Get in the Word Wednesday

These past few weeks have been super challenging for me personally.  I’ve been feeling like I’m just bogged down with my past, and feeling like I can’t forgive myself for what happened.  It’s been slowly eating me alive and I just can’t do it anymore.  I turned my back on everything and everyone who were/are the most important to me because I felt unworthy.  I’ve believed the lies for so long that I allowed them to define me.

This past week I have been in the Word more, and have been trying to redefine myself.  I’ve been trying to instill God’s voice into my kids instead of them repeating what I do.  I really, truly want to write God’s word on my heart.  I want to be able to have verses pop into my head when I am struggling with self-doubt instead of the lies that I so easily believe.  Faith is one of my top strengths or spiritual gifts and I have been hit hard here.  My faith has been wavering and I don’t like it one bit. One of my best friends told me this, “In James when he says that our faith is being ‘tested’, well that’s the same word used when talking about a blacksmith who is refining silver.  And the blacksmith continues to throw the metal back into the fire to get rid of the impurities.  He knows it’s complete when he can see his reflection in it.  Remember that God loves you more than anyone else ever possibly could.  Don’t allow yourself to believe the lies of the enemy.  Allow God to use you and your circumstances for His glory.”  I know that I wrote a blog post a while back talking about refining.  I had forgotten what it meant to be refined by God.  He’s not just going to let me sit back and and wallow.  I may think he is, but that’s when he keeps me in the fire until I can’t stand it anymore and want to do it His way instead of my own way.  I think that’s where I have been lately.  Stuck in the fire because I am just too stubborn to see it any other way out.

So, as I dive into the Word I am going to pick out verses that help me remember who I am in Christ.  And then I’m going to explain why it’s important to me and why I think it’s important that it’s in the Bible.  I am by NO means a scholar or pretend to know what the heck I am talking about.  I just write from my heart… You may disagree with me and whatever, that’s fine.  But this is my first step to being who I once was.

My first verse is in the second book of the Bible, Exodus.  A little context for this verse,  Pharaoh was in control of Egypt and he was so full of himself that he thought he was bigger than God. Moses was called by God to let His people go, and Pharaoh refused… like upright refused to let them go! (I don’t ever do that – refuse something because I want it my way…) Finally, the Israelites are able to leave Egypt after God showed his power with the 10 plagues.  Even after the 10th and final plague, still mourning the loss of his son, Pharaoh realizes that he has just let all of his workers go and wanted to chase them down.  As the Israelites flee, they realize that Pharaoh is chasing after them and they start to panic. They look at Moses and blame him for bringing them into the wilderness, and start thinking that maybe it was a mistake that they left Egypt… totally forgetting the hardships they faced there.  They are just in panic mode.  But Moses, with God on his side, stays so calm. In Exodus 14:14 it says,  “The Lord himself will fight for you.  Just stay calm.” (NLT version)  The ESV version says it like this, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”  Silent.  That is something that I have a really hard time doing.  I have forgotten how to be silent, to be calm.  When things start getting crazy, my mind starts spinning and then nothing is calm… nothing is silent.  So, how am I supposed to hear God, feel God when I am making such a ruckus?  The Israelites were causing a ruckus too… a really big scene.  I can just picture it… Moses standing there thinking what on Earth is happening while the Israelites are running around trying to pack their stuff, yelling at Moses and telling him it’s all his fault, and yelling at one another because they are scared.  When all they have to do is just be silent.  Easier said than done, and I’m sure that’s what my hubby does when I go off-line.

This has been the scene of my life for the past… I don’t know how long.  I have forgotten how to be silent. I run around like a chicken with my head cut off.  No wonder people look at me like I’m crazy!  Ha!  Because I lost my focus.  I lost what truly matters.  I took my eyes off of the only thing that makes sense… God.  I believe this verse is in the Bible to show us that even the “chosen” people got scared.  It’s there to remind us, that God’s got this.  We just need to let him take the reigns, and fight for us.  I need to practice silence more often.

