When you want to trade in a blessing

 

When you want to trade in a blessing

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The anticipation had been building for almost a month as I tried to patiently wait for the “new” car I was being blessed with.

Friday was finally the day that I was to meet my new car and as I pulled around and took the first look at it my heart dropped as I read the bumper stickers that were plastered on the back. The “BUZZO” sticker stood out like a sore thumb and though I didn’t know who this Buzzo guy was I could feel the weight of it all crashing down on my shoulders.

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My mom tried to make light of the situation as we moved the young college kids stuff from the car that would now be called mine to the beautiful Impala I was saying good-bye to after driving it for a couple of days until he could meet up with us.

As I got into the driver’s seat of my new car I could feel the sour taste of reality coming up in my throat and I thought I might be sick. I looked to my mom with a petrified look on my face and said I didn’t want to touch the steering wheel. What was supposed to be a gold color when it came off of the showroom floor in 2002, was now black with leftover grime from a college student who clearly had never washed his hands a day in his life.

With a smile my steady mom said “this is a college area so there must be a dollar store close by, let’s go get some antibacterial wipes and get her cleaned up.” Her calm demeanor was keeping my passionately over the top personality in check for the moment.

I wish we had taken before pictures…

Most people I know wouldn’t have set foot in the car let alone wanted to call it theirs!

And while all of this was transpiring I could feel my ungratefulness and ugliness shine through,

I could feel it starting to steal my blessing,

I could feel the anger rise as I silently yelled to God…

I trusted you

And once again I got the raw end of the deal!

Our human nature leans to, yearns for beauty.

For a blessing that is pretty, new and well taken care of.

So what happens when the blessing that we think we wanted is less than what we get?

The past three days I have spent warring with myself and the emotions that this event brought out in me.

As I drove home in silence last night..

(due to the stereo’s non-existent ability to producing music even with the duct tape holding it in to place)

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I carried on a dialog with God that looked something like this..

This may not be pretty to most, could be considered rude by others to talk to God this way… but here is the honest truth of my struggle and talk with God.

God, I trusted you to provide for and bless me above all that I could ask or imagine,

and this is what you give me?

Is this a joke?

What sort of lesson is this?

Why in my life do I always seem to strive to trust you to show the world that you are a

good God and will provide for me only to have them laugh at your provision?

Why is it that others get brand new cars given to them, others who believe in the

prosperity gospel seem to get the best blessings but don’t even see the value of those

blessings yet I am yearning to trust your promises,

to hold your hand through these trials

in life and I get this car!?

And as my rantings calmed and I took the time to listen…

His still small voice said to me…

I did bless you.

No it was not what you thought it would be.

It’s not a shiny new or even taken care of car but I want you to see the value in this!

Will you trust me?

My little girl mind cried out, how?

How do I trust you and what am I supposed to learn?

He calmly held me in His arms and said my child, this car runs unlike the last car that people you trusted tried getting you to buy for 4 times the price. And this car is 20 years newer too dear one.

The other thing He pointed out to me was how He wanted my ministry and business to be taking things that are ugly, used, abused or mistreated and make them of value. Yet, He asked, how can you truly have eyes for that if you can’t even see the value in my most important blessing of transportation.

He reminded me of the story of the faithful servant in Matthew 25. He asked if I was willing to be faithful with just a little or whether I was going to let my natural tendency to continue to use and abuse that which had not been cared for in a good way. Was I willing to clean up “Goldie”, to peel off the crazy bumper stickers, show her some love, TLC and be proud to have transportation or was I going to continue to be ungrateful and angry?

He also reminded me of the verses in Philippians 4 about learning to be content. Am I willing to be in this state where He is the only thing of real value that I have and find contentment in that?

Am I willing to learn to be content with little?

Another sweet truth He wanted me to learn if I would listen, is that if I am really wanting others to love me through my brokenness, mess and weaknesses then I truly need to learn to love others when they are at their worst. Yet if I can’t even learn to value a thing that is messy, in need of care and TLC then how was I ever going to learn to see these things in people that God brings into my life and offer that love, acceptance and grace?

 I say that I want to minister to those who have been through the same heart ache, pain and background that I have yet how quickly I steer clear from someone who is needy because I feel that I am to emotionally drained to offer anything at this time. How quickly do I seek friendships right now that will help me during this season instead of laying my grief down and helping someone through their grief. Its our human nature to gravitate and want to connect with people who can offer something to us in return, but how often do I seek out friendships where the person has nothing to offer me in return and how often am I ok with that?

