The “God Thing”

Don’t believe life is easy by what you may see on the internet.  Don’t believe someone else has it better than you because of some simple pictures.  Keep in mind, no parent is going to snap a picture of their 3 year old throwing a fit being drug out of the grocery store.  Why???  Because it’s not the memories they want to remember.  We as parents, want to remember only the good.  We as parents want to love despite.  So if you are having a rough day with a terrible two year old…. rest assured ,we all have been there.

In this same exact way that we love our kids and show off their happy smiles, and their puddle stomping enthusiasm in the rainstorm.  God loves us and shows off our happy spirits.  He doesn’t focus on the bad days sharing it with the world and making an educational point of it.  He takes our good deeds, our joy that flows from us, and our love…. and he shares it with the world in ways we often don’t even recognize.  It’s his form of social media.  He touches others with our overflowing love and positive spirit.  He inspires others with our actions.

I was recently told by a friend.  “you are a great mom!  I look at everything you and your kids have been through and they are not only happy but thriving”  Another friend said, “I hope you stay working here for a long time because you are such a good mommy mentor”

My initial reaction was to put myself down with each of these comments and to explain to them how I truly was not that good.  How I only had two of my four kids in my life and how that alone can’t possibly characterize myself as a good mom.  I wanted to let them know all the mistakes I have made.  But I paused and said quietly “Jesus, give me the words” while forcing  a smile to acknowledge the compliment.  Do you know what… I was filled with such warmth and goosebumps… yep, Goosebumps.  And I felt my response change.  In both circumstances I found a “Thank you” escape my mouth.  I realized how true their statements were.  My kids are thriving…. beyond anything I could have ever imagined.  I also found myself sharing that I’m not perfect, I have made more than my share of mistakes.  And without Jesus, I would be nothing for my kids.

One friend laughed because I explained that my children watched me do life before and after the “God Thing”.  She said “The God thing huh?”  She’s a believer and thought it funny that I would explain it in such a way.  But once I explained to her that yes…. before, I used to walk the walk everyone expected of a Christian mom.  I took my kids to church, I tried to be a good person, kept my house clean, spent time with my family, adapted to my husbands wants and desires setting aside my own…. all like a good Christian wife and mom.  But the entire time I was missing the one thing that was the reason for it all.  I was missing the God thing.  I was acting out the way the world painted Christian women to be.  And inside I was terribly miserable.  My kids suffered, my marriage suffered, my relationships suffered.

I look back on that girl and I feel bad for her.  I feel bad for her children.  But I look at her now and I am inspired.  Yep, I inspire myself sometimes!  My oldest, Teal, recently told me, “Mom, I have learned so much from your mistakes”.  Though this doesn’t sound like it, this comment made my heart sing.  As my relationship has grown in God, so has hers.  As I have taken my worries to God, so has she.  As I have found a positive in all circumstances, so has she.  So I guess I don’t feel so bad for that miserable mom I was in my past.  Because everything I was then, has shaped and brought not only me to where I am now.  It has shaped my daughter into a beautiful, radiant, Jesus girl!

Lay your bad days to rest, lay your bad weeks to rest.  Don’t rehash the lie that you are alone and somehow doing something wrong.  Remember that God can use all circumstances for good.  Your messy day, may lead to your biggest joy later.  It is never to late to find peace in his arms.  If you want to doubt that ask yourself, would it ever be too late for your children to find love in yours?  There is truth in the one thing we all need in order to really thrive and find joy.  It’s the God Thing.

The Shack

Amazing is the first word that comes to mind when I watched this movie.  Although, like always… the book was WAY better!

My first thought when I read the book was “Wow, this author has truly walked with God”  There is no other way to explain the comparison of the story written before me, to the life I have lived and learned to depend on the last few years.  God is love, God is forgiveness, God does not make bad things happen.  But boy oh boy will he turn these bad things from our worldly choices into good.

I wake up every morning and chat with God before even putting my feet on the ground.  I pray for my patients that I will interact with in the coming day.  I pray for my children, my ex-husband, and the other girl.

