Destroyer

Destroyer

Me? Surely not me? My disease says “you must not look” and my heart says “I’m lonely and in pain”. And….the battle begins between the disease that kills my mind, body and soul….. and my heart.

As a practicing alcoholic I was THE DESTROYER.

I destroyed relationships, marriages, friendships and anything else that may get in the way of what I wanted. I took prisoners and gave no thought to the wreckage my actions would cause. I was the tornado in the lives that crossed my path.

So…….what happens to the destroyer in recovery?

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 I am still a destroyer.

 A destroyer of lies.

 A destroyer of shame and insecurity.

 

 

 

You know me, I’m the woman that challenges you to grow. I’m the woman that says, “what are you going to do about it?”. I make statements that hit too close to home and challenge you to grow up, grow out of self or to grow into fellowship. I’m the woman that challenges your beliefs of yourself.

At a recent Christian women’s retreat we engaged in an exercise to identify ourselves by boat. Tugboat, speedboat, rowboat, you get the picture. I found myself at the destroyer dock! The speaker then called out the destroyers and I cringed, thinking “here we go, I’m going to be told I’m wrong and that I need to learn “grace”.” I’m going to be told, “it’s none of my business and my job is to pray for people”.

That didn’t happen. The words I heard were “bless you”, ” you are needed”, “you are the salt”.

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You see, we live in a polite society as Christians, so polite in fact that we are willing to stand by and let someone wither and die on the vine so as not to be perceived as confrontational or impolite. We greet them every Sunday in church, the people whose pain is so very visible to us but we paint on a smile and say “good morning”. (Matthew 5:13)

I can’t do that! I have been given a new life in sobriety. A life that is unimaginable, unexplainable, and unbelievable. I have received a gift, a gift that is available to anyone should they choose to lay down their lives.

I am a destroyer of shackles, a destroyer of lies and shame! So, when you meet me or someone like me don’t get mad, get self-reflective, it will sting a bit but the rewards are tremendous.

Do you have someone in your life that “pushes your buttons” or “challenges you to grow”? Or, better yet, are you a destroyer?

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Believe

Believe

Three years ago on this very day I was at a crossroads in my life.  Miserable with a dark secret I had the plans in motion to leave my husband, job and church.  I thought that nothing could fix this mess of a life I got myself into.  Once people knew, then I would be the gossip of the town and a disgrace to my family.

Proverbs 29:25  Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.

Any direction I looked my marriage would surely fail.  All I could do was hide, paralyzed with fear and couldn’t ask for help.  Then something unexpected happened, God intervened.  I remember every detail of that convicting day, he saw through the lies, he knew everything.  I had no idea that I wasn’t going to change me but God was going to change me.  I made numerous attempts to try fixing this problem on my own. Each effort in my own strength I failed.  On May 1, 2011 I surrender to God’s way when I went in an out-patient treatment facility for alcohol abuse.

I was angry, I thought God was picking on me.  The word gratitude made me cringe.  Family life was worse due to my absence.  The storm raged on, I had a choice to quit or hold on tight trusting in God that the storm would pass.  I choose trust.  He provided me with sponsors, AA meetings, 12steps and other people who were also struggling.  As time went on I began to gain the courage to share with my church what was going on.  Then I opened up to several close co-workers.  The gradual changes God was making in me became more noticeable to my family.  Instead of resenting my absences they began encouraging me as I went out the door.   Before I entered recovery I was taunted with thoughts of how people would responded if they knew about my drinking.  None of it ever happened. It was all lies.  The more people I told the more support, prayer, teaching and encouragement I received.

Today isn’t about having a celebration for me for not having a drink in 3 years.   It’s about my relationship with Christ.  He took me as I was broken, ugly and ashamed.  Jesus didn’t require me to stop drinking before he would love, save or forgive me.  I just needed to believe in Him.

