Friday, May 31, 2013

More than you could ever Imagine.

I am joining Lisa-Jo Baker and others for Five Minute Friday. Lisa-Jo provides us with a word prompt and we are to write for five minutes with "no extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation."

Today's word: Imagine


There was a time when imagining a different life for my family seemed pointless. All I could imagine was continued heartache. Our life was dark and loveless. I mean we loved each other but we didn't do a very good job at loving each other.

When I'd dare to imagine, a life without my husband looked like a better life. The image led me to leaving my husband.

Then came the time while going through extensive outpatient therapy for an eating disorder when the therapist asked me to writeto imaginewhat my future could look like. I was surprised to find myself imagining my husband and I back together and being blessed by the addition of a little girl to our family of four.

I was certain of the image I had of my husband and I together again. A life without my eating disorder I could not imagine so having another child never came to be.

Soon, imagining it could be more than it had ever been just left me in tears. We would never have all that my heart could imagine.

The problem was I never imagined God finding a place in our hearts. Even if I had, I could have never imagined how God can transform. I don't think God ever intended for me to imagine what it could be. He wanted me to believe. He wanted believe in Him.

Do we spend our days imagining or do we believe? Maybe we first imagine and then believe. But He will do so much more then you could ever imagine.

He took our family of four and redeemed. He filled our hearts with love.

Believe...and then leave your future in the hands of the One who already knows what it holds.

"You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed."
~ Psalm 139:16


If you would like to read more on how God redeemed our family, below are two posts I wrote:
Redemption for a Family - Part 1

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Love for the Red, White and Blue

My husband has always said we will not travel oversees until we've seen all of America. I usually respond with a frown on my face and then secretly hope one day he will change his mind. My heart's desire is to see the world.

He's right though. There are many other countries I have my heart set on visiting, but there are so many places right here in America that we've yet to explore. And why not first explore this country of ours? My heart sours when I spend time in the mountains. The prairies all green and full of life open my eyes to the beauty and vastness of our country. Peace fills every part of me when I sit along the ocean and listen to the waves crash against the shoreline.

God Bless America, land that I love.

I've learned much from this husband of mine. His love for America has become contagious. A love so deep he's willing to stand up and protect herprotect us. Many times I find it hard to wrap my mind around that. My husband is part of the one percent of Americans willing to sacrifice their life for our countrymind boggling indeed.

The American Flag towers over our house. I recently noticed for the first time what a delight it is to drive down our street as I make my way home to see our flag flying. A part of me wanted to pull over, get out of my car and simply stop and sing...God Bless America. It took my breath away.

We can all learn from this one percent. Have you ever been on a military base and witnessed how the entire base stands still when "Reveille" or "Retreat" are played? As either is played you stop and render honors to the American Flag. Seriously's an amazing site to see. I imagine some get tired of the disruption, and maybe I would too, but I'd like to believe I would not. I'd like to believe that every time it reminded me of how greatly we are blessed.

Yes, this man of mine has taught me a few things about loving our country. It's funny how becoming a military family changed us. Every part of me wanted to fight it. I'm glad I lost the fight.

Not only have I discovered a new love for this country, I fell in love with the One who created it.

"He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together." ~ Colossians 1:17

"He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession." ~ James 1:18

"No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 8:39

I feel blessed not only to be an American, but more importantly to be a child of God. And do you know what God said about His creation?  "Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!" ~ Genesis 1:31

Thank you, God. My love for America and for You runs deep.

I also wrote a post as I reflected on Memorial Day. I would love for you to read it here.

Sharing with the lovely Kristen Strong.
And also with Melanie for her Friday Favorites Link-up.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial Day Reflection {Graffiti Summer}

World War II Memorial

On Memorial Day, my status update on Facebook shared words from a post written by Sara Horn, "As a nation, it is our duty to remember them." Over and over again this past week my mind has been on how we need to remember.

I stood before my church on Sunday morning and struggled with sharing my heart. My shaking hand held a piece of paper that contained many words. Words like, We will not forget. We will never forget. Living Hope Church remembers. The light shone brightly as I tried to read from that piece of paper. The faces of those who sat in the congregation were blurred. My eyes squinted to get a glimpse of the ones standing. To me it was important to remember the faces of those who were remembering a loved one lost, and to also remember the faces of our veterans.

