Secret Society

Lately every Sunday is the same for me…

I spend a couple of days before talking myself into going to church on Sunday.

Being raised in the church, my “christian-ese” mind-set tells me how I need to not forsake the gathering of the brethren,

how going to church will help me get through the week, and worse of all my mind plays the trick that I might be missing out on something.

All of these are true in a sense…

But what if right now for me the church is not the safe place I always wanted it to be…

What if instead of forcing myself to go to a building that is not safe, I instead rested at Jesus’ feet like Mary?

What if in the quiet of my own room I poured out my alabaster box and with my tears washed the feet of Jesus and found peace, healing and wholeness there?

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Like I mentioned I grew up in the church and any time the doors were open our family was expected to go. To be real and honest right now I know that my family thought that best for us for many reasons but I can see where many painful events happened for me in the church.

In my personal growing up years the church has wounded more than it has healed.

I need to process through those things, wrestle with it all if I am going to find true healing in this area.

This has always been my place to wrestle.

Most of the time I avoid it because I feel too raw to wrestle through the painful things

but on days like today I know that I need to write.

So Sunday morning dawns,

 and I find I hit the snooze button one to many times.

Then I jump out of bed, get some breakfast, take my vitamins and take a cup of coffee out on the front steps so I can enjoy and calm my nerves with my first cigarette of the day.

(That fact may cause people to stop reading now and that’s ok… this is my real place and

I am tired of hiding from people because I think they won’t approve me which is what I sought after for so many years)

As I am sitting outside dialog-ing with myself on why Sunday is so hard for me right now,

and why all the self-talk in the world can’t work to get me ready in time to go to church,

why my prayer for a will and want too has still gone unanswered in my mind.

And the words start flooding in my mind for this blog post.

I get frustrated with myself

because I want to get them down right away knowing I will forget them

if I logically say I will wait until after church to write.

Again all the “reasons” flood in my mind about why I shouldn’t write instead of go to church

but then…

It’s as if a tiny small voice says… those are the law sweet child.

And its true!

~I should go to church because I need to for my salvation

~I should go to church because what are they going to think if I’m not their for the 3rd week in a row

~I should go to church because what would my mother say

~I should go to church because it’s what the bible tells me to do

And in that moment the still small voice reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha.

Mary was sitting at Jesus feet in a day when men and women did not sit or even eat together.

For Mary to be welcomed and encouraged to remain at His feet went against all cultural norms!

How out of character that must have been!

How our minds want to go with the things taught to us because it’s what has been done for years and years,

But what if we stop and ask ourselves if that is working for us?

I would have to answer a very loud and resounding NO!

The list below is what my church going years have consisted of mostly:

(Again understand that there has been many good times in church and a lot I have learned)

I have been in multiple churches ever since I was 3-4 years old.

My parents allowed the church to raise us when it came to biblical teaching.

A Sunday school teacher told me when I was little that God lets everything happen in our lives.

I was touched inappropriately by several boys growing up while at “church functions”

When I got sick as a child, people came to pray for me, because there was no healing I was told I didn’t have enough faith.

My extended family did not approve of, understand or like our church going practices.

At 16 my parents felt led to leave the church we had grown up at and attend another church.

People who had been like family to us told my parents if they left they would no longer speak to them again.

I was told many confusing things by several youth pastors thus continuing my misunderstandings of God.

Boys at the christian school I attended were cruel, joked about my size and picked on me if I ever liked someone.

When I was rebelling growing up, Pastors basically washed their hands of me because I couldn’t put a finger on why I was so angry

I would search for ways to serve, through youth groups, worship team etc. because I was told that’s what good Christians do.

When I was in need of help, direction, mentoring or anything I was told that wasn’t a possibility

I have been told over and over to be the change I want to see.

I wanted to share my testimony at a church about what God had done for me and the pastor told me that it was just too much for the congregation to handle.

A youth pastor that I liked accepted my help with the youth, flirted with me and then lead mine and many other women’s hearts on until he found his “sugar mama”

I would seek help and healing from all of the above things over and over again through out the years.

And sadly this cycle continued to play out for me over and over again.

Even the ministries I worked at told me that I didn’t have a servant’s heart.

