Rejuvenation

The step away.  The much-needed breath of fresh air to be able to bond with my new family, analyze where I have been and where I want to go, and to try to find my purpose and drive behind this blog.

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time or ran across my blog in a web search somehow, there is no secret it is faith-based.  I have a strong foundation in my marriage and in our family that is on our faith.  But after having been through some of the things we have been through over the last few years, I would be lying if I said my faith wasn’t shaken a little bit.  Not in the sense that I lost it, but more in the sense of “Why?”  “Why us and why now?”

I needed that time away from the keyboard to come to peace with a lot of things.  Things ranging from family, to work, to faith, to just general anxiety about the new road laid in front of us.

When I last left you, I was about to have a baby.  What an experience that was!  We welcomed our handsome little fellow January 31 and fell in love immediately.  He has such an amazing birth story – one that maybe in time I will tell, but for now, I will just say God is good and blessed us that week.  Everyone, meet our spunky almost 6 month old (where has the time gone!?), Elijah.  ❤

Shane and I have learned a lot over the last 6 months.  He’s experiencing being a dad all over again (and loving every minute of it!).  We are learning Eli is a perfect mix of mom and dad.  Although, he gets his spunky attitude from is Auntie Bee and Uncle Derek. (He loves them too!)

We’ve loved spending the much-needed time with family and watching Eli grow and learn.  But while watching him grow, we’ve also done some growing.

When I returned to work after maternity leave, I worked my tail off for one week fixing errors, making phone calls, and cleaning up messes only to be let go after everything was back to par.  I asked for a reason and they had nothing to lean on other than “Minnesota is an at will state, and we can let you go for no reason.”  Well, ladies and gents, let me tell you why:

They couldn’t handle the fact that I wasn’t able to work 6-7 days a week and 60+ hour weeks while trying to care for my newborn son.  They didn’t like that when it came down to brass tacks, I was not willing to sacrifice my family for the sake of the company.

This was the point where my faith hit a low.  Our new family of 5 was cut down to a single income.  I battled with the fact we (I) were (was) being punished.  I struggled with the fact that God has blessed me with a child I was never supposed to have but it came at a price.  I would even go as far as to say I was angry at Him.  But, really, I had no reason to be.  The job was stressful and thankless.  I had wanted to find a family friendly place of employment for quite some time.  But did it really have to come at this price?

Man, I struggled and wrestled with this for a while.  But over that period of time, I was able to dig into a Bible study called “No More Perfection” and it dealt with the need to be ‘perfect’ in every way.  I knew I was struggling with emotions and feelings so the first thing I did was write this sticky note and threw it in my purse.

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When I struggled, I’d pull it out and pick one and read.  But there was one I found a couple of months back that I didn’t add to my sticky note.  But it was one I found through another Bible study that really hit home and started the “closure” process for me.

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” ~Hebrews 12:14

That was the point where I started reflecting back onto this blog.  If my goal was to minister to people through real life experiences, I needed to find peace.  I needed that peace for everything that had happened in our lives for the last four years.  I needed to be able to let go of the anger, bitterness, and maybe a small amount of jealousy that I held onto.

Prayer, prayer, and more prayer.  Maybe a few more “why me”‘s in there than I would like to admit, but I’m human.  There are times I cannot process my emotion in a ‘healthy’ way.

Then, after a couple of months of prayer, I found a job that I love.   (Or maybe it found me? (:  )  I mean, it couldn’t be a better fit for what I was needing and looking for.

But all that being said, I still felt like a piece of me was missing, and I knew exactly what it was.  But, I made a promise to myself that I would not touch this blog site again until I could do a couple of things:
1.  Find closure in ALL things.
2.  Find a way to minister without coming off as pushy or gloating
3.  Find a way to love my family and myself the way that God loves us – unconditionally.
4.  Find a way to relate my life experiences with the same experiences that some of you may be going through (this one is going to be tough as we are all at different places in our lives)

Until I could move beyond all the yuck, no one would see the Lord in what I was saying, they would only see me.  I don’t want you to just see me when you come here.  I want you to be able to experience the Truth and see all of the miracles that God can do for you.  I mean, for us, Elijah is living proof of that!

