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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." ~Luke 2:10, 11

As I sit here listening to Christmas music and looking at the Christmas tree I am flooded with memories growing up.  There was something about Christmas that just made my heart come alive.  I can remember as a little girl laying under the Christmas tree looking up through the branches and seeing the blinking colored lights. Oh, how I could sit there for hours just dreaming.  And then there was the fun traditional things we would do as a family....Santa Land, Carol of the Lights at Texas Tech, driving through neighborhoods looking at lights.  I looked forward to it every year as a child.  And now as a grown woman with 2 boys, I have recreated some traditions of our own.  To be honest with you I think I  look forward to it more than the boys.

Today I find myself in a very different place. Although I still enjoy everything that the Christmas Season has to offer, I am reminded today of what Christmas is all about. And before I sound too spiritual, let me just say...what the Lord has reminded me of today has come through many tears and a very hard journey.  I could feel very alone this Christmas but the Lord has so graciously reminded me that I am NEVER alone.  He has been with me from the very beginning!

I have been reading Genesis in my quiet-times and I came across scripture that was like an "Ah Ha" moment for me especially during this Christmas Season.  It is simply this...In the Garden of Eden God made a covering for Adam and Eve after they sinned.  He made them "garments of skins and clothed them."  There was blood shed from the animals that had to die to cover Adam and Eve.  This is the picture which was already set in motion of what was to come.  JESUS!  To cover our sins and give us LIFE! The pursuit to bring us back into the intimate relationship that was experienced in the garden before sin entered in.

"I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness: I made a vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine." ~Ezekiel 16:8

The nakedness we feel is the awareness of our sin.  We are so aware of the evil intentions of our heart that we want to hide.  But we can't hide from God.  God actually seeks us out to cover us and give us a promise that He will never leave us. Again, JESUS! WOW!  What a great God!

The sad thing is, there are so many people who are living defeated lives because of the guilt and shame they feel from their sins.  John Piper said it best when he said, "The great tragedy here is that people can become so paralyzed by sin that they give up living the lives God called them to live."

So my prayer this Christmas is for you to remember what it truly means that  "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." We are given a covering over our sins and we are given a new life in Christ.  Live under the covering!!  Don't get out of the cover!! That is what is for.  It takes the sin of man a puts it on the One who came into this world to be a sacrifice for all who would believe.  Jesus IS the cover!!

So as I sit here this Christmas Season listening to Christmas music, I am remembering all the great things God has done for me.  It's only through life with Christ that I can say...although the journey has been rough at times, it has transformed me more into His image as I follow the one who is the "the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature."

My prayer is that I too would be the "exact imprint of His nature" even in the hard places.

Merry Christmas my sweet friends! So thankful for all of you!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Perfect? Or Perfected?

One of the things I have been struggling with lately is the pressure to "stay on top of things."  I can't even tell you how hard it is to remember every little detail...boys homework, school activities, school fees due, sign this form, sign that form, this field trip, that field trip, this program, that program, volunteering in each class, reading at least 20 minutes a night x2, trying to remember to buy the boys their favorite snack they have been asking for, trying to keep up with dentist appointments, eye appointments, etc.  And add on top of that...the most important thing...making sure, in all things, that I am leading them to pursue the Lord.

Oh man! How I feel like a failure a lot of the time.

It's kind of like the night I forgot that Tanner's Career Day was the next day.  I tried my hardest to play if off like I remembered but the fact was....I had NOTHING!

Tanner was a trooper though.  We walked around to each closet trying to come up with something that somewhat resembled a Farmer.  And here is what my sweet boy come up with....

He even put my boots on and stuffed his shirt with cotton and grabbed a few pine needles on the way out of the door in the morning to put in his shirt pocket for "hay."  Amazing!

Even though it all came together in the end, I still hate not being "on top of things." But what the Lord is teaching me is to see myself the way He sees me.

