Monday, December 10, 2012

Worth the risk

Oh no, my walls are gonna break
So close, its more than I can take
I'm so tired of turning and running away
When love just isn't...

Everything you want, but its everything you need
Its not always happy endings but its all the in between
Its taken so long, so long to finally see
That Your love is worth the risk
Safe by Britt Nicole

After my divorce I spent a lot of time opening up to people about my circumstances and it was welcomed with warm hearts and compassion from people. I had so much support and received so much love as I learned about who I am. I have spent a lot of time loving on broken people and re-giving the compassion given to me. I thought I was open, honest and vulnerable with people...

Until I started to date again. At first I thought it was my finickiness  but soon realized that I was afraid. I was afraid to love. I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid that the person I had come to know in myself wouldn't be accepted unconditionally by anyone else. I learned I hadn't fully accepted that person either. 

I put up walls to protect myself from that rejection and ended up sabotaging anything that meant letting someone in to know the "real" me. I wanted to be safe. I figured if I was intentional I'd be safe. Too bad its not what God has called me or you to do. 

Starting last year, I decided to make only one New Years' resolution and it was to say "yes" to God. This year, my resolution is to stop living safe and to love like crazy. To do that, my walls have to break and I have to let people see the real me...I have to let people KNOW the real me. 

I get anxiety just thinking about it, but I know it is how God is calling me to live. I accepted myself and see myself through God's eyes. Now it is time to let others do the same.

His love is worth the risk...

Monday, October 15, 2012

The desires of our heart

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 34:7

In the church today, many Christians (especially singles) buy into this idea that if they are living for God they get everything they desire: marriage, kids, house, job...sounds to me a little more like the American dream with a little God thrown in as a magic genie. A sense of entitlement with  some God to make it seem like we are not so self-serving. It's all the same...I do this for You God and You give me everything I desire. Because You are good, right?

I know that sounds harsh, and I used to buy into this too, but what if what we desire isn't what is best for us? What if our desires, though they may be good, aren't going to be God's best?

I truly believe that God puts these good desires in our hearts. These are good things, but what happens when these desires keep us from God and get in the way of a complete, honest relationship with our Creator? The desires can become what we live for and our identity instead of living for God and finding out identity in Christ. There are so many good-hearted people telling single Christians that if they are following God's will, they will get married...He will bless them with children...they will own a home...they will have their dream job...

I desires all of those things too (maybe no more kids), but I am finally okay with just me, God and my kids for the rest of my life if that is how I can serve Him the best. If I can love Jesus and people best in the place I am in right now, then I will trust God that I am not meant to get remarried or have a house again. If an apartment is it, then so be it!

I want to love God because he is my Abba Father and not because I get anything from it. He has already given me EVERYTHING I need.

I'm not saying this is easy or that my desires always fall beneath my desire for Jesus...more often than not I find my priorities  shifting towards my wants. The power of positive thinking doesn't change that nor does trying harder, but keeping my eyes on Him and my heart filled with Him does.

Check out this great advice column about this topic: Will God Grant Me The Desires of My Heart?   

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Preschool Theology and Life's Toughest Questions

When Austin was 4, I remember answering similar questions from him.

Tonight, Ryan asked me some of life's toughest questions on the way home from church.

Why do people die?
Who is Jesus?
Why did He die on the cross?
What is sin?
Will Papa die?
Who will drive our cars if we die?
I don't want to die.

So the last one is a statement, but most people would freak out if their 4-year-old asked these questions. Me? Well, I smiled and thanked God for His Love and Jesus, and gave my son answers filled with hope and eternity with our Creator. He still doesn't want to die, but I don't blame him. That's a difficult one for a 4-year-old who can't imagine God will have more awesome toys than the ones he has now.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Facing my giants

I had to face one of my giants last night. I didn't think it was a giant anymore, but as it turns out, it was a pretty big, anxious, traumatic giant.

The last time I was in the hospital (for myself) if was life-threatening. The healing process was long and the post-traumatic stress effected a lot of people around me, including my marriage. Read here for the story of my Factor V Deficiency and my last hospital stay, see here. 

A few weeks ago I got a pedicure (which I have been enjoying on the weekends the boys are with their dad.)  and, unfortunately, I received a bad one.

The woman cut into my hang nail and cut my skin. It got infected - badly - and ingrown even worse. After 10 days of antibiotics didn't work, I ended up in the ER to get it removed.

It's a simple in-office procedure. Why the ER you ask?

The last time I had a partial toenail taken off they did it in the OR with FFP (fresh frozen plasma). Everything has been preventative because of my disorder until the fiasco of Ryan's birth (again read the story.)

Going to the hospital last night, knowing the possibility of having to get FFP again was terrifying. I was so emotional, anxious and afraid. But I went. I faced it head on and came home without any FFP and part of my big toenail missing. I can't say this giant is gone for good, but I pray my visits to the hospital for myself (and for others) remain just as rare as they have been.