I was able to do 3 of the 4 so now we are here.

After 6 months of prayer, heavy thought, and a push from a new blogger, I took that step.  With a little encouragement from The Soap Box , I signed in, said a prayer, and let my heart and feelings pour out.

I’m hoping that this is just the beginning of a newly rejuvenated blog.  I hope to keep you all updated and post more often as my spirit is led.  ❤

Until next time!

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*Please take a moment to hop on over to The Soap Box blog linked in my post.  Also, follow them on Facebook!  I feel a lot of good things coming from them in the future!

**I would also like you to leave me feed back.  Any questions, comments, etc are welcomed and encouraged.  Maybe they will even spark a post for you! ❤

The Paths We’ve Traveled.

As the time is ticking down, I can’t help but feel this huge rush of different emotions.  The 40 week wait is almost over!

As I was sitting in our game room talking with Shane, there was one question that I asked him:  “How the heck did we get here?!”

For those of you who know us or that have followed or story on here, you know that 4 years ago, we were both on very different paths.  Paths paved by the broken pieces of who we once were, the plans we had made for ourselves, and any type of feelings and emotions that were anything other than the feeling of being numb.  Paths that eventually led to one another but not without some hiccups in the road.

I couldn’t help but look around at everything that has happened in the last 4 years and just be humbled.

As I looked down at my fully inflated belly, I got chills.  I’m 40 weeks pregnant with a child I was told that I would possibly never have.  I’m 40 weeks pregnant with the son that I had only thought that I would get to meet in my dreams.

Then I look over at Shane who is just taking it all in.  He’s looking around at the wife he felt for so long he didn’t deserve, at the house that he’s put blood, sweat, and tears in order to make it our own, and my growing belly at another son that is soon to make his debut.

Seriously.  How the heck did we get here!?

In a sense, the answer is so simple while in the same breath so complex.  With everything that has happened, all aspects of our lives had to have been in the perfect place at the right time.  There is only one answer as to how this happened – both when we were on separate paths and on the path that we are on now.  God’s plan was bigger and the story is told with our shoes.

God’s plan for us was bigger than any called off wedding plans.  Bigger than bone scans, blood work, and x-rays.  Bigger than any doctor diagnosis based off of nothing more than ‘science’.  Bigger than the legal “one bedroom” house that we were trying to raise a family in.  Bigger than anything that we could have ever  imagined and planned for ourselves.

It’s just such an odd mix of emotions to be sitting in this chair and feeling all of these feelings: excitement, anticipation, fear, joy, nervousness, happiness, anxiousness, calm, and the list goes on.

Truth of the matter is that within the next week or so, I will have a tiny babe laying next to me.  Well, he will probably be in his bassinet or rocker and I’ll be staring down at him just in awe that my “slim chances” is laying right in front of me.

The picture of our shoes tells the story of our family.  We have a daughter who is so shy and so quiet.  But she slips on those shoes and walks across a stage and transforms into numerous characters while telling a story for judges and peers.  We have a son that puts on his drill masters and marches across football fields and performs marching shows that he has put countless hours of practice into.  I click my way across the floor at the dealership to work with my salesmen and their customers to help provide a good life for the two children we have.  Shane puts on his boots daily and labors in extreme heat, extreme cold, and everything in between to be sure that all of us are well provided for and taken care of.  Elijah’s shoes have yet to be worn.  Those shoes will soon be the cause of the pitter-patter sounds running across the floor followed by the excited squeal of a toddler running away from his hard working father, his expressive sister, or his determined brother.  It just seems so surreal…

How?!  Just, how?

God is so good.  If you give Him the chance, He works such miracles.  His plan is bigger than yours.  He will bring you places that you never thought you would go.

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I just love this picture!  Our lives have been so serious in preparation for our little guy that we needed a good laugh tonight!  ❤

The Three Loves

While scrolling through my Facebook feed this evening, I ran across a post that really hit close to home.  It was someone who had recently ended her relationship with her fiance.  It wasn’t so much that she called her engagement off within months of their wedding; it was the link to a post that she put with her public apology.