There was a chill in the air on Memorial Day and clouds covered the sky. I was grateful for the quietness of the day. It almost seemed appropriate that our day was spent without a barbecue to kick off the summer, but simply spent remembering as we went about our individual routines. I know for both my husband and I, remembering was on our heart.

Before we became a military family, regretfully I admit Memorial Day was just a day off of work and a time to enjoy being with family and friends. Please forgive me.

I was purposeful in ensuring we took time to remember this year so our morning began with attending a local Memorial Day ceremony. It was a challenge to hear the speakers, but there was no doubt what their message was—today we remember.

It felt good to be among many others who were there to remember. The room was filled with veterans and for many remembering brings great pain. Many know all too well the price that was paid. The faces of friends lost are carried with them. The sister who shared on behalf of her family of a son and brother lost a happy Memorial Day I'm sure it was not. Memorial Day is a solemn day so why do we say Happy Memorial Day?

There is one face I carried home with me. It's the face of a veteran who walked with a smile on his face, a flag in his hand and a heart for his fellow soldiers that was clearly seen. I'm guessing this man was a World War II veteran. His smile...I clearly remember his smile. My husband and I passed on by him and with our own brief smile and said, "Good afternoon, Sir."

Alene Snodgrass shares a prayer in Part One of her Graffiti: Study and Do guide. "Dear Heavenly Father, I don't know where you are leading me. I know I'm ready to experience you in a whole new way. Open my ears to hear your call. Give my heart a vision to how I can help others. Amen."

The face of this man I'm unable to shake from my mind. He appeared to not have a care in the world as he walked down the sidewalk. If I would have stopped to talk with him maybe I would have discovered his cares were great and his needs were many. What I do know is God was surely tugging at my heart. There are no chance encounters. God knew I would pass this man. Could it be God used this man to minister to me?

Just maybe God was tugging at my heart as I walked past this man to say, "Serving others isn't handed to you in a box tied up with a pretty bow. It will be uncomfortable. It will require you stepping over your fears. But I will be with you as you take those steps."

I had a dream of turning around and running across the street back to this man and allowing him to wrap his arm around mine as we walked together. I dreamed of him sharing his story with me...a story filled with sorrow and also with love. I imagined him spending Memorial Day with us and my heart being filled by the time we returned him home.

When I woke there wasn't sadness for what did not take place for I know God is at work in me. He's opening my eyes to a world that exists on the other side of the street. Alene asks in her book Graffiti, "Do you wonder if your story will reflect the love you dared to give?"  I don't want to wonder. God, please make me brave.

A day will come, hopefully very soon, when I will share with you how I stepped over my fears and walked across the street.

Until then, will you join me in this Graffiti Summer challenge so we can encourage each other in stepping over our fears? The challenge begins on June 3rd. Download Alene's book, Graffiti, here in Kindle. Then download your free Graffiti: Study and Do guide. You can also ask to join the Graffiti Facebook page.

Sharing with Alene for her Graffiti Summer challenge.And also with Jennifer Dukes LeeJen FergusonJen Avellaneda, and Tracy.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend ~ Remember Our Fallen

"Remember the fallen
who gave up their tomorrows
with family and loved ones,
so that we can enjoy our todays."
Wreaths Across America

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

His Amazing Grace {Graffiti Summer}

I'm not sure how to begin this particular post other than to tell you I said yes to something I never dreamed I would be saying yes to. But oh how every fiber of my being wanted to say yes.

I will be joining Alene Snodgrass and a group of other writers in sharing our Graffiti Summer journey. We will be challenging ourselves to be world changers, and hoping to inspire others to do the same. Alene asks, "Together can we really change a world? Can we overcome our fear? Will we become more aware of the needs around us? Will we lay our doubts aside and serve another."

Alene, I'm joining you with a resounding, YES!

I won't lie friendsI'm scared, really scared. As I write, tears well up and are ready to fall. I felt compelled many times to send Alene an email telling her how wrong I must have been to think I heard God tell me to say yes. But I could not bring myself to send that email.

Laying my heart out and risking others potentially seeing me unable to overcome my fear...I'm ready to take the risk. I'm ready step over my fear. I'm ready to take a step out of my comfortable world.

In her book, Graffiti: scribbles from different sides of the Street, Alene writes, "Your journey is all about the steps you take in obedience, baby steps at first." Saying yes was a step in obedience because honestly I know I heard God correctly. Saying yes is another baby step in the many I've been taking since reading Alene's book. God has surely been stirring something within my heart.

