Words have power. Written words provide proof. You can read them, and reread them whenever you want. They can speak life to someone who needs encouragement. They can speak death to someone who is being deceived. The choice lies within you. How is it that you want people to remember you? Encourager...that is the gift that God has laid on my heart. To use my written, spoken, and/or sung words to lift people up. To be one link in their road to healing, restoration, joy. I have been without those things, and I claim them to be mine again. If you want me to seek God on a prayer for a specific situation...that is why I am here. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray God's Word of Life over you.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Expose him

Every so often we have to call the enemy out.

We have to call him by his name.

We have to remind him of who we are in Christ.

So that he never forgets.

But what about you and I? Is it possible that we could ever forget?

Is it possible that we could go through a day, that could turn to a week...that could then turn to waaaaaaaay longer than we'd like to admit...where our days just seem to wear us down. Weariness sets in and our fight is weak.

This is me today.  My fight is feeling weak...so what am I going to do about it?
Sleep more? -Yeah. Stinking. Right.
Complain less? -I wish!
Read a self-help book? -Who has the time?
Run away to Hawaii? -Um...yes please!!!!!!!!!!!

For real though. Back to reality...what can I do?  I can reach out to the women that God has placed in my life who help hold me up.  I can read the promises and truth in the Word of God.  I can scream pray. <-- Ever heard of it?

I don't scream pray often, but when I do, it. is. for. real! It is like praying...only much much louder and with more crazy "passion" because I am reminding the enemy Who he is messing with.  I am talking directly to the legion of demons that dare mess with a child of the King.  I am speaking life over the death that they taunt me with.  I am speaking truth over lies.  I get feisty...and I look ridiculous.  I am always alone...and I am usually driving.  But there, in my minivan, I become a warrior. A warrior who has come to fight the giant that knows his end.  And I love to remind him of the end. 
I. Win.


What about my our children?

Does the enemy know the sound of their voice?  Does he yet have a reason to fear it?

I want the enemy to hear my kids proclaim truth.  I want him to hear them pray for victory.  I want him to hear them war for their life, their family and their friends.  My kids can not live off of my faith.  It is not enough.  I want to enemy to watch them become exactly who he feared they would.  I want him to never forget that we. win.

If someone that you love comes to you in need, absolutely, pray over them. BUT...be sure that they also pray for themselves.  Encourage them to speak to that mountain in their life and accompany them as they boldly approach the Throne of Grace for themselves.  It may seem like a minor step...but I assure you...it is not.  The enemy needs to know who He is messing with...and that is the King above all kings.  Jesus.  If that is the only word that they can whisper...it is enough.

JESUS

"Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

Monday, February 12, 2018

Sum of the Lies Women Believe

If I had a penny for every lie I've ever believed...I would own stuff. Alotta stuff. It is in-cred-ib-ly infuriating for me to take a moment to think, for just a minute or two (so it doesn't become a 'dwell'), about some of the lies I believed in the last week. The enemy strung me along with his maddening nonsense for most it. I knew it was him. My Father does not, would not say those things to me. And yet...I could not shake them. They lingered in my thought patterns. I was reminded of them just when I started to forget.

God is using last week for this. #Romans8:28 I know that I am not the only woman who believes lies about themselves. I am not the only woman who entertains thoughts that were not originally hers. I am not alone in this battle of the mind. If I was...there would not be SO many books already written about it.

God spoke to me yesterday while I was push mowing my lawn. I'll admit I was complaining, in my head, about doing it; even though...it was a perfect day for mowing. Not too hot. Breezy. Sunny. It was nothing like the monsoon our NW Pennsylvania summer was last year. Nor like the thick, muggy weather we had last week. I came in for a drink on one of my many 'breaks' and saw the sweetest message about my post from yesterday. When I went back to mow...God started speaking to me about today's post. See how all it took to break my crappy thought pattern was one sentence of encouragement from a random person. (When God asks you to offer words that are nourishing to another's soul...even if they seem small...do it! You can be the change in someone's downward spiral of a day.)

