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Listening and Processing

_MG_3445_edited-1God’s been at work in me lately. He’s been showing me things that have long been buried. This summer I found myself very angry 2-3 times in 3 weeks. My husband remarked that he has never seen me that mad before and what’s going on?  Well, like most of my Christian walk; God and I had a talk in my car and He showed me the anger wasn’t coming from the situation or the people I thought I was angry with. It was coming from all those years of abuse and mistreatment. Well, this was something I wasn’t prepared for.

I sat with it for a couple of days and at a meeting (of all places) a friend of mine was telling the group about his struggle with self-pity all of his life due to mistreatment and abandonment as a young boy. He carried this all his life and God showed him through various people and situations that it was time to lay it down; to give it to Jesus. During his sharing he said “I don’t know, maybe this is for one of you” and I felt my spirit leap; it was for me. I needed to share what was going on with me. So, I spoke up and shared with the group my anger issues and what I thought God was showing me to be the cause. They came around me and prayed for me. Before they prayed I was asked “do you trust me? Do you trust us? Do you believe Jesus wants to take this from you?” and  my answer to all those questions was “Yes”. They prayed for me and that night in bed I couldn’t sleep, I felt free and light and needed to process it.

The next day I took a yoga class, I always invite Jesus into my class at the beginning and thank Him for the ability to be there and do to the poses, etc. 10 minutes before the class was over I started feeling extremely sad, I found myself crying and realized I was grieving my little girl; my little abused girl who didn’t have a voice and didn’t comprehend what was happening and why. She was naïve and innocent to the point that she thought what was happening was normal and happened to all girls; even though it felt really scary and bad. I was grieving that girl as though she wasn’t me but yet the entire time, I knew it was me. But, I’m not that girl anymore so I felt detached from her and I was just really, really sad about what happened to her and I wish it wouldn’t of been. I journaled about this later and thought more tears and grief would come but it didn’t.

The other thing I’ve noticed God showing me is regarding babies. It started with my niece’s water breaking. I was volunteering at a Tapestry event this summer (Tapestry is a organization that helps/serves single girls who are pregnant and can’t afford medical treatment). I was serving there, a place to celebrate and encourage life. During a break I looked at my phone and found out my friend’s wife with cancer was told they couldn’t help her anymore, they were just going to “keep her comfortable”.  The next thing I saw was my niece in California who was close to her due date; her water had broken. I’m at this event celebrating life and my friend is at his wife’s death bed and my niece is ready to create life. I was confused and overwhelmed. Many different emotions at the same time. I broke down and cried, I cried for my friend’s wife and I cried because my niece has always been the one I related to most in my family; she was the only other woman who didn’t have children and now she was ready to give birth. When I saw the first picture of her baby – just “fresh out of the oven” I broke down. I had this strong longing for my mom to be here, to see her new baby. Mom was really close to my niece and would love this moment! I was sad because she wasn’t alive for it; even though I know she knows and sees from heaven I still was sad because she wasn’t here. She would love this! I wanted to share it with her and I know my niece did too. I was sad because if my niece could be a mom; I could’ve been one too. If she could do it, I could’ve done it. I messed up; I missed out. I was so sad, I grieved my aborted baby; I beat myself up for having my tubes tied to prevent another “unwanted pregnancy”.  I was so wrong on so many levels.

Shortly after, a girl I used to work with who I wasn’t really close to had a baby girl. They found out during the pregnancy the baby had some kind of left heart syndrome. Basically it meant the left side of her heart didn’t work, it wasn’t completely formed. I don’t understand all the medical stuff that goes with it, but they were told their baby would need multiple surgeries during her infancy. At the time I remember thinking “are you going to go through with this? Are you going to have this baby?” I thought they should be contemplating an abortion, ya know to save the baby from such a rough life. Well, they went through with the pregnancy and went to Boston for delivery because they are specialists in this syndrome. This little, tiny, innocent, beautiful baby girl was born. The first moment I saw her I regretted ever thinking about aborting her! How could I have even had such a thought! I was ashamed of myself! I had an abortion at 24 and at the time I thought it was the best thing I could do and maybe it was but I’ll never know. My baby didn’t have any medical issues to prevent her from having a healthy, normal life and I aborted her because she was an inconvenience to me! I’m devastated and I feel incredibly horrible for doing such a thing but I did it because I didn’t know any better. I was on drugs and living with someone who hated children, I wasn’t ready.

