling weak and tired and worn. But I had to get up. I was supposed to help sing on the worship team this morning. I got to church, still feeling under the weather. I let people know what I was dealing with, and asked for prayer. My associate pastor said to me, “Then you have been given a great opportunity today, haven’t you? To allow God to be your strength.”

Those words stuck with me as I made it through the rehearsal, and then through the beginning two songs of the service. Then it was time to get up for the longer set of music. When I got up there for the first song, before the music had even started, I was feeling light headed, dizzy and sick to my stomach. I started singing (barely) and just closed my eyes and said (internally) “God, only with Your power am I going to be able to make it through this set. I am too weak and tired to make it. Please help me and give me the strength. Take my body and my voice and make them what You want.”

Within 2 measures of the music, I started feeling better. I was able to allow God to just fill me and use me. I didn’t feel any powerful feeling in me, or even anything “significant” other than the ability to concentrate on the music, and a lifting of the feelings of dizziness and sickness.

Someone might say, “Well, your blood pressure was low, and so when you stood up to sing you just got lightheaded, and once your body readjusted, you were better.” Yes, someone could say that. And it might be true. But God gave me His strength when I needed it, and the presence of mind to ask for it. HE was the One who steadied out my blood pressure. Because HE is the One who made me and knows me inside and out.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 My act of worship today was to just offer myself up to God to be used, and to trust that He would see me through the service at church today so that I could honor my commitments and honor Him in the process. And isn’t that all that God asks of us? To show up where He calls us to, and to say “Here I am Lord, send me… use me… strengthen me… enable me.” What better form of worship can we have than to give back to Him the life that He gave us…

Friday, January 25, 2008

Past and present...

I don’t think I ever realized how much the past affects how I live today. The things that we have experience in the past guide our reactions to today’s incidents, decisions, and our reactions to them. Especially if you haven’t dealt with the past, or been willing to face it and made aware of how it controls you.

I will give you an example from my own life. I went to college for 5 years, in classes for music education. At the end of that time, I had one more semester of student teaching. I went into the classroom the first day very intimidated. That continued through my whole experience of teaching at the secondary level. I had so many things to work through, and probably wasn’t as prepared as I should have been. The teacher I worked with was great, the kids were great, but after a disastrous rehearsal in front of the supervisor (the professor who was evaluating my performance in the classroom) I was even more intimidated. At the end of everything, my supervisor called me into the university to talk with him and another professor. The end of it all was being told that my musical skills were not strong enough, and it was recommended essentially that I drop out and either just graduate, or take some more classes and try again the next year. I was so humiliated, (especially after I burst into tears in front of them) and intimidated, and made to feel so incompetent and powerless that I just dropped out of student teaching and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music.

Ever since then my past experiences in the classroom have made me ultra sensitive to being put into a situation where I am teaching. I nearly freeze on the spot. It was to the point in the beginning that I wasn’t even able to use the musical skills I had to even sing in church like I had been previously. Just last year when I was asked to lead the Sunday school class for the 3-4 year olds (that my son is in) I completely froze and ended up declining, because it would have put me into a teaching situation, where I was responsible, not only for the kids, but teaching them something significant. My brain and heart said to me, “what if you can’t do it? What if you can’t keep their attention, teach them anything valuable?” I had told the person who asked me that I would think and pray about it, but I never did consult God, I just called her back 3 days later and declined, siting too much going on in my life right now.

Even now, as I have started to be aware of how my past has affected me, and started to deal with things, I am still overcome with fear that I might be asked to be in a teaching position. I know that God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. The whole point is this, unless you allow God to work in you and make you aware of areas where the past is holding you back from doing His work, you will never even consider doing the things that He is asking you to do. You will hold Him, and amazing opportunities, at arms length and tell Him that there has to be someone else who can do that, because you sure can’t. My encouragement today to you is to spend some time looking at your past, the traumas, disappointments, and defeats you have faced, and allow God to open your eyes to how that is holding you back. With His help, you will be able to ask for His healing in those areas and start to move beyond them.

