Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Why I Cancelled My Hysterectomy

Late March of this year (2015), I was diagnosed with uterus fibroids. I woke up one day passing blood clots the size of golf balls. The bleeding was so intense that I was literally confined to my sofa for nearly three weeks. Every time I moved, I bled massive blood clots.

During my initial visit to the ER, the doctor recommended an ablation. Unfortunately, my OB-GYN informed me that my fibroids were too severe for a mere ablation and recommended a hysterectomy.

While some would say I’m beyond the child bearing age, I have yet to reach menopause, and this idea of having my uterus ripped out of me was disturbing, to say the least. It’s not that my husband and I want more children, it’s just that the choice was completely made without our consent.

I plunged into a deep depression over this idea. I was totally unsure of what to do, so I told my doctor I would talk it over with my husband and get back to him. However, the bleeding intensified, and that’s when I couldn’t move. I was unable to do anything but sit still. The obvious decision was that I NEEDED a hysterectomy.

Yet, my spirit wasn’t settled on this fact. From the moment I was diagnosed, I felt the Lord reaching into my spirit and whispering, “Remember the woman with the bleeding issues? This was what she had. This is not of Me. This is not my will for any woman to bear or suffer through.”

be encouraged

The rest of the world was screaming at me, telling me how “wonderful” it was to have a hysterectomy. “It’s so common…” but it didn’t feel common to me. “It’s the best decision I ever made…” but it didn’t feel like the right thing to do to me. I knew in my heart and soul that this was a ploy of the enemy against my very womanhood. I knew it was not God’s will that the very organ that makes me a woman should be taken from me. God was telling me so clearly that I could be healed…if I only trusted him to do so.

by his stripes

After missing several weeks of church due to the bleeding, I finally decided I needed to go despite my condition. As one lady came to greet me, Tavin, my then five year old son, asked her if she would pray for me for my bleeding to stop. So she laid hands on my stomach, as did Tavin, and they prayed for me. Most of the church (it’s a very small church) knew of my situation, so at the end of the service everyone prayed for me and laid hands on me for healing.

The very next day the bleeding stopped.

Several days later I felt the Lord tell me to cancel the hysterectomy and to trust Him.

That scared me. I have trust issues. And I have major trust issues with God. I’m just being honest here. And THIS? Well, this was a HUGE leap of faith. A type of leap I’ve never taken before. But I jumped with both feet.

I told my husband my decision and why. He supported me 100%. He was worried, but we both decided that if I was wrong about this, it wasn’t the end of the world and I could always choose later to get the operation if the bleeding started again.

And it did…

When I called the doctor to cancel the operation, his nurse was highly irritated with me about it. She snidely said, “Well, when the bleeding starts again you’re going to be calling us to get it done and then you’ll have to wait another few months… Are you SURE you want to cancel?” I felt my heart pounding and my head starting to question everything God had spoken to my heart. I hesitated before I answered a resounding, “Yes, I’m sure…” And sure enough, two days later I began to bleed again.

But I stood on the Word God gave me, that He was healing me. That all I had to do was reach out to Him and the healing would be mine. So I thanked him in prayer for my healing as I mowed the lawn, cooked dinner, basically did all the things I shouldn’t have been doing. And then on the third day, on Tavin’s sixth birthday, of all days, it hit me hard. The bleeding was so intense I couldn’t move again, and I began to feel doubt creeping in and fear rising up within me. The enemy was blaming God for not healing my body. He was condemning me for being “so stupid” for cancelling the surgery. And for a very brief moment I began to believe those lies. But then something snapped in me: This is NOT God’s will for my life. He promised a healing, and a healing I SHALL receive. This is another plot of the enemy to get me to doubt my God. I will not go there. I am healed…

The next day the bleeding stopped again.

As this last menstrual cycle came, it was completely regular. I had one brief moment, while visiting my grandmother in the hospital, that the bleeding was so bad that I had to walk home with my legs practically crossed. But a few hours later, it subsided, and I was back to normal again!

I AM healed.

