Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Putting on Me Some Love

Hey Y'all,
This is a quick one today but it is something I have on my mind after reading in my quiet time this morning.

Colossians 3: 12-17 In these verses Paul is admonishing the believers to "put on" the new man and not walk in the ways of the old man.

He uses the words "put on" several times as in "put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering...But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection."

Put on love? Not feel love? Not dwell in love? Put on love?

Like something that goes on the outside? He goes on to tell us to "let peace rule IN your heart...let the word of God dwell IN you richly." These things are to be in us, while love and kindness, and mercy is for us to put on? Why?

As I have meditated on this today, I think it is because these are actions for outside the body. Things we will do that affect others. While peace and and the Word of God affects us ourselves. So then, these things must play out in our inner being.

It does not mean fake it or wear it like a mask that you can take off. It means wear these things for others to see, hear, touch and even smell on you. Examples: see kindness, feel tender mercies and smell the fragrance of absolute love...His love!

What do you think?

Tonight as I head to church, I think I'm going be putting on a few extra layers so others can take em' off of me and enjoy!

Love Ya!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Few Fun "What is?" "What Are's?" and "What Do's?"

Hey Y'all,

I found this little game over at Zoe Elmore's blog and thought I'd have a little fun with it today. Wanna play? Just answer these statements by looking at your world at this exact moment.

Outside my a very quiet, sun filled cul-de-sac at the moment. There is a couple flower pots with wild flowers trying to stand tall against the blazing sun.

From the Kitchen...there is a table that has a lot of stuff on it that doesn't belong. Papers and tutoring stuff, that Mike and I just had our 9,999,999th discussion on where is the best place to keep stuff like that besides the kitchen table. It remains undecided.

I am wearing....Black pants, a royal blue tank, and a black and white checked blouse because I had to go to school today and do some testing. Needed to look professional.

I am reading..."The Shape of Mercy" by Susan Meissner. It is a novel about a young Christian woman who is translating a diary from the Salem witch trials. It is very interesting and Meissner is a good writer that keeps you guessing.

I am hoping....That Mike will hear when his MEPS physical for the Army will be so we can hurry up and get into the Army.

I am conference material for this weekend. It is a Special Ed conference in NC. I am talking about Spiritual gifts and our functions in the Body of Christ.

I am praying...For my friend Bonnie's family. The cancer is going to take him away from us but right into the arms of Jesus. His family needs our prayers as they get ready for him to leave. I am also praying for my dad as he has surgery on his jaw tomorrow...a bad tooth has affected his jaw bone and they need to go in and fix it. AGHHHH! Hurts just thinking about it!

One of my favorite to hear Zoie sing and worship. She auditioned for a Christian Dinner Theater called NarroWay in Charlotte yesterday. If she made it we will have a busy but wonderful Christmas.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Family time tonight, My dad having some minor surgery on his jaw tomorrow, Zoie singing at a retiree's luncheon tomorrow, more testing at school, and leaving Friday morning for my conference this weekend.....oh and finishing preps for She Speaks next weekend!

I hope you will answer these questions either here or on your own post and let me know. If not...oh well I had fun sharing mine!

I love you my friends!

Friday, July 17, 2009

My New Best Friend

Hey Y'all,

First, let me say thank you for reading and listening to my heart as I shared the tragedy and healing of my "Almost Story."

This week I have been doing some testing at my school. The church which sponsors our school has been having Vacation Bible School. I asked Zoie if she would like to go. She said, "No!"

She is at that age, where sometimes stuff like that...."is for little kids and just not cool."

Thursday was no option. I had no one to leave her with while I was testing, so reluctantly she agreed to go. I jokingly told her that if she didn't have a good time I would eat a chicken liver...I HATE LIVER!

I went to her room to pick her up and Mrs. Mandy, one of the teacher's, told me that Zoie was in the chapel. "Having some God time." I followed her to the chapel and we waited outside. There were several kids and teachers praying in the chapel. Zoie came out, wiping tears from her eyes, and said, "God really touched my heart today."

Later after lunch, she explained, "Mom, I know I gave my heart to Jesus and was saved when I was four. But today, I understood more of what He did for "me" on the cross. Jesus has been my Savior and my He is my Best Friend! I want to stake it down today!

So we gathered at our family alter (my yellow couch), and knelt together as she poured out her heart to Jesus. Telling Him about her love for Him and what His sacrifice now meant to her.

