November 25, 2013

Turn the other cheek?

Have you ever had a time when you felt like God was trying to tell you something? I have felt that way a lot lately, and it's not something new either.
I have this person in my life who I would consider my "thorn in the flesh" as Paul called it in 2 Corinthians. This "thorn" is something different for everybody. Paul said, "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) I guess maybe God gave me my thorn for a very similar reason.  If we don't have these thorns, we'd likely become proud in our own accomplishments instead of depending on God. My thorn has been teaching me a lot of things.
God has been showing me that I need to really forgive this person and not take what they say to heart. This person often criticizes me and blames me for everything even when it is not really my fault. I am this person's scapegoat, and it drives me crazy.
Our pastor has been going through the sermon on the mount for several weeks now, and a few weeks ago, he was using Matthew 5:38-42, the "eye for an eye" passage. (Disclaimer: You'll have to forgive me because I often do not repeat things as other people say them so if I say something wrong, it is not the pastor's fault.)  What I got out of this was that when people are attacking us, our first reaction is to defend ourselves and strike back. In this passage, Jesus was telling them NOT to fight back, but instead to turn the other cheek.  Does it really matter what other people say to us or about us? NO! It does not.  That is only one person's opinion and often it does not matter what we do or say to this person, their opinion will never change about us. (This passage is not necessarily literal in the sense that if somebody hits you, you should just take it because that's not what it's saying. IF somebody hits you, you need to protect yourself.  You shouldn't hit back, but you should get away from that person.)  This is a paraphrase of what our pastor said:

We need to become numb to the need to retaliate.  Be free from what other people think and say about you.  This does not mean that you shouldn't protect yourself.  Sacrifice your pride and honor to do what is right.  Avoid evil as much as you can, but there are times when action needs to be taken.  When that time comes, check your motive.  If you are protecting yourself, don't retaliate.  If it is protecting someone else, do it!  We do not have to protect our rights.

I was reminded, once again, of this the other day while reading through 1 Peter 3.  Verse 3 talks about having a gentle and quiet spirit.  I asked myself "How do I get a gentle and quiet spirit?"  Then, "Give everything to God" popped into my mind.  Verse 8 says, "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble."  This verse reminds me that I need to live in harmony with others, including my thorn.  Once again, it also reminds me that I need to be humble and compassionate and sympathetic.  There have been times when I have thought I've done a pretty good job at doing these things, but then... something happens and that all goes down the drain.  It always reminds me how there is NO WAY I can do this on my own.  My flesh is weak, but my spirit (Jesus living in me) is strong.  I need to be more in tune with my spirit.

Verse 9 says, "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing."  While reading this I was automatically reminded of what our pastor had said about turning the other cheek.  I wrote, "If someone insults you, let it roll off and return with a blessing.  Swallow your pride.  If they insult God or someone else, then respond with a reprimand."   This verse reminds me of so many other verses in the Bible.  One being Proverb 27:2 "Let another praise you and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips."  This verse hits the subject from the other side, but means about the same thing.  It all seems to boil down to pride.
Some other verses to take into consideration:
Romans 12:21 "Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good."
Matthew 5:38-42 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'  But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
Matthew 5:43-48  "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you:  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Food for thought. What is your motive?

November 18, 2013


I have to admit to you that I have been very disappointed in myself lately because my focus has not been where it needs to be. I did so well this summer with reading my Bible and praying every day. I loved that time I had with God, but... as soon as I got a job that made it difficult to keep up with that, I quickly stopped. I still struggle with trying to get back into reading my Bible and spending regular times with God, and it's been over 3 months, almost 4.
I have found myself more preoccupied with other things that are really not that important. I won't go into details, but it's nothing "bad". I am just finding myself so frustrated right now because things are not going my way, and I can't seem to find my way back to where I was at the beginning of the summer. I just feel rather lifeless. I hate that feeling. I know God is still with me and will never leave me, but I miss that close connection with Him.
I really have no advice for anybody going through this because I obviously have not figured this out myself.  I really want to use this blog to encourage people, but at this point, I'm not sure how.
My life is rather boring and uneventful right now, and I don't feel like God is really speaking to me about anything yet I really want to be an encouragement to others. SOOOOOOOO if you are reading this and need somebody to talk to, leave me a comment below, and I will get back to you. I have a strong desire to help others, and frankly, I don't feel like I'm doing a very good job of that right now.
I try not to judge others because I have done some pretty horrible things myself. Divorce is not really favored in the Christian community, and I have often felt ashamed of myself and my situation, but I have come to realize that God still loves me and has forgiven me and that's really all that matters.

October 4, 2013

What do I have?

