Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Only Way Out is Through-Enduring the Fiery Furnace

Have you ever wondered or taken just a moment to imagine what it would be like to watch Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the viewpoint of King Nebuchadnezzer? He ordered these men to be thrown into the fire; 7 times hotter than normal might I add, because they refused to worship him. Even the guards who were leading the three men immediately died because of the heat the furnace generated. SMA knew that by bowing to this King they would be disobeying their heavenly father. They were willing to die for HIM! This truly gives me goosebumps as I envision these men. They trusted God's plan and had no fear of the future. (Daniel 3)

These men left that fiery furnace completely unharmed, not even a hair on their head singed!!!  They emerged from the flames more resilient, with greater joy and a stronger faith. Without a hint of bitterness. They committed to loving God more; not less, with every inch of their lives. They committed to God an unknown future because they believed and knew that the refining had a GREATER purpose. The suffering would bring blessings that might not make sense during the storm but only after the clouds had lifted. 

Now imagine being King Nebuchadnezzer...he witnessed the saving grace of a God he had rebelled against! He was overtaken with complete repentance! To me, this would have been breath-taking, life changing and completely inspiring. The opportunity he had to witness the miracle of God...just in the same way we have the chance to show others the grace and love of God by sharing, sometimes even screaming about what HE has done! 

No one wants to be thrown into the furnace but what I have learned over the last month after a devastating heart break; as I emerge from my own fiery prison, is that it is there and there only, we are able to clearly see what needs refining. It is there that we begin to find true healing and it is within the fire, that we gain wisdom, strength and our faith is restored. I have learned that God TRULY knows best and that the furnace is not a punishment but rather an OPPORTUNITY for us allow God to exceed our expectations! If we only want Him to meet them, how can he possible do bigger and greater things than our hearts or minds could imagine. The fire gives us the opportunity to fully surrender what we know and think is best to the ONLY ONE who truly does, trusting completely even when things don't make sense.

More than anything I have come to understand that there is no escape from the immense, paralyzing pain of refining. THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH!!! We can numb the pain and we can try to run from it, but it will follow us in every facet of life. There is no getting rid of it quick, or stuffing to our eventually seeps out like a colander. We have to be present and take one step at a time, one tear after the other. We have to sometimes grit our teeth, bang on the steering wheel and remember to breath much like a labor pain. After the intensity of the contraction, there is a peace again but only if we endure and breath through the pain.

One thing I have found so important to be aware of during my time in the furnace is to always listen to intuitions. I believe that is a way the Holy Spirit speaks truth to us. Speaking in ways that may not be exactly audible but perhaps in the discomfort or unsettledness we feel after an encounter. Having listened to what I knew was most likely truth could have have eliminated a lot of future pain and immense heoart ache. In the fire I am learning that in those cases I am just as guilty for choosing to not obey what God was clearly speaking. I am not a victim in the situation because there were God given signs that I chose to ignore to avoid discomfort and loneliness. All in hind sight but all so incredibly good to be aware of and something I would not have learned had the fire furnace not gobbled me up.

In the furnace I have had the realization that since a young child, I have become what everyone else needed to me and never what God intended for me to be. I worked so hard on showing others their value that I forgot to relish in my own identity and worth. I will work so hard and never forgetting that my heart and identity is not found in what I do, how I serve or how I even show love to others. It is found in Christ and who HE alone says I am. I truly believe this will be an ongoing awareness as I go through life and discover who I was created to be. 

Unless you have been in the furnace just merely reading that God is a comforter is not the same as knowing the comfort of God. Understanding that God is a deliverer is vastly different from experiencing his deliverance. And knowing that Jesus can save cannot be compared with worshiping him as my Savior. 

ALL of this leads me to this epiphany I was given while standing in front of my mirror the other day. I have not really known what it was like to truly be single. To be content with being home alone, or going out exploring on my own. It has been something I have been ultra aware of but have not mastered yet. So, I thought to myself...what can I do in Wichita as a single woman that does not involve Mort's on a monday night(nothing wrong with this, but not all I want) or drinking at Newport, or taking a bottle of wine to a friends house. See the common denominator? Alcohol. I want to do more, experience more but I have had no idea where to start. 