Romans 10:9-10If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

2 Corinthians 5:17 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

These last six months have been the most difficult in the three years of recovery.  Healing from a brain tumor then my husband was unemployed for 2 ½ months.  If I said that I hadn’t thought about a drink, well then I would be lying.  When those thoughts start creeping in it’s time to get to a meeting.  Most importantly I receive my strength in God’s word to face the trails in my life.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

 1 Corinthians 10:1313 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

If there should ever be a day when my pride takes over which leads to a relapse God’s word tells the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:3-7.  The parable is about the sheep that never meant to wander off.  This one lost sheep is so important that he must be found.  Our gracious, forgiving and loving Heavenly Father finds us and there is a triumphant joy in heaven.  Once saved, always saved.  You can’t lose your salvation.

Luke 15:7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

When I started this journey I was resistant because God was going to take drinking away from me.  I knew I could never safely have another drink.    What he gave me in replace of that drink was far greater than I ever could have imaged or deserved.  He restored my marriage, taught me to enjoy being in the present moment with my children, a supportive church family, created new friendship, gave me a new position at work, financially provided for our family and the courage to share with all of you who Christ is and what he can do in your life if you believe.

Colossians 2:3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2:6-7 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Do you believe Christ can forgive, heal & restore your bondage?  Are you not sure if your bondage is something Christ can free you from?  How has your faith in Christ changed your life?

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The Gift

The Gift

One of my favorite people gave me a gift last week – a pretty big one.  It is a gift that could change my life and my girls’ lives.  It is a wonderful gift, but one that comes with a great deal of responsibility that I am willing to accept.  At the same time, it is a gift that I could never have dreamed of and one I am undeserving of.

Why would he give me this gift?  Why would he think I deserve it?  Why me, a girl who just a few short years ago was a disaster – a mother who had left her children, a daughter who had disowned her family, a friend who no longer cared?

My gift had me contemplating other gifts I have received, particularly my daughters.  Why would He give them to me? – He knew what I was going to turn into!  Why did He think I deserve them?  He knew I would abandon them!

That blasted enemy can certainly bring a girl down.

I have spent a great deal of time over the past few days asking God why and the only answer I have is love.  The person who gave me such an amazing gift last week loves me and believes in me, just as God loves me and can see beyond my sin and into my heart – a heart that today earnestly longs for His love and His leading, and is teaching those precious little gifts to do the same.

A very long time ago God gave mankind the Greatest Gift of All, His Son…His Son who was sent to the Cross, crucified and died, yet rose from death…all so that you and I might live.  Just as I stand in awe of my gift, I stand in amazement of The Gift of my salvation through Christ’s death on the Cross.

We are all undeserving, but so freely given His Gift.  Something more to think about…what will I do with His Gift?  I believe that all He desires is my open hand and my willing heart – my hands open to receive and my heart willing to follow.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

Have you ever received a gift you felt you didn’t deserve?  Maybe today we can look at ourselves in the mirror…through God’s eyes…and see that we do deserve His best.  Why?  Simply put, because He loves us.

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Confession

Confession

I’ve been struggling to share a story about how God provided for my family.  Seems easy enough, what’s the problem?  Honestly, I haven’t experienced this magnitude of God’s provision before.  I tried to analyze what my hang up is. Something is blocking me from glorifying God with my story.

I don’t want to hurt others who may be dealing with the same issue by shouting, “Hey look what my Heavenly Father did for me!” While they are still praying & waiting for a breakthrough.  My next thought is, ‘I don’t want anyone to be upset with God for giving something to me and not them.’  I’ve learned enough through the years to realize this thought is a lie and has no biblical standing.  God is all powerful, all knowing and is the supreme authority over everything.  He doesn’t need me intervening by protecting Him.  Perhaps, because I wasn’t raised to talk about things like this.  This is my voice in all my flesh, examining my ways about why I do or don’t do the things I should.

Proverbs 21:2 People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their hearts.

Lamentations 3:40  Instead, let us test and examine our ways.  Let us turn back to the Lord.

I am not equipped to judge and test my ways.  It’s time to pray and ask God what he thinks about why I am withholding my story.

