Thursday, June 26, 2008

What IS your name? What's in a name #1

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

What are the names that God has called me? What are the names that God has called you?

So many times, we answer the question of “What’s your name?” by our name given to us by our parents. “My name is Heather,” “My name is _______.”

Internally, our answer can be much different. If we really listen to the voice in our head that comes out late at night, we hear other names that we have heard time and time again.

Those names have been given to us by parents, teachers, friends, classmates, and co-workers, among others.

Those names have been given to us by the circumstances we have found ourselves in, whether through neglect, abuse, lack of love or attention, times where people have sinned against us, or we have done things through our own free choices.

Those situations create and emphasize any thoughts about ourselves that have been negative in any way. What we perceive as our own voice in our head, continually takes anything we go, and accuses us of being those names that we have been given in the past.

So, what’s in a name?

Do you hear names of loved, secure, faithful, blessed, redeemed, chosen, wanted, valuable, precious, beloved, healed, whole, forgiven, released, free, significant, talented?

Or do you hear the names of worthless, unforgivable, careless, irresponsible, stupid, dork, nerd, freak of nature, clumsy, inept, never going to amount to anything, sick, twisted, damaged goods?

I can tell you I have heard my share of all the negative names. Most of the ones I listed above. They have come from sexual and emotional abuse, from attitudes of family members, peers in school, teachers, even co-workers and my friends. Some of it was unintentional for sure. Other names were given with every intention of hurting me and pushing me down, squashing me.

In recent years, as I have started growing and learning about a deeper heart journey that God is calling me to, Jesus has shown me the lies I have believed about myself. Lies planted there through specific incidents in my life, lies embedded by well meaning family, friends and teachers. Each time I encountered an experience where I was uncertain, where I felt a little bit insecure, every mistake I made was pounced on by the one who wants to keep me from being whole and complete in Christ. If the enemy of our souls can keep us from being who God created us to be, he can win a battle in the war against God that is raging in the heavenlies.

For that is what is going on all around us. A battle first, to keep us from coming to know Christ in an intimate and personal way, and then if we do end up becoming God’s, to keep us ineffective, bullied and pressed to the ground by all the weight of our baggage from our lives. We can’t see this battle with our physical eyes, but we sure can feel it in our hearts and minds.

How many times have you woken in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep. You feel like you have had a bad dream, but it continues once you are sure you are wide awake. In your head you hear the whispers accusing you for the mistakes you made that day. Yelling at the kids, losing patience with your family, giving a cold shoulder to your spouse.

“Why, this makes you a horrible person! Why can’t you pull yourself together and be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect friend? Look at all the people you have promised to pray for. You haven’t prayed for one of them have you? Look how you promised to spend time with God every morning, and yet you are neglecting him, and getting distracted by all the things going on around you. You wake up and have to start running with the kids right away. You should have gone to bed earlier so that you could get up before your family, and spend time with God, but you didn’t. You didn’t even bother to look at your bible today…”

And on and on the list of accusations go.

Sometimes the accusations escalate if you can’t get back to sleep. They go from whispering in your ear, to yelling in your head. Bringing up scenes from your past, you find yourself lamenting your choices, grieving yet again over the things you couldn’t prevent from happening. You wonder if you could have done something different. You wonder if you really did deserve all the things that were pushed on you, when you were too young to do anything about them.

Then you finally manage to fall back asleep, by whatever means you can. You take some medication, make yourself a drink, read till you collapse, stare at the TV till your eyes are blurry, or escape into a fantasy life where things are perfect and you can pretend at least for a while that you are loved and significant to at least one person in your life.

I know that I have done all of these things. I know that in the middle of the night, even now as I write this, I wonder if I really am doing the right thing. Am I really supposed to be writing at all? Who would want to listen to my story, hear what I might have to say? So many others have written about similar things, what new ideas could I possible add to the mix?

But I look at a list of names that God has called me. I found it on the Internet on a blog site (HERE) I frequent. I printed it out and posted it above my desk. And there, staring me in the face was the verse from Isaiah, chapter 43.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.”
I think this has become a life verse for me. It is something that I desperately need to remember. No matter what the circumstances that come my way, no matter the barbs people throw at me, no matter how discouraged or low I feel… I am His! He is mine! He knows my name, he has called me by my name, and he has redeemed my life from the pit.


I think that this may end up becoming a bit of a series, much like my friend Amy has a series called Hope Chronicles on her blog.

I have started to realize how important names are. How many names do I call myself during the day. Just by marriage and occupation alone I am called wife and mother, also, sister, daughter, grand-daughter, friend, etc. But as I said above, there is so much more going on. I only hope that as I explore some of the things that God has been teaching me, He will use my words to help show you the names He has called you, to replace the ones given to you by others.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dancing in the streets!

God has done so many things recently in my life.

All last week, as you may have noticed in some of my earlier posts, I wanted to run. I was blocking out God and didn’t want to think at all. But God was preparing me.

Saturday I started a new book, and through it, God spoke to me. As I read, I realized that these two gentlemen who wrote the book were putting into words all my thoughts and feelings that I haven’t been able to get into words. I have tried. But this was different. Even as men, they understand the matters of the heart, and how much our hearts need to be connected to the rest of us. We need to have our hearts caught up in the wild, untameable love of our God.

Such thoughts, and more, were filling my head as I went into counseling on Monday. As I talked with Tricia, I was able to talk to her very honestly about some things that had come up as I read the book. It was amazing to me that I avoided even really dealing with God all week long, but Saturday, when He finally got through to me, it was through this book. And literally I read all day… read half of the book! And journaled about it, and all the things that were hitting me.

