Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Just As I Was

A friend of mine once lovingly told me after I had decided to follow Jesus, “you don’t get to pick and  choose what you want to follow, you pick up your cross and you follow Him.”  I would like to say after she told me that, I did exactly that, but I didn’t.  I’m a work in progress and I’m human, and every day, Jesus teaches me His ways through the Bible.  Not just your ordinary every day book, but a living, breathing life altering, mind transforming (not to be confused with brain washing), heart softening, truth speaking guide to life.

The Bible is His Word speaking to us today.  Yes, I have free will and I live in a fallen world.  The sins of people (including me) are no different than the sins of yesteryear.  A big difference however is that people used to hide their sin and were either ashamed or shamed into hiding or possibly executed or exiled. Today, we flaunt our sin flags proudly and we ask others to watch our sin and then take you to court if you don’t agree to play on the playground of our sin.  It’s splattered all over social media, television, magazines, books and well, just about everywhere you look.  I’m offended by your offense and you’re offended that I’m offended by your offense and everyone’s walking around offended by offense.

What’s a follower of Christ to do?  Do we take our Bibles and thump away at will or do we look the other way and put ourselves in a Christian bubble? We’re just as human and as sinful as the person next to us. Putting ourselves on a pedestal isn’t going to bring lost souls to Jesus.  We can’t run around shaking our holier than thou finger in their faces, because you better start with the person looking back at you in the mirror.  Good grief we’ll chase away those searching for Christ in a NY minute that way.

What brought you to Christ?  I can tell you it wasn’t any one thing for me.  I know it’s more than I’ll ever know this side of Heaven, but what I do know is, people were praying for me and I had no clue about that until after the fact.  Jesus placed people in my life that knew Him but I was too far from Him to grasp it. It wasn’t until my best friend started changing that I started to question what was happening.  It wasn’t an overnight, she took a Jesus pill and was instantly changed. No, it was a gradual change.  I have to be honest, I didn’t quite know what to think.

As she changed, something slowly started changing in me.  She never told me I needed to change. She never told me I was a bad person. She never changed how she loved me.  She told me about her life changing and what work Jesus was doing in her.  There was no holier than thou finger shaking or Bible thumping involved.

See, I already had guilt and shame deep seeded in my soul. I didn’t need anyone telling me my sins were offensive because deep down I already knew.  My best friend loved me just as I was.  Did she want better for me?  Sure she did, she always had, that part never changed. But she never once forced Jesus on me.  She loved me as Jesus loved me.  Just as I was.

But through it all, God was there. It was my time and I was ready.  I’d come to the end of myself and I wanted something better than the living hell I was putting myself through.  You want to know why I changed…ask me.  I’ve been telling people all about me for as long as people will listen.  Difference now….I have nothing to hide.  My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.   This is absolutely nothing I did for myself.   It’s all about Jesus and what He’s done.

1 Comment »

I Looked For You

As a child, I looked for you in my parents. I looked for you in the fairy tales I read, in birthday parties, presents, mystical characters and dolls.

As a teenager, I looked for you in my activities, my crushes, and still, my parents. I looked for you in me.  I looked for you in books, bars, roller skating rinks, the back seats of cars, at parties, football games, baseball games, swimming pools, amusement parks and fairs.

As an adult, I looked for you in my job, my marriages, my friends, my stuff, my money, astrological signs, and the one parent I had left.  I looked for you in multiple affairs, my abilities, and my body.

As a mom I got a glimpse of you for the first time.  So then I looked for you in my son.

When I couldn’t handle it anymore, I looked for you in alcohol.

But, it wasn’t until I gave up looking for you, that you found me.

You found me crumpled up on the floor buried by everything this world had to offer.  My pit was dark, lonely, with absolutely no light. For me, there was only one way out…to snuff this empty, hollow, life.

Ahhh, but this pit was no match for you.  As you lay there with me at my bottom, you grabbed my hand and protected me as you went ahead mightily and without fear or condemnation pushed through lust, greed, pride, self-righteousness, envy, hate, shame, guilt, addiction, and deceitful desires.  You annihilated each sin with the only thing that conquers them all…love.

When we reached the top, you ever so gently, lifted me up out of the pit.  You set me back down, and started writing your story on my stony heart.  You sang me to sleep, you gave me hope, you shed your blood and you died for me. You were tortured, brutalized, spat upon and ridiculed.  You were crucified to fulfill a predestined plan to save me from my selfishness, because you loved me then and despite myself, you love me now.

You are Redeemer to the fallen, weak, misunderstood, sick, lost, and hurting. You are Lord of all creation. You are God of wonders that cannot be measured or denied.  You are light and everything that is good and true and perfect.  You are without blame, without sin, and without a doubt, the risen Savior sent to save us all.

You pursued me, You found me, and You never gave up on me.  You overcame the beasts that sought my destruction.  You waited with unending patience and when I was ready, You wrapped me up, covered me in love and called me Yours.  Never did I imagine a love like Yours! Indeed, nothing can compare.

Day by day, step by step, eyes focused on You, I dare to imagine the life You planned for me.  Day by day, step by step, eyes focused on You, I still mess up.  And day by day, step by step, eyes focused on You, I learn more and more, it’s not about me and what I’ve done or will do, but it’s all about You and what You’ve done and what You’re going to do.

Love is looking for you as well.  He’s waiting, He’s with you, right where you are, no matter what you’re caught up in. Nothing, yes, no thing in your life will stop God from reaching you.  That’s the thing about His Love, it never gives up, it never runs dry and it never leaves you.

