For my Sweetheart – Happy 11th Anniversary!

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Today (July 23, 2016) is my 11th wedding anniversary.  I opted to blog rather than buy a Hallmark – after all, my husband deserves the spotlight!

I guess everyone always says the same thing – I can’t believe it has been 11 years, and I can’t believe it has ONLY been 11 years.  It’s so hard to remember me before him…honestly, I like the me WITH him so much more (God played a big part in that)!

I met this incredible man in church.  I quickly developed a huge crush on him (which I totally hid as if my life depended on it).  I was drawn to him (not because I thought he was hot – even though I did think that) but more because he had the most gentle and sweetest spirit.  He had a laugh that was contagious – it lit up not only his whole face but the entire room as well.  He was intelligent.  He had himself together – already owned a house and had begun a wonderful career as a teacher.  I was very impressed…and I was very smitten too!

He asked me out, and to make a short story even shorter, we were married a little less than 7 months later.  Ecclesiastes 3 pretty much sums up the past 11 years: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…  Together we have experienced weeping, laughing, mourning and dancing.  I hold in my heart all of these things…I wouldn’t change a thing.  Even through the most painful times, Chuck was there for me and held my heart like no one other than God could have.  He has let me cry with my face buried in his chest countless times, and his soothing and loving touch nursed my heart back to health.  He lets me dance through the grocery store isles when I hear a song I love (uncontrollable urge on my part), and he loves me even more for doing it.

I love that with him I am raw and vulnerable.  I love that I know how much he loves me always – even when we disagree…it’s an unconditional love like I’ve never known.  I love that when I’m upset, he immediately prays for me out loud on the spot with such passion and fervor.  I love his strength.  I love his passion.  I love his fight.  I love his dedication and loyalty.  I love his heart.

I’m so glad I waited for God’s best for me (even when I really didn’t want to wait).  Chuck is the perfect man for me, and I’m so blessed that He was God’s choice for me (I prayed for God to arrange my marriage).  I would marry him over and over and over again.  I truly love him more with each passing day.  I respect him more with each passing day.  I’m more thankful for him with each passing day.  I’m more in awe of God for bringing me him each passing day.  I’m so proud to be his wife.  I’m so proud of him – proud of the choices he makes, proud that he lets God lead him, proud of his noble character, proud of the man he is, period!

Happy Anniversary my Love!  You are the greatest love I’ve ever known!   This journey has been incredible, and I love that I get to walk out the rest of my days with you! I’m excited for each and every day of our lives together – love you always, your girl

 

Do you love me?

Imagine Jesus asking you this question – Do you love me?   Pause for a moment and think about how it makes  you feel.  Jesus asked Peter in John 21:15 if he loves Him.  He asked him 3 times in fact.  Peter’s response makes me think he was disappointed that Jesus asked him this – how could He ask such a thing when He knows everything – He knew that Peter loved him.

I tell Jesus I love Him all of the time, and I truly do with all of my heart.  I never realized that while I know Jesus loves me, I felt that I blended in with everyone else that He loves – nothing special to see here.  I’ve struggled for decades with feeling invisible.  When I read these words – I knew that Jesus was asking ME personally if I love Him?  In an instant that question healed a 30-something year old wound in me – the wound that told me that I am invisible.

That question made me feel singled out.  It made me feel the intense gaze of the greatest love I have ever known.  Wow – He sees me.  There was no blending in at that moment – truthfully, I didn’t want to blend in.  His loving gaze captured my heart and took my breath away.  I just wanted to stay there in that moment lost in His eyes forever.

I share this because I want you to have this moment with Him…I want you to know that He SEES you.  His eyes and His heart are fixed on you!  There is so much love and beauty in this.  This kind of intimacy is life changing.  You are His beloved – revel in the romance of that always!