I said about 6 months ago that I wanted to learn the true meaning of what love is, God reminded me that if I am wanting to truly learn this then I will have to go through the training ground to learn this.

That is not learning the hard way but that its learning God’s way.

Its being willing to truly live out that love does not insist on its own way but rejoices in the truth!

How quickly did I want to stomp my feet in a tantrum with God and say that this was not what I asked for.

How many times have you heard people say, “Never pray for patience! God will give you instances in your life where you cultivate and learn patience!”

We should be wanting to learn things God’s way.

We shouldn’t look at hard times as though we did something wrong, didn’t pray hard enough or trust God enough for the right thing. If that were the case then it would be based on what we can do the best instead of what God has already done for us on the cross.

Its learning that His blessings come in some of the craziest ways…

Even a BUZZO bumper sticker, non-working radio car that is less than perfect!

And being willing to be content and thankful in the unexpected or less than perfect.

 

Top 12 things I want to do this Year!

I am once again relocating this year to a new place. It is definitely a mix of emotions as I start life over again in a new place! I always love the anticipation of it  until the newness wears off and the struggle of feeling connected begins. It really is such a challenge to relocate and establish your heart into another place. I definitely know this feeling. As I write I am sitting at one of my dearest friends house in Columbia, South Carolina. How I have missed South Carolina and I didn’t even really realize it until I came here for my visit. I found a saying on pinterest that speaks this so well…

Rights not mine. Found on Pinterest.

Rights not mine. Found on Pinterest.

For me my heart is in so many places that I have been… Iowa where I was born (Not so much but I do love a few people from there) Upstate New York, India, South Carolina, Montana, and now Washington!

This doesn’t even count the people that I love that have moved on to other locations themselves! Places like Dallas, Louisiana, Vegas, California, England and so many other wonderful places!

We also have a heart longing for places that we have never been either! This world is not our home and I have so many people waiting for me in Heaven that sometimes I find my heart ache more and more for this place I have never been yet heard so much about. I know that my time here is not done yet so I resolve to live it to the fullest this year and as long as God has for me on this earth!

I guess thats part of loving… At least I am learning that about love. Sadly you can’t take everyone with you when you are being called to a new place! How I wish I could though!

So the whole point of this post is this new year will come along with its own set of trials, joys and wonderful moments. When I find myself struggling through the hard times I want to create for myself a Top 12 things to do so that I can go do something fun, awe-inspiring and help lift my spirits as to why I am where I am.

My friend just text me and said that she wished I could be here in SC all the time and how she has missed me being around all the time.  She said she wished that God would give her the memo on  when He gets these Grand plans for us and why He is doing it… Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

I spent much of my life in a holding pattern with God because I insisted on controlling and knowing the when, what, why and how before I would move. People would call that disobedience, sin or a million other things that were never in my heart to be… I just wanted to be clued in on the plan. I have since learned through building the relationship that God so desired more than my obedience.  That when you truly learn who God is…

then obedience comes naturally!

It comes out of a love for the one that first loved me, who sacrificed His life and will so that I may be free and do as I desire. He gives us our free will not so that we can walk away and go do it ourselves but instead He wants it to be our choice to return to His feet and lay down our hearts and lives to be used by Him. He rejoices when just one person gets this revelation that He wants the relationship more than any other thing in the world!

So this year I want to do 12 things that will remind me each month of how our relationship has grown. I want to celebrate with my first love and rejoice in the life that we are building together!

1) January~

 I figure I only have a couple weeks when I get back to Washington so I am going to keep this one close to home! With the winter I am not sure what there is to do outside so I am going to pretend that I am somewhere else by going to India! At least for their food anyway! Gonna see if the Karma Indian Cuisine is as good as it sounds!

photo not mine. found via google search

photo not mine. found via google search

2) February~

I may miss New York by this time and need a reminder of the good times there so I will celebrate that season of my life by trying to go to this place in Tacoma!

http://www.tacomaglassblowing.com/

3)I have never been to Ireland however it is a dream of mine to go. My husbands heritage was Irish so I am going to honor the good times that we had and say goodbye to him by going to this festival. May sound crazy but I am pretty much at the point in my life where its ok to be crazy! =)

Irish Festival of Seattle

Saturday, Mar 15 10:00aMore dates & times (1)
Seattle CenterSeattle, WA

Non-stop Irish music, singing & dancing, with traditional Irish musicians & champion Irish Stepdancers from around the Pacific Northwest & from Ireland. There are genealogy & Irish language workshops, lectures, cultural displays, an Irish Reels Film Festival with contemporary Irish short films, children’s contests and activities (‘Smilingest Irish Eyes Contest’ & ‘Most Irish-Looking Face Contest’), booths selling Irish and Celtic products, etc.

 http://events.seattlepi.com/seattle_wa/events/show/337799323-irish-festival-of-seattle

4) April~

I think since I have already traveled to India and Ireland in the past months activities  it would only be fitting to go to Japan! I have had some friends that have been there and a friend from highschool that is currently a missionary over there so it would hold a special place in my heart!

Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival
Festal - Cherry Blossom - Child Dancing
Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival
Explore and experience the cultural roots and contemporary influences of Japan through live performances, visual arts, hands-on activities, foods and games. This feast for the senses features Taiko drumming and artisan demonstrations.
The Festival was founded 39 Years ago in appreciation of 1,000 cherry trees gifted to Seattle by Prime Minister Takeo Miki on behalf of the Japanese government in commemoration of the nation’s bicentennial. It is the first ethnic festival to be held at Seattle Center annually and the oldest in the Seattle Center Festál series.

5) May~

May was Phillip’s birth months so  I think it only fitting that I should go to Paradise!

Picture found via google photo search

Picture found via google photo search

6) June~

The birth month of my favoritest brother in the whole world! We have had some great times together and I selfishly want him out here closer to me! Lord willing some day that will happen!

Seems like the perfect month to go to the ocean and watch a sunset!

picture taken by Andrea Tappero

picture taken by Andrea Tappero

7) July~

Is the birth month of my sweet Momma! I will definitely be missing her by this time so I think I will go some place that her and I would go if she was here… Shopping and coffee!

photo not mine found via google photo search

photo not mine
found via google photo search

8) August~

Sounds like a perfect month to take a ferry ride to an island! I chose Blake Island for the possibility of having this view to be refreshed and reminded of God’s promises!

photo not mine. Found via google photo search.

photo not mine. Found via google photo search.

9) September~

Is the best month around because its the month I was born in! haha!

I want this birthday to be super special and memorable so I want to plan something awesome for this month! Im going to dream big and try to save up for a couple nights stay in this absolutely gorgeous B&B! I think out of all the rooms this one is my favorite!

10) October~

Will mark one year that Phillip was killed and 7 years that our babies have been in Heaven so I think maybe another trip up to Paradise would be nice! Its close by and after a splurge like my birthday wish just a day trip would be perfect! Who would not want to see this beauty?! God is amazing!

photo not mine. found via google photo search

photo not mine. found via google photo search

11) November~

I made a promise to one of my dearest friends to try and come to Vegas to help with one of the greatest ministry opportunities! That is my hope and plan for this month! Last year Calvary Chapel Spring Valley had this thing called Bless Fest and it is life changing! I want to be there to serve and give back in thankfulness of all God has done in my life!

Blessfest

12) December~

Well what to do in December?? Hmmm… I think going to see lights sounds like a fun tradition to start!

It may take me a little while to actually complete this list and it may change over the months however I have learned while living in so many different places that if you don’t plan something than the odds that you will get to experience anything are slim to none!

So what about you? Do you have dreams for this next year?

Have a vision and a hope for this new year that God has blessed you with! Look for all of the possibilities right around the corner! Experience life to the fullest!

photo found on pinterest

photo found on pinterest

God’s perfect team includes you!

Intern Intensive- What I learned

God made us for teams- His team Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Devil tries isolating us from others to reduce our effectiveness.

God has invited us to join His perfect team!

As a child in gym class there was such an anxiety that came with gym class let alone when it was a class that involved the choosing of teams! Due to a sickness and Dr.’s error when I was little my body took a hit in many ways. One of them being physically and the gaining of quite a bit of weight in a very short amount of time. I spent most of 5-6 years very sick and attempted to find out the reasons by going to pretty much every Doctor in the Waterloo area. In 4th and 5th grade I can vividly remember my gym teacher making comments that broke my child-like heart. He would say that I was going to end up pregnant by the time that I was 16 years old, that I was worthless, fat, lazy and not worth being on any team because I would just mess up, hold them back and make them loose.

Imagine as a child being told these things! Then one experience after another happening where I messed up, or held a team back, or as I gained more weight how those words just solidified in my mind as truth.

What were you told as a child?

It may have not even been someone super influential in your life but for some reason their opinion of you stuck out in your mind way more than any positive affirmations and shaped what you thought of yourself.

How did this lie that was believed shape your view of team work?