Note:  The love story between you and Jesus will most certainly be as unique and wonderful as He made you.  Jesus died for each and every one of us. He was crucified for our transgressions and rose from the dead just as it was prophesied.  He is not just my personal Lord and Savior, He’s yours as well.

“For God so loved the world, He sent His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

1 Comment »

Losing My Religion

Maybe it’s not a blog post I need to write.  Maybe it’s just putting down all the various thoughts running through my head.  I prayed….maybe not the right prayers…I sought…but didn’t really know what I was seeking or who for that matter I was asking these things of.  People I was surrounded with called him God.  I was a catholic, I didn’t know this God, I knew a religion.  Growing up, I knew how to go to a Priest and report my sins as if a human was truly able to absolve me of my actions or remove any guilt I may have had.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to crap on religion, I’m just saying, this is what I knew.  It was very regimented, being a Catholic.  You had rules, you said prayers, you knew about such things as mortal sins and how you never wanted to be guilty of committing a mortal sin.  Don’t take communion until you go to confession if you have one of those mortal sins you’re guilty of.  Divorce?  Are you crazy?  Birth control?  I don’t think so.  Turn the other cheek, confess, pray, sit, kneel, stand, the signs of the cross, the rosary, the apostle’s creed, Hail Mary’s, Our Father’s…I mean you just knew, like a lemming what came next.  Steps to your salvation almost as easy as 1,2,3 as long as you played by their legalistic rules.

Doesn’t sound very personal does it?  Sounds more like God took a big cookie cutter and just cut us out of the same mold and then plopped us down for amusement.  But, that’s not God.  God is not a religion, He never was, nor will He ever be a religion.  He’s not Catholic, He’s not Muslim, He’s not Mormon, He’s not Episcopal, or Baptist….but what He is, in all those religions…is there.  He is the great I am in the great right now, wherever you are, whatever you’re a part of, whatever you’re thinking, feeling, trying to run from, trying to hide behind, wishing for, praying about, stuffing down, celebrating…there is nowhere that He is not.  He is everywhere and He made you and placed you, right where you are for His purposes.

And He promises…He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Right now, He’s holding His hand out to you, giving you the choice to either take hold or walk away.

Looking back I can see the people He placed around me trying to get me to notice Him, but I didn’t know to notice, and I was too hardened to even care.  But, it was easier for me to reflect on my religion over thinking of a relational God who cared. There are many things your religion can tell you about the way you should live your life according to their rules but there is only one Bible, the very Word of God that shows you, the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No religion can ever grab a hold of your heart the way knowing God can.  No religion can change you, because religion didn’t make you. God made you.  He’s the reason or should be the reason for every single step you make, because He is in every single breath you take.

I don’t know what your path looks like.  I don’t know why your life doesn’t look how you think it ought to look.  Maybe it’s because of the choices you’ve made, maybe it’s because you need to walk in obedience, or take a step of faith or maybe it’s just simply because you’ve taken your hand out of His.  Maybe you think God left you, or is angry with you, or you’re angry with Him for taking things or loved ones from your life.  Maybe you think you’re too broken, too far gone, too unworthy, too dirty, too (insert your word here), but I can assure you, you are none of those condemning thoughts because Jesus already took that nail for you.  Why? Because it is written, “For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~~John 3:16 (NIV)  It is not written, For God so loved the world He sent His religion…..because He’s not a religion.  God is so much more than a religion.  He is the very essence of your being, your beating heart, your breath, your life.  And He has such plans for you.

How do I know?  Because it is written: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~~ Jeremiah 29:11

Religion can’t make promises, but God, oh yes my friends…God makes promises.  His Word is living and active and just as relevant today as it ever was, so yea, I’m all about losing my religion and holding onto His promises, His hand, and walking into His vision because He promises it will not harm me, but indeed gives me hope and a future.

Leave a comment »

How much for that cake?

That moment the number came out of my mouth, not once, but twice, not only was my heart threatening to jump right out of my chest, but my knees were a shaking and when it was said and done I couldn’t get back to my seat fast enough. Our church was having a dessert auction to raise funds for a new boiler. I would watch the amount raised thus far each week as it was posted in the weekly bulletin.  I would calculate and do the math as best I could in my head to add the amount raised and add the amount being donated by a generous donor who had agreed to match up to half the amount the rest of us would donate.  At the time of the dessert auction, I think we had raised around $1600 total, after a few months knowing we needed a new boiler.

I’d been wrestling with God about this money thing for quite some time.  I have all the typical arguments.  Lord, I already tithe mostly with a glad heart. (insert cheesy grin here) I know the money is yours to begin with and you’re allowing me to be, or not to be a good steward with it.  I donate my time, more money where I can, I bake, I volunteer and well, you get the picture.

I love my church and the very people that reside there. They are amazing.  They just accepted me and drew me right in and every day show me what love looks like. It’s easy to do life with them.  But, now they needed a new boiler and my tax refund was here and I wanted what I wanted. I made all kinds of plans for my tax refund.  I knew I could set $1000.00 aside for “whatever,” but my auto state inspection was coming up and I knew it was going to cost around $500 to get my car fixed before I could get it inspected. That was my whole tax refund.

So I let the money sit in my account and pretended it didn’t exist.  I didn’t even add it into the balance.  But while I was pretending it didn’t exist, God was nudging me on this church boiler thing.  Yes, yes, yes, I know how much they do.  I know it will help many to stay warm, but did you know they had someone to match the donations up to half?