The stirring began when God lead me to read Alene's book, and several other books, on allowing ourselves to be changed by serving others. And baby steps they have been. There have been steps backwards and steps forwards. There is both joy and fear over my step forward to go on my first mission trip this summer.

With each step God was calling me to see a really see. I find myself singing the words from the hymn Amazing Grace...

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

It hurts to see. A part of me wishes I could go on not seeing. Seeing the homeless veteran who sits on the corner of a busy intersection as I drive home from work breaks my heart. What breaks my heart even more is how I've yet to do more than see him. If seeing is hard, how hard will it be to move beyond simply seeing him and show him compassion? What would I say? How would I help this man?

But I keep singing those words, I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.

God is calling me to see the lost. He says, "Take My hand; I will lead you across the street. Walk with me. Together we will bring the sounds of My amazing grace."

I've yet to see this man again these past few months and I pray that someone else saw him and took those brave steps across the street. Maybe I wasn't to be the one, or maybe God is saying, "Keep walking with me. There are many more for you to see." And here is my plea, we need to see. We were saved because of His amazing grace. We were lost but now are found. We are no longer blind, but see. So see. Then take a hold of His hand and let Him lead you to bringing His lost home.

Take a step in obedience. Take a step over your fears and bring His amazing grace to don't need to go to another country...walk across the street and you will see a need. It's scary, but where you are weak, He is strong. There is a hurting world that needs us. Together we can change the world.

The Graffiti Summer challenge will begin on June 3rd. The challenge is for us to step over our fears and serve others. Will you join us?

Download Alene's book, Graffiti, here in Kindle or here in PDF format. Then download your free Graffiti Study and Do guide. You can also ask to join the Graffiti Facebook page.

And be sure to spend some time with Alene here. She has an amazing heart and will encourage you as you take those first steps. She has been my inspiration.

If you're ready to join in, link up your post below and share your thoughts about Graffiti Summer. Don't have a blog, leave a comment and let us hear from you.

Sharing with Alene for her first link-up in the Graffiti Summer journey.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

For your Sunday

"Come!" say the Spirit and the Bride.
Whoever hears, echo, "Come!"
Is anyone thirsty? Come!
All who will, come and drink,
Drink freely of the Water of Life!

Revelations 22:17 (MSG)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sing a New Song

I am joining Lisa-Jo Baker and others for Five Minute Friday. Lisa-Jo provides us with a word prompt and we are to write for five minutes with "no extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation."

Today's word: Song

"Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples." ~ Psalm 96:1-3


My heart sings a new song, a song I never thought I'd sing. It sings a song I pray it will never stop singing because my heart now dances to this beautiful song.

I sing a new song to God, a song of praise and gratitude for He saved me from a heart that no longer sang.

It's a glorious song, oh yes it is. It's a song of love. It's a song that sings thank you Lord for loving me. The song never leaves my mind even on the days when I'm feeling weary. It sings a bit louder on those weary days as He takes a hold of my heart and reminds me in Him I will find rest.

God planted this song on my heart two years ago. My heart was lonely and He appeared. He said, "Come, follow me" and let's sing a new song as we go on a journey together. My heart is still dancing to the beat of this song and the sound of His foot steps as I wake and choose again to follow Him instead.

It's a song of love. It's a song that sings thank you Lord for loving me. Could there be a better song?



What else makes my heart sing and dance? My husband! And since he will soon be spending a month away from home as he trains for a deployment later this year, I've decided to take a small break from writing. I may still pop in and leave some quick words, but otherwise he will have my devoted attention. Pray for him and his fellow soldiers will you please? We would be so grateful.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Love all of what He created

Why does my heart sink when I see the word food? Part of me wants to take a pass on this prompt and wait for the next one. But then I feel a nudge from God and accept that my fear of this word is something He wants me to overcome.

We've been here before, God. Can we agree that this fear is here to stay? It's a part of me and I don't know if I can let it go.

My love/hate relationship with food, this eating disorder of mine, is one I'm convinced I have under control. We've had this relationship for over 15 years so I have it perfected. Stay with your comfort foods, Beth. When you find yourself up against the wall with food outside your comfort category, the bathroom is near. No problem!

When I play out the scene in my mind, I admit I have a rather warped view of what it means to have control.