For me I didn’t even realize that it had shaped my view of teams and how much I hated teamwork because I didn’t want to be the reason a team failed. I truly believed if failure happened it was all my fault, no matter how much I had done to avoid it or how hard I had worked. In my mind it was better to be a lone ranger, independent, self-sufficient, self-reliant and disconnected to anything group related. If I did this then it really was no bodies fault but my own if I failed and I wouldn’t have to see the disapproving looks of a team who wanted to point out how I had failed them.

I see how this also affected many areas in my life currently. As an intern in the Teen Challenge program there are many aspects and teams that I am a part of. As an intern I am a part of the Staff team. It has been a challenge for me to effectively be a solid part of this team completely because of my childhood fears and lies believed coming back in the corners of my mind.

What if I fail them, or do something wrong?

What if I disappoint a staff by saying I can’t do something they ask me to do?

How can I possibly trust them with every aspect of my life when it was my “leader” who said such horrible mean things to me as a child?

So for some time, as I learned that I needed to learn to trust I fought that internal voice and attempted to reach out in faith and work as a team. An assignment we had to complete for the schooling part of this internship was the book 17 Principles of a Team Player and it was an amazing book! I really did learn so much from it however not having this insight to my childhood memory soon made it easy for me to point fingers at how other team members didn’t appear to me as being team players. I never realized I was becoming resentful that I had to be the good team player while everyone else continued in their “dysfunction” as I saw it.

During the Intern Intensive I was told that I have to be the change that I want to see and that hit me square between the eyes! At first I was offended and began to write the comment off, however God spoke to my heart before I could completely disregard the comment. God said to me that it is only my responsibility to do my best, to be the best team player that I can, to trust Him and leave the rest up to Him! It is when we get our eyes off of our self and start comparing that the devil gets a foot hold in to make us ineffective. We are so focused on what others are or are not doing correctly and usually undermine them because of our superior belief that we have it all together! How far from the truth we are! Every individual is growing and at different places spiritually than we are. Every person has their own thorn in the flesh that they are dealing with and striving to overcome. In such a close knit setting as Teen Challenge these thorns or struggles are magnified a hundred times over because of the bubble affect we are in.

As an individual I need to be willing to open my hands and say God, “ Use me each and every day for your glory! Teach me to keep my eyes trained on my own faults, hang ups and insecurities, not pointing fingers at other team members but instead lifting them up in prayer, interceding on their behalf. Lord help me to be the change that I want to see!”

As a team member of the most amazing team alive, I need to seek to know this team intimately. I need to understand that Team God wants the best for me, even when His best is painful, lonely and refining. When I seek to know this team to the best of my ability then I am able to work best with all of the other teams that God has placed in my life. I have to learn that Team God is all powerful, perfect in all ways and He resides in me!That though I have those memories of always being chosen last in gym class that God first chose me! While I was imperfect, a dirty mess and unlovely, He saw my true potential because He made me.

God has given us more power than we even know or are willing to admit. All He requires is that we ask, seek Him and He will give us the desires of our heart because those desires become His desires when we learn to abide in Him.

Oh… and the other thing that He wants is for us to ask and not doubt or waver in our asking. What child do you know that when coming to their loving parent hemmed and hawed when asking for something, fearful that their parent wouldn’t provide their request? If the child is truly loved and abides in their parents home they are not going to ask for something that a parent wouldn’t gladly accommodate if they could! How much more would a perfect heavenly father desire and anticipate His children to ask?

girl

Lost source link (Copy righted- Rights and picture not mine.

He wants to show his love, lavish it upon us yet sometimes we coldly keep him at the door of our life. He has knocked and you have opened the door to him, however you stand there talking to him with your hand on the door handle, feet right at the threshold, fearful if you let God in the home called your heart that He may see something that He doesn’t like and reject you.

Or you don’t want Him to see the former you, which in our heads we know he already knows about, yet we still cling to the past self saying, “But God take the new me, I’m all cleaned up now just for you!” He sweetly and tenderly is asking to come in an have supper with you, or tea time and tell you that it doesn’t matter that the room is cluttered with the trash of the former life. He wants to clean house but only if you are willing. Thank God I am finally willing, I have thrown open the door and said thank you God for taking me as I am!

