30 September 2009

Chris Klicka's Health Deteriorating

Kris Klicka has served the homeschool community for 29 years. He also has MS.

Caring Bridge is evidently a sort of blog thing where ill people and their families can update everyone who wants to know, all at once.

Click on that link and it will take you to Chris's site. It is just a beautiful testimony to the value of life and how eagerly Christians can look forward to meeting Christ face-to-face.

"What helps them then to navigate the many complex and difficult decisions they are making in these days is the hope that Chris has in his Savior and the clear conviction he has over and over expressed, that for Chris “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philip 1:21)."

How painfully and jealously his wife must watch her husband through this last phase of their time together on earth! That he would be strong and whole and comfortable on the other side, rejoicing at the throne!

"
In all of this, we have grieved and have been buffeted by the hope of Christ and of his saving grace and resurrecting power. We are grieving with hope even now."

29 September 2009

Do Not Covet!

Here are a handful of books on marriage separation that I'm trying really hard not to covet. I really want to read them- study them- I have to own them; I'm sure I'll mark them up and dogear the pages and underline and such. I love books! (give it a second to load, ok?)



I also wanted to let you know that the kids and I made it through the Stop Child Trafficking NOW walk on Saturday. Through the mercy of friends and strangers, they made it the 3.5 miles without a tear or tumble. I earned $170 and my team earned over $600. It was great to see so many people who wanted to help. A speaker before the walk told us that when the stakes are raised (like by making it more risky to conduct trafficking) the cowardly pedophiles just crawl back into whatever hole they came out of... the demand drops amazingly.

28 September 2009

Faking is Lying

How many times recently have you been asked “How are you?” and you answer “Fine!” with a smile? “They don’t want to know how it really is,” you think. “I’m protecting them from the uncomfortable truth,” you tell yourself. Well, guess what? Faking is lying.

There is another kind of lying called deception. Let me give you an example. “Where’s your hubby” your mother-in-law asks when she phones on a Saturday morning. You don’t want her to know the ugly details of your troubled marriage, so you answer “Oh, he went out to get something from the store.” It’s a true answer- but you neglect to say that he left three hours ago to get said item, and that you suspect he won’t be home until after everyone’s asleep that night. Telling parts of the truth isn’t telling the truth.

John Piper describes this as “a devious and subtle manipulation of language to conceal the truth by saying true things. Devious people don’t usually lie, they deceive by the way they use the truth. Some people know they are doing it, and others are so conformed to the spirit of the age that they don’t know they are doing it. People that don’t have a deep, secure, satisfied, rest of soul in the living water of Jesus’ holy fellowship tend to slide toward subtle uses of language designed to cloud truth with words, even true words."

You aren’t protecting anyone by deceiving them. You are only lying. You might find some friendly shoulders or knowledgeable mentors if only you told the truth. I’m not saying that when an acquaintance at the grocery store asks you how it’s been, that you go into a mournful monologue. But do not deceive the people who love you and think they know you. When the people who seem closest to you don’t know the depth of what’s going on, deception is most likely at work, and it comes from your pride.

C.J. Mahaney, former pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, says in his book Humility: True Greatness “Pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence on Him. Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.” Are you so proud that you are afraid to admit that your marriage needs nothing less than the hand of God to survive?

I thought I could just do a massive cover-up for my friends and family. Surely, this was just a rough spot in our marriage and it would pass- which might have been true if I hadn’t been saying it for a year. I was piling up lie after lie in a wall between me and God- no wonder my prayers had little affect on my marriage. I thought I could handle it, even with all the evidence to the contrary! I was terrified that someone would know what my marriage was like, and they would see me as a failure, and they would judge me accordingly. I lived in fear that someone would find out. CJ says “Where there is anxiousness, pride is at the root of it. When I am experiencing anxiety, the ROOT ISSUE is that I’m trying to be self-sufficient.”