*For a great book on facing your own giants, read Facing Your Giant by Max Lucado. 


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hope Now

I don't think I've been making very good "eternally-focused" choices lately. I don't think I've been living an "eternally-focused" life lately. It sucks to realize it, but it's hopeful that I have.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Letting God Write My Love Story

Throughout this entire online dating process I have been saying over and over that God was telling me to trust Him more with each new circumstance...even outside of online dating. I said it and said it and said I was going to trust Him, but I never really did. Each time I tried to force what I wanted to happen instead of relying on Him. I kept forcing this online dating issue when I knew all along that it wasn't for me - at least right now.

A great friend of mine recommended that I read "When God Writes Your Love Story" when I was going through my divorce, but I never did. As I started to look at books on dating to read, that one came up again and I decided to give it a read.

I had no idea what I was about to enter as I read through the pages.

Don't judge - I started reading the book while I was bored at work one day and I am so grateful that I had an office at the time because what I read caused me to break in a big way.

"Trust Me. I love you more than you could ever comprehend and I have your very best in mind."

"If God is going to write your love story, you first need to hand over the pen."

I was holding the pen and saying that I trust that God can write a great love story, but I'm going to write my own and give Him the credit. As I read this chapter, I gave Him back His pen and surrendered my love story to Him once and for all. I didn't give up on dating.I'll go on dates, but I am no longer going to be searching for them. I truly trust that as I continue to seek God during this time of being single and serve Him in ways I may not be able to do as a married woman, I will meet a man who is doing the same. We will meet because we are seeking God, not because we are seeking each other.

As I made that commitment to God, He spoke very clearly through I desire I have to build deep relationships with other singles at church. That story is to be continued another day.

-Taken from my blog Leave me your email if you'd like access to it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I get so emotional baby...

I have struggled with depression for a long time and recently (within a year) decided that I needed to take medication again.

This past week I stopped taking it and I didn't realize that it was numbing more than my depressed feelings. After a few days without it, I laughed genuine laughter in a a movie today and cried during a commercial. I can concentrate on doing one thing at a time without spacing out.

I didn't realize how my emotions were being blocked and it felt so good today to really feel happiness and sadness.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Training myself to be present

I wrote a post early in the summer to say that I was going to take a break from technology to "be present" and I haven't. Well, I've taken a break from blogging, but I think that is the one avenue that I should've kept up.

I was really going to take down my Facebook page, but I started communicating with someone on there and chose to leave it up, thinking that I could retrain from posting and making it an "idol" by just talking. That didn't happen. In fact, I started posting more, being on it more and being online chatting more.

I finally did it. I gave a head's up that I wasn't going to be on Facebook as much and gave out my number...I stopped going on Facebook chat, but I was still posting. Facebook and I have had this love/hate relationship for a while now. Not that I think it is bad or has done anything awful in my life, I just feel like it is easy to hide from people on there while giving the impression that you are available. I desire intimate, in-person friendships, and for those who don't live close, there's phone, e-mail and texting. I often feel like I don't need to put the effort into communicating with anyone because they have already told me what is going on in their life through Facebook.

What I finally, FINALLY did was shut down my account for 30 the minimum. The only way for me to train myself to be present, to seek out opportunities to meet people in person (or over the phone) and to put value back into my relationships is to remove what is holding me back and gain the desire to be intentional again.

This first night has been difficult. I feel a little uncomfortable, which lets me know I did the right thing for me. I have my friend keeping me accountable through this (as always) so I don't slip up. I know my limits and my boundaries and this is one where I have a hard time drawing the line. Until Facebook and I can have a healthy relationship, we will have to part ways.

I will keep blogging though, so...I'M BACK!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nothing is impossible

"I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?" Jeremiah 32:27

Our God is so big that nothing is impossible for Him and so close that He is always with us.

You may have read on Facebook that I met with my ex-husband's wife (whom he had an affair with) for lunch and let her know that I forgive her and showed her grace and love. I hope that this is only one of many times that I am privileged to show her God's love. Yes - I just said that meeting her and spending time with her was a privilege. It really was. What a gift that God chose to use the imperfect person that I am to represent His perfect love to those who do not know Him? Aside for receiving grace and forgiveness from God myself, I don't think I have ever experienced Jesus like this before. It was BIG and BOLD and COURAGEOUS and it was not me, but HIM.

I have received responses giving me praise for this, but the praise does not belong to me. Without Jesus I would still be hating. Without Jesus I would be revengeful. Without Jesus I would still be broken in pieces on the ground.

Funny thing is that I felt kind of like a mom...well, based on her age it could almost be appropriate, but I cared. I cared about her soul, her job search, her adjustment to living in CA...I genuinely felt compassion for her. As I write this I feel like I am going nuts, but as I stated in a previous post, God is crazy! His Love and Grace are so radical that they transcend any limitations we put on them. They transcend our society's ways of dealing with circumstances.