All of this came to me today as I sat talking with a friend about different things, and confessed to her how I was feeling, and some things that were holding me back. My experience with student teaching and other things, have led me to feel somehow inadequate for dealing with everyday life, raising my children, being a good wife, and feel that God could really use someone else, not me, in these areas. As the top of my web page says, I am on the road to discovering what it is that God wants me to learn. That in Him and because of Christ, I am secure, significant and accepted.

Snowy days...

Have you noticed when there is a snow storm, how quiet it gets? First, probably it is because all the traffic slows down or halts completely. But there is something about the snow that muffles every sound.

I can’t count the times I have been outside when it has been snowing, and it is so quiet I have been able to hear the snowflakes sifting through the tree branches overhead. Where I have been standing in the middle of the street, looking up at the sky and feeling the snow land on my face, and the only sound is the subdued breath of wind that swirls the delicate flakes around in the air. I love especially being out in the snow at night, it is even more still and peaceful then.

I love waking up in the morning after a fresh snowfall, and seeing how sparkling and clean everything looks. The lawn is smooth and neat and fresh. The roads are unplowed, the driveways still covered and all the sharp edges are smoothed over and rounded by a new cap of white.

Then the kids get out with their sleds and toys. Parents come out with their snow blowers and shovels. The city sends out its plows and salters. And we neaten and order and organize every bit of the snow into piles and places. The snow gets trampled and dirty, the lawns get millions of footprints in it, but the snow banks rise on either side of the streets, and driveways have huge mounds of snow all up and down the edges. Perfect for little ones to climb up on, jump in, eat snow off of.

And then God sends more snow again to clean things up, until it gets warm enough for it all to melt away, and let the green summer grass through again.
Everything has its season. In each season, whether bitter cold and snow of the winter, the cool spring promises of flowers and new grass, the steamy heat of the summer, the colors and chill of the fall, and back to winter again, God calls us to do one thing.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Ps. 46:10
Be STILL (abate, cease forsake) and KNOW (acknowledge, be aware, comprehend, consider, discern, discover, be sure of, observe, recognize) that I am GOD (Elohiym - almighty God, the only supreme God).

What patience on our part that requires. To sit, to stop moving around. Even if our bodies are still, to quiet our minds, drive out the distractions. To be aware of Who is making the seasons change, Who is causing to snow or be so hot. Recognize and acknowledge and discern His hand in everything in us and around us. And to finally be able to say, “I surrender to You, Almighty God. There is no other before You, and You have control of me… this day, this minute.”

I struggle with this. I am very analytical by nature. I need to know why things are happening. I need to be able to think and reason out why things are happening as they are. What is causing them, what is God trying to do, or say to me. Why do I feel the way I do, why have things happened to me, or others, the way that they have. I need to reason it out.

I am willing to go along with the flow of others in the moment, but I also later have to “make sense” out of it. I have to order my world, at least inside my own head. I may love walking outside and watching, feeling the snow fall, but then I need to clear that driveway, make those snowbanks, clean up the roads after the snow storm. I have to organize it so that I can see where I am at.

When I am able to order and organize my world in my head, I am able to get a handle on things, and feel more stable, and better able to handle things that come at me unexpectedly. And then my children have snow banks to play on and sit in. They can mash them down, stomp all over them and knock some of the snow into the driveway. I always have a shovel to clean it right up after them. And I am still ready for when that unexpected snow ball comes my way!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Behind the scenes...

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, where it just doesn’t start out right, and never gets better. On the surface, yesterday was one of those days. I started out the day by being sick to my stomach for about 2 hours, so I woke up exhausted. Then the kids were cranky with each other and me. But we managed to get through the morning with a minimum of discipline and yelling at each other. Got through lunch, and finally got Marina down for her nap after a short power struggle with her. Once Peter went to bed, I called a friend and asked her to pray for me, because I was at the end of my rope. Then I went to bed. My son woke me up just as I was going to sleep because he had to tell me he had to get up to go potty (keep in mind, he can do this without help now…) then instead of sending him back to his own bed where his obvious playing could wake his sister, I put him in bed with me, with strict instructions that if he didn’t go to sleep, I was leaving the room. No playing, and quick sleeping for him (and me too).

