Archive for June, 2010

My first real “aha” moment was realizing we all come from dysfunctional environments, just some more dysfunctional than others.  I have told people my family put the “fun” in dysfunction, however, to be perfectly honest, that little bit of humor was injected to cover up pain.

My Mother grew up in an unhealthy environment.  She never did share the depth of the pain that she knew, but her behavior spoke very loudly once I was an adult and the Lord open my eyes and allowed me to mature to the place that I no longer saw myself as a victim.  For all the things I could say, that may not bring honor to my Mom, I will say this she did much better than her own Mom and for this I am grateful.

What I have learned is that God desires to see us whole emotionally.  As I have focused on Him and receiving the healing He had for me, I can say what a Mighty God we serve!  He has met me at every turn proving that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

Is healing painful?  Yes!  There comes a point where we have to surrender to the lesson pain can teach, much like a broken leg.  The initial break hurts and if we have healed without treatment then we will have to have the leg re-broken and set so that it can heal correctly.  God’s design is for us to be complete in Him, I have to trust “all things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  How?  When?  I don’t know, but what I do know from my own experience is that He does this, makes all things work together for good, when I place my trust and hope in Him.

My Mother professed faith in Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and went home to be with the Lord Dec. 12, 2006.  I know for the first time she is truly experiencing joy, she is happy in the presence of our Lord and one day I will see her again as she was always meant to be, before she was broken as a little girl.

Thank you Mom, I know that you loved me to the best of your ability.

Thank you, Jesus, for the forgiveness of my own sins when you died on the cross so many years ago.  Thank you for the call and the ability to forgive those who have hurt me.  I am free!

Do you have hurts in your own relationship with your mom?  You are not alone!  Do you need to find healing?  Ask God right now to lead you to that place of healing as you put your trust and hope in Him alone.  God will not fail to lead you into freedom!

For Daily Devotionals on this topic, go to the category of Dysfunction and Forgiveness.

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For many years I thought there was freedom in beauty.  As I wasted away in size and shape, in pursuit of an elusive standard, I lost sight of the truth.  Eating disorder became the filter in which everything in my life was sifted through.  The lighter I got, the heavier “beauty” became.  It’s a lie.  There isn’t freedom in the beauty our culture sells.

God’s word tells us what is beautiful.  The King’s daughter is all glorious within.  Psalm 45:13 (NASB)

We are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:7). We are significant, not because of the size of our pants or the number on a scale, but because we are made to glorify Him! (Romans 15:6)

God loves us. He created us with, and for, great purpose; our life has deep and profound meaning. (Jer 29:11)

Eating disorder made me deluded of heart, it misled me.  Isaiah 44:20 says:  “He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him, He cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”’

The lie of eating disorder kept me from the freedom I wanted very much.  Freedom in Christ is a beauty that cannot be compared to anything, or anyone else, because His freedom is sacrificial and holy. It’s personal and intimate.  Just has God has done for me, God can take the ashes that eating disorder has made of your life (or the life of someone you know) and can turn it into something so beautiful you won’t even recognize it (Isaiah 61:3)

Let’s let go of that which keeps us blinded and guilty, and cling to Christ.  No, there isn’t freedom in beauty.  But, there isbeauty in freedom….(Galatians 5:1)

Daily Devotionals springing from this story can be found under the category of Beauty of Freedom.

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Waiting on the Lord is sometimes so cliché.  I hear it said on everything from a bookmark to a TV show.  Most often it is used when people are in desperate times.  What about the times we are not desperate, just impatient.  That’s my story.  Waiting even though I wanted to grow impatient with God.

I grew up in a Christian home that was wonderful.  I was taught not only in Words, but in action about trusting and waiting on God to do His perfect will.  For that I will be eternally grateful as that has made me the woman I am today.

God goes above and beyond when we wait, seek and desire God’s plan. Has he answered every prayer in abundance? No. Sometimes He says NO clearly, and sometimes He says wait. I’m thankful for all the times He has made Himself clear. The times when He seems silent, I have spent on my knees in prayer patiently waiting on the Lord, knowing full well that He does not forget or stop loving His children.

I have learned though in the last years that patiently waiting on the Lord really does bring along the BEST things! I waited for a husband until I was in my 30’s.  Not that I didn’t want to be married.  I really did.  God just knew that the time was not right.  I know God had to take me through a few more trials in order to be prepared for the man God had me marry.  Waiting through those were hard, but God is faithful!  I now have the best husband in the world (for me).   He loves the Lord with all he has and that just makes him an incredible man.

I have always loved children and wanted a large family.  I come from a family where I only had one sibling not for want of more but because God only allowed my parents two. I married a single dad and was blessed with two amazing kids right off the bat.  Our family since has been blessed with two more.   More blessings than I ever even imagined.

I waited to get “things” I wanted, to follow the Lords leading and have no debt. Wow! Having a clean slate and NOTHING to hold you back is incredible.

