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.

 

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What does it mean to be an imitator of God?

I have been struggling with this phrase for some time now… It says in Ephesians 5:1-

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.”

In my mind I always looked at imitation as a negative thing…

No one really loves imitation cheese, imitation sugar, imitation leather

or any other imitation thing but we all want the real thing!

So when I would read this passage I would always look at it in an incorrect or negative light.

I still don’t know if I have it right but what God is showing me

is that I have not been walking my life out as an imitator or mimicking Him through my life and walk.

The Message translation helped me with this verse.

” Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.

Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love.

Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant.

He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.

Love like that.”

How can you imitate someone that you don’t really know?

I can’t truly say that I understand or know who God is because I have spent so much of my time hiding from Him, scared that my thoughts, feelings or wants would make him unhappy. I have spent so much time trying to DO what I thought He would want that I have not sought out what and who He truly is so that I can emulate the love and life that He is calling me to.

Since my view of my earthly father has not been positive I still have a hard time understanding what proper behavior is that I was supposed to be learning from my parent. I learned manipulation, anger, fear, unforgiveness and loving someone only to get your needs met.

Yet at the end of verse 1 in the Message translation it says that He loved us, not so that He could get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. I don’t know or understand that kind of love.

But I want to!

And I want to learn to imitate that kind of love instead!

So where do I start?

“Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of learning.”
― George Bernard Shaw

When doing a word study on the word “imitator” I found an awesome study on the word and it helped me to understand it better.

“In order to add the background to Paul’s requirement, we must go back to chapter 4 and look at his previous argument.  Notice what he says:

Walk worthily of  the calling (4:1), be humble and meek (4:2), be long-suffering and bear with one another (4:2), chase unity (4:3), exercise your ability to provide for the body (4:11), seek perfect completion (4:12), be fully grown in faith (4:13), speak the truth in love (4:15), assist each other (4:16), be distinctively different from the world (4:17), put off the old man (4:22), be renewed in the Spirit (4:23), put on the new man (4:24), be a good neighbor (4:25), do not sin (4:26), give no opportunity for the Accuser (4:27), do not steal (4:28), domesticate your tongue (4:29), do not grieve the Spirit (4:30), turn away from unholy attitudes (4:31), be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving (4:32).

After all this, “then” imitate God.  Like most of Paul’s rabbinic instruction, we are not left in the dark about what to do.  If you want to imitate God, just do those things listed in chapter 4.”

Source: Skip Moen website

 

If you look at it closely it really does match up well with the well quoted 1 Corinthians 13 chapter in the bible, known by most as the love chapter.

I think so many times in my life when I find disunity in myself that it makes it hard to be unified with anyone else.

When I am struggling and wrestling with thoughts, feelings, emotions or life events that have unfolded, it keeps me distracted from walking this out. It keeps me from walking in unity with others and therefore keeps me from being an imitator of God to others around me.

I want to seek to know Him more,

to be content with the place He has me,

to learn from the past and let it go,

to look to the future with hope and thanksgiving,

knowing that as I continue this walk with Him,

He will reveal more and more of Himself

to me.

So I might mimic my perfect Father,

And even though His steps mammoth

compared to mine,

He will lovingly slow down His pace

so that my tiny feet can keep up.

 

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

9 months down… 3 months to go!

