Thursday, June 5, 2014

Everyone needs a little....

The end of the school year is here.  I guess I was thinking that there would be this huge celebration or I would actually get some kind of reward for those early mornings of shuffling my 5 yr old to school or maybe I would have some kind of relief that it was over.  Neither happened.  Begin the pity party.
I am actually sad that this year is over for Junior Kindergarten. I feel like Mati is ready for a fun summer however I feel as if God isn't done with me in the area of patience and joy.

I lacked joy this semester at school.  I could fake it when I got there; saying "hello" to all the moms and smiling when I saw the teacher when really my heart was saying "God, I already did this once before. Why the heck am I here again trucking kids to school and stressing out each morning?  What is in this for me?"

God's answer...*silence

That's right.  I hear nothing.  I hear Him through my alone time with Him in the mornings after drop off as I swim a mile in the pool.  I hear Him when I am taking a shower, when Sophia is napping as I wait for Mati to get out of school only 4 hours later. I hear Him tell me to keep going, "fight the fight and run the race". I am beat, I am tired and I am broken through this semester of educating myself through real living joy in Christ.

Christ was a joyous man.  He was funny.  He had disciples that were close friends.  I am sure they cracked a few jokes every once in awhile. But then I think, "We are supposed to suffer like Him, right?" When I go through these mornings of pity parties and not wanting to have children (don't lie we all have that moment) and just live in freedom of our selfish flesh. Then being unloving and miserable around my husband and just tired... I have to go back to the cross.  Where is this Jesus that I claim to have in my life?  He is the One that died WITH JOY on the cross to love us unconditionally.  His love for us is the ultimate joy that we are to carry around on crazy hair days, baby blow out days, eating mac and cheese days.

It is the response to the miserable mess ups and the look our children give us when they are in a mood.  How can I be better at my response in my lack of joy?  First, I turn to the TRUTH.  God's truth. He loves me.  He created a place for me to dwell amongst Him.  He chose me to love and live like His Son. He died for the brokenness of my stupid confused heart.  I have to turn to what I believe in what is TRUE to me and His promises.
He believes in me.  He knows that this time with Him isn't wasted, no matter the trial, the struggle, the tears and the succeeding in the first semester of school with Mati.

In Psalm 139- I can never forget how HE knows my waking... so that means He knows when I am a grouch!  He knows me in my He knows me when I am so tired and beat from doing this alone!  He also promises that He will provide and my husband has been working if God is providing, no matter what it looks like, my response should be joy.

Three little letters and One BIG GOD.  I can do this.

God said "When troubles come your way, consider it pure joy."

Thank you Jesus.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Shunny Side of Life

I haven't been here in awhile although I have felt a calling to write. I guess because my last post just had me so tied up. I have come to the conclusion that although there are things that I cannot control, there are things that I can (for the time being) control if I call upon God's help.

I can control my actions towards my thoughts.  My thoughts have been haunting me to the point that I felt like I couldn't even go outside. I was afraid that the things that I have been accused of (which I am still in the dark about) are being spread all over town.  Women have avoided me by not returning calls, texts or emails. I have had two women look me right in the face at a store (and another at a coffee shop) and say nothing. I have not been invited to the parties or gatherings that I used to be invited to. Not even a hello after I said it first to those that have turned away from me. It is weird but where this behavior comes from?

Behavior is learned. Someone told them that treating people this way is allowed.  It isn't in the Bible so it is from the world. I have never read in the weeks that I have spent time with very wise women, ever found anything that says that this is the way we treat people. No matter what. I actually found just the opposite.
Now I can't say that I haven't treated people this way. I have, I am guilty but I also am not in High School anymore. I am not standing up raising my hands up and saying "Lord Lord, I am yours, I will obey you, I am your good servant" and then making sure that I avoid someone.
It is unloving and not right. It is about time women got closer to women who are either struggling or having bad situation instead of shunning them. Yes I said it, SHUNNING.  Let's just call it what it is right?

I know someone that I just studied that was shunned. She was shunned by her own brother!