Healing IS mine.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.” Luke 1:45

I have believed. I do believe. And I am truly blessed by the healing of the fibroids in my uterus. Because God’s will is not for women to be attacked this way. The first person the enemy deceived was Eve…a woman who desired to know God so intimately that she ate the forbidden fruit. And God told the serpent:

“I will make you and your brood enemies of the woman and all her children…” Genesis 3:15

Women are Satan’s arch enemies. Not men. But women. That’s why uterus fibroids and hysterectomies are so “common.” It is a clear attack on her womanhood, her body, her mind, her spirit, and her child bearing. I’ve heard horror stories of women as young as 27 who never had children and had to have a hysterectomy. I know several women who never had the choice of bearing children because of this “common” disease.

This is NOT God’s will. It is, however, a common attack on women by Satan.

If you are suffering from fibroids, stand firm in the knowledge that the enemy hates you and wants nothing more for you to feel less of a woman; but also realize and understand that God desires—so desperately desires—to heal you instead!

One of the most amazing words Jesus says in the story of the woman with the bleeding issue is… “Daughter…” Jesus called her “daughter.” (Matthew 9:22). That was our Papa speaking to her, and to me, and to you. Daughter… And He goes on to say, “BE ENCOURAGED!!! (emphasis mine) Your faith has healed you.” Jesus is telling us to be encouraged, this is not My will for your life, just reach out to Me and I will heal you…just reach out!

Will you reach out to Him? I did, and He has healed His daughter.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Authentic Italian Meatballs and Homemade Marinara Sauce

It was a fluke really, how this whole weekly “Italian Night” tradition took place in our home.

Our son Tavin (now six), was slightly jealous of mine and Jared’s romantic Valentine’s Dinner.
So he asked one day in early April if I would make a romantic dinner for him, too. How could I turn down such a beautiful request from such an adorable face?

So that night, as he was showering, I set up our front dinette-area to look like an authentic restaurant. And the rest is now history…or should I say, “tradition.”

Yep, he was one happy little boy. I pulled out all the stops for our in-home Italian restaurant theme. I found a fantastic playlist of Italian restaurant music on youtube, we had appetizers, bread sticks, dancing, dinner, clanging of glasses with sparkling lemonade, and even to-go boxes.

This also happened after I got really sick one week and couldn’t eat anything! The very first thing I craved when I could hold something down was authentic meatballs. So that Friday, I went on a hunt for the perfect meatball that I remembered having from one of my favorite restaurants in town that’s now closed. I eventually found myself at THE most authentic Italian deli in this area, Tenuta’s. Seriously, if you’re ever passing through Kenosha, Wisconsin, this is one place you HAVE to go to…even former President George W. Bush made a pit stop there on his 2004 Presidential campaign, and I was there to witness it all! (One of the most memorable days of my life!)

So anyway…

The meatballs were quite delicious, however…it was not what I was hoping for.

So the next time I planned meatballs for our Italian Night, I was on a hunt for a good meatball recipe. I searched the internet high and low, but ultimately found my way to my cookbook cupboard (yes, I really have an entire cupboard filled with delightful cookbooks!). And this is what I found:

Uh-huh. That’s right. [insert happy dance here]

When my mother passed away, thankfully I was her only child and all her cookbooks and recipes were mine—ALL MINE!! And this is where I found a little piece of Italian heaven, right on page 102.

Polpette Di Manzo” Meatballs

This is it, folks. This is the stuff. You will never, ever turn back. Ever. We actually make this a meal. No noodles. Just saucy bites of heaven.

Here, let me just enlarge this a bit for you…

Now many of you may be thinking, “Ew, look at all that grease.” No, honey, that’s not grease, that’s lovely EVOO, better known as Extra Virgin Olive Oil from my homemade marinara sauce, and you DON’T want to discard that river of goodness, it’s going to keep your meatballs nice and moist.

So shall we get to it then?

