Monday, December 19, 2011

The Lord Has Been Good To Me!

What has 2011 brought into my life?  By worldly standards I have a "right" to say this year has been horrible.  I've "earned the right" to feel abandoned, betrayed, hatred, bitterness, self-righteous, vengeful, hurt, and so on.  And the events of my life these past 19 months have brought me through many of those feelings.  I've been hurt very deeply.  Things hurt inside that I never knew existed, in a way that I never knew was possible. The literal ripping apart of my life could have robbed me of my life.  I don't know if I can say that I have had even one easy day this year.

But I have the gift of being a child of God.  And that means that I do not use those other words to describe 2011.  Instead, some of the words I use are: joy, freedom, blessings, peace & comfort.

I have learned that all I need is God.  He is my redeemer, my defender, my supplier, my refuge, my strength, my unfailing, ever faithful Savior.  God has lovingly torn away everything in my life that was above Him.  Leaving me broken, ashamed and desperate for the only thing that can give true life - God himself.  I went down paths that were desperate attempts to maintain control of something, anything.  I have wrestled with God over big things and little things and everything in between.  I have always considered myself a Christian.  I have always believed in God.  But this year I learned what it really means to know God instead of just knowing about God.  God called me into a genuine relationship with Him and there could never be a greater gift.  There is a huge difference between knowing about God and being a follower of the One True God.  It's a difference that you don't realize until you've experienced it.  People who don't know it, don't get it.  Once you truly submit your life to God and His will, your life will change in dramatic ways.  It is the process of God making all things new. 

I love my husband dearly and I desire to have a loving relationship and marriage with him, as God intended, with HIM as the foundation.  But God has set me free!  I am free from needing any man to make me ok.  No man can determine my worth, my love, nor define me in any way.  I am defined by God alone.  I am made whole in God alone. I am finally free to love my husband as God intended.  If God's plan includes raising my marriage from the dead and restoring it to His glory, I will remain free from the bondage and receiving the blessing that can come from the Almighty God alone.

God has showered me with blessings and answered prayers.  Everywhere I look I see an answer to prayer.  I am 100% dependent on God for everything in my life.  I literally live day to day not knowing how things might go.  But I am confident in God's faithfulness.  He has transformed me to live Ps. 112:6-8 "For the righteousness will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries."  I have absolutely no idea what 2012 will bring for me and my family.  I have no clue what will happen.  But I'm not afraid.  I am at peace because I have God's comfort.  I can be certain it won't be easy, but it will be glorifying to God.  God will carry me.  God is faithful.  God will provide.  God will be my strength. 

I am finally finding joy because God is joy.  Rejoice! Rejoice! And through it all, The Lord has been so good to me!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful Tree

This is our Thankful tree.  For the past couple of weeks, every day, the kids & I would each write something that we were thankful for and hang it from the tree branches.  It was a great project that we loved doing.  The things ranged from the Packers, to Chloe's imaginary friend Tasha, to heartfelt things like mommy & daddy and Jesus.  And it made a great centerpiece for my table!  I loved talking about what we're thankful for and praising God for those things! 

What am I thankful for? I am thankful for Jesus Christ coming and living a sinless life and then being crucified for my sins so that I might be able come to his Father.  And that he didn't just die on the cross for my sins, but that he was raised and lives today so that I might have a relationship with him.

Am I thankful for other things, like my husband, my kids, my family, my house, etc, etc, etc...?  Of course I am! But without Him, nothing else matters.  Without Him, every other good and perfect thing is nothing. Because "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above..." James 1:17.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2011

But I'm a Good Person!

What a huge lie that so many of us, including myself, fall for!  I am not trying to call people out, I really am reflecting this on myself.  Saying that I really am a good person is just a rationalization to try and justify my sins.  And one day, I will stand before the Lord and all of those rationalizations will be stripped away and I will have to face who I really am, just like you will.  By the nature of the fall, we are all born evil, wicked people.  If we weren't - we wouldn't need a Savior.  No matter how good of a person I try to be, the truth is that my heart is wicked.  Jeremiah 17:9-10 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds."  My need for my Savior is great.  Anyone who is not in a relationship with Christ Jesus should be scared for their life! Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell".  Fear the Lord people! We all need his saving grace, Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"

My need for my Savior is being revealed to me more and more each day.  There are so many things that run so deep in me.  There are so many things that I cling to make me ok.  Just to name a few... my self-reliance, controlling tendencies, pride, arrogance, my husband, just plain old thinking that I'm a good person - I can do this!  I, mine, myself, me, me and more me!  God has been having me on a slow journey of literally ripping out all of these idols.  But it's so hard because I want to accomplish them, instead of surrendering to letting God accomplish them in me. Romans 7:18-19 "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.  For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not to the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing."  I'm not just talking about the big, blatant, obvious to the world sins.  I'm talking about what I like to think of as small ones.  All of the ones I listed above point to my rebellion against God.  My disbelief, my unwillingness to trust Him, my characterizations of who He is verses who I am!  He is the potter; I am merely the clay.  Because God is merciful, He is revealing to me how deeply ingrained my sinful nature really is.  How deceitful my heart really is. And I keep trying to fix it, instead of sitting in His grace and letting Him change me.

So shouldn't I be depressed?  Curled up in ball thinking there is no hope?  NO!  That is the reason why Jesus came for me, and for you!  I am a saint and child of God which means all of those sins are covered in His blood! HE is righteous! Romans 3:24-26 "...through the redemption that is Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he has passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."  You have to believe in God and you have to repent and turn from your sins if you ever want to change. I have to surrender everything to Him. I rejoice in His free gift that saves my soul from being cast into hell!  I rejoice that He has mercy on me and continues to grow me in so many ways, even though they are so painful! Those blind to who God is, they don't get it.  Their hearts are hard, their minds are closed and their eyes are shut.  I pray desperately for God to have mercy on them by revealing who He is to them!  I am not a good person, and honestly, neither are you.  We all need Jesus our only Savior.  I have him. Do you?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Living by Faith

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit & soul & body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it."

"When I'm living by faith, I will win.  When I'm living by sight, I will lose."

Faith: believing the word of God and acting upon it no matter how I feel because God promises a good result. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, for the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)

I have been feeling a little bit like Abraham in Genesis. God has placed a call on my life.  A call that requires me to put one foot in front of the other every day, when I have no idea where it will take me. A call to have faith in things that are unseen and unknown.  I have no idea where I am going or where I will end up- but I can promise you that I have a future & a hope that will be radiating with God's glory (Jer.29:11).  If I would choose to live by what I can see - I would have little hope.  If I choose to listen to the world around me giving me excuses and rationalizations - I would have little hope.  Rationalizations are Satan's tool to prevent me from being repentant and obedient to God.  If I ever say a "yeah, but..." then I need to take a good, long, hard look at what I'm trying to justify; there is always a spirit of rebellion and sin underneath every "yeah, but..."  If I choose the way of sight - I lose.