The Lord has been so gracious to speak to me through my friends.  I have been loved like I have never experienced love before.  So very thankful for the sweet people the Lord has placed in my life to love on me.

But one person in particular spoke to my heart...My son, Parker!

One of the things that both of my boys love to do is cuddle with me.  It is not something we do every day.  Every so often I will get a "mommy will you cuddle with me?"  Usually this is just sitting together on the couch as I wrap my arms around them.

When I cuddle with Parker, as he snuggles up to me and gives a sigh of relief, I will ask him..."Why do you love mommy so much?"

And his reply is always without fail..."because you are beautiful!"

Boom!  I have just come to realize what he is actually saying.

It's not because "I am on top of things."  It's not because of any physical attribute I may have (he's only 9 and  doesn't think ANYONE is physically attractive).

He thinks I am beautiful!  Everything that encompasses "who I am!"  He accepts me as a mom who has many flaws but who seeks to honor the Lord in all things.  My life is BEAUTIFUL to him!

My boys have seen the worst side of me. They have seen a woman lose it over the smallest things.  They have seen a woman forget school events.  They have seen a woman who accidentally puts lunchable pizza  and yogurt in Tanner's lunch box and lunchable chicken and cheese crackers in Parker's lunch box with grapes and carrots.  If you know Parker at all....this is a no no.  But instead of getting upset, they laughed at their silly mom and want to know "why" I did that.  Like I was trying to trick Parker into eating healthy. :)  NO...I was just plain silly!

Isn't it great to be fully known and still fully loved!

If you ever want to know why you are loved....It's because you are BEAUTIFUL! Wonderfully created by an Almighty Creator.  Created for an Eternal purpose! Loved because of who you are.  Your life is beautiful to Him!  Don't you dare let anyone else tell you any different!

I may not be "on top of things" in the worlds eyes.  My desire is not to be "perfect"....but to be perfected in Christ!  At the end of the's not "what did I get done" but "did I end well."

I may not read a Bible story every night and we may forget to pray before we eat....but one thing I pray...that they will see the God I serve and be drawn to know Him and love Him and KNOW that they are BEAUTIFUL to Him!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Me Being REAL!

I have been praying about what to post.  I have been pondering this for days. The Lord has laid something on my heart.  I don't know if it will even resignate with anyone but I heard the Lord say,  "be REAL, tell them your STORY!"

People will ask me sometimes, "So tell me more about you. What is your story?"  If you know my story at all you know that is loaded question.  But what are they really asking?...What do they really want to know?  Where I grew up?...Who my parents are?...Do I have siblings?...Where I went to college? etc.....

There are several things we can share to reveal more about us like...what we like to do, where we grew up, where we work, our favorite foods, favorite vacation spots, etc.  And while all these things are interesting and can help us understand a person a little more, it doesn't really expose a person at the heart level. 

I LOVE to get to know people.  I ask a bazillion questions. What I really want to hear is someones heart! So my questions begin to move more into what I call, "the uncomfortable questions."  I remember discipling girls on the college campus and I would spend some time getting to know them and then I would blow their minds when "the uncomfortable questions" came out.  Blank stares...but after digging deep, instant bonding would happen every time!!!  Thinking of those girls now brings a smile to my face.   :)  I love those girls for allowing me in their lives. As they shared more and more and I asked more questions I was able to see the STORY in their lives unfold...seeing the circumstances that the Lord allowed in their lives to draw them closer to Him.  The puzzle was becoming clearer to me. 

I think the reason I have been having trouble thinking of something to blog about lately is because my life has taken a major detour.  I am in a situation now where I no longer feel equipped or adequate to post anything of encouragement to anyone. My heart has always been ministry and discipleship and then all of a sudden...the reality of leading a single mom life hits me.  So you can imagine my face when I heard the Lord asking me to be REAL....blank stare!  Me?

This is where I get very vulnerable. When I started this blog it was for the purpose of encouraging others with my life in hopes of leading others to the Precious One I serve....JESUS!  Now my thought is..."who in their right mind would want to listen to me?" 

