Friday, April 28, 2017

Worry Less & Trust Him

Have you ever worried about something that was out of your hands? Worry is not a fruit of the spirit, it's not from God and ultimately steals our peace.  

Let me give you some history about a very traumatic experience I had once, so my purpose of this rant makes sense. We all know wasting our time reading someone ramble is no fun,  so here we go with more dirt on this "Jesus girl" so you know you're not alone.

I currently have three children, but in between baby one and two, I had an ectopic pregnancy. From the moment I saw I was pregnant, I had the baby in my arms already. I'm not sure if that's how it is for all women but for me, my mind was already thinking about baby names. Discovering that my baby was growing but in one of my ovaries was devastating. My doctor at the time put me on a series of treatments to stop the baby from growing but it failed, and my ovary ended up rupturing. 

The next thing I remember is passing out and fighting for my life in the hospital. I honestly thought I was going to die and couldn't shake knowing that everything ruptured because the baby continued to grow. Not only that, but I was also told I would now only have one functioning ovary. 

You can imagine my state of mind I'm sure. I was a mess. I was a mess,  my marriage was so new I didn't know how to communicate my feelings to my husband, and at the time I did not have a relationship with God like I do now. I fell into a deep depression and was furious at the world, God, and everyone for what I was enduring. I just kept thinking I was supposed to have a baby not going through this much pain. 

I've already told you I now have three children, so you know that this story does have an ending of reconciliation, but it was a hard road to get to here. A hard road for my heart and for my marriage to heal from. With each pregnancy I've had since then, I always feel relief knowing the baby is where it's supposed to be. 

So why did I take you through all of that? Well, guess what?! 
We are pregnant again and are expecting baby number four this coming December! 
Shocked? We're not. 
We very much decided we wanted another, but I didn't think I was pregnant already. It turns out, I'm only about five to six weeks, and the doctor won't see me for two more weeks. I have known I'm expecting for about a week now, and my mind has been racing wondering if we should tell others or wait but then I thought about the verse God put on my heart for my life. You know those couple of verses you know "that you know" God kida' assigned for your life? Mine is: "What you say can mean life or death." Proverbs 18:21 (ICB) 

I am speaking life not only into this baby's life but into mine. I refuse to let the past determine my peace and joy in this moment of being happy for this blessing. I don't know why things happen like what happened to me, but I do know I have survived what I've gone through only through the grace of God. He has a plan to make all we've endured into something good, and while we're enduring it we just can't make sense of it. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I've said my peace with God that all I want is HIS will to be done and not mine. To help me overcome all of these feeling that I know are not from Him but the enemy seeing a window of opportunity to push me down. I'm not saying I am okay with something "bad" to come of this pregnancy but what I am saying is that now I trust God that He knows what's best for me better than I do. That's a hard one to properly express, but I'm sure many of you know my heart, and what I mean. 

I want everyone who's reading this to know that miscarriages are something you don't have to live in the dark about and you're allowed to grieve. I know first hand that they can make no sense and deeply hurt. If my past pain has any purpose, I hope if you're struggling with making sense of your pain you reach out for help. The enemy wants us to live in the dark alone, and because I didn't deal well with my past grief I almost lost my marriage, and now my peace is being challenged as well again. Yes, even two babies later those past feeling of anxiousness are there. I refuse to let the enemy have one ounce of my joy. 

I hope this message finds you well and you know you're not alone trying to "life." You are most definitely not! "How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!" Psalm 133:1 (NIV) 

So cheers to baby number four! 
We are so excited to share this next chapter with you! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

God Sent Me New Sandals

Have you ever heard anyone say that we live life forward but see it backward?
Well, that phrase never made sense to me until I gave my heart to Jesus. Let me start from the beginning with some of my "dirty laundry" so no one is yawning. After all who doesn't like knowing that even a "Jesus girl" has dark issues from her past right?

So, way back I decided to get out of the military and my husband and I trusted we could live off one income if others could. We were coming off a rough patch in our marriage where we almost divorced as well, and let me tell you it was rough going through that and to also be financially struggling. We stood in food bank lines on base, were on government assistance for a while, and the number of calls I avoided from creditors was out of hand. I knew about couponing, savvy saving, and so on, but with children on top of it all, it's not what anyone envisions.

In 2013 I started a business and was excellent at it. A lot of you who know me know this season of my life. I was so good at it in fact that we lived a life where we started to have more than enough. You know the story I'm sure. You make more than you need and if you're not wise enough to know how to handle it, you start to spend more, and never get out of debt. I loved my business, but that was the hang up right there, and my business began to come before God. There is nothing wrong with the root of what I did, the company, the people I worked with or anything like that. Please don't miss interpret my intentions with this part of the story. I am in no way trying to burn any bridges but just relaying what had happened to me.