So I was going to start off this post as a woe is me sort of thing even though I had promised I wasn't going to complain anymore, but then I asked myself, "What do I have?" The first thing that popped into my mind was my son. This little boy makes me laugh, makes me feel loved and sometimes irritates the heck out of me, but I wouldn't trade him for anything. He is the reason I do what I do. I don't know where I'd be without him, and I hope I never have to find out.  Then, I asked myself, "What else do I have?"  Once again, something popped into my mind.  I have my family.  My incredible family who drives me crazy but loves me unconditionally and has helped me SO much that I could never repay them. They have picked me up when I couldn't do it myself. They have inserted in me words of wisdom and encouragement. They help me out even when they can't really afford it themselves. A third time I asked myself, "What else do I have?" I have friends who have helped me through the most excrutiatingly painful time of my life. Who have listened to me complain and heard and seen me cry, who have given me words of wisdom and encouragement to help me make it through another day. Friends who have "been there" themselves and give me assurance that it doesn't last forever and it does get better. Friends who love me for no reason at all.  But what else do I have?  Well, I have a home to live in, food in my belly, a car that runs (most of the time :-)), a job, a church that I love to go to... I'm sure there are many other things, but I think you get the point.  I have a lot of things to be thankful for.  I'm mostly thankful that I have a God who will never leave me nor forsake me, who is always there for me when I need Him. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9:

"7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed"

I have been beaten down so much that I saw no way out yet... here I am, stronger than ever. Yes, I bleed and I cry when somebody stabs me in the back and spits in my face, but that is not a sign of weakness.  That is a sign that I still care. In fact, sometimes I feel like I care TOO much. I get attached to people so easily that it makes it really hard to say goodbye. It's like losing somebody all over again, but I don't let go easily either. If you make your way into my heart, you will likely be there forever. I see it as a blessing and a curse that not many people understand. To be honest with you, I don't even understand it. I probably never will.

To some of you this probably sounds like crazy ramblings, but... there is a reason.  I found out some news this morning that really threw me through a loop. To me, it is horrible news because I wonder how it will affect the one closest to me. At the same time, it also doesn't seem fair that one person cane be reaping benefits from completely disregarding anything good. I have tried hard to do what is right, and where does that leave me? Right where I started at the top of this page. I keep questioning why God has allowed this to happen. I still don't have my answer, and that is really hard for me, but I do know that some day I will understand. I'd better just pray that everything will be ok, and if it's not, I just hope God gives me the strength to pick up the pieces of another broken heart.

Please pray for this situation if you think about it.

Till next time...

August 15, 2013

Jabin's first day of kindergarten

Jabin just left on the bus a little while ago to go to his first day of kindergarten. He was ready for it. Me.... not so much.  I cried when he had kindergarten round-up so I knew I would cry today... and I did. I just can't believe he's already in kindergarten.  This little boy who I have been fighting so hard for over the past five years is going to kindergarten now.  I'm a little nervous because I don't know how well he will do, but I have faith in the teachers and the staff at this school.  They will take good care of them. I know because I worked with half of them for two years and the other half for one year.  I'm excited to see his progress throughout the year, and I'm ready to have that first chat with his teacher.  I think her and I may become best friends. lol  just kidding  :-)  I knew in the spring he was ready for this; I don't need to change my mind now.  It'll be good for him.  He needs a new challenge, and this may be it.  His vocabulary has come so far.  Not so sure about his writing skills.  :-/  Oh well. They will improve too.  I took some pictures of him this morning with his backpack on and waiting for the bus.

August 8, 2013

Seeking Him with all my heart

So.. I have to tell you that I've really been struggling lately.  I think I mentioned this in my last post, but... it's just been really hard for me. I think the worst thing ( even worse than feeling like a failure for not being able to support myself and my son) is not feeling close to God.  I have felt SO distant from Him for quite awhile now ( a few weeks or more). I've been trying to seek Him, but it has felt like nobody's there. Notice how I said FELT.  I KNOW God is right there beside me, probably carrying me through this difficult time, but for some reason, I just haven't felt it, and that is a horrible feeling. I guess sometimes (probably most of the time) God waits for us to get to our low point, to where we reach out for Him with all our being and just LONG for Him.  I think I hit that point tonight. I've just been so frustrated, trying as hard as I can to figure things out.  I've been trying to seek God, but I also haven't exactly been trusting Him. Go figure, right? So, anyway, I was listening to this song called "starts with me" (or something like that) by Tim Timmons. I can't tell you how this song has spoke to me. I FEEL the lyrics he is singing. I think listening to that song over and over again just helped me to just reach out for God with all my being, and I found Him.  I felt Him whispering to my soul that everything is going to be ok.  I have no idea HOW that's going to happen, but I know I just have to trust Him. For the first time in weeks, I actually felt God. I balled, still am, listening to this song. My longing is just to serve Him. I just want to do what He wants me to do.

