amazinggrace2cor12

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Falling Gracefully

Most of us have had that all embarrassing moment when you think your feet are under you but then, BAM…you’re flat on the ground. What was your first thought as you found yourself horizontal? Was it, “I hope no one saw me?” Was it, “I can’t believe I just embarrassed myself like this?” Maybe yours was simply, “Oh well, it happens.” 

I think of all the times I’ve fallen (I’m a natural klutz!) and know at one time or other, I have had all of the above reactions. Falling is never fun and I don’t guess anyone ever really gets used to it. It seems I’ve arrived at the age that when I do fall, I just try to fall gracefully!

Now think about this…what is your typical reaction when you see someone fall? Do you pretend not to see them so that you don’t make them feel embarrassed? Do you just helplessly watch as they get back to their feet? Do you rush to see if you can help? Honestly, falling is not easy for bystanders, either! 

Let me tell you about Cole. Cole is the 13 year old son of our best friends, Rich and Dawn, and the best friend of my son, Scott Allan. Cole was born with Arthrogryposis. If you don’t know what Arthrogryposis is, here is a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthrogryposis. When he was just a baby, he was in a full body cast for several months. He has already been through numerous surgeries and will probably have more in his future. Cole’s family was told that he would probably never walk. I can’t even imagine, as a parent, what my reactions would have been to a statement like that; no one can unless you’ve lived it. 

To know Cole and to know his family is to understand that a statement like that was nothing but a challenge! Cole has been given the life of a “normal” child. Yes, he has his struggles, but he faces every day as any other kid does. Cole played pee-wee football and basketball like a champ. His golf swing is something even the pros respect.  Cole, never walk? Sorry, Doc, you got this one wrong! 

This was Cole’s first year in junior high school, which means junior high sports, and this is probably where his biggest struggles have come from. The sports are a little rougher, a little faster, and a lot less forgiving. It hurts to know he wants to be on the football field so bad, but Cole is content to hang out on the sidelines with his coaching dad. Truth be known, Cole can probably coach those kids just as good as any of the “real” coaches! He soaks it all up; he knows the plays and the players and has the heart of a champion. 

Cole is such a determined, resilient kid; he simply amazes me. Whatever it is he sets his mind to doing, he tries with all his might. If it doesn’t work, he keeps trying. His mom, naturally, worries about him getting hurt, but I’ve heard Cole tell her, “Mom, quit worrying! I can do this!” And he’s usually right! This is the kid whose doctor said he’d never walk. Yeah, Cole CAN do this! 

The best part about Cole is where his strength comes from. He has an amazing family, and it just so happens that it’s full of encouraging coaches, teachers, and preachers; sprinkled with caring aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  While I’m sure he does gain much of his strength from this passel of family members, his real strength is mustered from God. Cole loves our precious Savior with all of his heart and soul. That’s where his real strength comes from. He can already get up in front of a crowd and “preach” a lesson that would pinch the toughest of hearts. 

A couple of Sundays ago, Cole actually taught me a lesson. He was serving on the Lord’s Table and he got in a hurry walking back to the front and tripped. When he fell down, all eyes were on him. My son was there and reached down to support him getting up but no one else moved. His parents both sat there. His grandparents sat there. I sat there. We all did so because we knew he would get up. His face was a bit red from embarrassment but his heart knew there was a job to finish, the job of serving our Lord’s Supper, and that’s just what he did. I could not hold back my tears, and I knew his Mom and Mimi sure couldn’t hold theirs back. The lesson I learned, you ask? Well, while my mind was trying hard to focus on Jesus’s suffering and his death on the cross for MY sins, the worldly issues in my life were forefront…concern about this, worry over that, stressed over something else, etc., etc.  When Cole fell, got up, and continued serving despite what he had just gone through, it was a little glimpse of Christ right there in the midst of us. Beaten, mocked, spit on, and nailed to a cross, Jesus could have called 10,000 angels, but he didn’t because He knew there was a job to finish, and that’s just what He did. 