In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
Psalm 10:4

For the sins of their mouths, or the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride.
Psalm 59:12


26 September 2009

Walkin'

I may be walkin' as you read this... you can still sponsor me... last chance... do it...

Support me!

25 September 2009

News Notes

In the same vein as yesterday's post, see "If this doesn't scare you, nothing will" by Dave Andrusko about another example of the government trying to gag dissenting views about the so-called health care reform. !!!

What a sacrifice... some pro-choice people say you can't possibly expect a woman with an unplanned pregnancy to suffer through nine months of gestation, endure delivery and then give the baby to a couple through adoption. Imagine desperately wanting a baby, and choosing the roller coaster of IVF, and getting someone else's baby! Here's a link to an article and corresponding video that will blow your mind!

Don't forget to donate to End Child Trafficking Now Walk- it's tomorrow! I'll be walking 3.5 miles to end human slavery in our day- think you can spare them $10? Thanks dear readers!

24 September 2009

Hard Hearted


You must pray for the clarity of your husband’s mind and spirit. If he has become hard-hearted because of the world, he can’t see reality as it is. He doesn’t understand why things are so tough for him.

Believers who do not listen or pay attention to God and his commandments are in danger of becoming what the Bible calls “stiff necked.” This is a chosen condition that raises God’s anger… when one of God’s people habitually does not trust him, and resists the voice of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). Ephesians 4:18 says they are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God. When they are separated from God, they can’t decipher what He’s trying to tell them. They are like the world, and they see God’s ways as foolishness. We have a closeness like no other to our husbands and their struggles and since we are one flesh, to pray for your husband is like praying for yourself.

When I see the difficulties and pain my husband goes through, I think of Daniel 5:20-21, which says of Nebuchadnezzar “ when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was_______ until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign.” I just fill in the blank and I know this is what he will have to endure until he acknowledges God as king of his life. So I have something very specific to pray for.

God longs to have fellowship with his children and is just waiting for people to turn to Him. In Acts 28:27, God says For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.

“If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!” Psalm 81:13-14


Since the hard-hearted are deaf to our words, we must not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how (they) know that we belong to the truth. 1 John 3:18. The unbelievers around your husband may say what he wants to hear and then do otherwise. If you say nothing with your mouth, your loving actions will speak for themselves. Let the Holy Spirit do the talking. Remember that God continues to call sinners to him, but the stiff-necked are proud and think they can do this life on their own. They probably don’t want to give up their ways. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked in their rebellion. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them. (Nehemiah 9:17) I sometimes pray like this:

“God, when my husband makes the slightest step in your direction, reward him! Lord, encourage the smallest movement towards You, the shortest thought of You, the flickering ember of trust in You. Be yourself, Lord, call him with love and be so appealing that small samples of your love and forgiveness are so tantalizing that he won’t be able to resist coming back for more.”

In 2 Chronicles 30:8 Ezra urges the people of God “Do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; submit to the LORD. Serve the LORD your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you.” When we pray specific scriptures for our husbands, we can help him in his battle. However, you cannot control your husband- not his actions, not his thoughts, not his choices. No matter how hard we pray for our husbands, they are in charge of where they go and how they live. God wants your husband to trust him, know him… love him and worship him. Your prayers are the support beneath your husband, but the choice to follow God is his alone.


But keep hopeful: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:26-27

23 September 2009

Parents? Grandparents?


Love any elderly folks? Then beware: something in the Senate Finance Bill looks crummy... "the penalty for Medicare doctors creates a moving target – by definition, there will ALWAYS be a top 10%, no matter how far down the total amount of money spent on Medicare is driven." Read an article about it here.

22 September 2009

ACORN Scandal


Hey, when the kids go to bed, check out this 6 minute clip from The Daily Show about how helpful the ACORN people can be when you need help figuring out how to run your illegal, underage, trafficked prostitution ring.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Audacity of Hos
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Don't forget to sponsor me at the Stop Child Trafficking NOW walk! It's this weekend!

