Saturday, July 9, 2016

I Cannot Take It, But I Do Have Hope

I read a post about one of the officers who was killed in the Dallas shooting. I bawled my eyes out as I gave my three year old daughter a bath tonight.

The last sentence was of the man's father sharing what the officer's two year old daughter said when she saw him lying there dead, "'Dada.' She cried out for her father, 'Dada.'" You can read the story here

Do these killers ever read these stories after it's all said and done? Do they think about the numerous lives impacted by the deaths of the people they murdered? Do they think about the wives, husbands, sons, daughters, infants, mothers, fathers, when they're shooting, killing, murdering? 

No. They can't. 

They can't imagine the pain caused by their actions. They have no clue what they're doing. Pure evil resides in them stemmed from hurt, anger, fear.....

I kissed my daughter several more times tonight than usual. I hugged my husband tighter today; watched my son with a deeper admiration. My prayers are not just "keep my family safe, Lord" anymore. I now ask God to allow me to be my children's mother as long as possible. I ask Him to allow me to keep my children as long as possible. And finally, I pray for my children to live a life of faith after I am no longer on this earth.

Many people would agree that shootings like these are stemmed from evil. Here's the thing though, if you're going to believe in evil, then you have to believe in God. And Christians, if you're going to believe in God, then you have to believe in evil. They go hand-in-hand. You cannot choose to just believe in one or the other. 

So as I continue to prayer for law enforcement and I continue to pray for hearts to come to Jesus, I have hope. He hears me. He hears you. He hears the cries of those mourning the deceased. I have hope because I know the end of the story. You can easily know the end as well. It's in the last book of the Bible, Revelation. 

Two things I want to point out...

Googles definition of faith:
  1. 1
    complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

  2. 2
    strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

I have hope based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. Because of my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I have experienced Him. That's my proof, if you needed it. 

Wikipedia's definition of hope is as follows:

Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large.[1] As a verb, its definitions include: "expect with confidence" and "to cherish a desire with anticipation"

I expect with confidence because I know the end of the story. 

The middle of the story is the scary part. We don't know the titles of each chapter. We don't know what the characters will choose to do. We aren't even certain of the main plot. I will tell you though, that the main theme is to love Christ. Ultimately, what He requires of us is to love, trust, and obey. It's simple, but it's not easy. Because of the evil, because of the sin, because of our strong desire of self, it's impossible to obey Him without His help. And He gives it each morning that we wake up. What we did yesterday is forgiven and forgotten by the time we wake the next day, if we ask His forgiveness. The hardest part is admitting we're wrong. 

So, pointing fingers? Judging? Arguing about race, religion, in the law enforcement situation- what came first the chicken or the egg? It's all useless. There is one Judge who sees every heart. Prayers for those shooting and prayers for those dying is the best we can do in a story we are not writing.

If you don't know Jesus, you're missing out on hope. It's real and it's the only way to cope in this evil world. Christ will redeem those who believe in Him. 

Revelation 1:3 "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

To My Friends From High School and College

I read this just this morning:

"I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it." Philippians 4:10 

For the longest time I gave God no opportunity to show His love for me. I remember getting in a car accident once and how fortunate I was that it was not worse. I remember thanking God for protecting me but then going right back to my self-indulged life. As quickly as I forget Him, He remembers me

I've been overwhelmed with the mistakes from my past. He has cleansed and forgiven me, yet I struggle to forgive myself. I'm my biggest critic. I wrote this poem several months ago to try and let go of my shame. 

**Who I am

To my friends in high school and college 

When you hear my name you might think
"Awe, she was so nice."
And it's not that I'm not....
I just wasn't living right. 
Sometimes I wish that I could go back
But God says Forget it. You're better than that.
See when I get disgusted with myself
He reminds me, 
Your sins? I've tossed them away
Far behind me.
He's forgotten. I'm forgiven.
And so I can keep livin'.

