Category Archives: Prayer

Joy, Where Are You?

Some mornings I can barely find the energy to get out of bed. I’m exhausted and worn out and in pain and I simply don’t want to do anything but lay there. This morning was one of those mornings. My alarm clock (AKA, my children) started screaming in my ears and I had to get up and face the world. Before I could even get out of bed, the girls were already dressed for church and chattering in their fastest, most excited voices about what they might do at church today. So, begrudgingly, I got up, showered, and got ready for church.
And I’m glad I did. 

We sang some of my favorite Christmas songs, which immediately lifted my mood a bit.

  

“I rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel.”

Today’s sermon was titled, “Joy” and based on Luke 2:8-20. My first thought, from anxious and depressed mind was, “oh great, joy. That’s the last thing I want to talk about right now.” But that’s exactly why I needed to hear it. 

Luke‬ ‭2:8-20‬ ‭ESV

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 

“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

So apparently, joy is command. My pastor opened up the sermon with that and all I could think was, “great, we’re starting the morning off with something I suck at.” But as he kept talking, I understood it more. God doesn’t want me to have fake joy, like the fake smile I tend to plaster on my face when I tell everyone I’m doing great. But God wants me to a real, genuine joy – the kind that only He can give me; the kind that comes from being awestruck by an amazing God. 

  

Let me be real here for a minute, the last few weeks I have been stuck in a cycle of sadness and feeling sorry for myself. I’m having brain surgery in four days and I’m scared – really scared, about all the “what ifs” and things that could possibly go wrong. I really haven’t felt much joy at all. I haven’t been praying. I haven’t been reading my Bible. I’ve just been quietly simmering with anger at God for not making me healthy. But the more I’ve ignored God, the worse I’ve felt. The more I’ve pushed Him away, the angrier I’ve gotten. My joy has been nonexistent.

I feel like an outsider in this world, like I just don’t belong anywhere. I have some wonderful friends and great church family – but often, I just feel different, like I don’t fit in with anyone. I feel lost. My pastor’s first point today was that joy is for the outsiders. We explained how God sent His angels to the shepherds, of all people. He could’ve sent the angels to someone powerful, like a king or ruler, but He didn’t. He sent them to shepherds – to the outsiders. 

In the same way, in our current society, God doesn’t come only for the “insiders.” He doesn’t come just for the powerful and popular – He comes for the outsiders. But here’s the thing, if you really think about it – we’re all outsiders. None of us in this world are insiders; we are all OUTSIDE of Heaven. And my pastor made a good point, even the people who I look at and think have it together and appear to fit in so well – even they struggle with feeling like outsiders, it simply part of being human. And we all feel like no one else feels the way we do so none of us talk about it; but if we did, we would know we weren’t alone. 

  

So in acknowledging that others feel like outsiders as well and many of us never speak of it, how well do I reflect God to others? How well do I reflect God’s love to those who feel like they don’t belong?

The second point that my pastor made today was that joy comes from Heaven. We don’t create joy from within ourselves. I can be sad or depressed or going through a rough time and still feel joy in my heart. God is perfect and Holy and separate from us, but He is also imminent and close through Jesus. 

The glory and power of God reassuring, but it should also leave a healthy fear in us. When the angels came to the shepherds, they were scared because they felt unworthy of their holiness. But the angels told them not to be afraid, for they had new that would bring great joy. The birth of Jesus brings us joy by reminding us that even though we may be going through a rough time now, even though we’re scared, even though we feel lost, even though life is hard – a savior has come to save us. 
How much different would my life be if I believed, I mean rally believed deep in my heart, that Jesus came down from Heaven for me? 

  

Lastly, my pastor touched on having joy in the valley – this was, I felt, the most fitting part for me today. I’ve had “mountaintop experiences” – times where God’s love and glory are so apparent that I am in awe and filled with joy. The goal is to live out the joy from those mountain top experiences while we’re in the valley. God wants me to treasure His words in my heart and live my life in faith. It doesn’t sounds THAT difficult. But when you’re in the valley, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative – the fear, worry, pain, and anxiety. But God calls us to remember the things we know to be true, to remember the mountaintop, remember what His closeness feels like – those are the things that will bring us joy in the valley. 

Each day that God gives me in a gift and I should rejoice in every day – even the days when I’m in the valley. 

So let me rephrase my current thoughts and worries…

  

I’m having brain surgery in four days. I may be scared, but even if the worst happens – if I were to die, I would go Home to Jesus and have no more pain. If it’s successful, I will stop going blind and my vision will be saved. If something goes wrong and I come out of surgery with some type of disability, God will use that to glorify Him. I am scared and I really don’t want to go through with it. But just like He always does, God has me in the palm of His hand and whatever happens will not be a surprise to Him, He already knows and He will care for and provide for me no matter what.

I simply need to trust Him and find my joy in Him, not in this world.

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Jesus, I Need You

You ever have one of those days where the enemy feels the need to remind you of every bad thing you’ve ever done in your life? Yup, today was one of those…this was my response – I had a talk with Jesus.

