Monday, December 21, 2015

A December to....

Not sure how much of this month I really want to remember, although a good chunk of it we won't forget.

We have had crazy emotional highs and sad, deep emotional lows.

We have buried.

We have rejoiced in new birth.

We have and are eagerly anticipating.

What a month!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Sadness of Suicide

Suicide has touched my life again.

Until about 5 years ago, suicide was a distant concept to me. I had only known one person who had committed suicide and that was back when we were in high school and I didn't really know him well. It had made me sad that he had left a young wife and some angry and hurt family members but my life went on as usual. Over the course of the following 25 years or so I heard of others, but never anyone I knew personally.

Then, almost 5 years ago now, that changed. The husband of a friend took his own life. At the time, she wasn't a close friend, (now she is like a sister to me!) but because God works the way He does, my dearest friend and I were called into action. We got to the house before her husband's body was taken away by the funeral home. A part of me was simply in shock...why would he do this?? He had a beautiful wife, a nearly 4-year-old little boy, and a darling 10-month-old little boy. They had a lovely home that he had built with his own hands. By all accounts, at least from the outside, it made no sense. The other part of me just knew that we didn't need to worry about the "whys" right now, but that we had to focus on M and her boys and getting them into a safe place where they could find a moment of peace. Their life was shattered around them. 

We spent many, many months being there for her, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Some days we practically lived with her. Some days, we literally had to scrape her up off the bathroom floor. The pain that she felt was excruciating. The stages of grief were intense and due to the nature of suicide, we later learned, they often return time and time again. 

Over the course of the next year, several other suicides took place, including one across the street from my parent's house, while I was on the phone with my mom. Another wife and 3 children left behind to fend for themselves. 

What was happening? So much sadness. So much pain.

Then, last fall, my friend's (the same one whose husband had committed suicide) brother became suicidal and violent. He ended up killing himself by escaping a police car and throwing himself into oncoming traffic. 

So much more sadness. So much more pain. 

We know that in a couple of those cases, mental health was definitely a major factor. Questions linger though about why they were unwilling to seek help...even though help around our area is extremely difficult to find. But, even with the mental health issues, there had to be more. A deep feeling of hopelessness. 

I have known depression most of my life. I have even struggled with what many would call suicidal feelings. But, I have always weighed my current feelings against what it would do to my family, my friends, and even my testimony. Thankfully, I have chosen to not listen to the voices in my head that sometimes say the world would be better off without me and I would be better off no longer having to deal with depression. I give thanks to God for His protection over my mind during those times. But, obviously, sometimes God allows things that we just don't understand and it would seem that that protection isn't there for everyone. Of course, I don't believe that, but it would come across that way to many people. 

Now I find out that an old friend's 17-year-old grandson committed suicide last week. He was senior, preparing for military service, attended the local Christian high school, and was said to have a strong faith. I know that his grandfather certainly has a strong faith, but I'm sure that it has been shaken this week. No matter how strong your faith is, suicide gives it a powerful jolt. 

So the questions begin again...why would a young man with his whole life ahead of him bring it to an end? Why would he do it with his siblings in the house at the same time? Why? Why? Why? 

We may never know. But what I do know...this has to stop. 

We have to make it okay to say that we are depressed, that we are anxious, that we are fearful. We have to make it okay to say that we are tired of the fight of life. 

Christians need to stop throwing platitudes out there (and fighting over dumb things like coffee cups at a secular store!!). We need to stop making our children and our men hide their struggles. We need to remember that we all have temptations and secret sin and we need to make it safe for people to confess to others and not receive judgment but comfort and wisdom.

In many cases the church has become a place of judgment and condemnation instead of the safe harbor it is supposed to be. People put on a facade in order to present themselves in such a way that others won't know that they struggle, that their lives are perfect. We hide behind big hair and stilettos, just like the rest of the world. We hide behind business successes and a multitude of extracurricular activities for our kids and ourselves. We hide behind Bible studies and church attendance. 

Transparency has almost become a dirty word. Oh sure, we give it lip service and say that we should be transparent, but the vast majority of believers are scared to death of the judgment that can come following transparency. That needs to stop! We need to be real, not only for our sake, but for the sake of those in the next generation.

Something was bothering that young man so much that he felt he couldn't face life anymore. Some would call it selfish, he was only thinking of himself and not the pain he would leave behind, and there is a place for that thinking in the grief process, but his pain goes far beyond that. Truly, can a 17-year-old even fully understand the consequences his suicide would mean to his family, his friends, his school? Probably not. Not when his pain was searing him in ways we can only speculate about.

