National Foster Parent Appreciation Month

Standard

I got a letter from out agency, forwarded from a state official saying that May is National Foster Parent appreciation month and “thank you”…forwarded, as if the state of Texas doesn’t have our addresses. I’m kind of put out. 

 It wasn’t even addressed to us, just a generic letter. The state wonders why there aren’t more good foster parents….they make us jump through hoops, treat us like bad employees who they are trying to fire and then when there is an opportunity to appreciate us, we get a forwarded letter. If I worked for them, I would quit… I don’t work for them.  

 Thank you to all the foster parents out there past, present and future. Thank you for cleaning bathrooms, cleaning clothes, cleaning bottoms, cleaning food (up from your floor after every meal) and cleaning hearts. You rock because you love kids that others throw away. You deserve better than a forwarded letter.
There are not words to express…loving your own kids is hard at times.  How many times do you have to tell a six year old boy to stop scratching/adjusting himself in public?  I’m tired of hearing myself say it.  Then you take on a child or group of children and you love them, pour into them even though they may never be yours.  Then if they do become adoptable, you hold your breath all the way to adoption day.  Because the system isn’t always kind or fair.   Words cannot adequately describe the gamment of emotions fosterparents experience.  At times the experience is so bittersweet. Sadness prevailed when the child who you knew didn’t fit with your family goes home.   You find yourself praying for a whole list of children every day: praying they live, know Jesus and don’t end up as teen parents or in prison.  

Know that you are Jesus’ hands on the earth.  He sees. 

Corporate Responsibility

Standard

Yesterday, while visiting our Chic-fil-a I had a run-in with another mom.  This doesn’t surprise some of you.  I’m not one to back down from a bully.

(If you read this on FB yesterday, you are going to want to skip ahead)

Here’s what happened…I let my children go to the play area while I ordered our food.  My baby girl is as spunky as they come.  When I sat down at a table next to the door for the play area (I like to keep watch on the kids while allowing them a little freedom but be close enough to help them if the need arises)I seem my two sitting on the bench in the play area and the Boy has his arm around the girl and she has a look of concern on her face.  I didn’t want to make a big deal and our food had arrived so I told them to come eat.  While we were eating I asked my son why they were playing.  He said there are a bunch of wild kids in there and when we went into the playscape they jumped out and yelled at us in our face.  The boy often plays with other boys his age and I doubt this would have concerned him but it scared our girl.  Eventually the “Lord of the Flies” gang emerged…I would say one was five years old, one was three and the other one was maybe two and a half or three.  They were a rough looking group for preschoolers.  They were going back and forth between where their moms were sitting around the corner and where the door to the play area door is.  The three year old began blocking the two year old into the play area by holding the door shut.  The 5 year old had taken a drink or ice into the play area…there was ice all over the floor and the baby was trying to get out.  I told the 3 year old to cut it out (stop holding the door).   He did temporarily, then started right back up.  The mom of the 5 year old came over to help him pick up the ice he just spilled and the mom of the 3 year old came over and began telling me to stop scolding her child because he didn’t know what he was doing, he’s only three.  ??? (If your three year old doesn’t know the meaning of the word “no” then you need to get him in a developmental therapy program)   I told her she needed to supervise her children.  She started raising her voice…and I raised my voice…and I can be loud without knowing it (my family tells me).  She tells me she has been supervising her child from over where she was sitting with her friends (when we walked in they were laughing and showing each other videos on their phones….I wouldn’t have thought they even had kids if it wasn’t for the kid’s meal bags on their table).  I told her they scared my children to which she told me i should be in the play area with my kids if they are scared.  (SO I HAVE TO MAKE SURE YOUR KID DOESN’T BULLY MY KIDS???).  I told her my daughter is barely 2 years old and shouldn’t be scared to play.  She told me that my child should only be playing in the little  kid area not on the playscape because the area at the bottom is for little kids.  I told her again that clearly the kids weren’t supervised because they were taking food into the play area and that is against the rules.  Then I shut up because engaging a fool only makes me a fool.  Other customers in the dining area were looking at us.