When truth and love breed rejection…

I decided to write today because sometimes it is the only way for me to process things. I’m in an awkward in-between stage in my life.  Maybe it’s not really an in-between stage; maybe it’s a short, strange transitional season.  I have no idea where this journey of life is leading me – really, I have no idea where God is leading me.  I’m doing my best to wait on Him – to wait on His leading.  I keep feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and find myself in the familiar place of wanting to charge ahead into a space that I control – truly a space where I can hide and mesh into the fabric of being on everyone else’s back burner.  That place honestly sucks, but it’s where I have spent most of my life, so it’s comfortable to me – in a sucky kind of way.  The real truth is I hate that place, and I want something different.  In this moment I find myself manifesting the hurt of 35 years…this hurt has followed me my entire life – which really means this has been an on-going attack of Satan my entire life – one meant to cripple me – one meant to keep me from my purpose and destiny.  As much as I don’t like this particular place of vulnerability that I find myself in with Jesus, I hate the thought of letting Satan defeat me more.  I’m ready to step out and walk in my purpose, and I know this deep wound/scar tissue is holding me back.  I know that God wants to heal it…He has been pointing it out to me for weeks.  Every time I think I have moved past it, I realize that I haven’t.  Today everything caught up with me, and I find myself in a horrible funk.

I titled this blog when truth and love breed rejection.  I’ve always had a loving heart – I see the good in everyone, even when it is deeply buried.  It’s part of my calling (which took me a long time realize).  My point here is that I love with my whole heart.  I don’t hold back.  Yet I continuously find myself being horribly wounded by everyone that I hold dear and even those that are just a little dear.  Because I love using my whole heart, when people hurt me, it’s so hard to recover.  I’ve spent my whole life running from these wounds and accepting the lies of people’s actions as truth.  This started all the way back in elementary school in the 4th grade.  This grade was exceptionally impactful for me as it was my first year in school without my daddy.  He died at the end of 3rd grade.  I was already pretty lost because of his death – very unsure of what his death even meant for me – very unsure of who I was now.  I moved forward in the 4th grade making friends and giving my whole heart to these little girls that were now my friends.  As it turns out, maybe they really weren’t my friends.  Maybe they didn’t love me back – maybe they just pretended to love me back.  I stayed loyal to one of these friends all the way through 7th grade, and just continued to get hurt over and over and over again.  I don’t know why I didn’t just find new friends – I guess I just needed some sense of belonging.  The thing is that regardless of who my ‘best’ friend was over the years, they always ended up doing the same things…betraying me, saying mean things about me behind my back, chastising me about the way I dress, my hair cut, the way I dance, and all sorts of other things. This list of folks isn’t just limited to my best friends – I went through the same things with very close family members.  I went through the same things at several of my workplaces.  Throughout my life my love and honesty has bred so much rejection and deep, deep hurt.  Throughout my life I have been told by all of these people that I don’t have value; I don’t have worth; I’m not loved; I’m not special.  I felt I was allowed to stick around because I was willing to do whatever anyone needed me to do; but I never felt wanted, loved and adored or valuable.

I mentioned that I’m in a transitional season.  I resigned from my job in corporate America at the end of April.  The truth is that I pigeon-holed myself in a field that I honestly didn’t like.  Rather than doing what I knew in my heart was my passion, I chose something that I thought others would find more meaningful – I chose something that brought me no life in hopes of finding acceptance from others.  Guess what – it didn’t work so well.  My career of over 20+ years brought me more rejection and feelings of hopelessness because I felt like I wasted my life. I had true successes throughout my career, and I made a lot of money – none of that matters to me.   I know now that my life nor these years were a waste – God uses everything for good for those that are called according to His purpose.  After much prayer and waiting, I knew it was time to leave that long path of un-fulfillment in April.  I honestly feel like it’s time for me to move into my calling, my purpose, my passion.  I know that God is telling me that I have been created for a time such as this.  I know in my heart of hearts that God has the most spectacular journey laid out for me, and it is something that will bedazzle my heart.  I know it is something that in an instant will make me feel like those long years behind me barely existed…a thousand years is but a day.  I also know that in this transition there are places in my heart that are still so wounded, and those wounds need to be healed in order for me to truly experience everything God has for me moving forward.  I spent the first month after my resignation climbing the walls – staying home with nothing to do or no purpose was so foreign to me.  I’m in the second month now, and things are better – I have a bit of a rhythm going, and I have some things I’m working on that are truly my passion.  During this time God has been digging deep into my heart and showing me the dead parts.  He has already healed some of the things He has shown me during this transition period, but there are other things He has shown me that are still there causing death in my heart.  Mainly the things that remain are all of the things I have talked about here – how friends, family, etc rejected me and wounded me.  I’ve known the root for a few weeks – God showed me where these things originated…but my healing still hasn’t happened even though I tried to convince myself that it had.