When I choose to live by faith I will win.  That does not mean that everything will turn out exactly the way I want, in the timing that I want.  But God will be victorious not only in my life, but over the entire world and every person in it.  Faith allows me to have hope not in the people or things of this earth, but hope in the one, true, Almighty living God who reigns over all.  I have a new assurance of faith and hope.  No matter what, my life will go on because my life is based on living for the glory of God, not any man.  While I am continuing to pray without ceasing in this intense spiritual battle for the soul of the man I love, I will also continue to rejoice, and be gratefully content in where God has placed me in this season of life.  And I have faith that God will bless my obedience by filling me with his peace.  WHAT A SENSE OF FREEDOM!  I am stronger than ever before because "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal.2:20).

And you know what else - are you sitting down?  I can honestly say, while this year has been the hardest of my life - it has been the one I am most grateful for.  Am I happy with the sins being committed against me? Am I happy with the sins I have committed?  NO!  God tells us to hate sin!  But I am grateful that God has granted me - and Jon - the opportunity to have a marriage that before, we were not on the track to ever have.  We were missing out on the amazing gift of marriage the way that God had created it to be.  We would still be sitting in a mess and that would have been horrible.  So I am so glad that God has allowed this to enter into our lives because now, there is an opportunity for me and Jon to have a marriage that is founded on His word and brings Him glory.  And I pray that would be His will to grant us that very thing.  God brought Jon & I together for the purpose of bringing Him glory, and we were not doing that.  He shook us up!  And for that I say "Praise God!"  That does make this easy and that doesn't mean that Jon & I are not meant to be together.  In fact, through the marital covenant before Him, we were created specifically for each other alone.  May God be glorified in our marriage as it is now, and as it is in the future! God is good. God is faithful. God is mighty to save.  Nothing is too hard for Him. "But Jesus looked at them and said, With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible"  Matthew 19:26.  All glory be to God. May His glory shine for all to see.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


This was Tyler's Pic of the Week drawing from last Sunday.  It convicted me to pray harder for my children, especially my son who is really struggling right now.  They are learning something from experience which kills me.  But I also have this sense of peace and confidence that God is so much bigger than this.  Really, they are His kids which He has left in my care for now, which means that He will ultimately provide everything they need to survive each day and live to bring Him glory! They are going to have at an early age an understanding of the presence of God that many do not have yet.  He is working for their good.  If you want to listen to my favorite pastor's sermon about this, listen here: God's 10 Words: Fidelity.  One prayer for my son is that he learning the truth of Proverbs 7:21-23.  This unrepented sin will cost one his life. May he never be that man.
"With much seductive speech she persuades him; 
with her smooth talk she compels him.
All at once he follows her,
as an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as a stag is caught fast
till an arrow pierces its liver;
as a bird rushes into a snare;
he does not know that it will cost him his life." 
~ Proverbs 7:21-23

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wholly Surrendered

Matthew 14:31 "Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him saying to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'"  Why, why, why do I ever doubt?!  God has made promises and is always faithful.  But yet I find myself doubting it when things are overwhelming.  Like Peter, I find myself looking at the waves & the wind around me and then I start to sink.  I am so thankful that God is who He is no matter what I'm thinking or doubting, and he mercifully continues to bring my head back up to gaze upon Him alone who will walk me through it.
My memory verse this week has been Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will  make straight your paths."  This one has been good for me!  Because I don't get any of this.  It makes absolutely no sense to me.  If God is really in control of everything, then why in the world would God let this happen - and only looking to get worse, not better?!  But that's the point - I will never get it because I'm not suppose to!  God is so incredibly in control of everything, that he is working millions of little things all at once, for His glory.  All I can see is the little patch in front of me, I can't see the whole quilt.  But I can rest in that "for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28.  All I have to do is surrender my needing to understand and just trust in Him.  I have to acknowledge that he is completely in  control of everything and then means I will be ok because He will guide me through the valley.  I don't want to fight God's plan - because what He wants will happen anyway.  So I can either be a Jonah...or a Joseph.  God's will and purpose will happen no matter how I choose to respond so why in the world would I want to be on the wrong side of that!? Why bring myself more anxiety & fear?  Instead, I choose to humble myself before my Savior and accept that His ways are best.  I have been humbled that this is so far beyond my marriage.  A friend said something that struck me... my marriage is a casualty in the battle for my husband's soul.  While I desperately want that to not be the case, I get it - this isn't all about me and what I want & think is best.  Jesus didn't come to save my marriage.  Jesus came to save the sinner! Jesus sent His son to die for sinners, like me, to save us from the death and punishment that we deserve.  Through this I have been brought in to God's saving grace, and I pray for nothing less for the man I love.  I rejoice in the truth that I have no control over this.  This is God's work, not mine.  My trust is in something greater than a man, or in a marriage, my trust is in the Father who loves me.  No matter what.
Hearing KH practice for Sunday while I'm here at work is helping move this blog today, so I'll share...
At the cross you beckon me, 
you draw me gently to my knees, 
and I am lost for words, so lost in love,
I'm sweetly broken, wholly surrendered.

Father, keep me broken and humbled before you.  You are what I need.  You are enough.  I am wholly surrendered to your love and I trust you.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Do Not Fear

Blah, it has been a very rough few weeks.  A few ups, but mostly downs.  I've been on a roller coaster and I've gone back to the basics to help keep my focus where it belongs - on God alone.  So I'm back to my favorite "Always True" promises by James MacDonald.  I can't do anything to change my circumstances and that scares me.  I feel like I am at the mercy of someone who doesn't care about me or anyone else.  But that's the lie!  While another's actions & choices DO cause hurt & pain, I am not at their mercy.  We are all under the hand of God whether we choose to believe it or not - and thank God I am on the right side of that hand!  I am under HIS grace & mercy which He has extended to me these weeks while I am so undeserving, as we all are.  But that's the goodness of his gift!  He took the nails for me!  Yeah God! :) 
My memory verse this week is Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you."  And there are so many more verses for me to land on...
Exodus 14:13"Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today"
Psalm 23:4 "Even though I walk thru the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me"
Jeremiah 1:8 "Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you"
2 Timothy 1:7 "God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control"
Hebrews 13:6 "The Lord is my helper, I will not fear, what can man do to me?"
Romans 8:31 "What then shall we sat to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"

I don't have to be afraid!  I have no idea what is going to happen next.  Sin is abounding all around me and there is nothing I can do to stop it.  I have no idea what the immediate future holds.  But that's ok!  Because I know what the big future holds.  God is on my side, and He is all I need.  I don't have to be scared of anything because in the end, in the place it really matters, I'm on the right side and I will reap the rewards of being a treasured child of God.  God's not going anywhere.  He is fighting my battles and I can trust Him because He is always working for my good.  So while my flesh battles fear, anxiety and control, I have to daily choose to give it up!  By that I mean, not just daily, but sometimes hourly, or minutely (is that a word???).  So this week Pastor James is taking me through dealing with that unknown fear of the future, actually I've spent 2 weeks on this chapter because I really need to fill my heart with God's word & truth about it.  Fear God alone, because He is my refuge, my redeemer, my rock, my salvation, my deliverer, my savior, my everything.  I don't have to fear, I don't have to fight, I don't have to run.  I have to stand in God's presence.  Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Coach!