I admit, in that moment I lost Jesus.  I really didn’t love that lady on any level.  I thought she was a trashy, lazy person and a failure as a parent.  I felt sorry for the little boys.  They were filthy and one was dressed in pajamas. Even thinking about it now makes me so sad that kids are being raised by people who do not respect anyone else.  I am also very thankful that although I may have lost Jesus, He never loses me.  Also, I may not have totally lost Jesus….the Holy Spirit may have actually kicked in there because what I wanted to do was punch her in the face but I didn’t….I didn’t even stand up from sitting down.  I didn’t cuss at her.  I didn’t call tell her what I thought of her….so some self-control was exercised.

Having said all of that.  The Chic-fil-a staff did NOTHING.  They didn’t ask us to leave.  They didn’t ask what was going on.  They didn’t call the police.  There were lots of people in the dining area and they were all looking so I know we were loud.

Last night, after stewing a little more, I messaged Chic-fil-a:

Me:  At what point does the management ask a parent to supervise their child or leave the play area? ..yada, yada, yada about the incidnent…The staff/management did NOTHING to handle this situation.

Chick-fil-A of Kyle, Texas Thanks for the message Casey. I will coach our top managers on how to handle these situations. Thankfully it is very rare that this happens, but it can be very awkward for a staff member to step in and demand that someone parent their children. It definitely needs to be addressed if there is concern for safety. Did you notify anyone? Or did the staff not notice

ME: I’m not one to back down..yada, yada, yada about the incident… The staff definitely heard our conversation as I know other patrons did. I did not voice my concerns to management as by this time I was steaming and nothing I said at that point would have been edifying. I prefer to bring my children to Chic-fil-a because the food is better and the play area is usually much cleaner than the McDonalds next door. I”m struggling with the question myself of the corporate responsibility. Clearly the parents of these children should been supervising their children but it wasn’t happening. One of the boys kicked by 2 year old daughter. My son, age 6 told him to stop and then told me about it. I’m not sure what else I should have done except leave with a bad taste in my mouth.  This is happening way more than you know.

Chick-fil-A of Kyle, TexasI’m sorry you had to deal with that! That is frustrating to say the least. Definitely a good topic of discussion for our staff, thank you for taking the time to message us.

While that was a “nice” response…I’m left wondering, at what point would a restaurant ask someone to leave?

I understand that kids can play rough. What is funny about it is every time something like this has happened it’s a white parent.  Yes, I’m white.  I’m not sure that being white has anything do with it but maybe we act a little too entitled…I’m veering off topic.

At what point should the management intervene and ask a parent to supervise their child or leave the play area?

Does a child need to be injured for a bully to be asked to leave? Does a bruise qualify or a bloody nose?  I’m not sure what the law says but I would think that businesses would want all their guests to feel safe.

Any thoughts?  Or experiences?  Or advise on keeping our kids safe while playing children who do not have the same values or upbringing?

Giving

Standard

Have you ever been invited to something and felt that you were only invited because the person wanted a gift?  Well, maybe you aren’t that cynical.  I’m a little cynical.

Here’s the thing…ask my family…ask the people who know me well, I love giving gifts to people.  Seriously.  I’m not very good at remember birthdays or special occasions but I love giving people gifts.  Unless, I feel obligated, then I kind of…well…give grudgingly….if I give at all.

We homeschool which means ever week we have a new scripture to memorize.  This week’s scripture is

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.     2 Corinthians 9:7

We do not just memorize it, we learn about what the scripture means.  This week we have been talking about giving cheerfully.

This scripture has me thinking.

Of course, I want to be a cheerful giver with God.  Most of the teachings I’ve heard on this scripture have been about giving our tithes and offerings.   What about giving to other people?

It seems the more giving you are the more people expect for you to give to them.  If I’m honest with myself, I’ve been this person.  I’ve had expectations of people based on how they are “doing” financially.  Thinking that way is not “right” for lack of a better way of saying it.  Because you and I really cannot know for certain how someone is “doing” financially unless we have inside knowledge of all their financial situations…income, debt, etc.  You may think we are rich because of the vehicle we drive or because we are very generous.  We have a nice vehicle because we are very generously blessed by God…not because we are doing super great financially.