So, anyway... I want to tell you something. Something else I've been struggling with.  So every year after getting back from missions trips our church allows the people who go on those missions trips to speak about their experiences at church.  I really struggled with whether or not to speak because I have really been going through a lot of uncomfortable growing times this summer since getting back from Mexico. Our associate pastor approached me one morning before/after church about speaking. I told him I wasn't sure if I was going to speak or not because I've really been struggling.  He told me that I should because people need to see that it's not always easy.  I agree with him on that. Anyway, we were supposed to speak a few weeks ago, but they ran out of time so the ones who went to Mexico didn't get to speak.  I had to work that Sunday so I wasn't even in church. I had kinda figured that would be my way out of having to speak. Boy was I wrong. I got home from work and my mom told me that they didn't even get to share because they ran out of time. I found that to be very odd. So anyway, we get our second chance to speak on Sunday, and I am STILL struggling with this.  I have no idea what to say, and I have no idea why God wants me to speak, but PLEASE pray for me.  It is going to be extremely difficult for me, and if I get through it without crying, it would be a miracle.  I want to be real with people, but it is SO hard because you leave yourself open to getting seriously hurt by people.  I experienced this last year when getting back from Mexico, but, thank God, those people are good friends now. :-)  I know there will be some people who won't understand and will judge me.  There usually are. I just don't want that to be my focus.  Pray that I will keep my focus where it needs to be: God using me to speak to others.  In reality, that's what I really want anyway.  If God can use my pain and sufferings to help other people, I say YES.  I hate to see people suffering. Anyway, thanks for reading this. I hope and pray that through my "realness" and babbling :-) people will be encouraged.  I just want you to know that NO MATTER WHAT God is there right beside you waiting for you to reach out to Him with all your heart, mind and soul.  God requires total surrender.That's it. It's SO hard, but TOTALLY rewarding. Have a good night.

Oh, you HAVE to listen to that song I mentioned about. I'm serious.

August 4, 2013


I'm sitting here on my couch with Jabin laying beside me (since he refused to sleep in his own bed), and I'm just thinking about the past two months since getting back from Mexico.  God has really taken me on a journey in the past two months, and boy has it been a difficult one!  While in Mexico I felt God telling me to surrender everything, especially my son. That was a hard one to work through, but I finally did it. (I realize this is not a one time thing, but I think it gets easier the more you do it.)  Then, right after that I felt like God was calling me to go to this certain Bible college so I applied and did all the necessary things, and I waited and waited and waited. About the beginning of July I kinda figured it wasn't going to happen this fall since there was no way (in my mind) that I could come up with enough money in less than a month to pay for school even if I was accepted.  I guess it's a good thing I had decided on that because at the end of July, I finally got a response from the school.  I was not accepted.  I was kinda heartbroken over that, especially because of the reasoning they gave me.  It felt like a slap in my face. So, needless to say, that door was slammed shut in my face.  I'm still really disappointed and a little hurt, but I'm ok with it.  I just can't shake this feeling like God is telling me it's time to move on.  I've been feeling it for about a year now.  It's like God is telling me it's time to move away from here.  It seems like so many doors are shutting here for me.  I'm having an extremely hard time finding jobs that will pay my bills.  I have a job right now, but I'm not making nearly enough money to pay my bills.  I hate the feeling of not being able to provide for myself and my son. It kinda makes me feel like a failure.  I also feel really isolated here, and that's not because I don't have people to talk to because believe ME there are some wonderful people around here who would drop just about anything to just listen and show their support for me.  I'm talking about having NOBODY to hang out with.  The people my age around here are either married or partiers.  The people I talk to are mostly twice my age or older.  It's a lonely feeling.  Add to that, the fact that I am a single parent, and... well, anybody that has been there knows what that's like.
Before I go on let me recap for you a little of what God has taken me through in the past two months.... lol
  • surrendering all (especially my son)
  • God revealing to me how prideful I've been and being totally humbled by it
  • nearly getting stranded on my way back from Lincoln because my car was acting up
  • my car dying on me while stopped at a red light and not starting for another hour
  • having to rely on friends to help me about with above problem because all my family were gone
  • having Jabin scare the heck out of me because he was in so much pain (still don't know what caused that)
  • not being able to pay my bills
  • having my house broken into (it took me a couple weeks before I started staying at my house again. I just started spending the night here last week).
I could probably go on, but I want to mention a few positive things too.  I am so thankful for what God has revealed to me over the past couple months no matter how hard they've been.  I would like to say I've grown a lot over the last two months, but (lol) I feel like my head is still reeling.  In spite of all these hardships, there have been good.  I mentioned this in my last post about Jabin's appointment with his neurologist.  I was so thrilled to get such a good report from Jabin's doctor about his progress.  I knew God was going to do amazing things in his life, but it was so nice of God to just take the time to reassure me of that.  It was a much needed breath of fresh air.  The break in taught me that I cannot put my security in things or other people, but that my security needs to be in God.  The car problems... well... I'm not really sure.  Thankfully, my dad was able to change the fuel pump so now my car runs MUCH better.  He even changed my oil last night. The only major thing left on that is the manifold needing fixed.  Still waiting on the mechanic to become available to work on that.  My dad thinks maybe we can use some sort of stop leak to help with the leak so we're going to try that in the meantime.  I'm almost wondering if all these negative things were Satan's way of trying to steer me off course.  He's seen how I've been striving to get closer to God and do God's will, so he's trying as hard as he can to frustrate me and distract me, and I'll tell you, it's tempting to become distracted, but when I face these hard times, I turn to God.  I may not understand why these things are happening, but I know without the shadow of a doubt that things will get better for me.  God's still right there by my side even if I cannot feel Him or necessarily see Him.
Right now I am looking into the possibility of moving to a bigger town in Nebraska.  I've been looking for jobs in a couple different areas, and I kinda feel God leading to one specific town, but I want to make sure that it's really God's leading so... I have a prayer request.  Please be praying that I will have discernment as to what is from God and what is not and that I will follow God's leading and not be afraid. A lot of times I let my fear get in the way.  I don't want to do that. I was told twice today by two different people only a few minutes apart that maybe I just need to get moving and God will meet me there. (Better make that three people.  The pastor mentioned it in his sermon today too.)  God doesn't want us to just sit still and wait. Most of the time he calls us to move and then he'll make His move. It's so hard to take that first step though when you have no idea what will happen.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future. Then, you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13  These verses have been my theme verses for the past few months, especially the last verse. My desire has just been to seek God with all my heart. It has not been easy, but it is totally worth it.