God uses things we find bizarre sometimes to point us to our wounds.  I woke up today like any other normal Saturday – the whole day ahead of me with really nowhere to be or nothing pressing to do.  The first thing I did was look at my phone – there on social media was another one of these things…someone I had poured my heart into decided that people that were so mean to me were more acceptable and more valuable than I was.  Something else on social media caught my attention –  a former Voice finalist was shot and killed after one of her performances.  Seeing this put me in such a deep funk – it made me feel so wounded.  This is what I mean about God using bizarre things to point to our wounds.  My feelings about her death were irrational.  She was very talented, but beyond watching her season of the Voice, I really had not followed her career.  Yet all morning I have felt so much bitterness from this.  I realized that I identified with the characteristics her shooter projected onto her – clearly he thought she had no value or worth – so much so that he took her life.  I’m certainly not trying to say that anything I have been through compares to this – it clearly doesn’t.  What I am saying is that it makes me angry that someone else decided her fate – that someone decided to play God with her life.  She was a beautiful, young girl with so much passion and love for everyone.  She had her whole life ahead of her – a life to touch so many people…and in an instant it was gone – someone had snuffed it out.  That’s the part I identify with – I feel like I’ve had several people snuff me out…they didn’t literally kill me, but they have been killing my soul year after year.  I know now that this has been the master plan of the devil – trying to keep me hidden and isolated – making me feel invisible – making me feel rejected, unworthy, unloved and devalued.

As a result of my wounds,  I learned to just fade into the background.  I learned to stay on the sidelines loving people and working hard and never being seen or acknowledged.  That empty place is where my soul has resided for over 35 years.  Frankly, my soul needs a new home – a home that is filled with love and adoration – a home where I’m valued and of worth – a home where I am accepted fully and loved just because I am me – a home where others actually want me around because they truly enjoy being with me.  What God is showing me in this very moment is that regardless of the hurts, I have always been someone that people  have valued and loved and adored and wanted to be around.  Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy – and he has done a fantastic job up until now…I am just realizing that the lies we receive from people’s actions are truly lies – just because they make us feel a certain way doesn’t mean it is truly their heart for us.  It doesn’t mean they don’t love, accept and value us. Satan will use every opportunity to bury us or to snuff us out – and the best way to do that is by using everyone we love…we are all pawns in his nasty game.

The first step to freedom is always recognizing the lies we believed.  The truth always brings light to darkness.  The truth is:  You are a Princess/Prince – the Daughter/Son of a King,  You are wholly loved, You are wholly accepted, You are beautiful, You are adored, You bedazzle your Daddy, You have captured His heart, He delights in you, He created you for your very own unique purpose, He will never leave you or forsake you, He loves you as far as the East is from the West and then some, He is the lover of your soul and He carries your heart, He catches your tears and washes your heart with them, He dances with you, He carries you when you are faint or weary, He holds your hands every day and walks with you, He is your best friend, He is your greatest Love, He is your Truth, He is your Delight, He is your Honor, He is your Defender, He goes before you, He walks beside you, and He walks behind you.  He is the Vine, and you are His Branch.  His sweet and gentle spirit dance all around you making your heart sing and soar!  Bask in His truth today and always! Wrap yourself in His love – His love is yours!

As I close this post  I pray that you would be able to recognize God’s knock however it may come – whether through a song, a current event, a book, the Word, a movie or anything else in this world.  We are meant to have abundant life and joy.  We are meant to walk in freedom with purpose.  I pray that your heart would be open to His healing always!

 

Unashamed

I’ve been reading Unashamed by Christine Caine.  I’m only on Chapter 5…usually I fly through books, but this is one to take slowly, to absorb all that God is showing you.  Funny, I bought the book because I knew it would be good, but foolishly I thought there wasn’t possibly any other major thing that God could heal in me.  I was so wrong, and I’m so thankful that I was.