 

Fighting in Hope not in Fear

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been reading all of Paul’s letters (Romans-Hebrews) this summer.  I am just finishing up Galatians today and seriously, this whole chapter (Chapter 6) spoke to me. Sin is so nasty, so ugly, and SO easy to fall into…yet so incredibly hard to get out of!  When we are deep in sin, or someone close to us is, it’s even harder.  If we are trying to help and aren’t strong in Christ we can become toxic to each other.  We will just keep pointing fingers at each other and making things so much worse because our focus in on the wrong thing.  We just end up making more cracks for Satan to get into and make a tornado of a mess.  A mess where if you aren’t careful will bring you to rock bottom and you have no idea where to start.  The nice thing about rock bottom is the only back to look is up. And if we can look up and get our focus back onto Christ, we will have hope.  Even if it is just a sliver for the time being.
It reminds me of Peter trying to walk on water in Matthew 14.

24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning[b] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. Don’t be afraid,” he said. Take courage. I am here![c]

28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29 Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the strong[d] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. You have so little faith,”Jesus said. Why did you doubt me?”

Can you imagine God just saying “Yea sure, come on out!”  I’d be like “uh, seriously?  Are you sure?”  As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus he was able to do the impossible.  How thrilling would that have been?! But the second he looked down, started to doubt and fear… he sank. It’s the same with me, the moment I take my eyes of Christ I start sinking…drowning really. I end up bringing everyone down with me as I struggle to stay afloat. And I end up looking at God like, how did you let that happen to me?!  I trusted you.  How many times has God had to save me from my own destruction?  It gets so discouraging not learning your lesson the first or second or perhaps the 64th time…. but God…
God will come to my rescue every single time.  No matter how much I fight against it and try to hold onto the problem and want to fix it on my own… God will always be there patiently waiting… or maybe not patiently…for me to get my act together and realize that HE IS THE ONLY WAY! The more that I am immersing myself into the Word lately, and listening to worship music all day, like Elevation Church… Bethel Church… Hillsong United… God is slowly – and when I say slowly I really mean that I am slow to listen and understand – whispering to my soul.  He keeps telling me to trust Him, and that He’s got this.  And since I don’t listen well the first time, He will start using my husband, my friends, my family.  Sometimes over and over again till they are so tired of saying the same things to me.  But I think it’s starting to click, people! (Thank you to all who have ridden this crazy ride with me!)  It’s finally starting to click.  And I am so grateful for that.  I just hope that I can prove to myself and to all those close to me that this is it.
I have a God that is bigger than what I am dealing with here and now.  Even though I feel at times that my entire life is beginning to explode… this is just a minor bleep on God’s radar.  He WILL be with me.  He WILL be faithful.  He’s got this, and I just have to be patient in Him and find my comfort and peace in Christ instead of in anyone else.  What I am going through right now is the hardest and longest battle I have ever had to fight.
I pray my harvest will come soon.

What am I doing?

Sometimes I don’t even know how I am still here.  Still married, still have children who adore me even when I go bat sh– crazy, still have friends that care deeply for me.  I am constantly pushing people away. My husband, my parents, my friends, my kids, God. I have done it my whole life.  I push people away because I feel like I don’t deserve to be loved, to be cherished… I have done and said so many hurtful things to people.  I go off-line and lose touch with reality.  So, if I just push them away then they won’t be hurt anymore. But the problem with that is… I end up alone. The only people who would love me unconditionally are now too far out of my reach.  Why do I feel like this is the answer?  Why do I constantly let the people who love me suffer?  And why do I constantly live in fear and show my suffering like it defines who I am?

Suffering changes how we see ourselves—it scars; it pains; it reshapes; it breaks. If we constantly look at our scars, and our pain…we will lose heart…lose hope. I have done this too much in the recent past.  I have let my scars define who I am, and I feel like there is no other way but to live as the ugly person I see myself as.  But here’s the thing… I’ve been reading through Paul’s letters this summer, and he doesn’t allow himself to be defined by his past – he looks elsewhere. When we suffer it’s supposed to help change our inner self too, and we need to cling to the gospel so that the Spirit will go to work in us. That’s where we must look.  But how do I even begin to let it change me when I’ve pushed God so far away?