 Lisa brought home my new baby this past weekend!  I was so excited for it to get here!  When she gave it to me I felt like it was Christmas!  The pretty bag and ribbons.
 It was all wrapped up in a nice bag.  I could smell the newness.  I could hardly contain myself!
There she is!  My brand new, genuine, authentic, first ever Coach handbag! (Lisa informed me it's not a purse, it is a handbag).  I know, a simple joy, but I was excited about it!  I never thought I would own a designer purse.  But thanks to an awesome sister who gets an awesome discount, it was made possible. I can promise you, Hannah & Chloe will not be playing purses with this purse! ... sorry Lisa, I meant handbag.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

For This We Have Jesus

Guess What?!  I keep searching for love in all of the wrong places.  When will I ever learn that I am accepted and loved by the one and only one that matters?  I am loved by God.  I don't deserve it.  I can't earn it.  It's a gift of grace and mercy.  I make mistakes.  I am the chief sinner!  I don't trust God and I search out answers from all of the wrong places.  My heart, my actions, my thoughts...any that are not on God, are sin.  And as a dear friend said... for this we have Jesus.  For your mistakes you have Jesus, for my mistakes I have Jesus, the little ones and the big ones - we have Jesus!  God knows it all, and he loves me anyway.  I need Jesus everyday.  Only a fool refuses to recognize that need.  The question is will I accept what he's holding out for me to take: His love, grace & forgiveness?  On a daily basis - will I confess and repent - will I need Jesus? YES!   I need Jesus!  For eternal life - you need Jesus.  Today, do you accept your need and embrace it or will you take continue to deny it and choose death? No matter what you've done, he's waiting for you because he loves you anyway.

See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then, I turned away with a smile on my face
With sin in my heart tried to bury your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life

Friday, August 5, 2011

Name Your Blessings

I made it!  I made it through the week so far at least.  Today marks exactly one year since I found out.  I know I seem to always have it together, and everyone always says I'm strong, and doing something they never could, etc.  But I'll be honest with you all - I do not have it all together.  Just ask my amazing friend MH how many times I've called her this week crying so hard I couldn't hardly breathe.  This isn't easy, and the ONLY reason I am surviving is because God is giving me the strength and keeping my focus on Him.  To celebrate this unwelcome anniversary date, I've decided to name my blessings and share some of them with you.  It is by no means an exhaustive list, I don't have enough room for them all, and they are in no particular order.  Some of them are no brainers, and some of them you won't understand what planet I'm from.  But they are coming from a place of honesty, pure joy and thanksgiving.   James 1:16-17 "Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.  EVERY good gift and every perfect gift is from above"  Everything is a gift from God, you just have to be willing to have the eyes to recognize it.  So here is my list...
My parents, sisters & their matter what, they've got my back.  They are defensive of me and love me beyond words. It can be rough, but I don't know what I'd do without them all.
Jon's family...they are all my family.  I don't know how I would make it through without some of their love, understanding and support.  Others have taught me huge lessons in patience, thinking before speaking, and having a gentle & quiet spirit.  Regardless, I love them all because they are forever a part of my journey, and that makes them a blessing I am grateful for.
Friends, extended family, FBC and sisters in Christ...old ones, new ones, near ones, far ones.  Ones that I have known for years and new ones that I have met in this process that have come along side me.  You all pray for me, take care of me, fight for me, love me, encourage me, and so much more.  God has placed each and every one of you in my life to bring Him glory.  I thank God for all of you, which I wish I could name you all, but the list is more than I even know where to start.  God has blessed me by using you to walk this with me.
My kids...I am so excited to watch the faith that is growing in my kids.  The lessons they are learning are more than I ever would have been able to provide before.  Their faith is mind-blowing and I love it!  My kids are precious and I love them more than I can  express.  Their hugs, tears, love, words, and cuddling are all gifts from God.
The "other women"...I know WHAT AM I THINKING!  But I'm serious, for all of the ones that I already know about, and for all of the ones that I don't know about yet - they are a blessing to me.  These women have taught me the reality of what it really means to love your enemy.  In daily praying for each of them by name, and in general, God has grown me in having compassion and understanding for those who wish me harm.  It seems weird even to me, but my heart breaks for these women because they are each loved by God!  But I am thankful that God has placed them in my life to teach me lessons I would never have learned without them.  And it brings along the next blessing...
God is my shield, my protector, my avenger...I am so thankful for this.  I don't have to worry about getting back, or being angry, or making it right.  I could list a ton of verses here, but 1 jumps out Isaiah 54:17 "no weapon that is fashioned against you will succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord."  I don't have to worry about anyone who is against me, because one day, every knee shall bow and every one will answer for their unrepentant sins against me.  Wrath belongs to God, not me - and that is a blessing because it sets me free from anger and bitterness!!  God does not give his blessing to sinful lives, and maybe not today or tomorrow, but some day, all who are against a child of God, will pay the price.
My Husband...I am so blessed to have Jon as my husband.  God has used Jon as a tool to save me!  Amazing!  Jon is the love of my life and no matter what he does, God has given him to me as a blessing.  Jon's name means "Gift from God".  And I am so thankful for God's gifts, including my husband.  God has used Jon teach me what unconditional love really is.  God used Jon to bring me to where I am today.  I consider it an honor to love and to be married to Jon.  God has specifically called me to love this man, and above all I will be obedient to God.
My salvation...God blessed me with the gift of salvation.  I deserve hell, but God, in grace and mercy, saved me.  What bigger blessing is there than that?
I could go on - our house, my job, my finances, our material things, my strengths, my weaknesses, my lessons learned, etc.  But I'll stop for now.  Whether you are willing to admit them or not, every thing in your life is a gift from God, as a way to bless you, or as a way to show you your need for him.  And when you're down & out on life, name your blessings.  It helps.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Religious Fanatic

I was recently called a religious fanatic.  That there is believing that there is a God and all, but then there are people like me.  I had to think about that one for awhile - am I really a religious fanatic?  If others think I am, what does that mean for me?  I've come to this conclusion...