Life fell apart when I found out about Phillip’s death, when I went to the staff vulnerable asking for help to get through the trauma I was advised that I wasn’t there to get help I was there to serve and if I didn’t think I could do that then I needed to go.

When I transferred to a different ministry center and asked questions about pay, living expenses and what my original job description was supposed to be and how it changed once I arrived, I was dismissed and told I wasn’t the one for the job.

So how do I heal from all of this pain and trauma????

I definitely don’t think it’s by making myself go to a church that has not reached out so much as a pinky finger for me to grasp on to as I drown in all that I am going through.

I don’t write all of this out to bash churches, pastors or the people in the church.

I write it to help people to see that the church is supposed to be for…

Original photo not mine. Edited via picmonkey

Original photo not mine. Edited via picmonkey

Yet we are wounding the very ones that Jesus is instructing us to love.

We tell people that they have to get involved in the church and serve if they are to get help

but how can we expect someone to give what they don’t have or haven’t been shown?!

We sit in our fancy padded seats and raise our hands to worship

but are scared to abandon all and do what our heart is prompting us to do for fear of what people will think of us.

There have been more Sundays than not

that I could have just sat at the altar and wept,

times of worship that I could have knelt down, arms lifted in abandon and worshiped,

yet my fear of expectations and what people would say robbed me of the pure joy my heart was yearning for.

The law and the whisper of the rules  kept me in line like the good little christian I was playing to be.

I can’t keep doing that any more

I don’t want to live that way any more!

We sing songs like:

 You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Or

Shane & Shane – Yearn [Lyrics]

 

How can you listen to these songs and not want to kneel down in holy abandon

crying out to God for the desire to yearn for Him and more of who He truly is?

We can’t expect people who are emotionally, spiritually or physically sick

to walk into a church and instantly have it all together

or to know how to insert themselves in what they feel is a

SECRET SOCIETY

that they will always be on the outskirts of.

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When words fail… Part 1

When words fail…

Its been so long since I have written on here because I still am at a loss for words to say concerning the last couple weeks and months of my life.

An amazing woman of God suggested out of love that my circle of people who know the full details of my life are to board and that this could be causing more heartache than healing.

I do believe in some way she is correct.

Some people just want the dirty details of your life so that they can have the inside scoop to share with others. A gossip session that neither helps or lifts up the body of believers.

I have learned that

a small group of people deserve to speak truth

into your life and that comes with wisdom in knowing who to trust.

That seeking God above all is the most important.

And that sharing the things I am learning will help others to grow in their walk and learn from my mistakes.

When you have a life altering thing happen such as I have had in the past month often times you want to share your grief so that you can find some sort of understanding of what happened, what was your part in it and how you can avoid the pain of it again. It is easy to get lost in the need to feel justified, consoled with false statements and not seek God’s hand or heart in the whole process. As people pour out their indignation at the injustice it is easy to get lost as the victim but that is not what I want nor where I want to stay.

I have spent much of my life starting over and could easily fall into the despair that each time I failed.

And I have walked that uncharted trail many times, with my mind replaying each and every moment to see where I went wrong.

I have pleaded with God for clarity, understanding and wisdom into what happened. I have taken his advice through my devotion time to just wait, to just be still and that even through the silence He is still very much there.

He sometimes loves us more in His silence. It’s in His silence that He is truly listening to His child, bearing the weight of their hearts cry and waiting for the child to calm long enough to just be held.

I was transparent in my struggles.

I was reaching out for help and

thought I had found a place that would be a refuge from the storms of my life.

I had found what I thought would be a dream job.

I was sure that life would finally begin to look up.

And then the other shoe dropped.

I was left feeling raw, naked in my pain.

I once again hit a place in my life that I had vowed I would never visit again. A dark, cold, lonely place where like Elijah all you wish for, pray for and plead for is death.

1 Kings 19:4

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and

came and sat down under a droom tree. And he asked that he

might die, saying, “It is enough; now, Oh Lord, take away my life,

for I am no better than my fathers.”

That seems better than to look into the faces of the people who love you and see the pity they wear so plainly.

It’s not that they mean to wear it so freely.

They love so much that it pains them to see me go through the trials that life brings.