What has really struck me this week is the word, “necessity”.   Many times, the Hubs and I have given when we saw a need…not necessarily that God led us to give but we saw a need and we wanted to be the hero and we filled the need.

Let’s face it…it’s fun being the hero, if you can afford it.  I wish we were Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark but we aren’t that kind of rich.

For example, The Hubs had a nice (expensive to me…not expensive to musician types) base guitar.  He had been very blessed when he purchased the guitar…it was sold to him for 1/2 asking price without him even asking.  Several years ago, he donated it to a small church that needed a base.  Keeping in mind, the Hubs is a musician and plays several instruments, the base guitar is NOT his weapon instrument of choice.  After giving that base away, he ended up borrowing a base for two years to play for our church.  Our current church has asked him to play base several times and he has had to borrow a base.  I’ve been thinking, “wow, we sowed a base maybe it’s about time someone gives the Hubs a base.”  That was about five years ago…in that amount time he should have reaped a tree of bases.  This analogy lead me to consider the ground he sowed into:  Good ground?  Not so good ground?  Or maybe our hearts were not in the right place when we gave the base.  Our intentions may have been good but perhaps we were not really giving the base to God; maybe we were giving it to people who we wanted to approve of us.  We were giving out of their necessity.

How often do we do give out of other people’s necessity rather than out of just hearing from God?

Back when I was single,  our singles were taking a trip to Six Flags (amusement park).  I paid for two of my friends who wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise.  They both told me they didn’t have the money.  Seeing the need, I paid for their tickets.  Neither one of them thanked me.  I prayed about it.  I felt God say to me, “I was trying to teach them some things about managing their finances and you interfered.”   That was a long time ago and I”m still learning the lesson.

Stop giving out of necessity and ask God where you should be giving.

God really cracks me up.

Why?  Because I’ve never been in a situation of asking for financial support (other than on behalf of my church or a ministry).  We haven’t gone on missions trips, etc.  However, the Hubs was invited to speak/preach/minister at a family retreat up in the New Jersey area next month.  Because of our situation, when the Hubs takes off work, our personal finances are impacted for at least two months after the time off (Can you say “commission based”?)  Last summer he took off in July to attend an ARC conference in Birmingham, Alabama and for two months after the time off,  things were tight for us financially….we know what we are getting into committing to this trip. In other words, we are investing our lives and futures into expanding the Kingdom of God.   Even though, the church who invited us offered to pay for the Hubs’ flight, they cannot pay for our entire families’ flight.  I checked into it and just the flights for our family are about $2000.  So we are going to drive from Central Texas to New Jersey, hopefully swinging by to see some friends on the way back.  What’s my point?  Well, I was praying about this and I had a dream that I should set up a “gofundme” account.  So I did.  Over the years we have supported so many people going on missions trips.  I never thought we would be asking for support.  I haven’t really prayed much about God giving us a specific amount.  I believe God called us to do this as a family mission trip.  I believe that God will provide the financing we need.  In the past, I probably would have tried guilting people into giving.  Not this time. I trust that God is going to provide all the funding we need to get there, do what He has called us to do and get back and still meet every financial obligation here at home.  My one prayer in this is that we are “good ground” and whomever blesses us will be blessed a 1000 times over.    (Please don’t misconstrue this as a bribe to get you to give…if I was going to try to bribe you I would promise that if you give cheerful to our missions trip, God will love you more – I’m kidding, sort of…no really, I’m kidding).

Let’s just say this about it…”Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.” Philippians 4:17 (If Paul said it, I can say it….a little tongue in cheek).

The funny part to me is I’m telling you not to give out of just seeing a need even though we are the ones with the need.

The bottom line…prayerfully and cheerfully give from your heart wherever God leads you to give.  Consider your motive for giving.  Giving is one of those things….you always get something back whether it is the joy of blessing someone or the cheers or “thank yous” from others…giving is a two way street.   You cannot out-give God.