Romans 1:16-18
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written.  The righteousness shall live by faith.  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth."

If sharing the power of God in my life, and living my faith out makes me a religious fanatic, then yes;  I AM A RELIGIOUS FANATIC!  And I am proud of it!  Although, I would prefer to label myself as a sinner redeemed by God's grace and no longer willing to hide it!  I no longer live to worry about what others might think about me, what they might say about me, or how they judge me.  Living my faith does not make me a judgmental, no fun, boring, Bible thumping, crazy person.  I do not walk around judging others and thinking that I am holier than all of them, which makes me superior.  If anyone thinks that, then you don't know anything about me, and have never taken the time to talk to me.  There is a difference between "being religious" and living in God's grace and forgiveness.  But no matter how you label it, view it, accept it or reject does not change the truth.  You can live and die saying the sky is red, but it doesn't change the fact that it is blue.  You can live and die claiming that the Gospel isn't true, but it doesn't change the truth that is true.

I am a sinner, you are a sinner.  Every person is born already a sinner.  God's wrath will be poured out on all unrepentant sinners that do not claim and live with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  If you do not believe, you will go to hell...and you will not have friends there.  There are no relationships in hell, it is an eternity of pain, misery and "the gnashing of teeth".  Because of our sin, we all deserve to go to hell.  That is the just punishment for our sin.  But God made a way to save us from that punishment.  He sent his only Son, he came to earth and lived a perfect life.  He lived without any sin, and that allowed him to be the unblemished sacrifice that can atone for our sins!  Jesus came, lived and then died for us.  God poured out the wrath that we deserve - on HIS SON - so that we may have eternal life.  Our sins held him on that cross, and He took it all for you and me.  And then, He was raised on the third day.  Satan was defeated, Jesus has overcome it all, even death.  By his death, we can now have eternal life.  The catch is that you have to choose to accept his free gift of life.  Choose to accept it and live, choose to reject it and die.  He's not going to force you, while it grieves Him, He will let you choose to suppress the truth and live a life of sin and unrighteousness.  But that doesn't change the truth.  God loves you and died for you.  God is a God of mercy, grace, love and forgiveness.  It is not possible for you to have done "too much" for God to forgive.  He is waiting for you to turn to Him.  But don't live as maybe someday I'll be ready to 'be religious', but right now I just want to have fun...  Psalm 95:7-8 "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts" for 1 Thess. 5:2 "the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night".  Right now it is not too late to accept the gift, but one day, it will be too late and you will suffer for eternity the full wrath of the righteous God.  I am not a pastor, I am not a theologian, so please, talk to your pastor, to me, or someone else, just please, do not harden your hearts one more day!  I've been saved, and that means I share it for His glory.  What you think & feel about that, is between you and God, not between you and me.

In Christ's Love,
A Proud God Fanatic

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Amazing Grace

"Kari, you are ready, because you will never be ready" ...wise words spoken by a dear friend

My journey has had me all over the place lately.  I can go from confident and unwavering to crushed and crying quite quickly.  We are hitting lots of "anniversary" dates that make the days really hard as I remember back "one year ago today..."  I feel like I'm looking at when the string holding my life together started unraveling and it's still pulling one year later.  And that makes for some hard days.  I am so ready for my husband to come home, and it is hard to understand why it's not happening.  So God has put me on a hard, eye-opening journey.  One that I am still on and a lot of things I am still struggling with, but God is mercifully leading me through.

As many of you know, I am a doer.  Tell me what I need to do to fix it, and I will do it.  I so badly want to be able to do something - anything - in this situation!  I am stuck in this rut that I think so many people are.  If I can accomplish X, Y and Z, then that will be enough for God to bless me with what I want.  God must be holding back because because what I'm doing is not enough, I'm not good enough yet.  God just show me what I can do to be good enough for you to bring him home!  God is this punishment for my own mistakes?  Am I now reaping what I sowed years ago?  "That sin was so bad, it's the one that caused this whole thing.  It was the first domino and now I've caused all this, so I've got to make up for it!"  God, you have brought me so far.  Jon has a brand new wife, one that has learned and grown more in this past year than in my entire life!  Just bring him home and then I can "do" and "prove" it to Jon and then everything will be ok. This whole paragraph - it's all lies straight from the pit of hell.  It's all Satan's constant attack on me by whispering the lies over and over, playing the strings of one of my weaknesses: control.  But God is stronger than Satan and is opening my eyes to the lies and replacing it with His truth.  I am learning about GRACE.

I can never do enough to convince God to bring Jon home.  I can never earn my salvation, I can never do enough works.  On an intellectual level, I totally get that and can agree.  But if I'm going to face reality, that's not how I live out my life.  I am constantly trying to earn my salvation and what I feel I "deserve" for earning enough good points in my God bucket.  My sinful pride stops me from being humble to accept the free gift of salvation and redemption that God has for me (it's also for you by the way).  I feel the need to earn it because I know I don't deserve it.  Ephesians 2: 8-9 "For by GRACE you have been saved through faith.  And this is not of your own doing; it is the GIFT OF GOD, not a result of works, so that no one may boast".  I have read that verse so many times, but I never let it sink into the very depths of heart and soul.  What is Grace?  Grace is unmerited, undeserved favor.  It is not my commitment to God that saves me, it is God's commitment to me to that saves me.  It's God's gift and that's why I can't earn it (otherwise it's a payment not a gift), it has nothing to do with me, me, me!  It has everything to do with God! (FYI Grace by Bob Lenz is a great book).  God has showered me with grace, I don't deserve it but He gives it anyway and I need to remember to sit back and accept it.  If I "earn" Jon coming home, then it's a result of my good works and growing that brought him home (me, me, me).  Yeah, Kari, that's not how God works.  When Jon comes home, it will be obvious that it is the result of the one true God bestowing the saving gift of grace on Jon that only He can give.  TRUTH: I CAN NOT - AND WILL NOT - SAVE MY HUSBAND OR MY MARRIAGE.  TRUTH: GOD CAN.  So by God's grace I will continue to grow and follow the path that He leads me down.  My marriage and my husband are in God's hands alone, I hereby officially and publicly leave them at the feet of Jesus.  I do not understand what God is doing, and I do not know what His time line is.  But I know He is in control of everything that happens.  My journey is between me and God.  Jon's journey is between him and God.  I pray for the day that our journeys join back together and we are a living testimony of God's power, glory and GRACE. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Our 11th Anniversary

11 years ago today I married the man that God created and put on this earth for me.  God doesn't make mistakes.  With all that we've been through, with everything that has/is happening, I wouldn't take any of it back.  I may have done some things differently, but I even if I knew these things were going to happen, I would still choose to do it all over again.  11 years ago I married the man that means to world to me.  The man who has looked into my eyes and shared over half of my life with me.