The link was to a blog post titled “We Only Fall In Love With 3 People In Our Lifetime – Each One For A Specific Reason.”  Some of the things that were stated in there were absolutely true!  If you don’t follow the link above, please take the time to read the excerpt that I have placed below.  It’s seriously worth the time to read it!

“It’s been said that we really only fall in love with three people in our lifetime.  Yet, it’s also believed that we need each of these loves for a different reason.  
Often our first is when we are young, in high school even. It’s the idealistic love—the one that seems like the fairy tales we read as children.  This is the love that appeals to what we should be doing for society’s sake—and probably our families. We enter into it with the belief that this will be our only love and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t feel quite right, or if we find ourselves having to swallow down our personal truths to make it work because deep down we believe that this is what love is supposed to be.  It’s a love that looks right.
The second is supposed to be our hard love—the one that teaches us lessons about who we are and how we often want or need to be loved. This is the kind of love that hurts, whether through lies, pain or manipulation.
We think we are making different choices than our first, but in reality we are still making choices out of the need to learn lessons—but we hang on. Our second love can become a cycle, oftentimes one we keep repeating because we think that somehow the ending will be different than before. Yet, each time we try, it somehow ends worse than before.
Sometimes it’s unhealthy, unbalanced or narcissistic even. There may be emotional, mental or even physical abuse or manipulation—most likely there will be high levels of drama. This is exactly what keeps us addicted to this story-line, because it’s the emotional rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows and like a junkie trying to get a fix, we stick through the lows with the expectation of the high.
With this kind of love, trying to make it work becomes more important than whether it actually should.  It’s the love that we wished was right.
And the third is the love we never see coming. The one that usually looks all wrong for us and that destroys any lingering ideals we clung to about what love is supposed to be. This is the love that comes so easy it doesn’t seem possible. It’s the kind where the connection can’t be explained and knocks us off our feet because we never planned for it.
This is the love where we come together with someone and it just fits—there aren’t any ideal expectations about how each person should be acting, nor is there pressure to become someone other than we are.  We are just simply accepted for who we are already—and it shakes to our core.
It isn’t what we envisioned our love would look like, nor does it abide by the rules that we had hoped to play it safe by. But still it shatters our preconceived notions and shows us that love doesn’t have to be how we thought in order to be true.
This is the love that keeps knocking on our door regardless of how long it takes us to answer.  It’s the love that just feels right.
…There may be those people who fall in love once and find it passionately lasts until their last breath. Those faded and worn pictures of our grandparents who seemed just as in love as they walked hand-in-hand at age 80 as they did in their wedding picture—the kind that leaves us wondering if we really know how to love at all.  Someone once told me they are the lucky ones, and perhaps they are.  
But I kinda think that those who make it to their third love are really the lucky ones.  They are the ones who are tired of having to try and whose broken hearts lay beating in front of them wondering if there is just something inherently wrong with how they love.
Just because it has never worked out before doesn’t mean that it won’t work out now.”

I can safely say, I’ve experienced all three of these.  As I was reading, all of these little flashes from my past came back and made me realize that yes, there are lessons to be learned in all sorts of love…and the pain that comes with it.

The one that caught my attention was the second love.  Oh, second love.  This is where my heart goes out to this young lady who posted her public apology tonight, because at one point, I was in her shoes.

I can’t speak for her relationship, so I won’t.  But I will speak for what mine was.  It was unhealthy.  It was unbalanced.  It was narcissistic.  It was an emotional rollercoaster.  There was manipulation.

Even though it was all these things, I never once viewed myself as a “junkie” that was addicted to it.  But in a sense, I guess I was.  I had put myself in a position where I had spiraled so far down from where I was, I couldn’t find a way out.  My only glimpse of “me” were those extreme highs.  But the number of highs slowly started to be out numbered by the extreme lows.

