Saturday, September 14, 2013

Blessed are the Peacemakers...

If you have ever read my blog before, you would know that it's been quite a few months since my last post. I use this blog to document parts of my life that were struggles of mine that I have overcome. Naively, I assumed I wouldn't be posting much about my past because I felt I had moved forward. Don't get me wrong, I am a different person than the girl who sat down to pour out her heart 2 years ago, but the Lord shows me my heart and I find myself sitting down here again to discuss my always changing, forever bettering soul.

A few weeks ago I took a trip to visit my Dad and relatives out of state. I've never really been close to my Dad, he's had a life long battle with alcoholism and hasn't lived near me since I was 4. Annual visits gave me my Fatherly fill growing up. I've never known him to be sober longer than a day, until his recent prison sentence leaving him on a strict parole urine check for a few months. He joined AA meetings, called me on the phone, gave me messages almost every morning and night,

"Good morning sunshine"


"Sweet dreams Sprite"
For the first time he was making progress and building a stable relationship with me. Abandonment from both my parents in my life has caused me to be weary of someone who claims to have "changed", it takes a painfully long time for me to trust. Normally I would say I was angry at myself for believing in him, but I am not. The Lord is healing me and I am thankful. I won't go into detail about the trip, but in a nutshell not much has changed. And the veil was pulled from my eyes to many more issues he has in his life. I am left in complete disappointment with the man who conceived me. I came home feeling saddened and ashamed, I now have no relationship with either of my parents.

You have called me Lord to honor my Mother and Father. How?
They continue to let me down. Both of them are not of sound mind because of their addictions, how do you have a relationship with that? I beg you to let me be free of this burden. I just want to be free.

I'm going to try to refrain from the dramatics, but I have been attacked daily since I returned home. Mostly nightmares. One consisted of me hating my own sweet child. I woke up sweating, sobbing, and screaming. I was so worked up I immediately opened my Bible and asked the Lord to bring me to a book of His choice, and to purify my heart. He brought me to Matthew, I read it faithfully not knowing why, but I calmed down and felt my eyes drift back to a sweet sleep.

This all became clear when I had an argument with my Hubby's side of the family, and I needed to take control of this dark place in my heart. I was having a conversation with my best friend when I finally blurted out, "I just don't know how to be in a family! It can't be everyone, the problem must be me." Her response put everything into clarity. "You are a peacemaker, and the Lord says "Blessed are the peacemakers". I think because of your recent heartache with your Dad it's causing you to have too high of expectations with your family. Continue to be a peacemaker, and continue to receive His blessings". My friend speaks Jesus, and I am so lucky. I instantly felt the Lord's redeeming love wash over my soul.

I am not the girl with no parents.

I have the Ultimate Father's love all around me.

He was speaking to me through her in that moment you see, because if you finish the verse in Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are the children of God". I am His child, and so are you. All of my life He has protected me. I am so thankful to feel His love upon me even though I'm not in Heaven yet. Until then my heart is set upon Him.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Becoming an Evangelist

What kind of a world do we live in? A place where millions starve, are tortured, blamed, shamed, and beaten. A place where innocent children are horrifically killed at a place they considered a haven. Where are you Lord? Why? Why do you allow this? Nothing is too great for thee, save us from this! Your own son fell to his knees crippled with fear for his unfathomable death, begging you to save him, and your answer
I am an optimistic person, I shield myself from the worries of this world but I must be honest when I say, there are times I feel the world's burden. I question God. I naively think that bad things happen to me because somewhere at some point I did something to deserve it. Sometimes, I have God all wrong. Sometimes, I don't understand what He is doing.   So I let The Lord hear my burdens, I lay them at His feet and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in my grief. I can't think of one time He has not given me peace, and because if my honesty with Him my faith grows stronger.
 We know why God's answer was no to Jesus, his death saved an infinite amount of people. He saved me, my children, my children's children. His pain and suffering, his life started our eternity. I believe the first step to having a relationship with Christ, is knowing God knows better.  But if we need an explanation for all of the terrible things of this world, where does our faith lay? The Lord has told us what to do:

"So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us." 2 Corinthians 5:20
God is making his appeal through us?