The man the rides the carousel with his little girl.

The man that goes to games with his kids.

The man that loves enough to go find, dig up, and transplant this little tree the night before the first day of school just so that I can have a school tree to take pictures by.

The man who carves pumpkins with his kids, and will be the one to reach in and get the icky stuff out for them.
The man there to pull out the loose teeth, get our slivers, and pull off woodticks because it makes me cringe to even think about it.
The man who is brave enough to take us all ice fishing, and doesn't get mad when the poles, scoopers & whatever else are lost down the holes forever.

The man whose children adore him and love their daddy.
The man who will sit in the rain to watch the fireworks just to see the joy on his children's faces.

Even if you have lost faith, I haven't.  That man exists, I know him and I love him.  Although he may seem to be gone forever right now, he's not.  I have faith that God will continue to work in Jon's life and one day, we will all marvel at the glorious power and might of the Father, the only one with the power to save.  So my request from you, is that you pray for my husband on this special day.  For while he is a sinner, Christ died for him - just like he did for you.

Matthew 19:6 "So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chloe Turns 3!

 Today Chloe turns 3!  I was going through my camera and found some great pictures of our sweet pea.  She is so comical it was hard to pick just a few!
 I think she likes ice fishing.
 She certainly helps complete our family!
 She's fun and creative and there is never a dull moment with her around!
 She likes to wear headbands around the back of her head - not on top of her head.  Here she is wearing one that Hannah gave her for her birthday.  Hannah was so nice to take a white headband and color it with a blue marker so that Chloe could have a blue one.
Our precious Chloe you have grown so much!  We love you and are so blessed to have you as our daughter.  God gave us an amazing gift in you!
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."  God has a plan for you Chloe.  Trust Him always and hold on to His promises. He will never let go of you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Isaiah 54

I have found great comfort this week in Isaiah 54.  So I just want to share it with you...starting in verse 5

"For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.

For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.  For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you.  In over flowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer

This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you.  For the mountains and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.  I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your walls of precious stones.  All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.

In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.  If anyone stirs up strife it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you.  Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose.  I have also created the ravager to destroy; no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgement.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord"

I don't need to keep telling myself these promises in order to convince myself of anything, I keep telling myself these promises in order to immerse myself in the truth. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

To Clear Some Confusion...

There are just a couple of things that I would love to take the opportunity to clear some confusion on, so here we go...also, none of this is meant to offend or "take anyone on", it's just my thoughts.  If I had a personal issue with anyone in particular, I would address it one on one with them.

1. When I write on this blog, my purpose is to share my journey.  I have no bad intentions towards anyone, most of all, not towards my husband.  God has me on an amazing journey and I believe that sharing the truthfulness of my journey and my circumstances are part of the deal!  I by no means pour out my everything in my heart & soul on this blog.  I try to keep it to the things that I am learning and ways that I am growing.  If my thoughts, perceptions, decisions make you roll your eyes, make you think I'm crazy or in denial, or weird you out - that is between you and God, not between you and me.  I'm living on Rev. 12:11 "And they have conquered him by the blood of the lamb and by the WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY".  This blog reflects my testimony and I am not ashamed of the power of the gospel in my life.  Satan get behind me because I will declare His good work in me for all to hear and see!  What you take from reading it, is up to God.

2. Jon and I are not divorced.  We are not in the process of a divorce, there is no legal separation.  There is absolutely no paperwork that is in the works.  While Jon is choosing to not live in a way that honors our vows, we are very much married, not only in the eyes of legal laws, but most importantly, in the eyes of God.  I do not need "closure".  I don't want closure as the world sees it, I want my husband back and I intend to stay married to him for life, that was my vow and I plan to keep my end of the promise.  While I can not control Jon's choices, or predict what God might have planned, I am 100% seeking His will in my life.  And as long as He has called me to be married to Jon, I will be.  That is my decision that I have made.  I did not make that choice based on feelings, on hurts, on a need to control, on the world's opinions or perceptions or on input from friends & family.  I made that decision based on God's word alone.  I am doing what the Bible asks of me and what God has called me to do.  We don't exist to be happy in life, or to have an easy comfortable life.  We exist to bring glory to God by seeking His will and living to honor His ways, not the ways of the world - no matter what the circumstances.  This has not been an easy decision.  I would say that a large portion of people in my life do not agree with my decision in this, but I made it based on what was right for me, according to God, and I am content in it.  Being a follower of God does not mean I live a happy life, it means I live a life where I am completely dependent on Him and that means out of love for me, He will perfect my faith in Him.  I believe that God is powerful and I have faith that He alone has the power to restore my marriage to be everything He created marriage to be.  He alone can do it because in Him, nothing is impossible.  And if it is His will, nothing will stand in His way.

3. I am not responsible for Jon's choices.  I do not blame myself for anything Jon has chosen to do.  Jon's choices to commit adultery and leave his family are on him alone.  That being said, I do take responsibility for my own sins and areas I needed to turn over to God.  I was depending on Jon to save me from myself and years of hurt and shame that extended to before I even knew Jon.  God has not saved me from a cheating husband, instead, he used a cheating husband to save me from myself!  Praise God!  And if I did not open myself and my heart up to God's saving power in the situation, then I never would have gotten out of it what God intended it for.  What would be the point of going through the pain if I didn't allow for the good to shine through?  That is how God uses what Satan intended for evil to reveal His glory!  Asking God to come in and reveal all my idols and sins to me so that I can allow Him to change me, is not the same thing as blaming it all on myself.  And that life-saving truth is exactly what Jon is running from.  I am a different person.  I am now God's child, I am defined by Him alone.  I am free from the bondage that held me for so many years.  Being freed has allowed me to finally love my husband as God has called me to.  It is finally a true, pure love because it is based on God's love.

So there you go, that's what I wanted to say.  I love my husband, I want my husband back in every since of the word and I believe that the Almighty God will remain faithful to His promises to me in every way.  Go ahead and think I'm crazy if you want, but God IS powerful and I have faith in His power to do miracles.  And Jon coming home would be nothing short of a miracle and there would be no denying that ALL GLORY would be given to God alone.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Marshfield Zoo & Stuff

 On Sunday we went with friends to the Marshfield Zoo.  It's always a fun trip and Ms. Grizz was out!  In all my times there, I'm not sure she's ever been out, but she was on Sunday.

 This is Chloe, Chloe Kapitz, when you ask her to smile.  And every day, she now wants me to make her hairy curly.  She also got to join us in church on Sunday for the songs because she's almost three and only has a few weeks left to go to the nursery, so it's transition time.  I just can't believe she's that old already!

