Unveiled and Revealed

I am excited to be over at Unveiled and Revealed today with Brianna L. George. Unveiled and Revealed is a ministry resource for encouraging women to discover and live out of their new nature in Christ. Inspiring them to claim the identity Christ gifts them by grace and rest through himself.

Check it out and get a preview of my book Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light: A Story of Faith and Forgiveness After Child Abuse, which is being released on Monday!!

http://unveiledandrevealed.com/

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Starbucks red coffee cups…really?

I have to chime in on this.

I love the beginning of the holiday season (as long as it is after Halloween) and do enjoy when Starbucks brings out their red cups. However, those cups are NOT the definition of what Christmas is about. Christmas is a celebration for the birth of our Lord. It is a joy that Christians have within their hearts and share with others.

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I can’t understand why everyone is freaking out about the red cups and have a hard time thinking that it was an anti- Christian move on Starbucks part. I’d like to suggest that everyone who is upset about it bring a Sharpie marker with them and draw your own designs on the cups!

Can we move on  and discuss the real meaning of Christmas now?

Late bloomer

Each winter as the snow melts and temperature gets warmer, I look forward to seeing flowers and fresh leaves grow. I like to plant bulbs and seeds and wait with anticipation for them to push through the dirt. But sometimes they don’t grow. Perhaps there was a late frost or an animal dug it up? Either way, the result can be disappointing.

There are times in life when we all feel like the flower trying to blossom. We’re on our way up (through the dirt) and then something comes along and steps on us. Whether it is job, a relationship, or personal goal that we’ve been working for, rejection, fear, and self doubt can undo all the work that we have put in.flower_under_snow_spring_20140127_1318698541

Fortunately for us, we aren’t finished when that happens. We can lean on our God and ask for help and direction. God has a plan for us all and sometimes our desires aren’t part of that plan, but he will guide us to where we should be. It may take another season and the result may look different from what we thought it would, but with our faith in God’s love, we will bloom!

2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” (NIV)

A Gift

I was having a bad day, wrestling with a tough decision, and then you knocked on my door and were holding a gift. I love gifts! It is beautifully wrapped and layered with colorful tissue paper. But as I open your “gift” I see it is full of things I don’t want or need. I lift the first layer of tissue paper and find doubt. The next layer contains fear. As I continue to search for something I need or desperately hoped for, all I see is more of the same….my unworthiness, guilt, and selfish ways. I carefully place the items back in the box, smile, and say, “Thank you.” As you leave I feel terrible. I place the gift on the table and try to ignore it. All day my eyes and thoughts wander back to it. Unable to concentrate all day, I return to the gift. I open it again and hold all the items, one at a time. As I think carefully about each item, I feel a relief was over me and can’t help but smile as I place the items back in the box. What you don’t know is that I already have a wonderful gift; the gift of God’s love.

My mom taught me to always write a thank you note, so20140604052837666 here it is:

Dear Satan,

Thank you for stopping by today with an unexpected gift. Unfortunately I must return it, as I will not be needing the items you so carefully wrapped. I have received a much nicer gift from God. He shows me love every day and warned me about you. So please don’t come by again anytime soon.

Sincerely,

God’s daughter

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Phillipians 4:6-7 (NLT)

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)

Faith can be scary at times

I have been writing for almost a year. I feel that I have been called to share the story of my past and how I came to know Jesus. My desire is to help others who may be struggling with self-worth. Throughout this process I have had some struggles and setbacks. First, it’s not easy to put the pain from your past on paper. It forces the part of your brain, that has tried to forget, to relive the dark, unhappy times. Second, the writing process is difficult. Having a professional editor look over your work is very important, BUT, it leads to more work. My third and biggest struggle has been time. I work a full-time job and have a large family and can’t find the large chunks of time that I need to work on my writing.

There have been moments where I have said to myself, “Give it up. No one will read it.  You’re not a writer.” Each time I have had these thoughts, something or someone has come along and steered me back onto the writing path. I have prayed and asked God for guidance….. Am I really supposed to do this?graaandcanyon

During this time I have become more and more unhappy with my job as a special education social studies teacher. After eight years, I feel unsatisfied, underappreciated, and bored and have sought out different opportunities. Most recently I interviewed for a different position within my current school (still teaching social studies, just not special education students). Honestly, I felt like I had a great chance.  My husband and I talked at length about it and I prayed a lot. I asked God to make it clear to me what I should do. After the interview, I made the decision that if I didn’t get the job, I would no longer teach and I would devote my time to writing the book that I’ve been dreaming about.

I found out yesterday, that not only did I not get the job, but they hired a brand new teacher.  BOOM, like a punch to the gut, it hurts.  So now I’m wrestling with more doubt. Is this part of God’s plan for me?

When I started this journey of sharing my past and writing about it I called it a leap of faith. Why do I suddenly feel like I’m standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon?

Taking flight

birds-leaving-nestFor the last 18 years I have been called, “Mom.” I remember vividly the day I received that title. After nine long months of waiting, my first son emerged from my body and I was filled with emotion. Love, joy, fear, and a sense of awe swept over me as I held my little bundle. These feelings magnified as my husband and I welcomed three more sons over the next several years. The responsibility of raising four children is enormous and I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that there were times that I felt completely overwhelmed.