Much like this particular young woman, I was engaged.  I was actually a month away from “the big day” when I decided that I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I was tired of the tears, I was tired of the fights, and I was tired of feeling like I was lost.  He is a good person for the right person, he just was not good for me.

But never throughout the process did I ever feel like I owed anyone other than him and my family an explanation.  Because in the end, it wasn’t anyone elses life to live… it was mine.  And no amount of “I’m sorry for…” was going to soothe the curiosity that pulsed through my social media accounts, job, and friends.

About the time my third love came around, I was sitting in an office chair in a gas station looking at all of the shattered pieces of my heart trying to decide where I was to go now.  I let the tears fall and the prayers rise up.  I wasn’t ready for a relationship and I knew I wasn’t ready for a relationship, but I asked God to just give me a sign that there was someone out there for me.  Someone who was going to love me for who I was; broken pieces and all.  Love literally knocked on that office door that day.

Even though we both felt it (literally) in that moment, I knew I wasn’t ready and I’m sure he wasn’t ready for me at that time either.  But, that was the defining moment that started to made my world spin again.  It took a knock on the door, one turned down date, a returned telephone number, and a leap of faith to get us to where we are now:  married for almost 2 years, a house, and a baby on the way.

Do I wish that my fairytale would have been much like those stories you hear about high-school sweethearts?  No.  Because it literally took an experience with each one of those types of love to get me to where I needed to be to begin my relationship with Shane.  I’m glad him and I have had the personal struggles we have had and  I’m glad that we’ve learned from past experiences.

All in all, it doesn’t matter how you get to your fairytale ending.  Let your story write itself.  But ladies: please, please, please do not ever feel like you owe anyone an apology for taking steps in a direction that may lead you to your third love.  You are stronger than that.  You are worth more than that.

You will love again, I promise.  That love will be the love that will make you forget all of the hurt, the pain, and the struggles that it took to get you there.  But you won’t be able to forget the lessons learned through all of the struggles, hurt, and pain.

Take that leap of faith.

Find that “fairytale” love.

If he left you beaten down and broken, just know there is someone out there who is able to pick you up and put you back together.

I can say that with confidence because:  been there, done that.

 

 

 

*Disclaimer:  I did get permission from the young lady to include a portion of her story.  I would never use someone else’s personal life without their consent.  ❤ *

Forgive Those Against You.

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Saying some prayers this evening for those who have figuratively nailed me or anyone within my family (my parents and sister included) to a cross.

I may have not been “in the right” but neither were they. In all situations, it takes two to reach the outcome.  It takes two to argue.  It takes two to point fingers.  But it only takes one to stand up for what is right.

It is not one-sided, it is not a blame game, it isn’t a game of wits, and it isn’t about who told the honest truth over who told the personal truth dabbed with lies.

It isn’t about who has the ability to stand up for themselves.  It’s about who has the ability to stand up for Him.

You can judge me, you can criticize me, and you can persecute me.
But then you cannot stand and call yourself a believer.  You cannot stand there and preach against one thing and act another.

“Do not repay evil with evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.  If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.
If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  For in so doing
you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” – Romans 12: 18-21 (HCSB)

I may not be (and possibly never will be) at a place where I can reconcile. It is my Christian duty to forgive others so that my Father will forgive me .

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him so that your Father in Heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.” -Mark 11:25

That’s What It’s All About.

I’m not one who usually gives good advice.  This post is no different but I’m going to give it my best shot!

There was a young woman on here who was asking advice for a “going to be newly-wed couple”.  As I was looking through the comments and I saw things like never go to bed mad, always forgive, pray with one another, be respectful, make compromises, take advantage of the free time you have together, make memories when you can and so on.  You know, the generic advice that we see people giving newly married couples.  As good as some of this sounded, I felt like they were missing something of value.

So I prayed on it for a couple of days.

Having worked in the management position that I did, I dealt with a lot (and I mean A LOT) of people on a daily basis.  I would strive to make relationships with those people who regularly visited our store and made a conscious effort to genuinely care for how their day was going, how their boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancé/husband/wife was doing, how their weekend went, etc.

