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.

Advertisements

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.*

No Sweat.

Competition is so ugly.  Tempers flare, nasty words are exchanged, and actions are taken that wouldn’t have been done under “normal” circumstances.  But, it gets uglier when it is between people.

I may not be “old” by many standards of those friends, family, and others around me, but I’ve been around long enough to see competition between different areas of people – most often, family.

When you lose contact or when life gets away on you, people who you were once somewhat close with start to feel as if they were put on the backburner.  They begin to read into actions and words and begin to draw conclusions where conclusions should not be drawn.  From there, jealousy begins to boil.  It begins to overtake all aspects of your life.  You can’t enjoy getting together with friends and/or family because you are too focused on what you believe to be true – not what IS true.  You start to play out scenarios that may never be.

It becomes the main focal point in your life and you are determined to “fix it” by walking away – because you fell “victim”.  You don’t take into consideration all aspects because truth doesn’t matter to you and you feel you don’t have to “deal” with the consequences of your actions because as long as you are happy, that’s all that matters.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Sadly, I have been in this position one too many times and so has my husband and kids.

The largest contributor?  Social media.

It has become so large,  so ugly, and so misunderstood.  It has become an outlet for things such as this blog, sharing pictures of growing children with family miles away, finding little quotes here and there that strike a cord with what you are going through.  So, naturally, this get shared onto your Facebook Timeline, your Twitter feed, your Instagram feed, and other outlets that you may have used.

Yesterday, I found a picture that rang very true for Shane and I.  We have had so many toxic people in our lives and even have had some in our lives as a couple.  To which, we have weeded them out.  Toxic people make for a toxic life – a life full of pessimism, anger, and drama.  The picture quoted this: “I do not HAVE to allow anyone in the lives of my children.  I don’t care if you’re blood.  If you’re toxic to me, you are toxic to my children!”

I shared it.

Of course there’s going to be that one (or two) people who see it that feel it was posted against them.  Well, it wasn’t.  It was shared because it was something I agreed with and something that Shane and I have dealt with.  We are not strangers to burning bridges with those people who do not do good to us or for us – individuals from past relationships, friends that had used us for everything we had, old managers/employees/co-workers that thought it would be hilarious to put the kids’ safety in danger.

It was in no way directed at anyone in particular on my page.

But, if the shoe fits, lace it up!

Our friend circle has greatly decreased and it’s been a blessing.  We have very few close friends.  Personally, I have two women I would consider myself really close to.  Katelyn has been by my side since college and has literally seen me at my highest highs and my lowest of lows.  She healed me in times of hurt and she encouraged me to go after the things that made me happy.

Holly has also become someone very close to me.  Our men work together and are in the guards together.  I’ve been able to talk to her about things that no one else would understand unless they have been through it.  What makes it even better is that most of the time, we are going through it together.

There are a few other women here and there that I have been getting close with and who I am able to talk to.  Especially the ladies I work with.  They have been so supportive and so understanding of the things that have happened.

Shane has a few men that he can lean on for support.  Men that he has served this country with and men who he has grown close with from church.

Aside from that, we don’t interact with many people for this reason.

The well-being of the children come before our social needs/desires.

So, all of that being said:

You feel it’s best to step away because you feel that you were considered one of the toxic ones?  That decision is on you.  We offered our peace and we offered a sense of genuine reconciliation, but it wasn’t good enough for you – I’ve never been good enough for you.

But that’s ok with me.  I married Shane and as long as I’m good enough for him, that’s all that matters.

I pray that you find a sense of peace.  I pray that you strengthen your relationship in Christ because when He is left in control, wonderful things begin to happen.  He will open your eyes to the things that you are not able to see.  Maybe then you will understand that everything we have said and done has been out of love and has been an extension of God’s love for us.

“God is love.  Therefore, love.  Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love.” ~ Henry Drummond

I Owe You.

Entitlement is such an ugly thing that has become all too popular among children as of late.  They feel they are owed everything they could ever want “just because”.