But God, in His ever so gentle way of handling my fragile heart, reminds me that this too is part of the STORY!  He says to me, "Don't stop telling the story....the story is not over yet!" 

So it would be remiss of me [lacking care or attention to duty: negligent, neglectful] to not include the detour.

I could go on posting as if I was not in my current situation and make it "pretty."  But God has called me to be REAL and I pray that through it you will be encouraged to know that a broken person like me can still stand strong and say with great faith that I have a God who loves and adores me and has had His affection on me since before the foundation of the world.  None of this is a surprise to Him!

But the truth is...I still have great fears that I have to bring before the throne of grace.  The truth is...I fear the future.  The truth is...I am learning in a new and fresh way what it means to be the woman that God created me to be.  The truth is...God is not done with me yet!

I give you fair my posts you will hear my heart!!

Might be boring to you.  But you can't say I didn't warn you!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

It's Time!

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you."  ~Isaiah 41:13

FEAR NOT!!  Easier said than done!

But what I am finding out in my life is that I have let fear dominate.  So in essence I have allowed Satan to control me.  He has had a hold on my life.  He has used lies to keep me in fear!! And the sad part is...he has used those I cherished most to speak these lies to me. 

The lie that Satan would keep using with me would usually start with, "You don't deserve..(anything good)" 

And in the words of a very wise mentor..."Satan is NOT creative. He will keep using the same lie over and over again."

There was a lie that enterend into my life as a little girl and Satan continued to play on this very lie.  I can't even tell you how many times I battled the LIE.  I think I knew in my head that it was a lie but my heart would just sink back into guilt and shame.  And Satan is the master manipulator and truth twister! And as a result of listening to the lies, I underreacted to the circumstances around me...I responded passively to life because I felt that I "deserved it."

But what God is saying to me today is..."It is time!" 
~It is time to experience abundant life
~It is time to live in TRUTH
~It is time to stop taking the safe road for fear of making unnecesarry waves
~It is time to grow into the woman God has created me to be....gracious yet firm!
~It is time to take all the spritual deposits God has placed in my heart along the journey and make them REAL!

So why am I sharing all this today?

I know that there are women and men out there that struggle with this VERY thing!  And I want to encourage you to really begin to ask the Lord for what that lie might look like for you.  Because I can tell you from experience that Satan's very "uncreative lie" will have a huge affect on the rest of your life if you don't take the power back!  And if you are a child of God, you have POWER...His name is JESUS!

But I do more than thank.  I ask- ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory- to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him- endless energy, boundless strength! ~ Eph. 1:17-19 (The Message)

Endless energy, boundless strengh- POWER!

Stand firm! Be Courageous!  This means war!  And if you don't go in the strength of the Lord you will lose everytime!  Believe me...I have been there. And it is not a place you want to stay.  God has something for each of us and Satan wants to keep us from grasping it.  GO GET IT!  IT IS YOURS!! God will enable you, you just have to come to a place of realizing that you need it and cry out to the Lord.  He will hear you and come to your rescue!

Sidenote:  I also want to say a bit about those that I cherished that Satan used to speak the lies...Although their words and actions hurt me, it wasn't about was about them!  So I do not take ownership of that.  My response is to realize Truth and move forward in that Truth!  IT DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH ME!

I have included a funny video because I believe laughter also heals a wounded heart.  :)
Click here for video

Stop it!  Stop beleiving the lies and move in truth and freedom! 


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter: a Covenant Love Story!

"Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then He (God) said to him (Abraham), "So shall your offspring be." And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. ~Genesis 15:5-6

So why would I start off my Easter blog with this particular verse?

Because God revealed something to me this weekend that I think applies to His very Death and Resurrection.