I used to find that I had to pray for her several times, just to keep peace in my heart and forgiveness at the front of my mind.  Other times, I noticed it had been days since I felt the urge to pray for her.  When God spoke in the story about forgiveness and sometimes the need to offer it several times a day, I had an inward smile at how true that statement is.  There were days that my prayers were me literally begging God to help me do just that.  I would be so hurt, so crushed, so angry…. I couldn’t do it alone.  But God heals.  These days I pray that her heart be open to the true grace of God.  To his eternal love and forgiveness.  To repentance and joy…. not just joy from a fun day, or a new gift.  Joy that is indescribably incredible in so many ways.  Joy that fills your heart with peace, direction, and love.  Joy that makes a permanent residence in your heart and squishes out any room for guilt, fear, or worry.  That my friends, is my prayer for her.  My personal thoughts of the person she is, the hatred I have for her are slowly washing away.  She deserves God’s love and peace just as much as I.  But it comes at a cost, a huge cost in the moment, but looking back- not so huge, a cost to give up everything we want that’s worldy, and follow the truth.  It’s a hard road at first.  It’s facing a lot of things I think we all want to pretend don’t exist.  But friends, it is worth it!  Trust me.

I’ve walked both lives.  The worldly one seeking…… constantly seeking, to find joy.  I would find happiness in spots and think I had found it, but the gloom and doom always followed.  I would move past bad decisions and pretend they didn’t happen when life was good again.  All of this building up a web of tangled thoughts and a mess.  A mess that I have now worked though day by day, person by person, and I am proud of.  A mess that I call me.  Learning, struggling, and clinging to the one truth…. God is with me.  I’ve walked both lives, and I won’t go back to the first.  I will never go back to the mysteries of the world.

If you are struggling in your faith.  If you find yourself angry at God for the pain you have endured.  If you think life is unfair.  If you think you are somehow unworthy of God’s love.  If you have no idea how, but you want to follow the truth.  Please watch The Shack.  Please read The Shack.  The story does such a good job of answering the hard questions.  It Reminds you of God’s love for everyone…. yes EVERYONE.

My heart is full

I’ve recently spent two days back in my small town of Tillamook.  I’ve enjoyed multiple visits with dear friends.  My heart is full.

Leaving Tillamook last June was a huge jump.  It was a tough one.  I battled a lot with myself to whether I was supposed to go.  I prayed and prayed and argued with God.  One day I was excited, the next I was scared to death!  I was selling everything, and making a jump to another town, a city…. and starting all over.

Some days I was so angry with both of them.  Why did I have to move.  Why was it me, I didn’t do any of this.  Why do I have to be the one to sell my beautiful home, and move.  Why do I have to leave my church that has given me so much comfort. Why do I have to quit my job I love and start over. Why do I have to give up even more……

Sometimes, my inner thoughts aren’t all that nice.  Sometimes I think I sound like a selfish teenager to God.  Thankfully his love for us is more than our selfish thoughts.

But I did dutifully sell most of my belongings.  I did load up the rest, and I relocated my children and I starting over with a new home, a new job, and a fresh start, just as God was pushing me.

God knows best.  Always, every time without a doubt.  The blessings that he has been pouring over me and my little family just continued.  I wasn’t alone on this move, he was with me.  I wasn’t alone relocating and starting over.  It was actually just another step toward my healing.

I had a great job that I loved.  I now have an amazing job that I LOVE!  I have found my nitch.  Working with kids wasn’t ever going to be an option rural.  Working with kids is my thing!  Have I mentioned I love my job???

I wasn’t selling my home and starting over.  I brought my home with me.  Home is in my heart, it’s what I make it.  Home is wherever my children and I are.  It’s the love we all share… the hugs after work.  the “I love you” and “I love you too” we share multiple times throughout the day.  It’s the helping hands we offer each other to empty the dishwasher, clean the house, feed the dogs, make our meals.  It’s the laughter that we all share all the time now.  That is my home, and that will be anywhere I go in life.

I spent some time at the hospital in my old unit yesterday visiting with so many people I miss.  I hugged and laughed and reminisced with so many.  And I walked away happy to have them all in my life, but so relieved that I am no longer working in that facility with my heavy heart and heavy burden.   My story, my pain, my heavy heart… it did not follow me to my new employment.  That I am thankful for.  My oldest was with me on this visit back.  And we both walked away looking at the building and saying, I am so glad this is not where we are anywhere.  Thank you Jesus, thank you for knowing what we needed and pushing me.  Thank you for loving us and our family and continually helping us grow.

