Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Where did YOU go?

Sigh. Sigh, sigh, sigh.

I feel deceived. When I met you, you were on fire for God. You used to dig into the Word. You used to pray with me and for me. And then, one day, I found out it was all a lie to impress me. That cut me deeper than anything else. Because my heart's desire from the time I was a little girl dreaming about my future, I knew I wanted to be a Pastor's Wife. Which is what I thought you aspired to be. I fell in love with you because of that fire.

Yet here we are now. I can't say anything to you, not even about the great I AM. I'm listening to you, yes. And inwardly, I'm crying from the heartbreak as I watch your hope die. As I watch you become angry at God for all the ways he's disappointed you. No church. No bible. No praying. Only Anger. Only Frustration. Only Nothingness. I am watching you speak such destruction over yourself, I worry. I wonder. And I wait on the very God you now want nothing to do with.

If I could make the choice for you to wholeheartedly follow Jesus Christ, I would. But I can't. And so I wait. I pray. I ask God to show me how to show you kairos love, love in action. God has shown me how the enemy's attacking you. So thankfully, a good friend pointed out that really, it's never you I'm fighting with. It's always the enemy.

I wish you could hear the words of Jesus Christ, what he's saying to you. That he hasn't abandoned you like you thought. How much he really loves you. I know you feel your life is so crazy, so upside down, that you're questioning your own decisions.

But on the flip side,you have a wife that is declaring and speaking the Word of God over you. I am praying God will do whatever it takes to reach you. The clock is ticking down, and the last thing I want to do is to spend eternity without you.

As much as that is my heart's desire, I know it's my Abba God's heart desire even more. And I pray through my example, you are won over to Him. I'm not leaving. I'm digging my heels in and standing my ground. I will fight for you and stand in the gap for you until the enemy loses his grip on your life. I'm not going to abandon you in this fight.

So I believe God for a suddenly move in your life. That you are completely set free and healed entirely from your past. That you are indeed a mighty man of God. That the blessings of God will overtake you. That the favor of God surrounds you as a shield. That God did call us here to Houston, and that His purposes for our lives will prevail, both individually and as a married couple. That you hear God's voice and are quick to obey it. That you are slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to become angry. That God's perfect love casts out fear. That we're seeking God's kingdom and his righteousness first, and all these things will be added to our lives.That the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. That God's joy is unspeakable for you and full of His glory. That you will run to him and not be afraid to cling to Him as he rejoices in your return.

I never thought in a bazillion years I'd have to stand alone, believing God for you, as my heart feels like it's breaking. I miss the way.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Light versus Dark

It's a tough marital season. No, that's not right. It's been a tough marriage, period. No goo-goo eyed, oh, I love you, you're so awesome honeymoon season, either. If I stop and be honest with myself, there are probably more times that I've wanted to run screaming for the hills because of the constant stress and heartache.

But my heart always beats out, "God, there HAS to be more to marriage than THIS."

I found myself in yet another situation yesterday where I was crying out to God, feeling like if things continue the way they are, my heart is literally going to break from the pain. We do have awesome days as husband and wife, and as time goes on, there's been more of those great days as opposed to the ones I spent bitterly hating my husband until forgiveness stepped in and changed that. God had to help me forgive because I didn't even have the strength to do it. It is true your emotions will lie to you big time because I had no idea that offense had led to bitterness taking root, turning into hatred, and then murder in my own heart. It was big, and it was ugly. Freedom from that ugly in Jesus Christ opened my heart to things I've never seen before. It caused me to do things I'd never done before out of a heart change and new motivation in Jesus Christ.

So when God speaks to me, it's not a booming voice. It's still, small, and almost a whisper.  He'll often drop a phrase into my spirit as I pray, and I'll go look up scriptures. Today, it was light and dark, and this particular scripture.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthian 6:14, NIV)

I've often heard that scripture quoted when it comes to marriage, warning a believer not to marry an unbeliever. Today, I was going to find out it was going to lead me on a new journey to something I really haven't considered before. I searched three words:  light and dark and marriage.

I found a Focus on the Family blog series written by a woman named Robin Weidner. She was talking about her husband's addiction to pornography and how it affected her. In a blog titled "Recovery:  A Journey Worth Taking Together," Robin says, 

"Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement." – 2 Corinthians 2:7, NLT

Whether a spouse is fighting an addiction, depression or even a deeply engrained character flaw, we sometimes find ourselves in one of two extremes. We either seek to control, cover-up or compensate (becoming over-embroiled in their battles), or we distance ourselves from their struggles, communicating by our words and actions, "This is your battle. You fix it!" 