Many times I've asked "Who am I?"
Even as a child
And when I start to think about it
My mind starts running wild
I grew up in church,
Hurt by many there.
How I was treated,
Made me think God didn't care.
So the world began to pull me
Away from being mended
So far off the path 
He had graciously intended
I tried to fit in here,
I longed to fit in there
But what I was searching for,
On this earth
Was nowhere.
Was I an athlete?
A musician?
Not completely.
If only I had realized His waiting
So sweetly. 

Many things I did 
Were what I thought someone else would do
And so a wishy-washy young lady grew
From what to wear
And who to hang with
To activities in school 
It wasn't that I need approval 
Or that I wanted to be "cool"
There was a void needing filled
Earthly life, with my mind was toying
Even sports teams were a confusion (we all know that one's been annoying)

If only I had been who I am today
No doubt
Many might be following Him right now
Here's what's so great about our Christ
He always gets everything
His timing
His plan
His thoughts and ideas
Are of perfect harmony 
With the ones He adores 
So as I drifted further away
His plan never did sway
As long as lines run parallel
His grace, love, and protection 
Were my miracle
When MY life that I planned
Didn't go well
He picked me up 
And kept me from hell.
The impact I could have made haunts me some
But Christ did say
Because I am the ONE
Your sins are forgiven 
And I was the cost
Now live for me 
Your life is not lost.
Yes, Christ made me whole
Cleansed me
Made me more pure
Even though I couldn't take back
All I'd done before 

And as time's gone on my question no longer stands 
For I'm not asking,
I'm telling you WHO I AM**

If you feel shame or guilt about things you've done, seen or places you've been in your life, please know there is a living God who loves you. Whether you love, serve, believe in Him or not, He is still your Creator and He wants a relationship with you. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


I haven't written in a LONG time and my heart has changed quite a bit since the last post. My heart has grown, as I now have two precious children and not just sweet Lilly. Charlie came to us in Chattanooga, Tennessee in October 2014. He's such a sweet toddler now!! Twenty months today!

My heart has also grown in my faith. My heart has been heavy since I recently studied Revelation with BSF. God's mercy and justice were perfectly married together in ways even the most talented writer couldn't have come up with! But my heart is heavy for those who do not believe. I'm now studying Romans with my Mom and the truths that Paul shares should be heard by all.

Romans 2:8 says "But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger."

I've been here. I've been self-seeking, doing for myself only, thinking of MY life, what makes ME happy, what path I want to follow, what plans I want to make. When things didn't go my way I'd get so bent out of shape. There were times of temporary happiness or when things seemed to be going okay for a short time; but in the long run? My life was miserably unpredictable and unhappy

I'm not saying that if you believe in God your life will be predictable or that it will always be happy. From my experience, believing in God has given me peace and hope. It has also convicted me and caused me to analyze self not do for self. This seems to be the part that most people don't like and ultimately turns them off from Christianity (along with what organized church has portrayed to many but that's another conversation for another time). 

All to say-if you're living for self and that's working for you-awesome. But please know it will not last. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for that lifestyle. There is no happy ending, and there is no protection from God's wrath. The only way to eternal life is through belief, love and trust in Jesus Christ. The saying "the truth hurts" may be appropriate here if your heart is feeling convicted. Conviction is part of the faith. Realizing that we are far from perfect, even me, a Christ loving and God fearing Christian, is the first step in knowing Him. Confessing your sins (which I have to do on a daily basis), asking for forgiveness, and then obeying Him are the other steps in accepting Christ. It will transform you but it will be a better you. The you God created you to be.

Dangerous SELFs

Self- ish

These will all cause pain, frustration, rejection to some extent OR the opposite. You might find other people who accept you, love you, make you feel that you're in the right to do for yourself. "The world is cruel," they'll say. "Do what's right, what's best for YOU." If you choose this path as I did for a long time, you will suffer eternally. What happens on earth doesn't stay on earth, Heaven knows all. Eternal happiness is what I want but don't deserve. 