I sometimes feel like my faith is becoming simple, but radical and crazy in the amount of love  I try to give. I know none of it is from me and sometimes I feel less than worthy of accepting it, let alone giving it.

Anyway, for those that want details: we met, had lunch with the boys, let them go play, I told her I forgive her, support their marriage, think things worked out for the best for everyone, she asked about the boys, I invited them to church, talked about our faith or lack of it growing up...normal conversation I would have with a new friend. We were together for about an hour. Not much to tell...
If you have never read it, pick up the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It will change your life (as will just reading the bible.) Don't hate me after you read's a little dangerous :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Online dating or online shopping?

I said i was going to take a break from here, but i have this on my heart...actually for a while now. I have had a profile on an online dating site for about two months and have decided to respond to very few men. Actually, 1 I took the chance to contact first. I attribute it to having gone through a divorce and being picky this time around, but picky? How could I be picky when I am looking at a profile? It reminds me of online shopping. Is that what this has come to? I don't doubt that people find love on these sights and I am so grateful for the experiences I have had, but in all honesty, I would have traded all of the all-night phone calls, lengthy emails and hours of IM for the few in-person meetings regardless of the outcome. They are awkward and the waiting "games" are frustrating, but nothing can replace that face-to-face interaction and eye contact. If I feel like I am online shopping, it feels awful to think others are doing the same with me. It's like an online meat market. It enables people to be always looking for "the next best thing" instead of investing time into really knowing someone. It enables people to "get to know" multiple people at the same time and never be able to be fully emotionally available to any of them. For people like myself who wear their hearts on their sleeves, the emailing is awful. I have learned my lesson from sharing too much and being too open from behind a computer screen or phone. At least for a woman, it creates a false emotional connection without knowing someone. I am not a casual dater - I want to invest some time into getting to know someONE that I share a mutual interest with. I don't get to know multiple men at the same time. Unfortunately, I know I am in the minority when it comes to online dating. Is the supply of singles really going to deplete so fast that you cannot date/get to know one person at a time and fully give getting to know the person a chance?

I struggle with taking my profile down for these reasons, but then I have a good experience or good conversations and think maybe I am wrong about it. It isnt quite what I want to do, but how else do you meet people today? How do you do this without feeling like you are just one person on someone's list, when in fact you probably are. Am I missing something? I want to just meet someone that I can spend time with getting to know then as a person, not as a profile I like or how they write to me. I'm not in any rush to commit to a relationship or to shop for a spouse. There will be no big loss if I don't meet anyone that I really get to know on this dating site, but by staying on it am I just giving away emotions and energy to write out my story and "resume" over and over until I match someone's criteria on paper? I can do that here... I guess I just have had one too many awful emails from men on there saying we are soulmates because with both love Christ or how I am just what they are looking for from what my profile says. Is it too much to get to know someone with the only expectation being that we are going to learn much about each other to see if we want to commit or move on? I don't think it takes that long to figure it's not's a choice. A mutual attraction, sure. Dont get me started on the ones who don't know if they are ready to date, but put up profiles. Do I really want to be put in someone's online shopping cart while I am compared to the other online products? Your thoughts?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Taking a break

I am taking a break from Revelations by Faith for the summer to pursue another writing project and discipline myself in being present...cutting out Facebook,TV and limiting the Internet/texting. Email me at if you are interested in being a part of this new project.

Have a great summer!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Perfect Timing

I love when I am having a bad day and I have a friend send a random message that changes things around or, in this case, gives hope. I don't want to over spiritualize it, but sometimes it seems God knows exactly when I need to be affirmed from just the right person. (I hope you don't mind that I'm posting this.)

I received a great Facebook message from a friend today who I often lose contact with and must keep up with via Facebook (isn't that the case a lot of the time.)

Love keeping up with you. You have some of the most handsome boys I've ever seen! I've been thinking of you a ton lately. My neighbor's marriage is falling apart and it is super sad but I was just realizing that I have never seen someone handle their marriage ending with the grace that you did. I love to hear that you are healing and moving on. Praying for your future! XOXO

It doesn't always feel like everything that I did during the ending of my marriage was worth it. There are days where I wish I would've just walked away. Sure I can go on about how I experienced what is described in Romans 5:2-4 "...And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character; hope."

Honestly, some days it just stinks. I have some days where I realize that, while I changed a lot for the good, I also changed a lot for the worse. My suffering certainly produced perseverance (as my old blog was accurately titled), character and hope...but it also produced scars and built walls. It causes me to withdraw and isolate.

Today I am reminded that, sadly, I am not alone in this, but also that it is not about me and never was. God has and will continue to use it. Thank you dear friend for the hope I needed today. :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

To Trust or Not To Trust

I hoped that trusting my ex-husband would be easier now that I forgive him, but after a taste of it yesterday, I don't think that is going to happen for a while. I want it to...I try to assume the best in everyone. It's rare that you will find me stressing over someone's actions because my heart wants to believe the good in people...good intentions and good reasons. I don't feel any hurt or resentment, but I've heard "T'm sorry" way too many times without matching actions that I still feel manipulated when it comes from him.