When I constantly live in my suffering and push people away… I know that it’s wrong but there’s just something inside of me that can’t help it.  Such a cop-out.  It’s so stupid because then I have to go and do the hard work of apologizing… AGAIN. Hoping and praying that they will forgive me… AGAIN. And that is so very hard.  Because since I continue to live in this pattern of sin, how can people forgive me?  They probably think.. yeah, yeah whatever.  How is this any different from the last time?  It’s just going to happen again.  That’s the moment we let the anger, and bitterness take root.  And before we know it the relationship has been poisoned.  Satan has taken control and has blinded us to seeing each other as we truly are.  Humans that live in a sinful, fallen world.  Because of that we wind up living a life of refusing to forgive due to the constant hurt.  All we are able to focus on is the negative, instead of choosing to focus on the gifts and values that these people add to your life.

Right now, I am currently struggling with the negative ruts that I have created.  The pain that I’ve cause my hubby, family, friends… When I constantly live in the bitterness and have an unforgiving spirit, I am daring God to do the same to me.  Which is why I feel so distant from Him.  If I can’t live out what God wants me to do then he will be unable to show me the same kindness until I just let it all go.  Colossians 3:13 says “Bear with each other and forgive one another, if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  I know God is trying to break down the walls of my unforgiving heart… but taking that first step into the unknown scares me more than anything ever has before.  I have carried it for so long that it’s a part of me.  But I’m slowly dying under the weight.  It’s crushing me and if I don’t let go then, I will lose everything.

I pray that God will protect me…my hubby…my kids…my family… my friends… and restore everything to how it should be.  I just need to trust and allow myself to be loved by my heavenly Father…and let go.  Just a minor thing right?

All I ask if you have read through my ramblings is that you would pray.

 

Emotions

I have been struggling a lot lately.  I seem to go in waves of writing and I write when I’m struggling through life.  I have felt very distant from God lately.  Distant from my family, my friends.  I know a lot of it was because I have been pushing them away.  I’ve been ashamed of things from my past… ashamed of who it’s shaped me to be… ashamed of the way it’s made me think.  I hold a lot in because not many people would be able to handle it.  So, I smile and go about my day.  Some days I function better than others.  Some days I have the hardest time just getting off the couch to make lunch for my kids.  Some days I have the patience to handle anything thrown my way and others I yell at the nearest victim for any little thing.  It’s been a whirlwind and I’m tired of spinning out of the control.

I was tucking my kids into bed tonight and had the most amazing God experience.  I have been praying on my knees… sobbing that I would feel Him again.  That he would heal me.  Teach me to forgive and trust.  That He would speak to me and direct me, and I have only heard silence on the other end… That is until tonight.  I usually sing to the kids at night.  I stand in the hallway between their rooms and sing a praise and worship song that is on my heart.  Tonight I felt that I needed to sing an old hymn… one I used to sing every night after my grandma passed away.  The song is His Eye is on the Sparrow**.  I couldn’t even get through the first couple lines without completely losing it.  I kept apologizing to my kids and they were so gracious.  They kept telling me that I sounded beautiful even while crying.  I was able to have a real conversation with them about how sometimes as an adult we forget that God still loves us.  He still wants what is best for us.  He takes care of the sparrow, the grass, the ants… so why wouldn’t he take care of me.  As I am talking my kids are just circling around me hugging me and telling me that they love me.  It was exactly what I needed.

After I sing, I read a chapter from the Bible.  I have been going through a 99 Day Challenge with my church.  We are reading all of Paul’s letters starting in Romans and going through Hebrews. Tonight, I read the next chapter to my kids.  It was 1 Corinthians 13.  What are the odds… that the night that I am struggling the most with feeling like I am totally unloveable and that I don’t know how to love my family the way I am supposed to… the chapter is all about love.  God showed up in a mighty way.  I started reading and cried through the whole chapter…

1 Corinthians 13 New Living Translation (NLT)
Love Is the Greatest
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Life is so hard.  God has never promised that because we follow Him that life would be all sunshine and rainbows.  He never promised that loving other people would be an easy task.  It’s a choice we have to make every single day.  And there are days I fail at choosing correctly.  You never know what kind of battle someone is facing.  Most of the time people will just put a smile on their face because they don’t want to be a bother.  I have my core group of people that I know I can go to for my deepest and darkest moments, and I encourage everyone to find those people.  The people you KNOW without a doubt will hold you up in prayer.  Will fight right along side you as you battle the demons that rage war all around.  The fight is wearing and I need to rely more on God to give me the strength.  Through God’s strength I will find my joy.  Nehemiah 8:10b **says “…Don’t be dejected and sad, for the JOY of the Lord is your strength.”  I have said that verse over and over and over again today.  When I felt defeat I would say “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