So as I've read and thought about these words, death has become more tragic to me than ever before. The truth of where people go when they die is concerning to me given I know so many non believers. I feel an urgency to share about God's wrath. However there is good news too!!

Lamentations 3:22-23 "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

To receive such mercy these dangerous SELFs have to turn into selfless

God bless,

Monday, February 3, 2014


My most thoughtful time of the day is when I'm rocking Lilly to sleep. Her room is dark and cozy. As I sit in our self-assembled Ikea rocking chair I take in the lullaby playing, the comfortable temperature, the sweet baby smells, the sound of Lilly breathing in my arms, and just the overall peace of the room. I think and think and think. 

Many times I just pray. As I try to patiently wait for her to be in a deep enough sleep so that I can put her in her crib I pray for numerous people. This actually helps me stay patient because it gives me something to do. :) I have found in the past few months that I am more prayerful than I have ever been in my life. Not only do I thank God for the many blessings around me but I pray for things I need or for what I think/know others need.

The other day I found myself wondering if I ask too much of God. Night after night I sit in that chair and I think and I pray. I pray for people who have asked me to pray. I pray for people who I know are in need. I pray for people I have just met or maybe someone I saw at the store. I pray for famous people and the families of people who have died. I especially pray for Lilly and I pray for Rodney and I too. I pray for guidance. I pray for forgiveness. I pray for patience. I pray for health. Of all of the things that I ask God to do I have to ask myself a question. What am I doing for God?

One might think that is what God is for-to pray too. God wants us to ask for things; afterall it does say that in the Bible. Matthew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks the door will be opened. I still just have to ask myself what am I doing for God?

I suppose that if people are asking me to pray for them I have done something to show them I am a person of God. Is that doing something for God? When I offer my time to volunteer somewhere, is that doing something for God? I constantly want to do more for God. Does He give me that desire or do I choose to feel that way? I get the movement within a person of the Holy Spirit confused with a person's free will. Are we called to serve God or do we choose to?

One thing I know for sure is that prayer and worship are definitely two ways to do something for God. Although our Father knows what we need before we ask Him, we should still pray. I think about how I pray for others. Does God know I am going to do that? I know that He knows what they need but does He know I am going to ask for that for them as well? 

I have recently devoted more of my life and time to God's word than I ever have in my life. I have been involved in things that shine His light; things that I never saw myself doing. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but I am trying to understand and answer the question "what am I doing for God." I think that if we ask ourselves this question on a regular basis, maybe even daily, we will begin to create a stronger relationship with Him. He does deserve our hearts; especially with all that we ask of Him! I suppose I will continue to find the answer to this question throughout my life. I will make it a goal of mine and a goal for my family to always ask what am I doing for God? I owe Him my life for giving His son for my freedom from sin. 

Just a small idea of all that I think about when rocking my baby girl to sleep. :) 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mad at the baby?

Rodney and I dread the topic when it comes up but it's something that we must figure out, and soon! Lilly's sleep habits.

She started out creating her own schedule when she was one to two months old. Once I went back to work (she was six weeks), her routine really developed as my mom and mother-in-law watched her each day. She never really slept a ton, as her parents are both very social, and she was just always wanting to know what was next! Around two months, I was so exhausted from getting up with her at night and being back to work, I decided to just have her sleep with us. We read up on it and everyone ended up getting more sleep. 