Jesus, I Need You
Here I stand broken
I’ve got nothing to bring
I’m holding on to the lies
Like a cat on a string
I’ve pierced my own skin
And denied Your truth
I’ve gotten lost in my mind
And I let go of You
Jesus, I need You

My stomach is empty
Poison courses my veins
My body is fading
I can’t handle this shame
You say You can reach
All the way out to me
But I feel just one step
Too far to be free
Jesus, I need You

If You know my heart
You know my evil thoughts
I once held on to You
But I let go and I’m lost
I’m trying to fight
The lies and temptations
But few things can compare
To power of starvation
Jesus, I need You

My sin is enclosing
Around my every side
The truth is fading
While I cling to the lies
I worthless and useless
You’ll never love me
The voices keep screaming
That You can’t save me
Am I too far gone
To receive Your grace
Your love and Your mercy
I’m just a disgrace
Jesus, I need You

I’m crying to You
As loud as I can
My ground has been shaken
And I can no longer stand
My voice, it cracks
As I beg You to answer
Because, Lord, if You don’t
My heart won’t endure
If You can’t save me
I have nothing left
The only choice I will have
Is to end it in death
Jesus, I need You

Then I heard Him…
“Daughter, You have me.
I’ve always been right here
So let me confront you with truth
In the midst of your fear
You are faced with two choices
Only you can make
You can wallow in pity
Or admit your mistakes
It comes down to one question
Do you believe
That I died on a cross
Nails in my hands and feet
I was scared too
Just like you are now
But even then I loved you
Enough to pour my blood out
You could never pay
The price of your own sin
My death on that cross
Is the only way You’ll see Him
I conquered death
And I took on satan
So that you could be free
From this life you are living
So tell me, is that enough
For you to trust
Will you stop fighting
And just give it up
Or are you gonna tell me
That my death was in vain
That I died on that cross
Just to feel the pain
I died for you
So that you could live
I’ve made your heart new
You’ve been forgiven
I didn’t deserve
The death I received
It was meant for you
But I took it on Me
So don’t you yet see
That I want to help you
If you’ll give me your hand
Just trust that I can rescue
You must make a choice
So what will you choose
My arms are always open
Just waiting for you.”

Jesus, I am so sorry
For my doubt and control
Please take it all
My heart, mind, and soul
I need you to heal me
I need your strength
I’m scared and confused
But I’ll trust what You say
Jesus, I need You


The Scars of Abortion

I want to share a story with you. It’s a story of pain, tragedy, death, love, and redemption. It’s a story that, until now, only two people have heard. It’s a story that I have hid in my heart due to my fears of judgment or condemnation from other people. A few weeks ago, God placed it on my heart to share this story and I have been reluctant to obey. After much prayer and attempting to bargain with God, I find myself sharing the story of my abortion.

I’m not sharing this for sympathy or attention – but to acknowledge the glory of God and how He can and will redeem us from our darkest sins.

Whether you choose to believe it of not, the psychological scars of abortion are devastating.

I was twenty years old. I was in college. I was in love. I drank a lot and I didn’t know that I was hiding behind hundreds of masks to hide my true self. I didn’t know who my true self was. I didn’t believe that anyone loved me for who I was. I believed that I only deserved love if I was “good enough” to earn it. I believed that he only loved me because I did things for him. I had no faith in God. I didn’t understand who He was. I pretended to be someone whom I thought others would love. I didn’t trust people. I was lost, but I didn’t know I was lost. I thought that my boyfriend was the only person who was looking out for me and I worshiped the ground he walked on and I would have done anything for him.

I always wanted a family. My own family was dysfunctional as child and I longed to have a family of my own – a family that included a mom, dad, and child(ren). I thought, if I could just have that, my life would make more sense and I would be okay. I thought I had found true love. I thought he was the man I would marry. He seemed to be the first man I had ever been with who was interested in more than just that “one thing”. I was broken though. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but my life was in shambles and I was grasping for control.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared but I was elated. I thought that he would be happy and that we would become a happily ever after family. But I was very, very wrong. When I told him, he said that he would support whatever I chose. But he kept pushing for abortion. I was terrified of losing him and I didn’t want my child to be raised the way I was, without a father. If we had this baby, I would disappoint my family, I would never finish school, I would never amount to anything, I wouldn’t be a good mom. In short, I would be a failure. I had never given much thought to the topic of abortion in my past. I always thought I was pro-choice. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, but I always thought it wasn’t for me. The more he suggested it, the more I wrestled with whether or not I was okay with it for me. But if it was legal and our government said it was okay, I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Abortion was a way of making sure that I didn’t have to give up on my own dreams. After many weeks of coercion, I agreed to “take care of the problem”.  He never seemed to give any thought, and nor did I, to how going through with this would change our lives forever.

I sat in front of my computer, very hesitant. I didn’t know how hard it would be just to type the words “abortion clinic” into the Google search bar. The results appeared quickly and I had the name and number for the place I needed to call. I picked up my phone and dialed the number. I just stared at it for a minute, trying to give myself the courage to press send. When I did, I felt like the line rang for eternity. I was finally greeted on the other end by a young woman with a chipper voice asking, “how may I help you?” I stumbled through my words and I struggled to get them out, “I-I-I-I n-n-n-need to have and a-a-a-bortion.” She responded in that same chipper voice, “Okay, no problem. We can help you with that problem.” She then proceeded to tell me what I needed to do, how much it would cost, and how I was doing the best thing for my future. She set up my appointments and told me not to worry. She told me that everything would be back to normal once it was taken care of.