We made it into Dairy Queen right before it started to pour outside.  I think the girls have a head tilt thing going on.

 We are busy with t-ball, soccer, kindergarten graduation,  and preparing for a week at summer camp, day camp, sleepovers, Toby Mac at Lifest, swimming lessons, a vacation that may include some Casting Crowns and Sanctus Real and the Omaha Zoo (pray for me on that trip if it happens!)  Life is going on for us.  Obviously there is a huge hole in our lives, but we are trusting God, our heavenly father, to fill that hole for us.  And because Matthew 24:36 tells us "that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only", my family and I will live as "now as the day of salvation" 2 Cor. 6:2.  It could be in the next minute, the next day,  or in 100 years or more, but Christ will return and those who are not his children will face his very real judgement.  Don't wait for tomorrow to get right with God.  It may be too late.  As a little plug (sorry PBW ) James MacDonald has an awesome series on Revelation on Walk in the Word and the last 2 days were about Making the Gospel Your Own.  Google it and listen to it, the difference could be your very life.  (And then tell PBW that he is your favorite preacher so that this doesn't effect my yearly review :) )

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Part in God's Story

A few Sundays ago, Pastor Tim asked me to share my testimony & story in front of the Sunday school class.  I prayed about it, and decided to do it.  I debated putting it on here, but after praying about it, I've decided to take the plunge and post here what I shared.  Confessing and proclaiming God's goodness is for his glory. What I wrote in my part of God's story is based on Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful."  And with the video, I am waiting for God, I am not waiting for Jon.  And while I'm waiting - I will serve you.  And while I'm waiting - I WILL WORSHIP YOU!  I pray you are blessed. 

God makes a lot of promises.  Just a few are that he promises to always be with us, that he is always working for our good, that nothing can separate us from his love, that he is sovereign and in control, that trials are good for our faith, that he is good, that he is enough, and that he is faithful.  When everything is going smooth in life, it’s easy to hold to our confession of these promises, it’s easy to find joy & hope in God.  Then a trial comes and it becomes more difficult.  Sometimes God’s answers come and it’s just what we prayed for.  It is a miraculous testimony of how were used in God’s story.  But what about when God isn’t answering our prayers how want him to?
 As some of you know, I have had a very trying year.  In August, I learned of my husband’s months of betrayal.  In September, he chose to abandon me and our 3 young children.  I have watched Jon allow Satan to wreck complete havoc in his life, to the point where I no long recognize who he is.  And sometimes I just don’t understand why a good God would let this happen.  When I spend hours on my knees, night after night, pleading and crying out to God to step in and make this right.  To bring my husband home, not only to our family, but home to the feet of Jesus.  When so many other people are praying for the same thing.  Why is his answer – No?  I start to waver because I take my eyes off of my heavenly father.  I start to feel the waves of…what about our kids – I was never meant to be a single mom.  What about our finances – where are we going to live?  What about my future – am I going to be alone of the rest of my life?  How am I suppose to breathe when this pain is so deep, will it ever go away?  This isn’t the deal God!  This wasn’t suppose to be my life!  I look around and all that’s left of everything I’ve known are little pieces that I’m trying to hold together on my own.  Where is God when I need him?  How could this possibly be God’s mercy?  But then God and his promises come back into focus and I stop sinking.  I’m not suppose to hold this together on my own.  When I am weak, he is strong.  It is a rough and painful journey that I am on.  Some days seem impossible to get through.  But God literally picks me up off from the floor and carries me through them.
I’ve had to learn to let control go and ask God to do his good work in me.  To open my heart to his, sometimes not so gentle prompting, to face the idols and sin my own life at a time when that seems so unfair!  To break down walls to believe that he could be faithful when it seems I’m drowning in so much unfaithfulness.  To begin to be truly free.  By God’s grace alone, I am able to stand here today and confess that yes, God is good.  God is faithful to his promises.  His goodness shines through the love and support from so many people here at FBC, and many more beyond these walls.  His goodness shines through the faith of my children which is growing by leaps and bounds.  His goodness shows in that he loves me enough to burn away everything in my life that is not of him.  I look back at myself one year, even 6 months ago, and I realize how far God has brought me in my relationship with him, and I wouldn’t go back for anything.  The deal is that God makes me new, and he has come through.
 I do not know how my part in God’s story will end.  While I pray for it, I do not know if it is God’s will for my marriage to Jon to be restored, or if he will ever repent of his sins and turn to God.  But regardless of the outcome, God’s will, will be done.  And I do know that God is working for my good, that his glory will shine through what Satan intended for evil.  That God is with me and he isn’t letting go.  That by God’s grace I have been redeemed and I have already been made new.  That I am loved and cherished as his child.  That he truly is enough.  While staring into the life I never planned, I hold fast to my confession that God is my only hope; for he who promised is always faithful.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Eggs

The kids & I did our Easter eggs on Sunday afternoon.  It was over and done with so fast - they have no patience to let them sit in the dye for than 1 minute.  And they each only had 4 eggs to do.  What is a person to do with even 12 hard boiled eggs!?  Maybe I'll make deviled eggs for Easter Sunday!

Chloe was the most entertaining of them all - I bet you couldn't have guessed that one! She would put her egg up high and literally drop it into the dye to see how big of a splash it made.  (picture one)  I was not so crazy about that.  Then she would keep tasting the dye!  EEEWWW!  An egg flavored mix of vinegar, water & dye.  And every time - she didn't like the taste.  I think she thought different colors would taste differently.  She kept trying to wipe the taste off her tongue (picture two)

I have a funny side story here...last week Grandma Kapitz asked Chloe if she had any dogs at home (we don't - dogs are not my thing)  and Chloe told her yes, we have dogs, lots of them.  Grandma said Really?  you have lots of dogs??  Where are they??  Chloe said - in the freezer, they are corn dogs and Tyler likes to eat them!!  Oh that girl is too much some days.  I love it!  

And here is a picture of Tyler for those who haven't seen him lately.  His big, toothless grin.  I'm praying that other front one straightens out a bit now that the other front one is out!

Anyways, I pray that each of you has an amazing and blessed Easter.  May you seek out the real meaning of Easter and discover the amazing love that was poured out for you at the cross.  Jesus died for you that you may be saved from the hell you deserve so that you may have eternal life.  Don't reject His gift, but embrace it and find true love, joy and redemption in the only place it can be found - In Christ Alone.