Today during my quiet time with God I was reminded how it had been a long time since I have written an update letter to the people who have diligently prayed for and supported me through this season in my life. As I sat down to write this I looked at the date in the bottom right hand corner of my computer and chuckled at God’s sense of humor as today marks exactly 9 months here in Missoula, MT interning for Teen Challenge Montana Outreach Women’s Center!
Boy oh boy what I ride!! This has been the best and the hardest 9 months of my life thus far! I am learning that when you start a prayer like I did so very long ago asking God for more than just a basic Christian life that I would have to strap in for this ride and hold on tight to His love, grace and provision. He has a way of working, the twists and turns can sometimes cause butterflies in your stomach that won’t go away until His peace fills you and reminds you that its never in your strength but His alone!
So that is what He has been teaching me these past 9 months. First He has taken me on a healing journey that has helped me to identify the ways that I had misjudged His love, grace and hand in my life for that of a strong angry judge based on the Old Testament God that I had learned so much about growing up. What He so lovingly has been showing me is that when we go through the fires of life that He is there, it wasn’t necessarily Him that put me through the fire but usually my own rebellion and sin, that He never wastes any experience but instead uses it to purify us, cleanse us and make us extremely effective for His Kingdom work through it all!
I know I had arrived in Missoula thinking that I was going to spend all my time ministering to others and demonstrating God’s love but as I ran headlong into the walls of my own building, I learned that before I could effectively minister to others I had to let God truly minister to my broken and mangled heart. When I arrived I had been told to set up boundaries so that I wouldn’t get burnt out working in ministry (especially when living on site) however I had never been taught how to set up boundaries or what that looked like. So instead of a gate that would allow others to come and go as I deemed, a deep mote with a broken draw bridge went around the walls I had already erected unknowingly to protect my bruised and battered heart. As God lovingly wooed me with his grace, mercy and tenderly ministering to the one who so desperately wanted to be used, I could feel that brick by brick I was dismantling the protective shell I had placed around myself. God has shown me what unconditional love is and through 1 Corinthians 13 I am learning to effectively walk this out each day. Im definitely not perfect at it, nor will I ever attain perfection however I no longer fear that. I no longer have the attitude that there is no use trying if I can not be perfect in my actions, thoughts and deeds. Instead God is showing me that it is in my weakness that He is strong and uses me for His good and glory!
As my internship comes to a close, with only 3 ½ months remaining it is with anticipation and a tiny bit of trepidation that I look to the future and wonder what God has for me next. A normal life is definitely not what I prayed for so long ago, which can be both an adventure and a challenge all at the same time. At age 34, I know that I have done more than some and yet there are many things that I desire that I have not done like be a Godly wife and mother. I know that as I remain focused on furthering His kingdom that he will one day honor the desires of my heart so I will not rush ahead of Him or lag behind dragging my feet in the feeling of defeat of the what might have beens. I will know that as my Heavenly Father who loves to give good gifts, He will in His time bless His faithful daughter with a life better than she could ask or imagine! While living in South Carolina I had started writing a book of my life and all of its twists and turns. My adorable loving Momma keeps asking me if I have wrote anything in it since then and I would continually tell her no. She would ask why and I couldn’t always answer her but now I know… Its not the end yet! I know it will never be then end until I pass away but with this book I want to show people and be an example of how God can take a messed up, mixed up felon of a person and redeem their life story to one that honors and glorifies Him. The story is unfolding and I can’t wait to see where He is taking me! Maybe I will pick the proverbial pen back up again as this season has taught me many things!
As a prayer warrior for me during this time in my life I can offer up several specific ways that you can direct your prayer time.
  • I may have a couple opportunities with different Teen Challenges in several different states and I am praying that God will guide and direct whichever is the one that I need to be at, if that’s the direction that He is sending me.
  • I also ask for prayer as long repressed dreams of having a coffee shop/art studio/ transitional housing place keeps surfacing but nothing tangible is presenting itself. It may be God is bringing it to the forefront of my mind and dreams as a vision for the future down the road so I am praying for contentment with that and give it to God knowing in His timing He will work wonders!
  • As some of you may know I don’t have a vehicle right now as it just wasn’t workable to have here during the beginning of my internship. I know God can provide above and beyond what we can ask or imagine so please pray that God, in His perfect timing, will provide the perfect vehicle for me that will be a beautifully dependable, low maintenance, good in adverse weather, good on gas and last me for a long time!
  • As I finish that God will give me the strength and stamina to run the race well and give Him the glory through it all!
I know I am horrible at writing snail mail letters, or these update letters for that matter =) but I do love to get an occasional note or letter of how others lives are and how I can pray for you as well.
If you want to correspond my address is 3815 S. 7th St. W. Missoula, MT 59804
I would love to hear from everyone but I also know how crazy busy people’s lives are now a days!
An email or facebook post would be just as good too! =)

 

Relationships, Guys have their “lists” too!

As I sit listening to my sweet dear friend tell me how this amazing Christian guy broke the news to her that he just sees them as “friends” and how he went about breaking the news, a sadness and let me be honest, an anger entered my heart. After months of them hanging out and the awkwardness of trying to figure out if they liked each other more than friends his response to her question was both out of character and upsetting. They had been on several “outings” and hang out times, so it was NOT like her question of “Do you want to go out for coffee?” was out of line. Honestly I think that his blundering response saying that he just saw her as a friend was totally out of line. Not only that but the timing, way it was handled and his ineptness at respecting her is what can hurt a heart and ruin what could have still be a great friendship.

I just finished the book Boy Meets Girl by Joshua Harris.  Though there are many things I liked and agreed with in the book having it written only from a male point of view was challenging to read for me. I do think he did an ok job at telling the girls how they need to let the man take the lead and to wait for a good christian guy to approach them or their parents in request to court them.