I thought to myself, surely there must be a better and more faster way to raise funds for a church boiler.  So I asked the church secretary if our Pastor would mind if I made a post on my Facebook page so friends and family could help if need be, or how about a GOFUNDME page?  In my mind I saw the money rolling in hand over fist and this way, the money would get raised and I could keep my tax refund.  All of it!!  (rubs hands together and laughs maniacally) Pastor agreed to the GOFUNDME page but there was some info I needed and never got.  I knew I had planted seeds and when the time for the info was to come, it would.  Well, it didn’t.  Crap!!

Here it is the day of the dessert auction.  I made an oreo cookies and cream cake and set it with the rest of the desserts.  As the dessert table filled, I spied this beautiful cake.  I just knew it had to be chocolate with peanut butter, but it was so pretty, I just knew it was store bought.  In my head I told God there was no way I was bidding on a store bought cake.  Besides, that was a lot of chocolate and I’m a white chocolate kind of girl.  Don’t get me wrong, I like chocolate but in small doses.  Put some white chocolate in front of me and look out!!

As I sat in church that day, I told God, ok, I’ll buy a dessert but you need to tell me the amount you want me to give.  So I waited.  Pastor who was sitting in the front row, made a comment….anyone who donates $1,000.00 can give me a pie in the face…or something to that effect.  I mostly heard $1,000.00.  More arguing with God.  There’s no way you mean for me to give away my (yes…my) $1,000.00 for some dessert.  You know I have plans for that money right?  So, in my head I conclude there must be another number.

After the service is over, we go out to the Fellowship hall and we have our Get Acquainted Sunday (GAS) potluck.  After we get done eating, the folks who are doing the auction get ready.  The announcer says, “and anyone who donates $1,000.00 or more can have their pick of any dessert from the table.”  Crap!!  There’s that number again only this time they said “or more.”  Fine, $1,000.00 it is.  After all, it’s not mine any ways.  Crap!!!

As the auction begins, people are bidding and taking their baked goods and I’m thinking why didn’t I give my money sooner so I didn’t have to yell out this number in front of everyone.  Gulp!!  I get up from my seat and head to the front of the room to spy the cakes.  I wasn’t up there for long when they pick out that beautiful store bought chocolate peanut butter cake and I again, in my head say, no way am I bidding on a store bought cake…and then this….we have up for bid Nina’s beautiful homemade chocolate with peanut butter cake…wait…did she just say homemade?  Crap!!

This is where my hearts starts to beat out my chest and my legs start to shake and I look over at Nina and ask if she really made the cake.  Oh yes I did.  She said yes.  Say it with me now…crap!!  A few people bid and I throw out my $1,000.00 and people were like what?!!  What did you say?  I don’t think anyone truly knew who said it, as I know I didn’t believe it.  So, I repeat, $1,000.00 and I feel my face go red. The room was a little quieter now, and I was thoroughly and utterly, embarrassed.  So, I told my friend, to keep the cake and serve it at small group the following week and went back to my seat as quick as I could.

Now, this is where it gets good.  You remember I told you, I spied that chocolate peanut butter cake and wrestled about it, over and over.  I bought the cake on Sunday.  My brother had a birthday the day before on Saturday.  Even though my friend had taken the cake home, she texted me and said maybe I could serve some of it on Tuesday night for our ladies Bible study and we could finish it on Wednesday.  I go and pick up the cake on Monday from my friend’s and bring it home and I invite my brother and his girlfriend over for dinner that night.

God is a detail guy.  Oh yes He is.  As we’re all sitting down to a dinner that almost didn’t happen, I tell my brother and his girlfriend about the cake and I ask if they had cake on his birthday.  His girlfriend replied he was supposed to have a Reese’s peanut butter cake but it didn’t happen.  What?  That’s right, on his birthday he didn’t get the chocolate peanut butter cake, but God made sure, that not only would he get that kind of cake, but it would be a $1,000.00 cake.  Crazy right?!!

Lesson learned….you cannot serve two masters.  “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”~~1 Timothy 6:10  Spend some time on that…I mean really, spend some time on that.  Folks said I took a leap of faith that day.  I say, I overcame sin that day.  Money is something that is tangible, I can see it and it makes sense.  Faith on the other hand, is the belief that what you do matters in the universe somewhere.  You don’t always see a return, and you don’t know what being crazy obedient may bring about.  But what I do know is God is faithful and that amazing well traveled cake was worth every penny and in the end, it’s not about the money, it’s about what Jesus did for me and you, the day He died on the cross for us. Priceless.

I bet you wanna know what a $1,000.00 cake looks like huh?  Here you go.  Thank you Nina Kelley for the delicious cake and the use of your picture 🙂  Maybe you can see why I thought they were store bought!! Ah-may-zing!! Nina's Cake

2 Comments »

No shirts, no shoes, no service…

I saw an article recently about a woman who was refusing her floral-arrangement service to a same-sex couple who wanted to get married.  Instead of the couple going on their way to find a business that would do so, they took a stand against her and her beliefs and took it to court.  They “won.”  Now she stands to lose her business, her home, and savings all because she stood by her belief in what God says about marriage.  What makes this even more perplexing is prior to all of this mess they were “friends.”

They “won” on the merits the owner violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.  Let’s put aside the fact, God’s law trumps any state law.  What happened to her rights as a citizen of these “United” States under the protection of the First Amendment of the constitution?