July 26, 2013

God's faithfulness

Yesterday was an interesting day.  We got exciting news and then had a terrible scare.  I'll tell you about the scare we had first so I can end on a good note and elaborate more on it.

Yesterday Jabin had a doctor appointment in Grand Island with his neurologist. About halfway home, he started crying.  His crying got progressively worse and he kept saying "ow, ow" and pointing to a specific area of his body.  He was in so much pain he was writhing. He couldn't stay in one spot. He was totally inconsolable.  Anybody that knows Jabin knows that he is one terribly tough kid.  It takes a lot to make him cry.  Needless to say this had my mom and I both worried.  About 15 minutes down the road after he started crying, we decided to take him to an emergency room because something was obviously wrong.  He cried and cried and cried, and then all of a sudden he stopped, and he was fine.  This was after he had peed that he stopped crying.  I'm not sure what was wrong with him.  The nurses did a urine sample to see if he had a UTI, but that came back negative.  Everything in his urine seemed to be fine.  We were there for about two hours waiting on the tests and the results, and they couldn't find anything.  We were totally baffled.  SOMETHING had to have been going on to make him in so much pain.  Totally a mystery.  We kept my dad updated, and he was praying.  I text my dad to tell him to pray that Jabin pees so they could do the urine test.  Like five minutes later I checked his diaper, and sure enough, he'd peed. lol  God is awesome like that.  He cares about even the smallest of our problems.  Jabin is supposed to go back for a check up in like a week or two for a follow up.  It kinda scares me that this happened because I have no idea what was wrong.  I'm afraid it will happen again, and there is nothing I can do about it except trust God.  It is heart wrenching to see your child in so much pain.  I'm gonna guess God feels the same way about us when we are in so much pain.

Anyway, now on to the GREAT news.  As many of you know, Jabin was born with a myelin disorder.  This has caused some fairly severe developmental delays which is why Jabin goes to see a neurologist several times a year.  I am so thankful for this neurologist.  He is awesome with Jabin, and he listens to me.  He's a little.... um.... unconventional, but that makes me like him even more.  :-)  So anyway.... a little background:  I knew God was going to do great things with Jabin from the time he was born, but when I found out what was "wrong" with Jabin, I knew God was going to do amazing things with his life and his story.  That boy has overcome SO many obstacles, and I am so proud of him, and SO thankful to God for how He has been working in Jabin's life.  I knew that eventually Jabin would be "normal", but I wasn't sure how long it would take.  I have to tell you that it has been a real struggle sometimes seeing God work in the midst of this journey, but when I look back and see how far Jabin has come, it amazes me, and I thank God.
Jabin's neurologist put him on a medicine in March of 2012 that was supposed to help with Jabin's speech.  It did. I started seeing improvements right away.  In May of 2012, he decided to put Jabin on a medicine to slow down his brain so he could focus better and therefore learn better.  The first one we tried was not covered by Jabin's insurance so we tried another one.  The second one made Jabin very whiney and irritable.  I quit him on that one as soon as I noticed the side effects.  So then we tried another one, and after MANY months of trying to figure out the right dosage, we finally figured it out.  Jabin has come SO far in the past year.  I am amazed at how well he is doing.  His speech has really taken off in the past few months too, and yesterday when we went to see the neurologist, well, we got some great news.  His doctor was very happy with Jabin's progress.  He was impressed at how well Jabin listened and obeyed easy commands, and he noticed how Jabin's speech had progressed.  I'll tell you that was SO exciting for me to hear.  This doctor is usually very serious and constantly trying to figure out what more we can do.  To hear that he was pleased with Jabin's progress was HUGE news to me.  He said (and this part makes me cry) that Jabin will be just fine in a year or two. He said by first or second grade Jabin will be fine.  At first it kinda took me back.  I kinda had to do a double take. To hear those words come out of his mouth is like a breath of fresh air for me. I have to tell you that I have felt so much like a failure with Jabin, not necessarily because of the way he is, but just because I feel so inadequate, especially raising him by myself these past two years.  I have always kinds wondered "when" in the back of my mind.  How much longer will it be till Jabin will really be able to do the things his peers are doing.  When will he be able to really communicate with other people?  When will he physically be able to do all the things his peers are doing?  When this?  When that?  It was such a relief to hear those words come out of his doctor's mouth.  IT makes me feel that maybe I AM doing something right.  I am SO thankful to God for what He is doing in Jabin's life, and I have very little to do with it.  God is healing my son like I knew He would, I just have to be patient and keep doing what I have to do.  I don't know if Jabin will have to be on medicine for the rest of his life, but I am so excited that he will get the chance to do the exact same things his peers will be doing.  THAT is so exciting to me.  God has given me such a wonderful little boy, and I couldn't have asked for anything better.  God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave me that little boy. :-)  <3 p="">