As I talked with Tricia, I felt like the whole conversation was being guided. Guided gently and lovingly by God. I didn’t realize just how much until much later, after the session. The things we talked about, things in my history, quotes from the book, issues it brought up, issues in relationships… it all came out, and once I got over some initial anxiety that I always have, I really felt held and safe and secure.

I even brought something up that I had been purposely avoiding. I was concerned about her reaction, and if I would be able to clearly explain what I meant. Every time I had thought about it the night before, and even talked it out, out loud (thank goodness everyone else was asleep) it just came out wrong.

I finally emailed a friend the night before my counseling session, and asked her to pray because I didn’t know if I should even bring the issue up in counseling or not.
Much sooner than I thought in the session, God just brought it up, and it fit right in with what we were talking about. And I even told Tricia that I didn’t want to say anything. I remember just looking away from her as I tried to describe what I wanted. I was afraid of looking at her face to see her reaction.

And God gave me the words to say. He was gracious to me. He relieved my fears through Tricia, and by words that she said in response to my comments. I just don’t have the words to express it right now. I really don’t have the words to express how God touched my heart in such a profound way.

Today, the more I thought about the session, the more I realized how God has worked and moved in my life in the past month. I can hardly believe it. A month ago, I had been out of the hospital for only a week. I have had so many things that have happened since then that before would have thrown me over the edge. And they haven’t.

Today I took my friend Cindy out for lunch, and we were able to just rejoice together for the things that God has done. Amazing things. Awesome things. Dancing in the street things. God has given me strength. God has given me healing in amazing ways.

“O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.
O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.” Psalm 30:2-3

This is practically a direct quote from my heart to God’s heart. It was a promise He gave me months ago. It is a promise that He has fulfilled. It is a promise that He is going to fulfilled.

Like I said: Dancing in the streets!!!!

More blessings upon blessings…

He has given me a friendship in Cindy that I have been praying for, for years and years. He has released me from so much of the bondage that has held me in captivity for so long. He is growing me up. He is teaching me how to release my heart to Him. He is just doing amazing things.

He is giving me promises for the future. He is showing me my mission field here and now, and He is showing me hope for the future. He has shown me that He is willing to give me the desires of my heart in His timing.

He is giving me sisters in Christ, that though we can’t be close now every day, we can have a connection through prayer and by knowing we are sisters in Him. But that is more for a later post…

I sat in Beatitudes this morning, and tried to thank Him for what He has done. I was just blown away. I still am. My heart is filled to overflowing with how He had helped me and held me. Desired of my heart have been answered, fears have been relieved. Prayers prayed for others have been answered. Amazing things He has done. Amazing things He will do.

My God, My Jesus filled my heart with so much hope, it’s all I can do to keep from crying right now. Our God is so good!

Yes, I know that I will probably still have bad days. God doesn’t promise that we won’t have trouble. But with Him we can get through it. With Him I can get through it.

I can hardly believe the joy that is filling my heart right now! God is so amazing! Ok, so I am going to cry, I can’t stop it, but these are tears of joy.

For the first time in a long time… tears of JOY!!!! Joy at what He has done. And complete humility that He has done it for me.

Friday, June 20, 2008

To run, to walk, to sink roots in deep...

I still want to run…

Just like in my earlier post today.

However some other things distracted me until now.

About five o’clock, Dave’s parents came and picked up Marina (they already had Peter for the day) and spirited both kids away to the farm. That suddenly made our evening look a whole lot different.

Dave suggested a walk… so I promptly put on some shorts, grabbed my visor and off we went.

In Mosinee, the main highway has one bridge to get into town. The way the town was built, it is on one side of the Wisconsin River, and the interstate, train, and most of the other main roads into and out of Wausau are on the other side of the river.
Let me tell you, when school is out at 3:30 and first shifters are trying to get back into town at the same time, the bridge can be backed up all the way across its span (and that is rather long)… but that’s another story…

So, our walk.

We walked to the bridge, where it crosses the river. Mosinee was originally known as Little Bull Falls. Well, the falls are still there, though slightly modified by man. A dam has been put in now, and they regulate the water flow over the falls.
Well, there are several public access points along the bridge, where you can get on to some islands on the river… at least when the water level is low. Earlier last week, with all the rain, it was running pretty high. But today, it was running low, so we were able to get to parts of the islands and rocks that you aren’t normally able to get to.

I wish I had some pictures to share, but this time we didn’t take the camera, as we figured we would be doing a lot of climbing and possibly slipping, so didn’t want to risk either of our good cameras on the walk. Maybe next time I can at least find a place to get a few good pictures to post at a later time.

Sorry… on with the story.

It was fun climbing over rocks and around outcroppings. We were able to sit on rocks polished smooth with years of water running over them, twists and swirls, and round pockets worn into them.

We got to one point where we climbed up a large out cropping, and were able to see further down the river and the water washing down, tangles of trees, rocks, and bits of bushes, plants and flowers clinging where there was no soil. It was beautiful, and serene, if you could block out the noise of the traffic racing on the bridge over our heads.

We climbed back out of the river channel, back to the bridge and beat it home, just before it really started to pour. It would have been pretty interesting getting out of there, if it had started raining, while we were still there. The rocks would have been so slippery!

The walking and climbing over the rocks helped me just by getting some physical exercise. I now am too tired to run! And even though Dave and I didn’t talk about much, or anything very important, it was good to be with him. We sat on the couch tonight, ate pizza, and watched a program on TV we both really like.