She staked it down! Forever she can point to that day, kneeling at that yellow couch and again say, "That is the day I went from Jesus being my Lord and now being my BEST FRIEND!"

Needless to say I did not have to eat a chicken liver!

Is He your Savior? Is He your Lord? Is He your Best Friend? Don't you just love those moments when we are renewed afresh with the love God has for us in Christ Jesus. Can you shout with us today that He is once again Your New Best Friend?!

Love you!

Monday, July 13, 2009

King of The Living Truth VS. King of The Almost

Hey Y'all!

I am back with the final chapter of the "Almost Story."

I lay there on his floor, scared and crying. I was too paralyzed to move and yet too scared not too. I didn't know what to do. Couldn't even fathom what had just happened. The person I trusted the most had just become my enemy.

I could hear him in the other room. He was screaming....begging God not to strike him dead. His cries disgusted me. On one hand, I wished God would strike him dead and yet on the other I already knew that God loved him.

I prayed and cried. Then I got up, surprised that I could stand. I walked into the room where he was still screaming. I tapped him on the back and said, "God is not going to strike you dead! You hurt me. I forgive you, but you need help! You are going to call a counselor right now and set up an appointment or you are going to jail!" He knew I meant it. He called the counselor. He went...but I do not know if he ever confessed the truth or not.

We stayed together for two more months and stayed best friends for two more years. This is where the enemy sent his worst lie yet. Because I did not do what I had always believed I would do in a case like this, I began to believe myself to be weak and worthless. Not deserving any better.

You see I had been raised in a strong family. Where both the men and women took care of their own. The legends in our family had been of women who took no crap and were just as tough or tougher than the men. Like my Great-Aunt Hallie Mae, who married at 16 years old. They had to live with her in-laws starting off. Her father-in-law was bad to drink and then beat up on his family. He came home one night drunk and started beating on Aunt Hallie's husband. She picked up a butcher knife in one hand and then slammed her father-in-law against a wall with the other. With the butcher knife at his throat, she warned him that if he ever came home drunk around her again, she would kill him. He never came home drunk fact gave up drinking all together and got his life right with the Lord. Not exactly what we should do today...but you get the picture.

Yet, I had not only not fought back enough, I had forgiven and stayed with this man. I was ashamed of my own actions. I did not want my family to know that I was that weak. This was a lie! The biggest lie in my "Almost." It was not weakness that had me stand and go to this man that day. It was not weakness that said the words, "I forgive you." It wasn't weakness that forgave him again 12 years later when he asked for it anew. It isn't weakness that has finished the forgiving and healing now. We forgive what we know to forgive and as God reveals more we forgive those also. That is strength! God's strength! My family confirmed this after I told them a few weeks ago. They think I'm strong! I know its God!

Our enemy loves the "Almost" events in our lives. Here is where he can lie the most and with the biggest whoppers! When the worst happens. We deal with it much better than when the "Almosts" happens. Maybe because it already is the worst, not something that could have or should have already did happen! So the enemy lies to us in our "Almost" by distorting the facts and twisting the truth. By leading us to feel shame instead of peace and weakness instead of strength. Do you know why he loves the "Almost?" Because he is the King of the "Almosts!" The angel who was "almost" like God. He distorted the truth in the "almost" then and he distorts it our "almost" now. The Truth is that he will never be an "almost" at anything. He is nothing.

God healed me of my "Almost" and continues to strengthen me in His Truth.
Ask God if you have been lied to about an "Almost" in your life. Ask him to help you forgive. Ask Him where He was and what was He saying to you? Then trust His perspective, His truth. Because God is truth and with Him there is never an "Almost" about anything!

Thanks so much for allowing me to share this with you. I know it was heavier and more serious in nature than you are used to reading here. I thank you for reading, praying and encouraging me. You are all a blessing. I love you.


Friday, July 10, 2009

The Truth In The Almost

Hey Y'all,

It's time for as Paul Harvey used to say: The rest of the story.

If you have not read yesterday's post please take a minute to do so.

It wasn't what happened to me that hurt me so much. The event itself was terrible but could have been so much worse. There are a lot more hurting women out there who HAVE experienced worse. For me, it wasn't in the was in the "almost."

To say I was "almost rapped" is an understatement. I can not in this venue describe the details of what happened. But I can describe the worst....The emotions and messages this "almost" event left me carrying and hiding for over 16 years.