The story of King David. He had a daughter named Tamar and a son name Amnon.  His son loved his daughter just a little too much. So much so he wanted to sleep with her. So he tricked his father into sending her to him and then Amnon raped her. She begged and pleaded with him to marry her although this was bad in the eyes of God and not allowed. So she tore her beautiful virginal rob and shut herself in the home of her older brother in shame and embarrassment.

Amon, got away with it for the time being. However he HATED her so much it made him angry and disgusted in himself that he took it out on Tamar.  He instructed servants to take her outside, knowing they gossiped about Tamar so she would be even more shunned and ashamed.  I feel like that is the way it works in some groups. Even in churches. You do something wrong and one by one people jump on board and they hate you and shun you. Although they have never had a conversation with you about what happened or even know you. Like Tamar, I am embarrassed and ashamed for something I don't even know about. Thankfully I don't have to carry that around like she did.

Tamar was not known by the people who shunned her. She was in pain and she didn't even do anything wrong. However, she was loved by God and she knew that. Her father David loved her. Her older brother Absalom loved her so much that he killed her brother Amnon.  However David her father did nothing.  He never took any action against his sons. No consequences. He just took his feeling and put them away. It hurt David in the end because he never really decided to have a relationship again with Absalom until it was too late. He cried up on the Mount of Olives after his son was killed. He wept as Jesus did before God before His death.

I feel like we just waste a lot of time in shunning and not restoring. Lifting up and encouraging and HELPING those that are struggling.
We set ourselves so far apart from people that we forget the love of our Father. We forget about our first love, Jesus.
I was shunned but I no longer let that be a strong hold in my life. I am loved.  I am restored. I am forgiven and like Tamar, I am a daughter worth fighting for.

Our God gives us back our dignity that we lost amongst hypocrites that give us a name and label us what they believe we are. Our God defines us with names that only a graceful God can give us like "beautiful", "wonderful" and "His". Our God defends us when we are attacked or shunned and others want nothing to do with us. Jesus was spit on, kicked, punched, shunned, hated. He was not liked amongst the people that greeted Him with palm leaves under His feet.

How can I, if I truly believe in Christ, allow that to pierce my heart?  How can I be more like Christ and love people irregardless of their situation, their lifestyle, their shortcomings? How if someone is repenting and desiring to change, would I ever turn my back?

I am thankful that these things have happened in recent months.  It has taught me a lot about myself, others and most of all a Father that loves me no matter what I have ever done. Wrath is His, not mine.
He doesn't care what the problem is, He wants restoration and sooner than later.

Life is too short.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mouth of Babes and Babies...

From my last post, I can say that I didn't do what I said I would. Well in fact, I couldn't.  I couldn't put behind me the fact that someone that I called my sister and brother actually didn't want to make amends asap.  My husband tried again to make that phone call or text and well, the response was about the same.  "No rush, whenever, and it isn't that important to us right now" is what I heard from the "We are busy but when we have time to get together, we will" answer. 

So then it happened.  Today when I was serving at church.  I was singing along with the kids "Jesus loves me" and then I saw before my eyes, three or four little kids, hands up in the air, singing and waving their hands with all their might.  Praising Jesus and with the smiles from ear to ear that you could only hope to have for Jesus your whole life. I could hear them at the top of their lungs "JESUS LOVES ME THIS I KNOW"... and then there it was.  The kids that just reminded me even after all the times I have sang this song- the confirmation of Jesus' love for me. From the mouths of babes right? 

So today after church service and after the kids had gone back to their classrooms, I am driving home alone, silent. I look up and the clouds are beautiful puffy white cotton candy and the sky bluer than I had ever seen, the breeze slipping through the crack in my window with a slight chill to my neck. 

"Yes, Jesus loves me. The bible tells me so. I am weak and He is strong. So why do I care about someone that says that THEY don't love me through their actions?  Why do I allow Satan to attack me in the night as David felt attacked?  Why am I allowing these lies to fill my head and spending hours upon hours in grief about it? It is my baby's ONE Year birthday and Jesus loves me!  I need to be celebrating!" 