It wasn’t until I started noticing a pattern in couples that had dated for a while (past relationships of my own) and engagements that were ending that I found a common pattern.

To the public, everything seemed “fine” or “well”.  But was that the truth?  In my case, no.  But I felt that if I were to admit to anything different it would be a sign of weakness.  But, since I knew what wasn’t “fine” in my relationship, I could easily pick up on when other relationships weren’t “fine”… I knew the tricks to hide it all too well.

I heard over and over again “It was because HE didn’t want to (insert something he didn’t want to learn, listen to, be a part of, etc.)” or “It was because SHE didn’t take me seriously.”  Out of 6 years of working with the public, only once did I hear “It was because he didn’t love Christ as much as he loved me.”

I wish I would have had enough courage to call that out when it was happening in my own life.  Sure I had my ups and downs with my faith but at the time when I needed support and growth, I wasn’t getting it and it formed a wall.

All to often, relationships are one sided.  People are selfish and only care for what they want and if it doesn’t benefit them in some way, it doesn’t get done, said, or looked at.

So, after having prayed over this young woman’s question for a couple of days I came up with this for her advice:

It’s not about you, it’s not about him, it’s about Him.

Cryptic, right?  Well, I got artsy-fartsy the other night and made images to show:

To the public, this is how your relationship may be viewed.  You are seen as a couple that nothing can come between.  You seem happy; like you have it all!  You’ve got this all figured out… right?

Maybe to the outside.

On the inside, you see things such as disrespect, anger, evil thoughts, addictions, bad attitudes, video games, jealousy, anger, lust, temptation, use of pornography, money, greed, laziness, lies, media, little/no faith, and the list can go on and on.  Before you know it, these things that once seemed so “little” have formed a wall that is much bigger than you are, bigger than your significant other is.  It is so powerful, that it begins to tear you apart, compromise is all but in the past and there is “no saving it”.

For those who don’t have faith or haven’t found faith yet, this may seem true.  The driving forces in your relationship are so strong, the only way you feel you can fix it is by breaking it.  We’ve all been there at one point or another.

But what you don’t see (and probably can’t with the resolution of the picture) is that there is a cross right in the middle.  There are promises that were made to us by Christ’s suffering and death on the cross.  He died for our sins; so that we may be forgiven.  God has also given us the gift of eternal life through Christ.

If you put the cross at the center, all these seemingly “large” issues that were driving wedges now don’t seem so tough.

Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

All that we have to do to accept Him is to put our selfish and sinful desires away, focus on Him and how we can lead better lives for Him.

From there, things in our relationships will begin to fall in place.  You will bring out the best in one another, you will begin to compliment one another, you will begin to find happiness in things that only brought you pain before, you will begin to encourage one another without saying a word.

If you don’t allow yourself to see the good in things, all good things disappear.  You become so focused on the negatives over here when there are all sorts of positives happening over there and you miss out on the good of those things.  Slowly, all of the negative drags you down and it becomes a long, slow crawl up if you don’t have help from Him.

So,

Long story short:

My advice to ANY couple; married, dating, engaged, is to stop putting yourself first, your spouse second (or even your spouse first and yourself second) and begin to put Christ first.  The rest will fall into place.

It’s not about you, it’s not about him, it’s about Him.

The Perfect Ten.

Last night, I curled up on the couch and turned on Dancing with the Stars (DWTS).  For those of you who watched it, you know how emotional the episode was.  It was “Most Memorable Years” for the celebrities.

Turn by turn, each celebrity stated their year and told their story behind it.  The top two (in my opinion) were Tamar Braxton and Bindi Irwin.

Tamar chose the year 2012.  She was taking a vacation with her husband, Vince, when he started to complain about not feeling well.  They ended up in a New York emergency room where they found out that he had multiple blood clots in his lungs.  They put him in an induced a coma for 40 days and Tamar stayed with him the whole time.

One thought that Tamar expressed is that she wasn’t sure how she would be able to live without the love of her life should he not pull through.  She then stated “I will forever be grateful because I don’t even know what I did in my life to be blessed this much.”