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Truth

It feels like it has been forever since I wrote a blog, but it has been less than three weeks. These past three weeks have been pretty eventful.  First of all, my car completely died (as in it won't start). My dad finally figured out that it IS the fuel pump so he ordered a new one. Now, he just has to find the time to put it in. Then, hopefully I will have a car again. In the meantime I'm staying with mom and dad and borrowing their vehicles (that also seem to be falling apart lol  I'm beginning to feel like a curse to cars...;-))  I got a job working at Dollar General as a Sales Associate/Cashier. I started on Saturday. It's only like 20 hours a week, but something is better than nothing.  I have decided that I will not be going to school this fall because it didn't seem to work out. (Still haven't heard if I am accepted yet.)  I'm figuring next fall should be good. I'm going to plan on it.
I had a super exciting (?) thing happen a couple weeks ago.  I had been staying with mom and dad for a few days just to have some company. I went home really quickly to go get some clothes for a wedding that I was going to with mom and dad, and my house had been broken into. I went to go unlock the backdoor and noticed that the deadbolt had been locked and I NEVER lock it because sometimes it doesn't like to work right. I can always tell when somebody else has been in my house because of that. Anyway, as soon as I opened the door, I knew something wasn't right. There were lights on in the bathroom, kitchen and my bedroom. There was stuff in random places.  The guy that broke in stole a bunch of my food, and then we later found out that he stole a bunch of my grandma's stuff too. There was more, but it was just really creepy. He had come in through Jabin's bedroom window.  The window was still wide open and the front door was unlocked.  Needless to say this freaked me out, and it has been hard for me to go back to my house since. I think I learned a lesson from this though. The lesson is this:
If God wants me to be a missionary, I need to learn to depend entirely on Him.  Even if I'm not going to be a missionary, it's very important to trust Him.  Our security should not be in things or in people, but in Him.  When I go overseas to be a missionary, my security is not going to be "secured" or guaranteed.  God is my security.  I need to stop putting my security in people and things. I never thought somebody would break into my house, but they did.  I thank God we were not there. Security is never guaranteed no matter where you are.  Whether you have a fancy car alarm or the most state of the art security on your house. You hear about people getting shot all the time just walking down the street. Small towns are no different. We even have murders in our small area. It's scary if we don't have the right perspective and are not putting our trust in God.
 God has been showing me SO many things this summer. He has really been growing me and stretching me and humbling me. God has shown me how I have been so very prideful.  I look back at my attitude over the past year or so, and I disgust myself with how prideful I was.  I know it was at least partly due to trying to protect myself, but... ewww.  Makes me thing of the verse that says "all our righteous acts are like filthy rags".  We try to be righteous, but even if we try as hard as we can, our best will always be disgusting in God's sight.  When God revealed to me how prideful I was being, it really humbled me.  I cried because I felt so bad about how I was treating a certain person.  He may have deserved it, but I had no right to treat him and think about him the way I did.  I'm trying really hard to do what God wants me to do.  I have to keep reminding myself to forgive. In fact, I downloaded Matthew West's song "Forgiveness" just so I could have it as a ringtone for this person.  Anybody who knows me very well at all will know who I'm talking about, but I'm not going to mention names.
I cannot tell you how thankful I am that God is working so much in my life right now. It is pretty amazing.

July 6, 2013

car problems: lesson from God?