So, here’s this little infant born with left heart syndrome speaking from God to me with her story. She has already brought God so much glory just by being who she is. She is a fighter and she is doing much better than the doctors expected. She has so many people across the nation praying for her, having fund raisers for her and God is using her to speak to so many people, her parents, me and who knows who else. Every time I read of her progress or her condition on Facebook I cry. I grieve for my aborted baby, my heart aches for this little girl, I want so much for her to be done with her surgeries and be able to go home with her parents. My heart aches for her mom and dad and all they have to deal with. She’s a month old today and they have barely been able to hold her – she’s had surgery and has been hooked up to lines and tubes most of her life. Just lately they’ve been able to hold her a little and she’s been able to wear “regular” clothes. They as a family have a very long, rough road ahead of them but they’re trusting and praising God every step of the way. I’m so sorry for my lack of understanding when I had an abortion. I’m sorry and I grieve for my unborn child. I know God knows best and He knew what He was doing when He trusted me with my little unborn baby. I’m so sorry I didn’t follow through and see her as the blessing she was. I’m sorry I didn’t give children another chance in my life.  Although I know if I had them and didn’t change they would have had a messed up, horrible life.


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Step by Step

Step by Step

God what is it You’re doing with me?
From my view point, it’s hard to see
It’s been a blur; things happen so fast
And these changes are going to last

My heart and commitments are shaken
My soul has been awakened
Things I trusted and relied on
Have all turned to dust; they’re gone

Gingerly, I take one step at a time
As I cling for life to the vine
Behind me; You close a door
Another step forward, I yearn for more

More will come when the time is right
I find I’m ready for what’s in sight
I breathe deep and I look to You
Step by step You’ll bring me through.


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Your Story

Your Story

Everyone has their own life story
And everyone’s past can bring God glory
God can redeem brokenness and make you whole
Allow Him to refresh and renew your soul

The details of your story are like ingredients in a cake
When sifted together and allowed to bake
A delicious dessert suddenly appears
Created from your blood, your sweat and your tears

Each cake is different, no two are the same
Life’s heartaches and joys are what they contain
They’re different in appearance and in taste
But no ingredient has gone to waste

Celebrate the cake you’re created to be
Discard your judgements; let yourself be free


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Thankful

Thankful

The years have helped me to understand
The value of things I can’t hold in my hands
The people I love, my friends and family
And those who have gone before me

Past events have shaped who I am today
Just as a potter molds a lump of clay
The people who prayed for me everyday
As I struggled and journeyed along the way

The sweet sound of a baby’s cry
The love found in a mother’s eyes
These are what I’m thankful for
Things I can’t buy in a store.

Things that God gives to me
Of great value; yet they’re free
As I complete my journey in this land
Of these things; may I always understand.


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Fog

fog 5It was a cloudy day. Not just cloudy but the clouds were sitting very low in the sky. In fact when we woke up the clouds were just 20 feet above the water, or so it seemed.  We were in Geiranger, Norway at the Geiranger Fjord. Our plan for the day was to back track the way we arrived and take pictures. What we didn’t consider is that we would need to drive many switchbacks up the mountain into a cloud.

We started out and it wasn’t bad; we drove higher and higher and suddenly we realized we were driving right into the cloud. By this time we were on the narrow, switchback road with no pull off’s to speak of. This road is heavily traveled by locals, tourists and tour buses. Periodically there were places along the road to pull over and take photos, etc. But these places were just a small half circle, enough for one car.

With every turn we were going deeper into the cloud. It was like being in an airplane when it flies through the clouds, you look out the window and all you see is white. That’s exactly what we were driving in. We had a GPS in the rental car so Bill was looking at it and telling me what to expect up ahead. He could tell if the switchback was going to the right or left but that was all. I expected one of these turns would start to bring us up and out of this fog we were in. But, each one just brought us deeper into it.