Recently God asked me to go back to school and slow down. Slow down, go back to school, and get my bachelor's in Leadership Ministries. That is the season of life I'm in right now, and my life is back to where it was when we were on one income because of the dramatic pay cut. I know some might read this and think why on earth I would do such a thing if I had a great job, but the thing is it's not where God wanted me. Just because it's "good" doesn't mean it's what God is asking of us. Not only that, but I was not a good steward of what I had financially. I had created a false idol with every piece of my life.

Since then I have been scared out of my mind, but I know that fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7). He is our comforter and if He asks something of us we have a choice to obey that still voice or keep being thrown back in the belly of the whale like Jonah.

Tithing has been something heavy on my marriage because when you take a pay cut, you just don't see how you can tithe and survive. I had been praying for God to help my marriage and help me help my husband change. God answered with opportunity instead of instantly "fixing" the situation to give even though it seemed like we couldn't. You can not get into heaven by works (Ephesians 2:9), and I had known that, but I also knew I wanted to obey my heart and tithe our ten percent.

One of my first courses for school has been financial stewardship. Like I said God had answered with opportunity and in a huge way! About halfway through the course I was washing dishes, and my husband told me we had all our bills and tithe squared away, and we were okay. I instantly felt God discipline me in the gentle way I knew I needed it. I felt Him impress on my heart that I should not have been praying for my husband but to pray for God to show me ways to budget what I spend better to show him we can afford to tithe ten percent. After all, I bought the groceries, paid for the kids things they needed, and household goods. How amazing God is to gently show us when we need a little reminder to be humbled and more self-aware of our part we can do.

In the middle of all of this, I had been researching couponing, ways to save on entertainment for our family, Dave Ramsey financial peace university, and some other resources because of my financial stewardship course. I had known these things because of our lifestyle before but had gotten away from it. I was starting to see life backward and how amazing God was to show me those lessons back then even though they were tough. My husband and I began working as a team and tracked our income better, started to see God's hand in our lives more, and have even had more fun with our children because we are not so focused on what we don't have but what we do have. Every week I am in awe of how not only we're able to give tithe but also more if God needs to use us to do so.

Let me tell you about how amazing God is as well when it comes to how He cares about every intimate detail about your life, and why I called this blog post: "How God Sent Me Sandals." We have a budget now that both of us don't want to break until we are further along this journey. Well, our thirteen month old has started throwing anything he can sneak by us in the trash, and recently one of my sandals. I told my husband it's not in our budget right now, and I will get a new pair when it is and wait.
This past weekend we went to visit my grandmother in law, and as soon as we walked in the door, she had a pair of sandals to give me that she said she didn't care for after all and only wore once.

You can chalk this story up to coincidence, but I say we sometimes get so comfortable with life we miss a lot of miraculous moments. God set me those shoes out of His grace and love. Again, no works can get God to love you more than He already loves you right at this very moment. He can not be bought, but instead, my prayer is this story helps others to see that sometimes you just have be still, obey that still voice, do your part best you can, and let God work out all the details; even shoes.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

32 and Starting School Over

Give me a subject and I will write about it.
I know I have a big mouth and can do it, but ask me about God and my relationship with Him...
Now that is a BIG one. One I took a while to try to make short enough to make sense for a college entrance essay. Relationships are complicated. So, of course explaining my relationship with God was hard for me to muster up.  I had to think on it for a long while. I'm sharing in hopes other can see through little pieces of my journey they're not alone. 

"My beginning and Present Growth Relationship with God and How I see Myself as a
Good Match for Southeastern’s Academic and Spiritual Environment”

I have been procrastinating writing this paper because describing my relationship with God and why I know I’m a good fit for Southeastern has not been something I could put down in words. My past relationship and present relationship with God has been anything but an easily written essay but that’s exactly how I know He tailored it to be.

All of my life I have felt there was something missing. It’s almost like I was missing. I was a black hole of a person just wandering around aimlessly, unable to make a real friend, find a real hobby I could stick to, or even a career path I thought was meant to be in. There was a time I denied God altogether. At the time, I was 21, facing divorce, dealing with the start of an eating disorder, and my life was spiraling out of control. How could there be a God that would allow all of this to happen to me? That’s something I asked if “the God” conversation ever came up.

Eventually my heart was softened and life began to get better. I’ll save the details of that chapter of my life for another essay. God began to seem more real and I started going to church. I guess you could best describe me as a halfway in and halfway out Christian. God was place for me. I didn’t realize He wanted a relationship with me. I was ashamed to speak openly about Him or at all because I didn’t want to be what the world calls a “bible thumper,” or “radical.” Labels, labels, and more labels. I put God in a box and that is where He stayed for a very long time.