They long to speak life yet their words fall short from making things better.

When someone is grieving…

Whether it be the loss  of a loved on,

the loss of a dream,

or the loss of a friendship…

No platitudes will do!

Please do not be so quick to give your two cents

and expect the person grieving to just pick up

and move on in the time frame that you deem for them.

It says in Proverbs 25:20

Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart

is like taking someones coat in cold weather

or like pouring vinegar in a wound.”

When you don’t know what to say admit it to the person grieving, be willing to be vulnerable in your inability to fix the situation and just be there for the brokenhearted friend.

If you have never been in that place then you are one lucky person, however I am willing to bet that if anyone does read this there will be more people who can relate than not. Sadly trials, heartache and difficulties do not pick a certain type of person but at some point in all of our lives we will experience a life altering trauma that will shake our foundation.

Saying to someone, God allowed it to happen

or

that God never gives more than you can handle

are both dangerous things to say!

It can possibly, not only form a bitterness in the grieving person towards a God that they may still be seeking and searching to understand but it also is inaccurate.

People use the saying…

photo not mine. Found via pinterest

photo not mine. Found via pinterest

Did you know that verse is actually NOT in the bible??

Anywhere!

People refer to 1 Corinthians 10:13 when offering this platitude however if you look at the context of this verse it was talking about not being like the Israelite’s and their struggle to remain totally devoted to God and not stray to pagan gods, indulge in sexual promiscuity, test God or continually grumble as they did. Verse 13 states that temptations NOT TRIALS can be avoided because God will give you a way out. The temptations that are being spoken of in this verse are based on the temptations of the devil not of God.

It says in James 1:13:

And remember, when you are being tempted do not say,

God is tempting me.”

God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does He tempt anyone.”

So when you try to console someone in their grief be sure that you are speaking truth and life into their hearts instead of incorrectly attempting to fix things in your own strength.

So what is truth?

We want the truth so it can set us free, right?

I am going to break this up into 2 blogs because of the amount of information.

As I studied and wrote it became larger than expected.

I will leave you with one suggestion from a blog that I read today on

the best way to comfort a friend going through grief and trials.

 

Henri Nouwen writes,

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. 

Used via blog linked to.

Letter to my babies in Heaven

Kierra Mae and  Kolten John

Kierra Mae and Kolten John

I just finished an amazing bible study called Forgiven and Set Free which helps people who still struggle emotionally, spiritually and physically with the aftermath of an abortion or miscarriage. Tonight we had our memorial service for our babies that are now in heaven being loved and taken care of by our Perfect Heavenly Father. This memorial service did not mark the beginning of mourning someone’s death like most service would portray , no this is actually an end to the mourning process and celebration of the life that was inside each women in the room at one point. It was a beautiful service with music, lighting of candles for each babies life, each lady explained their babies names, a bible verse that spoke to them and either read their letter or a poem.

At first I fought this whole process! Who wants to remember all of this???

What I was kidding myself on was how much I did remember and how it was affecting my life still.

There was so many things I had not let go of that was affecting not only me but others as well and my relationship with God. By going through this study it has helped me to find the truth and let go of the lies. I am renewing my mind with God’s promises and learning to forgive everyone involved.

It says in Psalms 139:13-18

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!

I am so thankful that God loves us that much that he knows every detail and thinks of us so very much that they are as numerous as the sand!

So in this process I named my babies and wrote them a letter…

Dear Kierra Mae and Kolten John,

I have missed you every single moment since the first time I heard your heartbeat, could see you on the ultrasound screen but not hold you. I had anticipated that moment since I was a little girl and I was so very happy!

One of the things I never got to say to you was how much I loved you from the first second and how very much you still hold and have my love. In some ways a part of me, my heart and ability to love and receive love died that day they took you from my body. Your daddy and I tried so very hard to make it past the sadness and stick together through it all. He protected me from myself when all I wanted to do was be with you in Heaven. He just never knew it was in Jesus alone we would be able to find wholeness and healing. I still pray that some day God will open his eyes to that and free him from his sadness.