We as followers, are to do something about it! While saving the world from evil, we are to shine God's light on the way. If we are the "light if the world", how can we shine the light in darkness if we are cuddled up with all of the other lights? Go out in places of grief and despair, where God is not there. Become a prayer warrior, a servant, an evangelist. Ask The Lord to guide your steps. He's waiting for you.  When your child becomes ill, when your husband struggles, or your friend is weary, you are placed upon this earth to appeal the Lord for greater is the reward in Heaven.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Remembering God's Will isn't Always Wrapped in a Pretty Package.

I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. Why then, do I forget that walking under the will of the Most High doesn't always make sense? I have learned that God's will sometimes means I am led places I didn't expect, and in some cases- never really get an answer as to why I was there.

A year and a half ago, the Lord clearly placed on our hearts to home school. We thanked Him for the challenge and even arranged our home and work to offer them a life of learning from their parents. I embraced it whole heartedly, knowing it would be  a struggle but relying on faith that God's hand was over this decision. As time grew on, I became more and more anxious about my role as teacher for my son. To be specific, it was extremely difficult for me to converse with him. It was darn near impossible to get him to look me in the eye, let alone focus on tasks that even interested him. I changed his diet, read a zillion books, remained on my knees and prayed through every step of the way. I also noticed that he would get very high levels of anxiety in social settings, and especially small enclosed rooms. I knew that God has called me to teach my child, but my heart was being changed. I didn't feel right watching my son hindered socially and expressively. I felt the Lord guide me into testing, and gaining more information on him. We decided to get him tested through the school district. There were countless meetings, testings, hearing the word "NO", and being zipped from one school to another. Every meeting was covered in prayer. Every day at school I prayed over my little boy, and asked God to continue to lead him and me. He was tested for Autism, only to come back negative. Finally, I found a specialist in behavioral disorders and within 24 hours he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
It hurts me to type that label. I fear my son will be pigeon-holed into opinions and classifications. Mothers reading this, please don't let anyone tell you who your child is. You KNOW WHO THEY ARE. If it's a label they need to give your child added benefits, then good. In my case it was what we needed to learn more information about our child so we could help him. But never give up on your child, just because they are what professionals consider "different", it doesn't mean anything other than what they write on a piece of paper. I will never ever accept my son is less. I will help and encourage him to be a man of God, and a benefit to this world and our eternal life.

I would be lying if I said I haven't questioned God through this. My human mind is weak at times, and I find myself wondering why God allowed this for my son and for our family. What did I do wrong? How can I endure this?
"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels--a plentiful harvest of new lives" John 12:24

Sometimes God's will isn't wrapped up in a pretty little package. Sometimes, bad seeds come our way. Unless we die to ourselves, our weak human selves, we will never be able to enjoy the plentiful harvest that is to come. The Lord has taught me more than I ever could've imagine through my son.  I thank the Lord for trusting me with this cup.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Leaping in Faith.

Throwing my hands up in the air, and giving my life completely ( and I mean COMPLETELY) to the Lord has been no easy task. Through this long journey of FINALLY getting into our new place I've been awakened to new things. As much as I thought my hands weren't gripped with white knuckles on to my life, in some ways they were.
Growing up I moved from place to place more times than one can imagine. As soon as we would feel settled something always uprooted us. I'm not sure if I was born this way, or if it was learned but I've come to find out I don't like moving much! I find comfort in knowing I will receive a steady paycheck, and come to my home the way I left it. I don't particularly "jump" into new opportunitys with out weighing all my options, and possibly waiting much to long leaving the iron ice cold;)
Through much prayer the the Lord would provide us with stable renters, on His perfect timing we found them. Leaving us with 30 days to find a place and move. On went our search for the perfect house that would fit all our needs for the future, we were quite sure the Lord would provide down to the last detail. I had narrowed our choices down to 3 about 2 weeks before our move was to start. At the edge of the bed my hubby and I made a pro and con list in hopes we could agree on one! We came to find that our home we knew the Lord would provide was not presented to us yet. I can't even describe how upset I was in that moment.   I could "settle", as Hubby put it, on any of those homes and been perfectly happy! But the Lord has not called us wives to make these decisions ourself. He sees us as one. So if our hearts were not aligned on this home, there was no way His hand was on any of our choices at that time. What comes next? We move in with family till we find it! 4 of us living with his sisters' other large family, hard... but manageable. Would the old me have even considered that? Not a chance. My hands were woven so tightly around my life.I literally lived running from my past. Me moving in by the grace of someone else, would mean parts of my past would surface. And you know what? After I prayed and was still, in that moment I realized, it was ok for me. Because I am more fearful of living off of His perfect way, than His permissive way. So I made the choice to bite the bullet, and let the man next to me really lead this family. It just so happens (and this is not for dramas sake) that 2 short minutes after we ended our conversation about trusting the Lord in where to go, a random Facebook friend posts their home with the exact description of our needs....and $200 under our planned budget. And guess what else? It was not available until 30 days after we move out! How obvious can this be? Had I not given this completely to the Lord, without a doubt we would've been in a less than perfect home, with a far higher payment. Do I doubt for a moment the Lord didn't have His Almighty hand on this? Not for a second.