Let me tell you a little story.  My car has been having problems with the fuel pump for awhile now, and it has not been fixed yet due to one reason or another.
Yesterday I had planned to go to a city about an hour away to get my back adjusted and do some shopping at Wal-Mart.  I got there early so I ran an errand before my appointment.  My car was asking fine.  I went to my back appointment.  No problem.  After I left my back appointment and started up my car, it was basically choking.  I was hoping I could make it to Wal-Mart, but I made it about 2 1/2 blocks before it died while stopped at a stoplight.  I tried to start it.  Nothing.  Tried again.  Nothing.  I had a pick up with a long camper parked behind me at the light.  They honked at me, but I couldn't move.  I was so frustrated.  They finally went around me and a cop pulled up behind me.  She turned her lights on and came up to me to ask me if I was having car problems. I told her my car died, and I couldn't get it started.  She called another policeman who was there within a minute or so. HE blocked off the other side of the street so they could push my car down hill into a parking space. Each cop came up to me after I was parked and asked me if I was ok and if I had somebody I could call.  I told them I would figure it out.  There's no way I could afford a tow so I figured I would see if there was anybody who could help me.
Since I don't know much about cars, (Yeah, I admit it. I don't know everything. :-) ) I called my dad, who was in Canada, to ask him how hard it would be to get a fuel pump and get it fixed. He basically told me it needed to be lifted up so you could take the gas tank out, etc.  I was like... ok, so that won't work. After a little while I tried starting my car again.  Nothing, and by nothing I mean nothing. No sound came out of it. I realized that I must have either left the ignition on or something else. The battery was pretty much dead. There was a slight ding when I had the key in the ignition and the door open, but nothing else.  This made me even more frustrated.  At this point I figured it would be easier to try to find somebody to either haul or tow my car back home.  I called my aunt to get their home number to call my uncle to see if he could help. No answer so I googled their home number. (Thank you, google). I called and he answered on the last ring. He basically told me he couldn't help me.  I have no idea how many calls I made before I got somebody who could help.  Amazingly enough, it was two of my former co-workers who helped me. I called one, and she called another one, who in turn called one of their friends who worked very close to where my car was parked.  Thank God he had jumper cables and knew how to find my "hidden battery". 
So he jumped my car and miraculously it started.  I seriously did not believe it would start, but it did! He basically told me I'd better get home as soon as possible.  No stops, just in case my car died again and left me stranded... again.  As I was leaving the city, I got one phone call after another from the people whom I could not reach earlier. I made it home. My son and I ate lunch and then headed off to my parents house about 15 minutes away. I made it there too. My car didn't like the hill, but it made it.
Here's the interesting part.  This happened to me when I had almost NO family around.  All of my immediate family was in Canada visiting my oldest sister.  My grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins on my mom's side were all in Colorado, basically.  This left me no choice but to depend on non-family.  This is something that is very hard for me.  I don't like asking non-family members for help because I feel like I am bothering them.  I know this isn't necessarily the right mindset, but it's one I've had for a long time.  It was very uncomfortable for me to call all those people, but I did because I had to.  My family could not help me.  I really don't have any best friends.... but I have some AWESOME ex co-workers.  God used them to help me.  I can't help but think that this whole ordeal was a lesson to teach me something.  I guess maybe God was trying to teach me how to lean on friends and other people for support instead of always running to my family.  I know my family will always be there for me, but who am I to take the blessing of helping others away from my friends?  One of these days I plan on being a missionary overseas.  When that time comes my family alone is not going to be able to support me.  I will have to depend on church family and friends to support me.  I guess that means I better start eating some humble pie (lol) and getting some guts and start building relationships with more people in my church and whatnot. I'm sure there are other things that I could learn from this ordeal, but that's just what came to my mind. God is continuing to teach me so many things over the past week, and they have been difficult things to deal with sometimes.  I'll have to talk more about that some other day.  Who would have thought that car problems could teach you something?
Please continue to pray for me.  I'm still looking for clarity and trying to hear God's voice instead of listening to the voices inside my head.

June 30, 2013

My father

I wanted to take a little bit of time right now to pay tribute to my dad.  Here's a little background on my relationship with my dad:
My dad has always been a very hard worker. When I was little he was a farmer. When I got a little older he was a farmer and worked at a local car dealership. Along with this he has been involved in numerous organizations and is even an elder at the church I was raised in and still attend. Because of this he was not necessarily home all the time. I remember there being days at a time where I would not see him because he would get home after I went to bed and leave before I woke up in the morning. I never had a close relationship with my father. Maybe because he wasn't around all the time. Maybe because I was a timid child. Maybe numerous other things that don't really matter now. While I may not have been close to my dad, I knew without a doubt that he loved and still loves me very much. I may not talk to him a whole lot, but if I ever need a hug, he is the first one to squeeze me till I can't breathe :-). I thank God for the dad he gave me.
Over the past year I have seen a spiritual growth in my father that has been amazing to watch. I've seen God working in his life. I know it has been a challenge for him, but he has embraced that challenge, and now he inspires me more than ever in my walk with God. God has used my dad to give me words of wisdom and encouragement over the past year. I have to admit that it kinda surprised me, but I am so thankful for it. I'm excited to see how God is going to continue to use my dad. I am so thankful God has allowed my relationship with my dad to grow, also. We may not talk all the time, but I think we are very similar. (I definitely get my sense of humor from him. :-) )
In all that, I just want to say that I love you, Dad, and I'm very thankful that you are my dad. I wouldn't trade you for anything. :-)

Surrendering all?