21 September 2009

Wary yet Hopeful

Whether you feel alone in your marriage, or are enduring a separation right now, there are times when you will interact with your husband. There are many pitfalls to this, and it is wise to have an accountability partner and the leadership of your church involved. You are too emotionally involved to see clearly. Sometimes even the physical presence of a mature friend is recommended so that not only do you have an encourager, but also the calming that occurs when there is a witness.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasure. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7

Remember that there is no innocent party in your marriage. You, too, are a sinner and make poor choices. Do not judge one another. You must learn to try to use your time together wisely. Are you swapping kids for the weekend? Meeting for a counseling appointment? Having lunch? This is not a good time to bring up every offense that you have received since you last saw him. You do not want to spend what may be only a few moments ‘freaking out.’ When you are working on reconciliation, you want to build up your relationship, not tear it down. God is a patient and just listener. He wants to hear your troubles. As the time nears to see your husband, all the injustices and hurts are going to crowd your mind (remember the devil wants your marriage to fail!). Bring each one before the Lord. Let him be the judge of the case. Accept any conviction he gives you about your own actions and let go of the rest.

Sometimes your husband will seem changed. Accept overtures of kindness with genuine thanks. If he seems to be growing, rejoice! Express to him your joy, but be reserved. You want to be encouraging yet protective of your heart. Jesus said “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) The key words to keep in mind at this time are “watch and wait.” You want to see a pattern of behavior emerge. When it is a new pattern, you will be skeptical or maybe ecstatic. Rejoice in your heart, encourage him with your words, and tell the Lord your worries.

1 Corinthians 13:5 reminds us that “love keeps no record of wrongs.” We must give our spouse the benefit of the doubt (joyful in hope, remember?) and not dredge up sarcastic remarks and old failures. You’re giving him a chance to create a new track record. Be a safe person for him to do it with! Remember “When we were still powerless Christ died for the ungodly. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6, 8)


18 September 2009

Not Pride

  1. Humility is glad that God gets all the credit for choosing us so that we boast only in him and not man.
  2. Humility happily admits that everything we have is a free gift from God, so that we can’t boast in it.
  3. Humility is glad to affirm that God sovereignly governs our heartbeats and safe arrivals, or non-arrivals.
  4. The root of Christian humility is the gospel that Christ died for our sins. That’s how sinful I was. That’s how dependent I am.
  5. Humility gives itself away in serving everyone, rather than seeking to be served.
  6. And humility is glad to affirm that this service is true greatness.

By John Piper, Desiring God Ministries. Read the entire article (excellent) here.


He is having his pastoral staff spend a year on an in-depth study of
C.J. Mahaney's (not too long) book, Humility: True Greatness.
One of my top-ten books, less than $10.

16 September 2009

Lord's Prayer

"Denyce Graves found herself heartbroken and sick and went to a doctor who said he had news -- at 39, she was with child. Impossible, she replied: Throughout her previous 17-year marriage she tried repeatedly to get pregnant, but was told it could never happen because of fibroids and various other conditions. But she was pregnant. The doctors urged her to abort, she says, because she wouldn't be able to carry to term. Then, Graves says, she was told the child had Down syndrome. But in 2004 she delivered a healthy baby girl -- "and she's perfect." Read how she met her present husband in the article in the Washington Post. "This relationship is different from previous ones, they say, because of its intensity and the intention with which they've approached it. "It's the first truly conscious relationship I've ever had," Montgomery says. "We see a counselor every other week. We read books. We talk all the time about how to communicate better and to improve our relationship." This one thing, his diva wife says, is simple: "I want to be good at loving him. I want it to be the best thing that I do."



In this video, she is doing what she does best- opera. At an anniversary of September 11, 2007, she sang the Lord's Prayer at the Washington Cathedral. It's beautiful... but I posted it because I wanted to let you see a piece of my history. When I was little I lived in Maryland. I attended private school (Episcopalian). Each year we would put on our Friday best uniform and get a chartered bus and the entire school would go down to D.C. to this cathedral (where she sings in the video) and attend a service with all the other private schools. We were lined up grade by grade and enjoyed our long walk down the center aisle behind our school banner. We would stare at the architecture and at the stained glass and loved having almost the whole day off of school.