We've been in our new home about 6 weeks now. We've already started building memories...

Sweet moment with my girl on the patio, teaching signs.

My little man so proud of those Easter eggs!

Took this under the trellis in our yard before church on Easter Sunday!

Lilly helping her Daddy in the yard:)

Not a day goes by the Hubby and I don't look at each other and exhale claiming, "We LOVE this house". We find new reasons why constantly. The girl 1 year ago I sadly admit, would've stamped her foot to her husband and demanded we made a choice on our own. Because, I knew I had gotten to my place in life by making my own a small way I was right. But now, I know the future holds God's plan for us. I make darn well sure that in each decision the Lord has His hand on it. It gives me so much peace. The more I make the choice to listen to the Holy Spirit, the better I hear it. It becomes so much more clear. And I'm reminded of the blessings because of my leap of faith. I am filled with gratitude every day by the home He's blessed for our family.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Power of the Praying for my Family.

Some of you reading this may roll your eyes thinking this is just another stor. A story that in changing the perspective, would have nothing to do with "praying" and more to do with coincidince. Others may read the title of this post and think back on all of the prayers you invested in your family, how much have been answered, and possibly a few that may be lingering unanswered. I'm writing this because I truly believe in the power of prayer. I've seen things change rapidly that haven't moved in years. It's hard for me to believe I've gone through life with out knowing how powerfull prayer can be. Its even harder to think of the things I've struggled with, and that if they were covered in prayer may have had a different outcome.
Lets start with my husband. Justin has been truly blessed with his job. It's given him the ability to provide easily for our family, a positive Christian based company, no commute, and he gets off in the early afternoon abeling him to be with his family most of the day we're awake. However, most of the years a particular employee he works closely with has had an extremely negative effect on Justin. This person has basically harrassed Justin on every aspect of his life. Justin is strong but sometimes is weakened by his constant cristicism and negativity. It was a constant struggle to see my husband constantly being attacked and belittled. If we were in an argument it always ended in the realization this needed to change. We've been married 8 years and I honestly didn't see how this dark spot on Justin's bright life would ever disappear. I've tried everything for him, Everything I humanly could except pray. I've always looked at prayer as a positive thing. Most of my life prayers were written out for me, and as I'd chant them I would try to relate them to my life. It was a struggle for me to turn my mind around, and positivley pray for difficult issues in our life. After I joined a women's group on praying for our husbands, it forced me to bring difficult topics to light. Our marriage has transformed to a level I never could've imagined we could be at together. Not only did Justin's life at work change, but his involvement with everything in his life has changed. He's excelling in his relationships at work, he's more positive, more involved, and all together just happier. I never mentioned to him the specifics of my prayers, until after we realized things had changed. I can't help but feel guilty for not praying earlier. But it's given me amazing insight on what prayer can do. Small miracles in my life from your view, but it's moved mountains for us.