I’ve had intimacy issues throughout my marriage…the one place I should never feel  shame.  My husband has always been so patient, understanding and so loving.  There have been times in my past where the thought of being intimate with him crippled me with fear – it wasn’t all the time – it was very sporadic.  Every time I feel this fear, God is about to heal something in me.  God showed me early in our marriage that I had been molested when I was a little girl – I had repressed it.  That was definitely part of the problem, but it wasn’t all of it.  He long ago healed me from that.  There have been some other things I have walked through that left me very broken hearted.  God has been healing these things one at a time.  As I was reading Unashamed, my Spirit felt heavy, and I felt that same familiar feeling – God was tugging at me showing me that I had a wound that was still buried.  He showed me on the spot exactly where it came from – it came from an unhealthy relationship in my past.  I thought I had been healed from that…I had shared all of these things long ago with my husband intentionally because I know that truth brings light to darkness.  I didn’t realize that I still carried the shame from it.  What I discovered yesterday is that it was not even my shame to carry – it was shame that I attached to myself and wore as my own.  I had been exposed to some sexual perversion as a child from someone very influential in my life…I wasn’t part of these acts – I just saw them by mistake (mainly because things were left out where they shouldn’t have been).  These things made me feel dirty, and they gave me a completely different feeling about this person.  I thought this person was dirty.  I realized that this particular relationship that God was showing me from my past, though not perverse at all, made me identify with this person, and I put the filth on myself.  I was dirty from then until yesterday.  Yesterday God showed me a picture of myself from high school…I was such a pure, good girl.  God showed me that is who I am – I have always been that sweet, innocent girl.  That’s my heart – regardless of any relationship I have been in – my heart has always been pure.

I’m so excited about what God is doing in all of His daughters’ lives!  Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom!  I pray that God would use this book to heal something in every single person that reads it!

 

Jonah and Beyond

There are so many nuggets in the book of Jonah, but a couple of things stood out to me the most…one of which took my brain on a crazy rabbit trail.

The first thing that grabs my attention is the fact that Jonah thought he could outrun God.  Adam and Eve were hiding from Him in the garden – clearly there is no outrunning God or hiding from Him, yet we all do it.  I guess we think it’s easier to hide in our shame or selfishness…if we are lucky, we come to our senses and realize God is always the first place we should run – even in our darkest hour.  Jonah was running away from God because he didn’t want to be obedient.  I’m not certain that I have ever run from God because I didn’t want to be obedient to what I knew was a direct command.  I have, however, spent many years running from God because I was ashamed of myself and felt void of all hope.  Honestly, I wasn’t even aware at the time that my loving  God could make it all better.  I certainly know that now, and as hard and lonely as my years away from Him were, they made my love for Him so much sweeter and deeper and intimate.  Thank God He didn’t give up on me.  Jonah reminds us that God’s love is for all of us – even the worst sinners – all we have to do is turn our hearts to Him and repent.    God will receive us over and over and over…He is that merciful and loving.  Hallelujah!

The second point that stands out to me (and thus begins the rabbit trail in my head) is the fact that Jonah was angry because he didn’t want God to forgive the wretched people of Nineveh.  Have you ever found yourself in this place – the place of not wanting God to forgive someone?  I’ve certainly found myself in the place of wanting God to defend me by unleashing on those that have hurt me…even those that I knew were His children.  I don’t know why Jonah didn’t want the people of Nineveh to be saved.  There are scholars that say Jonah truly believed that only the Jews were God’s people, and that the Gentiles shouldn’t carry the same weight.  I think sometimes our selfishness and our hurts get in our way, and we want to feel like we are the only ones that God sees, and that He sees us as the most special.  If He (or others) sees those that hurt us as special, then it must mean we deserve the horrible things that were done to us.  Of course this isn’t the truth, but it is how we receive it.  It’s like looking in a tarnished mirror that is being held up for us by Satan himself.

When I was younger (high school age), I was very much a goody-goody girl.  I have no idea why I was that way – the only thing I can chalk it up to is that God had His hand on me and was guiding me down the right path.  I had friends that started experimenting with things – sex, alcohol, drugs – I remember driving them home when they had too much to drink.  I was so angry by their actions.  I didn’t wish harm on them or God’s wrath, but I was disappointed that they chose to partake in these activities.  This is what I mean by the rabbit trail…not sure why the story of Jonah brings this memory to my mind.  I guess I was angry that people I loved couldn’t see what was right in front of them – even though I don’t think I even understood it myself.  Maybe Jonah was angry too – because the people of Nineveh had a choice, and they didn’t choose God until His wrath was forewarned.  Maybe Jonah was angry because he had chosen to serve the Lord of his own accord, so how could those that chose otherwise get the same place in God’s heart?  I had a friend once that was so angry with God because several of her single friends were getting married, and they had JUST started following Christ, whereas she had been a good and faithful Christian for a long time.  That modern day story very much reminds me of the story of Jonah.