She didn’t take a stand against their choice of being gay, she took a stand for Christ and what she believes in.  How is that any different than their choice?  They took a stand against Christ and she stands with Christ.  But instead of the mentality of just moving on, nothing to see here folks, they took their “friend” to court.  What a shame.

Growing up in humid, sweltering weather, businesses around town would put up their “no shirt, no shoes, no service” signs.  Didn’t like that?  Then, you didn’t get in the business.  Pretty simple, very straight forward and if you did test the waters, you were asked to leave and shown the sign.  It was the right of the business owner what they would allow in their store.  No different from those businesses that have a dress code.  If you want to be part of that society, you play by their rules.  If you don’t, then you will simply go someplace else because you don’t want to conform.  Everybody has a choice.

You want to go to college, you’ll find a way.  You don’t want to go college, don’t go.  You want to smoke, go ahead and do it, you don’t, then don’t.  It’s called freedom of choice.  Now there’s a law banning folks from wearing their pants down to their knees…and while I’m sick of seeing people’s underwear, I totally disagree with the law stepping in and mandating how clothes should be worn.  What’s next?  I guess you better cover up the cleavage ladies and nix those coochy coo high slits in your skirt. But seriously, you should just make those wardrobe changes out of self-respect. Just sayin’  My blog…my choice…don’t like it, don’t read it.  See how that worked.  Or, you could get all fired up and lash out irrationally..your choice.

Where does being offended stop?  What gives you or me the right to inflict our life style on someone else.  You won’t find a societal “norm” these days because we’re all over the chart putting ourselves, our wants, and our perceived rights in front of anyone who doesn’t agree.  I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted from trying to move right, when someone keeps pushing me left.  Can you say bully?  We take our stand against bullying, act all shocked and indignant against those bulling headline stories and then we turn around and bully as hard as we can to convince someone our way is right.   Go ahead…take a good, long, hard look in the mirror and say it….bully.  How does it feel?

How can we begin to love one another, when we can’t even respect one another?

When I was knee deep in my sinful ways, I found plenty of people, just like me.  When I decided to follow Christ…guess what?  I found plenty of people just like me. Point being I made the choice.   You have a choice.  There are consequences for every single choice we make and they don’t just affect the one making the choice.  That would be you.

We make our lives easier or harder by the choices we make.  We make life harder when we inflict our choices on someone else and in walks offense.  This business owner made a choice to follow Christ.  The customers made a choice to follow Satan.  She didn’t ask them to follow Christ, but they asked her to participate in Satan’s party.  She said no.  That was her choice.  In walked their offendedness. (new word…grin)  It’s simple…you don’t like it….move on….take your party someplace else.  Life can be pretty amazing when we take our offended glasses off.   I know….I wore them for years.

I sure don’t get things right all the time….I mess up more times than I care to count, but I do know that when my choices affected others negatively and I took pride in forcing my choice pill down someone’s throat, it didn’t take long for those relationships to go sour.  I may not agree with you, you may not agree with me, but how you choose to live your life only becomes my problem when I let it.

God didn’t tell me to tell you how to live your life, because that’s not my job.  He told me to tell you about Him and the love He has for you and what He’s done in my life.  He said, “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.” ~~John 15:12 (NIV)  Guess what….that’s a choice.

1 Comment »

Be Careful Little Eyes…

First off, let me just say I am in no way any kind of expert in the topic of porn.  I am however well versed in the way it affected various stages of my life.

Growing up I can remember a magazine that sat on the back of the toilet in our home.  I want to say it was called “True Story,” but don’t hold me to that title 100%.  To this day, I still can’t get out of my head the article it contained about a married couple and their German Sheppard.  I’ll just leave end that one there.  I believe it’s called bestiality since it involved an animal.

When my brothers hit their later teenage years, every year for Christmas they would get a copy of Playboy in their stocking.  So, I guess since I was the only girl, I felt left out, so, hey….where’s my copy of Playgirl?  I would have to get one of those on my own since my parents felt girls shouldn’t always be treated as fairly as the boys.  However, I would have to wait and get my first glances into Playgirl magazine through a girlfriend who had a copy of the magazine and let me tell you, once was enough for me.

As you can see, just little of bits and pieces of pornography have been introduced, but some 30+ years later, I’m still affected.  Be careful little eyes what you see…

After I left home and went into the military, I was at my first duty station and my boyfriend at the time asked me to meet him at our friend’s home. It was my first winter in an all warm climate and I remember walking into the home and staring at the Christmas tree which looked so out of place.  I was used to boots, sweaters and jackets and here they were dressed in shorts and t-shirts.  After realizing everyone was laughing, I wondered what was up.  They pointed to the television which had a porn movie playing.  What?  I think I stared at the movie for a couple of seconds and wondered what was so funny and why on earth would they want to show that to someone? I left.

After I got married, I remember my husband bringing up swinging and or trading sexual partners with another couple.  What?  Ummm….how about, no.  I found that thought very distasteful and totally against the vow of marriage and since I’m not enough for you, let me just try on adultery instead.  (Oh, yes I did)

That marriage didn’t work out.  Let’s move ahead to another marriage and let’s just say, when you don’t want to deal with something, like having sex with your husband, you’ll revert back to what you thought worked in your life.  Here honey….please accept this copy of Playboy and “leave me alone.” (the latter part of that sentence being said in my head.) I thought I was the cool wife allowing her husband to visually stimulate himself.  I was a little bit naïve in thinking this would not increase his sexual appetite.  Don’t judge me.  I’ve done enough of that for all of us.