When we think about our lives, our struggles and daily battles, we have to ask ourselves, “Is my life really that bad?” “Do my struggles really amount to that much?” Some might have to say “Yes, mine are!” Personally, mine are teensy in comparison. Cole taught me that, yes, this ol’ world might not always seem fair, we might trip and fall, we might get embarrassed or even mad and hurt, but the important thing is that we get up and that we finish the race. 

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  In future, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day…” 2 Timothy 4: 7-8

Thank you, Cole, for being such a great example. Thank you for reminding me that it’s important to keep my mind on Christ and not to focus on the bad, worldly things that really don’t amount to a hill of beans in the long run. Thank you for teaching me that it’s okay to fall…just as long as I get back up! 

Right now at this very moment, I am just so grateful just to be able to see, just to be able to breathe, to be able to walk, to hear, to love, to live. No matter what lot you’ve been given, enjoy life because every second is a precious gift from God.

Faith Stronger Than the Wind

If you have inner strength, outer circumstances will NOT control your life. You know that no matter what happens, God IS in CONTROL! God is BIGGER than any challenge you face. In the Bible, when the Apostle Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he could walk on water. When Peter saw the wind, he became afraid, and he began to sink. “You of little faith,” Jesus said, “why did you doubt?” We should NEVER doubt our precious Savior. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and on God’s Bible promises, and NOT on the “wind” of discouragement or negative circumstances. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Enough said. 

The World’s Bible

A very special person to me, Dr. Joe Spaulding, aka “Papa”, preaches occasionally at our little Romance congregation. I don’t say “occasionally” lightly because the man has preached most of his life, and he is a retired college professor! He’s as funny as Hee Haw but as serious as the sun when it comes to preaching the Gospel! Many times when he preaches or gives a devotional, he will use songs to help get his message across. I must admit, I was raised in the church and have heard many songs over the years but many of the songs Papa brings to us are songs I’ve NEVER heard! I love that he does this! If he didn’t, “The World’s Bible” may have never crossed my heart like it did when Papa sang it as part of his lesson a few Wednesday evenings ago. Papa (his granddaughter is my BFF so I get to call him “Papa” even though he’s not actually my grandpa:) lives his life like the words of this song; he’s a living, walking, talking, preaching, tell-it-like-it-is servant of our precious Savior! If I could be half the servant he is, I think God would be proud of me!

The World’s Bible
a poem by Annie Johnson Flint
and hymn by J. E. Hamilton

Christ has no hands but our hands
to do His work today.
He has no feet but our feet
to lead men in His way;

He has no tongue but our tongues
To tell men how He died,
He has no help but our help
To bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible
The careless world will read,
We are the sinner’s gospel,
We are the scoffers’ creed;

We are the Lord’s last message
Given in deed and word,
What if the type is crooked?
What if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy
With other things than His?
What if our feet are walking
Where sin’s allurement is?

What if our tongues are speaking
Of things His life would spurn,
How can we hope to help Him
And welcome His return?

What a beautiful song! What a beautiful way to live our lives–as a testimony to the one who adores us, loves us so much that he gave his life for us, and continues to redeem us with that amazing love! I know I don’t share his word near enough but I’m trying to do better. Just imagine, what would this crazy world be like if everyone knew the love of Christ, believed Him to be their everlasting Savior, and walked daily in His amazing grace to be more like Him? The only way some people will ever know of this love is through ME? Seriously? What a huge responsibility, but so very worth the eternal home I will have some day. To do what Christ wants us to do as his people living upon this earth, we must seek positively to be what he wants us to be and, of course, negatively to avoid anything that would hinder our influence for good. In this way we can live up to our great responsibility to be “The World’s Bible.” Papa would say, “It’s not an option; you just got to do it!”

My dearest, most precious Lord, I thank you for placing your word on my heart. May I never take it for granted, and when I do, please draw me back to your amazing grace. I pray that your love will shine through me for others to see you! I love you so very much. Amen.