On to my children.....or more so Austin. Since he's 3 and well nbsp;Lilly's still a baby and the most she needs prayer for isn't quite as complex as toddlers! I'm positive I'm not the only Mother who in the midst of an epic toddler meltdown, looks at the family next to me and covets their compliantly polite children sitting ever so perfectly at the table across from me. Their food is thouroughly enjoyed simultaneously as they discuss politics with their 2 year old, while holding hands and waiting eachothers turn to speak at an even decibal. Before I had children I would watch Mothers in grocery stores with their children's perfectly parted hair, fresh pressed clothes, gazing into their blissfull Mother's eyes not even attempting to ask for the M&M's they're eyeing. I would watch these families and my heart would be giddy with excitement on the prospect I just knew that's how MY family would be. God makes those families because He knows this world needs popuation. I'm sure of that. From the day I found out I was pregnant my journey to parenthood was certainly not up to par with my visions from before!
We take Disneyland trips at least once a month since Austin was 14 months old. You would think at this point we would remember that it's going to be at times exhausting, and not anything near our pre- real life of children expections. We go back because the things we remember are the short beautiful moments when your child runs up to Mickey in a bear hug and has a smile that lights brighter than the Disneyland fireworks. This recent trip to Disney went like clockwork. Right around 2 o'clock (nap time) the gut wrenching screaming starts. My belief is it's a mix of overstimulation, lack of sleep, lack of routine, and way WAY too many exciting things the child is not allowed to touch.  Lets not forget the re-teaching of waiting your turn in line over and over and OVER again. This time when I felt my blood start to boil and things start to fall apart. I silently prayed long and hard for every member in my family, it normally sounds a bit like this. "Lord change us. Grant Austin, Justin, Lilly and me patience. Help Austin to be COMPLIANT, help Lilly sleep easily, give my husband energy and the strength to discipline and lead in the way you want him to. Give me the answers to how I should handle my children in the way YOU know they will respond to. Help us to make a memory here." I utter this over and over and over again. Before I knew it, Justin turned to me in amazement that our son is patiently waiting in line. My son waiting his turn is with out a doubt a miracle for us. Austin sat and ate dinner with almost no complaint, miracle number 2. Both of my children fell asleep peacefully in their strollers, as Justin and I shared an ice cream Sunday. We were stopped 4 times with people giving us looks of "aww such beautiful children". For the 2nd half of our visit, WE were the blissfull family. God gave us a gift that night.  Justin full heartedly believes this was because of prayer. There is just no other answer as to how our son completely changed before our eyes this day. We left feeling a sense of closeness with each family member we did not walk in with.
God is moving in my family. His hands are on each person. And the minute we open our hearts and ears to Him, He's able to form a bond that no one can break. If anyone is struggling with their faith, you just have to give Him the opportunity to move. He is the only One who can change hearts. You have to be willing to let Him.
"When we pray, we are humbling ourselves before God and saying, 'I need Your presence and Your power, Lord. I can't do this with out you.' When we don't pray, it's like saying we have no need of anything outside of ourselves."-Stormie Omartian

Friday, November 4, 2011

On being the Serving Wife

Let me start by stating this post is made for Lilly. When she comes to me saying "OK Mom, I've been married for over 2 years...while I love my husband he's just not....rolling out the red carpet like he used to". This post is for her, and any one reading this who is at this point in their marriage.

Growing up my whole life in a seriously dysfunctional Christian home, I was always told, "God first, spouse second, children third, then others, and lastly yourself. While I disagree the fact that if I don't put my personal relationship with God above all else (the latter people will falter), it always stuck in my brain that it's most important to put your husband above all others. By doing this in a large way, it's benefiting your children more than you can see on the surface.
What does it really mean to put your husband first? Does anyone know how painstakingly difficult it is? I do!! For my personality the biggest thing is for me to just SHUT UP. He will most definately appreciate a woman whom is slow to speak. If you can find that woman, I'd love to meet her. The less I give unwanted advice, and the more I search within myself praying for wisdom....the smoother my home life runs, and the more love I feel towards my man. Truth be told if you say something positive about your husband 10 times a day, you'll eventually believe it. Fake it till you make it...that's the context in that saying right? ;)   Ask yourself why you married's certainly not because you don't like him. Treat him as though he is the "Spiritual leader" your constantly praying for. EVEN IF HE DOESN'T DESERVE IT. (Minus drug, and alcohol addiction, that's another story)

