Thursday, October 10, 2013

Besties vs. Worsties




Name Calling

Rough Housing


I am up to my eyebrows raising 3 little boys... It is unbelievable to me the fights that break out over a toy,  or a block, or a stick!  (or anything!)  They are crazy competitive, at eachother's throats and have the ability to make me feel like I am totally losing my mind.  The messes they make, the disaster that goes in their wake is unreal.  They battle tempers, raw and wild emotions, jealousy, anger & selfishness.  The things that SCREAM out to me, demand discipline, beg for prayer and take up a lot of our time together.

And then there are the quiet moments

The moments that could easily slip by as I breath a sigh of relief or just try to regroup.  Moments where they are sitting together at the table drawing their favorite superheros.  Moments where they are laying side by side on their bellies looking at the new search and find book from the library.  Moments when they are eachother's greatest defender, protector, best friend.  These type of moments do not scream for attention, or demand me to even notice them... in fact, they are much the opposite.  These moments threaten to slip by unnoticed in all the hecticness of daily life.  These moments must be intentionally sought out- and then I have the choice to let these moments soak deep into my very being.  Seeing glimpses of their true character starting to shine through all the negative bits and pieces that are tempting them at every turn gives me hope.

The fight that doesn't take place because my 7 year old chooses to put his little brother before himself.  The name that isn't called because my hot tempered 5 year old is actively being changed by a Savior that loves him and called him by name!  The bickering that is nipped in the bud because even my 3 year old is learning, little by little, how to be a friend.  These moments are silent and filled to the brim with peace-  these moments are the ones that are SO easy to miss if my only focus is on the fight that took place an hour ago.  The sweet times with these little boys can fade into the shadows if I allow the tattling from the past to hold my attention. 

My goal this year is to notice the moments that would otherwise go unnoticed.  And to uplift these guys in prayer for all the areas that are still a challenge.  I want my perspective to be one with eternal value-  and I want to take the time to notice prayers being answered each time the quiet moments surface.  God began a work in each of their individual lives the very moment they chose to accept Him as their Savior- and I am going to claim the promise that the Word gives: 

What little moments in your life are going by unnoticed today?  

Friday, September 13, 2013

10 Year Anniversary

We were just kids-  to the world it may have looked like we had no business getting married... I was twenty and Josh had barely turned eighteen.  Hardly out from under our parent's roofs (actually I was still living at home- Josh had gotten an apartment that summer, just the month before our wedding) 

But God had His hand in our relationship and would be faithful to us each step of the way.  Ups and downs go along with any marriage- and as we go through the cycle of challenges and struggles, and work our way back to harmony and peace we have grown and learned a lot together.  There is no one else in the world I would rather do life with,  and as I reminisce and look back on our ten years together so far I feel truly grateful for the man of God that Josh is.  It also excites me to think of all that is still ahead for us.  Tens years under our belt and a lifetime in God's hands!

Happy Anniversary Babe! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

True HOPE in a world of despair

This fall I started researching abortion-  I wanted to educate myself with the facts, procedures, statistics and basically the raw reality.  It was not only an eye opening journey, but also a heart wrenching one.  I lay many sleepless nights, kept awake over all that I was learning.  3,000 a day.  55,000,000 in the past 40 years. 

unable to sleep, I spent a lot of time praying for ways for God to use me, for Him to show me how to get involved, and what steps to take to actually DO something.  How can we give women better options?  They need to know that they aren't alone and that they have the support they need to make a better choice… one that won’t end the life of their baby.  Women that have already walked down this path need to know the healing love of Christ, they need to know there is forgiveness and that there can be freedom from the pain and hurt they are experiencing.  Pre-teens and teens need to be shown  the worth and value of saving themselves for marriage, and how even after they have made mistakes in the past  it's not too late to reestablish boundaries and claim fresh starts.   God longs to bless their choice to follow His guidelines. 