In all it was a relaxing evening… unplanned… unexpected… and nice. Really nice.
So, why am I still anxious? Why am I still struggling with wanting to isolate myself? A habit? A way of protecting myself? Am I like those trees and bushes I saw today, sinking their roots deep into the rock so they don’t get swept away? Do I sink my roots deep into the habits of the past, so that something doesn’t change when everything else around me seems to?

Maybe I should let up those roots, pull them out of the old rocky habits, and instead immerse them in the Living Stream of water. I guess that is what I am trying to do. It’s really hard work. And it takes a stronger Hand than me. I mean, what bush can pull itself out of the ground? It needs outside help.

I need to give in to the rushing, wild, untameable flow of Christ’s love for me. Allow Him to flood over me, wash me in His cleansing flow, pull me out of the rocky life I have known and deposit me in a fertile field, near His stream of Living Water.

Oh, Lord, let me sink my roots deep into the rich soil of Your Word. Quench my thirst with the clear, clean, cool water of Your Word. Wash me with Your cleansing flood, and plant me where You want me. Cause the fruit to grow in me that You have prepared me to grow. Show me Your will for my life, and help me to submit to You, and allow You to use the circumstances of my life to teach me daily more about You… and who I am in You. Amen.

Conversations with the Great I AM...

Oh God, I want to run.

I know, child.

I want to run away. I don’t want to deal with these responsibilities. I want to run and hide somewhere.

I know.

I can’t do this today. I just am having a bad day, God. And it makes me want to run away more, when last weekend was so good.

God? Why am I struggling so much right now? Why do I have to deal with this? I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to fight depression and anxiety. I don’t want to find myself just wanting to hole up in the house and hide.

God? Are You there? Are You listening?

I am.

Do you care? Do you see? I want a safe place. I want to hide somewhere away from everything else. I want to hide somewhere so far away, so no one can find me. I want to hide in such a tight cocoon that I feel like I am being hugged or held.

God? I am tired. I don’t understand. I am frustrated. I am confused. What do I do?



I AM. Look to me.

But right now, all I can see is me, God. All I can see is the hurt that I am feeling that I don’t even know where it is coming from. How do I look to You? How do I fight all these thoughts in my head that are pushing me down further and further?

My dear child: Claim my promises. Remember all that I have done for you. Remember the Words you have read about Me. Remember the Words of Mine you have memorized. Pick another verse. Pick a promise. Memorize it. Meditate on it. Know that I never fail to keep My promises.

I AM bigger than anything else you have ever seen.
I AM stronger than anything that can harm you.
I AM more wildly in love with you than you can imagine.
I AM your Father.
I AM your Friend.
I AM your Redeemer.
I AM your Healer.

Child, I will be with you all of your days. I will be with you all of your nights. You can meditate on me in the middle of the night and I will be there. I AM with you forever. My Spirit is in you. When you can’t see, or breathe, or even cry out, My Spirit is interceding for you, before My throne. You are not alone. You may feel alone. You may be in pain. You may be fighting or you may be falling down in discouragement.

But I AM with you always.

Oh Father! My God. I don’t know what to say. My heart cries out to You. Thank You for speaking so directly to my heart.
But, I still feel like running away.

I know.

All right. A promise. To memorize and meditate on.
Here is the promise I claim for today God.
I choose to trust that You have given it to me.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

Engrave that truth not only in my head God, but in my heart as well. I am so tired of fighting. Help me to rest in You, to let Your peace fill my heart, to let Your arms hold me. Be my safe place, and help me to stop running away, but instead run to You. Give me Your strength for the rest of this day, Father.

I will.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Conversations with a 4 year old...

Today was one of those days.

One of those days where I was feeling sick when I got up. (Though whether it is allergies or a cold, I just don’t know.) The kids were good this morning. I took them out for a walk/bike ride after lunch. It took all that was in me to get them out there. Just the effort of getting myself ready (and out of my pj’s) was almost more than I could do. But we took our walk and spent some time at the park. Then we all came home and took naps.

One of the very fun things about nap time that I really enjoy. We either pile on the bed, or the couch depending on their mood, and read books. I get snuggled and hugged from both sides, and get to read books to the kids. It is so much fun to have that time with them, and they love reading.

After I settle down Marina in their room, I meet Peter on my bed. Today we snuggled a bit together, and then I’m not sure who fell asleep first. I think it might have been me, in mid-prayer.

Tonight, when supper was done, Peter, Marina and I headed down to see Daddy as he worked on projects in the garage. After much playing with chalk and drawing on themselves, the driveway, the car, the new bike, and the opportunity for me to fold 2 loads of clothes (miracle in an of itself!!!) We got them inside for their bath time.

Then came the snuggle where we watched a little TV, then Peter wanted to watch Animal Cops, on Animal Planet, after Rina was in bed. For some reason, he really likes to see the animals as they are brought in to be taken care of and helped by the vets. He has a tender heart towards animals, even all the ones that his Grandpa catches at the farm and then eventually releases back to the wild.

Then Peter and I snuggled on my bed again to read, pray, and cuddle before he went to his own bed in their room. In the dark, as we lay there, he started asking me questions about God.

You know how 4 year olds can be.

The questions can get quite interesting, and sometimes really hard to answer.
Things like:

How big is God?

Does He come in and out of my tummy (heart) to make the stars?

If He is so big that He can be everywhere, why can’t I see Him?

God came out of Barbara’s tummy. When I questioned him about that one, he said that Barbara died (a great aunt) and so God came out of her tummy.

At one point in the conversation, especially when he was trying to understand how big God was, and how He could know all our thoughts, all at the same time, I remembered Psalm 139.