In our home I might be what you would consider an "over achiever". I must fight against the urge to add one more thing to my plate, or try to fix one more human being. For Justin, when I'm exhausted he goes without, how fair is that? What am I showing him by piling my plate? I'm showing him that birthday parties, volunteer ministry, micro managing the house, etc. is more important than him. (No, most men would never search that far within to come up with that, but that's what our insight is for). The other night we were discussing our daily life and how happy we have been feeling towards each other...I'm not gonna lie....I've been pretty good to him. He caught me off guard when he said, "yeah it's been pretty good, except for Tuesday nights. Your always so busy putting laundry away and I'm left with the kids by myself.....Hmmmm........ Do you know how bad I fought waving my arm in the air like a psycho woman, stating all of the things I do, and how I'm doing the best I can at making sure his underwear stay clean, blah blah blah. I'm pretty sure my tongue drew blood from biting it so hard. Later in my quiet time, I thought to myself...... it's just one request, and it really isn't that difficult. Instead of having a "laundry day", I thought to throw a load in once every couple days (MIL I don't want to hear even  a snicker from you if your reading this!) I apologize for not coming up with a more profound story than one that has to do with laundry...but for me, it showed it's soul. It is my honest to God goal to make my husband happy. If you have a man that gets up every morning, provides for you, comes home and does not run-around on you, consider yourself blessed with a keeper. There's always something to complain about, that's what we woman do.

“Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I'm not perfect and I don't live to be. But, before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean.”-Bob Marley

After 9 years together I have no place in my heart for judgement towards him, no woman has a place for that.
You may ask, "what does it mean to serve him"? A man interviewed in "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" kept it pretty clear.

"Men are simple, give me some good lovin, and make me a sandwich"

While there is more to being a wife than lovin and food, men down to the core truly are so easy to please! Put his needs before your own, do you honestly think he won't do the same? You know his heart, you know what pleases him....DO IT. You'll thank yourself later, trust me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

On Forming the Generous Heart

Because of my past, I, as a young girl was not blessed with the gift of generosity. I watched my Mother give the shirt of her back to a person in need, even if it meant my brother and I were left with nothing. In theory what she was doing was a great example. In reality, I was left feeling I was on the back burner, and it hardened my heart to giving. For about a year now, God has transformed my heart.
I recognized I had a hardness to generosity when God gave me my husband. With out a doubt the Lord formed him for me, because where I am lacking...he has abundance! Justin is one of the most generous people I know. And it was him that encouraged me to realize what I have is not because of me, but because the Lord has blessed me my entire life.
My Pastor has once said, that the people who are the richest-give the most. The people who hold on to what they have and give the least-are the most financially burdened.  Will the Lord give me more if I give because it's my duty? No. Your heart must be right. This of course, is not true for everyone, but it was something that stuck with me.
Instead of going through my finances and focus on praying, "Lord provide for us." The Lord did an amazing number to my heart. My prayer now is,"Lord give me people that need from me, so that I can give to them what YOU want."  In giving Him my life, I gave Him my finances, heart, decisions, everything. And because of this, He has blessed us tremendously. No longer do I feel the heavy burden of financial mistakes, or not having enough. He has performed miraculously for us! In doing this I have seen things I never would have if not for this!
In saying this I do not believe in giving blindly! Work out your finances and be smart about it! But, I'd much rather sacrifice my wants, and give from the top, then the scraps we have left.
I leave church every Sunday taking so much from the message, in my heart I feel happy to support my church with my heart is finally in the right place for giving. If your reading this and feel a heaviness on your heart towards this, ask the Lord to do a work on your heart, and to show what He wants for you.
"When I grasp that I'm a steward, not an owner it totally changes my perspective. Suddenly, I'm not asking 'How much shall I, out of the goodness of my heart, give to you God?' Rather, I'm asking, 'Since all of my money is really yours Lord, how would you like me to invest in YOUR money today?"~Randy Alcorn