15 September 2009

the Blessing of Insomnia


“I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow.” Psalm 6:6


At the height of my "time in the valley" I had a terrible time sleeping. I would go to bed sometimes at 8:30 p.m. and sleep till about 11 p.m. Then I would be up with my thoughts till about 3 or 4 a.m. Then only a few hours later I would have to get up at 5:30 to go to work at Starbucks (6 days a week). I would lie there, intermittently checking the digital alarm clock to see how much time I had whiled away worrying.


On the nights that I slept more, I was awakened very easily. The house would gasp as the pressure changed when the A/C kicked on. That gasping noise was identical to the noise that was made by a person walking on a certain spot in the hallway. I was aching so hard for that floor creak to signal that my husband had come home that quite frequently I would wake up at the gasp the house made in the second before the A/C came on. I remember my eyes springing open and I wondered why I had done so... then the air would start blowing and I knew that I had been duped again.


I spent the time mainly crying or worrying. Like a mangy dog gnawing on a dry shin bone, I would go in circles in my head until I finally wore myself out. I can't tell you how many times the Holy Spirit interceded for me because I was unable to form coherent sentences. Romans 8:26-27 says "the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." How true I found this to be, and what a comfort it was that the Spirit of God within me was able to report back to God the Father what was going on in my soul, when I couldn't do it myself.


When I had bad dreams, or my imagination ran off with some horrible idea, sometimes I would just say the name of Jesus in a panicky repetition. Usually, I would fall asleep at these times. Thank goodness that my daughter slept through the night, and I wasn't awakened by anything other than my own fears (or the A/C). I slept each naptime like a stone. Insomnia makes the times that you do sleep without trouble a gift to be cherished.


When it was evident that this was becoming a season for my life I realized something must be done. I began to use the time to pray. I began the process of taking captive each thought. I had tried to throw bad thoughts out of my mind, but they always seemed to sneak right back in again. I learned that the human mind is not designed to be empty- so when I had to evict a thought, I found a pleasant, God- approved thought to replace it. Then, I could focus on the new thought instead. I began to expand my notecards of scripture. I would search the Bible on a topic- fear, unbelief, God's strength- and write the ones which spoke clearly to me on index cards. It created an arsenal of scripture ready at my hand when I found myself getting swept away by my fears. I would read through my cards until I found comfort, or I began to feel sleepy. I have ebbed and flowed through the cards in distinct patterns. I have gone back to the same cards again. I have written some scriptures down a few times. I grew to love God's word so much during this dark time!


This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it- the Lord is his name: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” Jeremiah 33:3 tells us another thing we can do when we find ourselves up alone in the night. As the world sleeps around you, speak to God about your situation and He who understands- who understands you, your situation, the minds of those involved- He can give you better understanding. This time in the darkness- literally and figuratively- can evolve from a solitary pity party into a time of intimacy and vulnerability with the Lord. Take such an opportunity! He wants to spend time with you! Turn the light on and open your Bible when you can't sleep. Maybe that is the only time God can really get your undivided attention!



14 September 2009

Beyond Endurance


This past weekend was a whirlwind women's retreat with the ladies from my local church- we watched Beth Moore's Loving Well (it was a conference in Tennessee a few years ago but they created a retreat-in-a-box from it). It was nice overall and she told the Hairbrush Story, which I loved seeing live with all the Beth Moore facial expressions accompanying it.

I had a terrible, horrible, no-good very bad week last week... just on the verge of throwing in the towel. Am I under attack since I started writing my book? Am I hormonal? Are things really any worse? I don't know... but God must've wanted me to go to the retreat. Before I left, a few people asked me "Where is the retreat?" "What is the topic?" and I was like, "I dunno! I don't care! I'm just going!" Well, God knew what was going to be taught.