We all walk through this earth experiencing pain, often times from people we love the most.  It’s so easy to get clouded with our own hurts and insecurities that we forget the most important thing of all – God’s love is for all of us.  We don’t deserve it more or less than anyone else – no matter how blameless or sinless we think we are.  It’s not our performance or righteous choices that earns us God’s love.  It’s only by God’s grace that we are loved.

May all of God’s people (present and future) fall head over heels in love with our Lord and Savior and taste the sweetness of His divine love – so much so that we want to laugh, love, share it and proclaim it with the world!

 

 

 

Spring is an oxymoron

Warning – this post will probably end up being quite melancholy.

Even though the first official day of spring hasn’t arrived yet, it is definitely spring.  The temps in Atlanta have been nearing 80 degrees for the past couple of days.  Pollen coats everything around.

Spring is my absolute favorite season, but each year as it starts, I feel a deep sadness.  I always think that sadness will eventually subside and not rear its ugly head EVERY year, but it never does.  It shows up like clockwork when the temps get warm.

There is nothing like feeling a warm breeze caress your face in the early morning of spring.  Spring is supposed to be the beginning of life…April showers bring May flowers.  Spring symbolizes hope.  Do you know how weird it is to feel a deep ache in your heart at the same time that you feel so filled with hope?  Do you know how weird it is to enter a season of all things blooming and to bask in the glory of that while at the same time feeling so much death and stillness?  It’s something I have struggled with since 1979.  The struggle has changed much since then…not sure that I always felt hope…that began more recently like in the past 8 years or so.  I used to only feel death (even though I always loved spring).

God has shown me so many things over the years, and He has healed so much in my heart. I’m at peace with my daddy’s death now – I still miss him, and I can’t wait to see him again, but I’m at peace.  Honestly, I’m at peace with everything in my life – all things – good, bad and just okay things.

It’s so odd when I feel that first taste of warmth…when I look up and feel the heat saturate my face when there is just a slight bit of coolness in the air…and then that old familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach happens…followed by the old familiar feeling deep in my heart.  That feeling is death.  Death of my greatest loves…my daddy, Samson and my children in heaven.  I have a place in my heart where I carry all of them, and usually they are tucked so neatly away in a safe, safe place…but when spring comes, that place in my heart flings wide open, and I remember how much I miss all of them.  After spring has settled in, the deep sadness subsides, and my ache for those I’ve lost is tucked away again.  It’s not just an ache for those I’ve lost, but it’s an ache for hopes and dreams that were shattered and will never be on this side of eternity.

This time of year always makes me reflect and ponder things.  Today I was driving with the windows down enjoying the sweet breeze, and I was remembering my time in school.  I can’t help but miss sometimes the sweet innocence of those days…the hope of life that lies ahead…the excitement of seeing your dreams come true…the feeling of belonging to a group of people known as your classmates and together thinking you are all invincible.  There is such a bond that is formed among your classmates even if you don’t stay in touch over the years…or maybe that’s just a country high school thing :).  I think about the folks I went to school with, and all I remember is the fun and simple times with them.  They were a special group of people.  They represented my youth.  They represented my hope.  They represented my dreams.  Those days hold such sweet memories for me…(even though I wouldn’t want to repeat them for the world).  You tend to take those moments for granted when you are in them.  Life goes by so fast.

Sometimes it’s hard to catch my breath…sometimes I just need to sit still and soak in everything…memorize moments that I might need to recall later in life.  Sometimes the sting of death takes over and makes me fear the future…even though in my heart of hearts I know that God will see me through anything.

I dedicate this post to those I love…those that I carry in my heart always.  My sadness only means I loved you THAT much!  Until we meet again…

 

 

 

 

Everything Under The Sun

We recently  moved, and as I was packing up our old house, I found a notebook in which I had written this post in 2008.  It was the only thing in the entire notebook.  I’ve certainly grown a lot since I wrote this, but it amazes me knowing where I was at in my life at that point that these words flowed.  This post intrigued me so I wanted to share it here.  There is so much wisdom here – so much truth!  Still a timely piece.