I know that God is calling me to show him love and I am so blessed by friends, old and new, that have been encouraging me and reassuring me that this is what I need to CHOOSE to do. It is difficult though.

It had been a while since we have had an argument and I knew exactly how the conversation (argument) was going to go yesterday. I prayed it wouldn't go that way, but it did. (On a lighter note, another sign of my healing was that I was able to hang up the phone, take a deep breath, and move on with my day. I didn't let it effect me or aggravate me to continue an argument.) 

An hour after the phone call he called me back to apologize. I know! An apology for arguing with me, how he spoke to me and how he reacted. At first the "I'm sorry" (actually quite a few of them) were great signs that things may not be as bad as I anticipated with his move out here. I was able to finally tell him how much I forgive him, have no resentment or anger towards him and hope that we can start to build a positive relationship to work together for the kids. It seemed like a great conversation.

Then, I found out that his sister has filed for divorce, has a lawyer and NC and he is with them in NC right now. Flashbacks of all of his manipulations with his words and "I'm sorry" came back. Part of me feels like this is no different than in the past. His family doesn't like me anymore, so I can only imagine what happened when he got off of the phone with me the first time. I want to believe the best, but...

I know that the law is on my side and I have nothing to fear, but the threats are all too familiar. I am realizing more that he is going to have to earn trust back from me. I trust him with the kids, but at this point, I wouldn't put anything past him directly between us.

Then again, maybe God is working in his heart and the apology was honest. I guess I will just love him through this, and trust God, especially when I can't trust him.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A conversation with God

Me: God, I am angry and hurt. I blame myself for my plans not working out.

God: Of course your plans didn't work out. They were yours not Mine.

Me: Then I'm angry at you. I don't want to be, but I am.

God: I know you are. It's okay. I love you.

Me: My plans were good. They were good, godly, wise plans.

God: Yes, they were good.

Me: Then why?

God: Because they were not My best.

Me: I don't want to wait for your best.

God: I know, but My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

Me: You are right. I'm sorry, but I'm still hurt.

God: I know. Come to Me child. Bring me your hurts and I will comfort you. I will heal you. I will protect you. I will never leave you. I love you.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Don't give up

I've spent a lot of my free time at working trying to build a relationship with a young (well, she's 25) woman. I really like her and we have become pretty good "work" friends. I've been praying for a chance to build a deeper relationship and get a chance to share my story and the Gospel with her. I've been stopping at her desk a few times a day and have been letting her into my life. A few weekends ago, we were going to get together for a baseball game and she had to cancel. I was discouraged and thought that maybe my effort wasn't worth it.

Until Friday.

We were chatting about our weekend and I mentioned that I was volunteering at a water station for my friend's century ride that he and his dad created. She started asking me about the things I volunteer for and expressed interest in doing similar. For the first time she also expressed interest in going to church. She doesn't know much about Christianity except for what her husband has told her and it seems that he has been hurt by the church or Christians. She expressed genuine interest in going to church with me and my boys.

I am so humbled that God would use me just to plant a seed in her like this - whether or not she goes to church with us, I was able to tell her a bit about Christianity. I especially let her know that if it was a list of rules, religion or perfection, I would have never signed up for it. I hope to get a chance to go to lunch with her this week and hear more of her story and her experiences.

God has had her on my heart for a while now. Please join me in praying for her heart to be open to receiving what I say. Pray for my words and intentions to be removed and for the Holy Spirit to speak through me according to His will.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Yesterday could have led me into a very dark place today. Late last night I realized what today was and was able to see the lies fed into all of the half-truths. I was able to put on my armor and fight with the strength of the Holy Spirit again the lies being presented before me.

In my past, today was a day represented by a beautiful glass vase - filled with hope, love, promises...

A few years ago it shattered.

Since then, God has been picking up each broken piece of glass, not leaving a single shard on the ground.

God placed all of those broken pieces into a kiln...melting them together to shape a new vase, more beautiful than the last. Stronger the the last.

Our enemy comes along with a sledge hammer of lies trying to shatter the new creation.

He came close yesterday through multiple circumstances. But not close enough.

Take my eyes off the circumstances and put them onto the Lord. In all reality, the circumstances were nothing like how I perceived them to be. Lies. Deception. Distortion of truth. That's all it was.

Denial - Deny my way and accept  God's way.
Expectations - Live in the present and not worry about tomorrow, the next hour or the next minute. Cling to God's promises.
Regret - Bring it to God and He will use it for His good.
Flaw - Be open to refining. Confess and let God work.
Effort - When doing something for the Glory of God, it is always worth the cost.