Today has been a very difficult day for me. Very convicting day. I told you guys in my last post that I felt God was telling me to surrender my son to Him. Today I was blasted in the face once again with that feeling.  It is painful. It hurts like crazy to think I may lose my son forever, but I think who am I to hold my son so closely when there are people all around the world losing everything they have to follow Christ?  God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.  Abraham could not understand why God called him to do that.  Abraham knew that Isaac was supposed to be the son that would make him the father of many nations.  Abraham figured maybe God would raise Isaac from the dead.  I can relate to Abraham in a sense. I don't feel God calling me to kill my son, but I do feel like He is telling me it's time to give him up. That hurts because I have worked SO hard for at least the past two years to protect my son from... everything, basically.  I have fought so hard for him. Now, God is saying "Give him up."  I say "Why, God? I don't get it. I have fought so hard for him, and now you're telling me to just give him up."  I understand now that over the past how many ever years I have not really sought God as to what He wanted me to do. I just went forward doing what I felt was the right thing to do, and I have to admit that I was very self-centered in what I did.  I hurt a  LOT of people in the process. Thankfully, some of those people have been able to forgive me but others have had a lot harder time in doing so.
I have always been the type of person that has been fearful of just about everything. I was afraid of being alone, afraid of water, heights, failing, etc.  I have faced a lot of my fears over the past two years, and God has helped me and continues to help me overcome some of those fears (if I let Him). One of my biggest fears has been losing my son. It scares me to think that something bad might happen to him so, therefore, I have tried to control as much of his life as I possibly could.  Some of you may say "well, that's your job. You're his mother." I agree that God gave me my son to protect him and help him grow, etc., but God also commands me to give everything to Him. That includes my son. Americans today don't seem to fully understand the sacrifices and costs that go along with following Jesus. I'm just now learning what those costs are. I never understood before the costs. God commanded His disciples to drop whatever they were doing, leave whoever they were with, pick up their crosses and follow Him. I used to be the type of person that kept everything, and I mean Everything. Old Sunday School papers, school papers, everything. Over the past ten years I have moved about a dozen times or so. Because I have moved so much I have learned to let go of stuff. Today, I barely have anything of my own. I'm ok with that. God has provided for me and will continue to provide for me. A harder thing for me to give up is my family. I have always been a family oriented person. My family have been the only ones to stay by me through everything, even if they don't like what I've done. I thank God for them. I also have a tendency to hold people in general to tightly. I get attached easily and it's hard for me to let them go. God has shown me over the past year how to do that though. He has shown me that it's ok to let people go. Sometimes we have to do that for God to really use us. It's not easy. It hurts, but it's worth it.
I have to tell you that I am a little nervous about what I have to do. Not only do I have to give up my son, but I also risk being shunned by some of the other people that I love the most. It makes me sad, but I know everything will be ok in the end.
I'm sorry for rambling on, but I wanted to make some things clearer. They're probably clear as mud, huh? That's what my dad would say anyway.