I can’t even go to the grocery store without hearing a fit or two from children who were denied candy or something of the sorts.  They will scream all the way up and down the aisle until suddenly, mom or dad gives in.  Right there, children are learning that if they scream and cry, they can get what they want.  And so it begins…

M&M are beginning to learn that hard work pays off.  With them getting older, they want to do more things, go more places, and buy more stuff.  But, Shane and I were not handed anything growing up and we didn’t want the kids to begin to think that if they beg and plead, they will get what they want.

We had tried a couple of different things; chore calendars, chore lists, verbally telling them what needs to get done, etc.  But nothing ever got through to them.  We got the famous “I forgot…” or “I didn’t realize you wanted the ENITRE bathroom cleaned…” or “I did do (insert chore here), but I forgot this part and this part and this part…”

The list of excuses was getting extensive and some-what hilarious.  However, it didn’t get them out of re-doing the job if it wasn’t done right or even doing it in the first place if it was forgot.  What we were really teaching them was work ethic.  Let’s face it, once Shane and I are done with them, they enter the working world.  If they don’t have good work ethic and integrity, no one will want to have them (or keep them) as an employee.

They really got a shock when we offered (well… I offered and then told the rest of the family later) to pick rock for my dad out on the farm.  I forewarned the kids it was A LOT of physical work.  To my surprise, both of them got on the hayrack and worked until they couldn’t work anymore.

Then, we come up on this big move.  The house needed a lot of work done on the inside before we were able to move in – refinishing floors, painting, cleaning, etc.  So, we approached the kids and asked for help – we needed as much as we could get!

They were at the new house every afternoon for the two weeks they were with their mom and then the last week of prep they were with us so they were stuck with it anyway.  Then, it was time to move on to the rental house.  We needed to pack, clean, re-paint, and patch the lawn.  It was a lot that needed to be done in a short amount of time and they really stepped up to make our dream home happen.

Watching them grow in their work ethic and their enthusiasm to help with big projects is a lot like how I view my relationship with Christ.  I can be so forgetful when it comes to what I should be doing – praying, reading, discipleship, and being a Godly wife and mother.  But when I do any of those, I am so excited to do them to the full extent that I can!

I’ve seen people who feel like God owes them.  Whether it be due to someone close to them passing, a battle with a disease, a battle with a handicap, or something else that triggers everyday struggle.  They feel that because God has blessed them differently than someone else, He owes them something more than His life that he gave on the cross for full forgiveness of all our sins.

I can’t understand why people would feel like He would owe them more than that.  Have I lost someone I loved? Yes.  Do I personally know people battling with cancer?  Yes.  Do I personally know someone battling a physical or mental disability?  Yes and yes.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m mad at God for putting these blessings in disguise on people in my life.  Are there days I’m saddened about it?  Sure.  But you can’t go on being mad about something you can’t change; and honestly, there is probably a lesson behind it that only the people fighting these things are aware of.  Maybe it’s strengthened their faith, maybe it’s solidified their faith, maybe it’s allowed them to find faith.

If anything, we owe it to Him to continue to spread His great story, to bring others to him.

He has blessed us with His truth, His mercy, and His eternal grace.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses.  You are saved by grace!” ~ Ephesians 2:4-5 (HCSB)

i-owe-you-money-jar-19456929

More is Less.

After being exposed to a large amount of people (especially women) this past weekend, I have a burning question that I can’t seem to find a suitable answer for.  What happened to self-respect and modesty?

Over time, I’ve heard many comments such as “I wish I could find a man who respects me” or “I would like to be with a man who loves me for more than just my body”.   In the cases that it was said directly to me, I made the comment, “Well, maybe if you covered up a little or didn’t show everything off, you would get respect and you wouldn’t plant desires into their mind.”

Harsh?  Maybe.  But I mean(t) it so lovingly.

Media (especially social media) has painted the picture that showing your well endowed chest, your rounded bottom, or your pancake flat stomach is the thing to do.  Don’t believe me?  Google Red Carpet Styles 2015.

This is where Shane and I get really sticky about what we let M&M watch.  We don’t want daughter M to think that it’s ok to show off what body she does have and we don’t want son M to think that it is ok to look at women with lust.