I think for the first time I was able to identify that I have lived my life pretty much up to this point thinking that I had to "act right" in order to keep God's favor.  I felt like if I ever made a bad decision or lost hope then God would pull away from me...He would leave me...He would be frustrated with me and disappointed with me and would wash His hands of me.  It would go something like this in my head...."Oh Kerry, when are you going to learn?  You think you can do better than me and you can't.  So now that you have chosen to not trust my provision in this matter, I am going to leave you, bye.  I am tired of you not trusting me!"

But this weekend God showed me something in His Word that revealed to me that this is NOT POSSIBLE!

It was in the story of Abraham and Sarah:

1.  God made a covenant with Abraham.  He promised that Abraham's offspring would be as numberous as the stars in the sky.
2.  Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness.
3.  The covenant was cut by blood shed.  A heifer, a goat and a ram where cut in two pieces and laid against each other.  A smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.  God initiated the covenant and took the walk of death.
4.  Almost immediately after the covenant was cut, Abraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands.  Sarah gives her servant Hagar to Abraham to bear her a son....and Ishmael is conceived.

Even in all this, God did not forget His promise nor did he change His affection toward Abraham and Sarah. He still wanted to bless them.  He gave them another son from their own seed....Isaac. And notice the order of events...God counted his belief as righteousness before Abraham had a chance to "prove" his belief.  It is not about our "works."

This means so much to me and is like an "ah ha" moment for me today as we celebrate the Resurrected Life of Jesus Christ.  His shed blood has meaning and purpose.  It is a covenant!  NOTHING can seperate us from the love of Chirst.  It is permanent!  Obedience for the exchange of a Christ-life.  But here is the kicker that I didn't get before......An obedient life doesn't mean a perfect life.  It is a surrendered life!

As in the words of the Apostle Paul...
"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own."  Phillippians 3:12

Was Abraham perfect in his acceptance of God's promise?  No...but he had a heart that desired Him. And even though he detoured from God's perfect will, Abraham is still in the Hall of one who has gone before us and trusted in the Lord.  One to be honored and seen as one with Great Faith! An example to all!

So my challenge to you today is to live as one who is LOVED no matter what.  You can't mess this up even if you tried.  God's promises are as true in your distrust as they are in your trusting. He still has a purpose and a plan...He still will make something beautiful out of this....He still will be with you til the end....He still will be your shield and the lifter of your head.  Nothing changes on His part.  But you must change in the way you see...begin to see Christ more through the lens of TRUTH and not the lies of the Deciever!

Focus on His blood covenant today!  What does that mean to you?  How does this change the way you see your life?

It is so hard for us to recieve this TRUTH because we live in a world where covenants mean nothing. It can be hard to grasp if you lived a life where you were continually abandoned. 

But let me tell you as one who struggles the most with this TRUTH!  Once you get will weep. You will weep because you can't imagine being loved no matter what you can't imagine having a covenant partner who NEVER leaves you and who desires nothing but the VERY BEST for you even when you mess up! He wants to tell you today that HE is the REAL DEAL!!  His death and resurrection made if possible for you to have this kind of relationship with Him.  It is one like no other you have ever had before!  Embrace it!

Happy Easter my sweet friends!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Desert Life

"Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded.  For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told." ~Habakkuk 1:5

I came across this verse the other day and for the first time I understood it.  The thing that really spoke to me was the verse that came after this verse.  "For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own."

Now, this doesn't sound like good news at first glance. I understand now why God tells Habakkuk that he wouldn't "believe if told."  Why would we think that God would use the bad to accomplish the good? 

Well I understand this now, because I  realize that the bad and the good work together to make us who God has created us to be.  The difficult times are the journey to making us complete in Christ.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  ~James 1:2

We don't like the deserts. A place of uncertainty...questioning.  It seems's a hard journey.  BUT just as Paul Miller says in his book, A Praying Life, "God takes everyone he loves through a desert.  It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden...Desert life sanctifies you.  You have no idea you are changing.  You simply notice after you've been in the desert awhile that you are different....After a while you notice your real thirsts...The desert becomes a window to the heart of God. He finally gets your attention because he's the only game in town."