Once we started looking at houses in Tennessee and traveling back and forth she was about four months old. We stayed in hotels where Lilly slept in the bed with us and it seemed like she was doing well with sleep. The car ride was an issue because she had become a tummy sleeper (butt up in the air actually) and so the sleep problems began. She naps really well now (although once we got moved she only slept for thirty minutes each nap). She now naps twice a day for well over an hour. FINALLY! However, every night after bath time and her bedtime routine, she goes down around 7:30pm and is up an hour or so later. Last night as a matter of fact, she was up at 8:30, 9:30 and then 10:30. She also got up somewhere in between midnight and three I believe but I was just too tired to go in. I have thought of and tried everything!! I think I may have created a monster :p 

All of this to say, as soon as Rodney and I try something new to help wean her from us coming in so much at night, we have failed. When I laid her down for her first nap this morning (the nap that she's quickest and easiest to fall asleep) she jolted up from where she was lying and started crying. I hadn't even left the room yet! I hid by the door for several more seconds and then walked out. As we dread doing, Rodney and I discussed what the issue might be. We told ourselves (and were reminded of the book I'd read and obsessed over for a bit on sleep) that her nap time was the best time for her to learn to fall asleep by herself. So she cried, and she cried. She cried some more. Twenty minutes had gone by and Rodney finally went in. She had pooped. So after feeling like we were "training" her, we were actually torturing her by letting her cry out for twenty minutes while her tushy burned.  

You'd think by twelve months we would get things a little bit better. You'd think we would have thought of that, mostly you'd think her MOMMA would have thought of it! So I proceeded to beat myself up about it, feeling terrible. I rocked her back to sleep and she went out pretty quickly. I admired her sweet face as she slept in my arms. Her long eyelashes, her cute pout, those sweet, soft, chubby cheeks. I was so frustrated that she wasn't sleeping before I'd gone into her. I was so frustrated that she just couldn't get herself back to sleep; just relax, wind down. I was mad. And then to go in and realize that she needed something made me even more mad-at myself! As soon as I try to help or teach her something, something that I always think could be wrong (and why I always end up going in to her at night) actually occurs! Fail. When I think I've got the hang of something.....

So of course I pray about it. I pray that God will help me stay calm, practice patience. I pray that God will help Rodney and I work together and not against each other in those frustrating moments. I also pray that God will forgive me and will help me hold onto the fact that Lilly is a precious gift from above. One of my biggest struggles as a person is to not get lost in the heat of the moment. It's difficult not to act out of anger or frustration but it is so important to try to do so. Especially when your children are watching. 

Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7

Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lilly's first birthday

It still hasn't really hit me that she is one. I was taping pictures to a poster board that I had taken of her each month and it was weird to think that I wouldn't be doing that anymore. I felt like a piece of my life and my time had come to an end. No more counting down. No more baby, just big girl from here on out!

As I looked around the noisy room taking it all in, I felt the love that surrounded us. Although not everyone was able to come to Lilly's party, I knew that they were thinking of her and cared about her special day. To see the smiling faces, hear laughter, and see Lilly crawl all over that room with such joy on her face, couldn't have made me happier. To see the joy of your child is like breathing in the fresh air of the first days of spring. There's a peace; a happiness; a fulfillment; a relief.

The more I reflected on the special people who surrounded us I was reminded of how we were made in His image. The love, care, concern, friendship, relationships, appreciation that we have for our loved ones is such a special thing. Without God, how could any of that exist? Without God, how could we feel love for one another? 

As I continue my walk with Christ, I realize more and more how much He truly does love us. This realization became more familiar to me once I had Lilly. Loving a child has to be the closest thing to understanding how much God loves us. Relationships with people have to be our closest connection to Christ, besides being moved by the Holy Spirit, of course. To know love, care or appreciation for a person is the perfect way to try to understand God's love and desires for us. As my love, guidance, hopes and dreams for Lilly grow, God's grow for me as well. When she stumbles and I soothe her, God comforts me in the same way. When she doesn't accept my advice and takes her own course, God gives me grace when I do the same. When she hurts, I hurt. When I hurt, God hurts. The best thing about being a parent; knowing that God loves Lilly far beyond what my human heart ever could. Hard to admit, but very true. 