Some of the things I was never able to do with you was to hold you, to cuddle you closely as you slept contentedly in my arms. I never got to count your fingers and toes. I never got to rub your cheek with my finger and thank God for the beautiful gifts in my arms. I never got to see your face and find what characteristics were mine and which was from your daddy. I never got to bond with you or feel your mouth against my breast as it gave you nourishment and life. I never got to loose sleep as you would have surely needed me at night. I never got to lay with you as you slept on my chest. I never got to rock you to sleep or sing lullabies to you. I never had the privilege of hearing you cry for me or giggle with delight. I didn’t get to see all of those momentous occasions like you rolling over, sitting up, crawling or walking.

Instead of your first birthday being a joyous occasion filled with happy people celebrating your lives, flashes of cameras while you dove into your very own cake your birthday brings the pang of loss. I never get to laugh as you make a mess of your very first experience with cake and get that first sugar sweet taste of the frosting on your fingers. That day has been filled with a sadness and ache that I had feared would never go away. An intense longing to go and be with you. You were scheduled to arrive on October 31st and though I was never a big celebrator of Halloween, people just don’t understand the cloud that settles in each time around that time of year. I begin to reminisce how old you would be and what we would be doing based on how old you would be that year. This year you would have been turning 6 in just a month and a half.

It hurts the most when I think about how my life could have been so very different with you two by my side. I know people mean well and just try and help when they talk about the things that I have done since loosing you and how I wouldn’t have been able to do them all if you had been here. They say I have done so many amazing things like going to India and working at the orphanage. How torn I feel that part of my mind wouldn’t give that experience up for the world but that felt like I was saying I was thankful you weren’t born. That was so not the case as I yearn for you each and every day. If I had had you two in my life I wouldn’t have had the opportunity or desire to travel to India when I did and hold those precious babies that would have been the same ages as you two. Its hard to reconcile those two emotions and feelings. Even being in Montana has a bittersweet taste though I know God is working in my life, restoring, rebuilding, reconciling and renewing me!

For many years I have been mad at God, people, your daddy, the Dr.’s, our families, and myself for the paths, roads and highways that my life has traveled down instead of where it could have been.  Again part of my mind yearns and wishes that I had been able to be content with a life with your daddy, striving to live out the love for him that he thought he needed most. I was too broken to extend this love at the time as everything in me was draining to empty. Instead I held myself captive with the thought that when he needed me most I bailed. Part of me regretted not being strong enough to take the abuse, to stay and be submissive and prayerfully, lovingly draw him to the God that he snubbed his nose at. I held myself to the standard that I could have loved him enough to bring him back to the Lord. Part of me will always love your daddy. He had amazing moments of loving me however I know that most of our relationship was very dysfunctional and not healthy. Our love was not built on a strong foundation of God but on a shaky, fleeting sandy foundation of lust and desire. I know now there is a love that is so much better ad longer lasting than the intense but short fused bomb that was our relationship. How it exploded causing so much wreckage physically, emotionally leaving me a baron wasteland in so many ways for so many years.

Your father and I lovingly named you Kierra Mae and Kolten John Lough. You were lovingly placed in a wooden carved box that your daddy had made when he was younger. We put a mix of little mementos in the box with you. Some knit booties that a co-worker had lovingly made for you both and a little token of both your daddy and I. We buried you behind your grandparents house in the beautiful wooded area. We stole a large rock from the rock quarry not far from their house and I lovingly painted out your names on the rock and a saying that sadly, I don’t remember. I do remember that I cried the whole time I painted it out as my tears mingled with the paint.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t have gone to visit the place where we buried you more than I did. The fear of encountering your daddy kept me away for so long and then it just felt weird wanting to go after a few years had past. People felt I should have gotten over it by then, but I never had… Till now. I am going through the process and becoming free from all the sadness, depression, fear, anger, and I am learning to forgive.  It is so freeing when I truly walk in forgiveness. I still miss you with all my heart but I no longer blame myself, your daddy, the Dr.’s or God for not allowing you to be with me.

I know you are in heaven and though my time here on earth isn’t done yet I know I will get to hold you someday! And I can’t wait to see you face to face! Until then I will learn to remember you with fond memories instead of sad regret for what I don’t have. I will dream of the day with anticipation instead of holding myself in the prison of unforgiveness or longing and achingly desiring to end it all to be with you. Instead I will use this to help other women who have hurt like myself. I will be a display of a woman God let make her whole through his cleansing blood on the cross.