She hit the nail on the head!

There are times where I will just sit and stare at Shane and begin to think of all the memories we have made and all of the memories we have yet to make.  There isn’t a day where I don’t thank God for giving me the gift of a husband and the kids.  I would be devastated if something were happen to any of them that would be life threatening.

Then, the last dance of the night was Bindi.  Thank goodness she was last because I don’t know if I’ve ever cried so much watching a segment of a show.

The year that Bindi chose was 2006; the year that her father, Steve Irwin, passed away.  She was only 8 when he passed away but she showed such strength and support for those around her.  She was able to use her fathers death as a way to prove how short and how precious life is.  This dance that was so filled with high emotions earned her the first 10 of the season!

So, being the “thinker” that I am, I turned to Shane and asked what his most memorable year was.  I was thinking something along the lines of the years that the kids were born, the year he was sworn into the military, or even the year that he defended our freedom.  To my surprise, he said “The one we are currently in.  Look how much has happened!”  Well, he’s right.  So far, from October 2014-October 2015 we have gotten engaged, got married, redid the kitchen in our rental home, celebrated gains, mourned losses, bought our first home, took a vacation, and celebrated our marriage with family and friends.

But then after he shared his, I got to thinking, I can’t even narrow down to my most memorable year because I have memorable years.

To begin, 2007.  Yes, you read that right.   I was 17 and a junior in high school.  I went through some trying times and learned quickly that the “All-Knowing” teenager really wasn’t all that knowing…about anything.  After some counseling and a decision to become a born again Christian, I began to turn my life around.

2012.  I entered my first engagement.  At the time, it was a very exciting time for me.  But, looking back, my heart wasn’t in the right place and we were in a relationship where we did not bring out the best in each other.  In fact, it was quite the opposite – I sacrificed a lot of my hobbies and my wants to satisfy his addictions and needs.  Which, at the time, didn’t seem like a big deal.  But paying $15 per month for a game where you have to spend a minimum of an hour to even start advancing started taking it’s toll on my pocket book as well as my health, my job, and my relationship with him.  There were also times where there were situations that were not handled with respect and care when they should have been.  “Be slow to speak” has never been more true.

2013.  I ended the engagement with less than 4 weeks to go until the wedding.  What drove me to that point?  Well, him taking a job 2 1/2 hours away from where I was working and moving away.  I had a lot of time to sit and think about who I was and what I enjoyed to do with my time.  Being with him wasn’t what I saw in my future.  I didn’t want to be in a big city (remember, farm raised.  I don’t do well with city traffic or congested housing), I didn’t see myself working at a high end retailer, bank, or high end anything for that matter.

I spent 3 months doing a lot of soul searching, a lot of praying, and a lot of recovering.  I had been praying to God to send me a sign that I was on the right path or to show me what I could have if I continued to follow Him.  In November 2013, He showed me who my husband was going to be.

2014.  I began to take a journey with Shane.  We only stepped foot onto a path pleasing to God knowing that we were both ready, that we both had the same end goal in mind, and that we would hold each other accountable to the other as well as to Christ.  We began supporting one another and walking alongside one another while still trying to uphold our morals and values that we held so close.

2015.  I got engaged to and married my soul mate, my best friend, I inherited 2 children who have been such blessings.  We were able to find a home that fit perfectly every need that we had.  We’ve enjoyed being a family and experiencing things that we both once only dreamed of.

Each of these years had a significant hand in molding me to who I have become today.  Each year being a stepping stone to prepare me for the next.

Like Tamar had stated, I’m not sure I will ever know what I did so right in my life (when I felt like all I was doing was wrong) that lead me to being so blessed.

In my opinion, the Judge ruled, and gave me the perfect 10.

But no matter what we go through or what we experience, I will give thanks to the One who made it all possible.  And much like the dancers on DWTS take the judges comments as things to improve on over the next week, I can take what He has shown us we need to improve on and strive to better please Him.  I will never be His perfect 10 because I am human and I have a sinful nature.  No one will be able to be His perfect 10; there is not one person without sin.