No matter what battle you are facing God is right there beside you.  He’s got this.  He will show up when you are at rock bottom and remind you of His promises and peace.  He did that for me, and used my kids to further prove the point.  If there is stuff you are facing that is bringing you to the point of despair and unrest find someone you trust to help guide you through… it’s so worth it.  Even though I have ugly cried a lot the past two days… I know without a doubt that God heard me.  My challenge to you is to:

1. Read God’s Word…. Every. Single. Day.

2. Confess

3. Live the way God has always meant for you to live.

**The links are first Selah’s version of His Eye is on the Sparrow.  And second is a link to my church and the sermon that was done this past weekend.  It talks about joy.**

Life is funny

I’ve been going through a particularly difficult rough patch lately.  I am so honored that I have been able to give so much of myself to lots of different people over this past year, but there comes a time when you start digging from a dried up well.  There’s literally nothing left to give.  When I reach that point my temper begins to flare up, my annoyance over the little things really amps up.  I start shutting down and pushing people out because I just can’t do it anymore.

Last year around this time we were getting ready to move into our new house and we were so excited.  The possibilities seemed endless.  God has definitely brought my hubby and I out of some pretty thick muck from our past.  So this house was a breath of fresh air.  We could breathe, we could be a family, we could do what God was calling us to do.  But… there’s always a but… we have an enemy that doesn’t want us to continue our life for God and for his Kingdom.  He wants us to stay stuck.  To continue dragging our feet through the muck and mire of this world.  To feel useless, worthless, forgotten.  I have been forgetting the goodness of God and have been allowing the lies that my enemy wants me fear… to become my reality.  I have been doubting my ability as a wife and a mom.  Always thinking there is someone better out there for my family.  Someone who won’t lose their cool over trivial things.  Someone who could love my husband better than I ever could.  I begin doubting my ability at work.  I have never been a great swimmer so HOW ON EARTH am I supposed to teach little kiddos how to swim.  Those are just two of the big examples I have been fighting.  The lies that tell me I am not good enough.  The lies that tell me someone is better suited for my life.

So, I reached out to my bestie, my doctor, my husband, and my counselor.  And we have a plan.  I tend to take 3 steps forward and 2 steps back… so this is going to be a long healing process.  A long process of filling up my tank again.  I have good moments, and I have moments where I wish my tongue could be chopped off.  I say things out of fear and hurt those close to me.  I did that today to my husband before he left for work, and I hate myself for it.

BUT part of the plan to get me back has to do with blogging again and taking pictures.  I love photography and I have forgotten how much I really do enjoy it.  So every day I have to take a photograph, and I would like to share them now…

Monday: A Guilty Pleasure

IMG_2665 Who can pass up a good batch of GF Chocolate Chip Cookies?

    Tuesday:  Movement

fullsizeoutput_bd4 This one was really challenging for me.  I had to figure out how to get movement!  Thankfully we have YouTube and I was able to figure it out.  I think it turned out decent 🙂

Wednesday: Night

These photographs were really fun.  I was able to mess around with the camera and find cool angles for pictures.

Thursday: Emotion

Sometimes going to the park is the best place to get that raw emotion.  I felt bad taking pics of J and K in a tough moment, but man those pics!  I love them.

Friday: Texture

I am a touchy feely person.  When I am either out at the store or anywhere really, I have the irresistible urge to feel things.  So I loved that I got to take pictures of things that I found amazing.

I say that life is funny, because you really never know what is going to happen day to day.  One day I can feel on top of the world, and then next day come crashing down.  But I make it through life because of my constants:

  1. My faith in God.
  2. The unconditional love from my husband – even when I don’t deserve it.

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3. The way my kids warm my heart even in the darkest of times.

4. My People – you know who you are.

Thank you for walking this CRAZY journey with me.