The magazines would lead to movies, and with the internet, well….you can well imagine.  But, I was ok, with the porn as long as it wasn’t on the computer.  What?  Yup, like I said, a little naïve.  The hubby hid that part well.  But there was the day my son wanted to look at a room design his father did in PowerPoint and I was all too happy to look that up for him.  Except I opened the file and instead of a room, it was a very graphic picture of a woman’s parts as they say “down under.”  I couldn’t get the picture closed fast enough.  Can you say, the mental image is still there, I can even tell you the color of the skirt she was wearing.  Well, that is, what you could see of the skirt.

Up to this point in my life, 35+, I had never (ahem) pleasured myself.  I didn’t understand why anyone would need to do such a thing since, well….men were everywhere.  They had to be good for something right?  And I said that very phrase to more than just a few friends.  When you have a skewed view on love, relationships, and the opposite sex, negativity kinda runs rampant in your mind.

But, I would eventually make my way into an adult store, buy some trinket my friends assured would “do the trick” for me and because I was so fed up with sex…this is the ironic part….fed up with sex, so let’s buy a sex toy.  What?  Let’s just say….I never went back to the adult store and said trinket was thrown in a drawer because I just couldn’t get past the whole idea of it.  Never could bring myself to use it.

Ahhh, but said trinket did not stay in the drawer.  Said trinket found its way back out because I had told my husband that I bought one and wouldn’t he be so proud of me that I finally learned to “take care of myself.”  I did explain I didn’t care for said trinket and I put it in the drawer.  So, one day, there in the bedroom with my husband and I in the middle of…you know…I heard a noise…and husband thought this would be a fun way to change things up in the bedroom.  GASP.  What?  I was appalled.  (are you getting any of the irony in this)

I’ll never forget the night an argument that ensued very loudly about how my husband thought I was committing adultery.  I was shocked and I argued vehemently that it was not me, but him who was committing adultery every time he opened one of those magazines, or watched a movie or hit the sites on the computer.  Ooooh, let me tell you what, it was like I had opened Pandora’s Box. I didn’t even know I felt that way until the words flew from my mouth.  It was ugly and hateful and it was just another nail in our coffin.

Pornography didn’t ruin our marriage, but it sure played its part.  Adultery didn’t ruin our marriage, but it too played its part.  We were caught up in desperate attempts to fill our selfishness because we couldn’t get what we wanted from each other.  I will never forget the first time my husband walked in on me “pleasuring” myself.  I felt dirty…worthless…guilty and I tried to cover it all up with pride.  I put on my justification pants and paraded around with my “how dare he judge me” crown.  How’d that work for me?  Not so good.

And I would be remiss if I left out the countless hours I lost myself in the world of romance novels.  They’re called fiction for a reason.  Trying to take a made-up man of perfection and stack your very real life man up to a fantasy, well, let’s just say, your real life man won’t stand a chance.  You will pick the fantasy every time.

I’m not here to tell anyone else what to do.  I can only tell you that sexual immorality played a significant part in my life and in no good way.  But, it didn’t just play a part in my life, it affected families and friends but more importantly, it stood in between my relationship with God.

God is very specific about sexual immorality and how we’re to steer clear of that mess!  And you know what?  He was right.   Just the little bits I saw, led to so much more and yes, I even found myself at a few male strip shows and the local strip clubs.  These were all things I did because not only did I stop caring about who I was, I cared nothing for who God made me to be.  To be honest, I thought it was pretty trendy to check out the strip clubs.  Shoot, I even thought I could get up there and show them gals a thing or two.   Of course, you can always do things better than someone else when your drunk.  Right?

“But, the fruit of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.”  ~~ Galations 5:22-23.

Those things….those sexual immoral things….can’t offer any of the fruits God wants us to have in this life.  That life….that sexual immoral life….is nothing I ever want feeding my soul or my eyes again.  The cost was too high and while I’ve been forgiven, there are things I can never un-see or undo.  And to be honest, I don’t know that I want to.  Sometimes I need that reminder the hard walk of sin created in my life.  Not to beat me down, but to see how far God has raised me back up from the dead.  Thank you Lord Jesus! Hallelujah!

Leave a comment »

Christmas through the tears…

As I watched Christmas celebrated through millions of posts made on social media, I came to one conclusion….everyone appeared to be high on merry!!  Maybe that’s just the kind of stuff that came across my feed.  Maybe you saw something different…or felt something different.

Maybe you lost a loved one this past year or years ago.  Maybe your heart hurt because you couldn’t afford the gifts you wanted to buy so you could see the glee on the face of a loved one.  Maybe it was your first year as an empty nester and there was no one to rush to the mound of presents under the tree.  Maybe someone near and dear to you was in the hospital fighting a battle they didn’t see coming or they were losing that battle and breathing their last breath.

For me it was a combination of stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty to be thankful for, but for some odd reason, this year I had to look a little harder for the blessings through my tears.  I asked myself….how can we help a world unite in peace and love, when families are torn apart.

When you’re the only one who has hope of having your family reunited how do you know when you should keep holding onto to faith or let it go?  (If you watched the movie Frozen, did you just break out in song) Because they’re family, do you allow for the abuse to continue or do you walk away and love them from afar?  I wish I knew the answer.  I don’t.  All is know is when I’ve done all I know how to do, it’s time to hit my knees and pray.  God sees my heart, He knows my pain and He’s working this all out.  I don’t have the answer yet.  But He does and when the time is right, His glory will shine throughout.