Let's move on to some of the lies. Some I have believed. Some I have not. The same will go with you.

-If i am larger than a -0....I am not and can not be beautiful
-If I am a size -0...i know i am beautiful and am therefore happy, always.
(FYI *I, on purpose, chose a number that is not real. It is not about a size, it is about God's masterpiece, You.*)

-Pinterest is real life! (...for everyone,but you.)

-If your kids are wearing 'non-church clothing' to church...you are clearly lazy and don't care.
-If your kids are dressed nicely at church, your morning was full of nothing but peaceful, sweet moments captured on camera
*There was clearly no screaming to brush. your. stinking. hair.  Or, frustrated last minute changes of clothes because the mud puddle was just. too. much. to. resist.*

-Your job defines you.
-Their job defines them.

-Perfection is attainable.

-Women who are in ministry 'have it all together'.
-Women who aren't in ministry aren't doing enough.

-Pastor's wives don't have bad days because they are super-spiritual, extraordinary beings.
-Pastor's wives don't understand real life, because they don't have to live it.

-Stay at home moms are not doing enough.
-Working moms are doing too much.


Comparison. It is not something we had to learn to do. It came very naturally to us at a young age. The problem is that those things that we don't have to work to become...are, most times, what we are to be fighting against. What we need to ask ourselves is, would God compare me to another sinful, created being? Is that consistent with the nature of our God who is so full of love that He sent his son to die for those He knew would reject Him? OR, would he instead see us THROUGH a Man who was tempted in every way...and was sinless?

Did you notice the title of today's post? It was purposeful. I know the difference between some and sum, promise! It was an intentional decision to use the word sum. Alone, each lie we hear and carry on with us for any length of time, might not feel too burdensome. Add a couple more and they become a bit more noticeable. What about when we have heard, accepted, and are dragging along a large sum of lies. Some of them from family members. Some of them from friends. Some of them from strangers. Some of them concocted in your own brain. It becomes increasingly harder to remember who you really are. It becomes even more difficult to BE who you really are because one by one you unknowingly let someone else's thoughts define you. <--- That someone...satan.

For today, try to take captive, every. thought. that God would not say to your heart.  He would not remind you of your mistakes, without truth to dismantle them.  He would not dwell on your flaws and weaknesses for the purpose of keeping you in a depressed state.  If you KNOW His voice, you know..."God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:17  He takes your life seriously.  Very seriously. I heard it said one day recently, "You were worth Jesus to God."

Your worth is not in anything that you can acquire here.  Your worth is not in how stylish you can look.  Your worth is not in your position at work.  Your worth is in Christ.  He was there at the beginning, and He will be there at your end.  If you believe that God sent His only Son to die for your sins, weaknesses, shortcomings, thoughts, actions, words...then He is Who you listen to.  It is HIS opinion of you that matters.  It is He that you will answer to for your choices...and it is He that is waiting to free you from the lies that overwhelm your days.

As for me...I would LOVE a chance to pray for you!  In person, over the phone, through social media, through email...whatever it may be.  It would help fulfill my purpose in posting today...if I could help you find a truth from the Living Word to cover over each lie you've been believing.  Please send them to me. One at a time. A whole list.  Just reach out and gain strength in your days. Let God intervene and stop your stinkin' thinkin.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Mourning Life

Mourning. It was a word that I would have said I understood.

I have mourned loved ones who've left this world more suddenly than I was ready for.
I have mourned family who had lived a long life and were ready to meet their King.
I have mourned three of my own babies that I never got the chance to meet.
I have mourned for those that have fought hard for every last day they had on this earth.
And I have mourned with many families of which death took a person that they were not ready to give up.

What I did not ever know...was that I could mourn a person who was very much alive.
A person whom I loved.
A person who I saw day after day.
A person who was no where near death.
I did not know about this type of mourning. And honestly, I wish I still didn't.

This type of mourning has its own rulebook. It comes with a vast array of helpless, emotional roller coaster type of feelings. It has you replay over and over what you could have done differently to prevent the very action that caused it. It has you second guess every decision you made. It has you wishing you had chosen things...anything...everything...differently.