We got up, sat and snuggled on the couch till supper was done. We started eating, and halfway through her meal, Marina started to throw up. Well, after an early bath and early bed for her, Peter and I ate popcorn till she was asleep, then put him to bed. Dave got home, and a half hour later Peter came out to go the bathroom… and told me that he hadn’t slept yet, because every noise was waking him up and he would look out his window. After assuring him that daddy was home, and I was home and we weren’t going anywhere, he went back to bed and slept… (by this time it was 10:30) I journaled a bit and went to bed.

But one of the coolest things about the whole day was how God worked behind the scenes. After a horrible morning, I had called my friend to pray with me/for me. Then I journaled before I took a nap, and in that journal, I asked God to please change my outlook for the rest of the day and to give me the strength to deal with the rest of the day, to give me peace and to help me change my attitude. When I woke up, though I was still tired, I really did have a different attitude, and God helped me deal patiently with the kids, and to take care of Marina without gagging or having an issue with cleaning her up. I even had patience with Peter when he got up while I was getting ready for bed.

When I headed to bed and journaled I realized, as I have again now, that God really had answered my prayer, and He had been working behind the scenes all day to help me get through. I praise Him for His answers to prayer, before I even realize it, or even pray for it. What an amazing God we have. I didn’t even see yesterday from the “behind the scenes” perspective. Before I went to bed, I was still viewing it from an “on the surface” perspective, and was really glad the day was over. Hopefully I will remember this lesson and look for how God is working in my life, behind the scenes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Prayer for discernment...

This is a picture of the Pastor and his wife, from our sister church in Sumy, Ukraine. Well, the other day Dave (my husband) asked me if I was going to a meeting at our church. I was surprised he asked me, because it was a meeting to see who might be interested in going to our church’s sister church in Ukraine. I went there about 5 years ago, this coming summer, with Dave when I was about 5 months pregnant with my son. Since then we have sent teams over to help with summer camps for kids, a wilderness deaf camp, construction on their new church building, and to just learn about them, from them, and just come alongside and love them. Once you have gone there, your life will never be the same. I made a very good friend over there, and named my daughter Marina after her. Two summers ago Dave went again with a team that ministered to the deaf over in Ukraine, we sent along a deaf couple from our church with a couple of interpreters. He asked if I wanted to go to the meeting because he said that it was my turn to go.

Well, after being at the meeting and seeing who was there, considering going, and just hearing about it again, I know that I want to go back. I just don’t know if God is calling me to go this summer or if it is some other time. I would LOVE to go! I mean, it really set a longing in my heart to go back. I was able to picture myself there with the people. It would be so different this time, because I wouldn’t be dealing with sickness due to a pregnancy, just the normal, everyday change of culture and food type of thing. Right now we don’t know if it would be a deaf camp, if we would be helping with construction, or if we would be doing something else.

Our Pastor and someone else from our church, as well as our Executive Minister for our conference and one other person will be going over there Feb. 4th through the 11th or so. When they are there, they will be finding out what our sister church, the First Baptist Church of Sumy, might be looking forward to, and needing help with this summer. So I don’t know what the team would be doing, and as is always the case, it is up in the air and the typical them applies, “flex and obey” — meaning, be flexible, plans will always change, and be obedient to God and what He wants the team to do.

This is where you can come in. Please pray for me as I pray and try to discern if God is calling me to go this summer, or if it will be some other time. I mean I really want to go. I don’t want my wants and desires to overpower what God might be calling me to. One thing I do know, if God wants me to go, He is going to have to provide every bit of money for it. Including the deposit that is due in by Feb. 18th to hold our spot on the trip. This is a very scary part for me. As a family, we really don’t have the funding to send one of us on what we have. God has provided in this way for me before, and I know that He is able to accomplish more than we ask or imagine. I am praying for a clear leading, so I know if God is wanting me to step out in faith. I am also going to be asking my friends and family, and my counselor, for their thoughts and guidance as well. I just want to do God’s will, especially in something that is such a commitment. Thank you for your prayers and may God be glorified!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Our God answers prayers...