Everything Under The Sun – Memories have faded ~ and with them so have pieces of your heart.

Rainy days, lullabies, memories of days gone by. A smile, a hello ~ where has all of the time gone?  So much has changed.  The face that stares back at you still resembles pictures of your youth ~ where did all of those grey strands come from?  When did those creases appear?  You don’t recall them being there yesterday.  Your heart feels sad, but you don’t understand why.  You choose not to relive the days of old ~ some of them were just too painful.  Then again ~ to be able to visit those moments that you wish you could have frozen in time ~ to see their faces again ~ to be in their arms ~ to open those areas of your heart that you closed off ~ what would that be like?

You reminisce of favorite moments ~ there are so many moments that defined you ~ but how many moments did you define?  There are moments that took your breath away ~ there are moments that warmed your heart.  You wonder how many moments you impacted for others.  How many lives and hearts have you touched without even being aware?  Sometimes you  just sit and wonder what your purpose is in life ~ sometimes you think you may know, and other times you just keep moving forward without a clue.  There are things that you do know for certain.  Perhaps this is where most of your time should be spent in reflection.  You know that your heart has never changed.  It has been wounded, scarred and closed off throughout your life.  But do you remember your youth?  Do you remember the tenderness and the love you felt?  It is still there ~ You strive for that feeling everyday of your life.  You long for what you know is true.  All of the bad layers can be peeled away ~ closed areas can be opened again.  Your heart is beautiful.  It was created with such a deep love.  It was created and admired as being good and perfect.  Even if you hide your heart, there are those that still see its beauty.  Find peace in that.  Find peace in the things that don’t ever change.

Have you ever had a moment when everything was still and silent and you felt consumed with peace?  That feeling can always be felt if you just close your eyes and relive that moment.

Sometimes life is so hard.  You have so many dreams and desires ~ you have faith that you will see them fulfilled.  Dreams give you hope to keep going and keep reaching.  But how do you enjoy where you are and count the present time as a blessing?  You have to give your dreams and desires to the one that gave them to you in the first place.  You have to fix your eyes and your heart on your first True Love.  You have to give Him all of your burdens, all of your worries, all of your pain.  You simply have to love Him with pure abandon ~ worship Him with the heart He gave you.  Follow Him and know that He won’t lead you astray.  Define your moments with your truth and convictions.  Stand firm and walk in truth and light.  Define your moments – don’t let them define you!  Only your True Love defines you – and that was done before the beginning of time.  Reflect on what is good and pure and true ~ search for THAT in your heart!  It has always been and always will be!  Yesterday – today and tomorrow!

 

Buried, but never forgotten…

I sit here scared to write this post…truly no idea what words will end up on this page when I’m finished…this one little piece of my heart is so hurt and so damaged.  I’d rather not dig out all of the gravel that I’ve used to fill up this hole because I know it is going to hurt like hell.  This hole has been in my heart for 26 years.  God has already started the process of digging out the gravel and bringing this nasty, ugly, hateful piece of my heart to the surface.  He has been exposing it.  This is not something I’ve wanted to revisit.  I haven’t wanted to feel this pain again…truthfully, I’ve been feeling the pain for 26 years and it has wreaked so much havoc on my life.  I’m beyond tired of being a victim to it.

I’ve often thought about my testimony and how in the world I would speak about it if asked because there is just so much to it…so many nuances.  I’ve had so many twists and turns in my life, and God has so beautifully taken me on a drive down that winding road called my life letting me visit those things that crushed my soul in the safety of His arms while He took charge of my heart – making it new – replacing wounds with flesh.  It’s strange how I sit here today realizing that this one particular ‘relationship’ has been at the root of so much pain in my life.  I always thought my father’s death when I was 8 shaped my life – I thought most of my scars were born at that time.  I’m sure a lot of scars were born on that sad day in April – in fact I know that they were, and honestly, maybe those scars set the stage for this one – the dreaded one of which I keep referring.