I’m here writing this paper to attend Southeastern only by the grace of God. He is the one who asked me to stop what I was doing professionally and start over. “Pastor.” That was it. I’m not saying I heard God directly, but the impression of Him on my heart is what He put: “Pastor.” I know in my heart of hearts I am suppose to learn how to be a leader in ministries both in school and through discipleship from church.

I’m a mom of 3 amazing boys. A stay at home mom who also was working from home as an entrepreneur. So when God asked this of me, my world turned upside down. Slow life way down and slow your business down to follow God. My biggest fears happened and many people did not understand why I did what I did and slowed down my business. I had to remind myself daily that fear is not from God and that we each bear our own cross when we choose to follow Him. I will not back down from what God is asking of me.

The biggest piece of this story is that for the first time I realized what spirit meant. I finally found Jesus. I finally understood that God doesn't belong in a box. God doesn't want me to just see Him on Sunday, but instead He wants a deep relationship with me. I actually enjoy reading the bible and life has new beautiful meaning now. I truly have been reborn.

Since then my heart has been bursting daily with the love of Jesus and the hopes that I can help others feel this feeling, and no, coming to God doesn’t mean your life is over. Coming to God and allowing Him in all areas of your life means your life is starting new and is even more incredible than you have ever imagined.

Life is not easy because I found Jesus, don’t get me wrong, but it has new meaning. I know this is the right professional field for me and by attending Southeastern this is part of the discipleship God is asking of me right now. I knew Southeastern was the right fit for me because of the school's mission statement: “Equipping students to discover and develop their divine design to serve Christ and the world through Spirit-empowered life, learning, and leadership.”

I have always known my life had to have a bigger purpose. I just had no idea what that was . So I filled all the voids of my life with other things. Men, food, clothes, jobs, and the list goes on. This whole time I was looking for Jesus. The school's mission statement is exactly what I want to do for others as well but in Ministries. What that will exactly look like I don’t know, but I'm confident God has a plan. He’s been patient with me and now I’m ready to understand why even more so.

Thank you for taking the time to consider me as a future student of SEU. I would be honored to become a student here.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Monday, January 9, 2017

I Get to Wash MOUNDS of Dishes & I Love It!

So the title of this blog post is pretty out of whack!
No, I don't really care for dishes and I am not in love with it.
I'm actually in love with the idea of the dishes. Let me explain a bit more...

I'm a stay at home mom of 3 boys: 6, almost 4, and 10 months old.
In 2011 I bled out and almost died because of an ectopic pregnancy.
At the time I was in the military and so was my husband. We had our oldest son and wanted more kids. We were very devastated to learn that the baby wasn't going to make it. The baby was growing but if the pregnancy wasn't terminate it would probably rupture. This is a whole other blog post, but long story short, the baby continued to grow, and I now only have one functioning ovary. It was a very traumatic experience which led to me realizing that I truly wasn't doing what my heart wanted. I wanted to stay at home with our son. What if I couldn't have another?
When you sit and really think about it what did you want to be when you were little?
For me that was always a mom. I just wanted to stay with our son.
My mind was made up, and I was out of the military that same year.

Since then we've had two more little boys, and I have been a stay at home mom ever since.
Which finally leads me to the title of this post.
I was doing the dishes today and it's Monday. I didn't want to tackle them last night so there are TONS. Lots of dishes caked on with things we ate yesterday and I was complaining to myself.

On top of it all our dishwasher is not working. That means that I have to wash everything by hand. Poor little me right?! LOL! Then that's when I felt conviction on my heart. My mind fluttered to the thought: "Stop and be grateful you GET to be here at 11:30am washing these dishes woman!"

Recently I had a spiritual awakening and God impressed on me the verse: "Life and death is in the power of the tongue." Proverbs 18:21
I continued to wash dishes and thought about this verse.
I said to myself in my mind: "I am very grateful I'm here. Thank you God for the opportunity to watch my boys grow even in times when that means I'm washing dishes while I do so. Thank you God for full bellies and why there are so many dirty plates. Help me Lord to remember to praise you in all situations."

I'm sure there are some people reading this and rolling their eyes, but thing is one negative thought and mood turns into a downward spiral of staying in that place. The bible teaches us to put on our full armor of God time and time again. (Ephesians  6:10-20)
Part of that is the sword of truth and to pray in all kids of ways. So the next time I'm doing chores and complaining I pray for God to put conviction on my heart again, and remind me of the opportunity I have. The time to be with Him while I wash the dishes, fold the laundry, wash the toilets, and praise Him while I do it. It may not be what I want to be doing, but it's right where I asked to be with my babes.

Staying at home may not be what every mother wants but the point is I personally just needed to remember to be grateful.

God is good and He answers prayers all the time...
Thing is it's the way He knows is best for me, and not the way I imagine it to be

Oh, and YES!
My kitchen is all clean and I feel much better after thinking about just being okay with being okay with right where God needs me to be.

Dishes are important too.
Change your mind and you can change your life.