~ A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 ~

~ My Father is LOADED! ~

Do you realize we have a VERY wealthy Father?  We are a child of GOD!!  Like any good parent, God wants the best for His children.  He wants to give us many blessings. Jesus said in Luke 12:32, “… it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” 

Consider just a little of the enormous wealth of our Father:

  • The whole world is the Lord’s (Psalm 24:1)
  • The silver and gold is the Lord’s (Haggai 2:8)
  • God owns the cattle on 1000 hills (Psalm 50:10)
  • Heaven is made of pure gold and precious stones (Rev 21)
  • There is perfect health and happiness in heaven (Rev 21)

God can also bless you with things that money cannot buy:

  • God loves you and gives you Everlasting Life through Jesus (John 3:16)
  • Grace and Mercy (2 John 1:3)
  • Love, Joy, Peace, etc. (Galatians 5:22-24)
  • You have a Family and Friends in Christ (1 Corinthians 12)
  • Less burdens (Matthew 11:30)
  • Health and Healings (Exodus 15:26)
  • Wisdom (James 1:5)
  • Your goals, dreams, plans, and purposes (Psalm 37:4)

Our Father is our source!  John 3:27 says, “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”  With God as our source and supply, our blessings are unlimited and endless.  Christian Success is ours; it has already been bought and paid for!  Deuteronomy 28 explains how God will bless us in every way.  And Psalms 68:19 says, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” Jesus said in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say unto you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

As you go through your day, hold your head up and remember who you are. You are, after all, a child of the most perfect Father who is ALWAYS with you and who will take care of all your needs!  

And never forget, when you give God ALL of you, He gives you ALL of Him!

A Renewed Walk

So it has been a little bit since my last post. I have had a lot on my mind recently and I couldn’t have gotten my thoughts down if someone had threatened to take my high heels away from me! Those pesky squirrels run around my head all the time but they’ve been having a field day lately! I’ve missed my writing, though, and decided that maybe writing would actually help me get rid of some squirrels and settle my mind down to a reasonable pace.

Well, I finished my first fasting journey. I say “first” because it certainly wasn’t my last. What a journey it was and I still feel like I’m on. Man, it really brings tears to my eyes just to think about it.  I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.” This has been true of my fasting experience. Since my fast, I have felt so amazingly close to God. I don’t know why it took this experience to bring me to where I am now but I’m thankful I’m here! I became very sensitive to everything around me, but especially during my time with God. After my fast ended, it seems the whole world started looking different to me, from the way I observe the Lord’s supper every Sunday to how I view my place in my family. I’m finally starting to really see the forest and all its glory. It seems odd that after being married for almost 23 years, a mom for 21, and being 40 something, I would view things so differently. What that blatantly tells me is that God is not through working on me, and just between you and me, I don’t think He ever will be!

I have a favorite scripture that I have written down in several places so that I can read it when I need to have my heart put in check or when I just need a pick-me-up to get me through my day or just because. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 So perfect, right?! I love it! Although I’ve read it before, I’ve recently spent time reading and re-reading the entire chapter. I’ve got to be honest with you about something. I’ve always thought people were a little quirky that said things like, “God put this on my heart,” or “God called me to ___.” I don’t feel that way any longer or I would have to consider my own self one of those quirky people! I say that because I really believe God put this particular scripture on my heart for a reason.

It’s so easy to “be with God” on those days we attend worship services but isn’t it also easy to “be with the world” after we walk out the doors of the building? That’s when we lose focus of God’s will for our lives. We have to constantly be listening to him and letting him guide us in the direction he would have us go. We can’t do that when we are not really with him. This reminds me of when I carry on a conversation with someone and realize somewhere along the way that I’ve lost focus and have no idea what they are talking about! We cannot afford to lose focus on God. We can’t afford to miss a single second of that conversation!

Let’s be honest, though. Some of us do lose focus, don’t we? We let our guard down for a minute and worldly, fleshly desires creep into our lives. Next thing you know, our world is upside down. Even then, God gives an out for his children, sinners so undeserving of his precious grace. His arms are open wide and he’s just waiting for us to come to him. We have to protect our hearts, our families, and we do this by offering ourselves to Christ every single day as a living sacrifice for him.  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God…” Romans 12:1

That won’t stop satan, though. The stronger we are the harder he tries to tear us down. The thing is, as long as we have Christ as our guide, as long as we are continually renewing our minds and dedicating our lives to him, we can stand against satan and not fall. We have to be so careful, though. Our soul is not something to play with or to take chances on. We can’t lose sight of the forest.