Life is truly precious and we need to embrace all that He has done for us and begin living for Him instead of living for ourselves.  He truly does wonderful things when He is put first in your life.

What year(s) do you feel were your most memorable?

Freeze, Frozen, or Forgiven?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading the book “God Never Blinks” by Regina Brett. I haven’t been reading it front to back like you would  a normal book.  I’ve been flipping through and finding a little passage that relates to my day.  Last night I found one that has summed up my life the past month or so.

The section was titled “When in Doubt, Just Take the Next Right Step.”

The analogy that was used was the game of freeze tag.  Once you are tagged, you stop (or freeze) in place.

I can relate to being tagged in my life and I just stop in place.  I don’t look around, I don’t move forward.  And I definitely don’t move backwards.  I’m just there – blindsided by a strong hand that has stopped me in place.

I stay in my own little world stuck in one spot wondering what my next step is going to be.  Stay where I’m at and think of endless possibilities of how to become unfrozen?  Try to break my icy mold by myself and continue on?  Try to retrace my steps and find a way around finding myself stuck in a place I don’t want to be in?

Being human, we get so wrapped up into what has gone wrong, we freeze.  We meditate on all the things that have happened, all the things we wish we could have done, or all of the things that were done.

Shane and I experienced this about a month ago.  We were so blindsided by the actions of others that we froze in place.  When you take a married couple and both of them freeze at different places on the field in different positions, it’s not good.  You can’t communicate, you can’t console, and you can’t encourage forward movement.  You stay in place, facing different directions trying to figure out what comes next.

Well, in our situation, the obvious “next step” for us was a prayer of forgiveness.  We needed to forgive so that we could move forward.  We wanted to forgive so we could move forward.

However:

Forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation.

I struggled with this concept – and still kind of do.  I have been raised thinking that if you forgive someone, their wrong doings are “erased” and you make the effort to restore what you had before you became frozen.  That’s just how it was.  That’s how it’s always been.

But, Shane showed me a new option:  you can forgive without having reconciliation.  Somethings just can’t be, won’t be, or (even in some situations) shouldn’t be resolved.

Kind of like that saying “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”  You can love someone without approving of their every move, decisions, or choices.

We “practice what we preach”.  We try to see everyone through the eyes of Christ and love everyone as we love ourselves, but there are times where this just doesn’t seem possible.  But we are told in Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children.  And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”

We cannot be imitators of God if we are walking around judging, ridiculing, wishing ill upon our neighbors, or not loving our neighbors.

When Shane sat me down and told me that there can be forgiveness and Christ-like love but not necessarily reconciliation, it caught me off guard.  But here is where it begins to make sense. (Authors note:  Feel free to correct me here if I am wrong.)

Forgiveness and Christ-like love can be one-sided.  You can forgive someone without them knowing or returning the favor.  Just the same, you can show love to someone without them wanting to receive it or returning it.

We, as Christians, can fulfill our duty as being imitators without the acknowledgement of the receiving end.

Up until the last few days, I was frozen in place.  I thought that I had broken my mold and began my journey forward.  I was wrong.  I was just as frozen last week as I was a month ago.  I hadn’t taken the next right step. I had prayed but I hadn’t put into action what I had prayed for – because I was stuck.

I want to move forward and ONLY forward.  I will not be looking back, dwelling on the past.

If you have wronged me, my husband, or my kids, know that you are forgiven and you are loved.

Just as I have been forgiven, I have forgiven.  I have forgiven, I have loved, but I cannot reconcile at this point in time.

But I am no longer frozen.  I will not stand stationary waiting for the world around me to change.  I need to be the change in the world.

I need to take that next right step.

I am in Love with Another Man and My Husband Knows It.

I am in love with another man and my husband knows it. Not only does he know it, it is the best thing for our relationship. It is the best thing for [our children]. It is the best thing for my soul.

I am in love with an outlaw. His name is hated, he is shut out, abandoned, left to himself. Governments set out to hide him, to lock him away, to keep his influence from taking over their people.