Missoula Update

Hi all!
             I have been slacking on updates lately and I am so sorry for that! It has been a crazy couple weeks and months however it has also been an amazing adventure as well!
           Mother’s Day marked the end of my 4th month here in Missoula, Montana interning for Teen Challenge Women’s Center and I was blessed to get to spend the time with my mom and step-dad as they had driven out to spend some time in Montana. It was great seeing them and a time of refreshing for all of us as we took a few days away from Missoula and hiked around Glacier Park. God’s creation is so breath taking out here! We were blessed to be able to see lots of wild horses, the tail end of a bear, a moose and a herd of elk! The visit flew by and I wasn’t ready to see them leave when they dropped me off on Wednesday the 15th however they had a long journey back to New York that they had to get started. I am so thankful that they were able to come out here and cherish the time that we were able to spend together.
           God is doing a lot of work in my life during this time. It is an interesting mix of lessons! As I have shared before I am learning what authentic love looks like as 1 Cor. 13 describes, just how hard that is to live out, how we can’t do it in our own strength, only God in us can work through us to love others effectively, learning to trust, lean on God and rest in Him yet learn how to let Him take you further than you ever thought you could when you are at the end of your rope and unable to do any thing more in your own strength. Im learning to find my value in God and not in others, what they think of me or whether I perform well enough for them. I am learning to try and take each day, asking God what His will for me that day is and trusting Him that He will open and close doors as needed. He’s teaching me that I don’t have to be all to all yet be willing to be used by Him when I don’t necessarily feel like it. Its a combination of resting yet acting when God is calling me to. This is a whole new concept for me as I walk this out. There are days that I find I have to say “no” to things asked of me and that was always so hard for me to do as I thought people would think less of me, that I was lazy or disrespectful if I needed to say no. I grew up in a very active, works based family activity dynamic and I am learning to find a balance in that. In some ways I went to the extreme the other way and I am seeking God to find a perfect balance in my life. There is also times like today where I was technically off and yet found myself helping the volunteers get newsletters ready to mail out. It wasn’t something I had planned for my time off however it was a great time of fellowship with not only some of the ladies but also the volunteers who work so hard every month to get our newsletters out the door.
           My class work is going great as well! I just finished the work book for Experiencing God. It was a challenging work book for me yet I finished the course with an A-. I had some amazing “Aah- haa” moments with God through out the work book so I feel that is what was important. The next course I am taking is Discovering Your God-Given Gifts and I am super excited about this!! I leave this Sunday to fly to Oregon for an Intern training and I am so excited about this! Its a great time for us interns to rest, learn from the teachings they have planned and to communicate with others who are going through the same trials and struggles that I am. We are going to a retreat center out in the country and I am so ready! =)
           Some prayer requests would be continued stamina as the summer months bring about more activities and keeping busy. That I will continue to find a routine to be able to accomplish my school work, plus internship work, ministry to the women, quiet time, and the flexibility to allow change as needed when God says. When you feel pulls from every direction it can be hard to discern which one is God and which is the people pleasing tendency to perform. I not only have the expectations of 16 women that I live with to jump and serve when they need but also the expectations of the staff as well. Living on site is very challenging in this aspect. Please pray that I can continue to work towards a balance.
           Also please keep the ladies in your prayers. We have had some ladies complete which is wonderful! They are now starting their lives over in various places and need the covering of prayer even more as they work to apply the things they have learned during their time at Teen Challenge. We have also gotten some new ladies in this last couple weeks. It is a challenge as new women come into the center it shakes up the dynamics of the center. Truly God uses it for His good each and every time however walking through the times of friction, stress and upheaval can be tiresome for the ladies and myself. It does push the ladies, stop their complacency that can creep in and lead them back to the cross to learn just how broken we all are. Please pray for them during this time!
           The last prayer request is a combination of thankfulness for those who have teamed up with me financially and a request that if anyone else would love to join this amazing opportunity God has opened up for me that would be awesome! God has provided for me each and every step of the way and I am so thankful for His unending supplies and resources. Recently I met a man at a bookstore and got into a conversation with him about how I had always been against the “Prosperity Gospel” type message. He agreed that we should not just have a “give me” attitude when coming before the Father, yet he set me straight on a couple of things. For a long time now I had been living under the spirit of poverty. I didn’t believe that I should have a lot of worldly possessions as my thinking was that was what would corrupt me.
           Also having been to India it was hard to accept having things as so many people around the world live without. This mindset is false though. It says in Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
            God is our awesome Heavenly Father that wants to bless His children abundantly. He is extravagant in His giving and wants to give above and beyond what we could ask or imagine. I inhibited this by not asking Him because of those lies that I had believed. In James, though the context is in asking for wisdom it goes to show that our God wants to bless us but we obstruct God from answering our prayers when we doubt the very thing we are praying! James 1:5-7 says:
           5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
            I am not asking to be a millionaire, yet even if I was this would not necessarily be a negative thing because God knows my heart. My heart and desire is for others, to help others, to give abundant gifts and to use my finances for good. I had always read the verses about the rich young ruler or how it was harder for the rich man to enter the kingdom of God and stopped there. It is true that it is harder for rich people to see how blessed they are some times and to lean on their own understanding letting money become their idol. However there are many amazing Christians in the world today who are being blessed financially because of all the things that are giving to further the Kingdom of God. How can I help others or give gifts if I only have enough possessions or finances for myself and nothing more? Do you live like this as well? Im hoping I am not the only one! I am learning to break this poverty mentality, to understand that I am a child of the MOST HIGH, and that He wants to bless and fund the things that I want to bless and fund just as much as I do!
           Back to my story though, the man that I met at the bookstore shared with me this book he had read years ago called the Merchant and the Monk. He explained that it was about these to men that were best friends from birth. As they grew up they had two different callings on their lives. One felt the call to go into ministry and servitude. The other was great in business and became very successful. God made both of them for a purpose and plan! For as the story unfolds you find that the Merchant loved his friend and the friends calling. He was blessed with the opportunity to provide for his friend financially so that his friend would be able to walk out his calling of serving others.
          It really hit home for me! In this world we have to have both types of people. I have the calling to be the servant but was trying to, in my own strength, be both so that I didn’t have to depend on others. In doing this I am robbing someone from getting the blessing, that wants to be a part of something great however is called to a profession or work. The work takes up their time and inhibits their time to serve. Their way of serving IS financial and that was an epiphany for me! So all of that to say, that if you would like to partner with me I would love to have the opportunity to allow God to bless you in that way. You would be helping so many people continue to grow in their faith and knowledge of how big God is and how he will bless his children. Many of these women are coming from a life of prostitution where they averaged $200 an hour. Or they have never had to provide for themselves financially. Many have hopped from one man to another just so they knew they would have a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in. During this time they endured unmentionable emotional, physical and psychological pain from the men that promised to protect them. They are leaving that life and wondering how God is going to provide for them when they can only get a minimum wage job or are called into ministry after their time at Teen Challenge.  How easy it is for the Devil to get in if that trust hasn’t been established in their year here. It would be awesome to be an example of what it looks like to trust God that He will not only provide for his precious daughter but wants to bless her abundantly beyond all that she could ask or imagine!
I would also love to get mail and to send mail to others as well! If you would like to correspond please send me a message and we can coordinate addresses privately! If you would like to team up financially it is tax deductible and can be set up through private messages as well.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! I pray that God will continue to work in each and every one’s lives!