Deeper than the ocean

and wider than the sea

is the grace of the Savior

for sinners like me

Sent from the Father

and it thrills my soul

Just to feel and to know

That His blood makes me whole

Higher than the mountain

and brighter than the sun

it was offered at Calvary

for every one

Greatest of treasures

and it’s mine today

Though my sins were as scarlet

He has washed them away

His grace reaches me

Yes, His grace reaches me

And will last thru eternity

Now I’m under His control

and I’m happy in my soul

Just to know

that His grace reaches me

Yes, I’m on a journey; a renewed walk with my Savior that I pray I never take for granted. And for those times I do, I pray that he forgives me. I pray that I never take my family for granted and that our love for each other is stronger than all of satan’s snares. And when there are times we may let our guard down, I pray that our faith quickly takes us back where we belong…straight to the arms of God. That’s where we will find his good and perfect will for our lives.

Thank you, precious Lord, for your grace. Thank you for loving me despite all my faults. Amen

Her Plans

Her Plans

My Cup Runneth Over

 

Since my last blog post, My Journey, I have had so many thoughts running through my mind and so many times, I’ve wanted to write my heart out…again. Unfortunately, my ADD wouldn’t let me get all my thoughts in an understandable order for the human race to comprehend! 

As I sit here tonight and try to get my thoughts corralled, I hope they become something that will help someone. That is my goal with this entire blog–to help someone, even if it’s just one person. Okay, so I think I can sum up this squirrel’s nest with one question: “How much of our hearts do we really give to God?” 

I told you in my last blog post that I am fasting. While my reasons for fasting are personal, I can tell you that the ultimate reason for anyone to fast is to simply come nearer to God, without all the worldly clutter. During my fast, I’ve had to try to ‘dethrone Queen Stomach’ MANY TIMES. Man, do I get hungry! To dethrone the Queen, I spend much time with God; I spend it in prayer, in His Word, listening to Him and just being still. (Now, I will tell you that it’s not always easy to do and sometimes it’s downright painful…but never impossible, even if you’re addicted to food like I am.) 

As I’ve become closer to God during this time, it’s clear to me that part of my heart has almost always belonged to the world. But now that I see it, I’m striving every day, sometimes every moment, to give it ALL to HIM. Talk about burdens being lifted…it’s just an amazing feeling!

How much of your heart do you give to God, I mean REALLY just flat out hand over to HIM? Have you ever thought about it, I mean just flat out thought about it? It just boggles my mind how much time in my life I’ve wasted! (Head shaking in wonder and saying, “Hmmph!”)

All of this reminded me of something I’ve heard before, that humans only use a small portion of their brains…like 10% or something. Well, I’m here to tell you (with Google’s help) it’s just a myth! The fact is, we use ALL of our brains BUT there is always room for improvement, as well as growth in knowledge. 

Now apply that to our relationship with God. We do use our whole hearts but some of it is just misplaced. We have HUGE room for improvement and we need to grow in our knowledge of Him. I think this is how we open ourselves up to being able to really give Him our whole heart, thereby, loving Him the way we are suppose to like He tells us in Matthew 22:37…Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

When we don’t have worldly things (like food) cluttering our minds, we can better focus on God…listening to Him and understanding His will for our lives. We can fill our soul and our mind and completely surround ourselves with his love! Naturally, this is going to improve our relationship! 

If we are honest with ourselves, we ALL have room for improvement. Even the disciples who went with Jesus to Gethsemane before his crucifixion had room for improvement! Remember the story? Matthew 26:37-38: He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Even with our Savior so sorrowful and so near to His arrest, He turned around and found them asleep! Then, in verse 40, we see that He asked them, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” What could have been more important than watching over Jesus and spending that time in prayer?  

In verse 41, He goes on to tell them something so very important for all of us. Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” How true, how true! 