I pray for his family. I pray for their peace and comfort, for the anger that is bound to come. I pray that they will be advocates for other hurting and frightened children. I pray that we will begin to really think about what we are teaching our children about life and pain and hurt. We need to realize that kids are facing a future that, at best, is confused. Our world is willing to say men are women and women are men and even if you are born white, you can be black. Our world says that faith is bad and sin is good. Our world says there are no boundaries and yet, they put in place new and useless boundaries...boundaries that tell our kids (especially young, white males) that they are guilty until proven innocent). The world is upset down and we are fooling ourselves if we think it doesn't effect our kids, even our Christian kids. 

The only hope our world has is Jesus Christ! If we aren't transparent, if we aren't real and honest, if we aren't open we are only going to lose more young men and women to the sadness and pain of their minds. Jesus came to save and to give life abundant, but, sadly, even believers don't know how to tap into that abundant life and have lost ourselves to the trials and tribulations of the world. 

Put down the electronics, the phones, all the extracurricular activities and spend time with your family, your children, your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren. Share who you truly are with them! Show them what God has done in your life! Take a genuine interest in theirs! Love!

Deuteronomy 6:5 (NASB)
5 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Leviticus 19:18 (NASB)
18 'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.

Matthew 22:37-40 (NASB) 
37 And He said to him, " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart , and with all your soul , and with all your mind .'
38 "This is the great and foremost commandment.
39 "The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself .'
40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." --emphasis mine

Love! Love God first and love others! 

Stop getting so caught up in things like cups and just start loving!

Monday, November 02, 2015


This past year feels as though it has been lived in a near state of constant anticipation. 

About 14 months ago our son announced his intention to finally join the military. While the prospect was scary to me, I knew that he had wanted to do this since 9/11 and that he had almost enlisted several times but, for very good reasons, had not gone through with it. I also knew that if he didn't finally do it this time it would be a regret he would carry to the end of his days. I didn't want him to have that regret. 

So began our year of living with anticipation....the anticipation of getting all of their things dealt with--selling the house, moving all of their things into storage/our house/her parent's house. Moving themselves into our house when their house sold. The anticipation of the holidays--which we knew could be the last holidays we would spend with them for a few years. The anticipation of J completing his civilian job. The anticipation of the day when he would finally board the plane to California. The anticipation of his first (and only phone call...this ain't the Army, folks!) home that night. The anticipation of his first letter so that we would finally have an address to start writing him letters. The anticipation of his first letter (many weeks later) indicating that he had finally began receiving our letters. The anticipation of hearing how he did completing the many challenges placed before him. The anticipation of finally seeing an updated photo, either on FB or when the "video" finally came out. The anticipation of his completion of his final test...

The anticipation of getting on the road. The anticipation once we got there of actually getting to physically see him. The anticipation, once we saw him, of finally getting to wrap my arms around him and see him up close and personal. The anticipation of one more night apart. The anticipation of finally putting him in the car and coming home for 10 days.

The anticipation of putting him back on a plane for more training. The anticipation of his graduating from that training. The anticipation of his going to the next place for even more training. The anticipation of waiting until that training could begin. The anticipation of a quick trip home over the 4th of July. The anticipation of putting him back on another plane to head back to training. The anticipation of his finally starting the next leg of his training. The anticipation of getting to see him again over Labor Day. The anticipation of putting him back on another plane. 

Now...the anticipation of waiting to find out where he will be permanently stationed. And, so, we wait....

I pray for my son and his wife, the separation has lasted far longer than they were told it would. If I struggle with anticipating what is yet to come, I can only imagine what they are feeling deep down inside. 

Change, waiting, anticipating....none of those come very naturally for me. However, I am learning that those are the three of the biggest challenges of being a military family. 

Change...nothing ever seems to stay the same. One day you think it's going to go one way and the next day, orders have changed. Missions have changed. 

Waiting...the concept of "hurry up and wait" carries so much more meaning for us these days!!

Anticipation...there has yet to be one day since all of this began that we haven't had a heightened sense of anticipation, good and challenging. 

He ranks up today. I am very proud of the effort he has put in and the success he has been having. He had a dream and he is following through, despite the difficulty in being away from his wife, child, and the rest of his family and friends. Sometime this week we should know where his next stop will be. Maybe then this sense of constant anticipation can calm itself down into a bit more normalcy....but, I doubt it. We are now a military family after all and it comes with his job. 