Essentially the phrase that I boiled the weekend down to was "loving past human endurance." It just makes me feel tired to write it. Beth was teaching us how to access God's perfect love for us so that we can love the unlovable. She says that we can do it, and that we are like Jesus when we do. But I'm tired!

She said that we sometimes think that we have to earn God's love or we try to make him love us by what we do. But she said "God IS love" and that it is a part of him, not something that changes or wavers, similar to how I AM a woman, whether I dress up as something else or feel happy or angry, my nature is to be a woman. That was good to learn.

She talked a lot about testy people who are in our lives to help us be more like Jesus. She talked about how our foes are usually people we once loved and were close to. That usually the people who hurt you the most are the ones you let the closest. It was painful to think about my husband being my foe. It was a hard weekend being honest with women about my life. Now they know when they see me at church and they look at me like they know and that's tiring. I think I need to get up extra early all week and listen for God to tell me he loves me.

11 September 2009

Complaining


"To complain is an accusation against God. It questions God's wisdom and God's good judgment. God has always equated complaining with unbelief. Why? Because to complain is to doubt God. It is the same thing as suggesting that God really doesn't know what he is doing."

-Dan Bakker

Sometimes a good quote gets you thinking more than a lot of words. I'm tired, dear readers, and I've had a crummy week. Today I leave for a short women's retreat through my church. The retreat is, of course, previewed by times of cleaning and packing for myself and all the kids. Have a great weekend!

10 September 2009

Tired

Raaugh! I hate that there is so much suffering and sadness in this broken world. *sigh* I'm emotionally tired so here are a few links for my dear readers.

The Pipers "when you experience those secondary losses, you grieve."

Read: Injustice is the lack of justice. Darkness is the absence of light. Cold is the absence of heat.

The kids I want to take out of the Texas foster care system and love on.

09 September 2009

Stages of Grief

"Grief is a tidal wave that over takes you, smashes down upon you with unimaginable force, sweeps you up into its darkness, where you tumble and crash against unidentifiable surfaces, only to be thrown out on an unknown beach, bruised, reshaped... Grief will make a new person out of you, if it doesn't kill you in the making."
-Stephanie Ericsson

Grief is a process. It is a journey, a long journey. It is not easily divided into precise little steps, it does not have a consistent time frame. You will stumble, you will crawl, you will have days when you wonder if your eyes will ever not be swollen, if you will ever be able to catch your breath. And occasionally, you hear an unfamiliar noise, and wonder if that was you laughing- are you allowed to do that?

Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross worked with terminally ill cancer patients for years. She developed a well-known theory that divides grief into five distinct periods.

-denial
-anger
-bargaining
-depression
-acceptance

These phases may seem familiar, for grief has many consistencies. However, her studies were based on people grieving the end of their own lives. It wasn't the loss or death of a loved one. Now, there are more vaguely written stages of grief guidelines that are focused more on the feelings of the 'one left behind.' They include

-shock, numbness, denial
-yearning to reverse the clock, change things
-anger, pain, guilt
-suffering, despair, loneliness, sadness-reconstruction, letting go, recovery

Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't entitled to a period- an extended period- of grief for your marriage. Today's culture of death that tells you to be liberated- to divorce, abort, discard, move on... move on triumphantly! Without any sorrow! No looking back!

Well I am here to tell you, that no matter how few resources that you find, there are people out there totally devastated by the dissolution of their marriages. Completely shocked that 'this happened to me.' Floored that anyone would ask themselves, "What is wrong with her, why doesn't she move on? That marriage was terrible anyway."