Well, we got an experience this last weekend that just solidified that I’m getting old.

We took the kids on a trip to Valleyfair this last weekend.  They’ve been such a HUGE help with the move, getting settled, keeping things straightened out and yet managing to stay on top of their own event schedules and appointments.  I knew that we were going to be exposed to a whole new culture up there.  I was expectant of it having been there many times myself; however, the kids not so much.

While we were walking around Valleyfair, I couldn’t help but notice the large number of women who were walking around in shorts showing off their rears, teeny tiny bikini’s, or clothing/swimsuits that were either too small, too tight, or both.  What we saw was disgusting.  I’m all for fitting clothes but at least allow yourself some bending/breathing room.

We made our way to the water park and it only went down hill.  (And this is why I say I’m getting old.)  No matter where you turned, you saw boobs or you saw a butt (or if you were lucky just a crack).  It was obvious that we were outsiders.  Shane was sitting in his swimming shorts and a shirt, M was in a one piece swimming suit, M was in his swimming trunks and a shirt and I was in a tank top type suit with swim shorts that were mid-thigh.  Guessing by some of the looks I did catch, we may have well been dressed in parkas.

But, watching the kids, I could tell what they were seeing was the exact same thing I was seeing.

So, what did happen to modesty?

I never used to think that I was super modest-  I’m guilty of showing a small portion of my stomach, walking around in tighter fitting clothing, etc. etc. etc.  But one of the biggest things that drew Shane in was, modesty.  Granted, he always saw me in my work uniform there for a while, but it wasn’t just in my dress, it was in my character as well.

The saying more is less has been nothing less than resounding since we traveled to Valleyfair.  I can’t help but be thankful that I grew out of the phase where I thought that it was ok to show skin.  I am also very thankful that both kids were put off by what we saw.

We read in 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 “Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought at a price.  Therefore, glorify God in your body.”

We see that our body is not our own.  It is God’s.  It is something that we should be treating with respect in order to glorify his wondrous works!  But instead, the “now” thing is to flaunt it.

Women, if you don’t want to be treated like a “piece of meat”, dress for the attention that you want.  Allow your personality, your education, your common sense, and/or your demeanor to draw in the attention of a man who will respect you.

Men, don’t lust over the external looks.  If you want to find out what who a woman really is, have conversation with her.  Honor her, respect her.  If you wouldn’t want a man to treat your daughter that way, don’t treat someone else’s daughter like that.

More truly is less.

untitled

Thank You!

A huge THANK YOU goes out to Carl for giving me a shout out on his blog site!

His writing has provided much encouragement and inspiration in the little time that I have followed it.  Please go over and check him out and let him (and I) know what you think!

Support your fellow bloggers!! ❤

In Good Times And In Bad.

Over the last few weeks, we have been on our roller coaster of life.  We’ve had some really good times and we’ve had some not so good times.

We knew as soon as we got engaged, our lives were going to be busy busy busy for the following months, but nothing could have prepared us for this whirlwind we’ve been caught up in for the last 6 months.

We went from engaged to married in 29 days, we had events with kids come up, we had personal events come up, but nothing could have prepared us for the last two events we have experienced; which, ironically, kind of work together in a sense.

A couple of months ago, we were beginning the hunt for a new home.  The one we were in was cozy…a little too cozy.  All four of us were crammed in to a two bedroom (legally 1 bedroom), with a cat and two large dogs.  It was a single level home with a loft style upstairs and a semi-finished basement.  The bathroom was only accessed through the master bedroom.  Needless to say, our not-so-little family had outgrown the house and we were starting to feel it.

So, our search began.  We learned quickly that the housing market where we live is either one extreme or the other with little to no in-between.  You have mansion style homes that are $150,000+ or you have run down houses for $30,000-$90,000.  The few that we did see that fit our needs square footage wise failed us in the amount of rooms we needed.  So, we did what we always do in times like these; we began to pray.

I’m one of those people who knows that everything is done in God’s time, not mine, but I tend to forget that He knows when the time is best for us.  So while we were strikeing out on houses, He was planning something great for our family.