After revealing this event to the Mike and the counselor, I began to feel all that had been hidden under a false forgiveness. I had forgiven Preacher Boy for the event but not the emotions and messages. I also had judged myself for my reaction to the event.

I will walk through the emotions and messages with you in this post and deal with my own judgments in the next.

After discussing these new and overwhelming emotions with the counselor, he suggested that we go through a prayer of healing. It is one that is used in Grace Life International counseling and he himself had been through it. Hey, with the out-of-control feelings and fear I was racked in experiencing, I was willing to try anything.

First we prayed and asked God to bring to mind any of the details that HE wanted to deal with and heal. I closed my eyes and sought God and immediately I recalled the event vividly. The counselor asked me to speak what was happening and then give him feeling words. What did I feel.

Here are the words from the transcript:

Scared Angry Fear Shock Worthless Hurt Ugly Numb Disgust Vulnerable Defeated Paralyzed

I was then to rate them on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst.

Scared/10 Angry/10 Fear/10 Shock/9 Worthless/10 Hurt/10 Ugly/10 Numb/10 Disgust/10 Vulnerable/9 Defeated/10 Paralyzed/10

Next he asked me what messages was I hearing about myself.

"I have to hit him." ( I was trying to fight him off of me, but could not because he had me pinned.)
"To him I am nothing" ( This was my best friend! The person I trusted the most for the past 5 years!)
"I am worthless and ugly" ( No one would do this to someone they loved and cherished!)
"I can't stop this" (I am helpless)

We stopped and took a breath. He explained that we would go back to the event one more time. This time asking God to show us where HE was at...what HE was doing and what HE was saying to me at the time. God was there...He had promised to never leave me or forsake me. I just could not see or hear Him because of the overwhelming drowning effect of my emotions in the midst of this event.

I closed my eyes and asked God to reveal to me where HE was and what He had been saying to me at the time.

Friends, I was overwhelmed! God had been there! HE was the reason this was an "almost!" I cannot share in this venue (it is too open) what I saw God do...but let's just say HE is mighty to save! And after seeing it, I have no doubt my FATHER loves me! I will share with you what He said to me after it was over and I lay in a fetal position crying on the floor.

"I am here. I've got you. You ARE safe."
"You are not worthless. You ARE MINE! You are my beautiful Princess!"

Dear friends these words are like balm to my hurt soul. I recognized them as soon as I heard them. I realized that even back then my spirit had...heard them. Here's why: When Zoie was a baby and would cry out of fear or hurt...These were the same words I would say to her. The first time I said them I wondered, "Where did these words come from? My parents didn't say them to me? Why do they bring me as much comfort as they do her?" Now I know. They were the words my FATHER had spoken to me at the scariest and most hurtful time of my life!

The last thing the counselor asked me to do was to once again look at and rate the feelings I had experienced.

To my astonishment....I could not feel them...they were a zero!

Look I know that there are those of you reading this who have been through as bad or worse. I know you may never believe that God was there or that He even cared. I can tell you that if I had compared myself to the man that did God's eyes...using my own criteria....He would have scored far higher than me as far as future worth. But it wasn't my truth that mattered. It's not your either. It's God's truth that matters!

HE is there! HE was there! No matter what you've been through or will go through. I could ask all the "Why's?" there is in the world. "Why did You let it happen?" "Why did You wait 16 years to heal me?" But the truth is now that I'm doesn't matter. What matters is that I am healed. I am free from the fear and anger that has "eaten me up!" for years! I am healed to share it with you now and to others as He opens the door.

HE is here! HE has got me! I am SAFE! I am HIS beautiful Princess!

So are you!

Next post I will share more about my judgements I made against myself in the aftermath of my "almost." Please come sit with me once more as I share the most wicked and powerful lie the enemy sent in my "almost."

Love you!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What Lies In The Almost!

Hey Y'all,

I want you to pray for me. In fact I need to pray about this right now:

Dear Father,
Lord I am a little scared about sharing this story. I'm excited about what You are going to do and I am amazed at what You have already done in and through this story. Please prepare hearts to read it. Prepare my mind and my fingers to tell it, and most of all, let it only be as if You were the one sitting down to tell it. In other words, I only want it to be what You want to share and what You want to be understood. May every reader understand that all glory goes to You and may they know You more by the telling of it. I know I sure do!
Thank You
Your Princess

To my sister Amy: I'm sorry Hon for not being able to tell you in person first. I feel God saying it is time. So my dear sister and friends here is what I wanted to tell you.