The clinic required a “pre-op” appointment. I went to that first appointment by myself. I was young, scared, and confused, but I was convinced that if I ever wanted a chance to have the life I had always dreamed of, I needed to go through with it. That appointment was overwhelming. I heard all the scientific facts of the thing growing inside of me and how this was the best thing I could do for my future. But no one ever spoke of the growing mass in my belly as a baby. No one told me that my baby had a heartbeat. No one told me that my baby could feel pain. No one told me that my baby was a baby. These are things that I wouldn’t learn until after it was over; after I couldn’t change my mind. They tried to prepare me for what my body would experience as a result of the procedure. They explained that there would be some pain involved but that after a few days I should feel pretty normal again (what they didn’t know, and neither did I at the time, is that I didn’t know what normal felt like). They explained to me that I may experience a little sadness but that would simply be the result of my hormones getting back to normal. But what they didn’t try to prepare me for was the emotional distress that would pour into my life after “my mistake was taken care of”. No one told me that the abortion really meant ripping my baby limb from limb from the warm, secure home he had, had for 11 weeks in my womb. By the time I left that appointment, they had convinced me that I was doing the right thing. The doctor and nurses promised me freedom and happiness once they had “fixed” the mistake that I had made. I was sure that if I let the thing developing inside of me turn into a baby, my life would be ruined.

I had to wait three days before I went back to the clinic for “the procedure” as they called it. But those few days felt like an eternity. I felt like an inmate on death row who was waiting for her sentence. I was terrified of what was going to happen, but I was sure that once it was over my pain would be gone. Those days dragged on in a haze of confusion and alcohol abuse. I was sure I was doing the right thing. I was sure that everything I was feeling would go away once the problem was gone.

It was like I was standing on the edge of a cliff and everyone around me promised that if I stepped off the edge, I’d find happiness, freedom, and peace. But the voices I kept hearing all around me were 100% contradictory to everything I was feeling. I didn’t know at the time that what I was feeling was love and compassion for the life inside of me. I thought I was feeling contempt for it and would be glad once it was gone. I felt trapped and I didn’t know whether to listen to the voices or my feelings. Most of my history had taught me that my feelings couldn’t be trusted, so I was quick to disregard my feelings.

I was a control freak who felt like I had lost all control of my body and my life.

So I stood on the edge of the cliff and looked over the expanse. I didn’t want to step off the edge because I didn’t know what I’d be falling in to. All I could see was endless darkness. But I also didn’t want to walk the winding path that was behind me. As I turned to assess what the scene behind me would behold, the twists and turns horrified me. I saw wild beasts that looked ready to attack if I tried to take even one step forward. Thorns and thistles lined the path and darkness consumed it. It was intimidating and terrifying, but I could see the terrors and could prepare for how to handle them. The voices inside of me told me that if I went down this path it would hurt, I would disappoint and hurt other people, and that I would fail; but those same internal voices told me that I could and should take the risk. But then there were the louder, more tangible, external voices that urged me to step out into the vast unknown oblivion. They promised me love, security, freedom, and acceptance if only I took the step off the cliff. They promised me that what I couldn’t see in the unknown was a better life, a life free of my “problem”. They told me I could trust them. In a desperate attempt to find love, safety, and acceptance, I abandoned my own feelings and decided to step off into the oblivion. But that one step left me falling into a darkness that I didn’t know how to handle.

It’s funny, really, the lies you believe when you have no foundation of truth.

The night before the “procedure” he had promised he would be with me, he promised that he would support me through the whole experience because, as he said, we were doing the right thing. But that night, I experienced the first in a long string of broken promises. He didn’t show up and I was left to wrestle with my confusing emotions on my own. I was unable to sleep as my mind kept taking me back to that cliff and the fear of the unknown that I was about to enter into.  When he arrived at my house the following morning to take me to the clinic I was filled with anxiety. My thoughts were running in so many different directions that I didn’t understand what was going on with me. I felt alone, scared, and out of control. I placed my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being into the hands of the man that I thought loved and would only do what was best for me, not knowing at the time that my safety and security were the last things on his mind. He told me we were doing the right thing, and I believed him. But if this was right, then why did I feel so wrong? If this was right, why did I feel so condemned? If this was right, how come I felt so ashamed? If this was right, how come I felt like, from that moment on, I needed to guard this secret with my life?

Entering the clinic was overwhelming. I was walking in, a scared, twenty year old, pregnant young lady and I was promised that I would be walking out as a freed and happy young adult with a bright future. I was consumed with confusion as I was greeted by smiling faces. How could they be smiling about something that felt so wrong to me? I was deceived and I didn’t know that behind those smiles were people just waiting to take the life of the unborn mass of cells that lay within my abdomen.

We had a seat in the waiting room and it felt surreal. I was buying into the promises of freedom and I couldn’t wait to reach the other side of this, to be free of the feelings that this pregnancy had brought upon me. I had been convinced that everything I was feeling was not negativity toward the procedure but actually toward the pregnancy. My name was called; I squeezed his hand, and walked through the doors that I would never walk back out of. After several needle pricks, my arms were left sore and bruised. I was asked to change my clothes and have a seat in another waiting room. This room was full of terrified girls and young women. We were all waiting to hear our names called so we could get this over with. The room smelled of shame. At the time, I assumed we were all just ashamed of our pregnancies. If you don’t know what shame smells like, step foot into the waiting room of an abortion clinic, it’s an unmistakable smell that one can never forget. A few of the ladies tried to make small talk, but mostly we all just kept to ourselves, trying to hide our faces.