For the *meatballs you’ll need:
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup grated Romano or parmesan cheese (I used parmesan, and actually the last time I made this I only had 1/2 cup left so I improvised with a 1/2 cup of shredded Italian cheese blend—OH WOW!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley (I used about 2 teaspoons dried parsley)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (I used about 2 teaspoons…I like garlic!)
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs (I made my own from Italian bread)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 –1 cup EXTRA breadcrumbs in a bowl
  • Olive oil for frying
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. To quote the cookbook, “The mixture should be solid, not mushy. If too mushy, add more breadcrumbs.”
  3. Shape into any size meatballs you desire, big or small, it doesn’t really matter! However, your cooking time will, so keep that in mind.
  4. Roll meatballs in the extra breadcrumbs.
  5. You can use two large skillets, or work in batches with one large skillet. Heat a small-medium amount of olive oil in the skillets. Place meatballs in the hot, hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Brown on all sides.
  6. Pour homemade marinara sauce over meatballs (recipe to follow). Be careful, once it hits the hot pan it will sizzle and splatter,but I LIKE that! You can also top the meatballs with a touch of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Place skillet(s) in oven for approximately 20-25 minutes.
  8. Serve as a main dish, over cooked noodles, or over a freshly buttered piece of Italian bread.
  9. Close your eyes and moan…
*Adapted from the cookbook, Elodia Rigante’s Italian Immigrant Cooking.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

This is so easy you’ll wonder why you EVER bought it in a jar, I know I did! And it’s so much cheaper.

  • 1 large can of *crushed tomatoes, unseasoned or with basil
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, depending on your taste. This can be put in whole, or roughly chopped.
  • Olive oil
  • A pinch of basil or Italian seasoning (if using unseasoned tomatoes)
  • A pinch of sugar
  1. Pour tomatoes into medium saucepan.
  2. Drizzle in a nice amount of olive oil (again, this is depending on your preference; I usually use a good amount).
  3. Throw in the garlic (if you’re using whole cloves, just make sure to mash them with a potato masher once they’ve cooked for a while).
  4. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
*NOTE: You can use a can of whole tomatoes. Actually, authentic marinara is made with whole tomatoes, not crushed. I’ve made it both ways and I like the consistency of the crushed better.

Please leave me a comment if you’ve made these and let me know how many times your eyes rolled to the back of your head in pure ecstasy. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Praying for the Bruce Jenners of the World

mt sinai1

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and had the strangest urge to pray for Bruce Jenner. I felt God’s heart weeping and breaking. Not just over Bruce Jenner, but the Bruce Jenners of the world. Those who are confused and broken. So lost in themselves that they can’t escape.

So I prayed. And then my heart ached. So heavy with compassion. Because no one is paying attention. No one is listening to his cries for help. Instead, in this fallen, dark, warped world, they are applauding his trauma. They are cheering him on in his heartache. They have pushed him to do something that he, himself, isn’t so sure about. (He said it himself.)

This morning I woke up and forgot nearly everything I had prayed about. I wanted desperately to share my thoughts on this with the blogging world. But every thought is now lost and gone. So I woke up this morning and proceeded to read my devotionals. From Jesus Calling, God speaks,

“Remember that you live in a fallen world: an abnormal world tainted by sin… Make Me the deepest desire of your heart. Let Me fulfill your yearning for perfection.”

Bruce indicated that he—and what he is doing to himself—is “the new normal.” I don’t disagree with that statement, because we now live in an “abnormal world” where all abnormalty is called normal.

“Woe to those saying to evil 'good,' And to good 'evil,' Putting darkness for light, and light for darkness, Putting bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20 (YLT)

God predicted all of this. He’s not surprised by this “new normal.” However, He’s incredibly grieved and sorrowful. Angry? Probably. But mostly raging with anger over how the devil has deceived us so greatly and taken so many precious lives.

No. I will not call you Caitlyn.

We often forget that God made man in His image. I don’t believe it’s merely the outside image that we mirror, but more importantly, the Heart of God that we reflect. Happiness, joy, sorrow, grief, anger, love… They all encompass Who God is…and who we are, too.

There are many blogs, articles, stories, etc. out there on Bruce Jenner, and I have read many from each angle. So I won’t reiterate those thought processes.

I have been a born again believer since 1998. I thought I knew what “interceding” prayer was until the other day when I read: “Moses interceded with the LORD his God…” from Exodus 32. For some reason the term “intercede” finally made real sense to me. Because the Israelites, at the time, didn’t even know they NEEDED intercession. They were down in the valley of the mountains dancing around a golden calf, singing, “This is our god who saved us.” And God was furious, to put it mildly! God was ready to strike them all down dead. Period. Be done with them. But Moses stepped in and stepped up. And I love what he says to the Creator of the Universe!