Psalm 139:23-24  says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

I was in my car listening to a local Christian radio station. The DJ was talking about the parable of the Vineyard Workers in Matthew 20:1-16.  The story is about a landowner who starts in the morning hiring people to work in his fields.  The landowner does this throughout the day at noon, three o’clock and  five o’clock.  At six o’clock the landowner pays his workers all the same amount regardless of how many hours they worked.  The people who worked all day in the scorching heat protested.  The landowner tells his protesting workers that they agreed to work all day for the usual wage.  Why should they be jealous because he is kind to others?

Right now in my present circumstances I’m the worker who started working at five o’clock and got paid for a full days wage.  The convicting part of this story is that the majority of my life I’ve been the worker who worked all day, then protested at the landowner’s generosity to others.  It’s my own sin of coveting & jealousy- THAT is why I can’t express the blessings that God has provided for me, THAT is why I have been ashamed to share my story.

When I evaluate my motives, I look pretty good being so considerate of others. When God examines me, I’m only out for myself.  The truth is, if I were to hear this story from someone else I would be jealous if I was struggling in a similar circumstance.  My head looks downcastin disappointment as Satan comes in to assault my identity and tries to fill me with shame for my behavior. He reminds me of how I was, enforces the lie that I am nothing, I can’t do anything right so don’t bother trying.

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I gave my life over to Christ for this very reason.  I’m not sinless, no matter how hard I try in my own strength the self-centered sins are still there. I cry out to God asking for his mercy and forgiveness for jealousy and coveting that are in my heart.  Jesus comes washing the stain of sin away, gently wipes the tears of dismay away, discards the shame then replenishes me with graciousness of his forgiveness.

Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Galatians 2:16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”

My head is no longer looking down in shame, but it’s looking up rejoicing that my Heavenly Father loves me and wants to continue a relationship with me even though I have sinned.

Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

So what’s my story you ask?

On November 21, 2013 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

I underwent a sinus surgery and serious brain surgery.

I had two anesthesiologists, three CT scans, two MRIs, a vascular ultrasound, medications, appointments with oncology and radiation. I lost track of how many appointments I had with the brain surgeon.

My family accumulated $100,000 in medical expenses in three months.

Yes, I have insurance but it doesn’t pay 100%. We’re your average middle class family who doesn’t openly discuss finances.

Due to my illness and surgery, I was off work from December 2013 through January 2014.   I started back to work part-time in February and March, 2014. Shortly thereafter my husband’s company went bankrupt and he lost his job. So, he has been unemployed since Mid-February, 2014.

On March 17, 2014 we wrote the final check for our medical expenses!  God has graciously provided by covering our medical bills for my family as only He can.

I tried to do the math to figure out how this could be. It makes no sense, the calculations don’t add up.  $100,000.00 has been paid in full within a few months of my surgery. Not by me. Not by my husband.  Only God can quickly pay off a debt of that size.   IT’S ALL HIM!  ALL HIM!

Do you analyze your behavior? Do you ask God to test your ways & motives? Is your faith a relationship with a foundation of grace, mercy and forgiveness or performance based?  How have you coveted? Do you have a story that you have been withholding ? I’d love to hear it, would you share it with me?

 Humbled,

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Freedom

Freedom

My personal definition of freedom has changed to suit my purposes over the course of my life.  When I was a teenager, freedom meant getting out of my parents’ house, where there were no rules – or at least where I thought there would be no rules.  I would have the freedom to come and go as I please, when I please and with whom I please.

Not two years into college, after having experienced a bit of the freedom I had so longed for, that long sought freedom was taken away for a bit when to my surprise, my school and I did not share the same definition of freedom.  I moved back home for a bit so that I could attend a community college and my parents were, of course, given the freedom to enjoy [or not to enjoy] my company once again.

In my mid-twenties and beginning of my career – freedom meant having a salary that afforded me the ability to share a hip apartment inside the city with a good friend, vacationing overseas, staying out late, sleeping in on the weekends and more handbags and shoes than one girl will ever need.  This freedom was wonderful and liberating.  That is, until one by one, each successive roommate left poor little me and got married.  My definition of freedom once again changed to include the freedom to marry whoever I chose and not to wait on God’s Best and His timing.  In case you are new to reading my posts in the Brave Girl Community – choosing this freedom did not work out – at all.