Prone to Wander Lord I feel it…

Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by thy help I’m come
And I hope, by thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home,
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love,
Here’s my heart. O take and seal it; Seal it for thy courts above.

Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wand’ring from the fold of God,
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed his precious blood,
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.
O to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let they goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to thee

Hymn Come Thou Fount

Tuesday was a difficult day as it was my first day that one of the ladies chose to leave the center before their year was complete. I had heard stories of others before I arrived leaving but this was my first encounter and all I can say is it floored me! The emotions that I encountered today were pretty much every emotion God has every created all wrapped up in an emotional basket with a bow of sadness wrapped around the handle.

I wasn’t even aware that she left until another student divulged the information as I came out of my room. It was like a sucker punch in the gut!

I had gotten pretty close to this student in the beginning of my time here however in the last month or so I had noticed this student pull away from me. After several times of asking the student if there was something wrong or if I had done anything to cause tension in the relationship and her telling me there was nothing wrong I stopped asking. Of course my first thought when I heard the news was to belittle and condemn myself in that I should have known, done something more or pushed harder to find out what was going on in her heart and mind. In the process of my self-condemnation God spoke through to me several things and those I want to share with you.

Our hearts are prone to wander… By nature we as humans want to find the easiest, safest and quickest way through a trying circumstance and then find ways to justify our desire and attempts to get out of that circumstance as quick as possible. I see this process that the women go through in the first couple months of arriving.

At first they may be angry they are in the program.

They don’t need to be here.

There is nothing wrong with them.

Denial.

Then they accept that there may be something that they need to work on.

They have a breakthrough

An encounter with God, if you will.

Then they feel they have gotten what they need from the program to be able to continue on successfully. Maybe because they had been to other rehab centers and never had that encounter with God so they feel that is the key to it all. Since they have the key, to lets say the storage closet,  they feel they don’t need the people that God has set up who have the master keys.  However God wants to give them the keys to the whole mansion he has prepared for them in His timing.

The disheartening part is they only have the key to the storage closet where all of their baggage exists.

