Alone??

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NO!

I would estimate that I went through two thirds of my life believing I was alone.  I also believed I was not understood.  In hindsight, both of these idea’s were sown by the enemy and perpetuated by me.

In my experience, in speaking with, counseling, praying for and ministering too prophetic people and especially those who were prophetic in childhood, intense feelings of being “different” caused intense feelings of loneliness.

The Hubs stole a joke our pastor told and retold it on our last trip.  A man went into a small grocery store to do some shopping.  He noticed a bird.  And the bird started talking to him.  It was pretty impressive because the bird started calling him over.  “Hey you, come here”  The man was intrigued.  He approached the bird and the bird looked him in the eye and said, “You are a stupid bag of crap” (Insert any insult here).  The man was taken back.  What kind of store was this.  He asked to speak to management and told the owner what the bird had said.  The owner said, “I’ll take care of it”.  He took the bird into the back room and the feather’s flew.  The customer could hear swkaking and punching and carrying on.  The customer leaves and the next day he returns.  There is the bird, sitting in his cage.  He looks like he’s missing some feathers.  The bird calls the customer over again and the customer is just waiting to hear what the bird will say this time.  The bird says, “You know”.

The Hubs made the point that the enemy doesn’t have to follow us around lying to us but rather he sows a little lie and then we repeat it to ourselves until we believe it and respond to it.

My lie was “you are different, you don’t fit in.  People do not understand you. You are alone.  You you will always be alone. Don’t expect people to like you.”  The crazy part of the lie is…I’ve always had lots of friends.  I’m very friendly.  Yet, I felt alone.  I felt misunderstood.  I felt that people didn’t like me.

I remember telling someone that if I walk into a room and everyone greets me, hugs me and adores me except for one person, it bugs me.  I will try to find out why they don’t like me.  I will assume I offended them.  I will work to try to win them over.

It is foolishness.  For one, it is self-centered…all about “me”. “Why don’t they like me?”  Maybe they it’s them.  Maybe they don’t like people.  Maybe they are shy.  Maybe they didn’t see me.  Who cares?  Everyone doesn’t have to like me.

In our quest for freedom and healing, I have rejected the lie that I am alone.  I have rejected the lie that I’m different than everyone else.  I’m not that different; everyone wants to feel accepted and understood.

How did I start thinking about this?  We went to a gathering a while back and there were some little boys at the event.  They all know each other and my son knows one or two of them.  Of course, I am concerned about my son fitting in and getting along with kids his age.  We have many friends and do many activities with other homeschooling families.  He isn’t around kids his own age all day, every day.  As I watched, the boys who knew each other were playing games and having fun.  They didn’t really ask him to participate or include him.  It bothered me.  However, he didn’t even notice.  He was off having fun on his own.  Eventually, he joined in with something they were doing.   He has some friends that come over occasionally.  There are two boys that when they are together they do not always include him.  I asked him if they were nice.  The only time he said, “No” is when they pushed or hit him.  To my son, being hit or pushed makes them not nice.  He doesn’t notice not being included.  That’s my thing.  I’m working hard to not make that his thing.

When God created the universe He declared it all good with one exception.  That was man being alone.  God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone.

It is no wonder that this is an area where the enemy often comes in.  I know in this, I am not alone.  There are many of you who also feel different and also feel alone.  It’s no surprise that the enemy tells us these lies to isolate us from others.  We have to chose to reject the lie and to join up with other believers.  The reason attending church and small groups is important is because in community the lies are uncovered, truth is revealed and healing happens.

We have to make a choice to NOT be alone.  We have to reach out.  We have to join in.  We have to decide that most people are NOT against us and most people are NOT rejecting us.  The expectation of rejection leads us to wounded people who reject us…the expectation of rejection become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Decide to think better of people.

Someone told me recently that we didn’t like each other when we met.  I didn’t say anything but I liked her.  I didn’t meet her and think, “I don’t like you”.  Her experience was that I didn’t like her.  Why?  Because that was her expectation.  I liked her.  I’m not sure why she thought otherwise.  I didn’t fall all over her with kissing up…but I don’t do that.  I’m not one to extend false or exaggerated words of affirmation…perhaps that is why she thought I didn’t like her.

Expecting the worst in others is a pretty good indicator that you are wounded and need healing.

Word.

Seriously, I am not saying that to be mean.  I’m not minimizing that you have been mistreated and wounded.  It’s time to seek the Lord for your healing.  We do not have time to maintain the regrets of our past.  It’s time to get healed and move forward.