The Storms of Life

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So, I just posted this on my FB page, but figured more than just “my friends” might need to hear this… So, here goes…

There are times when you just feel like life is falling apart and if one more thing lands anywhere in your vacinity, you are going to lose it. Christmas is always a stressful time. Missing loved ones that have passed, mourning relationships that have crumbled, stressing over the lack of funds in the checking account – while trying to figure out how you are going to make it through another month…yeah, it sucks. But I was reminded tonight, while tucking in my kids, that no matter how deep or wide the valley is that you are walking through… how dark the storm seems… God’s got this. I, Heather, will walk without fear because God’s got this. He has carried me through this and much worse so how can I doubt? All I can do now is just give it up, pray, and know that in His timing it will all work out.

Psalm 17:6-7 says, “I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you reduce those who seek refuge from their enemies.” We have a Father in heaven that loves us so unconditionally. All we have to do is fall on our knees and pray. He never promised that life would be easy. He never said “Follow me and I will make your life perfect.” No, we are still going to face trouble and trials and adversity… and it’s in those times that our faith is tested. It’s in those times where we get to truly see where our heart is. Is it (your heart) in the overwhelming day to day of this earthly life (which I must admit – I am there some days) or is it in the hands of our loving and gracious Father that has already overcome all these heartaches?

Psalm 22 1-2 “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.” Even David suffered and questioned where God was, and urgently appealed to him to take away his suffering. David knew to trust God in the good, lonely, and desperate times. He knew that even though God was quiet, He WAS and IS listening. So, the good news is, through all the crap that we face in this life we will gain victory on the other side, and for THAT I cannot wait, and I will continue to endure the heartache of this world.

So, if you are still with me (my mind and fingers just won’t stop), I will leave you with the passage that started it all tonight which is Psalm 23…I’m sure you all know this passage so I’m only going to quote vs 4 “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” God will comfort me… He will protect me… and I just have to to let him. Will you? Will you allow God to comfort and protect you through all the crap that is thrown at you. We have an all powerful enemy that wants nothing more than to see us squirm and fail. So when you feel like there is no one else… just reach out…reach out to the one who loves you more than you can fathom. Trust that God will catch you even in those deep, dark, ugly places where you feel you can’t be touched. Trust me I have those places… My kids have seen them, my husband has seen them… it’s not pretty… but God loves me despite of my short-comings and dark places… He still loves me…and He is just waiting for you too.

Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him.”

Honesty about Celiac

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So, my world was ROCKED this past summer.  I found out that I had celiac.  I was so glad to finally have an official diagnosis as to why I have basically been sick to my stomach on and off since I was in high school!  I couldn’t wait to start this new diet and to start feeling better.  Of course in my mind, it would be an instant switch… night and day… and life would automatically be… PERFECT.  Hahahaha!

Here’s a brief synopsis of what being a Celiac is all about…

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So fun right?  So after I got over the initial honeymoon phase of my diagnosis… the “Real life” of my diet has hit me, and my family.  Because let’s be honest… there is NO WAY that I am going to cook 2 different meals every meal and risk cross contamination. Gluten hides everywhere!  And I have to learn how to really, really look at labels and how to cook… My family has been so supportive and such troopers as I basically threw out our entire kitchen to start completely over.  Making sure that all the dishes were washed, all food that was filled with death aka gluten was thrown out of the house…My kids still have a hard time some days when all the cereal I buy is Chex cereal, but they will be ok.

50-shades-of-gluten

 I feel like a bother to everyone now.  I know that I am not… but it just makes going anywhere so much harder.

 I went onto my friend Pinterest (not sure if you’ve heard of her..) and found a ton of funny pics on being Gluten Free.  So I hope you enjoy these as much as I did…

Everything seems to be harder, but I know that my body is getting better.  I am getting better at diagnosing when I’ve had gluten… I tend to go off the deep end, I am foggy in the brain and get a headache, my stomach kills me, I’m super nauseous, and I visit the bathroom at regular intervals (TMI??) I don’t write this for sympathy… Just for fun…and kind of for educational purposes.  Gluten free is such a fad diet right now, but there really are people out there that need it in order to survive this thing we call life!

Hope you had a laugh like I did at some of the pics, but also see that Celiac is so sucky.