I came in contact with Hope Pregnancy Resource Center in Wausau-  I called and talked to Jackie their local director and just shared how God was laying on my heart to get more involved.  We set up a tour so that I would be able to learn more about their facility and their mission.  I want to share with you some of the services that they offer:

 Integrity training for teens and young adults in dating relationships. This class teaches them how to set boundaries, establish guidelines and if needed, claim fresh starts and new beginnings that can break the cycle of bad relationships or boundaries crossed.  To accomplish this goal, the Hope Center uses a team of trained volunteers who speak in schools, to youth groups, at camps and retreats. These teens are challenged  to take their abstinence seriously while  being motivated  to make personal goals, set boundaries and to become prepared to succeed.  For those teens that have made mistakes-  trained volunteers come alongside them to help them see their worth through Christ’s eyes and share with them the value in reclaiming their abstinence. I was blessed to see the cool ministry of  Hope pregnancy center:  Showing  girls that there is eternal value in accepting the forgiveness God is offering them and that He wants to bless their journey going forward when they choose His standards.

 The center also offers support and counsel for crisis pregnancies.  Pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and a support system to help these mom’s gain courage and strength to choose life are a few of the things they do.  Connections for adoption are available if that is the path chosen. Parenting courses are offered when a girl chooses to keep and raise her baby. They will provide a full 9 months of support, and more classes are available helping her be prepared to be a great mom!  By participating in classes, going to her prenatal appointments and doing her assigned homework, she is able to earn points that can be cashed in at their baby-boutique to get items like diapers, sleepers, shoes, car seats, pack n plays, and strollers.  All of these items are made available through donations

Another aspect of the Center's mission is Post abortive care.  Jackie shared with me the very real pain and hurt women experience-  Oftentimes mixed with regret and a feeling of shame and hopelessness.   Statistics state that 1 in every 3 women will have an abortion in their lifetime.  If this is true, then this pain is more widespread than we would like to believe… and there are a lot of women hurting from the secret they are keeping.
Intertwined with all of these services is the Gospel message.  It truly is the foundation for all that they do.  They pray for each client and pray for the right opportunity to share Jesus’ love.  Because truly, as supportive as we can be… it is Christ who is our ultimate source of support, forgiveness, love and new beginnings.  It is through Him that girls, no matter what their story, can experience the hope that is available- true hope.

If we honored each of those 55 million human beings with a single minute of silence, we would remain speechless for over 100 years.  

Instead, let’s commit to praying for ways to personally get involved and ways to show Christ’s love to those needing it… Let’s actively pursue and make a point to DO something.  The Body of Christ can play a HUGE role in shining the light of truth into these lives-  if we are just praying for ways to be used by God for His glory.  Our God is a personal God.  What He asks   us to get involved with will be different for each of us-  but I have no doubt that if we ask-  He will guide us to something-  and enable us to do it well! His strength working through our weakness. I think that’s what makes each of our own personal testimonies so touching.  I made a lot of mistakes as a teenager, and have seen God’s faithfulness in my own life and experienced His love for me even though I made some horrible decisions and chose to walk down the wrong path.  He redeemed me, His child, and gave me a fresh start! Although I was never faced with the decision to choose life or abort, looking back at that time in my life, the choices I was making, and the path I had gone down it could have very easily been my circumstances. A string of relationships that didn't honor Christ’s plan for me- continual choices to cross boundaries that were never meant to be crossed.  Living under guilt, regret, shame and a feeling of worthlessness.  Satan had me feeling trapped by my own sin.  That wasn't the end of my journey though and getting back on track with Christ’s plan for my life was the best decision ever made!  He didn't want to hold me in guilt or shame-  He wanted to free me from my choices and grant me a new start!  That’s what grace is!  Something we don’t deserve, but love poured down on us.  Instead of worthless-  He showed me my worth.  Instead of guilt He showed me that I was forgiven. And instead of choosing to continually repeat those same struggles- He showed me His plan for my future and together,  with His power, He gave me the courage and faith to make new choices going forward!  He gave me HOPE when I was feeling hopeless. It’s never too late to turn to Him.  