So there you have it.  I am not wasting time on this anymore.  I love my kids to much to waste the time grieving about it.  I am wasting time breathing about it to my amazing husband.  I am taking time away from the amazing friends that ask me to hang out only to decline the invitation because I don't trust anyone.  I have Jesus.  He has me and my issues.  He knows my heart and how I have gone to Him about this situation.  It is no longer mine. Period. 

It is amazing to me that we, as mere people, like ants in a sense, can go before GOD- the creator of the universe and ask Him for help and He shows us immediately that He is in control. He shows us His grace and His mercy by so many wonderful things in our lives but we have to go looking. 
Today at the birthday party I had for my daughter, I came across the photos that the teenage girls took on my camera. I was breath taken by this photo of my daughter because all week she has had to deal with my bad and sad mood about this situation.. Here she writes this, like God giving me a hall pass and a reminder that I am loved even by others... my own kids who I reside with in my own home even when I spend some ridiculous wasted time bent over it in front of them. 

Thank you God for your grace and reminders of your love through others.  Thank you for today. It is amazing that so many people came to the party to celebrate Sophia, which means that she is loved by so many people and You.  Thank you again for allowing me to grieve but also allowing me to come before you and repent for being a grouch and an unpleasant person before you and the family you have given me.  Thank you for my real friends, who, no matter what love me and don't hold anything against me. 

1 John 4:16-So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

I love you, Amen. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I am forgiven, accepted, alive and well...

It is 3:30 am.  I have been up since 1:00 am tossing and turning over this stupid situation that I have been grieving over.  So instead of letting Satan have some grip over me, I am going to explain and then call it a day. 

First, I know who I am.  I know my faults and I know the things that I struggle with each day.  I know that I have a mouth that gets me into trouble.  I know that I find comfort in venting to the wrong people about the wrong things. But most of all I KNOW that I am real.  I say it like it is and I don't hide who I am. With that, let's begin with the reason I am up at the crack of dawn.. 

In January, my friend's husband requested me on Facebook to be his friend.  I have had some really weird stuff go on with having men on my Facebook.  Let's just say I was judged for what a man said to me and then a woman who accused my post to sound flirtatious.  Either way, I was feeling that maybe, I should just delete all the people that I don't really talk to and also the men that I probably could afford to take off my page. So all the men, with the exception of my son, family and one or two male friends that my husband knows are deleted. 

So when this friend's husband requested me, he also sent me a FB message.  He asked if I would ask my husband if he would like to attend a men's bible study.  I told my husband, who happened to be sitting next to me, and he gave me the answer in which I typed.  After about three days, this man proceeded to text my husband the same questions that he had asked me on FB.  My husband asked me what I replied to him, (maybe thinking that I did not respond) and I told him. 

To eliminate confusion, I communicated to my friend's husband that it is probably better if I leave my FB page the way I had it and not have men on there. If he "would like to contact my husband", he could "friend him and talk to him there". I proceeded to delete him and then carried on. 

Over the next week, I started to notice that when I would send a message, post or text to my friend, she would not respond. I knew that they had adoption/birthday celebrations coming up and because I had offered to help out, I sent a message and to no response. I wasn't going to be able to attend the birthday party only because my kids all have their birthdays the same week.  So then I let her know that we changed the date and I asked if we would still be able to attend. She didn't respond. The next time I left a message I contacted her on FB.  She sent me a message and said her husband was hurt however he had not contacted me or said anything for over a month.  I asked if we could talk and I sent him an apology as well. 

So here I am, trying to figure out what I did so completely horribly wrong to this man and my friend that I would now be blocked from both their accounts with no explanation.  I have prayed and asked for guidance and in all honesty after the messages that I sent to both of them that I am sorry- I see that they do not care if we are friends or not.  My husband made the last effort by calling and texting her husband to ask if we could all meet up- no response. 

So here is my take (on a few things).  They are Christians.  We are Christians.  We are called to forgive. Jesus died for that. Even if I had spit in their child's face, we are called to forgive. No matter what. I can only ask and beg if need be, to ask for forgiveness.  Why would someone want me to have to go that far though? If they loved me like a brother or sister, why? 