"I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the father except through me" ~ John 14:6

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Either It's True...Or It's Not

I just finished reading an awesome book, Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman.  She shares the heart wrenching story of the death of their 5 year old daughter and her journey of faith in their tragedy.  I would highly recommend this book!  But I've been really processing one aspect that she touches on and applying it to my own journey.  And that comes down to either it's all true, or it's not.  I believe that God is sovereign over ALL things.  His guiding hand is in every situation.  But it is also so easy for me to think, God where are you?  Why are you not fixing this?  Why, why, why, why, why?!??!?!?  If God is real, and really there, then this would never have happened...right?!  So does that mean that God wasn't in this?  Does that mean that these choices that others made were out of God's control?  I have had to face the truth...

Do I believe that God is sovereign over all or do I not?

If not, then I'm not believing in the God of the Bible - and what then does that mean?!  I can't pick and choose what parts of God & the Bible I want to follow and what parts I don't really like, so I'll pretend that doesn't apply to me.  Either it's all true...or it's not.  And I believe that it is all true!  Every word is true!  That means God knew this was going to happen to me before the world even existed.   He knew thousands of years ago that Kari Kapitz was going to have her heart broken and life as she knew it was going to be turned upside down in 2010.  He has always been there, he was right there every time my I made a poor choice, he was right there every time Jon made a poor choice, he's there on the bad days and he's there on the ok days.  He is right here in the middle of all of the decisions that others are making at this very moment.  And he is going to remain in the middle of my entire future!  There is nothing that can happen - that wasn't already part of God's plan.  None of us will live one day longer than we are suppose to, none of us will go through something that was not predestined before the beginning of time.  The world and our lives are full of wrongs, injustice, suffering and pain and things that just can't make sense.  It stinks!  But either you are going to grab on to the truth or you are going to run away and deny the truth.  And it's a process.  Do you have any idea how many times in a day I have to stop and run to God and hear "Wait Kari!  Breathe!  God is in this!  Don't panic and freak out!  GOD IS IN THIS!"  But God - how do I do this next hour?  By trusting Him and by knowing that He is in control of everything - even the bad things.  Because all things happen for the purpose of bringing God all the glory.  And I don't just believe that it's all true - I know it is all true. Knowing the truth does not make it easy or hurt less, but it gives me hope.  Because God is my hope.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hannah Turns 6

 Our little Hannah turned 6 years old on Wednesday.  It seems like just yesterday we were sitting in the hospital room having Tabby braid my hair and count the hours.  And we even had Toppers pizza fries delivered to my hospital room afterwards - who needs hospital food?!?!?

 School was canceled for her birthday thanks to over a foot of snow, which for most kids would have been ideal.  Not for Hannah.  It meant - no birthday dress to wear to school, not getting to take her cupcakes (which I was up late frosting Tuesday night for nothing by the way), not seeing her best friend, not hearing her name over the loud speaker, not getting to get to Happy Joe's, not getting to go to the Awana Fair, and so on.  After she spent some time crying it out, she got over it (for the most part).  It helped to have the neighbors bring presents, getting a birthday card in the mail, and Grandpa & Grandma bringing root beer floats (with A&W Root Beer) when they came to plow us out.  The picture above is how she wanted to "pose" and smile.  Is she 6 or 16?

 Since our plans had to change due to the weather, I dug through the cupboards and thankfully found an angel food cake mix so we could have a cake, but no frosting.  So I dug out some strawberries and put those on top, no whip cream only led to a minor meltdown.  I love the picture above.  Tyler was horribly grumpy all day and he didn't want to be in the picture.  But I made him anyway.  But he refused to face the camera.  So I said fine and took it anyway.  Chloe kept taking bites out of the cake, which led to some more meltdowns, but Chloe was laughing at least.

Tyler was better when I had him take a picture.  Me and my girls.  My Hannah is a treasured gift from God.  I see her growing so much and it honestly scares me a little bit.  I want to say slow down!  It is a lot of pressure to know that God has given me this child of his to raise and train to His glory.  And that one day, Jon & I will stand before Him and answer to Him for how we raised His children.  I ask God everyday for the strength and knowledge to raise His children to turn to Him for their every need, that He will be their foundation and their everything.  Hannah's faith and trust in God has become so much stronger this past months and I can see it!  I hear it in her comments, and her questions.  She is learning so much about her heavenly Father and I couldn't ask for anything more for her.  In our nightly prayer time, Hannah always ends with the same prayer, and I pray she always holds on to this promise from God...
"God, no matter what happens, with you, we will always be ok."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm Suppose to What?

Luke 6:32-33, 35-36
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

This past weekend I went to a marriage conference - which I might add, is a very scary thing to do all by yourself - but I got so much out of it that it was so worth it!  I would highly recommend Gary Thomas' Sacred Marriage - the book & the conference.  In the last session he talked about the above verses and they hit me right in the heart.  It's easy to love the people that love you - because they love you in return.  It doesn't test your faith, patience, strength & perseverance to love those who love you like it does to love those who are your enemies - people that hurt you.  I'm suppose to love them God?  Really?  Do you know what she did?  But God, surely not him, not after this pain!  Yes, Kari - especially them.  My enemies are people that God loves, and God wants to see brought to His saving grace.  And if I am going to ask God to live in me, then I need to show His love to them too.  And He loves the ungrateful and the evil!  How do I do that?  Well, I am learning that with my own strength & determination, it's never going to happen - the pain is too great.  But the great news is that I don't have to do it on my own!  God is my source of strength to do the hardest things of my life - like being open to forgive and love those that have hurt me most.  It's not a switch I can flip, it's a journey and a process that God will carry me through.

The second half of the verse also hit me.  I am suppose to love and expect nothing in return?  I can certainly apply that to my marriage and other relationships, but God spoke to me in a way that I applied it to my relationship with Him!  I know that this trial is teaching me so much.  I am learning and growing in my faith like never before.  I have implemented so many changes with my kids, my deeply rooted and dangerous thought patterns and perceptions are starting to change with the help of my 4 counselors :)  My behaviors and reactions are so much more mature and healthy, I am becoming obedient to the God of my salvation and it is bringing me joy in a way that is not of this world.  BUT, that being said, I am caught in this destructive thought pattern that because I am growing so much - God has to answer my prayer how I want it answered.  I deserve this - look how hard I've worked!  I am entitled to this happiness and wedded bliss!  Yeah, well,  that's not how it works.  God doesn't make deals.  I don't deserve anything.  I am not entitled to one single thing on this earth.  What I do deserve is death for my sins and God sent His son to take the one thing I deserve.  I can never earn, or bargain for God's love or blessings.  I am (we all are) called to love God and expect nothing in return.  That takes real faith!  And for a "doer" like me, that's hard to accept - I want to know I'm doing enough and doing it right.  The good news of it is that I don't have to worry about doing enough good things - because no matter how much I do, that's not what will save me anyway.  So I am continuing to learn and grow on this journey.  I am a sinner saved alone by the saving grace of God and His mercy will get me through each step of the way.  So grab God's hand and do the hard things - love your enemies and expect nothing in return!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Idols and Trials

Isn't it strange, almost cruel, yet amazingly wonderful, how God can take a horrible situation to make me aware of my own sin and idols and then use it for His glory and my good?  I never would have thought that anything good could come from betrayal.  But everyday, I learn that God keeps taking me deeper and deeper into Him and His Word and His truth.  And what greater joy is there than that?!?!  That God is a loving, caring, personal and real God and He is out for my good?!   Every time I think "alright God, you've got me where you must want how about you work on him" - I learn that I am sorely mistaken because I have so much further to go.  Every time I think, "this hurts too much, get me out God" - I learn that God is faithful, and present and will get me through it.  (Maybe I should stop thinking so much!)