Mourning your child, who's hair you brush. Who's tears you wipe. Who's laugh you love. This mourning is silent. It is kept secret, as a protection mechanism. It is misunderstood by anyone who has never walked down this path. And it is a lonely place to reside.

This type of mourning will cause you to give up everything you loved. People. Places. Passions. Possessions. This type of mourning will leave you starving for genuine love and support, and yet leery of absolutely everyone offering it. Do they truly care...or do they just want to know what has changed you? Trust does not come easily with this type of mourning.

I am mourning innocence that was selfishly stolen.

I am mourning the freedom to trust people that I once respected.

I am mourning saying Yes to my children.

I am mourning the life that I once had.

I know I am not the only one. I can't be. There is too much going on in this world for me to be the only one.

Moms. Dads.
Where are you that mourn a child who was taken away by empty promises?
A child that chose hollow, toxic relationships over unconditional love.
A child that can't stay away from the things that you fear will eventually pull them to their grave.
A child who has left and has promised never to return.

Moms. Dads.
Where are you that mourn a child that lives in your home?
A child who trusted because it is what they were taught to do so.
A child who obeyed because it was what was right.
A child who endured trauma because they would not tell an adult No.

We silently mourn our living children because of addiction. Of poor choices. Of broken relationships. Of undeserved traumatic life events. Of all the days that were stolen from us. And though our circumstances are very different...some days...this mourning seems impossible to bear and still function. Some days it comes out in anger. Some days it comes out in paralyzed fear. Some days it comes out in simply withdrawing from life.

Mourning isn't the same for any two people. My husband and I handle it very differently. Our phases of mourning never coincide. I thank God for that!! When I am weak, God is strong...and some days God shows His strength through the protection of my husband.

Moms. Dads.
I may not know you at all. I may just pass you in the store. But if I see the sorrow in your eyes when you feel like your smile is hiding it well, just know that I am praying for you. I am praying for those who mourn their children; both that have passed away and who are still with us. I am praying because I know that I am nothing without Prayer. I am lost without Promise. And I am angry without Hope.

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18
Are you brokenhearted? God is close.
Has your child's spirit been crushed by the enemy that seeks to destroy....? God saves.
HOPE IS OURS because GOD'S PROMISE IS REAL!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Trust Issues

I have said it silently to myself more times than I can count in my 35 years of life. My guess, is that you have too. They are those questions that just can. not. be. answered. Even if they ever were...the answer would probably not satisfy the deep longing questions in our hearts.

Why?
Where were You?
Why now?

Most recently it has not even been so much for me, but still I ask God, 'Why'...

It's been a year now since tragedy hit me like a semi-truck.
It has been a year full of change.
A year of asking.
A year of doubt.
Thankfulness. Anger. Sadness. Disbelief.
And it has been a year of watching God swoop in at the very last moment, when I was in full mental outrage, and show Himself faithful.
And yet it was a year of questioning...why?

Several months ago I decided to begin to read for the purpose of fun. Escaping I suppose. A way to stop my mind from constant thought.

Even after the decision had been made...it took me a few weeks to know where to start. Which author? Fiction or non? Did I want to dive into a self help type of book or just thoughtlessly encounter someone else's storyline.

I dove into my new book, head first. I read every spare moment I had. I waited up late and got waaaaaay too little sleep. I took loooong evening baths (almost daily) and stayed extra long in the tub. I had to see how the story all worked out in the end. I was addicted.

One night in particular I was intent on finishing the book that I had been sneaking in at every opportunity. I was so close. I sat with my cup of coconut cream coffee and...escape.....

Just a few moments in there were those words that I have wanted to speak scream time and time again.

Where were You when this was happening God?!

I closed my eyes and looked away. The second I read those words my breath was gone. When I opened my eyes again, I could no longer see through my tears. I knew that what came in the next paragraph was the reason God had chosen this book for me. I was angry at first when I realized the base of the story was very close to what I was dealing with personally. Of ALLLLL the fiction books in ALLLLLL of the libraries...I had to choose THIS one. Ugh. But I read on because I knew God had something to tell me...and I was unsure I could handle His response...