I still have it memorized, so I told it to him as a story, simplifying the words so he would have a better chance of understanding… that God knows him and me, when we get up and lie down, when we go out to do something, and when we come in. God knows our thoughts and words before we even say them. If we try to run away from God we can’t. If we go up to heaven He is there. If we go to the very bottom of the earth, He is there… we can try to make a new home on the other side of the world, but still God is there. He made us in our mother’s tummy, so he knows all about us, even before we were born.

Peter lay with his head on my shoulder for a long time, just absorbing that.
I said to him, “that is pretty hard to understand, isn’t it?” He nodded. I told him that I don’t understand it all either. But I also told him that any time he had questions, he could ask me and I would try to give him the answers, and if I didn’t know them, I would find the answers and tell him.

I love that time of night when Peter settles down and wants to cuddle in the dark close to me, and when he feels free to open up and talk about the things that he has been thinking about.

They are such precious moments. I know these times with my children won’t last long. Helpful words from my counselor and another friend reminded me that my kids need me to be so involved in their lives. God has placed two people right in my own home that need outreach. They are my mission field. They are our mission field, for my husband and I.

It is such an awesome responsibility.

It is more than I could possibly handle without God helping me and giving me the answers, the guidance, the patience, the love required to guide these little people closer to Him. I can’t do this without giving up some of the things that I want to do, the selfishness that I am so prone to, and I don’t do this naturally. Only God can help me overcome that selfishness. Only Jesus can model to me what it means to be self-less, care for those around him, teach those closest to Him, have compassion for everyone He came into contact with. Yet, He still knew when He needed to take time to be on His own with His father, rest and refresh Himself for more ministry.

I have seen where I have taken too much advantage of Dave’s parents in having them take care of the kids so I can do what I want, without them around “bothering” me. That is the selfishness. The other extreme is taking care of them, to the exclusion of my husband, and the exclusion of the health of my marriage, and the exclusion of my own spiritual health.

So, I am trying (not always successfully) to spend a bit of time in the morning with a devotional journal. Then get on the computer, only when the kids are involved in playing with each other, or better yet, when they are asleep. Once everyone is in bed, like now, and the house is quiet, I can blog and journal on my own, without interruption, and spend some of that time I need for myself.

It’s a re-commitment to what I know I need to do, and have started and stopped over and over the past month or so. The devotional in the morning is easy, but the keeping away from the computer is much harder. I suppose that means, I should set myself some “screen time” limits, so that I spend more of my time with my family, rather than addicted to this computer, huh?

Time to start applying those things that I have been learning lately. As Lelia mentioned in a previous comment, time to chew over and meditate on each thing that I have learned so it becomes part of me, part of my life.

Again, one step at a time.

Step by Step.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Step by step...

One of the things that I have always loved to do is read. I love learning new things. I find I just have a hunger to learn new things, and want to dig into things to really explore each new thing I learn.

Learning things is a good thing. I have applied that to wanting to learn more about the Bible, and to learning the truths that God gives us there. It has really helped me grow in my relationship with God, especially in tough times.

Yesterday, Tricia told me that I have a lot of knowledge of the truth, and wisdom that I share with others, but I seem to have trouble applying it to my life. I have many steps of truth, and know all the right answers. I have difficulty walking in that truth. I have trouble internalizing the truth, and really believing it in my heart.

Slowly that process has been taking place through counseling. I have started to find things that I have believed that were lies, and I knew the truth, but didn’t believe it for myself. For instance, a couple of the lies that came from past experiences were, “I am worthless,” and “I am unforgivable.” I always knew the truth that I am worthy in Christ, and that because of Jesus blood, I am forgiven. But until I started going through therapy, the head knowledge and heart knowledge just weren’t connected.

Now that I have gone through some specific incidents from the past, where those lies were planted, not only did the truths really get applied in my life (and become real in my heart), I have been able to walk in those truths. I also have found the intensity of the emotions around those particular incidents have faded. Though I remember them, and know they happened to me, they are just memories now, and don’t have the hold on me they did before.

There are new lies that I have realized that I am believing. “I am not safe,” and “I can’t let go of or let out my emotions.” I know the truth of my security in Christ, and that it is healthy to get out those emotions, and have a release for them. In my head.

We worked through these lies, and the situations they were attached to, yesterday. Something about this EMDR therapy God really uses to help me begin to apply to the truth to the situations, and to the lies. If you follow the link I provided above to the official site, that explains what EMDR is, you will see how God can really use it. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for Tricia to use this therapy with someone who isn’t a Christian. You have to identify a negative thought about yourself (the lie) and then what your preferred positive thought would be (the Truth). When someone can’t come from the perspective of absolute truth, Tricia said it is extremely difficult, because the person has to rely on “positive thinking” rather than on God doing the healing.

So, hopefully, in the next week or so, as I continue to process the session yesterday, and meditate on the truth, I will start to believe the truth in my heart and mind, fully. It took a while for the worthiness and forgiveness to come to fully believing and knowing in my head and heart, to really occur to the full extent. So, I am trusting God to do the work with these lies and truths as well. But I also know it will take time.

One thing that Tricia used to describe how I am applying truth in my life is this. She had me stand up and start walking and observe which foot I started with. Then she said to imagine that my right foot (the one I started with) was the truth; the truth I know in my head, that I have learned. Then to imagine that my left foot was that truth applied in my life.

She said typically a person walks one foot stepping and then the other. Truth, application, truth, application. Right, left, right, left. But she said I am walking differently. I am always leading with my right foot, dragging the other behind. (Imagine kids learning to “gallop” across the room, with the right leg leading… try it out yourself and you will see what I mean) Truth, truth, truth truth. Right, right, right, right. And I never add the application in.