Abundant Life

Standard

First off, I’m writing this on the Hub’s iPad….I’m am basically typing with one finger so this may be short.  

My sister wrote this post recently, click here.  I adore my sister and this post blew me away.  I didn’t know she had not experienced knowing that God loves her.  My sister is a school teacher, a middle child and she is a rule-follower.  That’s not a bad thing.  I am a bit of a rule follower too.  Then one perfect day…boom….she realizes how much she is loved.   
This week, I heard a friend who,is going through a very difficult time.  Her life kind of stinks.  She whines about and asks for prayer.  Although she seems to believe,  and attends church regularly, she is not living her life according to the Bible.  

I heard someone say once that if a non-believer lived their life according to the Bible, their life would be blessed, even if they do not believe.  Interesting….the Bible lays out some universal truths, like “you reap what you sow”.

Just thinking about my kids and how, I want to give them good thing; I want to bless them.  Because they are my kids, I want them to have food to eat and nice cloths to wear.   When they obey me, follow the rules and behave responsibly, thier lives are safer and I want to reward them.  They walk in favor with Mama.  I want to take them to do fun things, buy them a toy at the store, etc.

There is a difference between surviving in life and living an abundant life….the difference is God’s favor.  If you seek Him, follow Him, obey His Word then you will walk in favor and your life will be blessed.  If you don’t, then you are going to struggle.  You aren’t struggling against God, you are struggling with yourself.  Your spirit man will wrestle against your flesh to submit to God completely.  Give it up.  Favor is way better than just “ok”.

Testimony 2

Standard

Here is the second one I wrote and the one I modified….

I hope y’all are having great time and relaxing.  What I want to talk to you all about today is a  statement we use in our home…”In our family we…”.

Our scripture for this retreat is Joshua 24:15 “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua challenged the children of Israel to confirm the covenant they had with God through a public declaration.

Let me give you a little background.

My husband and I got married a little “later” in life…in other words, we were both in our 30s (he was barely 30).  Before we married we discussed starting a family.  We both wanted children and we both wanted to adopt.  Our plan was that we would wait a few months and start “trying” to get pregnant and down the road we would adopt.  How many of you know that sometimes “our plan” isn’t God’s plan?  We were surprised when we didn’t get pregnant right away.  About two years later, when we finally did get pregnant and at about 13 weeks in, I miscarried.  Despite miscarrying,  7 months after that miscarriage, right about the time I would given birth, a family asked us if we would take in their grandson who was going to be placed in fostercare.  God prepared my heart to be a mom and then provided the child.

Psalm 145:16 says, “You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

 We did take him in.  The situation was crazy…oh, the stories I could tell you.  This is when we met 22 month old, Nicholas.

We have good friends, the Branhams who had fostered for a while and Suzy encouraged me to consider becoming an official foster parent.  We eventually did.  Later down the road, we adopted our son, Nicholas through fostercare.  We have some great adoption stories.  Which I love sharing so if you want to hear more about adoption or fostercare, please ask.  Keeping to this topic, when you become a fosterparent, there is yearly training involved.  Through one of our trainings and reading online about fostercare and basically being mentored by the Branhams and another family from our church, the Padrons, I read about establishing or defining who your family is and what your family does.  When you foster, having guidelines helps the children who come into your home to transition and begin to “fit in”.  Every family is different and every family has an identity.  Many children in foster care come from a family who has a negative identity.  Most of these families are barely surviving.  These are children whose parents are in trouble with the authorities, may be using drugs, or may have neglected or abused them.  Most cases these days have to do with drug use.  They often consider normal what we define as an outrageous way for a child to live.

“In our family, we….”

I loved this idea of having it in writing, “In our family, we…”  because making declarations is Biblical and declarations define a thing and establish identity.

 You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways. Job 22:28

 You get to decide some things about who your family is and what they do. Yes, you can even do this when you are single.