Growing up I was able to see glimpses of the man my father could have been, but the addictions were too strong for him.  We all suffered from his weaknesses.  There was no real love in the household and so we all suffer from a warped idea of what love is supposed to be.  Every one of us is broken in our own way and our brokenness causes us to react in a way that will protect us from future hurt.  Except it doesn’t and it’s exhausting.  Don’t step here, don’t say that, duck when the jab comes, and throw some fancy footwork in for show.

I had a meltdown yesterday.  I was vulnerable and I put my heart right out in the open and I got it crushed by someone who doesn’t know how to love.  But I had hope that maybe, just maybe if I laid it out there she would see just how much I was hurting, how much I needed her acceptance and how much I just wanted to be enough…just as I am.  I reminded her of all the times I had been there for her, even to my own detriment and she stood her ground, took up her sword and stabbed it straight through and I heard the voice of Angelica Houston in the movie Ever After say…”how can one love a pebble in their shoe?”

Do you see what happened?  I expected something from someone who doesn’t know how to give what I need.  In a sense, I caused myself that pain.  I should have known better, I should have ducked when the jab came but it hit me square in my face and knocked me down….again.  The flip side to all of this is being able to recognize that she wants me to fill a void in her life that I was never meant to fill and in turn, I get the lashings of her brokenness. What a cycle of yuck!!

So for now, I’m going to go to my corner, lick my wounds, and let God fill me up and then head back in.  I’m not a victim, I’m an overcomer!  My arms are raised in praise and this my friends is only a stepping stone and this little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine!!

Proverbs 4:23 states “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  What’s flowing from your heart?

8 Comments »

Stay away from my husband…

Even though it was a voice I had never heard over the phone or ever before for that matter, I knew she was hurt, angry, and territorial despite her trembling voice which gave away the fear behind her words.

I was doing something upstairs in my bedroom when my son came in and handed me my cell phone and said it was for me.  I asked who it was and he didn’t know so I answered…”hello,” and she simply stated, “stay away from my husband.”  My first thought was…which one…whose wife could this be? But she continued on and revealed the little bit of what was going on because she’d found an email between myself and her husband.  Not my finest hour.

But you know what?  After we hung up, these were my thoughts.  Thank God my husband didn’t answer the phone and what was she doing calling me when she should have been talking to her husband?  In my righteous indignation, I thought, “if she’d have been the wife he needed, he wouldn’t have come looking for me.”  There, right there was my justification for being an intruder in someone else’s mess.

As the day wore on, I grew livid and even more indignant.  How dare…how dare THIS man put MY marriage in jeopardy by being so stupid as to leave “evidence” out in the open for his wife to find? How dare she call me and try to put me in my place?  Are you getting the irony of this?  Do you see the problem here?

My day was spent with my heart doing a new little pittery pattery type of “how to cover my tracks” dance while I thought of ways to make this go away so my own marriage wasn’t affected.  Ummm…too late.  It was affected when I chose to step outside of the sacred marriage bond and smack onto Satan’s playground.

When I was a little girl, my family would go camping.  If they couldn’t find me close by, my mom knew I had traveled to the women’s restroom so I could talk with whoever would listen.  She told me she would either come herself or send one of my brothers to come get me.  She knew I would be telling those souls who would listen how my daddy was drunk and my parents were arguing.  Lord knows what else I may have babbled on about.

During the majority of my school years, I would be set off to the side at a table or desk by myself so I would keep quiet.  Ummm…helllloooo, I wasn’t talking to myself, but it was me who invariably wound up separated from the pack.

I once got into a fist fight because of my never ending chatter. Nice way of saying gossip. I have a point.

Yes, I was an adulterer…a very brazen adulterer.  I didn’t know my worth.  I didn’t know my place.  I didn’t understand the full affect of my actions.  Yes, I knew right from wrong….however, when you hang with the adulterous crowd, the wrong fades into the background.  Birds of a feather most certainly do flock together. But, in the end, I’m responsible for my actions.  I own them.

Before you throw that proverbial stone my way, make sure your slate is clean.  Would it make it better if you knew the destruction I brought into my own life?  Would it be helpful to know the guilt, shame, and regret brought me to the point of a suicide attempt?  Maybe you’re thinking….good, you reap what you sew.  But my answer to that is, it matters not what you think.  You weren’t there. You don’t know why it was permitted in my life.

What I do know is, its part of His redemptive story in me and just like all those years ago telling strangers about my parents arguing, I can’t keep silent about this any longer.  It screams to be released and I won’t let it consume me any longer.  I was meant for more.  And if you find yourself in an adulterous relationship, in case no one has ever said this to you…let me say it.  You were meant for more.  You are worth so much more than being someone’s side dish.  You deserve to be the main course.

I no longer dance on the devil’s playground.  Being lulled into a honey trap of deceit, dishonesty, shame, and guilt wields no power only regrets.

These days I dance on God’s amazing dance floor.  I have nothing to hide.  I twirl and spin as He holds my hand and calls me redeemed, forgiven, precious, a jewel to behold and daughter of the One True King!!  I owe Him everything because He gave His ALL for me.  Let me tell you, this life….this resurrected life…a bazillion times better than I could have ever imagined.   He is all that and beyond.  He’s where I find my salvation and here is where I sit, at the foot of the cross where my sins are nailed and forgotten.  No sin is worth my joy.  Jesus…there’s my joy.   Jesus….there’s my life.