"I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys.  I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water." ~Isaiah 41:18

The fire hydrant is turned on and the Lord quenches your thirst for more of HIM!!

This is what is happening in my life!  The Lord is putting his hand on my cheeks and lifting up my head, looking me in the eyes and telling me things about myself that are warming my heart.  It is totally contradicting anything I ever believed about myself.  He is affirming His love for me and His purpose for me!  He is becoming my wonderful sweet groom who totally adores me.  He is restoring virtue and dignity.  He is giving me a "beautiful headdress instead of ashes" (Isaiah 61:3).  And I am like a sponge soaking it all in.  In some ways I am afraid to come out of the desert for fear that I won't hear his sweet voice anymore.  But I know TRUTH....He will NEVER leave me or forsake me!!!  This gives me HOPE!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Choosing to SEE!

Most of you know that I LOVE reading books.  So today I went to Cedar Springs to look around.  For some reason I ended up picking up a book by Mary Beth Chapman called Choosing to SEE.  I had seen this book before and knew the story behind it...which is exactly why I hadn't picked it up before.  I knew it would be emotional.  I remember hearing about it in 2008 and crying then.  But for some reason, without even thinking about it, I picked it up and started thumbing through it and reading it right there as I stood in the isle. 

My heart sank as I came to the pages that shared about their son, Will, accidentally hitting his 5 year old sister, Maria, with his car.  She was running to him as he was driving and he didn't see her.  The details of the screaming and crying and Will carrying Maria's limp bloody body was more than I could bear.  The recollection of Mary Beth hearing the screaming and running out the door, rounding the corner to see the horror.  Tears were strolling down my face as I imagined it was happening to me.  Oh, the hurt of seeing your child's limp body and your other child crying over her.  I could imagine the chaos of trying to bring your child back to life.

Usually I would have slapped the book shut and put it back on the shelf before I would let myself go there in my head of visualizing the pain.  But for some reason I kept reading.  I came to the part where they were told the sad sad news by the nurses and doctors at the hospital that Maria had in fact died.  And this is what I read next....

Somewhere in the room I heard Steven's voice explaining to those in the room that this was an eternal moment, and how everything in this life really comes down to this moment for each of us. 

"As crazy as this seems right now," he said, "the only thing I can say to honor the life of my little girl and our terrible loss at this moment is to ask you, please don't miss this...we will all stand here on day and face eternity.  If you don't know the One who can give you eternal life, His name is need to meet Him and you really need to meet my little girl in heaven...she's amazing." 

Oh man, the tears that where rolling down my face at this point.  I was trying to hide them because I was standing in the middle of an isle at the bookstore of all places.  Everyone who passed me was looking at what I was reading that had me snotting so bad. 

The story itself is enough to draw the tears but it is also what my heart needed to hear at that given moment.  The Lord had just given me this scripture this morning in my quiet time...
"If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction." ~ Ps. 119:92

When trials and afflictions come it is all boils down to what you know to be the TRUTH.  I was so inspired by this families great faith and their authenticity.  They didn't diminish the fact that their hearts were in fact BROKEN.  But they also believe God to be sovereign. 

I can't even begin to imagine the deep hurt that goes with losing a child.  But I know that we have a great God who has come to bind up the brokenhearted.  And the more we put our lives under the authority of His Word, the more we are able to view things through His lens. 

Steven Curtis Chapman got this.  Even though he was experiencing great pain, he was able to see the BIGGER STORY!  Everything in life really does all come down to this moment for all of us.  It is about our relationship with HIM.  It is about living for HIM.  Even though we don't understand it all, He does and He is the story teller and will use it all for HIS glory if we will let him.

"Christianity doesn't deny the reality of suffering and evil...Our not based on the idea that we are going to be free of pain and suffering.  Rather, it is based on the conviction that we will triumph over suffering." ~Brennan Manning

Triumphing over suffering starts with being grounded in the Word!  Getting to know our Savior so well that when trials come, although still heartbroken, we can is about YOU Jesus!