You aren’t alone.  You aren’t alone in life.  You aren’t alone in your situation.  Someone out there has walked a similar road and gotten their healing.  Someone has survived and been healed of much worse.  Don’t worry about lost time.  God has a way of restoring all of that.

Let’s go!

Be Amazing

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When people find out that we have adopted/are adopting they act as if we are heroes.  We do not feel like heroes, day to day….believe me.  Some days it just feels hard.

The Hubs is a songwriter.  Some people think that is amazing.

I am a writer. I’ve written one book and I’m working on the second one.  Some people think that is amazing.

The Hubs and I both packed up and moved from our hometowns, when we were single because we felt that God told us to…and eventually we ran into each other.  When people hear that they often think that is amazing.

We were trying to figure out the other day how many vehicles we have given away.  I think three since we have been married.  When people hear that we gave away a vehicle they think we are crazy and pretty amazing.

None of this feels amazing to us.  When we look back on our lives we see the goodness of God.  We feel that we have been obedient in the things God has asked us to do.  And believe me when I say we do not feel amazing day-to-day.

On our recent trip to New Jersey we reconnected with a young lady.  She was one of the worship leaders.  I though she was amazing.  Her passion for worship combined with the fact that she leads worship in three languages plus she is joy personified. I was impressed.  By the end of the weekend I found out that two years ago she was diagnosed with MS. She was dizzy; couldn’t stand, dizzy for 21 days and found out it was a symptom of MS.  This is a young woman in her 20s.  In addition to all of this, she ran a Spartan race a few months ago.  Yet, she worships through the symptoms and she loves Jesus with all her heart.  I’m guessing she doesn’t feel like an amazing person on the days that MS is raring it’s ugly head but she is.

I heard a quote, I thought John Maxwell said it but Google tells me it was Alvin Toffler.

small things

Jesus said it like this, in Luke 16:10,  “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much”

If you want to be amazing, do the small things every day…it doesn’t say you have to do them perfectly, it says you have to do them faithfully…that means every day.

My experience has also taught me that if you want to be amazing  the most important thing is you have to DO SOMETHING! Take action!  Stop talking about your dreams and do something to move in that direction.

People who make a difference in this world are people who do things.  They do something.

God honors the “something”, even if you do the wrong thing, He will help you get to the right thing.  Seriously!  God uses people who are on the move.  What He has issues with are people who are waiting for it all to fall into their laps.  I don’t know of any person in the Bible who just had it all handed to them without moving out in faith.  God works with faith!  Do one thing today to move in the direction of your calling.  Do one thing today to move in the direction of your God-given dream.  DO SOMETHING!!!   Become amazing!  God loves for His kids to be amazing. He loves it because we point back to Him.

He uses the most unlikely people.   No matter how you look or what your cloths look like or who your parents are…doesn’t matter.  Doesn’t matter if you are black or white or in between.  It doesn’t matter if you a man or a woman or young or old.  God is looking for faithful.

Take a step.  God will lead you to the next step and the next step.

What are you going to do? (Answer outloud:  “I am going to be amazing”).

Testimonies

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Searching through old blogs I cannot believe I have never written about our honeymoon trip to Newark, New Jersey.  To begin, I would LOVE to hear from any of our New Jersey friends on their testimony is all of this.

I will try to give to short version of this testimony. We have shared this so many times over the years.

When we were getting ready to get married, the Hubs was invited to speak at a youth camp  in New Jersey.  He was invited by his friend Christian Castro who was an associate pastor at the Christian Community Presbyterian church in Newark.

Since it was around our wedding we decided to fly up a few days early and go to New York City for our honeymoon.  I had been several times but the Hubs had not.  We had a lovely visit.  Then off to youth camp.

We are decidedly charismatic in our belief system.  We pretty much believe everything in the Bible and we believe God is BIG!  Our roots are Pentecostal.  On the way to camp, the Hubs asked Christian’s wife Liz (who grew up in the going to the same church as the Hubs ) if there was anything we should avoid saying or talking about.  She basically said the whole Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues thing was off limits.  Out of respect for our friends and the under the authority of the house (the church) we committed to NOT bringing up speaking in tongues or being filled with the Holy Spirit.  Except the Hubs had a message planned about plugging into the power source (basically, about being filled with the Spirit but not in those words).

The youth had a dynamic worship band called (if I recall) Contagious Truth.  They were most definitely a worshiping group. The first few days were non-eventful.  I was sick and stayed in our room trying to feel better and the Hubs was playing all the camp games with the students (I really do not remember what all he was doing during the day).