Here are some examples…this one has been huge in our family.  “In our family, we tell the truth.”  “In our family, we pray.”  “In our family, we go to church.”  “In our family, we are kind.”  “In our family, we are generous”.  “In our family, we share.”

Keep in mind, some of these things are things we are “working on”.  We have little ones.  There are times when I have said to my 6 year old, “Your last name is Chavez.  In our family, we tell each other the truth.”

Why is it important?

What you think about who you are is important.

When my husband and I were first married, he would often say, “I’m the black sheep in my family” (even though at the time he was one of the only practicing Christians, a minister, and a worship leader).  At first, I let it slide but one evening we were driving home and something had happened at church.  He said, “I’m the black sheep of this church…”.  I looked at him and said, “No you aren’t.  I break that off of our family, in Jesus name.   I’m not the black sheep of anything.  You have to stop saying that.  It’s not true but because you expect it, everything seems that way.”  Basically, I rebuked what he had said.  He was a little offended with me but later that night told me that the whole “black sheep” thing was something his dad would always say.  He agreed this was not our family’s identity.  His dad never expected to be to be loved and accepted…he always expected to be on the outside, with his family, at work and even at church.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m NOT a super positive or “name it claim it” person.  I’m not even very good at seeing the best around me sometimes.  But I’m going to speak life and not death because “in our family, we speak life”.

It’s about establishing expectation.  It is also about establishing identity.  This is who we are and this is what we do.

Back in my single days, I had an identity crisis of sorts.  I had been single for a while and I knew deep down I wanted to get married.  I was in my early 30s.  I had many single friends and kept busy.  I also had a job that had me on the road about 80% of the time.  Most Sundays I was on an airplane flying somewhere.  During this time, I had a friend, who is a very nice man.  He is a Christian, not just in word but he is a Christ follower.  We were pretty much best friends.  We would travel together.  We would go have dinner, see movies.  We weren’t dating each other.   We spent a lot of time together, so much so that my dating life dried up completely.  Which led to me losing hope in getting married.  While he was a great guy, he was not positive about things.  In fact, he was so negative that he would say things about my character and my identity that were death to my spirit.   I can tell you all the reasons why he was a mess the bottom line is, he needed to allow God to heal his past.  We all need God to heal our past….that is how we find true freedom.  When the person in your life speaks negative things over you, after a while you believe those things.  I knew this.  In my early twenties I had been in a relationship that would have eventually been physically abusive. Verbal abuse sneaks up on us sometimes.  Since I wasn’t going to church regularly, I wasn’t hearing God’s truth about who I am.  I became isolated.  And then I started fighting my way out but I did it my way instead of God’s way.  My way was to start dating someone who was not really a Christian.   I ended up becoming someone I didn’t recognize.  The new guy brought out my crazy.  I had never been the girl to stalk a man or put up with being disrespected.  This guy wouldn’t answer my calls so I would drive out to his house in the middle of the night to see if he was home or out.  I allowed him to stand me up and I found out he was looking at porn on my computer.  All of this happened in six short months.  In only 3 months I lost myself.  By month 5, I found myself in an identity crisis.  I had moments of thinking “this isn’t me”.   All of this because I had gotten away from what God said about me and who He says I am.

It took a healing conference and almost a year for me to consider dating again.  Why? because dating isn’t for the faint of heart and you should know who you are and what you are about before you start dating.  That’s why “in our family dating is for people who have completed college” (hopefully that will stick. Haha)

How do I do it?

God communicates with everyone.  Some people hear His voice.  Some people feel Him.  Some people have an impression inside them.  Maybe you don’t feel like you do but consider asking Him to speak with you and see what happens.

I want you to consider today what God says about you and your family.

If the voice you hear is saying something like, “You are no good and will not amount to anything.”  That is not God.  God sees all of you.  He sees who you were, who you are and who He wants you to be. The past doesn’t define who He says you are.

His thoughts toward you are not confusing.  They do not cause fear.  His thoughts toward you bring hope and establish a future for you.  (Jeremiah 29:11).

Let’s take a few minutes to write down what God is saying about who we are.