We stopped by our favorite anesthesiologists house.  Teal was anxious to see her favorite “littles” and I was anxious to see my favorite anesthesiologist.  To this day, I mentally compare all of the providers I work with to him.  I work with some great ones, but none like him, he taught me so much.  And we talked so much about the small homesteading dreams, I miss this.  He was getting into it as I was leaving it.  It was so heart warming to wander around his property and see his excitement showing me the different things he’s been working on, and the dreams he is looking to.  I am so thankful for Fishy and the years we raised our children in that setting.  I am so thankful that I had that piece of time.  It was always a dream of mine, and I had it.  But I am thankful it is over.  I am thankful for where I am now.  Walking distance to shopping and food.  Short drive to work.  Things are open past 8 at night.  I love where I am.  But I love where I was, and where I have been as well.

So today I wake up, and feel my heart so full.  I’m not sure where I would be today without Jesus.  The thousands of hugs I feel from him daily.  The love he pours out on me continuously.  The pain he has taken, and the blessings he has given.  It is so true to say that God doesn’t make bad things happen, but he sure does create a lot of good out of the bad.  So many things my kids and I wouldn’t have without him, without having left.  Without our storm.

 

Tithing 

I’m now entering the third month of a 90 day Challenge to tithe 10 percent of my income.  I have always given, but never 10 percent. And never first. That check was sadly the last I wrote. Only after all the bills were paid. 

For 90 days I am promising to tithe first, then save, then pay bills. I can’t explain to you to number of times I have felt joy and peace financially over the last 60 days. Money has been handed to him and financial peace has followed. 

I have so much more on this topic. So more to come. But I am writing now to encourage others. Take the 90 day Challenge. Hand over your finances. Let him give you a break and deep breath. A taste of freedom from such a worldly restraint. 

Will you still love me?

Today was one of those days that on more than one occasion I got the chills down my spine, goose bumps on my arms, and my heart felt like it was standing still.  His presence was heavy in church this morning.  Tears welled up in my eyes more than once.  Testimony to what brought me so close to the Lord was heavy on my heart while I listened to the sermon.   A sermon that started out with one man’s reality of needing to love the lord, even if his dad was dying of cancer.  He was asked the question…. “if I take your dad, will you still love me”  The first time he heard God speak directly to him.  The first time he realized that he had a big question to answer.

I was asked the exact same question a few years back.  “If I never repair your marriage, will you still follow me”  For so long I was running as fast as I could toward God, to get my husband back.  To repair my marriage.  This question wasn’t as easy for me to answer as it was for today’s speaker.  I didn’t immediately say “Yes”.  I argued that of course he would repair my marriage… that was the truth he spoke of over and over in the bible.  I argued that he would use us as a testimony to love.  Eventually I realized though, that he was using me as a testimony to loving him even when I was being hit by heaviest waves attempting to send me under.  And I realized that yes, I would follow him through this storm, and the next, and the next no matter what result I wanted.  I would trust him through it all.

It has been heavy on my heart for quite some time now to spread this love God has shown me.  To spread it to so many others out there floundering, hurting, and wondering what the purpose to life is.  I’ve felt God moving in me to do just that.  He’s used my “situation” and how I was able to walk through it with him as an example to others.  But I know I need to take it further.  I just haven’t known how.  Today at church….  he started to open the door.

After the sermon was over, Pastor Mike talked a little bit about the church, it’s growth, and the amazing numbers of individuals that have accepted Christ in the last year alone.  But then he spent about 10 minutes speaking from his heart about the thousands that are flocking to our community with intel jobs.  The hundreds that drive by our church just feet from our door, hurting, lost, drowning in their situations… and no clue what we have to offer within our doors.  He mentioned our church as not being a private country club, and how can we get more involved in the community.  And all I could think of was the people that were there for me at my lowest point.  The people that held me up when I couldn’t hold up myself.  That is what I want to do for others.  Pay it forward.  Be the light in their dark.  Be the spark to help them ignite, or the oxygen to keep them lit.  It’s up to God.  So stay tuned as this new journey unfolds.  Stay tuned to see how God might take this homebody, and teach me something deeper about myself.