Free in a marriage that was never meant to be, I found myself alone a great deal of the time due to my husband’s work schedule.  Soon after I got married, and for all the wrong reasons, I resigned from my wonderful job.  This new freedom had its good moments – I was able to take classes – I learned to sew, crochet, scrapbook.  But, it also left me alone to stew in growing bitterness and anger at myself and my husband.  This freedom led me head first into a downward spiral…If drowning my sorrow and pain with a bottle helped me get through my day – why not?  If taking a handful of pills melted away loneliness and got me to sleep at night – why not?  My chosen freedom took me to a horrific place of addiction and self-hatred…and it nearly killed me.

Deep down, I knew I was headed down a dark and lonely tunnel.  I became a Christian at young age, but never really caught on to the idea of finding Freedom in Christ.  How could I be free and enjoy life, with all the rules and regulations He would surely give me.  I witnessed friends and family living under God’s Grace and Freedom happily, joyful even, but I wasn’t willing to take that step.  Finally, my stubbornness to accept Christ’s Freedom left me nearly homeless, living in a halfway house in a terrible part of the city and so close to losing my children and my life, it breaks my heart whenever I think about it.  Some say you have to hit rock bottom – I hit it hard and finally broke.

I was broken in so many ways.  I felt so undeserving of His Love.  Even so, Christ met me there in that hell hole I was digging.  This year will be the five year anniversary of Him offering me His Freedom and my finally accepting it.  His Loving Hand led me out of that dark path, and I began to see the light at the end of my tunnel.

Today I live happily and filled with joy under God’s Grace and in the Freedom I have found in Christ.  Every morning when I wake up He gives me enough grace to make it through whatever may come my way and I live with His Freedom because He died so that I may have it.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2

And that fabulous job I quit…He brought it back to a few months ago through a series of coincidences I can clearly see His hand on.  And although I may not have that cool place in the city to live in just yet, a home of my own will come in His perfect timing.  However, I do have amazing roommates – my parents and the cutest little twins God ever created…and as an added bonus, a little freedom to buy shoes and handbags.

What is your definition of freedom?  Is there another word you occasionally redefine to suit your needs?  We would love to hear from you and pray for if you are struggling with anything today.  And remember…

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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Take it Easy

Take it Easy

This is not the post I was planning on putting up today.  I had started writing about my discontentment with my age and current living arrangement but it didn’t seem to go anywhere – I got as far as about two paragraphs in, read my work and realized it was quite depressing, mean spirited…and not completely truthful.

You see, I turned 40 earlier this month…and my girls and I live with my parents.  What middle aged woman still lives with her parents?  I didn’t want to accept it.  Unfortunately, there is a February 4th every year and it happened.  One of my girls woke me up that morning and told me I was 40, old and grumpy.  Happy Birthday?!?  (Although, it did help that she added she thinks my milestone birthday entitles me to freedom to shoe shop when and where I want.)

My first attempt at this post was all about me, hence the reason it didn’t come together.  It was all about my frustrations, my irritations, my hang-ups.  But what about them…my Mom?  My Dad?

If I really sit down and think about it I am sure their list of grievances is longer than mine.

I stopped writing and did what I always do when I want to zone out and escape reality – play a few games of Candy Crush.  Before putting my computer away I checked my e-mail and, to my delight, there sat a reminder message from Ticketmaster regarding my tickets to The Eagles concert I HAD FORGOTTEN ABOUT.  Immediately brought back into the land of the not-so-sad, I sprang into action.  First, I texted my cousin Paige – surely she would go – but nope, finals.  Ugh.  I tried Jennifer – ball games.  Seriously?  Finally, Rebecca – kid banquet of some sort.  Whatever.