One by one, our names were called and one by one our babies were murdered. Finally, it was my turn. Finally, I would be getting that freedom that I was promised.

I followed a nurse back to the “exam room”. I think death chamber is a more appropriate name. I’ll never forget this doctor as long as I live. He was wearing sky blue scrubs and a face mask. I have often wondered what he was hiding behind that mask. But what horrified me were his eyes. His eyes were like ice and it chilled me to my bones. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was in the presence of evil and my consciousness shut down.  I had made myself become numb; I felt like a zombie. I had absolutely no control over my body. The doctor and nurses spoke to me and my body responded to them, but I couldn’t comprehend what was going on. I followed orders and laid down on the table. I watched as the doctor pulled the stirrups out, placed my feet in them, and strapped my feet down. At the same time, a few nurses were on either side of me securing my arms. One nurse injected a medication into my arm that would sedate me and I felt a cold sting run through my veins. I felt as if I had just been injected with the ice from that doctor’s eyes. The medical team was busy with mindless chatter as I lay there helpless and afraid. It was as if what they were about to do to me meant absolutely nothing to them. But I still thought they were helping me. One of the nurses urged me to close my eyes and promised I would be asleep before anything started. That’s when I felt the doctor touching me and I felt a warm tear streak across my cheek. The doctor said, “this will be cold,” as he pushed the frozen ultrasound probe inside of me. I felt like I had been penetrated by the evil I saw in his eyes; but he was helping me, right? My mind was starting to feel cloudy and I was beginning to lose consciousness and that’s when I heard the doctor’s voice again. “Wow, that’s a strong heartbeat. Oh, no wonder, there’s two.” It was in that moment that I changed my mind. I tried to speak and struggle free. My mind was screaming, “let me go, let me go,” but the drugs they had given me had done their job; I was too weak and disoriented and my eyes closed. The last thing I heard was the distinct sound of two very strong, very healthy heartbeats.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up to extreme pain and I heard the humming of the torture device that was ripping my babies from their home. I tried to scream, but nothing would come out. Then I felt that cold, evil sting in my arm once more and I was again unconscious. The next time I awoke, I was being forced from the exam table to a wheel chair. One of the nurses pulled on my arm and almost yelled for me to “wake up and move.” I groggily followed orders, still unable to comprehend what was happening. Was it over? Was I fixed? Was I free? As I stood up, I was overcome with pain and I nearly collapsed into the waiting wheel chair. This was their first time in my life that I had ever been blinded by pain. This is when I first realized that I was falling and I couldn’t catch myself. But I was sure that those promises of freedom, love, and happiness still waited for me.

I was moved to a recovery room where four recliners sat side by side. Three of the chairs were already filled with shamed and hurting young women who had, like me, unknowingly just committed the biggest mistakes of their lives. I painfully made my way into the chair and quickly fell back to sleep. I was only vaguely aware of the busyness around me as everyone else seemed to go about their business. As I opened my eyes again, a male nurse approached me, sending me into a panic. He had the same icy eyes as that doctor; however his voice was much gentler. He told me that it was time for me to get dressed and leave. My head was foggy and my legs were unstable, but I felt sure that as soon as I could get out of this place, I would experience the freedom I was promised. No one had prepared me for the amount of physical pain I would be in. I got dressed and was only able to half listen to the instructions the nurse was giving me. He then walked me to the back door and led me out of the building where I found my boyfriend waiting to take me home. At the time, I wondered why we weren’t allowed to leave out the front door after the procedure, now I realize that they don’t want the young women in the waiting room to see the pain and despair on our faces – that might lead them to change their minds. That’s why they made us use the back door.

I had expected him to take me in his arms and tell me how much he loved me. I had expected him to embrace me and tell me he was sorry for my pain. I had expected him to comfort and protect me. But all I really got was silence. More broken promises. Where was my freedom? I felt more bound, confused, and ashamed than ever. I couldn’t even look at him. On our way home we stopped for lunch and I looked at him, with hatred in my voice and said, “it was twins.”

I didn’t realize then, how much I already loved them.

The weekend was a blur of pain, sleep, and crying. I hated sleeping because I was overcome with grief in every nightmare. I caught glimpses of the baby boy and girl that I had just killed. They wanted to know why I didn’t love them. They wanted to know why I had killed them. They wanted to know why. And so did I. But when I was awake, I was in such a tremendous amount of pain that I could barely move. I was sure though, that I deserved this pain. The babies in my nightmares told me I did too. Being awake and facing the physical pain was better though than being asleep and having to see their small, mutilated bodies crying at me. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t think I would survive. I truly believed that this pain would literally kill me. And a part of me hoped it would. I didn’t believe in God at that point. I thought God hated me and had forsaken me many years before. But I cried out to Him, asking Him why He was doing this to me.

He stayed with me for most of that weekend. I probably would have taken my own life if he hadn’t. Two days was not enough time to heal, but I told myself it had to be. Monday rolled around and I had to convince myself that I was fine. I had to forget the pain and move on. After all, I had been promised freedom and I was determined to find it.

The promises were all broken. My boyfriend’s support quickly dwindled as did my trust and faith in him. I had placed my body in his hands and allowed him to control me and he shattered every fiber of my being. I was determined to never be that vulnerable again. I was determined that no one would ever have that kind of control over my life again. I was determined to regain control of my own life.