So, heres the deal. I am going on a journey for the next 6 months(some may not understand or agree with this time frame, but I truly believe God said to wait...if HE says wait, then I plan to listen because I know the fruits of obedience will be that much greater on the other side)! I have committed to not being in an exclusive, committed..headed towards marriage relationship. I have committed to reengaging in my own life. To ensuring that I’m Enough for me as selfish as that might sound...before I can be enough for someone else I have to be content, present and joy-filled on my own because of who Christ created me to be. I have committed to being the best mom and best business owner I can be(I have let everything slide if the truth be known). Enough is enough. There is SOOOOO MUCH MORE to me, to life. Each week...grace please if I do not succeed, I will explore Wichita and other cities for activities to do that do not solely involve drinking. Again, I LOVE a good martini or glass of wine, but I want to have experiences that create last memories. Experiences that help me grow spiritually and physically. Call  me the modern day Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love. I have watched that movie more times than I can count in the last month but anyways, I plan to have some fun, completely free of the pressure to be what others or a man need me to be. I’m truly get excited thinking of the opportunities this new found freedom will bring. The immense growth and incredible realizations this will allow in the life of my children and in my own heart. 

My first adventure takes place next week and I am excited to try something new. Adventures will include some of the following, dining, gyms, climbing, desserts, guns, unheard of towns, dancing, concerts, music lessons, musicals....Not all adventures will take place at a physical location. Some, in the comfort of my own home. I want to create a list for other single woman who want to engage in more than just the meat market mentality. So as I adventure on, my hope is that you will choose to join me on the journey of self-discovery, peace and healing. My prayer is that you too will be inspired and encouraged!

This is going to be the best time of my life...I have an intuition!😍

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Church Chip Baggers

The Church Chip Bags

About a year ago the girls and I️ started attending I️ can say with complete confidence that it has been one of the best decisions I️ made. My growth as a person, as a spiritual leader and overall heart has been encouraged and supported by the people and messages shared.

For those of you who know me I️ have one little “chip on my shoulder” about the Chip Bags served by the sweetest hospitable hosts every Sunday morning along with wonderful coffee and crisp apples. Never before had this particular noise created such an issue for me until I️ sat that first week in the sanctuary and was serenaded by the musical melodies of crunching, wrestling, crumpling, smacking, finger licking, and finally, hard pressing index fingers against the bag to get the last crumbs and bit of seasoning for that final taste and finger cleaning sucking indulgence of those blessed Doritos or Cheeto goodness! I never knew such absolutely ridiculous talent existed.

For a year now each Sunday I anxiously await the musical melodies. If you are sitting around me you will likely find me randomly laughing during the service as I think of all the ways that I could possibly confiscate the chip bags. Most of those instances End in what I find quite hilarious, instant gratification scenarios of chip bag removal. 

It is a blasted good thing for those talented church chip baggers that I don’t ever act out my dreamt up scenario of chips and bags flying through the air and simultaneously landing as I️ leap towards the next(imagine this all in slow mo).

Let me now get to the revelation this great annoyance has allowed me the opportunity or some incredible growth and shall we say will power. Here are a couple of things Doritos and those addicting Cheetos that these indulgent children of God have been partaking in...

  1. Satan wants nothing more than for chip bags to be a distraction from growing stronger in the Lord by hindering my ability to hear the word of God being taught. 
  2. The realization that not everyone is overly aware of others feelings.
  3. I️ can actually control my reactions, thoughts and behaviors!

Over the last few months, I’ve learned some pretty profound lessons about life through my initial noise sensitivity to chip bags. I️ had to come to the realization that this great annoyance was probably triggering anxiety and something deeper within me that really had nothing to do with the sound of the chip bag. 

The consumers are just enjoying the savory goodness of some good ol snacks while listening to Pastor the way...that man can dress! And yes, I’ll admit, that is sometimes distracting too!!😳 they came to hear the word of God as well. So why aren’t they equally annoyed?

I’ve come to realize that Satan is using the chips bags as a DISTRACTION, because guess what?! He knows exactly what am capable of when my heart and mind are completely focused on Christ! When the people and things of this world are not turning my eyes, ears and heart away from the only ONE who deserves me complete time and devotion. You know, it’s not just the annoying sounds that Satan uses to distract us. Distractions occur every passing minute with our phones, social media, alcohol, hobby’s we worship, work, name it! Satans goal is to completely distract us from the word of God so that we stray and wonder around with no direction, purpose or hope, to keep us suffering in pain, wallowing in our sorrow. He’s not interested in healing. He’s interested in keeping us in a state of worthlessness, pain and destruction so that he wins!

We have a God who yearns for our attention, not for selfish gain but so that we can experience true, complete freedom. Our actions and love are a reflection of a God who showed us such grace when he said come as we are. Broken, and defeated and I️ will strengthen you and defeat the enemy for you! 