I had hit discouragement but I continued to pray.  One day after work, Shane found our “dream home” on his way to the post office.  He read the sign and read the number and recognized it as someone who attended our church.  He ran the idea past me and I immediately agreed that we needed to call on it.  From the outside, he could tell that there was more than enough room for our family with room to grow, God willing.

We met up with the owner and we were able to go in and take a look around.  We made it three rooms into the house and we both just knew that this was our home.  It was warm, it had character, it was open, and there was plenty of room for the four of us and our three fur babies.

So, we began the process of funding and finalizing closing on the house.  The process was moving quickly; as in, about 4 weeks from beginning to end fast. But, while we were giving thanks to God and enjoying the moments of pure joy, relief, and happiness, there were outsiders planting seeds of doubt in others about our family.

I thought I had heard all of the rumors about us that I could hear.  We got married shortly after our engagement because I was pregnant.  There were bouts of unfaithfulness.  But the last one we heard was nothing short of astonishing.  I won’t get into much detail but I will tell you this; it was big enough that it caused us to stumble backwards a bit and put some aspects of our lives on hold.  We had thought that all rumors had been addressed, forgiveness was expressed on the parties that were affected (or at least acceptance, healing, and moving forward), and that we were on our way to a very happy next couple of months.

I’m not sure what hurt worse, the rumor that we were approached with or the fact that some individuals who know us inside and out believed it to a point.  (Let’s be honest, if they 100% didn’t believe it, they wouldn’t have approached us the way they did and they would have been able to put the rumors to rest right then and there.)

I wrestled with the fact that this was supposed to be a time of joy, a time of Thanksgiving.  God had given us this beautiful home, but we were having a hard time enjoying it because we were so focused on clearing up rumors, helping one another through it, and trying to find a way to move forward.

After a lot (and I mean A LOT) of prayer, we have finally reached a spot where we have accepted what trials God has given us and we are trying to find the lesson within it.  The lesson I took:  There are always going to be people (no matter how friendly, how loving, how supportive, how sacrificial you are) who will always try to bring you, your family, and your happiness/satisfaction with life down to their level.  We vowed to one another that we would stand by each other in the good times and the bad times.  This marriage isn’t just for the good times.  Who would want a flawless marriage?

I’m also not one to pass judgment on the individuals who first started these rumors.  Instead, all I have to say is that I’m praying for you.  I’m praying that God will give you the courage to face whatever issues need to be faced.  I pray that He will allow you to see the truth and give you the ability to celebrate it.  I pray that He will show you love and compassion in ways that you have never felt before and that you are able to find peace in Him.

I am also not upset with those who addressed the rumors.  I’m praying for you as well.  I’m praying that God gives you a sense of clarity and understanding.  I’m praying that you are able to understand and forgive all aspects of the situation.  I am also praying that you are able to help and encourage us to heal through this situation.

But, in the mean time, I’m going to embrace my family, I’m going to take time to enjoy being a wife and a mom, and I am going to enjoy being a homeowner.  I’m going to continue to grow in His word and I am going to continue to cling to Him when times get rough.  I am grateful for all that God has given us and all that He has allowed us to see within the past year.  He has blessed me with the best.

Our first home!
Our first home!

Pray Or Be Prey

It’s been a while since I’ve last written something!  Over the last few weeks, I have found myself (once again) in the middle of this whirlwind of life.  How I was ever able to write once a day is beyond me.  The schedule of a full-time wife, full-time mom, full-time student, full-time employee, and full-time individual becomes a lot of chaos when one thing trips you up.

My absence started with a low.  I honestly can’t even tell you what triggered it but I found myself in a spot in my life where I felt like I was stuck.  I felt like I was at a place where I felt that what I had was as good as it was going to get.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m overjoyed with my life.  But something changes when you realize that there’s not much left to change – it’s the daily grind. Get up, go to work, come home, do housework, go to bed.

But, not long after I found myself at that point, I found a way to reconnect to real life – and not necessarily in a good way; but not in a bad way either.  A way that was able to grow my faith and the faith of the kids.