The only reason I can identify the above is because I did it for so many years! I would have a breakthrough with God and then think that I knew it all. I would continue down the path of life with out God as the pilot and get off track because my walk wasn’t an intimate walk with the King of Kings! I let my heart wander. I didn’t continue in the revelation to let it unfold completely in my life and with that I was easily swayed, led a astray or just plan chose what was bad for myself.

The other thing that God taught me is that we as people with having had addictions have a crack in our foundation that we need to identify and correct. If we don’t go through the hard process of examining each and every nook and cranny to find the hairline fracture we will continue to let the water seep in of going back to those addictions that have controlled our lives continually!

God is continually working with me in my time here showing me where my foundation was cracked and how  the elements of dysfunction found their way into my thinking and life.  An example of a crack in my foundation was that leadership was untrustworthy in general and didn’t always hold up their end of promises because they were in the leadership position and didn’t have to. Through a series of events here God has shown me how my distrust created and began to breed the same environment that I was fearful of. As I got to know the ladies and heard the rumors of the staff it was easy for me to be swayed in this way. God in his loving kindness showed me this crack and I was able to earnestly seek to submit to authority God has placed me under and to seek ways to lift up and support the staff. In doing so I have began to build relationships with the staff, learn their hearts and see how they love and seek to do God’s will! Does that mean they do everything correct?? By all means, NO! They are still sinners saved by grace and will let others down, however it teaches us to lean on God ultimately and not put leaders above or on the same level as God.

The last thing that God taught me today is that I am here to help the women but God is the ONLY one that can change a heart, heal a heart and transform a life. I can only be a willing vessel to be used by God to minister love and support to the ladies here. I can be a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold and a sister to pray with. I was never meant to be a savior or redeemer! That job was filled when Jesus came to die for me and each and every women that is here and will come through the doors. There will be more that will come and go before its time and all I can do is continue to intercede to God on their behalf.

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart. O take and seal it; Seal it for thy courts above.

Ever been in the Hot Seat?

Today marks my second month in Montana and oh boy has it been a roller coaster ride!

God is stretching me more than I have ever been stretched before! I have felt like Gumby on more than one occasion these past 2 months!

Source unknown

Source unknown

Today I had my second experience at something they like to call the “hot seat”. During this time the ladies go around and point out areas that they see that you need to work on. It can be a stressful and hard experience to take in and digest especially when our human nature is to hide or not admit our faults but to find an excuse or a reason for why we did things the way we did. At first you want to justify your actions but then something from my child hood comes up. It has been long since healed in many aspects but it was always a longing just to have my emotions and feelings validated. Whether they were what the other person meant to say or do it made me feel a certain way and the only thing that would have helped was to hear, “I am sorry that it made you feel that way, I could see how it might and I am sorry.”

When we let go of the being right, the deflecting of fault or the explaining away things we are just left with what happened whether it was intentional or not. I have learned in most cases it is definitely not intentional but a series of events that causes a person to react to a trigger that sets them off verbally or emotionally. To that person that is the injured party they don’t want to hear the series of events that caused the outburst upon them but only the apology. The desire to have a trust in someone that can admit when there has been a violation to what is right and good.

Some people go through their whole lives with no one that will do that for them. So during this time, God is putting me in the situation to be willing to understand where these women are coming from. To apologize for what I have done, though I started out giving explanations and reasons for my actions, God brought me to the place where all I could say was “I am sorry”. I didn’t want to make a long list of promises that it will never happen again because I am human, I am processing through an organization where I wasn’t a student first and then became an intern, and because it is hard to get training for a job that is mostly hands on.

However I do feel that today marked a turning point for several reasons. The staff offered an apology that really helped me to see that I am not alone in this. Though there was things done or said that I felt had broken trust, I in my brokenness did not address it the way that I should but began the shutting down process I am striving to identify and overcome. By them humbling themselves in the area of failing it opened up the door for me to freely receive the guidance and suggestions from the women and staff.

It is amazing how the devil tries to create discord, dysfunction and eventually the unraveling of an organization. However if you are willing to sit in the “Hot Seat” and learn your strengths and areas needing improvement, take what is said and have a teachable spirit to know it is done in love, then change can be born. Not only change but what the devil meant for harm and to destroy an individual God can turn it around for good and to help grow a person when they are willing. By allowing people to speak into your life it helps to create an atmosphere of grace, love and forgiveness.

Art project opportunity

“It can be coins or sports or politics or horses or music or art or faith… the saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last.”
― Nicholas SparksDear John

I love this quote because it is so true! A person needs something in their lives that reflects their own personality, passion and uniqueness. Many people go through life just surviving the 9-5 work life, interaction with family, eat, watch some T.V. and then go to bed so they can get up and do it all again.