Was challenged this morning to stand up against the enemy and say NO MORE! To speak “boldly” about all God has done in my life to defeat the enemy. I want to be so grounded in Christ that when the devil starts to attack, I’m stronger than the loudest chip bagger band. If the band grows louder...I️ may hear, but I️ want my eyes so focused on Christ that I’m able to tune out the annoying distractions, and opinions that don’t point me towards the cross. 

Moral of the story...all you chip baggers are safe and don’t have to duck for cover next time you see me coming down your aisle. God used you to teach me quite the lesson about allowing distractions to eat me! No pun intended! So, chip baggers everywhere! Thank you for enjoying every finger licking, last crumb!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Death, At The Age of 33

As I sat in the bathroom of my parents home at the age of 17, I was day dreaming as I relieved my bladder(because don't we all do our best thinking on the toilet) about who knows what when I looked over at the bathroom counter and saw thread laying mysteriously in shape of two numbers side by side; 33. As I sat there, this strange fear came over me as I felt in that moment that I would somehow die at the age of 33. I began to cry as thoughts filled my head. After I regained composer, I realized was a rediculous, stupid thought that was. God would never show me something like that! I never told anyone about that moment as I feared I would be deemed crazier than I already was. I did my best to push the weird, uncomfortable thoughts to the back of my mind and carry on with life. I went about the rest of high school, college, and first marriage with it creeping in and out of my head. When the thought arose, I would quickly push it to the deepest parts of my heart, continuing to keep it sealed tightly in a little glass box. I figured the glass would be easier to break versus a padded lock if I ever really wanted to get in and deal with the ridiculous thought.

After my 30th birthday, the thought was more prominent as the realization that I was quickly approaching the age of 33. I started wondering more and more if it could possibly be true and then began contemplating all the ways in which I could possibly die. However it would be, I prayed it would be quick and painless(I cried from hang nails). Fear began to start creeping in...did I do enough for you Lord? Am I being punished?  Then came sweet girls!! That glass box now had cracks in it and the thoughts more regularly seeped through.

I repeatedly told several close friends how I wanted my funeral to be, in passing and to them to be funny all while in the back of my mind somewhat preparing for D-day. I wanted bright colors, a band, red ranunculus/anemones on my casket, food trucks, confetti, specific songs to be played during the photo montage. I figured it didn't hurt to be prepared and since I am a planner/control freak, I'd just plan my own shin dig so others wouldn't stress over it! 

One night specifically when I was 31, I finally broke the silence about this thought I had had for close to 15 years. I went to music theater with my dear friend Angela and afterwards sat in her driveway talking. Some how I was comfortable enough in her presence to share my dream with her. I wanted to speak it out loud so that if it came to pass, it could in some way be used to glorify Christ. For a second I hesitated wondering if Angela would think I was crazy, but ended up spilled my guts. She didn't think I was crazy, even thought I am sure she was eager to get out of my car! She responded with encouragement and love. I never shared with anyone again until recently. 

That day came to a close like the rest and I truly didn't think too much about it again until I literally turned 33. Little did I know that some of my choices would contribute and lead to the death of a marriage just a few weeks after my 33rd birthday. Two months after the death of my marriage, I hit rock bottom, and died to my pride by going to an anxiety/depression treatment center for a month. Upon my return, I died to  control. Realizing the reigns were never mine to hold onto anyway. I have died to selfishness time and time again. I have died of sheer heart ache like I have never experienced before. I have died to old habits. I have died to loneliness and despair, to perfection and labels. I have died a thousand times and a thousand times again since my 33rd birthday and for that matter my entire life.

Last week and especially this past weekend might have been one of the hardest, most pain-staking yet. I can honestly say that once again I hit rock bottom. I sat in complete silence and tried to tame the gerbil on the wheel. As I sat with tears blurring my eyes, I began to see a ray of light moving slowing into the small dark room I was sitting in. As the sunlight grew brighter, this overwhelming sense of peace came over me. In that moment it all made sense. My death was not in the way I had worried about off and on for over 15 years(Let me just tell you, I thought of all kinds of ways my life would end). It wasn't a physical death I would die, but rather a death to my very own self! This mere surviving I have been doing day in and day out was not going to work for me any longer in that moment of clarity. I wanted nothing more than to stand up and truly LIVE in complete trust and faith. I knew that in order for there to be air in my lungs, I needed to surrender some pretty big strongholds. I had to fully DIE to my selfishness, pride, guilt, shame, body, loneliness, plans, peoples opinions, friendships and the list could go on. The brain is insane people! Retraining it as a 33 year old is proving to be one of the most difficult things I have ever done outside of parenting(scared to screw my kids up...another thing I had to die to).