If you need a little more insight…take a look at a story written long ago…

John 8:1-11~~“Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,  but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.  As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.

Repent, ask forgiveness, and sin no more…yes, it can be that simple.  Grace is the pardon for your jail time, but not a license not to change.  “Go, and sin no more.”  Means you’re not stuck in the pit you created.  Means you have an out.  Grab your “get out of jail” free card and live the life He created you for…live the beautiful life.

6 Comments »

Anger Awakened…

A little over 24 years ago, I wrote this story.  At the time, I believed in God, but I didn’t have a personal relationship with Him.  I didn’t even know that was possible.  As you read this, I hope you see that even though my marriage failed, God never gave up on me.  He kept calling and it would take 20 more years before I finally answered.  I left the story as is and maybe if you’ve been following my blog, you will be able to see the work God has been doing to heal this heart of mine.  Thanks for stopping by!

I wrote the first and last paragraphs in Feb, 2001 for a college English class.  

It was the day before I would turn 27 years old. I was mostly, “happily married,” and I was pregnant with our first child.  My husband had decided to go out for an evening with his friends, and while I told him to “have a good time,” I, in no way meant for him to.  I didn’t comprehend why he wanted to go out with his friends, and I was fuming both inside and out; the anger, had he even bothered to look was so clearly etched on every inch of my face.  It was a look I had felt many times, a look, that if it were allowed, would drip acid into your soul and burn a hole clear through.  It was a look that hadn’t reared its ugly head for at least 9 years.  So, it was on this evening, alone with my unborn child that I finally decided to let loose the anger that had been pent up, for longer than I can remember…

The following is what I wrote that night 24 years ago:

My father was an alcoholic; a mean drunk to the core who seemed to take great pleasure inflicting mental anguish, guilt, shame and unworthiness onto those he claimed to love: his family.  All of us were subject to this drunken onslaughts and each one of us carries hidden scars while he lies in an empty grave.

On the evening of March 19, 1990, I for whatever reason felt abandoned by the man-figure who now encompassed my life, and I could no longer hold back the flood gates that were crashing at my door.   I had to let my feelings out, so, with pen in hand, I put each tear to word.

It doesn’t ever change, the same vision so clearly remembered, day after day, into my nights, only to haunt me again, in my dreams.  I wake up drained, knowing what lies ahead. It sometimes takes all day to “wake-up.” Sure, I laugh, even to me it sounds hollow. I carry out daily chores out of habit, a ritual if you will.  I love, but what kind of love?  So much it hurts and I just know my heart will break from the tightness. Other times, I don’t even know the person who lashes out without conscious feeling, hurting the ones I love most so that I won’t be hurt, but in fact, I’m hurting myself the most.

Everything inside, a tightly coiled spring waiting to be sprung, but afraid of what will really happen if it does. Will I lose control forever; will I know “me” when it’s over?  Me, who is “me?”  Where do I begin?

Dysfunctional-that’s what they call it when you come from a “broken” home.  “They” say there’s help for we dysfunctional types. Funny, where was this help when we cried out for it; when we really needed it?  Now you couldn’t count all who want to help. Bitter, that’s how I feel about your so-called caring.  The big bucks seem to be flashing before your eyes: $70.00, $80.00, $90.00 is that what you make an hour now?  Please!

So now I’m a dysfunctional type. Okay, let’s go with that.  We’ll start with “Daddy” – I read something once and always remembered this, “Anyone can be a that, but it takes a special man to be a daddy.”  That statement told me one thing, my “daddy” was nothing more than my father.

You blame yourself, you know, for his alcoholism. Maybe I didn’t clean enough, maybe my grades weren’t good enough, maybe I wasn’t quiet enough, or maybe, it wasn’t me at all?  No, it must’ve been me or I wouldn’t be down here in the middle of the night listening to him drone on and on about how bad I am.

It’s dark but with each puff on the cigarette, the tip burns brighter.  You catch a glimpse then, his eyes are closed, his head tilts back, just slightly.  The cigarette unsteadily falls to the resting area, until the ashes just fall off.  Has he fallen asleep? With a little luck he has.  You make it halfway up the stairs and he calls you back.  You scream inside wanting to blend into the walls, to be forgotten.  Instead, head hung low, tears of frustration well up in the bottom of your eyes until the pool gets too deep and they fall on your face.  You sit back down in the chair, praying that morning will come soon or maybe he’ll just pass out.

How much longer can he hold out?  The country music in the background all has the same twang. I hate, I hate him, I hate me, I hate God.  A terrible thing to say, I know, but I can’t help it.  Why did he put me here? How long have I been bad? Will it ever stop? Who’s coming?  Mom, did she get enough sleep, she looks awful. Why doesn’t she leave him?  No one deserves this, or do we?  Who’s to say?  It tires the mind to think about it, because the reasoning never ends.

They say God won’t give you more than you can handle.  Oh really, maybe it’s true.  I’m still here. But am “I” really here, or is it a shadow of who I might’ve been?  If, for such a little word it holds so much meaning, but, maybe, “if” I had a different father would I be different? Of course I would.  Worse off?  Possibly, but maybe I’d have been the cherished little princess all little girls dream of being. Why, what silly ideas little girls have.  Can their smile really brighten daddy’s day? Maybe if I have a little girl, I’ll find out.  My smile certainly didn’t do a hell of a lot. But maybe it did.  Maybe he just couldn’t tell me.  Yes, false hope, it’s one of the things that kept me going.