I wanted to cry.  Who would go with me?  I haven’t really “dated” in what, something crazy like 12 years and I wasn’t going to start last night.  Then, the answer was literally staring me in the face – my Dad, the best date a girl could ask for.  It was perfect – one of the first albums I can remember listening to as a little girl was his copy Hotel California – I can so clearly see the cover leaning up against the record player.  It makes me smile.

So, last night my Dad picked me up from work, we went out to eat and he was my date to the first concert I will actually remember.  (Well, actually not the first – since I’m all about honesty this year, I must admit I took my two squealing little girls – and my not so enthused cousin Paige – to the Justin Bieber concert last year.  Neither Paige nor I could hear for the week following and even though we will remember it and my daughters still talk about, recent entertainment headlines have led to believe that sadly, Justin will not.)

We had so much fun!  My Dad confessed to me that it was the first concert he had ever been to and it turned out to be even more exciting and entertaining than he expected.  We even stayed until the end.  Yep, we didn’t get home until 1:15 a.m. last night.  Who knew a 40 year old and her Dad could have such an incredible night out on the town?

 GOD KNEW.

 He knew when I bought the tickets back in October and He knew that my 40-year-old, abused, tattered and worn out brain would need a last minute reminder to find a guest.  He knew my friends, being responsible parents, would turn me down and He knew my Dad would be over the moon about me offering him that extra ticket.

My Dad is awesome – he is an amazing man of God and these past few years of living with my parents have done wonders for our relationship.  We are honest with each other, have a genuine respect for each other’s opinion and, he is my best friend.  I need to tell him more often how much I love him and appreciate all he has done and continues to do for me and my girls.  During my darkest days, he never gave up on me and prayed fervently for my safety and recovery.  He learned the power of prayer from his parents and my prayer is that my girls learn it from me…and him.

The truth is my girls and I are still at my parent’s house because I believe we are right where God wants us.  It is hard to say and even tougher to accept because I still so desperately desire a home of our own.  However, God is asking me to wait, stay still and content.  There’s that word again – content.  Contentment is a hard thing for me because I always want what is next before it is time.  It seems to be a recurring theme in my life and a lesson God is determined to teach me.

When I dig a little deeper into my heart, I discover where the discontent comes from – at times I sort of feel like a loser; like anyone who still lives with their parents at 40 can’t possibly be a contributing member of society.  But I am.  I know I am.

God is so good at squashing Satan’s lies.

I think God sometimes wants us to be happy in quiet, peaceful contentment for a bit before heading out again on the next leg of our journey.

And in the words of Glenn Frey of The Eagles (and my Dad’s wise counsel)…

 Take it easy, take it easy.  Don’t let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy.  Lighten up while you still can.  Don’t even try to understand.  Just find a place and make your stand and take it easy.

I think God has big plans for the next 40 years of my life.  While I wasted away most of the first 40, I strongly believe that He intends to use my past failures and triumphs for His glory.  As I sit here I can’t help but want to thank Him for the things I have yet to even see – the birthdays, graduations, vacations, weddings, and God only knows what else.  (Oh, and I better not forget about all the shoes I am entitled to now…that gives me an idea – my Mom and I need to do a bit more reconnecting – I can’t think of a better place for women to bond than in that glorious place known as the Nordstrom Shoe Salon – I don’t think she’s ever been – it’s bound to be another first to remember.)

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Single Again

Single Again

I do not like the word single.  I never have and I do not believe I ever will.  However, I am a single mother.  Quite often I let myself get more than a little irritated when people introduce me as follows:  “This is Beth, a single mom.”  [Insert responsive concerned eyes and head tilt – even more irritating.]  And although I know it shouldn’t, pride takes over and I want to scream “I don’t need or want your pity!”  Even though I occasionally need an attitude adjustment, I never allow my reaction to outwardly present itself.  In fact, this is the first time I have ever even talked about it.

Maybe it is not so much the word as it is the label “Single Mom”.  Although it is true that I am single, as the world defines single…I am not alone.  There is no possible way I could do life alone.  I’ve tried that – it didn’t work out.