The concept of “dying to self” is found throughout the New Testament. It expresses the true essence of the Christian life, in which we take up our cross and follow Christ. Dying to self is part of being born again; the old self dies and the new self comes to life (John 3:3–7). Dying to self is both a one-time event and a lifelong process. 

Jesus spoke repeatedly to His disciples about taking up their cross (an instrument of death) and following Him. He made it clear that if any would follow Him, they must deny themselves, which means giving up their lives—spiritually, symbolically, and even physically, if necessary. This was a prerequisite for being a follower of Christ, who proclaimed that trying to save our earthly lives would result in our losing our lives in the kingdom. But those who would give up their lives for His sake would find eternal life (Matthew 16:24–25Mark 8:34–35). Indeed, Jesus even went so far as to say that those who are unwilling to sacrifice their lives for Him cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:27).

So, even though I still have a ways to go before I turn 34...ahhh!!! get here quick...I see that most likely death at 33 is not going to be caused by a physical act or illness, but rather the realization that I MUST continue to die to myself and surrender to Christ whole heartedly. This will no doubt be a life time process, that will eventually lead me closer to the heart of God each step and each surrender I give. When I do take my final breath; however that may be, I know I will have eternity with Christ, waiting for me with big open arms saying, well done. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

So many people have asked, many have made assumptions and questioned my heart and motives over the last few months. While I truly am working hard to not put stock in what other people think or say, I do believe that clarity, truth and understanding is important. We are always quick to believe all we hear and have little desire most often to seek out the truth in its entirety. Perception is not reality and I believe that we should always dig a little deeper into the lives of those around us rather than listen to what others may be saying even though some of it may be true. Overhearing conversations in a target aisle can completely throw a broken girl into more brokenness. I've been ignored, eye rolled and hated by people I thought were friends. We justify gossip in the name of Jesus and throw in that Christian lingo to draw conclusions about people we know not much about. We don’t know the hurt and struggle that each of us is internally dealing with because many of us hide it so well and do not speak of it. I may get in trouble for saying this, but I think Christians are the worst at drawing conclusions in the name of Jesus. We; including myself hide behind God and put on the face of perfection and yet the reality of that looks more like loneliness, despair, shattered dreams, rejection, shame and fear.

This journey of brokenness in my own life I want to share so that in TRUTH you see my heart and life through eyes of grace and love; through the eyes of Christ. I believe as God is doing a work in us; he still used us in our brokenness to share His truth and the ways He has restored and given us freedom in dying to everything else around us but Him. 2 Timothy 1:8 says-Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, but share in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 

With that being said, I can say that I am a sinner, bound by the desires of the world, quick fixes and opinions of others. I have struggled with depression, immense anxiety, rejection, fear, extreme loneliness and a multitude of other things over the years. Unfortunately, I have distracted myself, kept myself so busy so I wouldn’t have to deal with any emotion that was less than joyful. I have not always sought the most appropriate ways of dealing with those things and allowed my self to push aside what was right to get what I felt I deserved or would ease my pain quickly. I have set God aside so many times to meet my own needs. At some point, none of my self soothing tactics worked any more and I was left in a position I never dreamed and had judged others for doing. I fell on my knees knowing that was all I had surrender my brokenness to God. This instance required great faith and trust in my God I struggled to believe loved me extravagantly after all my sin and rebellion against Him. If I was going to survive I had to be willing to give up all of me. Up to that point in my life, most of my actions did not line up with my words. 

In December, I spent 3 weeks in Seattle at a "retreat Center”. This is what I told people because I was embarrassed that I was going to a “treatment facility” for anxiety and depression. As I pushed aside those feelings of shame the best I could, I tried to focus on my ultimate goals while attending A Place of Hope. They were to grow closer to the Lord so that the other areas of my heaped up heart were supported and easier to deal with. I needed to gain understanding about life as to why I was acting and reacting in negative ways and figuring out better ways of functioning as a woman with high anxiety and stress. I needed to learn better ways of managing my time to be more effective as a momma, friend, a future spouse and as a business owner. My heart longed to learn how to be “present” and content, to be still and to not be constantly looking for the next best thing. I have to say that the morning my dear friend dropped me off was one of the lowest points in my life. An overwhelming amount of fear and shame washed over me as I stepped foot into the treatment center. This loneliness like I have never experienced before left me paralyzed from even speaking for the first few days I was there. 
I prayed before I went that I would not have a crazy room mate, and that she would either not say a word or be really encouraging. Well, God’s hand was all over it because I ended up with a roommate who made me laugh more than I had in a really long time. If you know me, you know I LOVE laughing. By the fourth night my fears died down and I began to relax and eat up all the information I could! I got I got spend so much time outside, journaling and listening to music. All of theses things I enjoy but put on the back burner. My heart left renewed, and ready to conquer.
To explain in a little more detail, let me go back a few years….