So, I will do what God has been teaching me through this...I will trust Him, I will rest in His peace and the knowledge that He has this all planned. Without those things, I would never have made it through these first few months as a new military mom. I am so very thankful that the "Prince of Peace" goes before me and my son, his wife and daughter, and our family.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

We finally had to turn the furnace on....

We've had some cool nights and warmer days so we've been able to avoid turning it on until yesterday, but the forecast is calling for highs in the 50's so we knew the chill wouldn't just wear off. Fall seems like it has been a long time in coming. This spring it felt like summer would never come. In fact, we had some nights in the 40's in May, but summer finally got here. Now, it feels as though fall is taking it's sweet time. The trees don't seem to be turning much, in fact some are just going slightly yellow and then dropping their leaves. Others leaves seem to be clinging on for a lot longer than usual. Our willows in the back yard look as though they haven't lost any leaves. Makes me wonder what winter has in store for us...

We have almost completed harvest. The vast majority is done. Just a small piece left here at home. The corn is down quite badly in that spot and there was a major wet spot there a couple of weeks ago, but it's nothing that hubby can't get done on his own. He has a little to do for our neighbors and then it will be time to put away the combine until next year. Of course, the work only slows down a bit. There is still tiling and some bulldozing to do. We are very thankful for a good crop this year. It surprised us. But, with prices being what they are, having the extra yield is a blessing.

Now we begin to really get prepared to move our daughter-in-law and granddaughter in December. She has been moving more of the things they took to her parents back to our house. We are still waiting to hear J's PDS, which we should learn shortly, but we are excited to reunite them. It's been 9 months since he left for boot...their separation has been several months longer than was anticipated. It is a joy though watching B grow. She is 17 months old now and such a little go-getter. She is filled with emotion and doesn't mind showing it--happy, sad, or mad! She is extremely expressive and just such a little cutie. She is working on learning all kinds of words and is quite the mimic. She reminds me so much of her daddy as this age. Even when she doesn't have the correct words, she just chitter-chatters and using all sorts of inflection and conversational tones. She loves to be read to and then enjoys sitting on the floor and "reading" the book to herself. She is going to be wordy, like her grandma, her daddy, her uncle, and her oldest cousin on our side. And, since Gpa on mommy's side is a preacher, she's got it coming from that side, too! I love it! I love to hear their vocabularies expand and their being able to put thoughts to words.

The older two granddaughters are extremely well-spoken (so I see no reason why B and A won't be as well). Their grammar is ridiculously good for 3 1/2 and 2 1/2. They are so very polite, including using "excuse me" when they need to move past you. It melts my heart to hear that! They use "thank you" and "your welcome" and "I'm sorry" very liberally. Even their moments of rebellion are tempered by their manners.

It truly is a blessing to watch our children parent their children. They do not scream and yell at the kids. All of them are wonderfully reasonable with the kids, even when things get chaotic. They don't condescend to the girls and treat them as little sponges who learn what they see. I really think this is key in parenting. We all have high expectations of the girls, but without the requirement that they meet those expectations without help and example from their parents and grandparents. I know far too many people who scream and yell at their little ones and expect them to be perfect little humans and when those little humans behave like what they've seen, they just can't understand why they behave like that! People need to be a bit more introspective!

I really miss the days when manners and good behavior were lived out and modeled for the next generation. When the adults are behaving like barbarians, their children will only follow suit!

Psalms 127:3-5 (AMP)
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy, blessed, and fortunate is the man whose quiver is filled with them! They will not be put to shame when they speak with their adversaries [in gatherings] at the [city’s] gate.

We are truly blessed! Grandbaby #5 is due next June! We are praising God for His faithfulness and for the blessing of all our little ones!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

It has often amazed me how dismissive some people can be of their adult children. It certainly never was our goal to allow our children to become attached by our apron strings and never let go...we strongly desired that our children grow into strong, independent, capable adults, and, thankfully, they are! Despite our many parenting errors, because, let's face it, everyone makes them, they are all doing well. They don't always make choices that we agree with, but they are all strong, independent, and capable adults.

However, my mommy-mode kicked into gear this week as we faced our daughter's neck surgery.

When I first heard from the emergency room doctor that her neck was broke in two places the tears welled up in my eyes. He quickly sought to reassure me that these were not the kind we really needed to worry about and that with a stable neck for a few weeks, would heal on it's own. I felt reassured and we went on our way, waiting to hear from an orthopedic doctor to help us determine the type of neck brace she needed.

When she finally heard from them they couldn't get her in to be seen until the following Friday, a full week out from her accident. I was not happy about that, but what could we do. In this crazy world of health care bureaucracy there really was little hope of getting anything changed so we waited. I was concerned because she was still having quite a bit of pain and tingling and the brace that she was given really did not fit her and seemed to be causing even more problems.