Putting words to this battle is hard. A new writer friend recently wrote a post on a dare to love herself and her words touched my heart. At first I was jealous of her ability to express herself so beautifully. My jealousy then turned to praise. I was thankful for her ability to write about the battle to love who God created us to be.

"I will stop rejecting You, by loving all of what You created." ~ Tammy

The fear isn't so much the food but rather the fear of how what I eat will change me. Thin is good. Thin is acceptable. The opposite just won't do. And really, the underlying battle is believing I am enough just the way He created me. It makes me sad that I reject God by not loving all of what He created.

I spend time sharing with a friend and she says, "Beth, it's time to say big prayers to God." The only words that come are God, please take this.

Am I ready to surrender this control, or lack of control? Am I ready to surrender my body to God? What will change when I do? Will I ever be able to look in the mirror and no matter what I see say, your works are wonderful? Can I step on a scale and believe the number isn't a reflection of my worth? Will I ever be able to look at food and not fear its impact?

My one word for 2013 is embrace. I chose this word because I know God is wanting me to embrace who I am in Christ. My go-to verse is, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~ Psalm 139:14

I say this verse over and over again...God's Word is the best way to combat the lies from the devil that push us deeper in our fears. Maybe my deepest fear is if I will ever truly believe these words apply to me too.

I reflect on my friend Tammy's words. "Grace is everywhere, but right here in us." While my tendency is to believe I'm excluded, the truth is His grace is in me too. So every morning when I wake, my prayer will be the same. "God, please take this." And each day I will grow in His amazing grace.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

How are you growing in His grace my friend? Will you share?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

He Makes Everything Beautiful

The Book of Ecclesiastes has grabbed my attention and I find myself back at the beginning wanting to read the words from Solomon a bit slower this time around. These words had me perplexed... "I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind." ~ Ecclesiastes 1:12

Everything is meaningless? Really?

I tried to wrap my mind around this thought as I read on and was surprised to discover it actually made sense. All these things we chase after really are meaningless. The years spent chasing after better or more thinking it would fill a void...meaningless.

"And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him." ~ Ecclesiastes 3:14

I often wonder, why are we to fear a loving God? A closer look at the word fear, and guidance from a dear friend, helped me realize I was interpreting the word incorrectly. Joyce Meyer's Amplified Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:14, "I know that whatever God does, it endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it. And God does it so that men will [reverently] fear Him [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is]."  We stand in awe of, we honor and adore, knowing that He is.

There are times being new to my faith is frustrating because of what I do not know. Then there are those times I love this child-like faith of mine where everything is brand new. My heart dances as my love for Him grows.

Those days when I was chasing after better and more, I believed better or more would make what was ugly in our home beautiful. And I'm not only referring to the things in our home. Ugly was residing in our hearts too. I chased and I chased. It was all meaningless. As I (as we) began to have faith in someone greater and stopped chasing after the meaningless, beauty found its way in to our home and hearts.

"If we continue to believe God and place our trust in Him, bad things ultimately give way to better things." ~ Joyce Meyer

My husband asked me as we enjoyed an afternoon with our younger son while celebrating Mother's Day what my favorite memory of being a mom was. The first thought that came to my mind were words I read from Ecclesiastes 3:11.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11a

I witnessed God take a young, heart hardened child and fill him with a confidence he had previously never had. He marched forward on the day he graduated and became a sailor with hope in his eyes. The heart of our oldest son was softened and a new beauty radiated from him.

I hear or see the word beautiful and our youngest child comes to my mind. He recently shared with us that he has volunteered to go on a camping trip with the residents of the senior center he works at. As the residents waited one day for dinner to be served, our son pulled out his guitar and blessed them with music. God has done something remarkably beautiful with this young man.

Our home is now beautiful, not because of the things it contains, but because love is found there. God has filled the void that was in our hearts.

My favorite memory of being a mom... 
The day I no longer believed the lie from the enemy that things will never change for our family the day I believed in God and surrendered my family to Him.

God has a plan for everything He wants to do in your life. Instead of chasing after better or more, because it really is like chasing after wind, surrender to His perfect timing. He will make everything beautiful in its time.

"All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God's providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man." ~ Ecclesiastes 12:13

Sunday, May 12, 2013

For your Sunday

Original Photo by friend Judd Johnson

Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, 
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

To my mother...
Thank you for your unconditional love.

Linking with

Friday, May 10, 2013

Finding Comfort in Community

I am joining Lisa-Jo Baker and others for Five Minute Friday. Lisa-Jo provides us with a word prompt and we are to write for five minutes with "no extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation."