The promises that the doctor and nurses made to me about love, acceptance, safety, and freedom were all lies. It was never about love, it was about death. It was never about acceptance, it was about alienation. It was never about safety, it was about fear. It was never about freedom, it was about bondage.

In an attempt to cope with and hide my pain, I turned to drug and alcohol abuse and I also struggled with self-harm and bulimia. These things only deepened my shame and left me bound in my despair. I did all I could to avoid feeling the pain.

This story took place just over 6 years ago – January 11, 2008. In these past 6 years I have hidden and run from much of the pain I have felt.

I stepped off that cliff and I started falling. I was terrified by what the impact would look like once I finally hit the ground. Would I break and shatter and lose it all once again? Or would God’s loving arms catch me before the impact could ruin me?

I choose to believe that God will catch me. No other promise has felt as secure as that one.

Facing the pain of the abortion was hard. It was, after all, a choice that I made. I cried many tears and yelled at God many times. But trusting in myself and what I could do had obviously not been helpful, so the only choice I had left was to trust the God who said He could heal me.

I think we get so bound by our shame that we convince ourselves that IF God is real, He can’t forgive this and that we are hopeless. But that’s why I wrote this, it’s not hopeless and you are forgiven. You just have to trust Him. Trust is hard and can sometimes be painful, but it’s worth it.

It is only by trusting God and allowing Him to show me the depth of my sin and shame that I have been able to find freedom. I have worked through the “Surrendering the Secret” Bible study and Celebrate Recovery step studies. Those, along with lots of prayers and tears, have helped me to understand who God is and who He says I am. The shame of abortions is real and it is deep. Most women hide it so deep that they don’t even realize how much they’re still hurting.

I hid it for 5 years before I realized how much I was still hurting from it. After 5 years of hiding the pain so deeply, I had forgotten how to feel it. It’s taken this past year to work through and process all of the shame and emotions I’ve felt.

It’s odd really, when women choose abortion they choose it because they don’t believe that they have any other option. We’re promised freedom, but what we find is the furthest thing from it.

I’m sure there will be controversy about the topic of this post, and I’m okay with that. My goal isn’t to make everyone happy, but to simply share my story in hopes to help someone else. I want it to be known that I will not engage on any arguments or debates and any condemning comments will be deleted.


You Lead, I’ll Follow

Finding God’s will for your life is hard….but I think that’s the problem. We’re all looking so hard to do great things for God that we miss the small opportunities that He gives us. We miss the ways in which He is using us now. We want to serve Him in magnificent ways, and we seems to somehow forget that sometimes, the most magnificent service is the mundane, ordinary, and boring everyday tasks that not many people want to do.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

I get stuck sometimes…frustrated…because I want to serve God. I want to share Him with everyone around me and tell people all that He has done in my life. But sometimes, that just means living my life, trusting Him to get me through every day, raising my children to know and love Him, honoring him in my relationships with other people. Most often, He asks us to serve Him in ways where we don’t even realize we are serving Him.

Luke 16:10 – One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

I think, at least for me, the biggest focus should be on trusting Him to get me where I need to be. I hate stepping out of my comfort zone, but some of the best memories I have are when God has used me to serve Him in areas that extend from my comfort zone. God has recently presented me with another opportunity to serve Him. It’s an opportunity that I am excited about…but it is also an opportunity that asks me to exit my comfort zone and trust Him more. It’s an opportunity for God to continue to show me how faithful and trustworthy He is. It’s an opportunity for me to extend to others the grace, love, and mercy that have been extended to me.

Matthew 20:28 – Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

God has given me passions and dreams and He has gifted me in certain ways. It is my job, no matter how small or how large, to use my gifts in a way that honor and serve Him.

You Lead, I’ll Follow
Where do You want me
My heart wants to know
Is it here, is it there?
Guide my steps as I go
I’ve walked around blindly
Looking for Your will
All the while You were asking
That I simply be still
Am I longing to serve You
Because of Your grace and mercy
Or do I seek recognition
Which is just serving me
I ask You to search me
Show me the truth
Take away anything
That’s not pleasing to You
You say You will use
The wounded and weak
So here I stand now
Ready to hear You speak

When I was lost
You brought me Home
You showed me love
When I thought I was alone
My heart, once empty
Has been filled to me brim
With the life You gave me
When You freed me form sin
I’m not who I was
And I’m no longer in chains
I’m not bound to my past
You took away all my shame

So let me take this new life
And make it be known
With my Father, my God
I’m never alone
Bring me to places
That will challenge my fears
Through the thick and the thin
I know You’re right here
So wherever You want me
That’s where I’ll go
No questions asked
You lead, I’ll follow


When I Grow Up

When I was growing up, I frequently got asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always had an answer – astronaut, doctor, police officer…you get the picture. While this is something kids should think about, I’ve come to realize that what we want to be when we grow up shouldn’t be the focus of our lives. What’s more important, I think, is WHO we want to be.

I am 25 years old, and I still have no clue WHAT I want to be when I grow up. I have a criminal justice degree, I went to EMT school, and I have a passion for writing….I’m not quite sure where that gets me; but I’m not going to spend my life with a sole focus on finding the answer. An occupation is simply that – a job. Yes, it is where we make money to provide for our families…but it does not define who we are.