He is dangerous but he is to be trusted. He roams, but he is safety. Outlawed, but can not be hidden. Despised and rejected, but gives his all. He can not be understood, but he is the answer.

I am in love with another man, I can’t keep my mind off of him. When my heart aches, when all this world has to offer is not enough, he is my soul’s satisfaction.

If I did not have Jesus, my marriage would have fallen apart long ago. If I was not totally enthralled with my Lord, then I would have nothing of benefit to teach my [children]. If my God was not all consuming, then there is no need for me here in this Earth.

Oh Jesus, I am wholly, completely in love with you!

Originally blogged on:
Beautiful Life With Cancer

Cross The Line.

Have you ever really sat back and thought about everything that a line can do?  It can be a barrier, it can be a way to organize things, it can cause division among things, or it can be a path to follow.

For example, the lines on the roads.  If they are followed correctly, they guide traffic safely.  However, you remove those lines, there becomes chaos.

There are figurative lines when we talk about personal boundaries.  Nobody can see them, but you know they are there.

But what about when it comes to faith?  Christ drew a line for us to follow:
“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me’.” ~John 14:6 HCSB

He gave us a very black and white statement.  No one can get to the Father unless they believe in Jesus.  But this is where the line gets blurred for some people.

See, you can either be on one side of the line or the other – either you believe or you don’t – there is no grey area.

There are those believers who claim to be believers but do not show actions of a believer.  In other words they do not show Christ’s love, they do not pray for others, and/or they do not give up complete control of their lives to/for Christ.

On the other hand, you have those who are believers and show Christ’s love to the best of their Earthly ability, they pray for others – especially those who come to them in need, and they offer their whole lives to Christ.

I will not sit here and say that it is easy for me to turn over complete control of my life.  After all, who could keep up a schedule like ours if you have zero control over it?  Well, the answer is simple – He can.

I gave up complete control of my life in early 2013.  Up until then, I was one of those believers who said they believed (and I truly did) but I did not show it.  I did hide behind my faith.  I was scared to offend those around me who didn’t believe.  As soon as I gave up control of my life, He started to do some pretty amazing things.

He brought me out of an abusive relationship.  He healed my broken self into something that He could use for His glory.  He called me back into an education program that I loved.  He gave me a job offer that allowed me to escape the daily grind of a gas station.  He allowed my path to cross with a man that I had only dreamed about.  He showed me a way to share my life story, my faith story, and my heart on a public forum.  He lead us to a home church.  He has done it all.

The difference between the “new” believer in me and the “old” believer in me?  The old believer believed that Jesus was my Savior.  The new believer in me believes that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  They key difference being the word Lord.

One of the definitions of the word Lord is “act in a superior and domineering manner towards someone”.

I have began to follow His greatest command for us: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” ~Matthew 22:37
He has come first and foremost in my life – even during times that I wish I could maintain control.  I cannot do it without Him.  He knows what I can handle and He knows that I need Him to help me through.

Do you hold Christ above yourself or do you feel that you come first?

We saw the line that Christ gave us – “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

If you have not accepted Christ and your Lord and Savior, do you feel that he is going to let you to the Father off of some excuse as to why you felt that you were superior to Christ?

When He stretched out his arms on that cross, He forgave all of our sins.  That shows us that not one person should be viewed over the other.  We are all sinners and we have all been forgiven.  So why is it that people still feel that they can control when Christ is in their lives and when he ‘doesn’t need to be there’?

Wonderful things begin to happen in life when you decide that you want to give up complete control.  Until then, His arms are still stretched open waiting for you to realize that He is the way, the truth and the life.

“No one comes to the Father Except through me.”

Which side of the line are you on?

*Blog topic credit goes to Shane.  Thanks, love!*

Warning: If I Were The Devil.

Paul Harvey released this essay back in 1965.  It’s just a little scary how accurate he was.  Never did I think that our country would be headed down the road that it is.

What are your thoughts?

*Please discuss respectfully.*