“Turn from Your great anger and change Your mind about this disaster planned for Your people.” Exodus 32:13

The Bruce Jenners of this world are heading for disaster. A disaster of their own making. God can’t stop us from ourselves. We have free will. And so he cannot stop the consequences of those decisions. We must face them head on.

Listen to transgenders. Really listen to them.

Many years ago, before I got saved, I hung around a seedy crowd. One person in our circle was a transgender who was going through the process of surgically becoming a woman. He was such a mess. Always depressed, Always suicidal. I can’t recall how many midnight phone calls I had to talk him down from killing himself. Oh, the anguish this poor man suffered. He turned to alcohol and drugs to try and soothe the emotional tangled web he was in, and it never worked. I often wonder if he is still alive today…

Not to change the subject, because this does pertain to the my topic, but many gay people like to ask heterosexuals, “When did you choose to be straight?” They think they are tricking us into saying that we never “chose” to be straight to prove their theory that they were born this way. But listen to a homosexual’s story. You can’t miss the story of abuse or molestation, unless you’re trying hard to avoid the truth.

But we can’t fall into this trap of not choosing, because we do choose to be straight. We choose to stay faithful to our spouse. We choose to accept who God created us to be. Let me explain.

In today’s world, many of us are tempted with the notion that gay sex is alluring, hot, steamy and incredibly better than heterosexual sex...and “normal.” Because it’s glamorized now. It’s sung about in songs like, “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry, and she liked it, OH, how she liked that cherry chapstick kiss. So even the straightest of straight are tempted by this notion of something better. And that’s the lie of the devil. That’s how he tempts us. With ideas of the next best thing. To fulfill our lust for pleasure.

Eve knew not to eat from that tree, but the serpent, through its deception, gave her a new perspective (illusion) on the tree. And all of a sudden, that tree was SO tempting, so alluring, so glorious. It offered so much! She just HAD to have it. 

“The woman approached the tree, eyed its fruit and coveted its mouth-watering, wisdom-granting beauty. She plucked a fruit from the tree and ate. She then offered the fruit to her husband… Suddenly their eyes were opened to a reality previously unknown.” Genesis 3:6, 7

I won’t lie, before I got saved I flirted with the idea of homosexuality. As someone who jumped from one man to the next, the idea of kissing a beautiful woman got my blood going. Because that’s what lust does. Fortunately, I never acted on those impulses, but I got close. I chose instead not to fall for the deception and the lie. I chose to be straight.

I also currently choose to stay loyal and faithful to my husband. It’s no different than choosing to be gay. This is my choice. And again, throughout the past several years I have been tempted periodically by other men to cheat on my husband. But I refuse not only the offer, but the very thought of doing so! I resist the THOUGHT.

My point is that the world tempts us to do things that seem appealing and better than simply being “normal.” It lures us in with lustful implications that could make us feel better. We eat the fruit and pass it along to someone else claiming it’s perfectly fine. And just a mere few years ago, homosexuality and cross-dressing (transgenderism) was considered abnormal in the clinical world of psychology. Some psychologists today refuse to acknowledge that this has now somehow changed just because the homosexual community is so adamant in removing it from the books, so to speak.

This is real. Forget scriptures that say it’s an abomination. Forget that. Forget all of it. These people are HURTING! These people are STILL God’s children. Never does He take His eyes off of them. Never. He knows the pain they endure. He knows they are suffering, and no one is willing to deal with that. Instead, we accept their pain and applaud it.

We aren’t helping them by “accepting” their decisions. We are killing them emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. In our love FOR them, we need to speak truth. Not words of hell and damnation, but truth like I spoke about my own life. That we are all tempted. That we all face life-altering decisions. That we all face our own demons from our past that has led us down a road of self destruction in one form or another. Mine were promiscuity, lust, drugs, alcohol.

My truth is that I was molested by my first step-father at the age of eleven. But worse yet, and something I have never declared out loud in public, is that I was molested much earlier, at the ripe age by seven my cousin, who was an older girl. I was very young and thought that what she was doing to me was “normal.”

I don’t write this to make anyone feel sorry for me. I write this because we all have a story to tell, and all of us with stories like these are fighting for our lives, to resist the sexual lies that will only take us deeper into our own hell. And the ONLY WAY I ever escaped mine was by surrendering to Jesus. It wasn’t the world who berated my behaviors that made me want to change. No, they only dug my hole deeper. But it was those who spoke the love of God into my life—His absolute understanding and forgiveness of my choices—that transformed me forever. And it was through being born again by the power of His precious blood that altered my choices to begin resisting sin successfully.