Today is a day of celebration - for my Rooted group.
Today is a day of celebration for the circumstances that were so easily distorted yesterday. I embrace them today.
Today is a day for celebration for new life. New creation. New future.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

One of those days

Have you had one of those days when denial turns into acceptance? 
When you realize expectations will not be met?
When regret finally sets in?
When a character flaw reveals itself?
When the effort just isn't worth it anymore?
It's a disappointing is one of those days. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

10 weeks

10 weeks of another Rooted session have come and gone (through we still have our celebration dinner on Friday.)

I went into tonight being relieved it was over. Rooted has been my life for the past 20 weeks - every Tuesday for 3 hours, plus the reading, praying and preparation it takes to lead a group of 14.

Week 10 is my favorite night...not because it is over, but because everyone in the group gets a chance to affirm each other. I get to also pray into each of their lives a prayer of affirmation. It is a night where after 10 weeks of being vulnerable and open to each other and to what God is doing in our lives, I get to help the group see the journey God has taken them on and how He has drawn them closer to Him.

It is a night or purpose, laughter, tears, acceptance, surrender, hope, love, fellowship...

We celebrate communion with our new family of friends. We get a glimpse of how others see us. We are able to share how another person's story has made an impact on our lives.   We are able to see how God has used us broken, afraid, lost, uncertain, insecure, flawed, lonely and built a community of people who are loved just as we are. In our brokenness God brought healing. In our insecurities, God brought confidence. In our fears God brought deliverance. God showed us a path when we were lost. God showed us security when we were uncertain. God showed us His perfect creation in us when we feel too flawed to be loved.

Week 10 is the reason I lead Rooted. Week 10 is the passion God has set in my heart. I love hearing and seeing His stories written through us...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Real Beauty

All women can get wrapped up in our society's definition of beauty... even Christians (even me.) In fact, I have heard many stories of women who are beautiful as our society defines it and still feel empty and undesirable. 

So, what is the definition of true beauty? 

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4 

What - or better yet - WHO are you going to let define your beauty?

Monday, June 11, 2012

When I fail...

Overwhelmed by Grace and unconditional Love is the only way to describe life right now. Overwhelmed is probably an understatement. For weeks God has been putting me into situations where I need to trust Him...more and more each time a bit of my walls have been broken down without me realizing it. Only now I see what has been hiding underneath. The walls I put up to protect myself are the same walls that have been hiding myself. Afraid to fail, I doubted the Love that never fails, even when I do. Afraid to fail in relationships, at work, in parenting, with finances...the underlying need to be perfect so I will be loved fed those fears. When the walls I put up keep people away and the times I isolate myself push people away, one thing remains and never gives up on me. For years I have known that I do not have to be perfect to be loved, but the walls around my heart couldn't let that truth in. No matter who tried to tell me in their own way, I doubted their truths and assigned the idea that they "had to say that" because they are my friend. I have been telling myself these lies and have been giving the enemy stronghold over my life.

Achieving perfection in any of those areas of my life will never fill the desire and craving in my heart for unconditional, unfailing love. There is only one Love that can be described as such and one Love that will reach deeper than I can see to fill the well of my heart. In being honest about these lies, I can finally freely bring my desires and cravings to Him - my thirst that can only be satisfied by His living water. Just this little taste of it has brought new life.

What a gift God has given us in that we get to experience His living Word so closely. The gift of knowing Him-not from a distance, but personally, and being known by Him-completely.

"We do this because our hearts were made to worship and find our worth in Him alone...By changing our focus to the Giver, we can then begin to look to Him for our identity and purpose. By worshiping Him for who He is, we remember how valuable we are in Him and to Him."

Seeing you as God sees you changes everything!

"It is a moment by moment, day by day experience where we process our thoughts, emotions and decisions with God, positioning our hearts to let His perspective redefine ours."

This is a journey God started me on a few years ago and I am seeing Him work until it is finished...a lifetime of growing more secure in His love, identifying myself in Him alone, and seeking Him and not the acceptance of this world.

The best gift is to be able to draw near to I AM just as I am.

-quotes from A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

Fight for Hope

Do not get discouraged in your season of suffering. Do not lose hope when your dreams meet reality. Be open to God deepening His character in you through perseverance when expectations are not met.

We all have expectations and when reality hits and some are not met, do not give up. Be true to who God made you to be and boldly declare your trust in Him. Stand with a confident heart - God knows you intimately and meets you in that place, wherever you are. The seasons of life can beat you down or build your character to be more like His. Hope, not in the fleeting circumstances and seasons of this world, but in Him. A tangible Hope and Love that never fails!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Journey to a confident heart

I am so blessed to have a great sister with a very expensive Master's Degree in Social Work who can talk truth into my crazy emotions once a month. I am also grateful that this craziness only lasts a day or two each month and I usually know when to expect it :)

I am also blessed by a loving God who uses these emotions to break down my walls - little by little. I have learned to try and be strong and hold it together all of the time, but I can always count on God to tear down the walls for a day or two before I rebuild them - not as high and not as strong. 