Oh how I pray that in all things I would be able to reflect a heart like Christ.  Not denying the suffering but believing TRIUMPH!!!

Steven Curtis Chapman with Maria


Sunday, February 12, 2012


"Kerry, I don't think you know this...but there are a lot of people who love you," one friend said to me.  And then a few days later...another friend, "I hope you know that you are loved by a lot of people."

My statement back to them was, "yeah, I know."  But the more I think about it, I truly think that the Lord was using them to speak to my heart because HE knows that Kerry doesn't feel loved.

How could one go through what I am going through and possibly feel loved?

Satan has his way of digging up bones and throwing them in my face saying, "See, you are not lovable. All this is happening to you because you made bad choices in your past. Remember when you were 15 years old and you ran away for a week and almost gave your parents a heart attack...remember how many times your dad had to bail you out of trouble in High School...remember the bad bad decisions that proceeded even after you came to know the One you call your saviour? You are not worthy of such good things!"

 And sometimes my heart wants to chime in and say, "Aw, I knew it....nothing good would ever happen to this tarnished woman. Why did I ever think it would?"

I mean, I have walked with the Lord for almost 24 years now and I STILL buy into the LIES sometimes! This particular circumstance has caused insecurities to pop past to haunt me!  And I just want to run and hide!

I was reading about someone else who wanted to run away.  Hagar! 

Brief summary of the story:
Sarai thinks God has prevented her from having a baby so she gives her servant, Hagar, to Adam to bear a child for her.  When Hagar realizes that she has conceived ,she despises Sarai.  Sarai becomes upset with this and treats Hagar harshly so Hagar runs away. 

The Lord finds Hagar by a well and speaks truth to her and reminds her of the bigger Story!

And this is my favorite...
"So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, 'You are a God of seeing,' for she said, 'Truly here I have see him who looks after me.'" ~Genesis 16:13

Such encouragement for this wounded heart!  "You are a God of seeing."  I can not hide from God because I was created by Him and for Him.  My life is laid before him.  He knows it ALL and He still pursues me!  He comes looking for me to bring me back into the Story!

And...Gently ever so gently reminding me of TRUTH to combat the LIES!  He says to my weary soul, "Look Kerry, I have created you for greatness.  This is just another stepping stone to get you there. Trust me!  I have something planned for you that you would not believe even if I told you right now."   

And then scripture comes...

"Like an open book, you watch me grow from conception to birth, all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day."  ~Psalm 139:16  The Message

"I am the good shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep."  ~John 10:14

"Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you..." ~Isaiah 43:4

" grant to those who mourn in Zion-to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified." ~Isaiah 61:3

I AM loved!
I am known completely!
I am precious in His eyes, and honored!
This too will be redeemed!

So today the Lord has used sweet sweet friends (the body of Christ) to remind me that I am loved by many with the Love of Jesus Christ!  True Love!  People who see me the way Christ does and who champion me to be who God has created me to be!

Thanks sweet friends!  I pray that I would be able to encourage you with the same encouragement I have been given!


Monday, January 30, 2012

New Beginnings!

Wow, where do I begin? 

This weekend was another milestone.  Moving 15 years of accumulated stuff into a two bedroom apartment.  The hard part was letting things go.  I just had to remember back 4 years ago when I went to Texas to move my mom to Tennessee.  We threw so much stuff baby shoes, hand imprints (remember those), my old toys, old books, drawings that I drew as a little girl, all the nick knacks that I remember laying around the house, etc.  And what she didn't throw away we hauled it back to Tennessee....And now...even after she has passed away I am still going through her stuff.

I just kept thinking to myself..."do I REALLY need this?"  It was nice to have friends there to tell me..."NO!  I haven't even seen you use that EVER!" 

And TOYS!  Oh my!  My boys have way too many toys!  Where did I go wrong?  I gave the boys each a box a told them to take it to their room and put the toys they wanted into the box.  If it didn't fit, it didn't go!

