Sunday, March 21, 2010

Losing Myself In Scripture

I recently finished a book that I have said to many...has been "life changing." I am NOT going to give the name of the book or the author's name, merely because I have not been led to write this blog to sell a book. God has been spurring me on for a couple of days now and the more I procrastinate, the louder He speaks to my heart.

I have been riddled with insecurity my entire life. As my husband and I have been discussing this very subject over the past few weeks, I have gone so far as to say..."I cannot remember a time that I did feel secure." So, for a book to be written by another Christian sister, and it being placed in my hands at a time that I was feeling very insecure....I totally call it a "God Thing." Then, to read and begin applying the scripture that was in the book and to feel, for the first time in almost 46 years of life, chains breaking that have had a firm grasp...yes, I love the book! To me, it does not matter who wrote it. It could have been Jane Smith (just a random name I chose) from Nebraska (sounds like a nice homey state, right?)that I had never heard of and I would have read this and if it lined up with scripture and moved me....I'd be singing the praises of the aforementioned Jane Smith. It just so happens that the book I chose was not written by a Jane Smith from Nebraska...she was a little more well known. So what?

The point I am making is this...the book worked for ME! I loved it! I get up every morning and I thank God for placing this book in my hands and for helping me to see what HE sees in me. I thank Him for giving the author the words to convey HIS message. Is every woman in this world insecure? NO! Praise God for that! I was. I am not now! My prayer, after having read this particular book was "Lord, if there is another woman that feels the way I have for their entire this book in their hands and let them lose themselves in scripture the way that I have. Let them see what YOU see in them."

Earlier in the week, I was told that by reading this book and it meaning so much to me in some way has made me forsake "the TRUTH" and to be perfectly honest...for a minute (and I gave it NO more time than that) I felt some righteous anger. How dare someone try and steal the joy that I found in this book. I truly felt attacked. Then...a marvelous thing happened. I went for a drive and I needed some uplifting I blasted beautiful Mandissa. Never gonna steal my joy! What a powerful song! Just read the lyrics!

I look at my life
And I still can't believe it
How did I make it
To where I stand now?
You don't understand
I was up against the whole world
And all I could feel was it breaking me down
But out of a hopeless situation
There came a song of redemption

Life may push my heart to the limit
But I won't let go
Of the joy in my soul
'Cause everything can change in a minute
And the world may try
But they're never gonna steal my joy

So get up, stand up
And rise above it
If every plan
That you've made goes so wrong
You don't have to give in to the struggle
You may be down
But don't stay there for long
In every hopeless situation
There is a song of redemption

The world may say
You're never gonna make it
The world may say
You're not strong enough to take it
But I don't care
'Cause the joy of the Lord is real
And they're never gonna steal my joy

I came home and sat down to read my Bible...THE WAY...THE TRUTH...AND THE LIFE! Once again...God came through and placed HIS WORD, before my eyes....something that I desperately needed to read and apply to my heart. I realize that the things that I say and do are a direct reflection on the God I serve. I try very hard to refrain from negativity because it is a tremendous waste of energy. I want to build up and encourage. If there is a fellow christian, brother or sister, that is out there trying to make a difference in the life of others...I want to applaude them. They do not need that from me, because as all of us truly grounded in our faith know...we are building rewards in heaven.

"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man (or woman, my words)brings good things out of the good stored up in his (HER) heart, and the evil man (woman) brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his (her) heart. For out of the overflow of his (her) heart his (her) mouth speaks." Luke 6:43-45

God, ever the gentleman that He is, gives us all free choice. That is nothing new. It started with Adam and Eve. When something or someone tries to steal my joy...whether it is from reading a book and learning and breaking free of strongholds that have held me captive for too many years...or living my life the way that God has shown me is the right way.....I am just not handing it over.

"The thief comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they my have life, and have it to the FULL." John 10:10 (emphasis mine)

Noone can STEAL my joy! Nobody KILLS the joy God gives me! And I certainly refuse to allow my joy destroyed! When I feel that it is happening....I simply lose myself in scripture!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Mommy Meltdown Moment

Hello. My name is Julia and I am a full time wife and mother! Now, before you start to think that you're at the beginning of a blog written by a person in one of those twelve step programs(I am so NOT knocking those types of programs as I truly believe that there must be one out there tailored to fit the needs of this somewhat frenzied, busy, at times short tempered pastor's wife and mother)...relax! If YOU are a full time wife and mother and you think that you are having a bad day...then the story that I am about to lay out here for all the world to read, will undoubtedly make you feel like a woman who is up for a Mother of the Year Award and will leave you with absolutely no fear whatsoever of losing to me!

As I sit down to write...especially when it is a story that doesn't fall under the "Every thing's Coming Up Roses" category nor puts me in the most flattering of lights...I still do not hesitate to bring you these tales in the hope that you will see that God can truly use a mommy that is flawed, yet has a hungry heart for Jesus and still has the confidence and security in HIM to lay it all out there in the hope that it could help someone in some small way.