Today was one of those days that God used to break me down and removed my own strength so that I all had was His. 

Today we had a payer/healing service at church taken from James 5:13-16:

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

I usually go on Saturday night, but we went this morning instead. I was so excited to see my friend and her husband there together. They are living separately right now and this was a big answer to prayers - or so I thought. Once we sat down together, she explained that they come together every week and pretend that everything is okay. While disappointed that it wasn't more than that, I was blessed to see brokenness in both of them during the service. While he courageously went down for prayer, she wept by my side. No words were exchanged between us as I just hugged her (and I teared up too), so I don't know the reason, but I am confident that God was breaking down a piece of the wall she has up...and possibly some of mine too.

A Confident Heart by Renee Swope
I added this book to my Kindle a few months ago when it was free, honestly, thinking I would probably never get to reading it. I decided to start reading it today, and based on a conversation with my best friend yesterday, it is no coincidence that this book is in my hands.

The author knows me...knows what is in my head and what is in my heart. Really, God knows me, what is in my head and what is in my heart and He put this book in my life. Word for word, she describes my fears, my insecurities, my desires and the longing of my heart. I have a hard time crying (due to the walls of being "just fine"), but I just wept as I read chapter 2 of the book.

"Being honest about who we are and how we are doing is especially risky when it comes to 
our insecurities. We fear that if people know we doubt ourselves, they’ll start doubting us too...

...Pretending leads to hiding and isolation. What we need is someone who will pursue us and 
accept us even though we’re flawed. Yet most of us doubt anyone would ever stick with us if 
we let them get too close. So we put up walls and hide our struggles, even from God, hoping 
we’ll convince Him and everyone else that we’re fine. 

Eventually, though, we find ourselves in the shadows of doubt, convinced that we aren’t 
worth knowing or pursuing. Slowly we begin to believe we have to be perfect to be loved and 
accepted. We know we never will be—but we’ll die trying, won’t we?
For much of my life, I put expectations of perfection on myself because I thought if I let 
others see my weakness and insecurities they would think less of me."

The chapter also gave me a new perspective on the Samaritan woman Jesus meets at the well. Every sermon I hear tends to make it sound like it is her sins that have led to her lifestyle and, while that may be true, I had never heard her described this way. I have compassion for her. I see me in her.

"She’d been married five times. In her culture women could not divorce their husbands, so 
she had been discarded by five men and was now living with a man who didn’t think she was 
worth committing to. We meet her one day while she is running errands and running away 
from those who knew all about her flaws and failed marriages. Feeling imperfect and 
ashamed, she walked to the well alone that day."

Not only do I have a new understanding of "Sam", I have been there. I know those feelings all too well. I still experience those feelings too often.

I had a conversation with my best friend yesterday about this, the message at church was about this, I read this part in the book today and my sister spoke this same truth into me. I do not doubt the way God has used those four circumstances to reveal Himself to me. It has been disappointing to think I had not personally healed from so much of my past as much as I thought I did, but, I am so hopeful in that I actually have healed and now I am on a journey to be broken down deeper...a journey towards a more confident heart in Him. I resisted this pain, but today, I welcome it. I welcome the brokenness. I welcome my Father into it - without pretending and without hiding, but just me as I am - confident He accepts me and loves me.

"Will you let your desire to be known and loved just as you are lead you into a more 
personal and intimate relationship with Jesus? The first step is to embrace your imperfections 
in the light of God’s perfect love, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in 
you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6)."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

He has overcome

I am blessed by a best friend who, not only knew that a spiritual attack would come this week, but could intercede with prayer and join me in the fight. I am amazed by our God of hope and love, and for His reminder recently that “There is no fear in My love, which shines in you continually. Sit quiet in My Love-Light, while I bless you with radiant Peace. Turn your whole being to trusting and loving me.” (Jesus Calling, June 3).

This battle is not mine to fight on my own. The struggles have already been overcome. Thank you, Father, for knowing the struggles and desires of my heart in advance, for arming me with a name of truth (Amanda = worthy of love) and for the assurance that You have already won. Today, I choose to take heart in the promise that Your love will always be enough. Today, I choose to courageously stand firm against these strongholds with the true identity I have already found in You. Today, I choose to claim Your truth of acceptance as I am. I will not fear… I will trust.         