As Christians- if we believe in the Bible and we are called to love each other as a sister or brother..  The Bible states in Luke 3-Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

So I asked what I did, so that I could be rebuked and set straight, and nothing.  So how is it that I would be set free from this if I don't even know what I did?  How is it that I can see this as "loving?"  I can't.  They have been my "brother and sister" since 2006.  My heart is aching with pain that I have hurt them.  I don't know if they spoke with someone or if there is something I posted or said.  I can't even comprehend what I did.  I am beginning to feel as if they really just wanted a way out of the friendship.  

So instead of believing any lies, I go to the Lord again.. 

The bible says in Colossians- "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive".

So then I got up this morning- sad and frustrated.  I started writing all this crazy stuff on Facebook to both of them. Then I started writing a post to put it out there and ask my friends how they would handle it.  Then I realized... "Why am I asking my friends on Facebook? Ask God, He has all the correct answers. Seek FIRST God in my troubles".  
So I did, then the post from my Facebook came down, then my question to a friend was deleted and I felt better that I was getting past Satan's thoughts and getting back to God's thoughts. Then it came upon me. "I don't care". I don't care what people think of me.  I am doing the right thing.  I am serving God, my family, others.  I am repenting for anything that I am doing wrong.  I am loving and I am kind.  I am in a process of being refined by the King of King and the Lord of Lords and I am tired of getting the approval of people who harshly judge my life and allow me to struggle in the middle of the night. 

Satan wants me to be up in ridicule of myself.  He wants me to think that I am some horrible person and that I am not good enough to even be a friend.  I even had thoughts of my past and the things I had already said sorry for with other people.  I questioned my mothering, I questioned my ability to be a good daughter and a good sister- all over this? at 3am? Ridiculous! 

So I am NOT going to let Satan rule over my mind and my heart! I am not going to sit here and feel bad for something that I did or did not do! I am not going to sit here and take anymore time away from my sleep. I have a family to serve with all that I got! I need my rest. 

So I approach the Lord again-

"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger". So instead of the sun going down in this verse- I will not let the sun come up with my anger....

Thank you Father for your help this morning.  I am hoping that you will refresh my mind today and that you would allow me to be able to do the things I need to do and not feel like I am in bondage to whatever it is that they are struggling with.  I come before you with an open heart, thankful for your forgiveness and thankful to your obedient servants that love you and love me! I am grateful that I do have you to turn to and I only need to seek your Word for answers.  I am thankful that you remind me in your Word that I am cherished and lavished in your Spirit.  I am grateful for Psalm 139. 
I am sorry for ever doubting you and not looking to you first.  I seek you in my life to help me. 
I am worthy.  I am loved.  I should not feel shame.  I am a part of your plan.  You defend me.  You desire a relationship with me.  You are loyal and forgiving.  You see my heart and you love me anyways.  Help me to pray for not only myself but for my friends. 

Bring your beautiful sun up today and your beautiful Son into my heart today.  May I be forgiven for my shortcomings and may I forgive those who hurt me. May I NEVER forget my first love. 

Mark 11:25-And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

In Jesus, 

Friday, February 7, 2014

A response to Jamie's "moldy cheese, loneliness and a hermit"

There is something about being lonely. I read a post from my new found friend Jamie from about "Meandering through moldy cheese on loneliness and being a hermit". I literally started crying.  It was exactly how I feel on occasions but even more so a few years ago. I never felt the courage to actually share the way I have felt until I read her post. 