Testimony 1

Standard

Recently I was asked to share a testimony at our women’s retreat.  I wrote two and ended up changing the second one at the last minute.  I thought I would post both testimonies.  This is very transparent..  I thought of so many things God has brought me through and I couldn’t list them all.  Here’s a start….

First of all, I want to tell you all I have a 6 year old and an almost 2 year old and this took me 7 “time outs” and lots of tears to write.  I wasn’t the one crying although I felt like it.

As I look around today I see so many beautiful faces.  We are nicely dressed, have our make up on and we have a smile on our faces.  This is how we present ourselves to the world.  We put our best self out there.  Kind of like social media…we only post the best pictures.  I have a policy to immediately untag myself in any unflattering photo.  In fact, if I happen to take an unflattering photo, I delete it immediately, no need to have all that floating around.  If you come to my home in the middle of the week, unannounced, you may see a different me.  I may be wearing stretchy pants…I’d call them yoga pants but I do not do a lot of yoga, my hair may or may not be brushed and I probably will not have makeup on unless I’m going somewhere that day.  We present our best selves.  It is easy to hide behind our best selves and never “get real” with who we are and where we are.

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is,of the heart.   II Corinthians 3:2-3

 In this scripture, Paul (the writer) is basically saying, “You are books that are still being written, by God for all to read.”

That’s what each of our lives are, we are books and we are still being written.  So if you aren’t where you want to be or where you hope to be…God is still writing. Allow Him work in you.

Let me tell you part of my story….

I grew up in church, in a religious “turn or burn” environment. That is not a good environment for cultivating relationship.  Fear is not a part of Jesus’ character.  The Bible says, “the love of Christ draws us.”   I loved Jesus.  I can remember from the age of 5 years old, loving to sing and having a deep love for Jesus.    As a teen, I found myself in a church with many young people who said they were Christians but they didn’t live a Christian lifestyle.  I found myself focusing on the behaviors of others rather than on the love of Jesus.  I stopped going to church for a few years.  By this time, I was in my early 20s.  During that time, I never denied that Jesus was real…I just wasn’t living for Him.  Keep in mind, my family….still very committed to Jesus, determined that I was going to hell if I didn’t change my ways.  They had an “intervention” in which they actually said to me, “if you do not change your lifestyle, we fear you will go to hell. And you should be afraid too.”  I have two sisters.  My sister, Jenny was sitting in the corner of the room away from the circle the rest of my family had formed and she said, “I’m not a part of this and I told them it wasn’t a good idea.” (I’m not making fun of my family but I do see the humor in all of this).  My sisters both knew that I knew where the bodies were buried… I knew all their secrets.  The “intervention” failed because I was rebellious and determined that as an adult they weren’t going to tell me what to do.  Even though the “intervention” was a fail, my family did continue to pray for me.  They would also come home on Sundays and “discuss” the message so I didn’t miss out.  Jenny mentioned to me a guy, Charlie that I grew up with.  The last I had heard, he went into the Marine corp.  She said he was back and “on fire for the Lord”.  For all of you who didn’t grow up in Christian circles…he’s very passionate for the Lord.  In hind sight, I’m not sure why she told me this.  I was attending and working at ACC at the time.   One day, my plan was to get there around 10 a.m and hit the library to study.  Everything happened that morning.  I was so behind my schedule.  I didn’t make it to library until almost 1 p.m.  I had been there a few minutes when someone tapped me on my shoulder.  It was that guy, Charlie.  The only thing that ran through my mind was, “on fire for the Lord” and I was pretty sure I didn’t want talk to him or anyone else who was “on fire for the Lord”.  He said, “Can I talk to you outside?”  I left all my belongings at the desk I was working at and followed him outside…because it wasn’t going to take long.  He said to me, “God sent me here today to tell you, ‘It’s time to come home’.”  Those words may have been simple but they hit me like a ton of bricks.  I started crying.  Not ugly crying but tearing up.  Even though that Word hit me, it still took 4 to 6 months for my life to turn around.  Every time I would see Charlie, if he hadn’t seen me, I would turn and go the other way.  He would invite me to sit with him.  He didn’t bring up church or even God.  He just hung out with me.  I still wasn’t comfortable.  He told me his side of that day later on.  He said, God told him “Go to the library, I’m going to send someone.”  He waited at the library until after noon.  He left.  He had things to do.  The parking situation at that ACC was terrible.  If you got a spot, you didn’t leave and come back.  Charlie said, he got in his truck and drove out of his spot and the heard the Lord say, “She’s there.”  He found another spot…another miracle and headed back up to the 10th floor.  He said he knew the minute he saw me that I was the person he was sent to talk to.  Every time he would see me, God would say, “Go talk to her.”  He would tell God, “She hates me.” But he talked to me anyway.  We later became very good friend.   At the time that this happened, I had been dating someone who said he was a Christian but he wasn’t a Christ follower…we had dated over a year and a half and had talked about marriage.  My plan was to make all my “wrong” behaviors “right” so I could have what I wanted and follow Jesus.  If I just got married then it was okay for me to be with this guy.  Of course all my partying was going to have to stop.  To me, it was all about what I was going to have to give up.  My life did change; everything changed…for the better.  That wasn’t the end of my story.  I have served the Lord for many years now and I’ve had my ups and downs.  Things happened in my life that if it were not for Jesus, I would have crumpled up and died.  I have failed God miserably.  I was date raped.  I had a miscarriage.  My husband and I attended two very damaged churches (this played out in the pastors being spiritually abusive),  I’ve been diagnosed with HPV.  We had a miscarriage, I’ve been cursed.  I’ve wanted to die.  We were told we didn’t qualify to purchase a house. Now let me tell you how God turned all those things around.  God has restored me.  I’ve been healed…mentally, spiritually and physically.  That’s right, my current doctor ran every test she could and said I do not have HPV (even though three doctors before her said I did).  God has given me a great husband.  Even though, I had a miscarriage at 13 weeks, 7 months later, I had a baby…a family gave us a toddler…do the math, God had prepared my heart to be a mom even though my body didn’t  deliver that baby.  We have adopted.  God has placed us in a healthy church with healthy pastors.  Every curse spoken over us has been cancelled.   Only 6 months after being told we didn’t qualify to purchase a house, we closed on our house.  Every one of these things are a part of my story. There are even more that I haven’t mentioned here.