But let’s focus on the other question – who do I want to be.

I want to be a faithful follower of Christ. I want to love God with all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength. I want to trust Him with my life and my plans and allow Him to show me what I should be doing; that no matter what my job – He will provide for our needs as long as I listen and obey.

I want to be a loving and submissive wife. I want to love my husband only second to God and follow his lead of our family.

I want to be a patient and wise mother. I want to make good decision in guiding my children and point them to Christ. I want to show them grace and admit to them when I’ve done wrong. I want to show them that they are loved unconditionally, not just by their parents – but also by God.

I want to be a good friend. I want to love others and share the love of Christ with everyone I meet. I want to help hurting people. I want to show people, who think there is no hope left, that there is ALWAYS hope in Jesus Christ.

This is only a small glimpse into who I want to be. I’m not yet where I need to be in achieving this, but I’m no longer where I was.

So let’s stop focusing on WHAT we want to be or what our kids want to be. What we want to be doesn’t define who we are. Only God can do that. Instead, let’s focus on WHO we want to be.

Let’s teach our kids that WHO they want to be is more valuable than what they want to be. Let’s raise our kids to love God, family, and others. Let’s show them that they don’t have to earn love. Lets teach them the value of hard work but help them to also see the difference between work and identity.

What you do can be taken from you; but who you are is who you, no matter what you do.


A Runner’s Prayer

Running has changed me and it has changed my life. It has challenged me and helped me to see that I can do so much more than the small limitations I place on myself. I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It has changed how I view God and has given me more clarity to hear Him speak to me. Hearing Him more clearly had given me a deeper desire to speak to Him more honestly.

So this is my prayer for every run and every runner.

The Runner’s Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for this day
For giving me this desire
To start running Your way
I step out on the road
One foot, then the other
I can feel my heart pounding
And my dreams are uncovered
Thank You for strength
To push on through the pain
Thank You for courage
To step into the race
The sun on my cheeks
The wind in my hair
Lets me feel alive
When life’s just not fair
When it’s hard and I’m hurting
You send me a sign
That tells me to keep moving
With a strength that’s not mine
When I feel my heart beat
I feel You moving in me
And with each rush of wind
You are setting me free
So run by my side
And guide my each step
Be my motivation
With each and every breath
As my feet hit the ground
Your stride matches mine
And You’re one step ahead
To be my guiding light
I give you this run
And I’ll give it all of me
I’m running to Your love
And You’re setting me free.
Thank You, Father
For the rush in the run
It’s in Jesus name that I pray
I love You. Amen!


Fear and Faith in Deployments

The deployment is happening soon…too soon if you ask me. It’s all creeping up on us so fast and I am struggling to trust God through it. The truth that God is in control of whether or not my husband comes home is a scary and reassuring one. Scary because that means that Robert, even if he does everything right, may not come home, if that is God’s will. And reassuring because that means that God already knows what is going to happen and He will take care of me either way. I know that this is a time that I need to trust and lean on God more than any other, but I am really struggling with it becuase I am so afraid.

Faith and Fear
The pillow next to mine
Right now, it holds his head
But it won’t be long until
I’m lying in an empty bed
When I got married to a soldier
I knew that this would be our life
But that doesn’t bring me comfort
In bed, alone at night
People ask me how I do it
Truth it, I simply do not know
On my knees with falling tears
I don’t want to let him go
He reassures me he’ll come home
But doubt lingers in his eyes
He’s going off to fight a war
That could cost him his life

I’m trying to stay strong
In the truth that God is near
But I’m struggling to trust in Him
As I wrestle with my fear
What if he doesn’t make it
If he never comes home
Will I hold strong to my faith
If I’m left here on my own
When we were first married
As two, we became one
If I lose half of me
Will I forever be undone?

I know that God is faithful
I know that He is true
So why am I not trusting Him
To know He’ll get us through
His will, will be done
Whether I like it or not
He has a plan for all of us
He has lessons to be taught
Am I willing to let go of fear
And hold on to His love?
Will I hold on to things of this world?
Or to those from up above?

God, please hear my prayer
Please bring him home to us
Keep him safe and hold his heart
Let him feel Your love.
Your plans are better
Than mine will ever be
Help me to hold on to that
Please help me to see.
Help me to see that You are love
You give mercy, You give grace
Help me see the joy of who You are
Even in this horrifying place
You already know
What our futures hold
Please help me to rest in that
So in Your love I may be bold
Take my heart and keep it
Safe in your loving hands
I’m crumbling under all this weight
Without You I can’t stand
Give me strength to trust in You
And grace for when I’mlost
Help to lay all of these fears
Down at the foot of Your Son’s cross


I Signed Up For The Fight

The Army life…it just plain hurts at times. The constant separations, the missed birthdays and anniversaries, the lonely holidays. The times you get the kids in bed at night and you just sit there, wondering where he is, how he’s doing, if he’s safe, or if he’s even alive. The times that you just wish you could stay in bed, when you don’t want to get up and face the world. Civilian families don’t understand. They may try to be supportive and loving, but they just don’t get it. They don’t understand the very real possibility that your husband may never come home. They don’t understand the pain of missing his voice, the softness of his touch, or the sweetness of his kiss. But those are only the negatives and if you only focus on the negatives, you won’t see the positives.Military Ball

The positive list is much, MUCH, longer. When you’re a part of the Army, you develop an instant family. You have sisters who understand exactly what you’re going through and who are all willing to support and encourage each other at all costs. Army wives get to experience the joy and fun of Military Balls; dressing up like a princess and enjoying a night of beauty, romance, and fairy tales. That is something that civilians know nothing about. Our husbands are willing to lay down their lives for each other, but we do the same on the homefront. We have healthcare and we have homes to live in; no, they may not be the greatest, but at least we have them. For that alone, I am thankful.