A Blog Post About… Honesty…

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So, I’m taking a page from a friend of mine who also blogs.  You should check it out here!  She writes about honesty… and if you ask me I think that this world needs a whole lot more of it.  Everyone lies to everyone these days. Everyone puts on a mask to show that their life is “perfect”.  Ha!  This is so funny to me.  NO ONE has a perfect life.  But yet everyone goes around thinking that… thanks to FB and all the other social media.  It’s sad because everyone wants to be “liked” these days… but so many people miss the mark on what it means to be liked.  We aren’t liked because of how perfect our life looks… we are liked – no LOVED- because of God.  We are loved by the one who created everything, and whatever everyone else thinks shouldn’t matter.  The only thing that should matter is living in accordance to what God wants from us! But we don’t… instead we make it all about us.  All about what society things… which is why….

I have been struggling for a while with my self-image, with being a good enough wife, a good enough mom, a good enough homemaker… I FAIL at all of these things daily.  Or feel like I fail.  I have this unattainable image in my head that I THINK I need to strive for.  But it’s just a lie that my enemy wants to keep me in.  He wants to wrap me so tight in my failures that I can’t see what I am exceeding at.  I am so glad that I have people in my corner to help me stay accountable to the things I wanna fix… even though I protest most days.

One area that I struggle with almost daily is working out and eating healthy…

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Ha!  I couldn’t resist.  But honestly that’s how I feel.  Between homeschooling my three kiddos, changing up my diet because I found out I have Celiac, going to soccer, piano lessons, Awana, Bible Study, our homeschool co-op, and all weekend activities… I seriously feel I don’t have time for that.  BUT let’s be honest… how much of my “free time” is spent scrolling through FB for the millionth time, or just doing anything I can think of OTHER than working out… or how many times do I go to the store and grab a coffee or pop in those lovely little fridges they have in the check out line??  Do I really need that!?  Or am I just grabbing it because I feel entitled to having a little more caffeine in my diet.  My will-power is being held hostage to my earthly desires and I need to just say NO.  (I feel like I’m preaching what they taught in my DARE program when I was in 5th grade… just say NO!)

So, I want to use my blog more… again… as a place where I can be honest.  That’s the whole reason why I started blogging in the first place.  I wanted to be real and to have a place that I don’t care what people think.  I can just write and be me.  Show everyone that the mask I wear is false and that I struggle every single day with depression, anxiety, a nasty self-image…but then I have also have this things called redemption. I want people to know that they are NOT alone in this journey of life.  I want to challenge people to bring their short-comings to light.  Because when we hold them in the dark they only grow, and once they are brought to the light… everything can be seen.

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A Blog Post About… Rock Bottom and Redemption

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Where do I even begin?  I haven’t written in a while and that’s probably because I feel like the year 2015 was my rock bottom.  I had so much going on in my life, personally and spiritually, that it was spinning wildly out of control.  There was no end in sight to the wild spin that my life had taken on.  Thankfully, 2016 has brought about change.  Refreshing change.  Change that has needed to happen for a really long time-  I was just too afraid to take that step of faith and move toward that change.  So, let me bring you all up to speed…

2015 – Have you ever hit rock bottom?  It’s a super scary place to be.  Especially when you are a believer or a non-believer.  Especially when you are married or when you are single.  Especially when you have kids or no kids.  Especially when you have NOTHING LEFT.  Be ready for open and honest.  My marriage almost ended last year.  Bam!  There’s my rock bottom…

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So many things led up to my hubby and I almost walking out on one another.  So. Many. Things.  And in this day and age when the going gets tough people walk out.  They leave the hard stuff behind – only to walk into more hard stuff.  It’s unbelievable how fast things spun out of control, and literally before my very eyes.  People said, and still say, that I am a good and loving wife.  They saw that I was, and still am, a caring mom.  That I had a house to live in (even though it was falling apart and NOT at all where God wanted us to be anymore), and that I tried to keep it somewhat clean.  They saw what I want them to see.  They never saw the ugly. The mom that would lose it because of spilled milk.  The wife that would say things because she was hurt or annoyed.  No one saw the imperfect – the ugly.  Cause, let’s be honest, we live in a world that is full of “perfect”… social media makes sure that everyone has this unattainable expectation that they have to meet and if they don’t meet it then you are worthless.  I found myself as worthless.  I found myself as someone that I didn’t want to be around anymore.  So, if I didn’t even want to be around me… why would anyone else?

2016 – With the new year I felt like we had the ability to just scratch 2015 from existence and move on with life.