This person stripped me of my innocence.  He stripped me of hope.  He stripped me of worth.  He made me dirty.  He made me feel so ashamed.  I’ve been carrying all of this around for 26 years never even realizing the depths of this and the branches that grew from it.  I loved him – I honestly don’t know how that was ever possible – but I did.  It was an unhealthy love, and it was clearly never returned.  My heart sought after him for a good year, maybe it was even two years – so hard to remember now – he would pop in and out of my life as it served his needs…and I always welcomed him with open arms…and I was always deeply saddened when he went away again never knowing when or if he would be back.  Every time I saw his car or saw him, my heart would skip a beat.  I don’t understand how I got so sucked in…so charmed by him and his lies.

There was one night in particular that he had told me that he really needed to talk to me.  He came over and told me how much he missed me and that he wanted to be in a relationship again.  He was drunk, but he hadn’t been drunk earlier in the evening when he so desperately needed to talk to me.  I wanted to believe him.  I needed to believe him.  He kept trying to have sex with me, but I just couldn’t do it.  I was too exhausted by him.  My heart was weak and weary.  He was on top of me drunk and heavy – he kept persisting – kept telling me how much he wanted to make love to me.  I told him no over and over and over, but he never gave up.  He wore me down until I gave in – powerless – no fight left.  I didn’t open up to him longingly.  In my soul I knew I couldn’t trust him.  I wish I would have had the power to fight him off that night and rid him from my life, but I didn’t.  Honestly, I don’t remember when he left.  What I do remember is waking up and going to the bathroom the next morning and feeling sick.  Something was different.  I felt different.  I still loved him but it wasn’t with a hopeful heart.  It was with a heavy heart, a violated heart, a heart that had been torn in half, a heart that was so damaged that it is still in desperate need of repair this very second as I write this.

The string of events that happened over the next 2 months compounded the nastiness of that night.  The same day I found out he was engaged to someone else (and had been all along) is the day I found out I was carrying his child.  There I was – in the situation I swore would never happen to me…after all, I was better than that.  I was a good girl.  I felt crippled…I felt afflicted.  I just wanted the nightmare to be over.  I had no one to confide in – no one to talk to.  For the first and really, the only time in my life, I seriously contemplated suicide…not just contemplated it, but was in the moment when I was about a millimeter from moving forward with it.  The only thing that stopped me was the thought of breaking my mother’s heart – she had already been through too much in her life.  I also knew this pregnancy would disappoint her – I was so ashamed of myself – so depressed – so distraught.  I decided to do the only thing I thought would fix it.  I ended my pregnancy.  I gave a fake name. I knew I was a bad girl and needed to be punished, so I wouldn’t let the doctor give me anything for pain…I laid there and felt every last bit of the pain from that procedure – physically and emotionally.  The procedure took my baby away – the procedure allowed me to keep my secret – but that procedure never took away my pain.  That pain is still very much alive today.  I’ve lived all these years with the shame of what I did.  I’ve lived all of these years with guilt – not just because my baby was gone but because I couldn’t claim her.  I’ve publicly claimed my babies that I miscarried after I was married – saying that they are waiting for me in heaven…but I’ve never been able to claim this baby because she was kept secret – buried and hidden.  I’ve been angry for a long time – angry at him because it was his fault that I couldn’t claim my baby.  I realize that I get very angry at anyone that slights me and makes me feel helpless and defenseless and invisible.

What I’ve been realizing over the past couple of weeks is that I still feel so ashamed and so dirty.  I imagine myself alone with God, and I can’t even look at Him right now.  I’m not worthy to look at Him or be with Him.  That’s not normal.  God has always been my safe place…the place where I’m always delighted in and beautiful and adored.  This revelation is what led me to the point of dredging all of this up – I know God wants to heal my heart.  I’m so thankful for that.

I’ve been keeping this piece of my heart hidden without realizing it.  I’ve given everything to God, but He has had to dig through so many layers of my heart and slowly bring me to this point…this point where I could finally handle this deep pain that altered everything about me (or so it felt).  God has been with me all along even through the years that I deemed myself unworthy to feel His presence.  He loved me all along – all of me –  my hurts, my wounds, my imperfections…He saw my heart not my sins. He saw my brokenness, and He caught my many tears and wept. He has been in the dark recesses of my heart – clearing a path for the light.  I’m finally understanding that these were my circumstances, and yes, they were awful.  No, I didn’t make the best choices…but these circumstances never defined me.  My identity has never been tied to what I did or didn’t do.  That is very freeing.