What am I learning?  God is mercifully showing me my idols.  We all have idols, and as long as those idols are at the top of the list, we keep God off from the top.  And God did not create and design me to have anything at the top except for Him.  Which means, because he loves me, he is going to bring down my idols.  So what's my idol?  I humbly confess that my idols are my marriage and my husband.  I do not know how to live without either one.  What's wrong with loving your husband beyond words?  What's wrong with wanting my marriage - something so wonderfully designed and created by God himself?  On the surface, nothing is wrong with those.  However, I, like many others, have put them above God.  I look to marriage and Jon to fill holes in me that they are not designed to fill, so it never quite works right.  I have big empty spaces inside that I have tried to stuff them into and it has failed miserably.  And it's not all their fault!  I have been failing to recognize that the only thing that can do it is God!  "You complete me" should never be said to another person.   The only one that can complete me is God.  Marriage and husbands are true blessings from God.  They are to be treasured and cared for and loved - for the purpose of bringing glory to God, not to make myself feel better.

I have been wrestling with God for this control for so long.  How can I give up my idols God?  What if you don't come through for me God?  If I give them up, what do I have left?  These are good, godly requests I am making of you - what's so wrong about that?  And God just keeps waiting for me to tap out.  To finally fully submit to His plan - His plan for my good.  To have faith that He will come through for me, that what I have left is all I need - God Himself!  These are good, godly requests.  And I will continue to bring those requests to Him many times, every day.  But I have to give them up as idols in my life.  And that is so hard, and I know it will take time.  But with God's grace and mercy I will leave them at His feet to take care of.  And I will rejoice in the knowledge that God loves me enough to take me through this fire!  Father, keep me in the trial!  Teach me everything you want me to learn in this trial!

Hebrews 12:5-11
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, not be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.  It is for discipline that you to endure.  God is treating you as sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them.  Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm Sticking With You

I love this song, "Sticking With You" by Addison Road. (I am hoping the video plays in this blog, I've never tried it this way before). It's where I'm at, and it speaks to me.  God stuck with me, he will stick with you, and whether you want to stick with me or not...I'm sticking with you!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Standing on the Promises

I've seen dreams that move the mountains, Hope that doesn't ever end, even when the sky is falling. I've seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered, Broken hearts become brand new, that's what faith can do.

Last night the kids were just playing in the bedroom and I heard them singing this song; and it warmed my heart beyond words. Which has prompted me to put things into words. I usually do not use this blog to put things that are "too personal" out there. It is the internet for all to read you know! But I have been led to share. Even if you think it's weird, psycho, a little crazy, whatever - I no longer have the same fear of man. The personal tragedy and trauma that my family is going through has been the most difficult, and yet rewarding, trial I've ever faced. Many people ask me, how are you? How do you do it? Why do you do it? How can we help you? And I want to answer those questions. I am ok as I can be. And I am ok, because I am clinging tightly to my only hope and strength - the promises of God. God has brought us on this journey and as terrible as it is, I can see His goodness all over it. I look back to where I was a year ago, 6 months ago, even 3 months ago - and I never want to go back there. I would have this happen to me all over again, to get to where God has brought me before him, a broken sinner, in desperate need for a savior - this is worth it. Don't get me wrong, I hate this situation but I can't deny that God is using it for His glory! The evil one and sin are rampant in this world. I am a personal witness to the destruction it can bring to a loved one's life. But because Christ lives in me - I will prevail - because God will prevail. He will never leave me, and never give me more than I can handle. He's always in control, always watching and is ALWAYS victorious. With Him I will not fear, doubt, despair, falter or fail. (James MacDonald's Walk in the Word, Always True series has been a true blessing to me!) I am not strong - on my own I am a weak, blubbering mess. But when I am weak, then I am strong. So I am not doing it - God is doing it. To Him be the glory.

The love and support that I have received has humbled me beyond anything I could imagine. Christ's love is poured out on me daily. The encouraging cards and words, hugs, listening ears, shoulders to cry on, prayers, gift cards, gifts of money, meals provided, loving on my kids, free babysitters, Christmas presents , and so much more - I thank God for every one of those gifts. From family and best of friends to people I've never even met - every person is a blessing from God. I am only just beginning to understand how deep the love of Christ for me! Thank you to every one of you. May God bless you beyond the blessing you have been to me.

Why do I do it? Because God has saved me and filled me with a sacrificial, Christlike love - that can only come from Him - for those that have hurt me. I am committed to following God's will and plan for my life, wherever that might lead me. I know where my heart will always stand - what my forever choices will be. Where my love will always be. I do it because I will be ok, God is what I need, and I will never lose Him and I will always have my faith. How can you help me? Pray, Pray and Pray! I believe this is a spiritual battle that is beyond anything that can be done here on earth. Pray for me, pray for my children, pray for my husband. Pray that God's will be done and all glory be given to Him! And in the meantime, stand on the promises of God and join my kids and I as you sing your heart out...
I've seen dreams that move the mountains, hope that doesn't ever end, even when the sky is falling. I've seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered; broken hearts become brand new, that's what faith can do. ~ What Faith Can do by Kutless

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chloe's Clothes

Last weekend, the kids & I tackled taking the tree down. Thank goodness for Mr. Tyler Muscles! Chloe wanted to help, and dressed herself...

She then proceed to run around outside like this until I could catch her. And the girl kept changing clothes all day! And they were awesome outfits - I couldn't stop laughing so I needed to take pictures and share some of Chloe's Clothes for a day.

An inside out swimsuit, cowgirl boots & hat and a fairy wand

Snow White dress and a winter hat. I missed a picture of the ballerina outfit - but you can see it laying on the ground in the background

And Super Girl with a Santa hat - with sandals. And that was just a few outfits that I caught on camera! That girl is all about getting a laugh - and she always gets them. I just about lost my mind last weekend, so thank goodness for some comic relief (until I realized I had to wash all of the outfits because I think she wet each one!! AAHH!)