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I had a renewed sense of fight in me.  I no longer wanted to give up on my marriage, on my family.  And I knew that my hubby felt the same way. I am beyond grateful for my best friends that I trust with my life… who are praying on their knees for my marriage now and for when it was in it’s darkest hours.  It is a long battle, and it will be fought with blood, sweat, lots of tears, and more prayers than I can count.  Looking back I see that we (my hubby and I) let Satan in to do whatever he wanted.  I read something from the book Anything, by Jennie Allen.  It’s from a pastor that spoke to her and her husband.  It really resonated with me, and I would like to share it with you…

“If I was the devil, I’d tell you what I’d do.  I would try to deceive you and get you into error.  I would get you off base.  And if you still stayed true (to God and your beliefs)*, I would try to disqualify you.  I would get you immoral, I would get you where no one would believe what came out of your mouth.  I would make you a tabloid, where nobody would believe you.  I would remove your confidence until you were afraid to speak because your life was such a shamble.  I would get you into sin.  I would prowl like a roaring lion to devour you morally.

And if I couldn’t do that, I would try to make you successful.  And I would distract you if I couldn’t disqualify you.  I would get you busy.  I would get you so distracted to the gospel that no longer would your prayers be about holiness and souls.  They would only be about the bottom line in your business.  I would get you materialistic, and no longer concerned about the spiritual nature of you life.  If I couldn’t do that, I would divide you.  If I couldn’t divide you, I’ve almost lost you.  You know what I’d do then?  I’d discourage you.  And then if I couldn’t discourage you, I’d try death.  I would try my best to kill you.  That’s what I would do to take you out.” *italics are my adding* (So, was this written just for me?  This is everything I have felt!)

Take a listen to a song that explains all of this…. Music speaks to me.

The father of lies has done a number on me.  But did you hear the song?!  Even though the devil sings his song over me…he may even have his demons doing his dirty work on my heart…whispering their lies into my ear over and over again till I can’t hear anything else.  They whisper in my ear until I’m no longer talking to my God but that I am talking to the devil himself.  Having a fight with him over how terrible of a person I am.  He was doing a heck of a job at that last year and up until yesterday (If I’m being brutally honest)- when my totally awesome cousin talked, prayed, and listened to me… But the father of lies has forgotten the refrain.  The refrain that JESUS SAVES!!  I no longer have to live the lies that the devil in whispering into my ear.  I have the redemption of Jesus to save me, my marriage, and my family.  This demon that has attacked me since I was young telling me that I am worthless… no longer has it’s hold on me.  He has been kicked – well I’m in the process of kicking him – to the curb because Jesus has saved me.  I HAVE to start listening to Jesus, reading his WORD and pouring it over every aspect of my life.  It’s almost like I have Jesus on one shoulder and the devil on the other, and I was listening to the devil more.  He was louder.  I couldn’t hear the truth above the lies.  I want to take my finger and flick the devil off my shoulder and tell him he no longer has power, in Jesus name.

I am so far from where I am supposed to be in my “walk”.  But Jesus has been right where He wants me.  He wants me to struggle – because in the times of struggle that’s when you grow the most.  You reach out to those you trust and ask them to challenge you.  I want to encourage you that if you are finding yourself far from God that there’s only one thing you have to do.  You just have to reach your hand up and say I’m sorry Father, here I am.  You just have to fall on your knees and Jesus will pick you up and carry you.  He doesn’t want to see me or you as a crumpled mess on the floor trying to figure out this thing called life.  He wants us to reach out to him so he can shows us all that life is supposed to be.  No more allowing the father of lies to direct my steps and thoughts…

“It’s only God who moves my heart.  He chases me down and lures me back to him; while I am running to everyone else, he runs after me.  God brings me back to the place where it fares well with me, reminding me he is my husband.  There is no spinning, no fear, only perfect acceptance and peace.” Anything, by Jennie Allen p. 38

 

 

A blog post about… giving it all up

I’m only 7 months into being a pastor’s wife.  And I already feel like I am doing it all wrong.  Ha!  Is there a right or a wrong way to be a pastor’s wife?  I think that there’s this stereotype out there that a Pastor’s wife needs to seem put together, constantly have a smile on her face, never ever have her own issues (or if she does don’t ever bring them up), and always have the perfect amount of insight and wisdom to share… I might be able to get there one day, but there are a lot of things that have to happen on my end before I do.  We live in a time where everyone just shares the good stuff.  So it’s really hard to show the ugly side of life.  To be vulnerable and say “hey, I’m not perfect!  My life is a mess and I don’t know where to go from here.”