I am amazed at how fast we got moved!  We have such sweet friends!  It took ONE trip...two flatbed trailers, 10 vehicles and a lot of LOVE!  I remember at one point when we were all packed up and starting the convoy to the apartment....I almost started to cry being at the back of the pack and seeing the line of vehicles pulling out of the neighborhood.  Such LOVE!!  It makes me tear up even now!

Yesterday was the big reveal for the boys and they LOVED it!! 

Parker and Tanner doing a dance.  The posters on the closet door are from their sweet freinds welcoming them to their new home. Thanks Sam, Will and Owen Utterback!

So here is to new beginnings and HOPE!  The Lord has been so gracious to us and ever-present in every decision!  He has provided in ways I would have never imagined. 

Thanks to all of you who have played a part in getting us settled in and who continue to love on us!  It has been a hard transition but we don't feel alone in the least!  We have a great God and wonderful friends!

But before I sound too spiritual, I must tell you that I am very much human.  I have all the emotions that anyone would have going through this.  I have my moments for sure.  But I also have a God who doesn't allow me to stay in those raw moments very long.  He reminds me of the bigger STORY!  

I don't know what God has in store for this little Mexican!  :) (I bet most of you didn't know I was half Mexican...Yes, I have some Latino in me!! ) But I can say with full confidence that I trust HIM with my STORY!  

So for now, I listen for His voice every moment!  It is crucial because there are so many voices out there.  Even my human nature is fighting for some face time.  But the ONE face I seek is HIS!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

God is Sovereign!

Circumstances!  We all go through them!  Some not so noticeable, others rip our hearts out!  The sad truth that I have come to realize over and over in my life is what Kay Arthur summed up very well in her book, As Silver Refined..."Life is fraught not only with stress and tense relationships and everyday disappointments but also with acute, piercing pain.  It's part of the trials and tribulations bred into our lives, like weeds in what would otherwise be a garden.  Pain is here (and will be until Jesus comes) because of sin and sinful men, and essentially there's nothing we can do to change that."

That makes you want to spring out of bed in the mornings doesn't it! 

NO!  But this does...."For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  Eph 2:10

God knew me before I was even conceived.  He knew what He had planned for my life!  He knows everything about my personality and knows everything about my life...beginning, middle and end!  HE CAN BE TRUSTED with every moment of my future! HE IS SOVEREIGN!! He is Creator and Orchestrator of everything!  He is the Great Story Teller! 

I could feel overwhelmed by my circumstances and struggle with hopelessness, defeat, and discouragement but HE HAS NEVER ABANDONED ME!  I have history with HIM! Sweet history!  He has shown Himself faithful time and time again so why doubt his goodness now? (By the way, I have to remind myself of this doesn't come easy!)

Here is where I get real!...

There are times that I have thought that I was going to just die with pain.  So many things that the little girl inside of me can look back at and become bitter and angry. It took years for me to reconcile in my heart the fact that I had an absent mother and an emotionally absent father.  I grew up in a very poor neighborhood that I was ashamed of. I would always look at all my friends who seemed to have it all (nice house, car, family intact) and think, "what is wrong with me?" 

But I see God's Sovereign hand in it all!