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears in not made perfect in love”. John 4:18

All our troubles
And all our tears
God our hope
He has overcome

All our failure
And all our fear
God our love

He has overcome

All our heartache
And all our pain
God our healer
He has overcome

All our burdens
And all our shame
God our freedom
He has overcome

All our troubles
And all our tears
God our hope
He has overcome

All our failures
And all our fear
God our love
He has overcome

God our justice
God our grace
God our freedom
He has overcome

God our refuge
God our strength
God is with us
He has overcome

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Unexpected Brokenness

I received a jury duty summons in January and I was NOT happy about it. I had to go into the superior court and it was the day after my birthday. I had all of my excuses (lies) ready to get out of serving on a jury. That morning, I was in the first group called, the first group of 6 to be questioned (they had already selected 10 the day before) and I was the only one of the 6 to be kept. By the end of the day, we had 12 jurors and two alternates and finished opening statements. The case was attempted murder with enhancements for active criminal street gang membership, shooting with a semiautomatic weapon and doing it for the benefit of the gang.  It was exciting! The whole court process is so interesting and I felt very privileged to be serving. I would want someone like me on my jury - I am fair and caring. I knew that I could make a fair decision based off of the evidence.

For the next three days, I spent the day in court, staring right at the defendant (though a big, bad member of a gang, looked timid, weak, pale and kind of attractive to be honest. Being the only one who had a direct view of him at all times, I had a lot of time to see him less of a violent criminal enemy and more of a human who has made really bad choices in life and was now having to face the consequences for them. I am all for consequences. I believe God uses them to teach us, train us and refine us.

Then, after 4 days of the trial, we showed up and the defense counsel called out sick. We showed up Wednesday and the defense counsel called out sick again. The court called us Wednesday night to tell us that counsel would be out again on Thursday and to not go in. Friday, I was excited to get back to court. I really wanted to see the case all of the way through. Partially because I knew I would be fair in my verdict, but also because I really wanted to be a part of the whole system and learn about it firsthand. Well, the defense counsel called off again and the judge released us from the case. He will be re-tried in a few week with a new jury and probably a new public defender. I was very disappointed. Just for kicks, the jury (at this point in the testimony) would have voted not guilty on attempted murder, guilty for assault with a semi, and true for all of the gang enhancements. I think he was looking at around 15-20 years in state prison for it. I couldn't wait to google it and him...and I did. I love knowledge and facts. Plus, part of me wanted to know more about a man who was jumped into a gang at 12 years old. I really wanted to know more of his story.

I was grateful for all of the prayers I received for protection of my heart and mind as I went through the trial, but what I didn't expect was how I'd feel after it was over. After my internet research and some details I found out, including being married, I have really been struggling with this. My mind hasn't changed about his guilt, but I am broken over the fact that this man does not know Christ, or does but has chosen this criminal life to live. And, he has a wife waiting at home for him. My heart is really breaking over this and I am so glad that I don't have to make that judgement anymore. Tonight's service at church broke me over this and I am so grateful for a close friend and one of the pastors who were there to ask me how I was, be there when I lost it emotionally and pray with me. I don't know what to do with this brokenness. It is so unexpected.

What happened at church is to be continued tomorrow...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Purifying Life - Prude or Prune?

I want to be pure - my heart, my mind, my thoughts, my sexuality...some of those are much easier than others for me.

I remember my life a few years ago where this seemed easy. It seemed normal.
Stop watching certain TV shows that are not pleasing to God - Check.
Stop listening to music that glorifies anything but God - Check.
Stop reading books that tempt my thoughts to be sinful - Check.

I felt convicted of things in my life and saying "no" to them came natural. Climbing the mountain to purifying my heart and life took little effort.

But the slope back down is a slippery one. It is also gradual and "innocent."

Baby steps, one at a time, equal a giant leap when you stop to look back. Each little compromise leads down a path that you don't realize you are on until you are far down it.

I'm not a prude person, though most of our society may think so. I desire what is good and pure and holy and true. I know that God loves me and wants what is best for me. I want to experience what He has made that is best for me. I want to wait until marriage to have sex this time. Not because it is what you are supposed to do as a Christian or because it is what God says to do. I know that God would not want that for me unless it was the best for me - and I want to experience His love in that way. That's not so hard for me right now, but I also fear that the men who will also want that are few and far between. I fear my pickings are pretty slim as I hit 31 next month. No only that, but I am divorced with two kids and I will not have any more. I almost died once and my boys need me too much to risk it again. Okay - I got off on a tangent - back to being purified.

I have made little compromises in my life and I feels so hard to go back this time. It is mostly with TV shows. I know they are not as bad as others I could be watching, but still I feel the conviction and I am having a hard time saying "no." I am starting to see it in my music choices too. Not all of them, but a couple here and there. I know it isn't God's best for me, but I am a strong Christian. Just because I watch that show doesn't mean I believe what they do and say is right. Just because I listen to that song doesn't mean I condone the language or behaviors glamorized in it. Ha!

Our sermon this week reminded me of the Nicolaitans mentioned in Revelation. I can't expect to eat the food sacrificed to (insert sin/temptation/the world) and go out and claim to be a follower of Christ. This is hard though because it tastes so good. And it doesn't seem to harm me at all, but Jesus HATES it!