She said as I walk with the kids or whatever, I need to think on the truth, and then the application. I am not sure how to actually “apply” the truth in my life. One good friend suggested it is all about renewing the mind. Re-training how I am thinking. When the lie pops in, or I find I am operating out of that lie, I need to replace it with the truth, preferably with a bible verse, and focus on that, meditate on that, and then to try to walk in that truth. Acting in the truth rather than out of the lie and fear.

Here it is again. It shows up in my blog all the time. The truth and what I should be doing, but my everyday life is a lot different. I suppose it is the same with most people. We all know the truth, and the way we should be living in freedom in Christ. But many times we live instead by the lies that have been planted by the enemy through situations we have lived through. Sometimes those lies are planted, not because we have lived through abuse or trauma, but because there was something we needed in our past that we didn’t receive. Whether that be affirmation from our parents, neglect in one way or another, a lack of feeling loved or secure as a child. Those can affect as much or more, our ability to really believe in our heart of hearts that we are accepted, secure and loved by God.

So I hope you will join me in walking.

Step by step.

Right, left, right, left.
Truth, application, truth, application.

Let’s walk in freedom and victory, the way Christ has intended us to.

Dear Jesus, please help me to be able to walk in the truth the way you have intended me to. I ask for this day. Help me to rest in my safety and security in You. I ask that you would help all my friends and family to do the same. Show me where I am believing a lie, where I am acting and reacting out of lies I might believe. And please help me to really integrate, and incorporate Your truth into my life… into my mind and heart. I want to have the mind of Christ. Renew my mind, and transform me into your likeness, may I reflect who You are. May I reflect Your glory, and show others what it is to walk in Your truth and to live it out day by day. I thank You and praise You for how You have helped me, and worked in my life. You are an amazing God! I can’t imagine living without You. Thank You Jesus, for Your healing and Your love. Amen.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Two nights ago, it was the end of a rough day. I was tired, cranky, and so were the kids. Finally out of frustration, I got them ready and sent them outside. I got their socks and shoes on, and sprayed them down with bug spray. And sent them out. Yes, ages 4 and 2.

Before I get chastised for sending them out alone; :) I sat on the deck and tried to eat and watched them play. Finally I realized my anxiety was no longer going to let me eat, so I called down to the kids I would be right out, and got ready… including lots of bug spray and down the stairs I tromped. I was not going with a good attitude.

When I got down there, I realized the bugs were too bad for me to just sit and watch them play, so I decided I might as well make use of my time. I headed for our front flower bed, and walked around looking at all the weeds. Finally, I decided I might as well start pulling them. As soon as I started doing something, the kids came to see.

Peter (age 4) decided he was going to help me. He at least knew what was grass and what was a good plant, and when he wasn’t sure, he asked me. My daughter decided pulling plants was too hard, so she started picking up weeds and throwing them into a wagon. Peter decided that looked like way too much fun, so he helped. When the wagon was full, they dragged it to the back yard and dumped it in the “burn pile” in the back yard. We really don’t have a burn pile, they just dumped it in the long grass at the back of our property.

When I finally got done pulling weeds, the flower bed looked much better, and my attitude was better as well. It was fun watching the kids trundle back and forth helping by moving all the pulled weeds. I ended up taking out our good digital camera and was able to get some really good close up pictures of some of the individual blossoms and flowers.

This morning I was thinking about that. Pulling weeds. I was wondering how many weeds God sees in my life that He wants to pull.

Weeds of impatience, short temper, frustration, anger.

That day the kids and I were fussing at each other… the whole day. And my attitude wasn’t helping one thing. We were annoying each other as much as the mosquitoes were annoying us as we were working.

So, how do I let God into my garden to pull the weeds? I have tried to spend time in the Word each morning, and take the time to pray. However, if this morning was any example of how well I let Him in, I didn’t do a good job. I maybe read one word at a time, yelled at the kids, read a bit more, told them to take a bite, tried to write out a prayer and got one sentence before I had to deal with someone screaming. And by the end of the ordeal I was done in and it was only 10am. Not a good start to the day, or a good way to let God speak to me about anything.

Even as I write this, my husband is watching my daughter, and feeding her cereal out of his bowl. And I am getting frustrated at the milk and cereal being spilled all over the floor and the couch and running down the front of her once clean clothes.

So much for pulling weeds.

God, please show me how to be a better mother and wife. Show me how to focus on You, even when my 2 year old spreads Vaseline all over her room and bed. Show me how to be patient even when my kids fight me every step of the way to the bath tub, or the dinner table. Show me how to let You into my life so that I can get rid of some of these weeds that are keeping the flowers of Your garden from revealing their presence. Please give me peace in this day. Please give me joy in this day. Please give me the ability to enjoy the blessings of the moment, of every moment of this day. Amen.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Questions, grief, and the need to Trust...

How do you deal with things, when the perspective suddenly changes?

Seriously, I am asking for some feedback.

You know, when things are going along ok, actually, better. Things are looking up, and you are starting to feel like, though there are some things you need to do to help others, maybe things are returning to normal. After so long, to feel normal!
And then something happens, you get bad news, about a friend, or about work, or about a family member. And it forces your perspective to shift. Things that felt safe for the first time in your life; where you felt security and freedom; suddenly leave you feeling unsure, unstable and a bit fearful.

You feel “not safe” again, and you don’t like it.

So, really, how do you deal with it?

I mean, I have never really learned how to grieve a loss. Whether it be of a family member or close friend, I have never experienced anyone close to me dying. I have experienced losses from abuse, or from losing friends, or other things like that. But I never thought of those as losses, so I didn’t grieve them. Any emotions I had about them, even if it was grief, I pushed down. I don’t know how to express grief. I don’t know what is “normal” and I don’t know what to expect.