God placed sweet Godly people along my path.  I don't even want to mention their names for fear that I would leave someone out!  They know who they are!  They are the ones that walked me through sorting out my past that was riddled with sin from others as well as my own sinful reactions to some deep wounds in my life.  They are the ones that invited me into their homes and  lavished me with great love that kept me coming back over and over again.  They are the college roommates that encouraged me daily with their walk with the Lord and their hearts for honoring Him in their relationships with guys.  They are the ones that invested heavily in my life to point me to Jesus. They are the ones that cheered me on when I graduated from college because they knew that I could do it and that even though I struggled through didn't mean I was "less than."  They are the ones that encouraged me that God had something special in store for me.  They are the ones that walked through my dads death with me when I was 23 years old and reminded me daily that God would heal my wounds and use this as yet another stepping stone to becoming more like Him. They are the ones that encouraged me to stay faithful and not waver in my journey with the Lord and my pursuit for Holiness.  They are the ones that mentored me in motherhood and being a godly wife.  They are the ones that sat under my leadership (wow, humbling) as I mentored them and led them in Bible Study.  They are the ones that walked through my moms death with me and reminded me that God had redeemed a sweet relationship that I didn't have when I was little and encouraged me that I did all that a loving daughter could do to end well with her.  They are the ones that continue to pour wisdom, insight and love into my life as I walk along yet another tough road along my journey!

This is why I have such a passion for discipling young women.  If God can take my life and make it beautiful through using the body of Christ, He can  use me to turn another life around to pursue the Lord in ALL things!

GOD IS SOVEREIGN! He is not surprised!

In all the heartache and pain that I have gone through up to this point (and I only named a few) I am always reminded of God's character.  I know that He is All-knowing, All-powerful and Ever-Present!  I know that HE IS IN CONTROL!  Therefore, I don't have to worry!  I can just continue to pursue Him in His Word and allow His Truths to become the path that guides me!

It is HARD!  It is PAINFUL! But one thing I know...I am confident of this...I shall see the goodness of the Lord!

To turn away from God only leads to more heartache and pain, but to press into Him brings sweet satisfaciton even in the midst of difficult circumstances!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wow, as I look back over the 2011 I am filled with very different emotions.  In some ways it flew by and in some ways it seemed to drag.  One of the things that I want to commit to do this year, starting today, is to leave my baggage behind.  I want to acknowledge that I have with it...and leave it at the cross! No need digging up old bones!

Here are a few other things that I want to commit to as I start a new beginning....a journey through 2012!

1. Begin my journey with the Lord
2. Choose my traveling companions wisely
3. Place high value on Wisdom---seek wisdom and understanding in all things!
4. Take ownership for every decision I make
5. Embrace problems as a gift
6. Take life as it comes
7. Love God with all that I am!!!
8. Remember that no matter what happens in my life....I am still responsible to live a life honoring to the Lord and reflect His Glory!

I was reading a book that talked about the different seasons and it ministered to my soul.  I thought it would be appropriate to share since we are starting a new year.  Hopefully this will minister to you like it did me!  No matter what season you may be in right now we can know that we have a GREAT GOD who walks with us and teaches us sweet truths!

WINTER:  Time to clear out the deadwood, debris, and stones that will hinder future growth; to mend fences and repair broken machinery; to plan and prepare for the growing seasons.  Use winter to prepare...arrange schedule, set goals, research resources...

SPRING:  A time of beginnings and fresh hope.  You plow the soil, add fertilizer and supplements, plant seeds and irrigate.  You care for the fragile shoots that appear, keep the garden free of destructive pests.  In the spring of your life, you implement the plans you made in the winter.

SUMMER:  In the summer the fields are lush with healthy plants, it is a season for maintenance and protection of what you began in the spring.  Don't be lulled into activity because good things are happening. 

FALL:  You reap what you have sown.  You experience and enjoy the benefits of your work. It is a time of gratitude and celebration.  It is a time to give back to God and others something of what you have received.

I definitely am in the WINTER season!  It is time to start clearing out the obstacles that are hindering  my what is broken and then prepare for what God has in store for me.  It is exciting because I know that if I am faithful to do the hard work now, I WILL eventually see the fruit! 

My heart is that I would not waver in my faith and that God would use this to teach me more about who HE is and what HE has called me to!

So as I look back at 2011...I can say... it took me by surprise at times with unexpected twists and turns but I can also say that God has been so sweet to bring perspective quickly and reveal truth and about Himself in the midst of it. 

So as I anticipate 2012...I can say...God is going to continue to show Himself faithful!

Happy New Year sweet friends and family!

A song for here