I sat in the counselor's office shaking and fidgeting. I wasn't sure why I was so nervous. I was to continue forgiving people on my forgiveness list and I had done the hard ones last week. My heart was pounding and my foot was bouncing on the floor. We said a prayer to begin and I started through my list. On our list we had been instructed to write out the person's name in one column, the offense in the next column and how it made me feel in the last column. I had done that to all the names but one. It was the one I was coming to today. I rationalized that I had forgiven him many years ago, so I didn't really need to go into detail. Yet, I knew that the Spirit was compelling me to put down his name...and I had.

When his name came up, it was like a switch went on in side of me and I was transported back to that horrible day. I may not have been able to write it down but sitting there in that office, I could not stop the words or emotions that suddenly cascaded out of my mouth and heart.

Today as I sit here and write this, the details are not what is is the feelings and the lies that I believed that are what changed me. The healing is also what God wants you to know.

We sat on his couch, laughing and talking about the all-night prayer retreat that had just ended. It had went wonderful and we had seen some lives change and people encouraged. God had moved and we had basked in His presence. I was tired and decided to lay in the floor. Preacher Boy (because I don't want to use his name) got down beside me and started massaging my shoulders. This was my best friend. I loved him.

OK, I have written this then deleted it 6 times. Help me Lord....

Bottom line...I was sexually assaulted by someone I was best friend. I was not raped...but what did happen was against my will and was assault. I believe looking back that had it not been for God's grace I would have been raped that day.

I shared this event it detail to my counselor and Mike. I shared it with all the emotion of when it happened. Both Mike and my counselor were in shock. I had shared this event with Mike once before we were married, but not like what came out that day...not the details or the emotions.

Inside of me I knew something had just broke open and I was never going to be the that time I really didn't have a clue as to just how different it was going to be.

We spent the rest of the time talking about this event, then the counselor led me through the prayer of forgiveness one more time and it was done. The chains had been cut, now all that was left was the healing.

The healing I will share in detail....tomorrow.

My prayer is that you will read and see how much the enemy will lie to us and how God lifts us up to freedom through HIS TRUTH.

It was not what happened that harmed was in the almost that I was crushed damaged and abused by my spiritual enemy.

Come back tomorrow and see what GOD DID FOR ME! WHAT HE IS AND WANTS TO DO FOR YOU!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Free Like a Rosie!

Hey Y'all!

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!

I have been thinking a lot about freedom lately. Not just because of the holiday, but more so because I have recently been set free from the bondage of un-forgiveness.

As we were driving to my parents house, I was brought to a renewed awareness of just how much freedom will aggrandize (increase to the point of praise) our pastures.

For the past year or more we have passed a horse on the way to my parents house. She had a small grass less pasture...and I do mean grass less. It was dirt, stubble and fire ant hills at its best and mud at its worst. This pasture was not very big...only about a house lot size at the most. We watched in horror as the horse's health declined in that little pasture. Soon she looked like only skin and bone. Zoie said she looked more like a camel than a horse. Several times my parents reported that they had seen animal services checking on the horse. But nothing really changed for the better. There would be a load of hay brought in but it was just stuck out in the pasture. Because it was not would soon grow mold and mildew. They had an old bathtub out there for water. That is until this hungry horse, started eating the fiberglass sides off in chunks. My family often talked about this poor horse and more than once my dad had talked to the family that owned her.

My sister's husband is a large animal vet who specializes in horses. One day about a month ago my sister was visiting my mom and had to drive past this horse. She was crying when she came into the house. She told my mom to ask the people if she could buy the horse from them. My dad talked to the family and they would not sell it...but gave it to her instead!

That was about a month ago. My family gathered at my sister's house on a Sunday a little over a week ago. As we drove down her long driveway with horse pastures on each side, we tried to pick out "Rosie." After all the hugs and greetings when we got there, I asked Amy about the horse. She grinned as I followed her out onto her porch. She walked to the end and whistled a loud Ellie Mae Clampet type whistle. Up from below a ridge came two horses. Both were beautiful! Both excited to hear the whistle, because they knew that something wonderful was in store from them from the whistler. Zoie and Amy walked down to the pasture fence and fed them carrot treats. Rosie's coat was shiny, she had filled out considerably and she was happy. She nuzzled Amy with love and gratitude as if she knew that this was the master who had been the one to save her and set her free. I believe she does truly know!