The problem however from my point of view is I think he lost sight of and really didn’t address the audience of “good christian guys” and how they need to step up and be the man.  Not in a conquer the world, rude way but in a gentle, humble way seeking God for the right time and way to speak to a lady about where things are going… or not going in this case.

My friend lamented that if he had just given her the respect and honor of  having coffee with her and during that time had a conversation about how he was feeling that it was just staying at friendship level then it wouldn’t have been so hard as the awkward, almost disrespectful way he blurted out over the phone that he didn’t like her THAT way! It hurt my heart to hear the way he flipantly communicates with her even still and talks down to her. She not only does not deserve that, it is not how a christian man of God should treat a sister in christ at all.

Men of God have this unrealistic list of what their future wife should look like, act like and be. I swear in their mind they are combining the Proverbs 31 women with their sunday school teacher, add in the Victoria Secret model into the list of physical attributes on the list, with someone that can cook like Martha Stewart and serve like Mother Theresa, be good in bed like the greatest porn star and you might just begin to touch on what a christian guys expectations begin to look like. UNREALISTIC!

To shorten the phrase “good christian fella” I am just going to use the acronym

“GCF” and in the same respect I will use will use “GCG” for good christian girl….

It has been talked about and made fun of in movies over and over again about how women have this “list” of what she wants in a man and how this list is not only the majority of the time very unrealistic but can be hurtful to others in her life and potential dates.  I would like to argue, however that GCF’s have way more ideals and expectations of what they want, the  must have’s in a christian women or they will not even consider getting to know her. In doing that men are not only hurting their christian sisters but also forming the belief in these beautiful women of God that there is something ultimately wrong with them.

They not only allow these ideals to enter their attitudes towards their christian sisters but they also use the bible as a weapon against them to support their reasonings for having these specifications. The bible is NEVER to be used as a weapon against our fellow flesh and blood but to fight the war against the evils and principalities of this present darkness. I do believe that there is a need to be spiritually equally yoked however I have seen so many GCFs with there expectations so exponentially high that not only could no women be all that they expect but they themselves are not willing to be the man that a women that amazing would want to be with!

A Proverbs 31 women is a great ideal to want to work towards as a christian women but for men to use that as their checklist on what these young christian women should be like is not only wishful thinking but impossible to accomplish. We are all in the process of growing into men and women of God but if we are expecting each other to have already reached perfection  before we will date or marry someone, this is not only so totally flawed but hurting others.

Jesus didn’t tell the women caught in adultery or the women at the well that they had to clean themselves up before they could come to him for healing, rest, love and acceptance. He loved them in spite of their imperfections and saw the beautiful creations that God had formed with his own hands. He did tell them to go and sin no longer which I believe he made possible through divine intervention in their lives, not just by saying the words and expecting them to accomplish that themselves.

He isn’t a God that just leaves us where we are,

He always loves us where we are.

He  transforms a willing heart and works through others to allow us to become better and more than we could ever ask or imagine. Honestly in the based on the times these stories were written and  the society they lived in, those women COULD NOT have “cleaned” themselves up by themselves. Maybe that is what is so beautifully messy about these women’s stories! In and of themselves there was nothing they could do to change their circumstances. Jesus provided them an alternative and the early church provided a safe place for these women so that they might not have to go back to their life. What if men in the church had refused to help these women based on their stereotype or the women of the early church had shunned these women for the life they had seen as their only means of survival?

I am seeing more and more men in the church becoming complacent, wanting a women to take the lead, then allow animosity to grow when women do that because men are truly built to lead.

 God designed us with specific roles and traits so that we would compliment each other, join together in a marriage and make a difference for His kingdom. GCF’s say that they want a women that will stand behind them and help them with the ministry that they are called to, however I do not think that was ever God’s desire for how relationship should be. He made women to be man’s helpmate side by side with himhaving the same vision and calling. Even when it is in separate areas of ministry I believe that they should complement each other enough that together they are doing more good for God’s kingdom than they could do being single.

I see GCF’s seeking out women they think their ideal wife should look like and shallowly discounting amazing christian women who do not fit in their mindset of what their “perfect” is. Don’t get me wrong I am not discrediting attraction and the need for it however when that is the top priority on their list they are allowing the worldliness of unrealistic body images to form how they react, interact and treat their sisters in Christ. If she is not the correct height, weight, hair color or body shape then they automatically discount her a possible candidate. That is not only hurtful but also not biblical. In fact if men truly read all the way through Proverbs 31 would find out that in verse 30 that it says, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a women that fears the Lord is to be praised and esteemed as a reward.