Today's word: Comfort


I was thrown into a new world of being a military family as my husband and oldest son headed off to train to become a soldier and sailor. There was comfort in knowing my strong and fearless husband would be just fine, but sending my son off to begin this new chapter in his life left me in need of being comforted.

Shortly before my son departed I made my way to an online community where connections were made with other moms and a few spouses whose children and husbands would go through Boot Camp with my son. After we said our good-byes to our soon to be sailors, a new friendship began. Many evenings were spent in our online chat world both laughing and crying, but in the end always finding comfort in knowing the roller coaster of emotions was understood.  These women...they were my comfort.

We had nicknames for each other, used way too many emoticons, decided that together we sparkled and couldn't wait for the day we would finally meet.

The day that stands out most is when we were unable to pull away from our computer screens as we chatted online waiting to hear from our sons, daughters and husbands to inform us they were now sailors. Graduation day was only days away. Our hearts were beating frantically with excitement.

When our calls came our online world exploded with delight. We had heard their precious voices and those three words, "I'm a Sailor." For many of us, tears quickly came.

It's been a little over two years since we came together to watch our loved ones graduate and then enter the world as United States Sailors. These ladies remain some of my dearest friends. The comfort we gave each other did not end on graduation day. Comfort is still found when we share how those good-byes never get easier and we rejoice over reunions with our sailors. We all agree the days between are far too long.

What I love is how we comfort each other beyond those difficult moments of being Navy moms and wives...we comfort each other in the daily life. Many times when I post a status update on Facebook the comments found are primarily from these fabulous ladies. They have not only comforted me, they have blessed me.

To these know who you are...I love you with all my heart and I hope one day we are reunited beyond our online world. Until then, I'm grateful that comfort is always within reach.


{Yes...this went over the allotted five minutes but these ladies were worth breaking the rules.}

There were also some very special friendships made with a few lovely ladies who had husbands and children attending basic training with my husband. Please don't think you were forgotten...five minutes is such a short amount of time. You comforted me greatly during those days, especially once receiving news of my husband's injury and the delay in his graduation. Oh how grateful I am that we were still able to meet. Much love to you all.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Redemption for a Family {Part 2}

Read Part 1 here.

Spring is here! I've always been in a rush for summer to come, but God seems to want me to find rest in the wonders of spring. As my husband and I prayed before dinner the other evening, these words from my mouth surprised me, Thank you God for spring and the promise of new life. Before we prayed (it was my turn to pray) I gave a slight sigh as I wasn't sure what my prayer would be. I love how if we begin with a single word and full surrender to God, He will do the rest.

This passion of mine to capture spring through the lens of my camera has me in awe of the new life blossoming before me. There is beauty in watching life appear through the dirt. Maybe I'm still overflowing with gratitude from the impact of this past Easter. I wondered as Easter ended, what comes next? As I write the answer comes. The promise of new life comes next.

We come to the cross and surrender our old life to Christ and we are made new.

Do you think this is what God intended with spring? He gives us new life springing up all around us, and all shortly after when the resurrection of Christ took place. I'm still feeling like the new girl on the block when it comes to my faith, so pardon me if I seem late to this revelation.

As I find rest in the wonders of spring, God reminds me of the new life He has given me and also my husband and children. I'm not always sure if I can include my children because they are not believers, but as my husband and I were filled with joy and peace from trusting God, hope overflowed and touched the lives of our children (Romans 15:13).

I see this new life Christ has given us with fresh eyes. God really does redeem. Memories of pain begin to fade and they are replaced with moments to celebrate. Some are small moments but the small are worth rejoicing over. Then there are those moments where time seems stands still and I hear God whisper, "Don't miss this. I'm doing something new."

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." ~ Isaiah 43:19

Now I understand why He directed me to find rest in see how He made a way.

  • He made a way for a father and son to learn how to love each other. A relationship that spent years in turmoil has been made new. To witness a recent embrace sent my heart leaping with joy.

  • He made a way for another son to realize his full potential as both a musician and a student. I'm blown away by his talent.

  • He made a way for a marriage to not only survive, but to bring together a union that was never fully made...a marriage that joins man, woman and God. I would have never imagined our evenings would be spent praying together.

  • He made a way for a family to find healing — to be made new.