I have to keep this short, as it is late, and I need to head to bed. But I just wanted to let you know that our God does answer prayers. I have been praying for 2 years that He would help me and heal me, particularly emotionally. I told our community group that just in the last week, even as I despaired of ever hearing an answer, I finally started to see the beginning of the beginning of the answer. Its just one tiny inch down the road to recovery… but it is there.

Sunday I had to sing for worship team up in front of the whole congregation. I have been doing this for years now. It is pretty easy for me to get up there, sing a song pretty much by rote and just get through it. I was up there singing on New Years Eve. When I got done, a gentleman in the congregation who acts like a father to me, came up and gave me a hug and said I seemed so distant and disconnected, and in a world of hurt. I agreed with him, but was unable to explain. This week as I walked up there, I didn’t feel much different… just get up there and sing. Well, as I started to sing, God just lifted me above all the pain, hurt, depression, junk, and weight I have been carrying around. My only focus was on God. He lifted my head, He took me beyond my capabilities, and just surrounded me with His presence. I almost could have cried for joy. I was able to worship Him freely, my heart was bowed down before him in awe as my hands were raised in joy of being able to do even that. God did it through me. After the service, again my friend came up to me and put his arm around me and gave me a huge hug, and said to me, “You were beautiful up there. Just beautiful!” And I knew he didn’t mean the outside. We talked tonight, and he said that he could see the change in me. And for a moment that morning, I say hope.

I don’t know if it has to do with the counseling I received earlier in the week. That helped me start to see that I am lovable, and likable and smiled upon by God. And I think it is starting to sink in a little bit. Please keep praying for me that it will continue, that God will continue to lead me and guide me and hold me and heal me and keep me safe through this growing process.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Starting out fresh...

Yesterday I was on my way home, and I was heading out to the family farm to hang with my husband’s family. I ended up deciding that I wanted a place to curl up and read and journal some. I have had a busy week, filled with a lot of different things and had a lot swimming around in my head. When I journal, it is typically as a prayer to God. It really keeps me on focus, and He helps me process through things. I decided that if I went to the farm, it was going to be too distracting to really focus on anything for too long. So I thought about going home, but the condition of my house (with two small kids) would have distracted me there as well.

Luckily our small town has a wonderful coffee shop/bookstore (Beatitudes). The owner of the coffee shop is a Christian. And every time I walk in there, I feel immediately at ease, relaxed, and want to look at Brenda’s book picks of the week (or month, depending on how often she gets to update it). Yesterday she had updated it. Well the book I picked up was called “Girl on a Swing” by Nancy Kennedy. The title alone intrigued me. Then I read the forward, then part of the introduction, and was hooked. I knew I had to get the book right then and there, or start journaling about the things that were hitting me. So, I got a coffee and sandwich and the book, and sat down to read. This book is amazing… actually, our God is amazing. He set it up so that I would find this book, just when and where I needed it. I would have never been open to it a month ago. I would have said, “this is nice but could never apply to me.” And I would have never been more wrong.

This book spoke to me in a way I wasn’t expecting. It dovetailed with a sermon our pastor gave a couple of weeks ago, on God being our Father. About how much He loves us, and even likes us. That God delights over us, and smiles on us, and covers us so that we can enter into His presence unashamed, unafraid, and climb up into His lap and just be held. (See my Love vs. Like post)

This book cover shows a girl standing on a swing, her hair blowing in the wind, free and trusting, and having fun. One of the questions the book asked at the very beginning was who is that girl on the swing? The author answers, “I know that the girl is me. She is not who I want to be or hope to be, but because of Jesus, she is me. She is safe, and she is me. She is secure, and she is me. She is free and forgiven, she is her Father’s delight, and in Christ she is me. She’s you, too.” (pg. 18) Most of us don’t believe that. The author says that most women don’t believe that, but I think it goes across gender lines with little discrimination. Just it takes very little pushing by a good friend to get her girlfriend to admit that she really doesn’t believe that God could look on her with love, or delight, or with a smile. She might say that she knows it, but in her heart she doesn’t feel it.