Listen to me, what kind of rambling is this?  Those of a “mad” woman? No, I don’t think so, they are those of a deeply scarred and battered mind, a mind, only years of mental abuse could have created.

What’s the cure?  They say time heals all wounds.  Oh really?  I think time needs a little help from patience, understanding, and a love that runs deep and true.  But is it fair to ask of someone?  I don’t know.  So I ask you my love, how deep does your love run?  Will I push you too far one day into leaving me, or will God decide that for us, maybe even the President?  Will a war take you from me, or I from you?  Will yet another door be closed, or will you and I still be stanind as one laughing and loving, because all that we had to endure made us strong?  I guess only time will tell.

Time, when you think about it, that old saying comes to life: “there’s just not enough time in a day.”  Ha, if we had more time, it still wouldn’t be enough because it seems that all we have is never enough.

And I want to  know how deep your love runs.  I’ve no doubt in my mind we’ll grow old together, we’ve been through so  much in such a short period of time and hectic as it may get, in the end, there’s us.  I sometimes need so much reassuring it must at times tire your mind and body. My holding back sometimes comes too easy.

You’ve taught me quite a few things and I’m just now fully feeling the impact of your love and quite frankly, as much as I want and need to wallow in all your gentleness and tenderness I am also stupid enough to still put up “walls.”  Forgive me and I know in the end, you’ll feel as much love from me as I feel from you.

I don’t recall how long it took me to put my millions of tears to words.  I don’t even recall emptying the tissue box.  I do, however, recall how I felt when my story was “completed.”  I felt emotionally battered, yet, free. I had taken my first steps into a recovery I never knew I so desperately needed.  In one evening, I had taken a lifetime of emptiness, poured it into a sieve, and separated the good from the evil.  I began my journey down a long road that I travel everyday: a road of forgiveness, mending, healing, and love.  A road, survivors the world around, call recovery.

Leave a comment »

Back to the Beginning

I began filling out my passport application.  I’m going along quite nicely until I get to the part where it asks the date I got divorced or widowed.  I had to think really hard on the date I got divorced, and I can’t quite pinpoint the exact date.

Earlier in the application process they asked if I had ever been married.  Piece of wedding cake!! (finger snap for emphasis) I knew right off the bat the date my last marriage occurred. OK, if I’m going to be really honest, I can remember the dates of 2 out of the 3 times I’ve been married but I can’t remember the dates I got divorced.

So I go to my “divorce” file.  I hate this file.  It reminds me I failed.  Not gonna lie, it’s a file that still makes me cry.  I’m not entirely healed of that mess just yet.  I realize I still carry some shame from that and I have to place that mess at the foot of the cross and let my Savior step in and heal the wounds.  I have…no…scratch that…I need to let His love and truth cover the stain of my humanness.  Jesus, I need You!!

When I was in the Air Force, we had to wear name tags on our uniforms that displayed just the last name.  For the most part of my career, non-flyers wore a sewn-on name tag on their utility uniform or what is now called Airman Battle Uniform.  However, the flyers wore a Velcroed name tag, one that could easily be taken on or off.

After my third wedding, my spouse and I attended my squadron’s Christmas party.  I don’t remember a whole lot about that party, but I do remember during that party when everyone in the squadron was receiving gifts.  I remember when they called my name and made a small speech about my “gift.”  They made fun of the fact I had been married a third time and said that I should go to a more temporary means of putting my name tag on and proceeded to hand me an empty Velcro flyers version of a name tag.  They all laughed and I died a little on the inside from being mortified.

Forgiveness….I need to forgive them.  In my mind, they don’t deserve my forgiveness. They were cruel and they laughed at my expense because they thought it was funny.  They put a nail in my flesh and I had covered up the nail with hurt, humiliation, and hate.  It was buried.

To be honest, I’d forgotten about this event.  As I started writing this story, I really didn’t know where I was going with it.  In fact, I had started taking a different road and got stuck.  I sat back and asked Him to show me, and the memory plopped in my head.  I was stunned.  I started crying…a lot.  I didn’t even remember their names, but I do now.  I remember the room, I remember the feeling, I remember their faces, and I remember the name tag.  I remember throwing it in the trash.

Sometimes, in order to move forward, you have to go back to the beginning.  It’s a necessary part of healing.  Yup, not gonna lie, it hurts.  My eyes are puffy, my face is red, and countless Kleenex lay on the floor.

So I say their names out loud, one by one, I say “I forgive you,” and then send a blessing their way.  I don’t want anything standing in the way of His redeeming grace.  I want to know the fullness of my Savior’s love, so I remember His words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,”~~ Luke 23-34 (ESV) and I step into His grace. And you know what?  I may look a little worse for the wear at the moment, but I sure do feel better.  Trust Him when He wants to do a work in you…He loves you so much and He knows what He’s doing.

2 Comments »

#UNFILTERED

IN SPEECH. IN CONDUCT. IN LOVE. IN FAITH. IN PURITY.

His Love is Enough

This is My Story...

Just Love

My journey through the process of understanding true love- as God intends.

Living With Eyz2God

One Day at a Time...

Saved By Grace

An imperfect woman with a perfect Jesus

Just in time . . . .

Bible studies . . .

Janee White

Just a girl on a journey of being mended by God.