I’ve heard people say, that when my husband is gone I should just go on with my life like nothing is different; to an extent that is true. But how can I live as if nothing has changed when my other half is in a war zone, when I go days, if not weeks, without any communication, when our young children want to know where their daddy is and don’t understand why he’s not here. So yes, our lives must go on, but it is impossible to live as if nothing has changed because, when he’s gone, everything is changed.

DeploymentBut in the midst of the absence of my husband and the sadness of missing him, I serve a great God who gives me everything I need to keep going. In times of separation, I’ve noticed that I feel a closeness with God that I only feel when my husband is gone. When I am upset with the thoughts of ‘what if’s’, God brings me a peace and comfort that I don’t experience at any other time. Maybe it’s because when he’s not here, I have more time to spend in God’s Word and focus on Him, or maybe is it’s because God knows that I need to feel His presence more in my husband’s absence, or maybe it’s a combination. Whatever it is, I know that I don’t deserve it. I know that God’s greatness extends beyond anything I can possibly fathom.

When I got married to a soldier, his dreams became mine, his goals became mine, and his fight became mine. He fights on the front end of it all and I fight on the home front of it. We’re fighting the same battle. The fight for God, love, and family.

You signed up for the fight
It wasn’t long after meeting
She knew he was the one
Even though she knew his job
Meant carrying a gun
When she said “I Do”
She meant “I’ll give you all of me,
Even when we are apart,
Two as one, we’ll always be.”
It didn’t take long at all
For the orders to come
The ones that meant he had to leave
His one and only love
He told her that he’d miss her
And that he’d see her soon
He tried to calm her fears
The possibility of doom

She’s afraid of what could happen
Afraid that he could lose his life
On her knees, she prays to God
“Bring him home to his new wife.”
She cried, “How will I get through it?
Twelve months is a long time.”
So she opens up her Bible
And lets God’s Word fill her mind
God told her, “It’s okay to cry,
I am your strong foundation.
Your husband is a man of honor
Fighting for his nation.
For better or for worse,
You signed up for the fight too.
I love you, I love him.
Love alone will get you through.”

You see her in the park
At church or at the store
Now there’s two toddlers in tow
She had expected so much more
She has given up her dreams
To cling to and follow his
Most days she wouldn’t mind it
If she could simply feel his kiss
She lays the kids in bed at night
A little voice says, “I miss daddy.”
With tears in her tired eyes,
Together they pray softly
“God, keep my daddy safe.
Me and sissy miss him lots.
We know he’s where you need him
But sometimes without him we feel lost.”

Some days she’s just plain lonely
The man she loves is far away
With a willing heart and empty hands
She falls on her knees to pray
“Lord, I want to be the wife and mom
That you’ve called me to be,
Help to embrace this separation
When through the tears, I can’t see.”
God told her, “It’s okay to cry,
I am your strong foundation.
Your husband is a man of honor
Fighting for his nation.
For better or for worse,
You signed up for the fight too.
I love you, I love him.
Love alone will get you through.”

Now the kids have gotten older
And now they understand
Why daddy has to go and fight
Why he protects their land
But understanding leads to fear
When they know that he could die
Just the thought alone
Brings tears to precious eyes
“Mom, how did you do it?
Marry dad in this profession.
Aren’t you scared that in his job,
Anything could happen?”
But it’s not about his job,
It doesn’t matter what he does
When you find the one, that’s it,
Your heart can’t stop the love.

Of course she’s still afraid
What if he won’t come home?
But she holds onto a God who’s stronger
And who won’t leave her all alone
She drops down to her knees
She prays, “Lord, protect his life.”
But even if God’s will’s not hers
She knows she’ll be alright
‘Cause God says that, “It’s okay to cry,
I am your strong foundation.
Your husband is a man of honor
Fighting for his nation.
For better or for worse,
You signed up for the fight too.
I love you, I love him.
Love alone will get you through.”


Prayer Confessions

I’ve recently been reading a few books on prayer. I think my prayer life really needs a boost. It’s no one’s fault but my own. I don’t pray like I should.

These are my prayer confessions (I’m a bit embarrassed to even admit them).

Sometimes, I’m not sure I know how. Sometimes, I think I’m afraid to. Sometimes, I think I’m just lazy. Sometimes, I feel to upset/angry with God. Sometimes, I think I just don’t want to hear God’s response. I think, ultimately, what my problem is…I’m just WAY too human.

I’m Not Sure I Know How to Pray

I’m not good with saying the right thing. The insecure, self-conscious part of myself tells me that I better find the right words and phrases before I start trying to pray, otherwise God will ignore me. Now, I know that logic is just plain silly – but let me explain.