She made it through the week and we headed to the orthopedic doctor with the hopes that we would just get a better neck brace and the all clear that she could go to work. However, it was not to be. The doctor was actually upset that the situation had been under-described to him and he said that she required surgery. We were shocked and K was even angry. It meant losing more work time and possibly school time and she has had such good momentum where school was concerned.

We left, still unsure of when the surgery would be...another wonderful consequence of the messed-up health care system we have, and began to get all the other things lined up...her pre-op check-up, school, and work.

We kind of moved through the weekend in stunned wait mode. Several people asked how I was doing and told me they were praying not only for K, but also for me. I really didn't feel much anxiety or fear, but I also knew it would come and was very thankful for dear friends willing to pray me through it.

When they first scheduled her surgery it was set for 2:30 in the afternoon! We were shocked. We had never heard of a surgery scheduled for that time and it seemed like the wait we would be even longer. Thankfully, about halfway through Monday she heard from the nurse at the hospital and the doctor had requested that her surgery be moved up to 7:30. He told her that he wanted "fresh hands" which both reassured and somewhat terrified me!  It was reassuring that he was paying attention to his day and that he knew her surgery was more delicate than his others and it was terrifying because it affirmed to us that her surgery was delicate.  I was still feeling a wonderful peace that could only come from God, though, and that was truly a blessing!

That night, as I tried to drift off to sleep, she and her surgery weighed heavy on my mind, but it the weight wasn't just about my daughter-in-law's grandfather weighed heavy. He is facing his final days, having just found out a few weeks ago that he has liver cancer that has spread. One of our dear friend's weighed heavy...he had an accident a few weeks ago that has left him with a 4-inch x 6 inch open hole in his skull. Until the swelling goes down he won't be able to have a plate inserted and even if the swelling is down, he will still have to wait until there is a spot to fit him into surgery (thank you crazy health care system!). Our landlord weighed heavy...he was diagnosed with stomach cancer earlier this summer and is fighting a long, hard battle. Other things weighed heavy on my seemed that there was a never-ending list of sadness, hurt, and pain that rolled through my thoughts that night. I prayed for each, individually.

Despite the sadness that I felt for all the struggle that seems to be going on, I had a deep peace. I knew it was all in God's hands and I never doubted His plan. No matter what we see from our human eyes and feel with our human hearts, God knows the truest truth. He knows the outcome He is seeking and how that outcome will be achieved. I can trust Him.

The next morning began at zero dark thirty as my military son says. We got to the hospital and we were ready to take on the day. Our pastor, along with my mom and pops, joined us around 6 am. K was already being prepped for the surgery. Our pastor's prayer was what all of us needed, there was a hush, a peace, and wonderful knowledge that God was in control. It was just what we needed.

After he left we heard from the obligatory folks involved in her surgery...the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, the nurse who would be with her throughout the morning.  Before long the nurse told us it was time to love on her and head to the waiting room.

At that point, the mommy in me pulled at my emotions. My baby was going in to surgery and this was far more extensive than the 9 sets of ear tubes and tonsillectomy she had as a child. Those were 15 minutes and were really non-invasive. This surgery meant an incision in the front of the neck. It meant placing a bone as well as a plate. It meant messing with her nerve. The top risk, beyond death, was paralysis. Despite my baby being nearly 29, I just wanted to hold her and tell her it would be alright. Besides this accident and surgery, she has been through so much this year. My mommy heart just wants to fix it all for her, not make her go through it, kiss the owie and make it all better. But, I can't. The majority of things are beyond my control and this surgery was certainly one of those things. I had to trust that God would guide the surgeon's hands and that no matter the outcome, He was in control and it was for K's good in some way, shape or form.

We kissed her good-bye and headed for the waiting room.

The morning wore on. Thankfully they have an RN who checks on all the surgeries and reports to the waiting families and friends. Her surgery had started late. Finally about 2 1/2 hours later we got the news that all went well and she was in recovery. Praise God!! They told us that we had some time to get lunch and relax, they still didn't have a room for her and she needed to stay overnight. We were once again reminded of the craziness of our current health care system and the ridiculousness of it all!

She is now home and recovering nicely. She will have a nasty scar on her neck, but that scar will be a reminder that she is still with us, still is not paralyzed. God was gracious to her and what could have so much worse He had his hand on and, once again, showed His protection and mercy to.