As a young child I experienced great fear, rejection, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, shame and neglect. At the age of seven I was adopted but prior to my adoption the life l lived consisted of undisciplined parenting by my grandparents, abuse from my mother and her boyfriends, an absent father who was in and out of jail and abusive in between stints. This set the foundation in my young heart for how I would view myself as an adult. “I am worthless, I am unloveable, I am bad, I am unworthy, I am unwanted, I am not worthy of God’s love.” Throughout the years, these things became wired into my brain as truth. Trying to retrain the brain as a 33 year old is hopelessly impossible. I never trusted really anyone and tried my my hardest to push people’s button to test them and see if they would too give me away or prove my theories right on love and acceptance. I did I a lll I could to push people away before they push me away first. It became my defense over the years. I lived in constant fear of rejection. I thought it would hurt less if I had the control. So I thought…..

I figured that if I just ignored the pain, pushed it so deep down I couldn’t reach it that it would eventually go away. This is further from the truth. Our unwillingness to let go of pain and lay it at the feet of Christ will eventually manifest in ways that are far from healthy. Unknowingly it begins to effect our friendships, parenting and marriages to the point that it destroys them. I got to this point in many areas of my life and in an hour of great desperation late November, I knew that I needed in-depth, undistracted(by phone, social media, emails…etc)professional counseling and therapy to heal from some pretty deep wounds I never wanted to deal with through out life and the last 10 years . I needed professional help to discover my purpose and worth. I would say “again”, but the naked truth is; I’ve never believed that I was worthy or made for Great purpose or capable of being genuinely loved. 
So what did I do for three weeks you ask other than sit in class, therapy, dr. appointments, fighting with God, eating more health nut food than I cared to, exercise and journaling from 8am-10pm? I learned that genuinely loving others starts by loving myself. If you think about it, you can not ride a bike without someone showing you how to do it. In just the same way, you can not truly love unless you are shown how. As a child this was not something I feel was adequately displayed until the age of seven. I learned to forgive and give up control, to peel back the layers of pain, and that it didn’t have to be all at once. I learned that I could focus on one thing at a time. Part of my struggle in my selfishness was putting my needs before my girls. This is humbling and hard to admit. I had not been actively doing that even though I know I love them with all my being. Most of all, I learned that I am not defined by my depression,  shame, anxiety, divorce, and other short comings that have led me into darkness. I learned that I am indeed worthy, not because of others opinions and acceptance of who I am inside and out, but because GOD SAYS: YOU ARE MY CHILD. Isaiah 40:31-“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
God has spoken to me several times through out the last few months to die to myself, so I can live with Him and in His truth. To know that I am ENOUGH because of who I am in His grace and love. I am not made enough by mere actions, appearance, acceptance by men or others, but by the sacrifice Christ made by dying on the cross for my sins! The verse John 16:14 says “You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name and you will receive and you will have abundant joy.” I finally asked Him for help. I finally surrendered my will to allow the blessings of His to bring the spirit of truth. When we take a minute have a conversation with God, it changes us and it began a change in me.
The people He has brought into my life during this season of life have spoken truth but with love and great discernment. Being home from Seattle has been a great challenge as I fall into old habits and desires. I can honestly say that surrounding myself with people who are going to hold me when I am breaking and who will listen when they ask me how I’m really doing and want the real response. I have had friends randomly drop by to just give me a hug, ask to pray with me during lunch, drop off food, gifts of encouragement and those who text daily words of accountability to be in the word. More so, my dear momma and daddy have held me up on the worst of days and has supported and loved me through my sin, and struggle. My brother and I have grown closer, and my dear sisters and I have been able to fight our struggles together. Satan knows what I am capable of and wants nothing more to destroy me and has flung one hurdle after another in my way. 
A good friend shared a vision she was given….”In order for an arrow to be launched you have to pull back on the bow”. Much like life, in order for their to be positive change we have to allow God to pull us back. To remind us of who we are, to remind us where we are and that He is in control not because we are his puppets, but because He truly desires for us to live in complete joy and freedom. “He is our gift and He is our guide, in Him we can abide”. 