On Saturday night, we prayed before the service and prayer walked the little sanctuary.  He went ahead and preach his “plugging in” message and opened the alter for anyone who wanted prayer.  Three young ladies responded to the alter call.

One of those girls was Jessica.  She was the keyboard player for the worship team.  Only three girls wanted prayer so we were going to pray for them with everything we had.  We prayed for Jessica first.  Most of the time, I do not ask people what they want/need prayer for…I like to ask the Holy Spirit what He wants to pray for them.  We were being safe so we asked.  I do not remember what she said…maybe just asked us to pray that she would have “more”.  We prayed and she fell down under the power of the Holy Spirit.  I was touching her shoulder but the Hubs didn’t even touch her.  This was NOT a “push someone down and say it was the Holy Spirit” situations (not that we have ever or will ever do that).  She was out.  We looked at each other and figured in that moment we were probably not going to be asked back so we should just go for it.  We prayed for the next young lady, the same thing happened and the third young lady as well.  Each one fell out under the power of the Holy Spirit.  Then Jessica got up and she began going to people in their seats and laying hands on them and praying.  The girl was on fire.  She prayed for every member of the worship team.  The worship team kept falling out and another student would take over playing their instrument.  They never missed a beat.  Jessica was so full of the Spirit, she was flinging the metal folding chairs out of the way.  To be perfectly honest, even for Pentecostal circles, what began to happen was a little chaotic.  It was an upper room experience (I believe the day of Pentecost was a little chaotic).  The students were prophecying.  They were praying for each other.  They were speaking in tongues.  There were also demonic manifestations that were taken care of.

We were sure that we were not going to be asked back.

The next day, the associate pastor who was much more in tune with the culture of the church sat the students down and walked them through Acts 2 and explained the Holy Spirit from the Bible.  Christian is incredibly gracious in flowing in the Spirit and he explained it in a simple way.

We headed back to Newark.  We still had not met Pastor Renato, the senior pastor of the church.  At that time CCP had a Sunday evening Portuguese service. After dropping the students off at the church and getting some food, we headed back for the service.  When we got there, we were greeted by one of the youth leaders.  She told us that the students had not gone home but had gone to the prayer room.  When pastor arrived for the service they grabbed him and began prophecying to him.

Yep, we were never going to be asked back.

The pastor came to greet us as the worship started and asked the Hubs to say a few words during the service.

The service was quiet full, a few hundred people were there and we did not sit in the student section.  I could see them…the whole section was bouncing.

During worship, the pastor came back down and asked the Hubs to preach the message he had preached the last night of the camp.  The Hubs had given his typed notes to one of the students who had expressed that he felt called to pastor.  He had no notes.

As the service progressed, students were invited to say something about what happened at camp.  Not one student said anything about speaking in tongues.  Every one of the students who spoke testified of the great love Christ that they felt at the camp.  It was beautiful.

Then the Hubs preached the message as best as he could remember it and pastor Renato translated into Portuguese.  I laughed a little at the Hubs because I the pastor translated in such a passionate way that I thought he was a better preacher even though I didn’t understand him.  After the message, the alter call was made.  Forty or fifty people responded.  This was more people than we could pray for so we asked if the students could help us pray for people.  We thought they would come up behind them and pray in an orderly fashion but the students stormed the platform and began laying hands on people.  Again, people began to fall out under the power of the Holy Spirit.  They prayed for the pastors and they even fell out.  Then they began going out into the aisles and the chairs and laying hands on people.  It was out of control.  (I kind of like when the Holy Spirit takes over and it’s out of control…anything can happen).

We were invited back a few months later for their family camp.  The worship was dynamic.  We were speaking to our friend Julio  about it and he told us the worship had only become dynamic since we had visited a few month earlier.  I was surprised.  These folks were jamming with Jesus and really following the Holy Spirit.  Wow, such a testimony to how the Holy Spirit can go in and teach people without anyone having to “explain” things.

Fast forward almost 8 years….We were invited to speak at the church’s annual Family Camp.  We couldn’t wait to see the students from so many years ago.