No matter how old my children or grandchildren get I think I will always have that deep, intense desire to keep them safe, kiss their boo-boos, and love them like they are brand-new. I don't ever want to become a parent who isn't deeply committed to loving and nurturing my children, no matter how old they are. I won't step in and try to change their situations or keep them from dealing with the consequences of their own choices, but I will love them through their challenges and their victories. I will love them in their pain and in their joy. I won't protect them from the truths of this fallen world, but I will pray for God's protection in their life and we will face this world together.

I am who I am because of all that I have been through, good and bad. I don't want to steal any of that from them. It will make them who God intends them to be, too. I am so very thankful to God for coming alongside all of us and being our All in All so that we can be who He intends.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


We are waiting for the doctor to give her the A-OK to head home, but we are so thankful all went well!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

So thankful for God filling my love tank last week. As I wrote on Thursday evening, my heart was full! On Friday morning we finally got our daughter into the orthopedic doctor. It didn't go as we had hoped.

The orthopedic doctor basically said that the emergency room doctor and radiologist had "under-described" the situation and that she requires surgery to fix the problem otherwise she will have to live with chronic pain and weakness on the left side. They have to go in through the front, lift up the broken C7 that is resting on the nerve, put it back into place, put in a piece of bone and add a plate. They want it done quickly or it will be too late. So, Tuesday it is. She is understandably nervous and this Mamabear is, too!  However, God is in control and we trust Him with the outcome. It isn't always easy to see what He is doing, but I know He is doing something and that is enough.

We are almost a week into harvest, as well. The corn is yielding well, but the majority of it has broken over and is complicating how quickly we can combine it. We are thankful for the good yield, though.

So, another busy week ahead. Cleaning out the hog building and Bible study on Monday. Surgery on Tuesday and she won't come home until late on Wednesday. Getting the hog building washed and harvest and trucking and just general life. So thankful we got to sleep in this morning!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

What a wonderful week this has been! I was able to spend time with my dad, my step-mom, my aunt, and my sister.

We enjoyed our middle daughter's birthday with a yummy chocolate cake made from scratch by my daughter-in-law. We enjoyed Maid-rites for lunch and Gio's for supper.

There was riding in the combine. Beautiful weather. Wonderful company. Our little ones enjoyed my step-mom immensely and they were such little cuties!

My heart is full!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Life is good!

We are thankful that our daughter wasn't more seriously injured in a car accident last Friday. She ended up breaking two bones in her neck and we certainly aren't happy with the local orthopedic doctors, 3 of which literally blew off the emergency room doctor, but at least she is alive and she is not paralyzed.

Last night was a special night and I got to see my dad for the first time in 5 years and my aunt for the first time in 6 or 7. We laughed and shared and just enjoyed each others company.

Monday, September 21, 2015

So, with more time on my hands my family has encouraged me to spend more time with my blogging and writing and that is my intention.

We had a busy weekend.

Bible study on Thursday night....Leviticus is not the boring book that so many make it out to be! I'm learning so much and the connection to my Savior is just awesome!

We went to our local pregnancy centers fall banquet on Friday night. We have backed away from serving in 2004 due to their unwillingness to actually use the money they had stored up, but with a new board and director, things seems to be back on track. We were impressed to learn about their new connections within the community and how they help other services and other services help them. The fact that the county judicial system is now putting their services to work was also a good thing to hear.

Saturday we had our baby B for the day. She is such a joy and so expressive!  In the afternoon we went to see a live "Tabernacle" experience. It was wonderful!! Again, as Hebrews points out, all of the Old Testament rituals and ceremonies all point to the Messiah and it was such a blessing to walk through the replica and imagine how our forebears worshiped. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to enjoy it either.

Yesterday was filled with the grandchildren and moving cows across the road. Following Twitter hoping for spoilers from Downton Abbey. Making fun videos of the girls. A wonderful Sunday....

I do have a few topics in mind that I'm planning on fleshing out over the course of the next few days...disagreement...bearing false witness...overlooking someone's trespasses...

But, first, a busy couple of days...starting a new Bible study with 10 ladies today...Lysa Terkeurst's What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. Finishing up What's It Like to Be Married to Me by Linda Dillow tomorrow. Throw in the bookkeeping, grocery shopping, and all the other goodies of everyday life and you've got a full couple of days! Blessed!!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Power of the Purge...

There is one thing I have learned about myself in the past few years, purging is powerful for me. Whether it is purging accumulated stuff or purging negative emotions, it has a wonderful effect on me.