Thank you so much for your love and guidance! Have fun in heaven and I will see you someday!

Love you more than MOSTEST!!

Always and FOREVER!

Your Momma

When life gets messy

I have felt pretty messy lately emotionally and spiritually

so in a lot of ways I have steered clear of writing about it

because its hard to do, right?

Its easier NOT to share the messy-ness with others,

instead we hide out and lick our battle wounds by ourselves.

We wonder…

What if the wrong person reads this post and the real you is revealed but not understood?

What if people who don’t understand all that you have been through read it and

jump to conclusions?

Or worse yet what if the one you have learned to open up to and care about so much

learns more than what they are willing to deal with and they walk away?

I grew up in a family where it was NOT acceptable to share anything negative or any struggles you were having with anyone outside of the family or let anyone know that you were sinking emotionally or physically. You were expected to put a smile on your face, and long sleeves on ,if necessary, so that for appearance sake everything looked perfect to anyone from the outside looking in.

I have lived with all of this “fear” in writing this process out and today I realized that everyone has some sort of fear or thing that they are hoping won’t happen. If we live our life in that fear or hope then unfortunately we miss out on so much of life and that kind of negative hope some how ends up coming to pass because it was the thing we feared, pondered and clutched the most.It is not what God wants for us because He says “Perfect Love casts out ALL fear!” and His hope does not disappoint according to Romans 5.

But the worlds fear and “hope” it can be…

Kinda like a self- fulfilling prophesy. I love the definition of this phrase!

Definition: becoming real or true by virtue of having been predicted or expected; a prediction of something to come

I am realizing just how much I did this in my life due to growing up in dysfunction but not knowing it was a malfunctioning environment. You begin to fear these things happening but have a hard time putting your finger on why this is a fear or where it came from. It may be a distant memory that triggers a response you never thought you would have, a scent that takes you back to a place and time or even a fleeting thought in your mind that ignites the fear in you.

So now you know its a fear and you know it comes from somewhere in the past…

What do you do to break the cycle that is in you that you have now identified as being completely unhealthy and dysfunctional?

I am still learning this process so please do not think that I am a professional in any of this or that I in some ways have all of the answers. I am looking to God and Him alone to help me learn how to break this cycle so that I do not take it into this next season of my life or a new relationship.

I am learning that I grew up in a very legalistic family even though it was the last thing that my mom would have wanted for us if she had truly known what law produces. She was radically saved when she was going in the opposite direction. For my mother, hearing from a pastor that she was going to hell based on the fact that she was an adulteress and pointing out scripture to show her where she would go should she die right that minute worked for my mom to turn her life over to God. My mom is very black and white and I believe that God created her that way for a reason, purpose and plan. I love my mom with all my heart and God has restored our relationship beyond what I could ask or imagine! She is my cheerleader and love me so very much!

The thing I never understood growing up was why I shouldn’t do things. Just the fact that adults said what the do’s and don’ts were and I should obey them because they said was how I grew up. There was no talk of an authentic relationship with God before the rules were laid out but first the rules and then an attempt at relationship with this scary God that may get mad if you did something wrong, which always ended up failing because we are humans and prone to wander from the constants in our lives.

In the book Wild Goose Chase, Mark Batterson says “We take constants for granted. And that is the “problem” with God, if I may say it that way, God is the ultimate constant. He is unconditionally loving. He is omnipotently powerful. And He is eternally faithful. God is so good at what God does that we tend to take Him for granted.”

Not only did I take God for granted for so long but I didn’t truly know who God was based on childhood perceptions that were flawed. If your first baby steps as a baby christian and child is based on the law you are prone to get to the point where you learn that performance based on law is impossible to live by! You will either spend a life time trying to be good enough working for your salvation or just throw your hands up after so long and give up even trying because you think He is a God that can never be pleased and just wants obedient servants. You know that in your own strength you will never be able to measure up. Look at what living a life by the law did for the Pharisees and tell me that’s how its supposed to be? Jesus came and called them white washed tombs! He tried telling his people that He came to abolish the law but we still want to live by it… why?

Matthew 23:27

What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.