I share all of this not for sympathy but as part of my healing process. To say openly that I am broken, a sinner looking for quick fixes, selfish, and someone who has hidden behind the face of God. I share this to say that I am a good person who makes bad choices. That I am worthy, forgiven, accepted and loved by a God who has forgiven me and wants nothing more than to be in a close relationship with me. In spite of my mistakes, they do not define me. Even though I have deeply hurt others, if I seek forgiveness, there is freedom. I am constantly being molded and refined, distracted and needing to be reminded to stay on the right track. I am constantly having to die to myself in order to see God’s face and quite frank it HURTS and royally sucks! I am finding new freedoms daily and look forward to living in peace and contentment as God continues to define my purpose. While I have a mountain to still climb, it isn't as steep. God is good and my life is because of HIM. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Royal Family Kids-You Are Worthy and Chosen Child

In just two weeks I will leave my girlies and hubby to go and love on kiddos have been abused in every way possible and who have not many, if anyone, to call their own. I want to share my story to give you a better understanding of my passion for abused and neglected foster kids and orphans. I have shared this before but wanted to share it again as I prepare for Royal Family Kids. My heart is overwhelmed with many emotions as I prepare to go and share of the healing and love only God can unconditionally give. I am in awe of God's plan and HIS provision.
Here is a link for more information about RFK:
My story started with a deep rooted cycle of disobedience. Stagnation if you will.  A life full of hope, yet so filled with chaos, pain, and tough decisions. The month of November is Adoption Awareness month. Each year, this month for many brings back memories of what was, what could have been, and what is to be. It holds a special place in my heart as I remember, hear and see the hope that is given to those cast aside. The very notion that a child could not be loved, is sickening, but real. In my case, I was given a second chance to make a positive difference. While there have been many challenges; some still remain, I know that one thing is true: Obedience will get us to places we never imagined. 
This leads me to the an acronym.....
Obedience: Obedience; or disobedience, can have a rippling effect. With that being said, I would not be where I am without the disobedience of my Biological parents, and without the obedience of my adoptive parents. They had a desire to have another child, their obedience to be still and listen, and then act on what they were called to do changed my life forever. My Adoptive mom has told me that Daddy fell in love with me the first time he met me. You see, had they not obeyed, I can not imagine where I would be. Obedience leads to great things, and in my case a heart full.
Believing: Believing that God knows best without our grubby hands is so important. We may not always understand the why’s or how comes, but if we choose to believe in HIS plan and not take hold of the reigns of our own life and understand Jeremiah 29:11….For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and to not harm you….Once we will truly believe this, we will be in a place where we can just stand in AWE of our Savior! Sometimes I want to climb to the tallest mountain and scream at the top of my lungs in complete reverence to HIM! In HIS presence is fullness of joy!!!!
Encouragement: It has been 23 years since I have been adopted and a huge part of my healing has come through the encouragement, and prayers for not only myself but from my adoptive parents, close friends and my adoptive family. Whether it be a note, a friend who calls to pray with you on the phone, or a counselor, you will be surprised at how timely those notes, calls or sessions can be. God has given some people the ability to listen and help dissect and guide you through the things that are hard to understand and to even climb out of the pit. I am a stuffer and so just in the last few years I have started to seek Godly counsel and allow different people to tell me how it is without the jargon and sugar coated answers. I have a feeling it will be a layer at a time, and possibly for the rest of my earthly life, and while it is challenging, it is refreshing and necessary in the healing process.  
Dreams: Have realistic dreams. I dreamed for so long that I would have a normal family life. Mom, would remind me that if I had the “normal” family, I wouldn’t be where I was. Well, the reality of normal, that is, if we all take off our masks, is not really anywhere. I do not think it was wrong for me to dream; for what in my head seemed normal, however for sometime, I would compare myself to others and what they had. On the flip side, I think it caused this immediate desire to fight for something different in my own life. If I knew one thing only, it was that I never wanted to relive or raise a family in the chaos I came from. I had the dream of one day breaking my biological family cycles.  
Importance of Forgiveness: Luke 6:37 (NIV) "...Forgive, and you will be forgiven. What is natural to "the flesh" when we have been hurt, abused or insulted is to strike back, to plot revenge, or to simmer in bitterness. This is "only human". But God requires forgiveness. If we are unwilling--or unable--to forgive, then there is no use asking God for what He has promised us, He will not give. For believers, dealing with the sin of un-forgiveness is first priority. Without forgiveness it is obviously does not allow complete healing. For many years I thought I had forgiven my biological mom, but when I came in contact with her just recently, I felt literal heat rise and anger towards her again. I then put myself in her shoes.  I looked at her and this sadness came over me. What had occurred in her own life? Did some one hurt her deeply? Did anyone show her the truth? Did she even know the love of a forgiving Savior? As crazy as it sounds, once these thoughts came over me, I felt a sense of true forgiveness and freedom from family bondage, self inflicted guilt and hatred.