By this time I was going very slow; just creeping along. We literally couldn’t see 5 feet in front of us. The entire time I’m praying. Praying to find a place to pull over, praying for the cloud to lift, praying that we would drive out of the cloud. We’d see the small pull over places but we didn’t see them until we were right next to them and it was too late. We both were looking very closely at the edge of the road to find a pull off. Finally, we saw a small place that we could use. I pulled over and as I did, we could see a little bit more so I drove a little deeper in; we parked and got out and realized that it was a large area, with a picnic table and everything!  We stayed there and watched the cars go by, most of them were going scary fast in our estimation.

I continued to pray and thank Jesus that He had gotten us to this place. I prayed that the cloud/fog would lift so we could return back down the mountain safely.  At one point it got a little breezy and the cloud did clear a little bit — not much but it seemed like a lot to us at the time. However, we thought it would continue to clear up and we waited and what happened is the breeze stopped and it got thick again.  Bill decided that he was going to drive and we would just go. Going down the mountain it would improve with each turn. We got in the car and were getting ready to pull out when we noticed that there was a tour bus coming; we waited for it and Bill got in right behind it. We had an escort out of there! Thank you Jesus!

This experience is so much like life. There are so many times I make a decision that is really bad and if I would just use a little wisdom and look around, the answer is clear and it’s in front of me. But because I can have such narrow vision, I don’t do that, I don’t see it. So, I make bad decisions and get behind the wheel and go. Then when I realize it was a bad decision, I start praying; I pray for it to go away, I pray for me to be able to get through it quickly and I pray for a break; a place to pull over. But usually none of these things come to me at that point and I just have to keep moving forward because I have no other way to go at the time. I don’t know how to get out. But, I’m not alone I have prayer, the Bible and Christian friends.

I slowly and carefully continue and what’s usually up ahead at least for a little while is more of the same just a different turn, a different direction. I just get deeper and deeper in and I get more blind as I go.

Just when I think I can’t take it anymore, Jesus shows me just a little hope and I go for it, slowly and carefully and eventually He opens my eyes to a broad and spacious place! A place of safety. A place where I can think, regroup, stretch my legs and praise Him for showing me this turn around spot. Then when I’m ready he sends someone or something to gently and slowly lead me out and back to being grounded and having a broader vision.fog 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Faithful Friend

We’ve ordered a new vehicle to replace my 2002 Saturn. It’ll be delivered mid August. In the mean time, I’m saying IMG_20140609_090044goodbye to my very faithful friend.

I bought it brand new and we’ve been through a lot together.  It‘s always been there  for me: it brought me to my wedding; it brought my mom and me to the airport so we  could visit my aunt Elsie – whom we both loved very much.

It brought me to work many years; it brought me there the day I got fired, the day I got my job back, it brought me to the hearings in between. It brought me to my job the day I retired. It’s brought me to Joyce Meyer, Les Feldick, Greg Boyd and many other places that I met with God. It brought me to my first day at work with Open Door.

It’s been my sanctuary, my sacred space, the place I cried out to God in grief, I’ve tried to strike deals with God in that car; it’s been holy ground to me. I’ve worshipped, I’ve applauded Jesus and I’ve received breakthroughs in that car. I begged God to make things different; I processed anger, sadness, grief, confusion, joy, love, disappointment, hurt, pain and many other emotions in that car; I’ve laughed, I’ve cried. God has met me in that front seat more times than I can count.

I’ve picked my mom up when she wanted to go home, I’ve picked her up to deliver fliers with me, to deliver papers with me, to clean my house, to come to church, out to eat, shopping. I wish I could pick her up now and take her somewhere. It brought me to her house when she was gone and I was getting it ready to be sold. It brought me to the closing of her house; it brought me to the cemetery where her and dad are buried. It brought me to the cemetery where Grandma is buried so I could clean up and “decorate the graves” because mom couldn’t do it any longer.

It’s always been there for me, it’s always started when I wanted or needed to go somewhere. It’s waited for me endless hours, in the heat, the cold, the rain and the snow. Whenever I decided it was time, my Saturn was always agreeable and available. It’s been very good to me.

Now, I’m passing it on to my nephew and I know it will be very good to him too. May he find and experience all that it can be.