I waited for a home. God is in the midst of answering that prayer in a way that is so far beyond my own ideas that it is obviously of the Lord and He has decided to bless us in a way only God can.

So you see I have seen the power of waiting on the Lord already. He is amazing and will give us the very best He has to offer if we truly are putting our whole trust in him. I have tried to rush answers and come up with scenarios that seem to be God’s will but not really knowing for certain. Then I made a decision:  let HIM decide when something is right, and let Him take control. Oh the wonderful life I have had! I’m not saying there haven’t been struggles or hard times…but I have been able to see God work in His way and time throughout. What more should we want in our lives that to see an active living God in our own lives?

Daily Devotionals springing from this story can be found under the category of Waiting on the Lord.

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I once heard it said that “God uses adversity as a transforming agent in people’s lives.”   I have found this principle to be true in my own life, as well.

I have known Christ since I was a child.  Growing up in a Christian home, I had been taught from a young age that I needed a Savior.  The wrong things I did were actually sin and were offensive to a perfect God.  However, because God created me and loves me more than I could ever imagine, he sent His Son, Jesus, to come to this Earth.  Jesus lived a perfect life here for over 30 years before He willingly died on the cross to pay the price of my sins and be my Savior.  Why would He do that?  Because He loves me so much that he doesn’t want to see me die for my sins.  He died in my place so that I could live for eternity with Him in Heaven.

I know these things to be true.  However, it is through times of trials that my simple faith grows deeper and my trust in the Lord gets stronger.  One of those times in my life when I experienced a trial that brought me a closer walk with the Lord began about 10 years ago….

My husband and I had been married 4 ½ years, we lived 33 hours by car/5 hours by plane away from our immediate family and our first child was 13 months old.  We had always talked and hoped of having a bigger family…maybe four children if “our” plans went right.  However, when within a few weeks of celebrating our daughter’s first birthday, we discovered we were expecting baby #2, we were a bit surprised.  I remember immediately feeling, “I already have a baby!  I’m not ready to have another one!”

Those feelings didn’t last long as we adjusted to the idea that we were having another child.  We began to discuss plans, names and prepare for this new life that God was giving us.  We told our family and friends a bit sooner with this pregnancy since everything was “textbook” with our last pregnancy.  Why would this one be any different?  Well, this pregnancy was different.  To make a long story short, at the first doctor’s appointment, the doctor could not find a heartbeat.  Ultrasound and blood work confirmed that there was a fetus, but no heartbeat and this indeed was a miscarriage.

The time that followed was painful.  We were heartbroken and devastated.  I felt such guilt for my initial feelings of not wanting another child so soon and questioned whether God had taken this child away because I was ungrateful.  I always felt that God was the giver of life, so I struggled with what I had done to cause God to take this baby away.  I had times of blaming God and times of being downright angry with Him.  I had nights after my husband and daughter went to bed of praying and crying out to God, reading Scripture, and reading about miscarriage and loss to try to understand what had happened.

After a while, I found comfort in God’s Word and decided that I could trust Him because He knows best.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55: 8-9) I also had read that between 15 – 20% of all pregnancies ended in miscarriage, so I assumed that since my first pregnancy was uneventful, that this was my one “fluke” statistical miscarriage.

So, four months after our loss, we were cautiously excited to find out that we were expecting again.  We prayed for God’s blessing before the conception, asking God for a healthy pregnancy and baby.  And we trusted that He would protect us and our baby.  However, again, our baby’s life ended all too soon.  I thought, “Wait!  This can’t be!  Not twice!” I began to worry about our dreams of having a big family…after all, more of our pregnancies had ended in loss than had ended with a healthy baby at the end.  Would we ever be able to have another child, I wondered?  Once again, I cried out to God in my pain and despair and found comfort in His Word and His promises.

Six months later, God blessed us with yet another pregnancy.  I wish I could tell you that everything went smoothly and we had a healthy baby.  However, God wasn’t finished with me yet.  He wanted me to go deeper with Him and trust Him more.  He was bringing me to the end of ME, and forcing me to completely surrender myself, my plans, my hopes and dreams to Him.  This pregnancy, also, ended all too short and we again didn’t get to see and hold the little life God had begun within me.

Throughout this two-year trial, I found such tremendous comfort in God’s Word.  I studied the Scripture like I never had before, reading stories of women in the Bible that struggled with infertility and/or loss.  I was also encouraged by reading in the Word stories about God’s people who faced enormous adversity and God’s provision and perfect plan for them (people like Joseph and Job).  I took comfort in the fact that God loves me and does want the best for me.  There are times, though, that I don’t know the bigger picture or the end of the story.  I must trust Him and His sovereignty and the promises He has given us in His Word.  Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

Our story did not end there.  There was never any medical explanation for our losses.  But, God did see our tears and answered our prayers.  In His mercy, He has blessed us with three more healthy pregnancies and we do now have four healthy children.  Praise God!  Now He continues to teach, challenge and mold me through the trials and the joys of parenting.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Daily Devotionals related to this story are found under the category of Learning to Trust.

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