See, M has taken a liking to shows that deal with spiritual practices.  I’m not talking prayer and worship songs – I’m talking chants, Ouija boards, spells, etc., etc., etc.  Now, at first when it was limited to the show Super Natural, I didn’t think much of it.  But then she let it slip that her mom has taught her how to read palms – or “tell the future”.  She has also started the habit of throwing salt on her brother when he was “annoying” or “irritating” or anything of that nature.  There were also small things happening that were just throwing red flags that we needed to address and see what was going on.

Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with any of these things, I just personally do not believe in them.  I have sat down and watched shows like this and had zero issues and even done research on things like the Ouija board and other things but it was more for education or understanding than to form a belief or adapt to a practice.  However, when you are not spiritually mature and you begin to dabble in these things and you start to practice some of these rituals, you begin to open yourself up to a world that you know nothing (or very little) about.

When I heard some of these things come from M’s mouth, I was shocked.  I knew her mother is known for saying “I’m not religious; I’m spiritual.” but I never thought that she would try to push her daughter to become the same.

M&M have been raised in faith.  They have attended Sunday School and church with us, and they chose to be re-baptized since they understand what it is and what it signifies.  They are no strangers to these conversations and they know what these types of things can lead to – or at least we thought they did.  It becomes almost surreal when you see these types of things coming from a child… your child – and they don’t even realize how much it goes against what we know they believe.  How do you sit them down and tell them “This is not what Christ wants for you.” without giving them the impression that their mother is full of “it”?  (I don’t agree with her beliefs and I personally do not feel they are “right” but I cannot judge and I cannot force her to believe.  She is entitled to believe and practice what she wants)

We sat M down one night before supper and asked her a few questions.  After some discussion, we realized that what she was doing was more-so out of curiosity (because she saw it on TV) than for “practice”.  We explained to her about the dangers of opening herself up to things like that.  She began to see quite quickly that “spirits” and “angels and demons” are nothing to mess with.  She didn’t realize that what she was doing was something her mother wanted her to do; it wasn’t what she believed and what she wanted.

Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us “Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in hearts.” That’s really what it has come down to.

But it’s not just M that struggles with this, it’s me too, it’s probably Shane as well.  I get so wrapped up in things going on in my life that prayer and daily readings seem to be a chore more than they seem like a pleasure.

There was a time during my valley where I wasn’t praying.  Not because I didn’t want to, but because in that moment, I didn’t know how.  But it became quite clear (and quite fast) that if I didn’t pray, I was prey.

My Armor of God became weak without prayer.  I felt myself being tested in ways that only those evil forces would test me.  They put the blinders on and make it feel like God was testing me instead.  I had become the prey of all that could be considered “evil”.  Satan knew that my armor was cracked and he managed to find a way in.  He was as sly as the fox.  My faith became a little unstable and my view of Him became foggy for a brief moment in time.  But He didn’t turn away from me.  Instead, He guided me back to where my vision became clear, my mind was put at ease, and my armor was repaired.

I never realized how much I prayed until I didn’t.  A day or two had passed where not much prayer had been said.  But, one morning, Shane woke me up about 3:30AM telling me that he was on his way out the door for work.  He leaned down for a hug and immediately I wrapped my arms around him, my hands interlocked and I began to pray “Dear Lord, thank-you for blessing me with this man.  Thank you for blessing our marriage.  Please lead us and keep us on a path that is only pleasing to you.  In your name I pray, Amen.”

It was the first heartfelt prayer I had said in 48 hours.  It happened so quickly that it almost felt as if it wasn’t me doing it.  That day was a really good day.  My head was clear and my heart wasn’t heavy.

On Sunday, we heard a sermon that revolved around the power of prayer and how everyone has a story behind them but we are forgiven by His death and resurrection.

Because of that experience, I now remind myself “Pray or be prey.” I have so much to thank Him for and have so much to be happy and excited about – He deserves ALL the glory; in prayer and in conversation/blogs/etc.

I will not be prey.

Photo Credit:  Google Images
Photo Credit: Google Images