Through some counseling this past week, I feel like I finally took a step farther down the road of knowing and feeling that I am loved and liked and smiled upon by God my heavenly Father… who knows all, sees all, is everywhere, is all powerful, awesome… yet He sees me through His Son, and loves me all the same, no matter what I have done or where I have been. See even now these words flow so easily off my fingers, but they are still so hard to truly believe in my heart of hearts. But I am closer, just a step, but closer to that security and freedom the feelings will finally bring. And I know that feelings are fleeting, and but a moment, but some how, just knowing that God is working to free me of my past, makes a huge difference to me.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snowfall Reflections...

I am sitting here looking out at the snow falling so gently down. It is a picture perfect postcard day. The snow is covering everything, making the old dirty snow piles clean and new, covering the little footprints my kids made in the snow.

It reminds me of something God showed me yesterday. Through some counseling I have been doing, God gave me a very vivid picture in my mind’s eye of what grace and mercy are really about. And what sacrifice really is. My counselor was helping me process through an incident in my past. As we were doing that, God met me there and showed me that even in the worst situation, the most pain, the biggest hurt, the largest sin, He still loves me. He sees me through rose colored glasses… glasses colored red by Christ’s blood. I almost had this visual picture of being in this past situation, and seeing myself just being showered, drenched, completely covered in the blood of Christ. Even in the worst place, I am covered. I am able to come to God freely, because I am still covered, no matter where I am in my life, good or bad.
Psalm 139:7 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?”
This counseling I have been doing since the beginning of November has been a learning process. About myself, about learning to trust, about realizing what an amazing, loving family God has placed me in through my church, about the courage it takes to face the pain in the past. I don’t see myself as someone courageous. I feel broken inside. And I want to be “fixed” so that I can be a good wife and mother.

The only way I can be “fixed” is, with God’s and my counselor’s help, to face my past, deal with it, and learn how to replace the lies I learned with the Truth of God’s word about me. As unpleasant as it sometimes can be, dealing with the past will free me up to be the woman God has created me to me. It will make me truly free for the future, and give me a better foothold and better grounding to face the hurts that will inevitably come my way in the future, and to help my family through those hurts as well.

It will free me to love others as I have been loved, comfort others with the same comfort I have myself received.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Love vs. Like...

Some questions from church this week.
“Do you believe that God loves you?”
Most people can answer that question, “Yes.” But what about this one?

“Do you believe that God LIKES you?”
That is a harder one to answer, isn’t it? Are you able to believe that God not only loves you, but LIKES you… enjoys you, likes being with you, likes everything about you, even when you don’t DO things that He likes? God is our Daddy God. He loves to lavish blessings on us, just like a good father or mother, He wants to see us follow His guidance, but if we don’t, He still loves us and cherishes us. Especially when we climb up into His lap, tell Him that we are sorry, and cuddle with Him, like my 4 year old son does when he has done something wrong, and wants to be assured of my love, and that he is ok still.

One of the things that I noted was that it is really hard to believe that God likes you, if you don’t like yourself inside. Can you believe the truths about yourself that God says… that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? Can I?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Crushed then lifted up...

Today started out rather interesting. I walked to a coffee shop/bookstore (Beatitudes) this morning to have lunch, coffee, and a bit of time alone with God. I was feeling extremely tired and low and anxious. When I opened up my bible, I ended up opening to Psalm 143:3.
“For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me dwell in darkness, like those who have long been dead. Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed withing me; my heart within me is distressed.”
It spoke directly to where I was at. That was exactly how I felt. I ended up browsing through the Psalms some more, but I kept getting more and more anxious. Then I remembered that my counselor had talked about how to take thoughts captive for Christ. She said that we can’t control the first thought that pops into our heads, but we can control what we do with it. We can walk down the road of the dark thoughts, but we need to picture that road coming to a “T” with a big stop sign there. We can’t continue down that path anymore of dark thinking, but we have to turn either right or left. We have to claim the blood of Christ in our lives, we have to turn our thoughts toward the things that are pure and lovely and righteous. We have to decide to follow Christ, to believe His truth about us. The problem is that we need to make that choice before we ever feel it. I don’t feel that God loves me all the time, I don’t feel that I am worth anything… but I HAVE to make the choice to believe what He says about me… that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. The REAL question is am I ready to make that choice?