See, that’s what I’m talking about! We really, really want to be good Christians and have a great relationship with God, but if we are not oh so careful and ever watchful, we will fall into temptation and even become what I call “some-timers”. 

Through my fasting journey, I’ve done A LOT of reflecting on my relationship with God. What I’ve realized is really sad because I know that I have spent WAY too much time ‘sleeping’ instead of watching and praying. What I mean is that I painted a pretty picture of being a good little Christian but I was really only ‘awake’ when something was wrong in my life. (See…some-timer!)

Something else that I’ve realized is that I’ve not grown near enough in my knowledge. I’ve not spent enough time in His Word, letting Him speak to me and help me better understand His good and perfect will. It’s just like with our brains– to add more knowledge, we have to seek it out. Seeking out God’s Word is something I hope I never take for granted, again. Whether it’s my Bible app on my phone, on the Internet, or my actual ‘hard copy’, I love diving into His Word and seeing where it takes me! Just like this blog, sometimes I don’t have a clue where it’s going to take me but I do know that HE is guiding me. 

How awesome is it to know that, even though I’ve not always given God my whole heart and I know that I’ve made many mistakes and wasted precious time, because I am HIS child, His grace still saves me! My cup runneth over!

I’m improving. I’m growing in knowledge. I’m AWAKE!

My most precious Lord, thank YOU for loving ME, someone so undeserving. Your Word fills my heart, my soul, and my mind with so much love for you that I just don’t know how to thank You enough. Amen. 

My Journey

This is something that came across my Facebook a few days ago and I saved it because it I knew God meant for me to see it. Here is is:

“I am deeply loved, divinely appointed, abundantly equipped, and profoundly cherished by God. No enemy plan, scheme, or obstacle can keep me from God’s highest and best will for me. As I follow the voice of my Savior, I see the invisible, accomplish the impossible, and love the unlovable. I am a living-breathing image of Jesus Christ because he lives in me! Amen.”

This post started out, “Speak this one over yourself.” When I first read it I thought it said, “Speak this one over and over.” Either way, it works. When I first read it I knew it was worth saving but as I read it again today, and after my morning prayers, I know it’s God talking to ME. Every little word speaks deeply to my heart and for whatever reason, I feel like God wants me to share my story, my journey.

When I started this blog, it was during my very first fasting experience. Oh my goodness, it was an experience. I started out on a 40 day fast determined to make it as long as I could with no guilt feelings if I didn’t make it. I did really good for about the first two weeks but Satan struck! He’s really a big stinker and must be dealt with! At work, during this particular week, so many people were talking about where they were going for lunch and it all sounded SOOOO GOOD! Satan was saying, “Mmmmm! Don’t that sound YUMMY! Let’s go EAT!” But I turned to my prayer journal that I had decided to start and I did a lot of writing…and I did not go eat! 1-Tami, 0-Satan. A few days later, everyone in my office decided to go eat to celebrate the upcoming marriage of one of our girls. I suggested a place that had soup so I could have broth, just to be able to go with them. Nope. They wanted a different place, Buffalo Wild Wings (one of my favorite places). I went. Uggggh! I felt guilt the whole time. I thought…just drink water. I thought…make ANY excuse to change your mind. Nope. I ordered. But, the story doesn’t end there. So, we are waiting and waiting AND WAITING on our food. We only have about 15 minutes before we have to be back at work. We ask our waiter what’s going on and they say our food will be out in about 5 minutes…after about a 45 minute wait. Some of us ask for to-go boxes to take it back to work with us because we don’t have time to eat there. Our waiter comes back out and explains that when the waitress put our order in on the front computer, for some reason it didn’t go to the computer in the back. Everyone was so mad that they didn’t tell us and decided no tip for anyone. My mind is not really on the wait or the “bad” service but it’s still on the fact that I have decided to eat. We take it back and I do eat. Yes, you read that right…I ate. Uggggh! Then it sets in…pain in my tummy, guilt, and I want to CRY! After our training class we were doing, I went back to my office and I’m really starting to realize the depth of what had occurred. Do you see it like I finally did??? I saw GOD that day! God always gives us a way out of our struggles and battles with Satan, and he gave me an out! I DIDN’T TAKE IT! WHAT WAS I THINKING? I LET SATAN WIN! The guilt hit me and I had to leave the office before I broke down. I cried all the way home. I called Chris, my love, and just lost it. He called one of our very dearest friends who called me and talked to me almost my whole drive home. He’s been there, done that, and really understood my pain. The thing is, through all the guilt I was feeling, I felt SOOO much JOY and overwhelming (I don’t even know the right word to use) amazement because I SAW GOD that day! While I turned my back on HIM, HE WAS STILL THERE! It was an emotional day for me, to say the very least.