Each situation represents a testimony that I could share with you about what God has done in my life.  There were times during those situations that I asked God, “Why is this happening?”  These things happen to bring glory to God and as a testimony to you that if He did it for me, He will do it for you.   God doesn’t love me more than anyone else.  He loves you so much and if He delivered me, He will deliver you.  If He healed me, He will heal you.  He has blessed me, He will bless you.

Even if I didn’t mention your struggle, there is a lady in this room who has been where you are.  You are not alone.  God loves you and wants you healed, delivered and whole.  He wants your book to read that you lived an abundant life.

You are not alone in your struggle unless you choose to be.

Strong Men

Standard

Hey all, it’s been a while and I’m going to post at least two or three posts today.  This is just a little share.  Too long for a Facebook post so I thought I’d share here.

We host a “City Group” at our home no Sunday nights.  Us and our friends, the Branhams lead the group.  I love this group.

One of the things I love about this group is that the men in our group are pursuing God.  These guys get together and they start jamming (praise God for the music room in our house) or just sitting around talking about the goodness of God.

This past week, the Hubs made a plan for worship. The men all worked together, playing and singing (admittedly we have some incredible worshippers in our group).  Then we prayed for each other.  The men took the lead.

I am a strong leader (interpret….I’m bossy).  There are times when I just want to sit back and enjoy the worship and enjoy the Holy Spirit and not worry about what’s next.  It was sweet time of worship and refilling of the Holy Spirit.

I’m thanking God for all the men of God in our City Group.  They aren’t just leading in the spiritual things.  They are also leaders in their families as well.

Just feeling so blessed to be surrounded by these families.