This week I chose to purge myself of a negative situation. I let go of 8 years of accumulated patterns, favorites, and well over 5000 forum posts. I let go of the need to try to get my point of view across. I let go of the frustration when my words were willfully misunderstood, misconstrued, or generalized. I let go of the putting myself through the barrage of accusations...of being called hateful, ignorant, bigoted, paranoid, and mentally ill. No one needs that in their life.

It felt good to purge. It feels good today. I have more time on my hands to study, to knit, and most importantly, to love on my family.

The words in Philippians keep coming to mind...

Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 

These are the things I need to be focusing on!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Moving Forward...

In the past several days, I seem to keep getting confirmation that I am heading in the right direction. An introduction in a sample of a book I downloaded onto my Kindle helped me to see that the world's credentials aren't what matter in God's eyes. He has called me to something specific and He will equip me.

Almost out of the blue my son asked how my book(s) were coming.

This morning, this Scripture...

Deuteronomy 2:3 3 ‘You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north,

I have been circling this mountain for quite some time and even spinning my wheels in some spots, but it is time to turn north, move forward, and accomplish something.

I'm struggling a bit with organization, though.  I have a few ideas for some subjects that I feel are important and timely for the church.  I have mind-mapped them and created outlines, now I just need to get busy and work through some of the chapter issues. I also have several ideas for children's books, fiction, but based on real-life and with a moral to each story. I am stuck, though, on what age group to direct them towards.  I tend to be pretty wordy which lends itself more towards upper elementary ages, but I also want to be able to share them with my toddler and preschool aged grandchildren.

I need to just sit down and attempt both and sit which is the better fit.

I am so thankful for the gentle "whacking" the Lord has given me in recent days, reminding me that I am His and that He has a purpose for me and will use all that I am in order to achieve that purpose!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Confidence Part 2

In pondering why I feel as though I have allowed my confidence, both in the Lord and in myself, to slip away, I realized that it is not just the world that has wreaked havoc on my confidence, but, sadly, the church plays a role, as well.

We, personally, have experienced some judgmentalism in recent years that we did not expect from our church of over 20 years.  We have received it from people who have known us (or one or the other of us) all our lives.  It really took us by surprise and set us back a bit, even though until just recently, we couldn't really put our finger on why or what exactly we were feeling.

When I first accepted the gift that the Messiah was giving me, salvation and forgiveness for my sins, I went through an intense period of dealing with my sinful past.  I was divorced and remarried.  So was my husband.  I prayed and struggled and wrestled with God over the issue.  However, those around kept reminding me that I was a new creation and that there was now no longer any condemnation for me, I was in Christ Jesus.  When God looked at me, He saw me covered with the atoning Blood of the Messiah!  My past was gone.  I was forgiven.  It was time to fill the role that I was created for.  Even with other's words, I needed confirmation for myself.  One afternoon, as I was reading and struggling with this issue again, I read this passage...

1Co 7:20-24 Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.
 Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.

While God had knocked on my door many times over the course of those first 29 years of my life, His calling came fully to me 5 years after I had been divorced and remarried.  I was to remain in the place I was when He called me!  I received much peace from this passage and continue to to this day.

Sadly, though, it has become a divisive issue for our church.  Three years ago our church went through a challenging transition and in some ways it brought us all closer together, but as we brought on a new pastor and a new board, a few things began to change.  The board and other members of the congregation wanted to keep divorced men off of the administrative board, citing Tit 1:6 namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.

Instead of looking at each situation individually, there was just going to be a blanket statement that those that had been divorced could not serve on the board. After 20 years of going to the church and my husband having already served on the board, he was now disqualified because of sins committed prior to his acceptance of Christ.

Neither of us knew how to take this.  We were certainly not proud of the sins we had committed and we did not publicize them, but the majority of people knew, we thought.  We also thought that they had seen what Jesus had done in our lives and the complete transformation He had wrought in our lives.  Suddenly, we were seeing things differently.  That what we thought wasn't true, maybe never had been.  It shook my confidence to the core, and despite believing that God had truly and completely forgiven us and that according to Psalm 51:13, being forgiven brought with it the responsibility to "teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted and return to You," I withdrew from a friendship and from any kind of teaching/leading (of women) role in the church.  I really felt that if they were disqualifying my husband, they were disqualifying me.

As time has gone on and the issue is yet to be resolved, we have really felt as though we have committed the one sin that can't really be forgiven and moved on from (aside from the one described as "the unpardonable sin" in Scripture). No one else in the church gets measured by their sins before they came to Christ.  No one.  Only those that have been divorced.

I totally agree and believe that if someone chooses divorce, other than for adultery or abuse, after salvation, there are and should be consequences and they may not be limited to the type of service one can be a part of in the church, but each situation should be handled individually and Biblically!