The balance is found in understanding God's commitment to bring good to your life and to your marriage (Romans 8:28) through whatever difficulty you are facing. 

I finally realized that by refusing to help defend our marriage (and insisting that I'd wake up one morning and the fairy tale would be back and thriving), I was leaving my husband and brother in Christ more likely to be overcome by discouragement.

Ouch. Hello, word of God, sharper than a double-edged sword, dividing the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

I'm in this, "This is your battle.  You fix it!" mode right now. Praying from a distance. Being as distant as I can because being around a negative person is mentally and physically draining.  We've been so around this mountain about five bazillion times, and I finally jumped ship because of my own heartache. And I'm leaving my husband alone in his battle to break free from his past. I'm not defending my marriage.  I've said to my own husband and brother in Christ that I, the one person who he's counting on, want out of your battle and see you later when you're whole, having grand visions that it will be different.

I need A LOT of prayer.  I need it.  My flesh is screaming so loud right now.  I so don't even want to reengage at all.  I don't even know how to begin to walk this path.  But I know God will most assuredly help me apply what he's just told me.  I need those eyes to see, ears to hear, and that heart to know.  I have to face my enemy of myself, and it's sometimes that particular battle that's the most difficult one to face.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Generational prayers...

I love those nights when I dream dreams about my boys.  We don't get to hang out nearly enough for my liking, but either way, I know my Daddy loves me so much that he knows how I value my time with them that He'd give me fun dreams where I get to hang with them. Even in the moments where my heart aches from missing them, I know the day is coming where we'll be together for eternity.  At least that is my prayer.  My boys all know the truth of God's word, and that He is the way, the truth, and the life.  I'm sure every mom who knows Jesus Christ as their savior has had to pray their children will know Jesus Christ as their own savior and that their lives will be lived worthy of the calling that He has called them to purpose for the kingdom.  And I'm very sure grandparents who pray have even more of an effect.

You see, I have the most incredible grandmother in the world.  I don't get to see her as much as I'd like these days either, and it's hard to watch the effects of time bear weight on her health.  This woman was the one who made sure friends from church got to come over when I was little for slumber parties.  She'd let me completely wreck her hair playing beauty salon with her to the point she'd have to go the salon the next day to have it professionally fixed again.  She'd always encourage us to sing in church.  Never a day goes by that I don't remember how much fun and joy I've had at her house growing up.  I remember the more recent trials in my life, how she encouraged me by her example to live my life worthy of the calling God gave me.  I like to think I got my sense of humor from her, too.  I asked her one day how she shows respect to her husband.  She said, "Who says I respect him?" which made me laugh.  I know she loves Paul dearly and is one amazing wife to him. 

So grandma, I just have to tell you how blessed I am to be called your granddaughter.  I'm so thankful for your example.  I'm so thankful you let my daughters still play beauty shop with you when we come to visit.  I'm thankful for every holiday we have the honor of spending with you.  I'm thankful for the legacy of Christ that you left for me.  And more than ever, I look forward to spending eternity with you in your new, improved body.  I know God blessed me when he put me in your family line. 

I love you!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Missing the way...

So I was in a play at church as a teen (and some of you reading this may remember it), while Rolf and Debbie Kleinfeld were my youth pastors.  It was about a young girl named Alisha who had died and how all her friends and mom and dad dealt with her death.  The husband dealt with it by turning from God while the wife stayed faithful to God and prayed.  Eventually, the husband did return to the Father.

So I got the role of this wife, and I sang part of this song by Michael W. Smith.  So I pray you'll take a listen...

What I didn't know at the time was that it was prophetic of this time in my life.  And God has brought that song to my heart over this weekend for my very own Superman.  My husband is very much still a believer.  But his heart for God that I saw when I met him that caused me to fall very much head over heels for him, that fire that once lit up his life, it died somewhere along the way.  And I miss that fire and passion in him.

You are destined for greatness, my husband.  Don't forget that for one minute.  I still pray for you daily, that you can fathom how high, how wide, how deep, and how long is Christ's love for you.  He is calling you back to experience that passion, that fire, that love that you first held for Jesus Christ.  God told me he's got big plans for me, plans bigger than I ever dreamed.  He told me before we met that we would walk together in ministry.  So if God told me all that, I believe that God has plans bigger than you ever dreamed for your life also.  I believe His promises are YES and AMEN for your life as well as mine.