I tend to lean towards being an open book about my life.  God has given me this life for a reason.  He has wanted me to walk the path that I have for a reason.  I know that reason, but right now I am having the hardest time learning my lesson, and just giving it all up.  “Hi, my name is Heather, and I have MAJOR control and anxiety issues.”  I would really like to blame it on the long family history of controlling Kärsten women, but most of my issues are MY issues and no one else’s.  They are issues that for some reason I just can’t ever give up no matter how “hard” I try.  Sometimes I feel like I am one of the disciples on that fishing boat while Jesus decided to take a nap during the massive storm!  And while this storm keeps picking up strength you are so afraid that you are drowning and you call out to Jesus… well more like YELL out to Jesus and he simply replies…

“Where is your Faith?” (Luke 8:15)

Where is my faith?  That is such a good question!  Did I lose my faith or did I just misplace it?  No, I am just someone that takes the wrong fork in the road and then takes me a little bit longer to get back on track.  It’s in the times of testing and trials where my faith gets rocked. God wants me, us to be completely reliant on Him.  He wants us to be able to depend on Him to get us through.

We have been in a sermon series at our church called Dumb Things Christians say.  A couple weeks ago the sermon was about God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle.  When I saw that I literally laughed out loud.  God will most definitely give us more that we can handle. I feel like my life is a living example of that!  My first inclination when I am facing a problem is to doubt that God is really there.  But that is such false thinking.  God is always there.

Jonah 2:2 “in my distress I called out to God, and He answered me.”

Psalm 6 “O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage.  Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.  Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.  I am sick at heart.  How long, O Lord, until you restore me?  Return, O Lord, and rescue me.  Save me because of your unfailing love.  For the dead do not remember you.  Who can praise you from the grave?  I am worn out from sobbing.  All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears.  My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.  God away, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping.  The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer.  May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.  May they suddenly turn back in shame.”

God answered Jonah when he was in distress… God answered David when he was in agony.  God will always answer us, we just have to quiet the outside noise in order to hear him.  He doesn’t always come in like a roaring lion.  Most times he whispers to our soul.  So we have to humble ourselves in the presence of God to be able to hear him.  We can’t come to him with our worries, concerns, burdens shouting out loud… how could anyone talk over that?  I need to continually learn to NOT rely on myself, and to quiet my demons, and to rely on God who can raise me high above my trouble. (2 Cor. 1:8-9)

The only person that can pull me out of my anxiety, out of my insatiable need to control how my life goes is God.  Jesus came to take this burden from me, and I carry it around like a weight that I am supposed to bear. I have to come to the end of who I am in order to become who God needs me to be.  2 Corinthians 12: 7-9 says, “I could have become proud of myself because of the amazing and wonderful things God has shown me.  So I was given a problem that caused pain in my body.  It is a messenger from Satan to make me suffer.  Three times I begged the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, ‘My grace is all you need.  My power is strongest when you are weak.‘” God’s grace.  I need God’s grace.

Lauren Daigle is by far one of my favorite christian artist’s out there right now.  As I am writing this post I am listening to her album.  And this song Once and For All came on. It is EVERYTHING that I have been writing about.  Listen to the song…just click the link. I have to choose every day to just lay myself down at Jesus’ feet.  I am nothing without Jesus.  My identity is not in how well I can control my life, it’s not in my hubby or my kids, it’s not in how well I homeschool my kids or what kind of Pastor’s wife I am… my identity is in Jesus.  It’s in Jesus and I have been living my life going in the wrong direction.  I have been going in the direction that Satan’s messenger has been wanting me to go… far into my anxiety, far into my controlling, and not into Jesus who can free me from all of that.  As I write this, I feel very convicted, like God is saying all of this to me through my own words.  I feel very hypocritical because I struggle with this every day.  It is a battle that I am scared I will never overcome.  But I need to lay it at the feet of Jesus every day and know that He will walk beside me carrying my burden that I was never meant to hold so close.  God gave us a gift from heaven, his Son.  I can’t deny that anymore.

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