I look at the people in my life that have interests and passions seeing people that are more well rounded and happier when they have time to pour out their day through exercise, painting, writing and serving others in the church.

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
Pablo Picasso

I have the opportunity to bring this view into women’s lives that have seen the side of life that is anything but beautiful. My internship is unfolding and I am finding an awesome fit for myself and all my God given talents! It is so amazing to see all of it fall into place and how they had prayed for someone with my talents for about 6 months.

One thing I want to set up is an art and crafts program for the women who come to this rehab program. They need beauty, color, and a way to express all the things that have been bottled up for so long.

Instead of me writing my thoughts I have found tons of great famous quotes that speak exactly what I am trying to get across.

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
Thomas Merton
Read more at

This is so true! In this program I hope to help the women find who they are through art and also to be able to loose themselves by pouring their hurt, heartache and sadness into their art projects. By doing this it will free them up to be able to be filled with love, acceptance and freedom from addictions.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams
Read more at

Many of these women have had to be so hard on themselves due to life circumstances and the stresses of life. I want to inspire them to see their life as a tapestry of color weaved together by an amazing and artistic God who takes our hurts, habits and hangups and uses them for good to make a beautiful masterpiece!

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.
Aristotle
Read more at 

Their world right now coming to this program is a mixture of the only peace some of them have known while others it may feel like total chaos. Art can be a way for them to find inner peace in the midst of the chaos their world is producing by dealing with the emotional struggles of why they used and became addicted in the first place.

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Read more at 

Each women coming to the program is working through and learning many things. Most is a new relationship with God and learning to be grateful. Again many of the women have had a life that most would understand as nothing to be grateful for in all outward appearances, to this world.  However I want to help the women to be thankful in the small things in their lives. When you start thanking God for the small things it starts to build an attitude of thankfulness which can totally transform a persons world.

15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench the Spirit.

When we learn to give thanks IN all circumstances, not necessarily FOR all circumstances it changes our perspective. God is not telling us to be thankful for the pain, struggle or hurdles that we have to jump. He is not telling us we have to be thankful for the people that have hurt and scarred us. He wants us to learn to be thankful during that circumstance by focusing on whatever we can find thats good, right and uplifting to get us through the circumstance. By helping the ladies to pour out their thankfulness and gratitude in their art they will be a light to others who see their work.

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.
Georgia O’Keeffe
Read more at

Each women is learning to deal with and process through things that up until now they have either never wanted to or known how to deal with. The need to self medicate and numb was so strong that an addiction occured to keep them in a state that they were able to at least survive life. I want to help them to put on canvas or through art projects the things in their lives that they have no words for.

So you may be wondering why I am writing about this in my blog or what this has to do with you the reader…

I need your help!

Before I present my ideas to the director I need and want to have some things put in place. At this time there are many projects and ideas that they have for the center. With each of these ideas comes a need for finances to come in to make it possible and people to come along side and offer their time and resources.

My project is no different. It costs money to buy the canvases, brushes, paint, craft items and everything needed to start this endeavor. However where I want to be unique is to have a support system already set in place of artists and people with a heart to help lives change. A group of supporters who know the importance that art plays in a persons life.

This is where I am hoping and praying that you as the reader will come in!

Whether it be a package of brushes or wanting to donate a whole box of canvases and paints.

The smallest item is sometimes the most essential so don’t underestimate the gift you can provide.

Some of the projects that I want to start are…

-painting acrylics on canvas

-painting on glass and ceramic

-drawing on gift bags.

-Doodle type art work on canvas and wood.

I have a couple of books that I have picked up and gotten ideas from and have pictures of them. I am also a Pinterest-aholic… Maybe that’s why God brought me here, to deal with my Pinterest addiction! haha… But seriously, I have so many ideas of things that we can make with the women. The ministry has a thrift store and I am excited about being able to repurpose things that come in there and sell all of the things made at the thrift store.

A goal for me is that I want to be able to have enough commitments of donations and sponsors that I will be able to present this to my director with in 2 weeks time. At that point I want to be able to get things rolling and projects to begin so that in April when they do their Annual Banquet and Silent Auction the best of the best of the women’s work can be part of the Auction. This only gives us about a month span of actual work  time.

 Another thing you could do is share this endeavor with your blog friends and work together to bless the lives of these women who are striving to overcome addictions and change their world one day at a time!

Book by Stephanie Corfee

Book by Stephanie Corfee

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