Even the scripture I quoted during that play holds my heart and hope for you.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

However my heart aches for you, I know Abba's heart aches even more.  He's missing you even more than I.  But I know that God still pursues you.  I know the time is coming that His consuming fire will burn again even more brightly than it did before.  And all those things that you've lost hope will ever happen in your life WILL happen because God will open those doors no man can shut.

You're so amazing, my Superman.  I can't imagine running this race with anyone else but you.

Friday, January 24, 2014

She'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she comes! Yee haw!

Ever remember singing that song in grade school?  I do.

Today, I have to really make a choice to be my husband's keeper.  My emotions would dictate otherwise.

Because even before we married, my husband has been going around this mountain.  Self-pity, it's really an ugly malady. Today, my heart is screaming to get off this ride because I'm weary of the mountain and the same views over and over again, especially when it involves a man that you adore and admire.  God has shown me on multiple occasions what a great man he really is on the inside.  But to watch my love be held in a prison of his own past... yep, I'd honestly rather jump off the horse-drawn cart off the mountain and head to the top without him.  I know what awaits us there.  And it's not that I want mountaintop experiences all the time... I just know that God has called all of us to live life, and have it to the full! 

So I'm personally struggling today in a great deal of frustration, wondering *when* he will allow that heart surgery to FINALLY happen.  There's so much more that awaits him!  I hate what the enemy is trying to destroy in this mighty man of God.  Greatness is in him.  I know it it's there. 

I stand grateful that I have an Abba today who loves me and shows me a lot of patience. I'm thankful for the 2:30 a.m. cries that really do refresh and give a new perspective.  I'm thankful for all things working together for my good.  Trying to remember that today, when it *seems* like things just aren't changing, as far as I can tell.  Thank goodness my Abba knows the bigger plan here.  Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.

So pray today.  Pray for my strength.  Pray that I can find the right words to encourage and lift up.  Pray that I don't become a tool to tear him down.  Pray that I'm unable to find a nice cast iron skillet to knock some sense into him with. ;)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Life as a Stepparent, It's not Easy, BUT...

So I came across this blog by one of my favorite authors of 29 Days to Great Sex, Sheila Way Gregorie.  And she posted about how a husband treats a stepchild.  Boy, did that strike a chord with me because of what I've personally been through over the last year.


Of course, I had to respond...

We have a his, mine, and ours situation. I won’t lie. It’s a struggle. So I guess I’ll share some wisdom I’ve learned along the way.

I came from divorced parents myself. And my mom, she’s been remarried 11 times. (That’s NOT a typo.) So that’s my background.

I came with boys who are now 15, 10, and 8. He came with two daughters that are now 12 and 10. We have our two, a girl who is 5 and a son who is 4.

We have my ex, who has been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder and it’s rough to deal with that. Big time. And his current wife who has her own issues. My bonus daughters have a mom who walked out of their lives completely. Hello rejection in their lives. And then we have our two together, and it’s been a fun ride with the two of them.

My three boys live with their dad. So we have my bonus daughters and my two bio kids all the time.
I will honestly tell you that it has taken me and a fervent amount of praying on my part to love my bonus daughters and treat them equally. I’ve spent hours in frustration because they both have educational issues and emotional issues going on. I have to fight every day to love them and to continue to show them God’s grace and mercy. Believe it or not, to this day I still struggle with wanting to hug them. (And I admit, that’s MY heart issue, not theirs.) But you know what? God specifically ordained that they would have a mom, and that mom would be me. I prayed for ten years for a daughter, and I got three almost all at once. I love working with kids, and God knew that even through many miscarriages and the death of my infant son born too soon to live, he would give me a quiver full of blessings and redeem my loss.

I see it as I get the privilege of raising two wonderful daughters who are so precious in the sight of God. And I laugh some days. I mean, God, you really entrusted me with two more kids to steward? Great sense of humor, there. :) I get to tell them that sex is something beautiful and created for marriage. It’s not something funny or to giggle about. It’s a great gift. That they need to protect their heart above all else and find their image in Jesus Christ first and not in a guy. I get to pray with them every night. I get to talk with them, laugh with them, and have girl’s days out with them. When we have the finances, I get to adopt them and they’re all mine. I get to be there the day they’re married and when they have children of their own. I have the privilege of being in their lives. I couldn’t say it was such a privilege five years ago when we first married. And I thought I could love with and work with any kids, because I really have a heart for kids.