It's comforting to know that God loves my sweet Lilly. Now to continue to pray that I accept all of the opportunities that He gives me to guide her and teach her throughout her life. Focusing on my own life, my married life, and my walk with Christ are all things I've had to and continue to work on. Adding parenting to the list is an honor no doubt! Knowing a little person is watching your every move is quite motivating to be at your best as often as possible. Thank goodness for God's grace. Hopefully Lilly will  grant me grace and I will be able to do the same for her :) 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


So I was at Target the other day and as usual observing my surroundings. I walked in about the same time as another momma who had a stroller with twins. They were all zipped up in their carseat covers fast asleep. I watched as she pushed the stroller AND grabbed a cart. I was so amazed that I actually looked at her and said, "I admire you." 

She was super sweet and responsive (you know how you try to smile or say hi to someone you don't know and it's just not their day or whatever...). I told her that it's enough for me to get out to the store with just one (and of course sweet little Lilly was just grinning away at her)! This nice lady commented that those two kiddos were FIVE and SIX for her so she pretty much had it down. Yes, you read that right; four kiddos and then twins. Amazing! Super mom! 

So I went on about my Targeting and ran into another mom in the aisles. This mom had about a four or five month old who was slouched in the cart because it appeared she couldn't actually sit up yet. Cue the judgement. I passed this momma a few times and each time wanted to run over and pull that baby up and hold her! The baby seemed content in all honesty but in my mind she just didn't know any better. My heart was so heavy about it but I just kept trying to put it out of my mind. 

I ended up praying for this momma. I couldn't get the image out of my head and as I gently placed Lilly into her carseat in the parking lot, laughing with her and kissing her, the slouching baby and her momma approached their car. I got a better look at the situation and my heart continued to break! The body language that this momma had and the way she didn't seem to notice or care that her tiny one's head was pressed against the back of the plastic backing on the cart made me cringe. How did she not notice her child's discomfort?! Did she not see that this wasn't working?! Could she not tell that her child was not able to sit up properly and needed more support!? Ah! It was literally killing me!

Later on as I prayed again for that sweet baby's lack of care I compared this mommy to the "put together" one of six kids. What caused me to start conversation with the twins' mom? Why didn't I say hi to this other momma? What if she didn't know how to put her baby in the cart? Maybe she needed someone to acknowledge her or make her feel good. I started to feel guilty but I still prayed for that poor baby! I then thought of Matthew 5:47 And if you great only your own people, what are you doing more than others? 

It's so easy to be judgmental. Too easy. I started to think about my struggles with Lilly and the type of momma I am. I was reminded of how the last few nights have been bad and Lilly has woken up a ton. I cannot figure out what it could be and I've thought of and tried everything I know to try! Ive been exhausted due to this and a little grumpy; definitely impatient and irritable. Finally, I started to change my attitude towards putting her to bed and practice a lot of patience. She did better last and we'll see how tonight goes. 

I feel like such a failure when something goes wrong with our routine; especially when it's something we've worked so hard to accomplish. I can't stand moving backwards! Seems like if we feel failure in our own lives it makes it that much easier to judge somebody else's. Shame on me!

Of course I analyzed this situation using my faith. It wasn't kind of me to judge that momma but I did. Now to learn from it. Like I said, I prayed for that baby. I also prayed for the momma; that she might love and care for her baby to the best of her ability, for that baby's protection, and for someone to enter that women's life who might mentor her in how to care for a baby. It just seemed like she didn't care :(

My bible study this week is Matthew chapter 14. When Jesus tries to get some time alone to pray, He's followed. As the crowds (about 5,000 people although I learned today it was more like 25,000) approach Matthew 14:14 says "He had compassion on them and healed their sick." While answering my study questions I couldn't help but think about how Jesus probably just wanted to rest and have a time out, but people just kept following Him! His compassion is never ending. I feel like I should have had more compassion for this woman I saw. My heart is still hard as I feel she should have known better; should have seen the obvious. You just never know someone's story, though.

You know the Golden Rule? It came from the bible :) This situation was a great reminder for me; not to be so judgmental and also to reach out to people. We truly have never walked in anyone's shoes but our own.