I'm still humming these lyrics over and over again, "Thank You Lord. I just want to thank You Lord." My heart is overflowing with gratitude.

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

~ Ephesians 3:14-21


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Redemption for a Family {Part 1}

Almost twenty-three years ago I stepped into the scary world of being a mother and shortly after a wife. And yes, I've shared in the correct order. At what many would consider too young of an age, I started a family.

A month before my twenty-first birthday I welcomed my first bundle of joy into the world. I remember bringing my son home and on that first night as I cradled him in my arms, I said through tears, Take him back. I'm clearly not ready to be a mom. But at the same time I was unwilling to let go of this precious child staring back at me.

Four months later I walked down the aisle and married the man I have now spent more than half of my life with.

Life for us was so much different when we first began this journey of being a family. We jumped in before we were ready. Are we ever really ready though? I shudder at the memories of how unprepared we were. The first few months were spent in a corner of my parent's home fighting between wanting our independence and also needing them so desperately.

Soon our family grew by welcoming our second bundle of joy.

Dark clouds began to hover over us. Our boys were growing up in the midst of storm after storm. Their innocent eyes witnessed events I wish could be erased from their memory. When the storms raged I would cling to my boys as though my life depended on them. They were my reason for hope. I didn't know how to rely on God for hope.

We lived in Elgin, Illinois during those early years of family life. Ironically, the kids always say there were too many tornado warnings while we lived there. Yes, there were my dear children...way too many. It was a happy day when we closed the door to Elgin.

I'd like to say the storms settled when we left Elgin, but they did not. They became so routine we had mastered surviving them with few knowing how bad the impact really was.

Hearts were being hardened.


The walk down memory lane isn't easy for me. There are hurts that I may never share. They are hurts God is showing me how to let go of. A quick glimpse back reminds me we aren't that same family anymore. The storms have a harder way of finding their way into our home.

I've learned this...Jesus sees the broken. Jesus touches the broken. Jesus heals the broken. If you take time to read the Gospels you will see this truth over and over again. Luke 7:11-17 gives us one account of this truth when Jesus raises a Widow's son.

To say I'm surprised that he would see my broken family, take the time to touch us each individually, and then find us worthy of healing would be an understatement. I'm blown away. Why us?

Honestly, I'm no longer asking why. I'm saying, Thank you Lord.

There is this myth that God will never give you more than you can handle. Here's the thing though, God doesn't allow bad things to happen. Bad things happen because we live in a fallen world. The good news is, God will use all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good." ~ Romans 8:26-28 (MSG)

Those raging storms were more than I could handle. There was a time when I was ready to check out. But God had a promise for my family—a promise that for many years I was blind to. Even in my unbelief, He kept His promise. A promise to redeem my family. The storms we survived He will use...He is already using. Our testimony is one of how a marriage and family can survive. Our story is one of how you can make the choice to stay and surrender to God's plan. He will see you. He will touch you. He will heal you.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

For your Sunday

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness
come before him with joyful songs.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100 (NIV)

"Give thanks to the Lord, Our God and King
His love endures forever
For He is good, He is above all things
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise."

Friday, May 3, 2013

Never forget how brave they are.

I am joining Lisa-Jo Baker and others for Five Minute Friday. Lisa-Jo provides us with a word prompt and we are to write for five minutes with "no extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation."

Today's word: Brave


Acts of bravery take place around us every day. Because really, being brave comes in many different forms and being brave doesn't only require putting on a uniform and making the choice to serve and protect our country.

But today I do want to write about those brave men and women who put on that camouflage uniform. This is where my mind immediately went when I pulled out my iPad, browsed through new emails and discovered the word Lisa-Jo was asking us to write for five minutes on was Brave. Maybe this is because my evening was spent sharing with a ladies group at my church on supporting our military.

Never forget their sacrifices.

Their sacrifices require bold acts of braveryacts of bravery many of us may never fully understand. Too many times their acts of bravery lead to an ultimate sacrifice. This is where my heart lies never forget how brave they are. We are the land of the free because of the brave.

Forgive me for using this space to make a simple request. The month of May is Military Appreciation Month. To my many, many writer friends...could today be a day where you take another five minutes and write a letter to a service member? Your letter can be sent to the address below and will be included in comfort care packages sent to our men and women bravely serving in harms way.

Operation Support our Troops - America
1807 S. Washington Street
Suite 110, #359
Naperville, Illinois 60565

God Bless.