Grief is a natural and necessary part of being human. It is a bridge between lives. If you don't cross it, how will you know how to live in another way? It doesn't matter how your marriage was before the struggle. It was an ideal you had. It was like an unborn baby that never took its first breath. The parents had eagerly looked forward to its arrival. They prepared for the changes in their life. They told everyone the name they had chosen. They begin to think of themselves as parents, as part of an exclusive club... but then they have to tell people that the baby has passed. The world may say they aren't parents. They pack away the tiny clothes. When a marriage is falling apart, it is the same. You have to let go of the idea that you are a wife. You have to mourn the stay-at-home mom bit. You wonder what to do with the white wedding album. You have to begin to identify yourself as a separated woman. A divorced woman. You have to introduce yourself as the new you. There is a big psychological shift when you first realize that you aren't who you thought you were. It takes time to adjust to new titles.

And it is supremely difficult to let go of other titles. If you have stayed home with your small children because of your convictions on how to raise them, it is painful to look at a future away from them all day... letting someone else get the best hours of their day. I had chosen to homeschool, so the idea of sending my kids to government schools was painful. The fears associated with unwelcome change are so strong.

Recover from Grief

08 September 2009

Will You Sponsor Me?

I am walking on September 26 to earn money to support an organization called Stop Child Trafficking Now. Thousands of individuals, corporations, religious organizations, communities and campuses will participate in simultaneous Stop Child Trafficking Now WALKS to raise funds and broaden awareness.

Did you know that over 2 million children are currently enslaved around the world, including every one of the 50 United States!

This campaign is a nation-wide, one- of -a- kind effort to end child slavery in this generation by focusing on demand and strategically targeting predators.

Would you consider helping me reach my goal by making a tax-deductible donation to Stop Child Trafficking Now?

Donating online is safe and easy! To make an online donation you can click on the "Support Me" below. If you would rather donate by check please make the check payable to SCTNow, write my name in the memo section and mail to

SCTNow:
414 West 51st Street
New York, New York 10019

Thank you for considering supporting me through Stop Child Trafficking Now. If you have any questions about SCTNow please contact me directly or visit www.SCTNow.org. Together, with your support we will be able to Stop Child Trafficking Now!

Support me!

Interested in learning more? Click modern slavery/human trafficking here or in my left sidebar.

07 September 2009

God's Greatness


God doesn't ask me how I want Him to do things. Does that happen to you too? Yeah, He does everything His own way. I want Him to spell everything out for me, tell me the who, what, WHY and where. But, no, He wants me to just have enough light for the place I'm in, and not what's down the path from me. He never even gives me one of those curvy, wall-mounted mirrors so I can see what's hurtling around the bend at me.

So when times like that come, I really lean on the fact of God's greatness. His POWER. His all-knowingness.

Romans 11:33-36 expresses these feelings beautifully: "Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?! For from him and through him and to him are all things." Even if we are totally stumped at how God will redeem our situation, if we are crushed at what he allowed to happen in our lives, there is comfort in knowing that he IS more powerful than the storms which toss us about.

Psalm 104:1-4 reminds me of his might, of his strength... if he can hold the atoms in a droplet of water together, if he can hold Jupiter in its course, if he can know when a scary deep-sea albino blind fish dies, than probably he can take care of me. "O Lord my God, you are very great, you are clothed with splendor and majesty. You wrap yourself in light as a garment; you stretch out the heavens like a tent and lay the beams of you upper chambers on their waters. You make the clouds you chariot and ride on the wings of the wind. You make winds your messengers, flames of fire your servants."

Nehemiah 9:6 reiterates God's greatness through the heavens which so clearly declare his handiwork: "You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You gave life to every thing, and the multitudes of heaven worship you."

My situation-- be it my marriage, my child-rearing challenge, my health-- they seem impossible when I contemplate my abilities, but "Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR YOU!" (Jeremiah 32:17)

Thank God that's true... a la Beth Moore... Can I get an amen?!

04 September 2009

A Way toTake Action!

Finally, something to DO to help end human trafficking, which affects children so heinously! A friend sent me information on how to help an organization called STOP CHILD TRAFFICKING NOW! We have to get sponsors and walk on September 26 and 27th to not only raise awareness but also money which goes to support special teams that investigate, gather evidence, and bring predators and traffickers to prison.