The emotions that I stuffed down, I didn’t even have a name for.

Were they grief?
What is grief?
What does grief feel like?
What does grief look like?

The crying at the drop of a hat, the wanting desperately to run away, all makes me feel out of control. I don’t like being out of control. I don’t feel safe letting my emotions out. I don’t feel secure. I feel like the rug has just been pulled out from under my feet, just after I finally got my balance.

I am being forced to deal with the finite limits of our earthly existence. I know we continue on in heaven, and that we will have relationships there. But relationships here change, die, new ones form, old ones fade away.

I have recently been brought face to face with that, in a rather sudden way, and I feel completely at a loss as how to deal with it. I don’t know how to be a mom, and still cry. I don’t know how to be a wife, and still cry. I don’t know how to be myself, and still cry. I don’t feel safe when I let that all out. Because it comes out like a flood and I can’t control it.

Is that grief?

I have hidden so many of those emotions for so long. Now I have slowly learned to trust a few people, which has encouraged me to trust a few more, and slowly be real with them. Now that I am real, and more open, my emotions come out more readily.
I have learned who the “safe people” are typically that I can let those emotions out around and they don’t shy away. There are just a few, but they are the ones I can go to that I can be totally sure of their staying with me. I don’t have to hide how I am doing. They can tell by looking at me. Those are the people that have invested in me, but also who have allowed me into their lives and been real and honest with me.

Maybe that is why I have trusted these few, because they have modeled what trust and transparency look like. They have modeled Jesus, His care and compassion, and never failing love.

But this instance was so sudden and unexpected, that I think I was in emotional shock for a time. Then came the anger and tears and ache in my heart.

Is that grief?

I feel like if I slow down too much, I will start crying. I don’t know how to react. I don’t know what to do with this all!

In and of myself, I feel like I am doing all right. I have had some mood swings this week, but they have been moderate, for me anyway, and my husband wasn’t even sure I was going through PMS… so this is a big step in the right direction!

So I know the emotions I am dealing with are directly related to the news I received this week. I dissolve every time I think of the situation, struggle with some depression over it. I didn’t want to get out of bed this afternoon after nap time with the kids. Dave forced me to, and we went to a park and grilled out for supper and the kids ran around and made us laugh… good therapy.

I guess this has brought to the forefront a lie I have been believing for a long time. One that stems from sexual abuse in my very young years, and patterns of other types of abuse all the way through college years and beyond. The lie?

“I am not safe.”

I know I have to counter that with the truth that I am safe in Christ. God keeps me safe. He is my tower and my refuge, my fortress. I have been looking up verses that have to deal with safety and security in God. There are so many that hit me, I can’t write them all down. But here are two that stood out to me as I read them. They seem to link together.

“I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” Jer. 33:6b

“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” Ps. 34:7

Safety and security.

I long for that in the middle of these swirling emotions. Emotions of fears and hurt and loss. The facing the unknown. I don’t know how to handle them. This is new territory for me. God has opened me up enough that I don’t know how to stuff these things back down. I am healed enough to know that my normal coping mechanisms just won’t work… at least not in the long run. Running and hiding won’t help because I end up having to come back and face it.

Grief, and needing to feel peace, security, safety. How do I reconcile these? How do I deal with this news, and work through the emotions I am having, and not pull back into my shell, my walls I have hidden behind for so long? How do I use the correct coping mechanisms and tools I have been taught by my counselor?

Here I was planning on not going to see Tricia this week. Now that I am struggling with this, do I still go? Or do I cancel, and try to work through this on my own, with God?

Please, if anyone has any feed back about any of this. Comment or email me. I could really use some input, and above all your prayers, as always. Speaking of, I know no other, better way to finish here.

Oh God, I feel like I am in such a tangle, such a mess. Please help me be a good wife and mom to my husband and kids in the morning. I am going to be so tired. I am afraid of my emotions, Jesus. I am afraid of thinking about this situation at all, because all these emotions that I can’t identify start welling up, and overflowing. I know that You number each tear. I know that You will wipe them away. I know that You are holding me, and this whole situation, in Your loving arms, even if I can’t feel it. I choose to stand firm, and trust that You, Oh Lord are keeping me safe, encamping around me, and giving me abundant peace and security. Even if I don’t feel that right now. Help me, God. I don’t know what else to ask for. Show me what to do for the rest of this week. Show me how to deal with this. Show me the next step, the next hour, the next minute if I need that. Help me to discern your will about counseling this week, whether I should keep my appointment, or whether I should skip it and wait another 10 days. God I feel so weak. Fill me up. Use me. Help me during this time of pain and heartache, turn to You even more in prayer and petition and praise. Guard me and keep me safe. Oh God, every time I feel like I am starting to stand firm again, I feel like You break me even more, and I crumble again. Form me into who You want me to be. I surrender. I give up. You do it. You show me how to let this out. You heal me. You ease the pain. Nothing I can do, will do all that. Only You will satisfy this weary soul. Help me Lord Jesus. And let me come out on the other side of this praising You. Amen.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

It all comes down to a choice...

God is truly healing me. I can see it in my reactions and interactions with others, and how different things are affecting me. I guess in a way I must have made the choice of freedom and healing over, bondage and illness. Which is a good, no, great thing.

I am still working (as always) on surrendering my need for control over to Him. He knows the plans He has for me. And if I stop talking long enough, if I stop running around and trying to micro-manage everything, maybe He will be able to get a word in edgewise, and show me His plans for my day, His will for my day. Not that I don’t have free will, and can choose to do what I want, when I want; but I need to have my heart’s desire focused on my response to His love. I need to be living out my life as a response to His mercy, grace, and love.