There were many testimonies. One of the first people who came and talked to us was Jessica.  Yes, the girl we prayed for who fell out and got up praying for everyone. She told me that while she was on the ground, God told her Africa and orphans.  She said she banked on that word.  She started preparing for missions.  A year or so later, someone told her to brush up on her Portuguese for missions.  She thought they were “off” because she was going to Africa NOT Brazil.  Jessica ended up spending three months in Mozambique…in Africa.  In Mozambique they speak Portuguese. Incredible!  (Great reminder that even when a prophetic word doesn’t seem to “fit” doesn’t mean it’s wrong).  She had the opportunity to translate for her team.    I cannot wait to see what God has next for Jessica!  I also got to pray for other of her family members…what a great family.  I can see the hand of God on them.

Another young woman (who is incredibly anointed and passionate about God) told us that she was NOT at camp because at that time she was away from the Lord.  She attended the Sunday evening service when the Hubs preached and she came back to the Lord that night and has been serving Him ever since.  She and her husband ministered with us and they are powerful ministry.

We were told that of the group of students that attended the original camp that the Hubs preached at five of the students are in full time ministry.  That makes me cry out in praise to God!

My deepest belief for this retreat is that it is the beginning of a move of God in the Newark REGION. God wants to move on the nations through a church in Newark, New Jersey.

None of this is about me or the Hubs.  Our prayer has always been that God would use us however He sees fit…our heart’s desire is that we would simply be obedient to Him and never quench His Spirit.

There are more testimonies I would love to share (I have to get permission) but if anyone from the youth camp or family retreat would like to share their testimony, please post it in the comments or send it to me and I will post it for you.  WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!!!

May God continue to grow you all!

Missions Trip 2015: New Jersey

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We are back in Texas.  I was planning on posting updates along the way but we were extremely busy from morning until night every day.

We started our trip by heading to Nashville.  We have several friends in Nashville and were planning on seeing some friendly faces.  We brought a guitar to give to a friend’s son.  As we drove there I felt that we were going to see them for some other reasons too.  We had the opportunity to join them for a prayer meeting for one of the daughters of their church who was diagnosed with a lifetime disease.  It was a sweet time of prayer and we couldn’t help but fall in love with the lovely people of Nashville’s The Hills.  If you are in Nashville, visit The HIlls.

Then we took off for New Jersey.

If you are driving up to the north east, avoid Virgina and the DC area…they do all their road construction during the summer.

We arrived in at the retreat center in New Jersey around 8 a.m.

new jersey camp

Seriously, it’s this beautiful.

We didn’t hang out much outside.  Dennis preached 4 messages.  Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night (translated into Portuguese) and Sunday morning. Saturday afternoon, we taught classes.  Thankfully two of the girls took our kids to swim.   We loved every minute of it

When we first arrived, several of the students from the youth retreat the Hubs spoke at in 2007 came up and greeted us and immediately started updating us on their lives.  I’m going to share one of those testimonies in another post.

We were asked to speak/teach on the Holy Spirit.  Once the retreat started I felt it was really about God equipping the saints of the house with Spiritual gifts. That is what happened.  So many prophetic words and prayers of healing took place. The Saturday night service started at 8 pm and we left back to our room at 2 am.  Yes, we stayed and prayed until the last person who wanted prayer was prayed for….that’s what we were there for.

On the way home, we drove down to Alabama where I lived for a few years.  We prayed with some friends there too. One of my friends had been in the hospital while we were there, we prayed and the Hubs played a song and sang over him.  In fact, everywhere we stopped we prayed and ministered.

I’m so grateful to Christian Community Presbyterian Church and the folks who supported (both financially and in prayer) on this trip.  We are humbled to be a part of ministering at a church that is such a reflection of heaven (so many varying cultures and ethnicities are represented there).  We continue to pray that what they have experienced will become their norm and not a one time experience. I, for one, cannot wait to hear of all that God is doing through the church in Newark New Jersey.

Momlogs 2015: toddlerhood II

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The girl is 2 years old now.  She’s a dare-devil and she’s busy.  The boy was sneaky (still is sometimes) but he wasn’t really into everything.  He always slept hard and she seems to need little sleep. They are so different.  

She is an adventure.

Today we visited my mom’s house. When we got ready to leave I couldn’t find my shoes.  She brought them to me.  They were wet.  My first thought was she had put them in the toilet (eeehhhww).  My niece commented that the carpet was wet in a place.  I asked her why my shoes were wet.  Keep in mind, she doesn’t speak in sentences yet.  She said to me, “Kippy.  Wawa.”  Kippy is my mom’s dog and obviously “wawa” is water. Mom keeps a bowl of water in her extra room for the animals.  My shoes had been baptized.  

I’m really going to have to keep my eyes on this one.

National Foster Parent Appreciation Month

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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

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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?