Okay, so with all that being said, I moved on and prayed for forgiveness and strength to carry on with my fast. The next week, I had to travel to one of my favorite towns for work. Favorite, I think, because of all the WONDERFUL restaurants there! Whew! Sometimes I think when you get stronger, Satan does, too! I had been doing so good after my recent experience. I felt closer to God and felt like I was really focusing myself where I really needed to. I was writing in my prayer journal and just really felt good about everything. Then…here comes that mean ‘ol Satan. (I don’t even want to give him the recognition of someone important by capitalizing his name so I’m going to stop that through the rest of my post, just FYI.)

Here I am, in a town I love and I’m really comfortable in, in a hotel all by myself where NO ONE can see me or know what I’m doing. Oh my, how I even hate to type this out but I just feel like I have to. If it can help one person get through some of the same struggles, it will be worth it. If it can help one person see God like I have, it will be worth it. (Dear Lord, help me to say these things in order to give someone else strength, and please continue to help me put everything at your beautiful feet. Amen.) Here goes…I ate, and I ate, and I ate, and I ate some more. Then I went to my hotel bathroom and threw it all up, every single time. I didn’t turn to my precious Lord even once. My journal never left my backpack. I never read my Bible. Satan and I stayed in Jonesboro that week and we lived it up, one meal at a time, one throw-up at a time…over and over for three days. Yep, there it is for all the world to see.

Now the rest of the story. When I left, I knew I needed to come clean to Chris, my love, because I know he has his own struggles and I just felt I had to share it with him. I hadn’t even brought myself to the point of even being able to ask God for forgiveness because I was so ashamed. I decided to quit my fast. Not because I really wanted to but because I felt I had to get my head and heart right with God before I moved forward. I was stuck in the mud. A good friend of mine says you gotta get the pig out of the mud if you want the creek water to be clean! He doesn’t know how right he is! I had to get the pig out of the mud! Here is a little funny that happened the same day I decided to quit my fast (just happened to be day 20): I’ll preface this with the fact that my immediate family knew I was fasting and they had been SOOO amazingly supportive, especially considering Moma wasn’t doing any cooking and was trying to stay away from the temptations of the kitchen! So, my funny middle son was searching through the fridge for something to eat and I was sitting at the bar. He gets frustrated, closes the fridge and turns around to say, “Good grief, Moma, Jesus LOVES YOU! Go get us some FOOD!” I just died laughing! He don’t know how much I needed that laugh at that very moment! I told my family that day that I had decided to quit my fast. I didn’t tell them why but just that I was quitting.

So I had that off my shoulders, I had told them I was quitting my fast. BUT, I never told anyone what me and satan did in Jonesboro. My mommy knew, though. She caught me alone, just me and her, and she said she knew. Mommies always know, don’t they?! I came clean with her. I eventually came clean with Chris. Finally, I came clean with myself.