I guess it is an hour by hour decision. By the time I was ready to leave the coffee shop, I had chosen to trust God for this day. I wrote at the end of my journaling today, asking God to give me the strength and compassion to get through the day to care for my sick children, and be a good wife. And then I wrote, “Help me to take a little time tonight to praise You for the things You will do in and through me the rest of this day.” I wrote that with a strange sense of expectation that God would work, and that He would move through me. I was amazed today, and kept recognizing that God was giving me the strength to deal with fussy children, and do what I needed to do to minister to my family. I purposely placed myself under the blood of Jesus, and under the cover of His wings. And I resolved to praise Him for the results.

God, my God, lifted me up. Even if the feelings are temporary, the Truth remains. He is the lifter of my head.

My prayer is that I will remember this tomorrow, and hour by hour, and day by day, and continue to choose to trust in my Lord and Savior. It has come to that point for me. I need to choose between believing the lies, and believing the Truth of God’s word. Am I ready to make that choice?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Muddy puddles...

I have found a really great devotional that I have been getting emailed to me everyday, through

Today was talking about how we are lavished with grace through Jesus Christ. The writer talked about when we stepped in a mud puddle our feet got muddy. We didn’t become mud, we just needed a good foot washing. It was a really good analogy for our lives as Christians. Once we accept God’s gift of salvation, we are covered by the blood of Jesus, the old has gone, the new has come. We stumble and fall each day, and get a little muddy with sin, but by going to Christ and asking for forgiveness, He kneels down and washes off the mud. He covers us with grace and gives us the strength to get back up and keep going.

So many times I find myself wallowing around in the mud. I fall and get dirty, and though God is right there holding out His hands with a clean dry towel, I blame myself, beat myself up and stay in the mud. And sometimes even when I get up and out of the mud, instead of allowing Him to clean me, I find myself trying to do it on my own. I just make so much more of a mess of it. Why do I fail to see the incredible love and grace He wants to lavish on me? Why do I fail to see that He has dressed me in clean clothes, dressed me and poured out riches upon me? Maybe some of those answers are found in some of the pain in my past, the unforgiveness in my heart towards others… the pain in my heart that sometimes seems so all consuming, that even when I invite God in to heal it, and beg Him to, when He does, it just seems to hurt more.

So all I see is the pain, and the mud of this life, and forget to look up into the sky, into my Father’s eyes, and see the beauty, joy, and abundance that awaits me in heaven, and that I can taste here on earth.
Romans 8:1 "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!"

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

First time for everything...

Well, I guess there is a first time for everything. My first blog, seeing my best friend heading to Kenya… Might as well start it with a new year!

Just a quick thought for the day, as it is late and the kids always get me up so early…
A few weeks back our pastor quoted John Eldridge from one of his books, saying that “if God doesn’t take your breath away, something else will.”
‘07 has been a tough year in our family, and for me in particular. I keep struggling, does God really take my breath away? Do I really let Him show me how He is working directly in my life? Do I let myself walk beyond the curtain into the Most Holy Place, and climb up into the lap of my Father, and just rest in His arms.
Most of the time, no I don’t.
I try to do it myself, hold Him at a distance, not allow Him to touch and heal because it will hurt too much. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to be healed, and I am pressing on for the freedom in Christ that is mine. But there is that side of me that just resists and pulls away and fights me every step of the way. Sometimes that side wins, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I actually step back and let God in all the way, and can rest. Then I come back to the world, and wonder if it ever really happened or if it was all in my head.

And with that, for now, I am out of thoughts for the day