I viewed God as this Big scary Guy in the Sky that was happy with me when I did right and mad at me when I did bad. When things would happen to me that were bad and it was when I was living a rebellious life I truly believed that it was because God was angry with me and taking away my husband because I “chose” him over God and worse I truly believed that God had taken away my babies in my womb because He wanted to show me who was in charge! All of this because I had taken my life in my own hands for a short time. Did someone in your life teach you that as well? You better not do anything bad this week or you may loose God’s presence in your life or be separated from the love of God! How flawed is this thinking!

It says in Romans 8:38 that:

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”

And I have learned in this process of learning who God really is, that he is not this schizophrenic God that is sometimes angry and sometimes happy with you based on your performance. If the last statement is true and God has moments of anger when you are doing wrong and happiness when you are doing right… then it is by works alone and not the blood of Jesus Christ that saves us. Yes in the Old Testament it talks repeatedly about God being the Mighty  Judge whose wrath was stirred by the Israelite disobedience. That God, however, poured out His wrath on His Sons body on the cross.

In the book Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince he states,

Many Christians have been robbed of fellowship and intimacy with God because they believe

the lie that God is still angry with them because of their sins. They avoid contact with God,

thinking that He gets angry with them whenever they fail. So instead of going to God when

they fail, they run in the opposite direction. Instead of running to the solution, they run

away from it. The truth is: God is no longer angry with you! His wrath towards ALL your

sins has already been exhausted completely on the body of your Savior Jesus Christ. ALL

your sins have been judged and punished in the body of another. God IS (PRESENT TENSE)

LOVE (Emphasis mine) Stop being robbed of true intimacy and a relationship with your

gracious and forgiving Savior Jesus Christ. His grace is greater than all of your failures.

He loves you perfectly, so go to Him with all your imperfections.”

I truly believe that if you want to heal the present and future you have to take the time to look back at the past long enough to identify those lies and inaccuracies that you have built your foundation on, process them effectively and any attachment you may have with the lies and inaccuracies, then allow God to heal them through renewing your mind with God’s truth in your life. Many people don’t want to go back so that they can go forward. They are told you can’t blame what happened to you on others but only deal with where you are at now. The misconception there is that those ties are still holding you back from living a life set free and whole whether you want to admit it or not.

I agree that you can not stay in the past or cast blame on others in your past. You have to understand that people did the best they could with the information, knowledge and upbringing they had available to them and release it. It is walking through the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” that God wants to bring us into a life of healing, wholeness and breaking those cycles you have gone through over and over in your life.

Sometimes I feel that I should be further along than I am but I have to remind myself that

I am having to sift through 30 years of information and place it in one of 3 bins:

Truth= Keep

Inaccuracies= find the faulty belief and replace it with truth

Lies= throw it away and break the tie!

This process takes time to rummage through and find the nuggets of truth that you want

to build your new foundation on.

The cornerstone of your foundation has to be the one that the builders rejected!

(Psalms 118:22 and Matthew 21:42)

It is chaotic and messy to others around you.

It is tiring and taxing to you emotionally.

It is inconvenient and disorganized to those who crave order.

It is uncomfortable and agonizing to our flesh.

In the end though….

It will be so worth it!

Based on 2 Corinthians 5:21

(NASB)

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,

so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

I have been made righteous through His blood on the cross,

Now I just have to learn to live that life out,

Not letting the devil take me back,

But pressing on to the prize!

I want my self- fulfilling prophecies to be that of-

love, grace, joy, peace and an abundance in God’s blessings

because I have spent the time to seek Him and find Him.

I have learned to rest in the shadow and comfort of His wing.

I trust that He is a good God that wants to pour out more and more on His precious Beloved!

Third Month in Missoula Montana

3 months!
How time flies when you are doing God’s work!

I don’t even know where to begin as so much has happened in the month that I have written. I completed my second course through the TCMI training that I am taking and finished with an A+! I started a new course doing the workbook Experiencing God and am working on my orientation course work that every intern must complete. That alone has kept me pretty busy.