Some people don’t want to change. They are believing the lie that “this is the new normal,” and they like the attention, they like making a loud clanging noise in the world, and they love making other people pay the price for disagreeing with it. They thrive on it. They were “born that way.”

But there are others who are desperately hurting. They truly feel that they didn’t “choose” this life, even—yes, even—if they believe they were born this way!  I had a friend a few years ago who felt this way and took his life over it. Hung himself from the deck of his apartment. Many of us—and he had many, many friends!—were shocked by his suicide because he was one of the happiest, funniest people we knew. But he was gay, and apparently his heart had not accepted it as “normal.” And while we all laughed at his jokes, and applauded his braveness in being openly gay (before it was the cool thing to do), he was hurting, but we weren’t hearing.

As a young Christian, many labeled me with the anti-gay stigma until I retorted back, “Love is love…” I wasn’t outspoken about the homosexual lifestyle because it didn’t “affect” my life one way or the other. I had no real opinion on it. I knew gay people and loved them. I didn’t want to be perceived as being judgmental; well, because I wasn’t thinking much about it. Meaning, I didn’t care. Really. I didn’t “care.” Wow. I’m very saddened to admit that. As a Christian, as a representative of Christ, I SHOULD care. But I didn’t.

And then I did care. In the worst way. I began speaking out against it. And honestly, I don’t want to be known as someone who is “against” anything. I want to be FOR things and FOR people and FOR love. But it didn’t come off that way.

And God is renewing my heart. I’ve traveled the course on this topic from wholly acceptance to downright rejection. But now God is showing me mercy. God is giving me a heart to hear. And like Moses, I want to intercede for God’s people who are hurting like Bruce Jenner, who don’t even realize their own suffering.

My prayer is generic and most general, I know, but God knows my heart, because He placed this in me now. I hope that the Christian world will begin to take a stand on this issue. Not against it. Not for it. But for the Bruce Jenners of the world. Stand in the gap for them in prayer and in love.

And if you know a Bruce Jenner…listen. Trust me. You’ll hear it. And when you hear it, speak Truth in love. God will do the rest.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Bible Journaling Through the Pain

Bible journaling has opened up a whole new door for me in terms of meditating on scripture. As I work on the art, I’m reflecting on the Word, visualizing it, and hoping to make it come to life not only on the pages, but in my heart and mind.

In my last post, I mentioned that I need to have a hysterectomy. It’s not been something I’ve been handling very well. (I just got off the kitchen floor from a very good cry.) But bible journaling has been very therapeutic for this extremely difficult time. It helps me to connect my pain to God’s throne. It’s like a telephone line to God’s heart. HELP ME. HEAR ME. HEAL ME.

When I first received the news…(Isaiah 53:5, acrylic paints, date stamp, letter block stamps, stickers)

by his stripes 

Yet this scripture lingered in my mind, dancing around uncomfortably…(Matthew 9:22, stamps, markers, sticker letters, various stickers, tassel ribbon)

be encouraged

And while the anger and pain began to take over, I woke up one morning seeing this in my mind…(Psalm 118:24, acrylic paints, Crayola markers, stickers, letter stickers)

this is the day

And during the past few years I know the fire has dimmed, and with all these new problems arising I was struck with an answer…(Leviticus 6:12, watercolors, markers)

keep the fire burning

I’m thankful for the Journaling Bible Community on facebook for all their love, support and encouragement. I have been able to share my pain through the expression of art and scripture all in one place. God is using this process to get me through the heartache and suffering.

Robbed by the Common

A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with fibroids—non cancerous tumors growing on my uterus wall. The ER doctor determined that an ablation would probably be done—a procedure removing the fibroids. But a follow up appointment with my OB/GYN determined that the fibroids were too large, there were too many, and my uterus was also enlarged, so the only (viable) option is a hysterectomy.

“You’ll feel so much better when it’s over.” “Best decision of my life!” “Oh, is that all? That’s so common. Most women go through that.” “I had one. It’s not that big of a deal.”