Enjoy what God has given you and the life he has allowed you to have. Like I said before, I think it is easy to compare ourselves to others, but we as a nation are blessed, as a people are given so many chances, and for the most part have what we need. There is always someone worse off than yourself, but remember that God has you where He has you for a reason. Enjoy the gifts and talents that He has given to those around us. MUSIC has played a key role in my determination to succeed in life. Worshiping my God in song has brought me into a closer relationship with Him, and has given me the strength to get out of bed, to cry, laugh, and sometimes just fall completely on my knees in reverence to HIM!
Needs: We all have love languages and ways we like to be "loved". I have the biggest fear of rejection and while I am genuinely passionate about other people, I struggle with people pleasing. This has caused me to stop enjoying the life God has given in order to ensure that everybody else had a great life. This doesn’t work people. Frankly we become miserable, mask our own issues that just continue to build and we become weary. When our needs are not not reciprocated in the way we see fit, we feel rejected and set ourselves up for disappointments all over again. I feel, regardless of our situations in life, most women struggle with this to a point, but “Jesus NEVER rejects us, He ALWAYS loves. He is not looking for performance, just our worship and love. Then we are truly free to serve where called.”
Caring: Caring about others and their hearts/well-being should be something we are aware of. We have all gone through things that give us the ability to relate to others. God can use us to encourage and give hope to those people. For me, I am passionate about orphans and foster children. My desire to serve them, love them and show them the hope of Jesus has been a huge part of my ministry here on earth. We are all called to something....allow yourself to be the hands and feet and allow God to be the mastermind so that He is truly working through us and is SEEN. "Be the Hands and Feet of Jesus." Philippians 2:3-7- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Envelope: Envelope yourself and others in prayer! Pray for God’s strength and direction in your own life, but also in the lives of the people who have hurt you. You may not always get the chance to see how your prayers may be effecting that person’s life, but it is so important and obviously needed. It can be so easy to put those people in the past and come up with all kinds of excuses as to why we shouldn’t care for them or pray for them. It is in these moments we should remember our own muck that our forgiving Father pulled us out of.  I BELIEVE HE can move mountains so I am convinced that HE can change the hearts of people.
Tatum has been on my heart a lot lately. She will be turning 7 in January. I was almost 7 years old when my biological parents signed their rights away. Although my heart is filled with gratefulness and joy for my adoption, I can't help but feel completely perplexed and sad. I love Tatum with my whole heart and the very thought that I could just give her away because things got too hard or because I possibly chose to live selfishly, is almost more than my heart can bear. I will love her bigger and stronger, in the good and the bad. 

I share all this to ask that you partner with me to help raise $800 to pay for the bus that will take the kids to and from camp. This week could be a life changing week for one of these kids. I am not out to save them all or even the world, but I am out to at least plant a seed of hope in them and to show them that they are WORTHY and that they are CHOSEN, by a God who created them. 

If you are willing to give, please know that it will be worth every penny. You can send a check to:

7000 N. Seneca
Wichita, KS 67204

Written to:
Pathway Church

Thank you for considering and for your willingness to help! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gerbil on a Wheel

Sometimes I find myself like a gerbil on a many emotions and thoughts in my head and all I can seem to do it go round and round until I am so worn down, I trip and fall. It is in these moments that I am grounded, forced to lay still, and trust that God has it all under control.

My tendencies to worry are like a slap in the face to the ONE I surrendered my life to so many years ago. My quick temper is a desperate attempt to be heard and the guilt....oh the guilt from the things I've done and have said.

I torture myself with murmurs of worthlessness and defeat and after so long, begin to believe just that. What will it take for me to understand that I can do nothing by my own strength?? When will I stop caring what others think and stand boldly proclaiming truth? When will I allow myself to trust people genuinely with my heart or should I?

I'm tired. Weary. Constantly battling with myself. I wonder how many more of us feel this way and are terrified to reach out for help, prayer...for fear that we will not be seen as holy, perfect and put together. For fear that we will be rejected. If we as the body of Christ have scared people into believing the lies of perfection and the standards of "Godliness" we place on each other, what have we learned and chosen to believe about being the hands and feet of Jesus?