I remember the early years…wishing the days away and praying that I’d make it to the weekend. I became resentful that my husband, who went to work each morning, got to wear nice clothes and go to the bathroom uninterrupted. Those days went by slowly, but now here it is 18 years later and our first little bundle is about to graduate from high school. In August he will leave our daily life as he goes off to college.

Now as I watch my colleagues with babies and young children and hear their stories of sleepless nights and potty training woes, I can smile. My advice is always the same, “Embrace every moment, it goes by quickly.” Some will look at me with weary eyes and ask, “How did you survive four kids?”

My answer: PRAY! Pray often, pray hard! It’s okay to admit that you need help. Turn to your family and friends, but remember that the best guidance we can receive is that from our God.

This time of reflection is a bit sad, but mostly a time of pride for me. My son has grown to be a wonderful, caring young man who has a love for the Lord. He is a leader for his three brothers and although he will be missed at our nightly meal together, we are all excited for him. I can’t wait to see what God has planned for the rest of his life!

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.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

 

 

A sign from God?

A year ago I met a wonderful Christian counselor at a women’s retreat. I was in need of a therapist and called her when I got home. Shortly after that, I began meeting with her weekly and I told her all my “stuff.”

As we were speaking one afternoon, she said that I had a story that could help others and then she asked me if I could ever see myself sharing it. I began laughing nervously, but couldn’t ignore the growing excitement inside of me. As I left and went to my car I found myself considering this crazy idea. I kept it to myself for a week and then received an e-mail invitation for Christian writers and speaker to attend a conference called She Speaks in Charlotte, NC. It confirmed that this was something God was calling me to do. I was too nervous to tell my husband in person, so I e-mailed him. Being a logical, no-nonsense, lawyer, I was waiting (hoping?) for him to ask me how much it would cost or tell me that it was a silly idea. But instead he wrote back, “Go for it,” confirming that this was not something I could ignore.

I flew to the conference feeling very nervous and unprepared. I had a skeleton of a proposal and brand new business cards and felt overwhelmed to be in the company of incredible women like Lysa TerKeurst, Renee Swope, and Christine Caine. However, I was relieved to find that I was in the company of a lot of women just like me and had an incredible weekend. As we broke into small groups at the conference I was uncomfortable telling strangers what my idea for a book was. However, I found that the more I told people about my idea, the more positive reinforcement I received. As I left the conference, I was sure that God had given me this purpose. I headed home with a mission to write a book!

In the last year, I have been writing and struggling to know if this is really what God wants me to do. I’ve prayed and asked him for confirmation. Today a friend sent me the promotional video for this years She Speaks conference. I’m in it!! I remember waiting in line to meet Lysa TerKeurst and have her sign my book. I can’t help but wonder, why out of all the people who were there, did they choose me for the video?FB_IMG_1431108812747

Is this the sign I’ve been waiting for?

Check it out!

She Speaks 2015

 

 

My thoughts on Mother’s Day

This time of the year the advertisements and commercials are geared towards Mother’s Day. Things to spoil her and let her know how much you appreciate all that she has done for you. I have been a mother for the past 17 years and enjoy this day very much. My sons take pride in getting me a gift and spoiling me for a day, and I love it!

What I don’t love is the pressure to do something for my own mother on Mother’s Day. No where in the Mother’s Day card section is there one that is appropriate for me to give to my mother.  Our relationship is complicated and messy. Where is the card for the mother who was drunk for most of her daughter’s life? Where is the card for the mother who didn’t say anything when her husband was sexually abusing this daughter? Where is the card for the mother who is hateful and unkind?

Due to the circumstances of my past, I didn’t live close to my mother or talk to her often for almost 17 years. I didn’t like it and constantly felt guilty. After much prayer, I chose to forgive them and released my pain and suffering to God. I felt better, but nothing really changed until a year and a half ago when my father died unexpectantly. Immediately after my father died, I put my life on hold for 6 months as I moved my mom across the country and took over her finances and personal needs. As I chose an assisted living facility just 10 minutes from my family, I had hopes of a new start for our relationship. After almost 17 years apart, I now call and/or visit my mother at least once a week. When her watch stops working or her cat needs litter, I am there for her. When a holiday comes around, she is invited to our house. When she wants spending money, I deliver. If I am unable to call her back or I don’t respond to her request fast enough, she will leave me a rude message on my phone. I try to brush it off and tell my husband and kids, “that’ll be me some day,” but I truly hope it won’t be. Our relationship is not as I imagined and I often feel bitter after a phone call or visit because of the way she speaks to me.

So as this holiday approaches this year, I struggle to feel the sentiments that are associated with Mother’s Day. I can forgive, but I can’t forget.

 

Purpose or desire?

I was at an event at my church this weekend that focused on finding our purpose. How do we know what our purpose is?

 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1:11-12  (MSG)

I want to hear God’s voice clearly tell me that what I think he’s telling me to do is correct. I want to know that my new passion and vision of writing a book to glorify Him and help other women is the purpose he has for me. But how do we know if it’s really God or just our own desire?

God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. 1 Corinthians 2:6-10 MSG

I pray and ask for wisdom. I pray that my passion for writing this book is the key to my purpose. I pray to ask if the discontent I feel in my current job is God nudging me to try something new.

So fellow bloggers, I want to know what you think. Is our purpose revealed to us as a test of faith?