We live with the consequences of our sin to this day and we will until we reach Heaven, but our church use to be a safe place where we could rest in knowing that we were forgiven and that it was left long behind and we could be a part of something.  We no longer feel a part of our church.  We feel singled out and after 28 years of marriage, through all the ups and downs, we have shown ourselves faithful to these vows and the understanding of what a covenant is, we feel condemned once again.

Despite this struggle, I keep being reminded that I am a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!  There is no condemnation for me or my husband (consequences, yes, condemnation, no!). So, I'm putting aside the lack of confidence!  It is time to hit it all head on.  Bible studies are back on.  Writing is back on.

I have been forgiven!  No one can take that away from me!

Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Mic 7:18-19 Who is a God like You, Who forgives iniquity and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in mercy and loving- kindness.
 He will again have compassion on us; He will subdue and tread underfoot our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

Gone! Gone! Gone!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I have allowed others and the world to tear down my confidence.  I have spent too much time in the "company" (I use quotes because it has all been online) of progressives and liberals who have such a distaste and, in some cases, a hatred for God that they can't see beyond the ends of their own noses.  They continually use the same tired arguments, regurgitated for the umpteenth time over the same conversations--abortion, homosexuality, all the new gender terms (I can't even keep up with those!), creation, and racism, just to name the majority of issues.  They do not listen.  They do not reason.  They do not critically think. They do not even correctly use the science that they so vehemently hold up as god-like. Although, they will tell you over and over and over, ad nauseam that they do and that you are the one who does not listen, reason, or think critically.  In filling myself with this stuff on an almost daily basis, I realized that my confidence, in my God, and in myself, has shrunk exponentially.
Mat 12:34-37 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

I realized that by spending so much time listening to their evil words (and, yes, the blaspheming has been extremely bad lately, as well as the attacks on my person, my abilities, and my motivations), I was very quickly losing my confidence in what I could do for and through my God.  No matter how much I want to see them find the Messiah, there simply comes a time when it is doing more harm than good to be there.

Mat 7:6 " Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

I have been getting torn to pieces.  I have allowed what is holy to be trampled on because I felt the need to keep arguing and in so doing, I've almost lost what it is I believe God has for me.

I am not a stupid person.  I am a well read, well informed person.  I don't spend hour upon hour reading scientific journals or statistics on, well, anything, but I do study people and I study God's Word. In the end, these are the only things that will matter.  Knowing and applying God's Word, which leads to right relationships with God and with people.

Since the time of my accepting God's gift of salvation, my heart has been for God's Word and for people.  I want to know God's Word, live it, and help others to understand and apply it.  I am an exhorter, but I have been exhorting the wrong people.  I'm not saying that there isn't a time for evangelism and sharing God's Word with unbelievers, but, for me, that is not my main focus.  I believe that my gifts lie in discipling believers, helping them to grow and mature in their faith.

As I was reading 1 Kings 19 last week, this verse stuck out at me...

1Ki 19:14 Then he said, " I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

Elijah was zealous for the Israelites.  The fact that they had turned from God and His ways made Elijah distraught. He felt alone and he was in fear for his life.  (God, later in the passage, does comfort him with His presence and the fact that He had a remnant being prepared.)

I have allowed myself to lose my zealousness for those in the Church.  I have allowed myself to become consumed with trying to change the culture from the outside of the Church rather than from the inside.  I have allowed my confidence to slip away because of the accusations and lies of the enemy. I, in many ways, have become distraught over the state of our country and our world.  Distraught over the blatant sin and the outright mocking of God. Distraught over the lack of discipleship and the Churches seeming inability to come against the upfront displays of rebellion and lasciviousness.

It is time to turn the page.  It is time to remember where my confidence comes from...

Psa 71:1-8 PSALM 71
Prayer of an Old Man for Deliverance.
 In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed.
 In Your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
 Incline Your ear to me and save me.
 Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come;
You have given commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.
 Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,
Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man,
 For You are my hope;
O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.
 By You I have been sustained from my birth;
You are He who took me from my mother's womb;
My praise is continually of You.
 I have become a marvel to many,
For You are my strong refuge.
 My mouth is filled with Your praise
And with Your glory all day long.

Psa 78:7 That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,

But keep His commandments,

Pro 3:26 For the Lord will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught.

Pro 14:26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,

And his children will have refuge.

My confidence comes from the Lord and it is time to restore it and move forward.  He has gifted with me with specific gifts and it is time to drown out the voices of negativity.  It is time to drown out the "you can'ts" and "no one cares".  It is time to focus on the Church and the path it seems to be headed.