I am the girl who in High School knew a lot of people and had a lot of friends. From High School to having kids etc, I never struggled through lack of friendships but more so in close knit relationships. I feel as though I look into the world and see what a "friendship" should look like and at 42, I should have one of those. Dreams of posting photos to Facebook and Instagramming about my amazing night with tears in my eyes adding some emotional quote about my close bestie. I never have bought a card for a close friend while shopping for greeting cards that would ever read "best friend" or "like a sister" as the way it seems it should be. More like "buddies" or "we love shoes" was in the title. 
In this past year, I have been alone, a lot. My husband works crazy hours and although I have enough to take care of and keep busy with my 5 yr old and 1 year old, there is something about the lack of a deep relationships that I keep asking God about.
I have been studying the life of David recently (Beth Moore- David- A Man After God's Own Heart) and through most of the Psalms, he has a web and flow (as you probably already know) that sounds a lot like we do.
Angry one minute, maybe lost in another, then sad in repentance, then rejoicing.
I have found peace knowing that God placed David in those places for a reason. As He has with us. I know that these past three years I have struggled in putting myself out there but I also feel that God has protected me as well. He knows what is best for me. I ask Him to fill my heart with the friendship euphoria that I feel I need. I have also asked Him to forgive me for not being more grateful for my husband (who is not a woman), but listens as well. I have asked Him that if this is where He has placed me, that I would find His shelter and His calm in this, to not allow Satan to make me think I am unloved or uncared for.
Somewhere in my journey, I decided to make a turn, whether left or right, to know more about God and the closer I get to Him it feels as though He has created something new in me. I don’t mesh with the women that I used to hang out with like we used to. Our conversations are not the same. Although I am grateful for the lives we shared at the time that God placed us together, I am in need of something deeper than the parties, the hanging out with our kids, talking about cleaning products and who has the newest latest thing. I want our time to be rejoicing and sharing what He has done in our lives but to also connect in what we learn about Him. Going out and buying those greeting cards would have so much more meaning and it wouldn't have to read "cause we love wine". 
Recently, I have searched out some older women in church and put myself out there to be a sponge and have met some really amazing women. We don’t have the closest relationships as I would like to have but I have been thankful for these moments I do have. I have the ability to learn from these ladies that know so much about life. They have opened their hearts to share about the Jesus we all love.  From the testimonies to their open book of hurts, battles and triumphs, I am indeed blessed. Currently, I lead worship for a large women’s group, I teach Sunday school and sing with a pretty popular contemporary Christian artist, I am involved in all kinds of activities and know all the “popular” women in church. Although I thought that maybe some of this “popularity” would grant me a few close friends, it has done the opposite but given me the opportunity to have THE BEST friend, Jesus.
When I pray and ask God for this type of friendship, the response always comes back "IN TIME". So then I wait on Him because His timing is best. 

“Whatever God is urging you to clear away cannot begin to be compared to what He ultimately wants to bring you.” 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Blessings in disappointments

Lately, there have been a lot of blessings God has been throwing around…Giving me the opportunity to walk alongside some neighbors, giving me an opportunity to sing as the worship leader at my current bible study and even the cupcake orders that keep rolling in. I can't say that there has been a day I complained this week about anything really.
Then it hit me when I was smiling in the sun and enjoying the fabulous weather that I HAVE NOT complained!!
It isn't everyday that I complain but I can find things wrong. Like for instance, the other day when I went into a CVS out in Burbank, already frazzled by my teething baby and my over active 5 year old,  I only needed to purchase one bottle of teething tablets. I came to the counter while my 5 year old checked out the candy on a nearby display and my baby, playing with the register's atm machine.
Clearly the woman at the register could see I had my hands full but still decided that it would be more beneficial to have me take my CVS discount card out of my wallet with one had instead of just taking my phone number and punching it in the damn machine. Yep, I said damn.  I mean damn!
I complained to my husband about it.
Then I was trying to load my kids in the car, a woman waited behind my car and could clearly see that it would take me awhile. That didn't stop her from tapping her horn to speed me up.
I complained to my husband about that too.

Complain, complain, complain. All the while, those complaints have become now, like a blessing to me. I have to lean on God to have tolerance and grace for these situations. God wants my heart refined. He doesn't want me wandering around pissed off all the time. He isn't worried about my physical features or my grouchy looking face.  He is more concerned at the character of my heart.
But when things are going well. I don't complain. My husband has better days and is in a better mood.
(Catching on?)
Yes, we as women are HUGE influences on our husbands.  Our husbands want to "fix" something or whatever it is that we are complaining about. My husband can't fix the attitude of the woman at CVS nor the lady honking her horn at me. BUT… I can fix my attitude and be more uplifting and positive about the things I share with him.

So I am gonna quit my griping. Be thankful for my blessings and even more so for my disappointments.

In love.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pants on Fire...