Psalm 23:  The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.  He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.  He renews my strength.  He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.  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.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.  You honor me by anointing my head with oil.  My cup overflows with blessings.  Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

He prepares a feast for me in the presence of my enemies…my enemies are shame, guilt, worthlessness, sadness, anxiety, death, fatigue, emptiness.  These enemies have haunted me since that dreadful time in my life, but it’s time to say goodbye to them…time to remove the shackles that I’ve been dragging around.  May I have the faith and love of Paul and Silas moving forward, and may I always grab ahold of my Love for my Savior in remembrance of all that He has brought me through…famine and feast…and know who I am.

Today I tell you that I am the daughter of a King.  I am the mom of three children:  Paxton Ann, Geneva Grace and Jack Charles.  My babies are the lucky ones – they are being raised with God and the angels and will never know anything except for Love.  One day I will be with them all, but for now and always, I will hold them in my heart and love them with all that I am.

The truth is what sets us free, and as scary as it is to hit publish on this post, I know it’s what I need to do.  It is my sincere prayer that other ladies with similar struggles will be led here and will find healing in these words…most importantly, I pray that they will find themselves in the arms of a Savior that loves and adores them, and that they will know no shame as they gaze into His loving eyes.

 

War Room

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Chuck and I went to see War Room yesterday afternoon.  To say it did not disappoint is an understatement…it awakened my heart…it renewed my love affair with Jesus.  It reminded me of the power of passionate and deeply heart-felt prayer.

I couldn’t wait to see this movie when I saw the previews.  Nothing gets my spirit stirred like passion and prayer.  This movie was filled with that.  It’s amazing what being vulnerable with God does in people’s lives.  That is what brings out our true Joy…vulnerability and real relationship with Christ.

A couple of months ago Chuck and I were sitting on the beach basking in the serenity and beauty of God’s work, and I explained to him what I wanted for our family…what I wanted for our marriage…what I wanted for our lives.  I guess that may sound strange as we have been married for 10 years, but this life is a journey and a process, and through the process of this journey, I realized what my true heart’s desire really is.  It was a hard thing to explain, but after seeing this movie Chuck understood with his heart everything that I told him that night on the beach.  My true heart’s desire is to commune with Jesus…to revel in the romance of Him…to dance in the adoration of Him…to feel His gaze deep within my soul…to live my life with Him in every moment.  I want our home and our decisions to be led by Him.  I want to experience intimacy with Him with my husband.  I want the three of us to be so intertwined…like perichoresis – a fellowship of three co-equal beings perfectly embraced in love and harmony and expressing an intimacy that no one can humanly comprehend.  If He is for us, who can be against us?  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  These are my heart’s desires.  If I have this, I have everything!

This movie encouraged us to start our own war room…something we started at the beginning of our marriage and somehow put down as life got in the way.  I can’t wait to start the next chapter with my husband…I absolutely can’t wait.  My heart is overflowing – my cup runneth over.  I love the simplicity of my heart’s greatest desire.  I love that I have had it all along…I just needed to lay some other things down that were getting in the way.

I wish I could relay through this post all of the sweet things God is doing in our lives.  I find myself excited with the faith and happiness of a child.  I find that I can’t stop smiling with my face or my heart.  This journey is so beautiful.  This dance is so soft and tender.  My prayer is that everyone would find this Romance and know this Love!

When The Music Fades…

When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart

I’m reminded of these lyrics today.  This is from one of my favorite songs “The Heart of Worship.”  It definitely means different things to me in different seasons.

I long for things to be stripped away.  ‘Stripped Away’ is a recurring theme in my life these days. As I sit here and put these words on paper, that becomes obvious to me.

I long for simple things…love, laughter, life.  I long for intimacy – meaningful relationships that are built of substance.  I’ve become less tolerant of fluff.  Life is too short to cloud it with things that just don’t matter.  I want to soak up every moment and feel it with my whole heart.

Over the past 10 years God has been stripping away false identities that I have carried my whole life.  I’m at a point now of feeling so much freedom and joy, but I realize that I have over-complicated my life with things/people that just don’t add happiness to it.  These lyrics remind me of the joy found in just being still and experiencing His love and witnessing His beauty in the most simple places.  That is what my heart truly longs for, and I’m on a mission to find my buried Treasure and enjoy it in all its splendor.  When the music fades and all is stripped away, all will be right with my world!