It is time!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

We are learning a new normal.

In less than a month, our son will graduate from a fairly exclusive boot camp.  I'm learning OPSec, so I'm not going to where or when.  It has been an adjustment getting use to his being gone and realizing that in a few short months, his wife and little girl will follow.

I spent the majority of February and into March sick with a nasty cold.  I hadn't been that sick in quite some time and I even ran a fever for about 5-6 days, which I hadn't done since I was a kid.  It forced me to rest....

My birthday orchid!  I've kept it alive for a month! There is hope for my thumb yet!

Monday, January 26, 2015

It has been a long time since I felt like blogging.  Life has been busy, sad, complicated, joyous, and, occasionally, quiet.

It has been just over 3 months since we laid one of the greatest ladies I have ever known to rest.  I think of her every day and for some reason, this weekend was quite hard and I missed her terribly.

We celebrated her 100th birthday last June.  She was in amazing health and doing so well.  She continued to live on her own, although no longer driving or cooking.  She was a social butterfly and enjoyed her quilting, crafting, and watching the Hallmark Channel.  She still had her eyesight, her hearing, and a wonderful, endearing sense of humor.

Since we had moved her into a new apartment, which had been about 1 1/2 years last summer, hubby, daughter, and grandgirls, and I had made a point of going in every other Saturday night to visit and enjoy broasted chicken with all the fixin's.  We had only missed a couple of Saturday nights due to illness, vacation, or the occasional field work.  We had gone in the weekend before we were set to leave on vacation.  She seemed tired and complained a bit to my sister-in-law that her side hurt, but no one seemed to concerned.

While we were on vacation, my mother-in-law called with the news that they thought Grandma had diverticulitis and that she had to go on a bland diet.  No more fried chicken for awhile.  We were a bit concerned, but given her health history and her age, we weren't overly worried.

We got home from vacation late on Friday (while we were gone, our son was sworn in to the DEP for the USMC!--another emotional event!).  On Monday, I heard from my mother-in-law that she was taking Grandma back to the doctor, the pain was intense, and if they didn't put her in the hospital, she would take her home to care for her because she didn't think she was taking her medication properly or eating right.  Thankfully, they put her in for observation (which, quite frankly, should have been done the prior week) and by evening we discovered that she had a ruptured appendix!  They rushed her to the big city for immediate surgery.

She looked good the next day, but then things took a turn and despite a few up days, never really returned to her former self.  She became depressed.  After two weeks in the hospital we moved her to a nursing home.  We were able to bring all the babies up to visit and that always lightened her mood.  She loved to just hold the littlest ones and watch the older girls.

She asked specifically for us the Saturday before everything changed dramatically.  My husband was in the field (it was harvest) and so my daughter and I got the girls all together and went up.  I could tell her mood was different.  She wasn't very chatty and didn't ask too many questions.  We stayed for as long as our little ones held out and then headed home.  I am so thankful we changed our plans and went up.  The following Tuesday morning (after a bad Monday), she suffered what we believe to be a stroke.  She opened her eyes once to make eye contact with my mother-in-law (her only living child) and then we had no more response from her.

The family came in and surrounded her for the day.  This was a woman who loved her family beyond words.  She was at her proudest when she was telling people about her great-great-grandchildren (7 of them!). It meant so much for us to be together around her, sharing stories, loving her like she had loved us all for so long.

She lived through another day.  As I left her on Wednesday afternoon a song by Wynonna was running through my mind and I left Grandma with these words, "I love you, Grandma, and I'll see you later, "If not here, then somewhere up above"." I kissed her on the forehead and left.  My sister-in-law was with her as she breathed her last later on that night.  There was peace.

She had a quiet faith, but we know she was secure in it.  We are so thankful for that!  She had worried about facing another winter and now she didn't have to.  She had seen 100 winters, more than many of us can even hope for.  Winters where they huddled together around a wood stove to keep warm, where there was frost on their ceiling and snow piled higher than their horses and wagons.  Winter often meant harshness and solitude.  Now, she is never alone and is in perfect peace.

She accepted me into her family, an acceptance she didn't have to give.  She could have been judgmental and accusing, but she was anything but.  And, not just with me, but with any of us who sinned, who made mistakes or had poor judgment.  She was never accusatory or harsh.  She loved unconditionally!  Regardless of how hopeless situations seemed, she kept a steady head and helped us all to press on.  She gave myself and our family a legacy of love.  I can only hope that we can go on and follow her lead, loving, laughing, living!