The other day, my 6 year old daughter, after having been sick for over a week and restricted to the house to not only keep others from being infected, but to insure that she would be well enough to return to school on Monday (and YES, I will readily admit that I needed her to go back to school. So shoot me!)....her papa had promised that after he finished his weekend chores, he would take her for a short walk around the outside of our house in the yard. As the day wore on, his chores took a little bit longer than she or he had anticipated. When you live in a tiny little town like ours, the nearest ANYTHING is 26 miles away, and it just so happened that the chore he was entrenched in at the moment, necessitated a drive to the aforementioned 26 miles specialty shop. While he was driving those 30 minutes alone in his car listening to music and relaxing and just enjoying the solitude (no resentment here), our daughter was consistently coming back and forth inquiring if her papa had returned. Then, it happened! Nobody saw it coming. These things just tend to rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune times. Oh how I wish that I could have changed that awful moment when....the temperature began to drop and a cold drizzle, ever so slightly, began tapping at our windows. It was at that precise second that our daughter realized that the much cherished walk with papa that she had patiently (or how she defines patience)waited for all day...was not to be.

I'm not sure how it happened...but my beautiful, angelic looking (notice I refer to the appearance of an angel, not an actual angel)little girl changed before my very eyes. She became this mouthy teen trapped in a 1st grader's body. After a couple of warnings, I placed her in the dreaded time out chair. Then the agony that all mothers experience at least once in a lifetime (I say that tongue in cheek because if this happened to any mom ONLY once....the offer is now on the table to trade kids) daughter THREW DOWN one heck of a tantrum. The time out chair is in the dining room so that she is rather isolated ( i.e. Super Nanny)and I was in the other room and I am sure that the people on the next block...past our church, which is RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO OUR HOME....the parsonage (notice that I typed that in all lowercase because aren't preacher's kids suppose to be perfect? Total sarcasm there!) could hear my kid screaming her head off! Now...going to end that story so I can fast forward a few days to begin the story of MY MOMMY MELTDOWN!

I fractured two bones in my foot earlier this year and it had been a VERY slow healing injury. The upstairs in our home is designated as Nevaeh Land. It is our daughter's area. She has a den, her bedroom and her own bathroom. My husband has kept me from going up and down the stairs (before you go thinking that he is so sweet and thoughtful, which he is, let it be noted that those very stairs are the culprit behind the fractured foot!) So, I had been completely and blessedly kept in the dark as to how BAD these areas had gotten during my recovery period. This week the foot felt so much better that I made the trip up to check out the damage. I felt like FEMA going in. I went into this state of emergency..quickly assessed the damage...and came out shaking my head and wondering to whom I would petition to come to my aide.

There was scattered debris...chairs overturned....pudding cups in one devastated section and the chocolate encrusted spoon in yet another area...didn't the two at one time go together? Every toy that the child owned....BIG AND SMALL...( SHE is no respecter of toys) had found their way to rest on every inch of carpet...I was assuming that there was still carpet under there. And then it happened.....oh how I wish I could have foreseen it coming and maybe, just maybe I could have prepared the family. Mommy was about to go into full blown Meltdown Mode with hurricane force anger. I stomped downstairs ranting about never having seen such in all of my life and I was throwing EVERYTHING away and then I was going on a vacation where there were no phones and room service that promised to cater to my every want and need. My daughter started crying and stood at the foot of the stairs watching me as I slammed past her and went back into the trenches armed with a Glad heavyweight trash bag (now I totally get WHY they call them glad...a ticked off mommy somewhere invented those trash bags) and as I began tossing trash in the bag....she dared to come up the stairs and for one small fraction of a second I think to myself "Wow, she gets it! She sees that mommy is serious and she is coming to help and show me that she will keep her room and area clean." I will answer the burning question that is weighing on all of your minds at this moment....NO, I do not do drugs!

Nevaeh reaches in the door at the top of the stairs and plucks her Happy Meal toy that she had recently gotten....a little plastic iCarly locker..from the rubble and flies back downstairs, now happily convinced that she has saved one prized possession from being thrown away.

In that short time span after....Mommy Meltdown began to ebb...and the guilt that I felt momentarily for making my daughter cry and fear the loss of all things dear to her...her toys....was washed away and in that blissful moment without a loud thunderous lightening bolt of a response...God answered my silent prayer asking HIS forgiveness for losing it and thanking HIM in advance for giving me the grace to apologize to my daughter for my Mommy Meltdown Moment.