My husband? It’s been a different story with him. I know he truly loves my boys and truly has a heart for them. He even knows what we’re fighting with their dad. My husband is still in the process of learning how to be the Priest of our home and how to be a great husband and dad and what true leadership is. My husband spent a lifetime being criticized and beat up by his own family, both mentally and physically. He’s carried that with him, and his anger went beyond yelling one day, and one of my boys got spanked and it left a nice belt-shaped bruise. That is abuse. He wouldn’t even admit that for a while. As you can imagine, that didn’t set at all well with my ex. But yes, abuse is abuse, even in a verbal or mental form. It has its effects! It even affected me on some deep levels.

Enter GOD. I had to show a lot of tough love and keep my own husband away from our family so God could step in and he could see his need for help. God had to work on me and my own heart in the realm of forgiving him. I didn’t want to. In fact, by the time the abuse happened, I had allowed the seeds of bitterness to turn into hate, then rage, then murder in my own heart. I wouldn’t have cared at that point if my husband died. In fact, I was pretty sure our life would be much easier if he did die.

Last year, we went through a lot of counseling. But God gave me the courage to forgive him and show him grace and mercy in spite of himself. I’m not a perfect wife, either. And God has now taken our marriage over a year later to a higher place than it ever has been. My husband is constantly taking the steps to make things right not only with my three boys, but with me and our children. He’s set himself up to be counseled by Godly men who are holding him accountable. And man, do I love, honor, and respect my Superman. He’s one heck of a great guy. But had I not stood to fight in prayer and made my own changes, none of this could have happened either. It’s been a painful but incredible journey. I am so proud of him for telling my oldest son when he was bad-mouthing his biological dad that his dad is still his dad, and he still needs to show him respect. (Yeah, I did a double-take because it really caught me by surprise!)

So I share all of that to background what I’m going to say now
1. You guys are a team. I hope all of your children have seen that. Kids are really great, especially in blended families, to set up one parent against the other, whether it’s bio parents or stepparents. You guys have to be on the same page no matter what, and you really have to back each other up.

2. I handle discipline with my bio children and he handles discipline with his bio children. And we back each other up. Again, kids are sneaky like that. Like if I say no, they’ll ask their dad and vice versa.

3. An environment has to be created in your home that attracts ALL of your children to the center. It’s happening in ours. My boys actually love being here again.

4. We have the personality clash dynamic in our home. Two of our children clash with my husband and the same two clash with me. But we are learning to look at those personality differences as gifts that God gave them, and so we’re determined to ask for God’s wisdom in how to bring out the spirit nature of those gifts, and not the fleshly nature of those gifts, which irritate us both to no end.

5. The tension is going to exist until you talk about it. Involve a third party if necessary. Believe it or not, guys have it in them to be great parents, but we gotta give them credit where it’s due. As a wife, you are going to be a loud voice to him. He needs your encouragement here. And like Ron said, ask your husband in a non-accusatory way what bugs him. For my husband, it’s respect of his boundaries. I make sure *I* know what the boundaries are for him, and I make sure that is relayed to my kids. And I enforce them with the kids. I’m sure your hubby is more than willing to express his feelings on the matter if he can do it without a verbal onslaught or fear of rejection from you. (Yeah, I am guilty of that sometimes.)

6. God really can do all things, especially within a blended family. God is all about adoption, and that dynamic works within a blended family as well. We’re not a blended family. We’re an adopted family.

7. There has to be a common ground your hubby and your son can find to bond on. Help them figure out what that is…

8. Lots of healing has to happen within their own heart. You as a woman can take to fervently praying, step back, and watch what an amazing God we serve can do!

Friday, May 3, 2013

My first love...

God has a way of confirming what He's told you over and over again until you begin to listen, hear, see, and understand.

Not so long ago, one of my dearest friends in the entire world gave me a book called "Jesus Calling." It's short, quick devotionals. Today's really hit home for me, and ties into my earlier blog post this week.

YOU CANNOT SERVE TWO MASTERS. If I am truly your Master, you will desire to please Me above all others. If pleasing people is your goal, you will be enslaved to them. People can be harsh taskmasters when you give them this power over you.

If I am the Master of your life, I will also be your First Love. Your serving Me is rooted and grounded in My vast, unconditional Love for you. The lower you bow down before Me, the higher I lift you up into intimate relationship with Me. The Joy of living in My Presence outshines all other pleasures. I want you to reflect My joyous Light by living in incresing intimacy with me.

(Taken from Jesus Calling, Page 130)

I'm sitting here this morning, kind of frustrated because the job server for my main contract is down. I have to complete at least 200 pages of transcription every two weeks. I'm way behind because life has thrown us some curveballs this week. But then this stark reminder. My first love. The lover of my soul, who longs to share intimacy with ME, his beloved daughter. What love this is that He has for me, and I must BE in that light. Wow.