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Sedona

One of my favorite places I’ve found is Sedona, AZ; here’s why:

It’s a highly spiritual place. You can’t go to Sedona and say there is no God. When I’m there and I see sky that is the bluest sky I could ever imagine and these huge red rock mountains contrasted with that blue sky and lush green trees, it’s beautiful. The rocks are red, the mountains are red, the dirt is red and the concrete sidewalks are red. If you find a small rock and pick it up and look at it in your hand you will see it sparkles in the sunlight. You can see it in the concrete – it sparkles as well.

Layered in some of the red mountains there are white stripes. When I go on my morning hikes and I walk back in, whether I’m going up to this wide scenic view you can’t imagine until you get there; or I’m going around, or down or in and through wilderness there comes a point on that hike where I can’t see any sign of mankind. I can’t see the road or the houses and I always stop and I look around and I thank God. I breathe the air and I know beyond a doubt that there is a God and He is awesome and loving and very creative. And He’s a giver; He’s a showoff, He wants to show me the beautiful things He can create. It’s almost like He’s saying to me “you think this is good? Just wait. Just wait until you see some of the other things I’m going to show you. You think you like red concrete?  Wait until you see golden asphalt.”  I stand there and I breathe and I know God is there and I feel surrounded by beauty and surrounded by Jesus, the Creator of that beauty. I feel embraced by Jesus, by God, by my Abba Father who is so loving. It’s as if He’s telling me He created all of this for me; for my enjoyment; and enjoy I do!  If I could live there, I’d be there now.

My advice to you my friends is if you have never been there you must put it on your bucket list. Take my word, you won’t be disappointed and you will experience God in a fresh, new, inviting and exciting way.


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Inside Out Love

I sometimes complain when I go with my husband Bill on photo shoots or meeting new clients but I shouldn’t because something usually happens that makes it all worthwhile.

Last fall Bill was with a mother and daughter shooting senior pictures and her dad met us in the parking lot to drop off some glitter his daughter wanted. He stopped to chat and told Bill he heard the photos were turning out great. Then the father added “well, she’s so beautiful” and the daughter just rolled her eyes like she was saying “oh, Dad; stop it”. I got the impression she’d heard this many times from her Dad.

I realized I never heard I was beautiful from my parents. I wonder what it would’ve been like for me. Would I be different now if I heard it regularly in my life? I struggle with image management and insecurity and I can’t help but think that if I grew up hearing I was beautiful from people who loved me I would be different now. I hope this experience helps me to remember to say these kinds of things to my nieces and nephews. People need to hear the truth spoken to them by key people in their lives.

A few weeks ago, I went with Bill to meet potential wedding clients. The woman was telling a story about photos and how important they are. Her aunt died a few months ago and she was given a photo of both of them at her aunt’s wedding, she was just 2 years old. In the photo she could tell that her aunt loved her with “inside out” love. She explained that she loved her nieces and nephews with this “inside out” love and she understood it. When she looked at this photo she could see that she was loved this same way by her aunt. It made me think about inside out love. I understand that phrase and I know what that love is like. I have it for my nephews and nieces, I have it for my family members. I used to question whether my family loved me that way and now I know they did, and still do.

We all do the best we can at the time with the tools that we have. We’re all flawed and the tools we have in our tool box may be limited but it’s what we have to work with. The experiences in our lives have shaped and formed us into who we are today. We can’t give away what we haven’t received. Sometimes it comes out sideways or we have trouble expressing it but it’s the best we can do. We need to cut ourselves and the people in our lives some slack. I’m going to try and give my loved ones grace when they don’t love me perfectly and remember that they are doing the best they can to love me with inside out love.

 


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Listening and Processing

God’s been at work in me lately. He’s been showing me things that have long been buried....
article post

Step by Step

God what is it You’re doing with me? From my view point, it’s hard to see It’s...
article post

Your Story

Everyone has their own life story And everyone’s past can bring God glory God...
article post

Thankful

The years have helped me to understand The value of things I can’t hold in my...
article post

Fog

It was a cloudy day. Not just cloudy but the clouds were sitting very low in the sky. In...
article post

Farewell Faithful Friend

We’ve ordered a new vehicle to replace my 2002 Saturn. It’ll be delivered mid August. In...
article post

Sedona

One of my favorite places I’ve found is Sedona, AZ; here’s why: It’s a highly spiritual...
article post

Inside Out Love

I sometimes complain when I go with my husband Bill on photo shoots or meeting new...
article post