Years ago before I married my ex-husband, I found myself in a similar situation.  I was everyone’s single friend.  I probably don’t even have to tell you I had a hard time with that label as well…but it was for a different reason.  You see, I was desperate to get married.  I was jealous of all of my married friends.  I didn’t want to be single anymore.  I wanted a partner.  I wanted love.  I longed for all the things I saw my married friends experiencing.  I wanted more and I decided to go out and make it happen.

After years of looking for love in all the wrong places, I got married.  I say it like that because that is really all that happened – I married a friend who I had only dated for a couple of months.  He asked and I said yes.  Actually, I think I said “sure”.

Deep down I knew it was a bad idea.  My friends told me it was a REALLY bad idea.  The first of many ‘interventions’ I have experienced along my journey occurred one night shortly after I got engaged.  I arrived home from work to find a few close, trusted friends at my house.  They proceeded to lay out for me all the reasons why I was not ready to get married and why I shouldn’t marry my intended.  I didn’t want to listen – I wanted to go shopping for a wedding dress, experience my dream wedding and get on with my fabulous, well-planned life.  Ironically, the one thing that stands out in my mind about my wedding day is standing in the back of the church, crying…and thinking about that night.

We have not spoken of that night since it occurred.  My sweet friends stood by me on my wedding day, and they are still standing beside me now.  I should also tell you that not the first one has said ‘I told you so’.  That’s friendship.

So here I am, 12 years later – single, again.  But this time, I am not looking at what I don’t have, but to what I do.  When I see myself through my Father’s eyes and I am never alone.  My daughters are never alone.  You too may be single, but you are never alone.  In His Word, God promises to help us, walk beside us, carry us even, and He does not disappoint.

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”  — Isaiah 41:13

He has given me an amazing support system – my parents, brother and sister-in-law, extended family and friends who are always more than willing to pick up my girls, watch them for the evening or listen when all I really need is someone to talk to.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!  — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

The difference in this season-of-singleness is my outlook and more importantly, my need and true desire for a closer relationship with my Lord.  Unlike before, I am not desperate for a Partner, I have One.  I do not long for love, I am Loved like no other.  I no longer desire anything beyond what He has in store for me.  I do not look at my future as a single mom or woman and fear the unknown – I look forward to it.

In John 15, Jesus talks about the importance of the relationship between the believer, the Father and His Son:

I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5 

As a believer, or branch, I grow from my relationship with Jesus, the Vine.  God, or our Gardener, wants me to bear fruit and like any good gardener, continually prunes His branches so they bear fruit – wholesome, life-loving, beautiful fruit.  That’s what He is doing with me – it took me a long time, many more mistakes than just my failed marriage, countless sleepless nights and buckets of tears…but I’m letting Him work now, and be my Gardner, Provider and First Love.

There are certainly still times when I experience loneliness, but I believe that can be true for anyone.  My answer to how I deal with it is simple:  I pray.  I pray for a renewed peace in my circumstance and I pray for something to do (when I’m busy, I’m not lonely).  More often than not, my prayer is interrupted by one or sometimes even two bright-eyed little girls who present me with a big dose of love, humor and drama – more than enough to cure a little loneliness.

If you are a single mom, divorced, widowed, unmarried, not in a relationship – whatever season of single you find yourself in – please don’t forget that you have a Friend, a Love, a Co-Parent and so much more in your Savior.  He died for you – He’s also more than happy and willing to help you fill in the gaps.

He is still working on me.  I may not like the label single, I may not be a fan of pity (and yes, I need to work on that whole pride thing), but single is a state I can now accept and embrace.

Are you in a tough season of life and having a hard time giving control back to God?  How can you pray for and support a friend struggling with being single?

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Waiting

Waiting

 

Are you waiting for something? Someone? Some time? Does it feel like it’s been forever? Then, when one prayer is answered, you’re left waiting on something else? I think it’s fair to say we’re all waiting for something. A job offer, an acceptance letter, a relationship, a marriage, a long-awaited pregnancy, a change, the coming of Christ…


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I can honestly say that waiting is one of the most difficult things for me to do. Left to my own devices, I am a total Type A, perfectionist, go-getter. I wanna get it done, and I wanted to get it done like yesterday. But God has such a gentle way of giving me opportunities to grow.