For me that means I need to spend more intimate time with Him each day. Jesus longs to show me something new for each day, and honestly right now I need to hear from Him more than ever. If I tune Him out, I will end up back in the same place I was before. Planning my own life with no regard to Who even created me to live in the first place. I will just be running along doing my own thing, and sometimes asking Him what He thinks of what I am doing, not asking Him to show me what to do. (I hope that makes sense)

I guess what I am trying to say is, though I had a relationship with Jesus, and I prayed often, and read the bible, went to church, all the right stuff, the intimacy wasn’t there, it hadn’t been for a long time.

Now for the past three and a half years, as I have struggled through depression; worked on being transparent; sought spiritual freedom in my life; all that has relied on Jesus guiding me, and me listening, so I knew the next step to take. And all that took being intimate with Him. Especially the last year, God has been showing me every day, just how much He loves me, just how much He is guiding everything that has gone on in my life, and how He is redeeming my mistakes. How He is redeeming the mistakes of others. He is making all the bad start to work for good in my life.

How can I do anything but praise Him?

During this time of healing, and especially now as I am getting closer to wholeness and maturity, things have been thrown at me that I didn’t anticipate, which under past conditions, would have completely devastated me.

With my dear friend Kim, who has been an incredible support, being laid up now for most of the summer with a very slow, painful recovery, I have had to come to terms with possibly not seeing her as much. I also have had to work on overcoming my insecurities, to reach out and give a helping hand to her and her family. (still working on that one…)

Another thing that I have realized in the past few months, with the scare my grandmother gave us when she got pneumonia, is that I have never really dealt with the death of a family member or someone very close to me. I am afraid of my reactions to that. I am afraid of my reactions to painful health issues of others. I pray privately, but to be with them, pray with them, offer help to them, I find myself at a loss for words, afraid to say or do the wrong thing. So in the past, I have run away.

But as Tricia has reminded me time and again… when I feel like running, remember that verse in Ephesians (the one on my front page) Stand firm… and when I have done everything, to stand. I need to stand firmly by the side of those in need in my life. Even if I feel like running. I need make that choice to stand (or sit in some cases) by their side. I may not need to talk. Just stand. Be with them, stand with them through the storm they are in.

I heard some difficult news from a friend this week. Waiting on final answers from the doctor is so hard. And part of me wants to run. But I can’t. She never ran from me through all the junk I have been through. So, how do I stand?

I have been working since Thursday on integrating this news into my life, and the perceptions I had of how things should be. One joy in it all, I haven’t gone over board into depression, I haven’t gone crazy with anxiety (ok, well, not too much anyway)

Last night, I just couldn’t go home to a house full people, and the noise. So after stopping at the farm to check on the kids, I ended up taking a long drive, watching the sunset. I know, driving right now with the gas prices is insane. But I needed to have that solitude. Part of the time I prayed. I used some of the tools Tricia taught me to calm myself, and to try to reconcile this news and incorporate it into my life/emotions/heart.

Again I came to the realization that I don’t know the why, I don’t know the when, I don’t know the how, but I do know the Who! As I drove out in the country (on roads I had never been on before) looking at the old farm houses, churches, barns, and a beautiful sunset with big fluffy clouds, I saw God. I knew, in a deeper way than just head knowledge that He created all of this earth, all of us. I knew that He gave me that time to get away. I knew that He gave me that beautiful sunset out in the country side. Just to show me His splendor and to remind me that He is sovereign, and in control of everything. He knows the past, present and future. He WILL take care of all of us, but in His timing and in His will, not mine.

I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that a very close friend of mine might be very ill. I am not there yet by any means. But I do know that if I hadn’t been doing all this hard work these past 7 months or so with my counselor, Tricia, I would be running, I would be hiding, I would be spiraling down in despair and fear.
I just have this sense that God is reminding me that He is here, He is with me, He is holding me and my friend, and that He is giving me a gift. That gift is the opportunity to see that I am stronger than I thought. He has made me stronger. He is giving me the opportunity to work through some of my fears and insecurities, and He is still here. No matter how I react, fail, or succeed, He still loves me.

My Jesus still loves me. My Jesus still holds me. My Jesus still calls me. My Jesus still heals me.

How can I argue with that wild, crazy, untameable love that God extends to me? To grasp and understand just an ounce of that love is beyond me. But He still offers it every moment of every day.

Ecclesiastes 7:14 says;
“If the times are good, be happy (NKJ says: be joyful)
But when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one as well as the other
(NKJ says: God has appointed one as well as the other)
Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about His future.” (NIV)

I don’t know anything about my future. I cannot discover it. I cannot reason it out. I cannot control it. But I can be joyful in the good times, and when the bad times come, I can remember that God allows both… And He is in control, all powerful, all knowing. He knows how any circumstance will strengthen me, or challenge me, or rub off the rough edges from me, or show me things I need to work on. He will use something bad to create something good, even if we never see it here on this earth, in this brief lifetime. Maybe we will see it in eternity. Maybe we won’t.

As for me, I choose to trust that God knows what He is doing. Even if I hurt for my friend, and sometimes rage against God for this possible diagnosis, I WILL trust in Him. I will use what He has taught me these last few months. I will allow Him to use me, no matter how fearful I might be. I will choose to do His will, not mine.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Today as I was reading and praying, I was thinking about what God wanted to sift out of my heart, so that He could fill me further and use me more. I came across the following verse in the Bible.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him…” 1 Corinthians 2:9

I don’t know what the future is. There is no way for me to know. Anything I could imagine falls unbelievably short of what God has prepared for me. All I have to do is surrender.