SEVERAL years ago, I had lost quiet a bit of weight, about 70+ pounds. I had been doing Weight Watchers pretty much faithfully, I was exercising and eating right, too. I was doing this exercise video and had done it so much that I had worn a hole in our carpet in our living room, right in front of the TV! Just another funny side-note! Okay, back to my LONG story. Then my love lost his arm in a farm accident, the same day I had a Weight Watcher meeting (of all days:), and my life changed. Everything was centered around Chris and getting him better, dealing with the stress the accident was for our boys, and trying to find something called “NORMAL” in what God had placed before us. We had SO much support from our friends and family during that time. We knew we were blessed in SO many ways. But satan was really hanging around me. I never went back to Weight Watchers and I started stress eating, something I was really good at. I got so full one time, I will not ever forget that night, and I got sick on the way home from the restaurant we ate at. There it was. I realized I could enjoy all the food I wanted, get as full as I wanted, and as long as I got rid of it, I wouldn’t gain my weight back. I became a closet eater, stuffing myself when no one was around and then throwing it up. I would go to fast food places and eat enough for three grown men, and then throw it up. I was even so brazen as to eat out with my family, then excuse myself to the bathroom…and throw it up! I was some kind of messed up.

We had other struggles we had to deal with in our lives, too. Chris, my love, became an alcoholic sometime around the time he lost his arm. I’m not sure how all of it came to be because so much of that time in my life runs together. He found out he was diabetic, he lost his arm and the accident threw him into insulin dependency. Now that was a life-changer, people. Let me tell you, diabetes is something else! If you’ve got it, you know what I’m talking about! Whew! So, here we were dealing with the loss of Chris’s arm, his diabetes, and my eating disorder. We were one messed up family!

So time went on, life happened, we moved back to my hometown, and I knew I had an eating disorder that had to stop. I don’t know where things started to change but I really think it was with the new church family we found at Romance. We visited different congregations when we moved back and all of them were perfectly wonderful but when we walked through the doors where the church of Christ at Romance meets, it felt like we were “home” with people we had known all our lives, even though we were meeting most of them for the very first time. Everyone there became such an important part of our lives, and on my road to recovery. I started dealing with my problem, my eating disorder, and turning to God for my strength. I gained back all the weight I had lost, and even some more. But, that was okay because I wasn’t eating and throwing up anymore.

I also started attending Al-Anon meetings during this time and that helped me SO much. I walked through the doors of my first meeting and I expected them to tell me to leave Chris and that his alcoholism was ruining our lives, which made it okay for me to leave him. WRONG! They said, “Girl, you gotta get yourself fixed! Quit trying to fix your alcoholic and fix yourself!” Wow! What an eye-opener. Fix me? I thought I had fixed myself. Wrong, again. This journey I was on was starting to get curvy and I wasn’t sure where it was going to lead me.

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I like to “fix” things; I’m a fixer and it drives me CRAZY when I can’t. I wanted to fix Chris. I wanted to fix my sister who was struggling during this time. I wanted to control everything in my growing teenage boys’ lives. How does someone who realizes they’ve always been a control freak turn the focus back to fixing themselves instead of others? The one answer I have is this: God.

Life continues and we have our share of ups and downs. Chris leaves us for over 50 days to get help from a local drug treatment center. How beautiful his face was when he came home! I’ll never forget the day he walked into my classroom and surprised me! Next to my precious Lord, he is the LOVE of my life! Chris is trying to clean himself up, I’m trying to clean myself up, and we are all involved in our church family at Romance. Life is so good; not perfect, but very good.

We always know satan is around the corner but I don’t think any of us (well, me) were prepared for what came next. Growing up, family was always so important. Moma and Daddy would always say before we went somewhere, “Remember who you are.” That was always huge to me! I had two loving parents and they worked so hard to give us a good life. Although it was my grandmother, Billie Jo, who raised me and my sisters in church, my parents started going soon after my mom found out she had breast cancer. The curves life throws has a way of turning people to God. Whatever the reason, my parents were in church. Daddy went on several mission trips, mom was involved in her own ways and even went on a mission trip, also. I loved my parents and was so proud of the life they were living. A couple of years ago, however, we found out that my mom has Parkinson’s and we found ourselves in another one of life’s curves. Soon after that, as if Parkinson’s wasn’t enough, Moma and daddy decided to get a divorce because he decided a 28 (27 at the time) year-old dispatcher at the sheriff’s office was what he wanted instead of my mother, his wife of 45 years. I can’t believe I just typed all of that for the world to see BUT I really want my (our) struggles to help others see that God is ALWAYS there, no matter what.