God is really teaching me so many things! I am unearthing the authentic meaning of love according to 1 Corinthians 13 and boy is it a challenging verse to learn. People in our society throw the words “I love you” around so flippantly however few can truly say that they live out the majority of the characteristics of love that are mentioned in that verse. I know I haven’t been able to! I am a runner! When love gets hard I flee!

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
How many times have I quoted this verse? A hundred.. maybe more!
How many times have I thought that I am loving others like this yet in my heart I am jealous of where God has them in their life?

Or wished something upon someone that did something to me that hurt?

This world views an enemy as someone that we no longer have to love however it says in Luke 6: 27-28

But to you who are listening I say
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

I don’t know what I expected coming out here but God opened my eyes to the fact that these women, myself included, are broken, hurt, scared, and scarred individuals who don’t know what it means to give or receive true love. Many of us have not been shown authentic love by anyone in our lives or only by one or two others and the bad has out weighed the good.

This season of my life I am learning to love women who don’t trust, who struggle with wondering what others intentions are every time someone does something and who quite frankly have a hard time loving me back. Which is a challenge for me as being loved and accepted has been a life long pursuit that I am learning has to be filled with God first before anyone else can be let in to fill the rest of our heart. The God shaped hole has to be filled first before we can truly love others authentically and completely!

Another lesson that God is teaching me is in light of the devastating bombing that happened in Boston yesterday. The women at the center that I am interning for can not watch anything on TV other than the news and a few other center approved things. Though I had seen it plastered all over Facebook I didn’t want to tell them what was going on partly due to wanting to protect them from heart wrenching news like that and also I didn’t want to voice what happened. I could feel my emotions going on auto-pilot and this feeling of apathy coming back. One of the ladies came and said she heard about the bombings on the radio and wanted to watch the news. I cringed at the thought and didn’t want to watch knowing that my heart was hurting with the little amount that I did know. The ironic and sad thing is that we turned on the news and the story allotment the local news gave it was about a minute but no more than two minutes! They assured Montana residents that no person from Montana was hurt at the race and all were accounted for. Then moved on to Grizzly football…

As I lay in bed last night and prayed about my response to all that had happened God prompted my heart that I should have hit my knees with the ladies that were in the house and we should have interceded for the families that were affected! How quickly I am to try and sweep my emotional hurts under the rug, not wanting to break down and feel the pain of what happened.

Romans 12:15 says

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

God wants us to experience life with each other and share in those emotional things that touch those around us or even affect a nation. It is healthy to mourn the loss of a young child that was waiting for his father at the finish line! That child’s life was cut short due to an evil person doing a heinous act. The light at the end of the tunnel is to know that there are more good people in the world than the few bad people. The amount of people that rushed to aid others was awe inspiring! These people know some form of love and I want to be more like that!

Those lessons are some pretty big things! On top of all that is my daily responsibilities or what the ladies hate to refer it to but what others would know as my job. We had our annual banquet this last Friday which was my 3 month “anniversary” here in Montana. Our annual Banquet is the main event that helps us to raise as much money as possible to continue the ministry through out the coming year. It is a stress packed time making sure we have as many items, donations and package getaways as possible to make the silent auction and live auction the most successful it can be. At fifty dollars per seat we have to make it as much as possible worth someone paying that much and showing them how we are using their hard earned money for the good of each and every women that comes to our Center. The weeks preceding the Banquet were jam packed with tasks and assisting where needed. It also marked the end of the other interns time here and the start of God teaching me what it looks like to be the only intern. All in all you can say it was a challenging couple weeks!

Through it all God was faithful to show up! Even down to the night of the event and the hotel calling the house to tell me, the measly intern, as all the staff were home getting ready themselves, that the power was out at the hotel and they didn’t know when it would come back on!! Oh Lord! Boy did the girls start praying and reminding the devil that he had no place not only at the house but also at the hotel where the banquet was being held. It was so awesome to see the women praying as they were getting all dressed up, putting on makeup and getting their hair done! I am so blessed to be able to see awesome moments like that and so many more. It makes it all worth while when I see the ladies who are new creations in Christ exerting their God given rights to tell the devil where to go!! =)
I am honored to be learning all of these awesome lessons God is teaching me right along side these women who remind me so much of the way that I was and in some areas still struggle. I am learning though that God is not finished with us yet and together we will run the race set before us!

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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