I realized tonight that this may seem prude to even my Christian friends, but I consider it my pruning. It hurts. It is hard. But, just maybe instead of watching the Bachelor for two hours, I'll pray. Instead of listening to Katy Perry in the car, I will worship God with my music.

I want to have a heart of worship for God all of the time. Instead I have been filling it with everything but God.

So, Good-bye The Bachelor (Ben, I know you are about to make your choice.)
Good-bye Grey's Anatomy (You all really should stop sleeping with each other.)
Good-bye a lot of things in my life.
I need to continue building my relationship with the One who truly matters.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Only One is worthy

The higher the pedestal you put someone on, 
the harder the fall if they let you down. ~ Anonymous

I ran into a woman from the group I currently facilitate at Costco today. The conversation was very uncomfortable for me as she put me on a pedestal. She told me all about how she looks up to me and I am such an inspiration to her. She thinks that I am so beautiful on the inside and outside. She thinks she can learn so much from me and really admires me. She's 63. I'm 30. 
All that I could say was that I just show up and God does the rest. 

It is not very often that I am admired - and not that I want to be - I just usually feel like I can't do anything right. Unworthy is a better word for it. The best word for it. It's a stronghold. My mind knows it is not true, but my heart doesn't always connect with it. 

I've put people on a pedestal before. One person in particular and it was because I felt so unworthy. Because I felt so unworthy, I imagined someone to be more than what they were. It was unfair to both of us. 
And, the fall was hard. 

There is One who is worthy of being on that pedestal. 
There is One who sits high on the throne. 

I do not need to put anyone else up there or have anyone put me up there. I am so grateful for that.
I just want to show up and let God do the rest. 
I just say "yes." 
I try to lean into what is hard and uncomfortable and allow the situations to grow my character. 
I don't always do it. Sometimes I withdraw and hide. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. 

When people take notice of me, I get uncomfortable with the complements. 

Maybe because I feel unworthy of them.
Maybe because I am unworthy of them.

There is One who is worthy, and though I am not, He still loves me.
And that is all I need. 

"All Glory, Honor, Power is Yours AMEN!"

Sunday, January 29, 2012


He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. - Psalm 91:4

Physically broken...I prayed for this A LOT a few years ago. I prayed for him to break. My first counselor started it - he prayed for him to physically break. His prayer was that if he physically broke, he would spiritually break - he would see his life from someone else's eyes - God's. He would stop putting his identity in the military and let Christ be his everything. And then - it would all work out. God would heal our marriage, we would be stronger than ever and our testimony would help marriage everywhere. 

It never happened. 

You all know that story, so I won't go into it. If you don't, check out my other blog. 

I randomly met a man that gave me a bit of butterflies last week - a crush. Our meeting, though I've decided I don't want it to go anywhere, showed me healing.  I am healing. In fact, I have healed from the marriage, the affair, the divorce. I am neutral. I don't hate him. I don't desire him. I don't know how to explain it except for neutral. 

He broke.


I found out on Thursday, but I think it happened a few days before this healing revelation. He broke his foot at work and is out for a few weeks to a few months. I don't think it is a coincidence. I prayed and prayed and prayed for this. My friends, my church, my counselors all prayed for this. I divorced and I still prayed for our marriage to be healed. He got married and though it was closure for me, my heart hurt and I was still broken. 

I healed and he broke. 

I feel so protected by God. I have been protected all of the way through this 3-year storm. God's hands have written this story through me of such loving and amazing restoration. His heart and love transformed me from pieces of broken clay. 

I am praying the same will happen for him. 

Crazy - I know it's crazy. After seeing God's Radical Grace, in my life, throughout the Bible and in the lives of those around me - I want him to experience it too. I want HER to experience it too. After all, it's God's love and grace to give. 

I feel like it is an out-of-body experience. Aliens have taken over my mind and my heart. Christ has taken over my mind and heart. I forgive him. I actually want him to move to CA. I want to invite both of them to church WITH us - not just to our church at a different service. WITH us. To sit with me. 

I want him to break spiritually - for him - for her - for the boys - for Christ. I want him to experience this immense humbling that painfully refines. It hurts, but it is worth it all. 

He doesn't deserve for me to feel this way or pray these things for him. But - that's what Grace is. And even more - that's what God's Radical Grace is. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

He Delights...

The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
       Psalm 147:11

For the LORD takes delight in his people; 
   he crowns the humble with victory.      Psalm 149:4

I just want to be surrounded and consumed by this truth over the weekend.

God delights in me.
God delights in you.   

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rooted 2

This Tuesday is the start of Rooted and I am leading a group for the second time in a row. Many emotions are flowing through me about it...fear, excitement, self-doubt, hope...some from the Holy Spirit and some from our enemy.

Most of all, I have been praying more for this group and this experience they will have. I pray that God will bring the right people into my group - not those I would put in there, but those that God wants there.

If you are reading this, please pray for my group over the next 10 weeks and for me as I facilitate conversation and battle the roadblocks the enemy puts in front of us.