 This last summer, after dedicating a year of working with a ministry for little to no income, I set out on my job search. On one hand, the sky was the limit; I could do just about anything and live just about anywhere. But the fact that there were so many options was also overwhelming and intimidating. I started to apply for jobs, jobs I didn’t even really want and got really discouraged when I didn’t get them. I mean, I know it’s a tough market, but don’t these people know who I am? Can’t they see my work history and my excellent education? Isn’t it obvious that I am a super hard worker? And why isn’t God providing for me? Seriously, the ego is definitely something to reckoned with.

I had never had difficulty finding work in the past, even with issues that should have been obvious obstacles. And I would have taken anything, settled for whatever. I wonder how many times I’ve ‘settled’ in the past when God’s ideas were much better… But He is gracious and merciful. I ended up taking a little temp gig doing accounts payable and deposits for a government entity. It was one of the funnest office experiences I’ve ever had and I got to learn a lot and meet some amazing people. Of course my ego told me the job was sooo beneath my qualifications – but it was a perfect distraction for my ‘waiting’ period.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Thankfully, I was blessed with a job that is totally suited for me and my skill set as well as my passions, and offers a lot of growth and learning opportunities to boot. I’m new and I have a huge learning curve, but I know once I settle in, it’s going to be one of those gigs that doesn’t even feel like I’m working.

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But the waiting, in the meantime, was so difficult. It’s easy to see how God worked it all out for good now that I’m on the other side. But while I was going through it, it felt like it would never end. I felt physically crushed at one point by the self-imposed pressure of the whole situation. And though I hate to admit it, and it sounds absolutely insane – I absolutely love those times when the only thing I can do is be dependent on and wait on the Lord.

I may have landed the dream job for now, but of course there are new things I’m waiting on – like learning how to be perfect at my job, of course. And still things I’m waiting on, for like forever… Those close to me that I share my heart with know some things that I’ve been waiting on for over 8 years. Oh the heartache of THAT waiting period. I’m so grateful I get to be honest with those closest to me, invite them to support me in prayer and encourage me with love. Most of all, I know that God is with me, He is enough for me, my focus will remain on Him. As He whispers “wait” into my ear, He is holding me in the palm of His hand, and I pray that is where I remain.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

What are you waiting on? Do you believe that God is with you every step of the way? How do faith and works come together for you during these times?

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Fear Knocks

Fear Knocks

 

Brave

Do not fear, for I am with you. Isaiah 41:10

As we enter into week two of the Bravegirl community this contributor has to admit I have not been brave. While in the past I have been comfortable sharing my inner most values, thoughts and beliefs with women in my life, 7 or 8 looks way different than hundreds. I got scared. Feelings of judgment and inadequacy blotted out any opportunity I had to write or contemplate the more meaningful aspects of my life.

Then I began to be assaulted by Isaiah. I say assaulted because it was coming in waves from every corner of my life. Every page I turned, every blog I read, every email devotional I received referenced Isaiah. I thought this can’t possibly be a coincidence. The next thought was that if I follow this prompting then I am going to HAVE to follow through and write. So, for those that know me know the next thought would be, “what are you going to do about it?”

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. Isaiah 43:2

I decided to be transparent, humble and truthful with myself. My transparency is required so that I acknowledge fearing your judgment. Humble in knowing that this isn’t about me but God. Truth, now that’s a tough one; because for me truth requires accurate self-appraisal and change. Guess what I found. A healthy dose of ego and pride was stalking me. Ego was telling me to dare not look because what I would find would be inadequate (i.e..you will find me inadequate) and pride would not allow that to happen. E.G.O- easing God out was exactly what happened.

This post is me throwing the door open wide and letting you see my bruised, battered and broken self who is still battling to…. be enough. Door

 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless- Isaiah 40:29

What situation have you experienced where fear shut the door on the grace and care of God? How did you respond?

Please comment below and let me know I’m not alone.

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