So...tell me....feeling better about your day?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Our Men

Saturday mornings are a favorite of mine. After a busy week of school and church activities (my husband is a pastor) it is always nice to wake to the smell of coffee brewing and bacon cooking, compliments of my hubby and 6 year old daughter, who always manage to wake up first and get the ball rolling. The two of them in the kitchen carrying on a conversation as they cook waffles or pancakes, is a much nicer way to be awakened than a buzzing alarm clock. This particular morning, the conversation was so sweet, I posted it on my FaceBook page.

Nevaeh: Papa, I love you.

Papa: I love you more.

Nevaeh: Well, I love you more than Christmas AND my birthday!

Papa: Well, I love you more than a zillion dollars.

Nevaeh: Boy, we sure love each other.

Moments like those are just priceless and I cherish them so much. As I listened to them from my bed this morning, I silently thanked God for this precious man that I am so blessed to share my life with. He gets up every Saturday morning and creates a memory that will last all of us a lifetime.

The day was rainy out today, so I just spent a lazy day watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" as my husband worked in the office putting the finishing touches on his sermon for tomorrow and our daughter played quietly upstairs. I laughed out loud several times as I watched the antics that Raymond got himself into and the restraint of his ever patient wife Debra. One particular episode left me shaking my head...Raymond took over the checkbook, a task which up to that point, Debra had taken care of with no help from Ray. Within a short time span, he managed to bounce several checks and was overdrawn by $3000. It made me think of my husband. Now, before everyone thinks that I am about to jump on the "Bash My Man" train....forget it!

I am incredibly blessed to be married to a man that takes care of all of the money matters in our home. I love this as I have never liked dealing with that side of things. Can I do it? Yes, I have done it before. It is not something that I enjoy. Later, as I rested, my husband went upstairs and played with our child. He is not one to just sit and be in his own little world as the child plays around him. He actually plays what she wants to play and today....Nevaeh wanted to put her makeup on her Papa. He patiently sat and allowed this until she had her fill. After they played, he immediately set out to do some chores that he wanted to complete. I actually had to remind him to wipe off his makeup before setting out for the hardware store.

On "Everybody Loves Raymond" the audience laughs hysterically when Debra calls her husband an "idiot" or rolls her eyes at him. It can be funny! It just made me realize that I am incredibly blessed to have a man that is very sensitive to my feelings and our child's. He works hard for his family and is a living example daily of the type of man that God wants him to be.

For all the women out there that have a good not hesitate to tell them how much you love and appreciate all they do. They are very similar to us in one way...they want to be acknowledged and appreciated.

To my hubby....Ken, I love you and appreciate all you do. I thank God that He saw fit to bless me so abundantly when He sent you into my life!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Adoption vs Giving Birth

As most of you know, I am the mother of a beautiful little girl that I adopted at three months old. At that particular time in my life, I had two children that I had given birth to....Ryan 18 and Zach 14. There were so many people that called me crazy that I lost count. Afterall, in their minds....I was turning 40 that year and my kids were at an age where they could do a lot of things on their own. Why in heaven's name would I want to start all over with the midnight feedings, colic, diapers, teething and potty training?

The only response that I ever gave was..."Look into those big brown eyes!" I never thought about all of the things mentioned before. I felt incredibly blessed to hold that sweet little bundle at night as she drank her bottle. I got to smell that beautiful baby scent of baby lotion and powder right after a bath. I was welcomed every morning with a great big toothless smile. I was enjoying watching as she took her first steps. For every negative someone would give me...I came up with three or more positives.

I loved being pregnant as much as any other woman. I found out I was pregnant and was overjoyed...both times. I had morning sickness and even though that was tough....I knew that at the end of the sickness, there would be a healthy baby to hold. I gained weight and I have to say, it did not bother me. I knew what the outcome was going to be. When labor started, I physically felt ever single pain as I delivered both of those kids naturally...and one of them just happened to weigh 10 lbs! But, I would gladly do it all over again to have my wonderful kids.

With was different. Another woman carried her in her womb. At three months old, her biological mother decided that she was too young and asked us if we would adopt her. At that very moment....Nevaeh was conceived in my heart. When I conceived Ryan and Zach, I knew that nine months from that day....I would hold my little boy or girl in my arms. No one would take them from me. They were MINE. While pregnant, I was in total control. I could feel them move within me. I carried them next to my heart...literally.

When you adopt a child, there is so much that you go through that is beyond your control. It is like getting on a roller coaster that constantly goes up and down and there are even times during that ride that you just close your eyes, hold your breath and pray the ride is over soon! To be perfectly birth was a lot easier. I had to work very hard for Nevaeh and I would do it all again in a minute!

I have been privileged to become acquainted with a family on Twitter that are adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. As I share in their journey, I am reminded of how very blessed we are to have our little girl. Michelle...this is a journey and at times it feels like it is never ending....but when your little angel is with you and your husband and beautiful will rank right up there with giving birth...because, after all, when you have gone through the adoption have conceived, carried and given birth to a dream!