That’s all I’ve been hearing since I announced the results. Were those supposed to be words of encouragement? Because they felt like harsh slaps to my face.

If this is so “common” why I don’t I feel relieved, or excited? Why does it feel so uncommon to me? So unnatural? So unreal…

I’ve had a lot of time to think about these things, since my surgery isn’t for another month and I’ve been pretty much couch-ridden for three weeks. This is not my choosing. I will no longer have children, or the ability to do so. I didn’t get to make that decision; the decision was made for me.

When I had Tavin, he was an opportunity for me to redeem myself for the mess I created with my first son. It was a chance for me to be the kind of mother I had always wanted to be, and with the man I had waited my whole life to share that bond with.

But Tavin wasn’t the “joy” we had expected. We didn’t get much of an opportunity to enjoy being parents of this small little life we had created. No. Tavin had troubles from the day he was born and they never really have ended. We spent the majority of his first 18 months listening to him cry continuously. He very rarely slept, and we were ragged. We couldn’t take him anywhere because he cried excessively in the car, in the buggy, in the stroller, in the store, at someone’s house… So we stopped going places, stopped doing things, and our lives revolved around this excessive, nagging cry and the need to make it stop somehow.

Once the crying stopped, a new ailment afflicted Tavin. A stomach issue that not only had him crying, but screaming and writhing in constant pain for another year and a half. Then we spent most of our time in the ER, at the doctor, seeing specialists, having extensive tests done, and in the end never finding out what was wrong. We just lived on edge as Tavin sat immobile, unable to move, screaming in pain…as if crying wasn’t bad enough. We sat helplessly, hopelessly by, watching him suffer. And while our hearts broke, our nerves were destroyed by the constant groaning, crying, screaming, and never ending agony.

Once that seemed to subside, it seemed that Tavin was sick with a cold continuously. He is always sick. He’ll finally get well, and a week or so later, he has another cold.

And Tavin is not an easy child. He is strong willed, inquisitive, talkative, and still a restless sleeper who is up before the crack of dawn. There isn’t much down time for us, since Tavin is always running around, jumping from one thought, idea or plan to the next.

So you see, I lost another childhood. I didn’t get to relish in his infancy, or his toddler years (in fact, I don’t remember one thing from when he was two!). And next month he’ll be six already, and I feel as if I lost those six years. I have no idea who this child is half the time. It’s as if he just one day appeared and replaced the baby we once had that left us frazzled, and we’re still a bit shell shocked by this small boy.

And yet, Tavin is also one of the most thoughtful, loving, sensitive boys I’ve ever known. He is kind and generous to a fault! He has the power to make people smile and feel beautiful. And the other day as I explained what a hysterectomy was (because he asked, as he does about everything), he began to cry as he complained that he wanted a sister. He doesn’t want me to have my uterus taken out because he wants a sibling.

“You can always adopt…” Is the next thing people like to say now. Sure, if you have thousands upon thousands of dollars to spend. We’re lucky to pay the rent each month. And now with all of our medical bills, most of our extra money (ha ha!!) will be spent trying to pay that off.

I feel ripped off. I feel gipped. I feel like my life has been stolen from me. I feel like all the joy has been taken from me. I feel like I never had a chance with Tavin. I feel like I missed so much of what most mother’s get to feel with their newborn or toddler. I didn’t get the joy. I didn’t get the fuzzy feeling of being a new mom. I got thrown into the lion’s den with a child that roars from before sunrise to sunset. I’m an exhausted, worn out momma. I don’t smile much. I don’t do much, because my body and mind is so tired. I try so hard to just enjoy the little moments with Tavin, but they usually—most always—turn into a battle and an argument. So I stopped trying. I don’t have the energy…

So I messed up one child because I was reckless and out of control in my younger years, and now I’m messing up another child simply because I’ve exhausted all my resources in trying to make it right. The second chance at being a mommy was taken from me from the day he was born, and now I have no more chances. I just have to live with the fact that I’m just not very good at this.

And that just about destroys me…

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The World is Angry

“In your anger, do not sin.” Ephesians 4:26


I’m usually pretty outspoken when it comes to current events, but lately I’ve been staying out of it as much as possible.