I seek you

When life is going good, I seek him and thank him.  When life is hard, sad, or feels like too much, I seek him.  The peace, the love, the joy…. it is a direct result of a relationship I have grown quite attached too.  When Satan wants to break me with memories, God lifts me up.

I have found that when I am safe in my bubble, life is overwhelmingly amazing!  I have a job I love so much it only felt like a possibility in dreams.  I have two kids that I have been given the joy of watching them both become young adults.  Watching them discuss future plans, college ideas, job ideas.  Watching them thrive in their environment and see a future for themselves.  It is a beautiful thing.  Especially knowing the broken feelings of our family and spirits a few short years ago.  Watching my youngest son grow with dreams past today and excel at school has been a pure joy.  If you know my youngest son, or his struggles in life… seeing him today would probably shock you.  He glows, he dreams, he laughs…. College is in his future where at one time I didn’t ever think it would be.

But outside of this bubble are two kids I miss so much at times.  Two kids my children miss at times.  And once in a while, when a memory pops up, the hurt in their eyes can drop me so hard and so fast.  And then ugly thoughts run through my head like a stampede of antelope with no thoughts but to run.  I hate her, I think evil vile thoughts about her and what she has done to my family.  The girl I once called such  a dear friend that slid in and became my husbands confidant.  Formed an emotional bond with my husband while she was still married as well.  Watched me fall apart past complete devastation for well over a year. Watched as my husband made up horrendous lies about me and followed her selfish worldly heart of desire for another’s man anyway.  NEWS FLASH!!!!  GOD WILL NEVER EVER SEND YOU ANOTHERS MAN…. EVER!  And they think that their relationship is a Godly one.  They think that they are blessed.  The sad thing about Satan…. He gifts you what you desire till the jail door slams shut and then it’s over.  And when it is over…. it is over hard core.  Trust me, I know.  I spent 3 years climbing out of that hell hole with one desperate hold on God.

Don’t worry, I hate him too at these times.  But its an odd mixture of pure disgust for the worldly, ugly, cruel, pathetic man he has become, and a desperate cry to God to please please wake him up!!!  You see, he’s still the father to my four children.  And as long as he is living this disgusting, sinful, sick, and twisted lifestyle, it affects my children.

This past week my bubble was cracked a few times.  My dad lovingly worked on turning our old family blogs into PDF files so he could remove the blogs from the server he has been paying for and updating for years.  There are pages and pages of four loving children growing up.  I can’t look at them.  It makes my throat tighten shut, and tears squeeze through my eyes.  It’s not just my blog I kept for years.  Right up until a few months prior to him walking out actually.  There are homeschool blogs from each of the children as well.  I did a good job of just finding peace in Jesus and being thankful I have the blogs for some future date.  Emily spent an evening looking through it and laughing with Gabe.  I could hear their laughter and some of the reading, it made my heart smile.  I had no idea the gift I was creating all those years of blogging.  A concrete reminder of memories for my children.

Then two days ago I received an email from Shutterfly….. “check out your memories from 12 years ago…”

Oh my littles…. my sweet little munchkins.  How much I loved being your mom.  And like most mom’s so much regret for the silly worries like a clean house, what others thought, and just plain wearing myself out trying so damn hard.

After the Shutterfly email I felt the crack start to widen.  I felt the stampede of antelopes in my head, ugly words like hoar, slut, bitch, terrible mother (which I truly believe she is), disgusting women, etc.  and I knew that if the wrong look, the wrong thing was said, I was teetering on tears, and unregretable anger.  And this my friends is how Satan so routinely and expectedly works.  He grabs what will knock us down and he throws it at us over and over.  He tries to blind us to the love and peace of God.  He hopes like mad that our faith will falter and we will fall prey to him.