"Liar Liar pants on fire" is one of those old school things I used to say on the playground when I was a kid when I heard something that was said that wasn't true, or so I thought. I remember in elementary school my mother had use of a car but I don't know if she just wanted me to walk home, (to avoid putting my other 3 siblings in the car) or if we were so broke that she didn't have the gas in it.

My mother would ask me to walk home and be sure not to stop at a friend's house. I decided that if I wasn't long, I could go to a friend's house, and just walk fast. The bell rang and as fast as I could, with all the anticipation that I had built up in me, ran to my friend's house, hand in hand with our lunch boxes flailing, backpacks practically knocking us out from the running.

We sat on her front lawn and her mother came out and checked on us, returning with a snack and drink in hand.  I loved being there. I was allowed to drink sweet soda and have a snack that my hippie, earthy mother would never allow in our house. I loved the smells that came out of my friend's house when her mother opened the door. Scents of lemon and house cleaning products and eventually some type of yummy bbq meat. As we laid in the grass, picking through clover trying to find one with 4 leaves, I recognized a woman frantically driving around the corner in a car just like my mother's. My heart raced, anxiety level went from 2-10 and I felt like I was socked in the gut.
I jumped up and starting running home.  I ran like I was being chased by that woman in the car. "Was it my mother?" "Was she calling the police?" "Are there tons of people looking for me?" "What will my Dad say?" "WHAT WILL MY DAD SAY?"

My father is a big man with big hands but never gave us spankings.  He just had a powerful voice and a really good way of forcing out your guilt without saying a word. I didn't want to have to explain my amazing moments to my Dad and then feel bad about them.

I could see my house from a distance. "I am almost there, I am almost there", panting away as I approached the last few houses before mine. As I crossed the street, I saw the driveway. My mother's car was gone. She wasn't home, door locked and I am now sitting on the step, waiting.
My mother pulled in about 30 seconds later. The look on her face was anger and fear as she rolled up the window. As she let my siblings out, she asked me the one question that I didn't want to hear. "Where were you after school?"
My hands clammy and sweat dripping from my mini 5k, I responded. "I was walking home".
My mother, knowing that I was lying said "did you stop anywhere?"
"No".  Then the words entered my head, reminded by the chants of the kids on the playground from the day before when a student said that Mrs. Stalling had her boogers stored in a jar in her desk. "Liar Liar pants on fire!"
My mother went into the house and seemed to be angry for the rest of the day.  I knew she knew I was lying.  She knew that I wasn't coming home. She had other battles to fight, grace to give and I was home safely.

Unfortunately 35 years later, things haven't changed completely.  I do run late when I tell my husband I am on my way home, I stop off sometimes before I head straight home to grab something to drink, a greeting card or just to sit and be alone. Although some of these things seem harmless, I know that they are still lies.  My husband will ask, "what time will you be home?" and I respond "about 9" and he gives me that "look" that means, "yeah right".
That "yeah right" has spoken to me lately.

In the past year or so, I have realized that a person's word is important. If you tell someone that you are going to commit to something or someone, it is important to that person. It doesn't matter how big or small the commitment or promise it is. In Deuteronomy it says: You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth. 

So does this just apply to our vow to God? 

If what we speak before men is before God, then no.  If we are asked a question like what time are you going to be home and we respond "9". Then we should keep our word and be home by "9". Simple?  No. 
We get side tracked, we start chatting it up with a friend we haven't seen, someone has a problem, I personally want a coffee.  The list goes on.  What about my husband that is at home, expecting me to be home? I have let him down if he checks the clock and it is now 10pm and I know if the tables were turned, I would be worried. Now being late is not as serious as committing to someone to serve them or commitment to a bible study or even commitment to my husband. Commitment can be cheapened when we lie. When we say one thing and do another. It causes confusion on who we are and insecurities and trust issues on those we commit to. 

Better time management and being a WOMAN OF HER WORD (or man) is important and is an example of a Christian.  It doesn't allow us to waiver on the belief system that we have.  It doesn't allow us room to be lukewarm or make half broken promises.  It is our integrity that is questioned when someone can say "liar liar pants on fire:. It makes my mom want to drive around the neighborhood wondering if her daughter was picked up by a stranger or her daughter was not obeying the rules.