This attitude of worldly attraction creates issues in your fellow sisters lives that cause them to fall into the worlds issues of body image problems like bulimia, anorexia, and a hurt that is not easily remedied. In our country alone over 7 million women have an eating disorder and they estimate at least 2 million more that have never been diagnosed. You can bet that it is NOT just something outside of the church that people struggle with. I am not putting the blame fully on christian men so please understand that. A mixture of society expectations, self- expectations placed on herself mingled with rejection from men equals a recipe for disaster in a woman’s life.

According to C.S. Lewis,

Image not mine. Image found via Time Warp-wife on FB.

Image not mine. Image found via Time Warp-wife on FB.

So what am I suggesting or what is my point, you ask?

I would ask that if you are a true man of God reading this that you will prayerfully consider and examine where you may have placed high, unattainable expectations on christian sisters in your life.

If you have hurt one based on those unrealistic expectations then I would encourage you to man up and apologize to your sister because guarenteed you have left a scar on her heart whether you intended to or not.

And lastly, when in a pre-courtship friendship with a girl don’t lead her astray with extra words of affection or compliments. Especially more attention and affection than you would show to any other sister in Christ.  Women are wired to accept compliments, words of the future or anything more than you would offer a sister as a form of affection and when her heart hears those words then she begins to open her heart up to the possibilities of something more than just friendship. Guard your sisters heart and truly learn to live out 1 Corinthians where you learn that love does not insist on its own way, it rejoices in the truth that we are all intricately made, fashioned and loved by the creator of the whole world! If you view each sister as such instead of in the categories of haves and have nots then you will begin to see the beauty that God elaborately instilled in each and every sister you come into contact with.

Who knows you just might find your compatible and have an attraction towards someone you never thought you might!

I know this post may seem that I am bashing on men and godly men at that but I would tell my sisters to guard themselves on these things also. Your “lists” should only be a guide and reminder of the Godly traits you desire, be willing to strive to grow into the women of God that would attract a man that has those traits and be willing to give each and every person you meet grace, love and acceptance knowing that we are all works in progress!

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 you can’t find God

When you can’t find God in a situation…

What do you do when you can’t find God in a certain time in your life?

You know it states in the bible that God will never leave you or forsake you…

So when you look back and can’t see Him what do you do?

I believe that sadly the church I grew up in would have said that when I was walking in sin and living the lifestyle that I was that God had walked away from me because He can’t stand sin or be in the presense of sin. However I beg to differ that opinion! Even when the Israelites where in the wilderness and bickering about what there was to eat or how they were going to get water God kept His presense there in the form of a cloud of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night.

He can’t lie so why would he say in…

Romans 8:38

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.

I am struggling to find God in the part of my life when I was married to a non-christian abusive highly addicitve personality type man because in my “churched” mind I chose Phillip over God so in doing that God must have left me. In my mind He washed His hands of me basically saying, “Ok this is what you want? You’ve made your bed now you sleep in it.”

My mind still viewed God as the old, mean judge in the sky that pounded his gavel and sentenced me to misery at the hand of the man I gave everything to and then took my babies as icing on the cake to show me that He was serious in punishing those who disobey Him so I better never do that again!

So if that was the view I am just walking through and identifying as inaccurate… then what is truth?

According to scripture it says something completely different!

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Isaiah 61:1

[Good News for the Oppressed] The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

If God would send His son to die for us while we were yet sinners and enemies to Him how much more would He leave the 99 to search for the one lost lamb?

So when I look at that season in my life with Phillip I have to see that God protected me and loved me right were I was at. He was close to me when I was in such despair that I didn’t even care whether I woke up the next morning or whether Philip made good on his promise that I would not be alive by morning. I have to believe that His angels were surrounding me when I was at my lowest, when I wanted to die and just be with my babies. He worked out the successful escape plan that got me out of the abuse, anger, drugs, alcohol and dysfunction.

As I renew my mind I can truly see how God’s hand was in the whole situation in a true and real way.

Not the legalistic scary fear induced way that I had been seeing it previously.

The legitimate way that my Heavenly Father grieved for my babies as they left earth and came to be with Him. The way that He rushed to wrap me in His loving and protective wings. The way that He sings over me and rejoices when one is returned to Him.

You see He didn’t go anywhere… He was right there waiting for me to see Him for what and who He really is and was. And He has not left you either. Where ever this finds you as you read these words please know that you are never to far gone for Jesus!

It says in Psalms 139:7-12

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You
are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You
are there.

If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall
on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light
are both alike to You.

He will meet you where you are because

He loves you that much!