But it doesn’t work with me.  I let myself cry, and I let Jesus in while doing so.  I let myself grieve, and I will over and over for years to come.  I am learning to walk through life without some of my children.  And my peace is knowing they aren’t dead.  It could be worse.  And as long as I give God the control, it will ALWAY end right.  So if you are struggling.  If you feel Satan pulling you down.  Take a deep breath.  Say Jesus as many times as you need to.  Feel his peace wash over you, and then ask him which way to go.  Then follow it with a smile, with joy, and with gladness that you don’t have to navigate this ugly cruel world alone.

The narrow door

​From my morning devotion….

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7: 13-14
I would rather crawl through the tiny path to glory, then dance in the open fields to nowhere. The harder days, make the better days amazing. Learning to recognize blessings in the ugly… a gift. The narrow gate…. so freaking worth it!

A letter to her

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets

Someday it will happen…. your heart will hurt.  You won’t remember who you ever were in the first place.  Your priorities will have changed and in the process you will struggle to know who you are.  Anger may become a norm in your life where it once wasn’t.  Alcohol may become something that you use to feel something, anything.  You may struggle with depression, self esteem issues, feelings of inadequacies.  Guilt may take over as a constant feeling within you. When it happens… I am here.

I will not judge, I will not say I told you so.  I won’t remind you of all the hurt you caused me during your days, months, years, of feeling like you were entitled to another wife’s man.  I promise not to remind you of the two children that had to continue life without a dad because of your choices.  Nor will I remind you that two kids were taken from my life, and made to feel guilty whenever they attempted contact.

What I will do… offer you a smile, encourage you that life will be okay again.  I will give you a hug and tell you I still love you and I never gave up hope believing in you.  God turns all things into good, and I will remind you of that.  We stumble, we get up, we fall, we try again and through it all… God is with us patiently waiting, encouraging, and loving.  I will demonstrate the same toward you.

You see… God gives us free will, and Satan tempts us.  There is not a person in this world that can say they haven’t fallen to temptation at one time or another.  Jesus also tells us that a sin is a sin, and one sin is no bigger than the other.  So whether it’s stealing a candy bar, or stealing a husband…. they are both sins.  And if you stole a candy bar from my purse, we would both laugh.  I am nothing without God, and because of this ugly storm… I know that!  It’s not the end that counts, we all will eventually have the same end.  It’s how we run the race.  I can only hope that I have run the race to earn eternity.  Eternity wouldn’t be the amazing place it is described without my loved ones though…. so I continue to pray that this stumble of yours is just a stumble.  Just as you are stumbling now, I have stumbled myself.  I was gifted forgiveness, just as you will be.

January 29th

Twelve years ago this was truly one of the most happy days of my life.  It was his as well, despite what he may say now.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was marrying my best friend, and my family of three was doubling.  I was gaining two adorable children, my children were gaining two siblings, I was gaining a partner to share the rest of my life with…. or so I thought.  He was my other half.  Sitting right here though, after everything the last three years have brought me, What I thought then was enough.  And I am thankful.

My journey has been like healing a wound.  A wound so deep and so filled with filth, it took time… lot’s of time, to heal.  A wound that busted apart stitches, and instead had to be healed from the inside out with time,  patience, and faith.  Right now, three years into it.  I am so glad that I have taken the time, and walked this walk with God by my side.  Parts of it were so hard, so painful, and so humbling.  But the healing is strong, the time has been worth it.  The scar has changed me in ways, I never could have been changed without it.

He didn’t kill our marriage, we did.  It was a joint effort of multiple problems.  He did however, refuse to work on it, refuse to fix it, refuse to allow God into it.  I have had to live with that choice, walk through the hardest journey of my life, and heal a wound alone that I didn’t even realize we had made.

This year my focus has been on peace.  Each year I can look back and see a different phase of my journey.  The first year, honestly, was just survival.  I lived in a world of tears, pain, more tears, devastation, dismay, more tears, disbelief, and fear.  I had no idea what the next day would bring.  I cried all the time, I prayed constantly, I rarely slept, I ran…. I ran so much it was insane.  I read marriage book after marriage book, Christian parenting books, and toward the end of that first year…. a ton of Christian women books on finding me.  I texted him way too much…. I just missed him, and I had no idea how to live life without him.  I didn’t know how to navigate the new roll that I was thrown into.