I. was. there.

How could I have doubted that He was there? How dare I think he would ever turn away? How did that simple reality make me feel both comfort and disgust? Why were there hot angry tears running down my cheeks?

They fell because I had trusted Him. But what about now...do I still...? How do you remain faith-filled when you feel as though the wind has been knocked out of you and you lay there struggling to simply breathe? What kind of God........I couldn't even finish that thought.

Sometimes we have to get gut honest with God. We have to lay it all out before Him. I have both a reverent fear of God and an open line of communication with Him. I tell Him more brutally honest things than I do any one person on this earth. He knows me completely. Every thought. Every glare. Every tear. He knows my heart intimately. He formed my inmost being...and He can handle my wrath.

That night as I read through the blur of my tears; I could not help but to silently weep. Alone. There wasn't a person in this world who could fix my struggle. It was up to me. I had to choose to fight my way through what the enemy was using to try to destroy the faith and purpose of myself and my family. I had to admit to myself and to God that I was angry with Him. I had to voice that I felt as though He had closed His eyes to what HE SHOULD HAVE STOPPED.

Should have.
As if I have the right to tell God how my story will go.
As if I think I know what is to come.
As if I was there at the beginning of it all.
As if I can say what it will take to make me into the woman that He knows I am capable of becoming.

I lay down my weapons.
My harsh words.
My doubt.
My trust issues.
I lay them at His feet. I do not deserve any of the wonderful things He does for me because of anything I have done.

I remember the first Sunday that I was to lead the Lauren Daigle song, Trust In You, during worship. I could barely make it through. There was a spiritual battle going on in my head, and I was the only person invited to the fight. It wasn't about learning the song...that had been fairly easy. Practicing the song with the worship team was a little bit more of a challenge. But then came worship...

There is a huge difference between practicing/singing and worshipping. During worship that day...it got real. It was that day that I knew I had no right to sing those very words if I didn't truly believe them.

A single tear ran down my cheek. I knew that I wanted to believe them. I knew that I wanted to trust God with the life and safety of my family. I also knew that He could see through my voice. He could see through my worship. He could see straight to the place in my heart where the struggle was raging.

And it was that day...I knew we had won. I did trust God and I belted those words out because I believe(d) that God is for me and for my family. Romans 8:28 will forever be true. God will use this tragedy. I don't know how. I don't know when. But I will wait for glimpses of good....because it is there that God will be.



Monday, January 11, 2016

Faith is More Than Words

Have you ever gone through something so incredibly difficult that there were
simply 
no 
words

Nothing that was offered seemed to be of any real help. Even though you knew that the intent of each person's hearts was pure, and you knew that their purpose was to uplift...somehow before their words could pierce through to your heart...it was as if they had already lost their life.

This is how many hours in my days have been over the last few months.

Numb.
Unable to participate in regular, every day life because it felt far away and impossible.
Many well-intended words from friends/family that seemed barely valuable enough to let sink in.

I've thought about becoming distant from everyone.
I've wanted to just pick up my family and drive away.
I've longed to forget.
I've screamed at the devil for how utterly awful and absolutely ruthless he is.
I've been selfish with my thoughts and prayers.

Over and over I have magnified the scheme of the enemy INSTEAD of choosing to focus on the power of the cross.

Where do we turn when words suddenly seem empty? How can we combat an enemy who wants us forever silenced? How do we fight off the pull of darkness when the usual fluffy spiritual answers just aren't leading us to hope this time?

I've never claimed to have it all together. I'm sorry if this comes as a surprise to you. Some days I crumble under pressure. Those days, I doubt if I will ever know better. I fall and I fail. And sometimes, sometimes...I get knocked down while completely unsuspecting. I get blind-sided by something that I could. not. have. seen. coming...and my faith is tested. The war becomes glaringly, in-my-face, real...and I find that I am very much in it.

Will I win...or will I give in? 
The first seems harder than the other. 
The latter offers ease, accompanied by empty promises. 
It is my choice. It always is.