Let's break the mold of Christianity and open our eyes to the standards that our Savior has set and not on the unattainable standards the world has set.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sweet Release

Ivan has been a part of the symphony in the Flint hills for sometime now. I took myself and my friend Jessica to attend the event as guests….it felt strange to not have to coordinate, set up or stress about any logistics changing caused by the massive wind gusts. I napped in the tall grass, rode on a covered wagon, drank some wine, and enjoyed watching my man run around like a chicken with his head cut off. I think he may respect my job just a little bit more after the chaos he encountered. 

Jessica and I got a bit tired from the continuous wind...we went prairie mad and decided to head home. On the way to the Symphony, I showed Jess the area that my biological grandparents lived in. I got a strong urge to pay visit to the home that held some great memories and other memories I would just assume be forgotten forever. The joy, the pain, the anger and sadness that came out of the home has been something I have not revisited for years. 

Before going on, I want to stress the importance of true, genuine friendship. The kind where you can stand before each other in complete nakedness to shame, sin and pain. The kind where you can laugh in complete joy one minute and bawl in the next. I have been blessed by several of these ladies, but in this instance this weekend, one in particular became a rock, a shoulder, and a dependance I have never known before. 

We arrived at the wee little home that I expected to be covered in weeds and abandoned. To my surprise it was well kept, and someone was in deed living there. As we approached, an older woman and her husband came out to greet us, weary of our presence. I got out of the car and introduced myself and told her that I had lived in the tiny house with my grandparents, aunt, sisters and whoever else was around. I shared several memories of the creek at the back of the property and the barn where we would place a piece of wood on a big rock that stuck out of the ground and would pretend to surf while singing songs from the Beach Boys. Sadly, she seemed less than interested in letting us explore and in that instance I was extremely disappointed. 

As we got in the car I took one last look around, taking in the sights, smells and sounds that surrounded the house. Tears began to well, and tears became silent crying as I tried to hold it all in. As we drove off….almost hitting a tree on the way out due to teary eyes… dear Jess turned on a song by Miranda Lambert-The House That Built Me. This part of the song got me and got me good……
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

As we drove somewhat slowly through the now, flood of tears, I knew that it was time. Time to search for true healing from a past that has in some ways held me in bondage. As we drove through good ol’ Eldorado, we came up on a carnival….looking at each other through tears, Jess asked what I was thinking; “Do you want to ride the Ferris Wheel?”
Of course I said yes, and we parked. As we walked towards the entrance, a lady that was leaving handed us her bracelet for an “all you can ride” pass. I shouldn’t expect anything different, but it amazes me how God is before us and our needs. He loves us and shows us in the smallest little ways. Needless to say, this gave us a little extra skip in our step and allowed us some time to clear our heads and breath, just breath. 

For as long as I have known better, I have walked around feeling rejected by those that were to suppose to love me. I have done what I could to push buttons to see if friends and other people would reject me too….some leaving due to my own doing and others staying, figuring me out and putting me in my place. The problem with all of this is I have never allowed myself the opportunity to truly find healing from the rejection mindset. I stuff all feelings of fear, hurt and anger as far down as it will go so that I do not feel any pain or sadness, but lately, I have been experiencing vivid dreams of my grandmother causing me to wonder if it is time to allow the pain to surface and allow the truth to rear its ugly head. 

Jessica offered to make a gorgeous flower arrangement to take to my grandma’s grave and spend time just talking to her like I did right after she died. I have so many questions, things that I have wondered all my life and the only one I feel who could give me the answers that I feel would suffice. She was my best friend and the one that loved me unconditionally and yet she was not longer around to sit with me to hear truth, cry over things lost and laugh over silly moments shared together. 

Well, after this weekend and yesterday processing all my thoughts and feelings, I met with my dear friend Tracy today, who is very intuitive and exceptional wise. As we spoke I shared with her my experience over the last few days. One thing I took from our time together was all too simple. Something I had never thought of……”You were not REJECTED, you were RELEASED!” Wow, this thought was powerful. I was released to a better future, a better friendship, a better way of dealing, a better way of finding compassion and love for others. I was RELEASED into a family who showed me a love that was not shown to me in any other way before. 

I am overwhelmed by God’s timing and His ability to RELEASE us from the burdens of our sins and release us from carrying the burdens of other peoples sin. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. My focus is not on a negative rejected feeling,  but rather on a positive release of the reigns I have held on my life with my white knuckled grip.