The ALS ice bucket challenge. The riots in Ferguson, MO. The controversy over the football team, Washington Redskins. You name it. It’s happening. It’s unfathomable to me how this world is fraying at the edges, and sometimes over such ridiculous things. And then it dawned on me…

I just get the feeling that the world is simply...ANGRY. And the world is looking for outlets to release and express that anger. I don't believe the anger is about a cop, or race, although I do believe the media uses it as such. However, anger boils over after a series of events and this country has undergone majorly hurtful, shocking, horrific changes since 9/11.

This country is suffering under the hands of politicians who are trying to control every aspect our lives. Everyone is facing the pressure of life today...everyone, regardless of race, sex, class, or ethnicity. And it's beginning to explode. This country is divided, not united. And everyone believed Obama would be the cure-all for that very problem. But he has only made matters worse, and now we see real racism in action as anger is being exploited and used against us as a whole.

I don’t think things are getting better, because the media wants (needs) us to fight one another, hate one another, kill one another, all so they can manipulate the storyline to make you ANGRY/ANGRIER. The angrier you are the better their ratings; the better their chances of winning the next election. It’s just one big lie piled on top of a million other lies, and if you’re not paying attention to reality, those lies WILL become your reality, and then wars on the streets break out and it’s “us against them.”

It’s okay to feel anger, but it’s not okay to act on that anger to the point of destruction and division.

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Proverbs 29:11

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

Ironically, I’ve been working on Tavin’s homeschool curriculum the last few weeks and recently put together a lapbook about controlling anger. Since then, I’m paying much more attention to my own anger and the anger in our home and the anger that surrounds us on all sides of the world. The anger is infectious. It’s as debilitating and deadly disease as ALS. It’s as stupid as trying to change a football team’s name and mascot. And what it really looks like is riots in Missouri. Not pretty.

The morning after I worked all night putting that anger lapbook together, I was tired and cranky. I hadn’t slept a wink, and as a mom I don’t get those nice moments of resting or sleeping in. I was angry. And I wanted the world to know how angry I was. I yelled at my husband. I slammed doors. I snapped at my son. I was in a full blown rage against the world because I hadn’t slept and felt everyone deserved to know it. Suddenly I began to think about the very things I had put together for that lapbook. God quickened my heart. “Anger is a choice. What will you choose today?”

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

In that very moment I chose NOT to be angry. I changed my mind! I decided that anger doesn’t need to control me, because God gave me a spirit of self-control and I was going to exercise that power. And it changed my heart. I walked up to my son, kissed him and told him I loved him. The rest of the day was quite literally, a miracle.

A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. Proverbs 15:18

I know you’re angry. But is your anger “deserving” of hurting others? Who will be brave enough to be the patient one that can calm these quarrels? Everyone. Don’t believe me?

My dear brothers (and sisters), take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  for [man's] anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When You Keep Expecting God

“Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon.” (Psalm 31:24, The Message)

I have spent the majority of my life expecting good things to happen. Things that never came to pass. I’ve been waiting for years to see my eldest son get saved, and now I’m waiting for my little boy to show some kind of interest in God at all.

I’m constantly expecting the goodness of God, which seems to never arrive. I keep expecting God to make the wrongs in my life right, as He promises. I keep expecting justice in the areas where we have seen the bad guys win and we’ve lost everything. I keep expecting God to get us out of poverty. I keep expecting God to show me what my calling is, because every time I get close to what I think it may be, the doors are shut. I keep expecting my in-laws to do the right thing. I keep expecting my husband to be honest with me.

I’ve been brave. I’ve been strong. I haven’t given up. But I’m close.

I keep expecting God to get here soon. And He never shows up.

Every time I get a glimmer of hope, it’s snatched away. Every time I think something might change, it’s only just another disappointment.

I keep trying to find hope where there is none. I keep trying to build my faith and just “believe” God’s got this. I keep trying to trust God only to find that when I do I end up in worse places than I was before.

Expecting God reminds me of how I used to wait for my father to come back home after he left us to start another family. It reminds me of how many times my mother used to leave me home alone when I was five and instead of comforting me, she’d get mad at me for being so scared. It reminds me of all the times my eldest son waited for his dad to come pick him up but he never did. It feels a lot like that. This waiting. This expectation.

And yet, here I am…still expecting God to get here soon. I’m either a fool, or I trust God more than I care to admit.