June 29, 2013

New Direction

I have decided that I am going to switch directions on this blog. I want to use it entirely for what God is doing in my life.
The last two years have been extremely challenging yet rewarding years for me, and I have decided that I should stop complaining and start doing what God wants me to do. God has called me into missions. I still don't know what that looks like, but I'm looking forward to it.
I went on a mission trip to Mexico again this year, and, once again, it changed my life. I really felt like God was telling me to surrender everything to Him and take the next step in faith. More specifically I felt like God was telling me to surrender my son to Him. I still don't know what that looks like or what that will consist of, but I am reminded of how God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. I don't believe God is calling me to kill my son, but I risk losing him. It doesn't make sense to the world, but Christians have been "giving up" their families for thousands of years. The Sunday School class I am going to at our church is going through the Radical series by David Platt.  Now, if you want to be challenged, I totally recommend this. If you want to know what following Christ should REALLY look like, read the book, take the class, read the Gospels in your Bible.  Jesus was straightforward with those He called. He told them they had to give up EVERYTHING to follow Him. That meant their livelihood (jobs), families, worldly possessions, etc. Jesus told them from the beginning it would not be easy.  They knew, basically, what the cost of following Him was, and they were up for the challenge. I read something the other day that said that almost all or all of Jesus' original disciples were killed for their faith. How many of us in America today can say that we are even WILLING to die for our faith?  We are perfectly content to sit back and just do the bare minimum. We don't want to be challenged, and we certainly don't want to give up our stuff, our families, our great jobs, etc. Let alone being tortured or dying for our faith.
I recently finished reading a book called Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand.  Talk about eye-opening! Christians around the world are being tortured DAILY for Christ, and they do it joyfully. That is what being a true follower of Christ should look like. To think that I would love God so much that I joyfully endure torture for His name. That hits me right between the eyes and in the heart. It broke my heart to see how those Christians were and are being treated in other countries, but.... amazing things happened because of their witness. Many of the people who tortured them ending up believing and following Jesus because of their witness. Some of them even ended up in the same cells with those whom they had tortured previously, dying beside the men who brought them to their Heavenly Father. Amazing! I was really challenged by this book. My faith has waned over the years. I found myself pretty far away from God for a few years, but Thank God He brought me back to Himself. I'm learning what it is like to love God and truly want to follow Him. It is not easy by any means, but it is completely rewarding. It can be painful, but at the same time I feel peace and joy in doing it.
God gave me a heart of compassion, but... because I found it embarrassing to cry in front of other people and found myself being terribly hurt by those I was the closest to, my heart started hardening. I had not realized the severity of it until I came back from Mexico. It really bothered me that I was not even able to cry. I WANTED to cry, but I just couldn't. My heart had been so hardened. I hated it. I asked some friends of mine to pray for me :-) and within a few days, God began softening my heart again. IT's still a work in progress, but I am so thankful that He is giving me another chance.  I really have a heart for the hurting, especially kids. I have always loved working with kids. It breaks my heart to see pictures of kids living in orphanages who go without food, etc. I am hoping some day God will allow me to help some of these kids.
Anyway, I guess that is enough for now. I could probably write a sermon on what God has been teaching me over the past few weeks, but, for now, I will sign off.


February 2, 2013

My crazy, upside-down life

My life has changed so much over the past year and a half.  But before I get into that, let me give you a little background information.  For those of you that don't know me, I grew up in southwest Nebraska in a little tiny of about 625 people.  After graduating from high school, I went off to a Christian college in Northwest Iowa.  After finishing one year there, I decided it was too expensive to go back so I looked into different colleges that were closer to home and not nearly as expensive.  I decided on Chadron State College but after being there for only a week I found myself miserable so I called my parents, and they came and got me.  One semester later I was starting school at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff.  One year later I met a man online who turned my world upside down.  In hindsight, the relationship was horrible from the beginning, but I was so young and inexperienced with men that I got sucked in.  By the end of that year (2006) we were married. A little over nine months later Jabin arrived.  From the beginning Jabin has been my joy and pride of life, but caring for him has also been challenging since we found out he has developmental delays.  It can be very challenging for both of us sometimes, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  He can be very ornery, but he can also be very loving.
Anyway, after many years of some ups, but mostly downs, I decided it was time to leave my husband for good.  So.. I packed up my car with my stuff and what I could fit in there, and Jabin and I moved back to Nebraska and away from Louisiana and Jon Paul's family.  That was almost exactly a year and a half ago.  We (Jabin and I) moved back in with my parents until I could get back on my feet.  I got a job at the local grade school as a teacher's aide which I really like. I love the people I work with, but I also really like working in the same school where Jabin is going to school.  Jon Paul and I were on and off for about 10 months before my mission trip to Mexico in May of last year.  While I Mexico my life flipped even more upside down.  I came to the conclusion that my relationship with Jon Paul was hindering both of us.  I was miserable all the time and by staying with him I was giving him permission to not grow up.
A little over two months later, he filed for divorce since I didn't have the money at the time.  About a week later, we had a huge argument that occurred after his visitation.  Since then the relationship between the two of us has quickly become hostile.  He would call me a dozen times a day and harass me.  He sent me mean text messages.  He has lied about me to the court.  I have learned over the past six months how to refrain from lashing back at him.  I try to remind myself that the problem is not me, but him.  I do want him to be happy, but my main concern is my son's safety and well-being.  He has done nothing but harass me over the past six months.
The amazing thing about this whole situation is that through it all I still have peace, for the most part.  I am learning to really trust God with everything and leave Jabin in His hands.  That is the hardest thing for me, especially since Jabin came back from his last visit with his dad with a black eye.  I keep reminding myself of the verses in Philippians 4 about peace and trying to do the right thing.  I know God is working in this situation because I can feel it.  I am just trying to remind myself to be patient. Patience isn't something I've been very good with.  In fact, my lack of patience has caused me a lot of grief over the years.  Maybe God is teaching me patience, also.  I guess some day I will find out.
So... I've been a single mom for a year and a half.  It's been a crazy journey; one I never saw myself facing, but I've made it thus far and plan on making it a lot farther.  My son means the world to me, and I wouldn't trade him for anything.... no matter HOW ornery he gets.