Ah, that word.

That’s a tough one now, isn’t it. God doesn’t want to see rooms in our hearts that have “Do not enter” signs on them. He doesn’t want to find a locked basement door, that we are afraid to open, lest He see the dingy, dank, ugly parts of our lives… the parts we are embarrassed about. It doesn’t matter that He already knows them. I know that I still don’t want Him to see those, or have those areas exposed to the light of day.

So, part of this sifting out process I am going through is helping me find areas of my life that are not surrendered to Him, to my Jesus. And if He is to be my Lord, that means letting Him have full control.

Like the lord of a manor, He has the keys to every room, and has the authority to go into every room in the manor and see what is there, and clean out what He doesn’t want. He has the authority to open the windows and fling wide the doors so that fresh air can wash through the rooms that have been closed for so long they smell musty and are full of dust and dirt that have covered unsightly things for so long.
The thing is, I have to surrender to the Lord of the manor. I need to stop fighting Him in every hallway, at every door. Slowly He has been convincing me to let go of things, and allow Him access to different areas of my life.

Recently Jesus opened a door that I had slammed shut months ago and refused to ever visit again, because there was an unwanted tenant there. But visit it again I did, but this time with Jesus walking in ahead of me, making it possible for me to see the problem and let Him deal with it… because I couldn’t evict the tenant in that room. He refused to budge, when I used my own strength. When Jesus came, there was no resisting His power, and that room is now clean, and filled with His Spirit and Light.

Through this sifting out of my heart, Jesus has been prompting me to deal with a few things. I am aware of them now, but I don’t exactly know what to do, now that I know. Hopefully Tricia will be able to help me tomorrow in counseling to see what to do next. Here are the 3 things.

1. Need to Control. Based on fear of the future/unknowns. I don’t want another painful surprise, so I work on controlling all the things around me, so I don’t get surprised, so that I am prepared for all the possibilities in a situation.

2. Need to make a Choice between illness and health, captivity and freedom. Based on fear of no attention; the loss of people willing to be involved in my life if I am better, or loss of them if I stay stuck. I don’t want to be abandoned when more trouble might come my way.

3. Need to Cling to others. Based on a fear of isolation, that empty ache of being alone/loneliness. I don’t want to be ignored when something has happened (good or bad) or have a situation I need help with ignored.

I have noticed now this pattern over and over in my life. In every relationship, in every interaction, in every situation. I look for a way out, so I don’t feel trapped. I find myself trying to gain attention whether with correct attitudes and doing things well, or by bad choices and landing myself in bad situations. I find myself, in my fear of isolation and the empty ache that brings, clinging to those who show any compassion for me. So in the past I have burned out friendships through being too dependent, backed out of relationships that might have helped me because I start getting scared that I would be trapped, and made choices that either brought me freedom and momentary attention for the victory gained, or ones that brought me further bondage, because it brought me attention because I needed help getting free.

I hate this part of me. I know God wants to get rid of it, so that I can let Him have control, make the choices that He wants me to, and to cling to Him not other people.

There were some last scripture verses that hit me today that I want to share.

“Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received a spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

Where the Spirit of God is, there is freedom. Freedom from fear, freedom in knowing we are taken care of by a Daddy God who loves us immeasurably.

Where the spirit of the enemy is, there is fear, bondage, and death.

So am I going to make the choice to surrender these 3 areas to God? I know what I should do. I know what I need to do.

Am I willing?

If I want to reflect the Lord’s glory, and be transformed in His likeness, I need to be.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Things broken...

Hi there,

I have a huge prayer request.

A very good friend and neighbor, Kim, who has helped me through a lot of the things going on in my life was outside yesterday, on a ladder, either washing a window or painting the trim around it, when she lost her balance and fell off the ladder. She said to me today that “the problem wasn’t the fall off the ladder, it was the landing on the bricks that was the issue.”

She literally shattered her ankle. She had a compound fracture, and at least 11 bones broken in her ankle/foot area. She had to go in for surgery to get the bones put back together and pinned into place the best they could. Right now she has external bars, screwed into her leg to keep everything in place. When things heal enough, those will be removed, and screws will be put in, internally.

She is at great risk for infection, particularly infection in the bones because of the compound fracture.

I saw her today and they have her on oxygen because her O2 stats were down too low last night. She is on a morphine pump that she can push a button to give herself more as needed for pain. They are trying different medication to help control the pain.

She just looked really rough, and though they said that they are going to try to get her home tomorrow, she really doesn’t look like she should go home yet. If she does go home, I really don’t think that she should be alone. Her husband works during the day, and really can’t afford to miss much work, and her teenage son still has school for a couple more weeks.

If she does come home this week, I can manage to be there with her, because Dave is home with the kids Tuesday through Thursday, as long as her husband is willing for me to be there.

Please pray for her. My heart is just aching for her. She is a sweet Christian lady, and a real inspiration to me. I feel like she is part of my own family, she is that dear to me. My kids call her Grandma B. and she considers them her adopted grand-kids.

Please pray that their church family will jump in and help provide meals, and rides to doctors, and grocery shopping, sitting with her, just anything that she needs. I want to help as much as I can, however with 2 small kids and a husband of my own, there is only so much I can do.

Please, Please pray for Kim, and her family. Pray for quick healing, little pain, and that she will be able to accept help from others, which I know will be hard for her. Even help doing the laundry, dishes, cleaning bathrooms, etc. Thank you so much for those of you who faithfully pray for me. Please add her to your prayer lists as well.

God bless you all.