We had built a small cabin across from us and Moma moved in there. Over 45 years of her life was now in storage and she found herself living in a 600 square foot cabin. She is one of the strongest women I know and one of my loves. I found myself turning back to my strong-suit of wanting to fix things. I threw a hissie fit, as my grandmother called it, when they told me about the divorce. I called the girlfriend and told her what I thought of her. I told my daddy what I thought of him. I become overwhelmed with the need to take care of my Moma! Ms. Fix-it is in fix-it heaven!

It’s been over a year since Moma and daddy split up, the divorce is about to be final, Moma is doing good and trying to find some form of normal in her life, Chris has a few bad days but mostly good days, and me…I’m fasting.

My bad week in Jonesboro and the experiences I had during my first fast changed me. It’s just human nature that we all evolve as life goes on. How we do that is unique to each individual. I realized after my bad week in Jonesboro that I have real issues that I haven’t turned over to God and I’m still trying to fix them on my own. It looks like, at my age and with everything we’ve lived through, that I would KNOW I can’t do it alone! I’m saying it now, here in this blog for all the world to see, that I am not perfect but I know I need God. I went back to Jonesboro for work again the next week, but this time I went with God. I went to face satan and to prove to myself that I can do it; I can stay away from the food and put all my trust and faith in God. I wanted to prove to myself that food does NOT control me and neither does satan. Guess what! We did it…me and God!

I’m going on my 5th day of my second fast. I’m trying every single day, sometimes every single second of every day, to lay my problems at His feet. I realize that I have LOTS of hate in my heart from everything I feel like my dad has done to Moma, but out of the bad of all that, I have my Moma living right next door and I get to see her beautiful face every single day. I realize that my eating disorder can still rear it’s ugly head if I don’t keep first things first. I realize that I cannot fix anyone but myself. I also realize that if I REALLY put my faith in God, HE will take care of everything in HIS way in HIS time. What I’ve taken away from my fasting so far is that  I’ve never ‘truly’ opened my ears to God. I’ve spend SO much time talking to HIm but I’ve not stopped to LISTEN. I’ve always told my kids that God gave them two ears and one mouth for a reason but I’ve never really applied that to my relationship with my loving Savior. Now, I am. I love the things he tells me and shows me on a daily basis. I know the struggles I’ve gone through have all been to draw me nearer to Him. I’ve already seen so many amazing things come from this journey I’m on. I told my middle son about my problems and I think it made our relationship stronger. My hope is that it is making his relationship with God stronger because he sees his Moma turning it all over to Him. My prayers for my middle sister to have a safe race, my baby sister finding a job, Moma’s test results coming back good, for Chris to become stronger and closer to God through his struggles, the strength we find in our friends that God blessed us with, the success we see in our youngest son overcoming his learning disabilities (and the list goes on and on) are all some of the ways I’ve seen God working in my life.

Is the journey easy? Not always. Is it worth it? Every second of it.

One of my many favorite scriptures that helps me on my beautiful journey is Ephesians 6:10-18. Don’t leave home without your Armor!

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

This is my journey. It’s a little strange sharing all of this because it’s like I’ve opened I book that wasn’t supposed to be read by anyone but me. I think God wants me to open it, though, for many reasons, some for which I probably don’t even know yet. Please feel free to share it if you so desire, feel free to comment, to pray for my family, or do nothing. Just let God be your guide…that’s what I’m trying to do!

Rejoice!

Rejoice!

~Faith~

The Bible tells us frequently that faith is an action word. James states that faith without activity is a dead faith (James 2:26). To draw on a common phrase, faith is putting your money where your mouth is. Anyone can say that they have faith in God. That faith is worthless (dead) if it is not acted upon. We believe in God, but how do we act? Do we truly believe He is there if we do not listen to His word and obey it? Do we truly believe if we ignore direct statements in the Bible and merely do what we want?

As you go through your day we hope you will take some time to think about God. Think about what He means to you and what you are willing to do in response. Think about what you can do to show your faith in Him.

 

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