      It’s only because of His love that we can help each other.    Being willing to come along side someone else who is struggling- and wanting them to experience Christ’s purpose, love, hope and healing is what being a Christian is.  That’s living out the Gospel in a practical, day changing way.  None of us are perfect and it’s sooooo good to remember His grace!   This is one of the theme verses used at the pregnancy center:

 Isaiah 61:1-3
61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified

Speaking this year at Hope's annual banquet is the actress from October Baby, Shari Rigby. She played the mom who had the failed abortion.  Her testimony is powerful and she will be sharing her own personal journey of abortion, regret and ultimately the forgiveness that she found in Christ. Please take a second to watch this clip of her sharing her story. click here  

As I thought over the word she used "Ransomed" I thought about the meaning:
 to deliver especially from sin or its penalty. 

We each have something in our own lives that is weighing us down- God doesn't want you to go one more day living under that weight.  Your ransom has been paid!  Sin doesn't have a hold over your life anymore because Christ took that sin upon Himself when He died on the cross.  Allow tonight to be the night you let that ransom soak in, the night you change paths & make God’s path the one you choose.  You are never without HOPE, it’s never too late.  Don’t wait any longer- experience the love He is longing to pour down in you. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Get Fit For 30- recap

Get fit for 30 is officially behind me.  My big birthday was on November 1st and at that point I had reached 50 pounds lost!  I thought it appropriate as we enter the new year for me to look back on last year at this time and share a photo of myself at my heaviest weight.  I had posted pictures on facebook and kept going back and looking at this one-  eventually I couldn't handle it anymore and I deleted it out of my album.  This photo was my inspiration to make some changes in my life and to work towards a healthier self image that went a lot deeper than just a number on the scale.  Part of my journey included a Bible study book that covered how God sees me-  and how His unconditional love for me is something that can always be counted on.  Nothing I do, nothing I am or am not can impact His steady, unmoving, unchanging and unfailing love!  Letting this truth soak in to my very soul is the driving strength behind growing to become who He wants me to be and to be able to embrace who I am each step of the way.

It's also appropriate to celebrate a victory I experienced this past year!  Working off 50 pounds took commitment & determination.  Here is a photo of me hiking over Labor Day with two of my favorite people in the world.  

I wish there was a way to visually show the transformation that took place internally, and to explain the vital impact my faith played in my success.  Someone asked me how I did it, and honestly I told them that I couldn't have done it at all without God's strength.  This always seems like the cliche Christian response  "oh,  we just need to let God give us strength"... I believed this in my head but not in a practical daily impacting way.  Through this journey I have learned how this is truth right down to the very core.  What in the world does it mean to let God give me strength?  I didn't have a clue how to apply this to my daily life,  my struggles, challenges, temptations and failures.  I needed to dig in and find out what this actually meant in a way that was meaningful and applicable to daily life.  What I found was a bit surprising, but it shouldn't have been.  God is good.  God is faithful even when I am a complete failure.  God is love.  To use His strength is the best choice we can make!  Why would I keep struggling through life on my own weak and puny strength when I have access to the strength of the One True God on my side?!  This realization was not only life changing, but also DAY changing!  I am NOT in this alone,  I do NOT have to look to myself for answers, help or wisdom.  I can plug into the true source of all wisdom, to my Savior who cares deeply for me and wants to lead me through life on a path that is best for me.  Why in the world was I stumbling so blindly through my days and weeks when I could have been holding the hand of my Lord?!  

The biggest thing I learned through this journey was not how to eat the right foods, fit workouts into a busy life or drink enough water to stay hydrated.  It was how no matter what challenge I am facing, no matter what temptation is staring me down-  I am not alone.  Choosing to look to Christ in all circumstances as my source of peace, strength, rest and power.  I am ready to enter 2013 with a refreshed spirit and a new glimpse of how amazing God is!