I am turning to worship. Some days I cry while I sing...because my efforts seem feeble. Some days I don't feel a difference...because somehow I am still choosing to focus on me. Some days I smile and almost laugh while I worship...knowing that the enemy is furious and cowering. Some days I gain strength while I praise my King. Those days I stand firm in my calling...and I wish to be no where else.

I am turning to Truth. Even when I don't feel like it...I am finding Truth in the Word of God to cling to. On the days that I can't feel that Truth...I still believe. I know better than to trust how I feel. I'm a mess. He's the Maker. I trust His inspired Word over my thoughts! And He is revealing His truth loving, living, speaking people to me. It is a hard lesson to learn. I did not ask for it. I did not pray for it. But I will remain thankful for it.

And I am turning to you. You, who have been led to read this little blog of mine. I am asking for your prayer. The road that I have found myself on is hard. Not impossible...but hard. I don't know how to walk this road. I can't see the end of it. I am fairly confident that the end is far off. I can only see where I am. Some days seeing where I am is overwhelming.

If I have not love...I have nothing.
If I have not hope...I have less than God has for me.
If I have not peace amidst this storm...I am believing the whisper of the enemy over the proven Truth of Christ.

My strongest days are Sunday. My favorite days are those spent with the ones I love MOST! As for today, I will choose to win. Giving up is not an option. I have too many people who will go to war for me. I am loved...and I am thankful for that.

I will see Romans 8:28. It will become evident. I will listen closely for the voice of God to continue to lead me when I am looking...and I will feel the Hand of God guide me when I am struggling to focus.

I will win. Truth will win. I need only be still and know that I serve the One and only True God.

He is enough for me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Living in a World of Inappropriateness

One thing I say often....that I honestly never knew before having kids...is that they would teach me. Most times it is not something that I never knew...but rather something I forgot. Maybe a better way to say it, would be to say that they often remind me to have the same good morals I ask of them and to do all things with a more pure way of thinking. I didn't realize that my kids would constantly be asking hard questions; that would in turn keep me in line without them even realizing it. And I never knew that taking the time to see the view from where they are...would, more often than not, show me a perspective that radiated Christ.


One thing that my kids love to do is help me check out at the store. They fight...literally fight...over who gets to put the most things on the conveyor belt. Then they race to the other end and begin loading the cart back up with the bags full of groceries...in a quick...I don't care if your bread gets squished-I will do this before anyone else gets a chance to...type of manner. It keeps them occupied. It keeps their little unsatisfied eyes away from all of the candy, pop, toys, and beef jerky that the grocery store staff so cunningly place in the isle of our Wal-mart. So, I break up the squabbles as needed...and let them go.

A couple weeks ago I had my three youngest children with me. Ariel-8, Titus-6 and Levi-4; loaded up the groceries to be purchased as normal. But then they stayed at the back of the cart. I thought it was unusual...but since I was buying bread that had not yet been squished...I decided to let them be. They were behaving. They weren't handling all of the candy and toys and looking to me to buy it all. They were talking. Like normal little people. (I love it when they act, within view of the public eye, as though we normal!!!!) 





I looked back at them again and noticed something strange. My daughter had her arm oddly stretched across the end of the isle. After getting her attention, I asked what she was doing. She looked at her two little brothers and then back at me. She slightly lifted her hand from the magazine it rested on, while still watching her little brothers and shielding it from their view. She looked up at me, widened her eyes and mouthed one word. "Inappropriate!". I looked under her little hand and saw the massive amount of cleavage she was covering. I mouthed back two words. "Thank you!"

This world is full of inappropriateness. FULL! Commercials. Magazines. Ads on YouTube. Movies. Billboards. Christians. Ugh...it hurts me to type that last one. But alas...it is sadly true. The enemy will use anyone and anything to put seeds of inappropriate thoughts into a child's head. My children are constantly confused by how some people choose to speak/act/dress while claiming to be a Christ-follower. I want my kids to be sensitive to such things. To set their standards high no matter what is popular, accepted and easy.