When my dad first started sharing his faith with me, I asked him numerous times, “How do you pray?” And he always gave me the same answer, “It’s just a conversation. Just talk to God.” I’m just saying, I think he got tired of me asking the same question over and over 😉

I had a hard time wrapping my head around the, “it’s a conversation” answer. I tend to be socially awkward at times and I feel like I’m no good at conversations with people, how could I possibly have a conversation with an all-mighty, all-powerful God?

But here’s what I’ve learned, God loves me and my social awkwardness and He just wants me to talk to Him. He wants honesty. He wants love. He wants thanks. He wants praise. Every time I log into Facebook, the status line says, “What’s on your mind?” but let’s be honest, Facebook doesn’t really care. God does. Can we talk to God the same way we talk to Facebook? God just wants to know what’s on your mind (not that He doesn’t already know, but He wants us to trust Him with it).

So now, when I don’t know what to pray, I pray this: God, I love you and I thank you for giving the ability to talk to you whenever I want to. Father, I want and need to talk to you, but right now I just don’t have the words to convey what I am feeling. I’m a bit confused as to what I should even pray for. Please, search my heart and mind and show me the words I need.

Romans 8:26-27 – Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, becausethe Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Even when I don’t know what to say, the Spirit does and the Spirit will direct my prayers. Thank God for that!

I’m Afraid to Pray

I don’t know why I feel this way sometimes. I know that God already knows everything about me, but sometimes, I find myself afraid to pray because if I pray I’ll have to be honest with God and simply don’t want to tell Him the things I’ve done. And once again, I know this just sounds crazy, but hey, I’m only human.

Why am I afraid to talk to God about things He already knows? Because in admitting them to God, I’m also admitting them to myself. If I don’t admit it to God, I can deny it, pretend it never happened, make believe it was just a dream/nightmare. Right?…WRONG! I can only live in denial for so long before it begins to eat away at me. How do I know? I’ve been there!

God is so loving and merciful and gracious. He already knows. He is just waiting for us to admit and confess to Him.

Quit trying to outsmart God…it doesn’t work 😉

James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working

I’m too Lazy to Pray

I admit it…I’m lazy. I try to pray every night before going to bed, but sometimes, I simply fall asleep. I’m too lazy/tired/drained (whatever word you want to use) to spend just a few more minutes talking to my Creator. Wow, how much lazier can I get!

Throughout that day, I often think, “I’m going to take a few moments to pray,” but then I get distracted and move on to something else.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Quit being lazy. Go to God with everything. Thank Him. Praise Him. Love Him. Glorify Him. That’s all He asks for.

I’m too Upset/Angry at God to Pray

Let’s face it, when bad things happen in our lives, we often get angry with God. We think, “C’mon God, why would you let this happen to me.” We get upset and we don’t think it’s fair that bad things are happening to us. And we’re right, it’s not fair. But it’s a glorious thing that life is not fair, because if it was we’d all be in hell.

It’s not fair that we don’t have to pay the price for our sins, but Jesus paid the price for us anyway.

A few months ago, I had a miscarriage, and I was angry with God. I didn’t understand why it was happening. I didn’t understand why I lost my baby. I felt like God was punishing me. And my prayer life suffered. It’s hard to pray to God when you’re mad at God. But then I had a meeting with my pastor and he offered me many comforting words and wise advice. He told me, “God understands when you’re angry. He expects you to get angry. He calls us all to get angry, but in our anger, don’t sin. Talk to Him about it. If you can’t wrestle with your Heavenly Father, who can you wrestle with.”

That got me thinking. How many times have ignored God because I was angry with my circumstances? Evil doesn’t come from God. He doesn’t cause the bad things to happen to us. But just like the story of Joseph, when bad things do happen, He will use them for good to glorify Him.

Ephesians 4:26 – Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.

Essentially, it’s like we’re commanded to get angry. God gave us the emotion of anger for a reason. Anger can spur people into action. So in your anger, don’t sin. Pray and know God is not the cause of your circumstances. God knows when we are angry and He can take it when we tell Him about. But to do that, we have to talk to Him.

I Don’t Want to Hear God’s Response

Sometimes, when I pray about things, I’m afraid God is going to tell me no. I know that if God tells me no, it’s not because He doesn’t love me, it’s because He has something better in mind for me. But my human mind often struggles with not being in control of my life, and giving veto power to God over my plans can freak me out.

It’s frustrating, at the very least, when I am excited about something, but then God says no. I know He knows better than I do what is best for me, so why do I keep trying to get Him to agree with me? Wouldn’t it be easier if I would just agree with Him?  Of course it would be.

James 4:2 – You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.

God wants us to ask Him for the things we need. He will provide them. But we also need to ask God for things that are in His will for us. I mean, sure you could ask God for a million dollars, but let’s be honest, how realistic is that? God will provide for all of our needs as long as we put our faith and trust in Him. But we need to be willing to surrender our plans for His. Even though we think, at the time, our way is the best way, God knows better, and He might have a better way for you.

I’m human and my human mind often stumbles back into habits of trying to “do it on my own.” But quite frankly, that’s just not possible. If I could do things on my own, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I wouldn’t have done some of the things I have done. And I wouldn’t need to a Savior.

But thankfully, God sent His Son to die for me. He has forgiven me for all the times I’ve messed up and all the times I will mess up. He has forgiven me for all my prayer follies. And as long as I will keep the door open and give Him my best, He will give me His best. It’s not always going to be easy, but He never said it would be.

All I can do is the best thing I can do: PRAY!


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