An interesting difference found in this organization is their emphasis on the demand side of the atrocity. Most of the sites I've perused about human trafficking are about informing people of it, and rescuing people from it. SCTN has found "research indicates funding efforts to support the deterrence and eliminate the demand fueling this heinous crime is most effective."

"Funds generated from the SCTNow Campaign underwrite Special Operative Teams, sponsor awareness events around the U.S., and benefit partner organizations that are working diligently in this noble cause of stopping child sexual slavery."

Find out where you can walk by checking here. Go to the Funds FAQ here.

03 September 2009

Honor And Shame

When I drove north without my husband "for six weeks" I had no idea it would stretch to 18 months. I drove the two hours to my parent's house, with three tiny kids in the backseat, who were blissfully unaware of what was happening. I had some time to think. What on earth was I going to tell my parents? Whatever it was, I would have to start cleaning up my verbal habits. I had spent our first year back in Texas hoping that my marriage would improve. I sugarcoated and embellished the ugly truth so that... what? People wouldn't worry? People wouldn't ask questions to which I had no answer? People would think I had it all together?


The problem that comes along with deception and lying is that people don't know how long you've been doing it. My family and Texan friends hadn't seen us for six years, except for a few breaks home on holidays. How did they know that everything hadn't been in shambles for my entire marriage? Why should they believe me when I said essentially, "Well, yes I've been lying all year, but really, things were fine before this. Believe me!"
I came knowing only one friend from high school in the area. I knew, especially as it became evident that we were not going "home," that I would have to create a community where I was. I would have to be truthful with people about my situation, no matter how uncomfortable it was for me... or them.

How do you go about cultivating a lifestyle of honesty when you are terribly embarrassed and even ashamed of yourself? I wasn't raised to tell people the truth about my problems or struggles. I wasn't familiar with letting people look into my personal growth or know about my issues. Also, I wasn't at all used to family breakup or creditors calling or choosing which bill to pay.

I forced myself to be truthful. What is "sugarcoating" and "embellishing" the truth, except euphemisms for LIES? Saying something that is true in a deceptive way that leads someone to draw the conclusion that you want them to is LYING. Emphasizing only the good things is deceptive. False cheer is deceptive. I am not saying that people need to be perpetually cheery, singing gaily and smiling ear-to-ear. I am saying, however, that if your'e having a nasty, terrible day or week or month that it is okay to tell people that you are having a struggle. It's okay to say that you are struggling in your marriage.

Repeat after me: It's ok if people know that I am not perfect. IT'S OKAY! I am not perfect.

And you know what? You're not. Neither are any of us. What is the benefit of telling people "Oh, everything's fine- no, he's just working late! Yeah! What a long drive he has!" and laughing about the kid's antics... then screaming at them to go to bed, so you can hit speed dial 10 times and cry until you want to throw up? You are locking yourself in a cell of your own making.

When I was just miserable and ashamed by my situation, I found comfort in Scripture that chipped at the foundation of that lie in my mind. The devil loves shame. God works with godly sorrow and proper guilt, used to turn us from our sin and back to Him.

Psalm 62:5-8 says:

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone, my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, HE is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God, he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."

Psalm 25:20-21 says:

"Guard my life and rescue me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you."


02 September 2009

Baptism!

My daughter was baptized on Sunday. Thought you may appreciate the photo. No faces, really, just the exact same shade of brown hair. That is the family ministry pastor to our left.
Here is Claire and her Daddy after she got out all shivery. She is excited to be my sister (in Christ) as well as my daughter.

Baptism Explanation (a 7 min video from my church on Biblical baptism)

On a separate note, my aunt said she tried to enter the drawing, but the comment never posted. Anyone else who had that problem and wants to mention it, if comments aren't working, you can email me through my profile. Thanks!

01 September 2009

Kindness Overcomes