I am the one who has to answer a lot of their hard questions. I am the one who is desperately trying to teach them to freely give grace WHILE still refusing to lower their own, self-set standards. I pray protection over their eyes, hearts and minds. I even go as far as to avoid 'repeat offenders' of inappropriate talk/dress/behavior when my kids are with me. They. are. mine. and more importantly...they were His before I ever knew them. I take my position, to equip them with a base of Godly morals and good character, very seriously. 

There is no guarantee that they will turn out well by chance. That is just not how life works. We are to live life purposeful and conscious. My children will have traits of Christ because I relentlessly prayed for them in the most secret places of my heart. They will know what it means to be a genuine Christian because my husband and I taught them the best we knew how. Because we led with our lives rather than our dictation. Because when we messed up, we asked for forgiveness...from our kids and from our Father.

My kids are setting their standards higher than I did as a child. I love to watch them choose what they are unwilling to allow into their life. Sometimes it is their own friend who makes them uncomfortable by the things they choose to do/say/watch. Sometimes it is an adult who dresses in a way that is scant. Sometimes it is an unwanted, non-Mom-approved advertisement that pops up while they are waiting for the newest TobyMac video to load. Sometimes it is a movie that has what they deem as evil. I give them room to choose. I respect their choice.

I'm raising up a generation in my house. A generation of leaders. Of servants. Of bold warriors. A generation that prays. That loves. That forgives. Because when I forget....they will remind me. <3

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Some Days..I Wanna Be a KID Again

I can hear the struggle from where I sit. I can't see it...but I can surely hear it. My two youngest are apparently battling. Again. Many times in a day they wrestle. Many times anger rises and falls...and yet, I can learn so much from them. It happens when I choose to take the time and watch how they are. Today...it is a lesson in love and forgiveness.





As I sit on my bed listening to them play on this beautiful summer morning, I notice their laughter and yelling takes a turn toward anger. Injustice is rearing its ugly head and I can hear the voices getting more and more heated. My 6-year old, Titus, is the one who usually comes to me in tears. My 4-year old, Levi (my baby) he. is. tough. He is still learning. He's still growing. The struggles that he has with hitting when he finds himself angry...are the ones that his older brother used to get in trouble for...OFTEN! Titus has since learned that there are consequences. He prefers most at times...to not endure them.

I don't always immediately rescue my kids at the first sounds of a disagreement with their siblings. I leave them room to choose wisely. I give them space to learn from experience rather than constant reprimand. On this morning...after a few moments of struggle...I decide to stop the fight before it escalades to the hitting phase. I begin to stand and what is it that I hear? Laughter? Yes...they have forgotten why they were angry...and they are laughing. Like for real, belly laughing. It. is. my. FAVE!!

I plop myself back down, smiling. I did not choose for them today. This one time...they chose what was right. They chose what was pleasing. They chose what was good.




I can no longer sit and listen. I want to be with them. I want to see what is funny...and I want to be joyful with them. They are teaching me...and I am learning.

Kids so often get it right when it comes to relationships. I am aiming to be more like my kids. (For real...I am!) I sometimes have to even remind my brain that they don't need to hang onto MY relational setbacks. If I am the one who's been hurt/offended...they don't need to take that offense on as their own.

These are the things that come most naturally to my kids...
-To quickly forget what made them angry in the first place.
-To easily let go of bitterness.
-To live as if they will not be hurt.
-To go from I-wanna-hit-you-angry to carefree-joyful in a moments time.
They don't need to be talked into forgiveness...it comes naturally.

Some days we adults aren't willing to get past our own anger. We feel entitled...and so we wallow. We cling to it. Or better yet...we allow it to attach itself to us. It becomes a part of us. It refuses to leave.

And when we allow a little anger here and there to become part of us...eventually it can overwhelm. Eventually joy will seem like a dream. Eventually we will struggle to see anyone without hardness in our heart.

I am learning to take my cues from children. I aim to love easily...even when it is not easy. I strive to forgive immediately...even when I want to feel entitled. And I will forget the sting of those who hurt me...and instead look for the love of Christ to fill my heart again.