The second year I focused on faith, patience, and love.  If I am honest with myself I think it started out in faith that we would get back together.  That he truly would come home, that God was in control and therefore, it would work out.  By the end of the year though my faith had shifted into more of a “God is in control, and I will be taken care of”.  I still, to this day, believe without a doubt, that God wanted us back together.  God wanted our marriage healed.  But I now realize, that my husband was in an ugly place, and God was working on me to continue on the journey of healing, while working on him for what he needed.  I had continued loving him, but it was changing.  It was no longer an “I need you” kind of love.  But an  “I remember the good in you, I won’t ever forget it, and I will love that you, and be here if you need me, while I learn to love me and find happiness with me”

As the second year ended I became more comfortable with who I was, and I was finding joy again in my life.  I had finished up my bachelors degree (something I had put on hold for over 10 years).  I was looking to make changes on my home for my future, and even considering selling it.  I was looking to a future without him in it, and I was finding joy in everything.  No matter the situation, I was determined to find the joy in it.  There were times I was still so hurt by him, I missed him, I missed our children.  But in those times I tried hard to look at my life now, and feel blessed.  Sure, it made me sad that this journey of change was without him, I would often think of how great we would have it had we both embarked on this together.  And what a gift we would have given our children if we could have shown them surviving the ugly storm, together.  But again, this kind of thinking brought me back down a road of pain, and almost stepped me backwards in my journey of finding faith, love, and joy.

So the third year, I found joy in all circumstances.  I focused hard on it.  I continued spending time in my bible daily.  Spending time in my Christian Women guide books.  I continued focusing in on me, and just where God wanted me to be.  Most importantly, my relationship with God became my number one.  A relationship with my ex, was no longer a desire.  I attempted dating, it wasn’t right.  He was too serious, I wasn’t there…. and for the first time in my dating life, I ended a relationship because I knew it was wrong.  I didn’t continue on, ignoring the gut ache, pretending that it would all become right later.  This tiny little event gave me so much strength to continue my journey.  I sold my house, moved my children and I to a completely different city with a new job, new schools…. I had faith.  I later quit my job, having no backup other than a gut feeling and some prayer time reassuring me that it was the right thing to do.   I later landed my dream job!

So hear I sit, just starting my fourth year into this journey, with a focus of peace.  My wound is nearly healed.  Looking back over it all and thinking “yes, it was all worth it”.  I am so glad, I didn’t just plaster a band-aid over my broken heart and jump back into the world.  I am glad that I focused so hard on my marriage and attempting to repair it for so long.  I am glad that my focus was on God, healing me, and my children.  I am blessed, that my scar, though deep, is thick and strong.  I still pray for him, he is in a dark place.  But I no longer desire him.  I have completely forgiven him, which probably seems weird to some because I have zero respect for him.  He’s chosen a path, I do not agree with.  A path he knows is wrong, yet he’s taken it.  I am finally at peace knowing that that is his choice, and God will not leave him until his dying breath.  So with that, I have to trust God, walk in faith, and turn my back on the man that 12 years ago, I promised to love forever.  I have to be okay with that choice, and not feel guilty.  This… has taken me a long time to get to.  This peace, did not come easy.

What did I gain out of this?  So much more than I could ever put into words.  I am truly happy, for the first time in years.  I feel blessed beyond words.  Spoiled is a word I use a lot around the house to describe my life.  I have two amazing kids, and relationships with both that many parents would give their right arm for.  I have a job that I love beyond words.  I have found a church that speaks to my heart and soul and has guided me, reassured me, and spoken to me through sermons I needed to hear.  I have a relationship with Jesus, I never thought was possible.  I would have never believed it three years ago, if someone would have told me.  Do I miss my husband?  No, not anymore.  What I do miss is the feeling of family, the feeling security, the thought of forever.  All things that were quite false in our life.  Things I have learned were not built on a biblical foundation.  Someday, I do believe all of those things will come to me, in real form… from God.

Peace – Thy will be done

This song is a reminder of the peace I was so drastically trying to find the last few years when I didn’t understand.  When none of it made sense.  The peace that I still feel, and strive for on a daily basis, knowing I did not get my miracle, yet God is still in control.  Without a doubt I got a miracle, just not the one I thought I needed.