Driving past that once small pasture where Rosie had been bound to die of starvation, where she did not have room to run, was alone and unloved, where she had eaten dirt and a bathtub to survive, I realized that I too had been Rosie. Trapped in a too small pasture bound by un-forgiveness, starving my self of the trust and fellowship I often craved. Settling for dirt instead of the true food of freedom. Allowing the enemy to sting me like fire ants as I sought and scrounged for anything to sustain me. I too needed a rescuer a new master.

Thank you Jesus for rescuing me. Thank you for sending me to broader pasture, enough food and being a master who loves, cares and even gives me treats!

This week I will share the own "Rosie" story. Only be preparred it is anything but rosey!

I am free like a horse named Rosie!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hammers, Deep Fog, And A Loving God

Hey Y'all!

Keep praying for us. We are still healing, learning to share the stories, and wrestling with this world of flesh. We need your prayers concerning the Army. One of the next steps is for Mike to interview with a Commanding Chaplain ( I'm not sure of the rank, you'll have to forgive me I am still trying to learn the jargon.) Mike got an e-mail yesterday telling us that the Chaplain he was going to interview with is having surgery and will be out for 6 weeks. So now we will have to find another chaplain. Pray that we will listen, discern and trust God's steps here. I keep reminding myself...God's timing...God's timing.

After worrying about this interview this morning, God reminded me what happened last Thursday. I'd like to share it with you.

We sat together laughing over our country ham biscuits and a coke at McDonalds. She did not know the turmoil going on inside of me. My heart was unsettled. I had cried out to God all night asking why....why haven't we heard? Why does it feel as if you don't want us to serve you? I know you do...but right now it feels like you are saying no and rejecting us....just like others have. I know you love us....I know you have guided us....I will choose to trust you....but right now it is hard, because I can't see and I don't understand how I can feel you calling us to do something, but make the way seem impossible.

She didn't know. So we laughed about little things. Then she looks at me and asked, "Did I tell you about my trip to Asheville?" "No. Did you have a good time?"

She began telling me the story. They had went to Asheville on a weekend getaway. She plays the hammer dulcimer. A shop there had invited them to come for a concert and workshop from a champion dulcimer player. As she started telling me about the workshop, my mind drifted back to my worries. I forced myself back to listening...."The instructor told us that we needed to let go of our grasp of the hammers, in order to have control of them. Isn't that just like life?" My heart and spirit finally jumped together as one. That's what God is trying to get me to do...let go of the hard grasp of the plan and let Him control the music.

OK, God....I trust you even if you take us to a different song than the one we believe you are guiding us to play...even if it means starting over again...even if it means....well, whatever it means....I'm relaxing the grip and letting you have control of the hammers in my life. You play Your song.

She then went on to tell me that both her and her husband had felt impressed that they should hike to the top of the mountain, where they were staying, and worship God the next morning. They planned to sing together, play her dulcimer and have their own worship service at the top of the mountain.
As she awoke the next morning she was heart broken to find the whole area engulfed in a deep thick fog. She was stricken...."But God! I thought you asked us to come to the top of the mountain? We wont be able to see in the fog and the moisture will damage the dulcimer." After contemplating about whither they needed to wait until later or not go at all, they decided to follow the first directions...even though it made no sense. So they gathered their stuff and hiked up the mountain. What did they find when they got to the top? They were above the fog! Everything was beautiful and dry! They worshipped fully and completely the God who sees above the fog!

Again I heard the Spirit rejoicing with my heart...."I see what you do not. I see through the fog. Do you trust me?" "Yes, Lord completely!" I teared up and thanked my friend for her story. As I shared with her my worries and how God used her stories to speak to my heart, we both worshipped and rejoiced at God and His faithfulness.

I got home and began to go about my day. I sent Zoie out to the mailbox and there in a big envelope was the endorsement we had been longing for and desiring. The confirmation from our denomination that they believe we would make a good chaplain and wife team.

God saw above our fog and can see above this interview.

What has fogged you in? Release your grasp on the hammers, follow even through the fog to the top, where you can worship and play beautiful music with your life for the Lord who sees and makes it all clear!

Love you all!