Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Constant Crossroads

A whole year and a half has gone by since I've put anything on here. To say that it's been a tough year and a half is an understatement. I don't even know where to begin, but as I type we'll see what my heart has me share.
Questions go through my mind often. See if you can relate to any of these.
God, are you allowing these things to happen to teach us something, is this all really set in play by your sovreign plan to go through these constant struggles and crossroads, or are these things in our lives that we are experiencing just all out of consequences of our own actions, and you are just sitting up there waiting for us to repent and return to You?
I have no idea the answer to this. And it's probably been the catalyst to my personal struggles. The big question for me is, How do I know that I am hearing from God at all regarding anything that I am experiencing in my day to day life?
Prayer is still a very regular occurance for me. I am trying to communicate with God constantly. I read His Word daily, and still struggle to understand some of it. But, most of all, I just want relationship with Him. But to get clear answers, to hear Him, or know He is responding to me, that is where my confidence wanes.

To change course a little, my marriage has been in a very rocky place for a little over a year or so, maybe longer, but my memory is starting to fail me a little. And through it, my fear of God holding out on me is constant. Tim is very introverted and can come across just "not caring". I take that to heart. I am an extrovert and find myself hanging on every response that I get from God or others once I have presented a thought or request. Therefore, there's a constant voice that says, "He doesn't care about you", if I get silence.
Communication is very strained with Tim and I these days. We have pockets of good unity, then back to residing in opposite areas of the home, hearts divided, just getting by, hoping when conflict arises, that we can maybe communicate about it without wanting to bite the other one's head off.
But you see, I am a loyal fighter, not with people, but for people. I hate conflict but when I want to fight for someone, watch out. So sometimes I want to just be an advocate for my husband without looking like I'm fighting with him. I get passionate about something I want to share or pull out of Him, and it comes across controlling. Maybe it is a little, but that is never my intention. Relationships are very vital for me, especially my marriage. And also, when I see someone in a hurting place, like my husband, I take on that hurt quite heavily too. It's the Senquin in me I guess. So when there is a problem, to me, either I completely avoid conflict, or I want to dive in head first to fix it, not gloss over it and hope it'll fix itself, or throw away the product altogether (or marriage in this context). And there is no other human in my life that I feel is worth fighting for than my husband nor is there anything I feel is worth fighting for (other than my relationship with God), than my marriage. For me to not care for him would deem me pretty much dead in my grave.
The problem also lies where I deal with a great deal of anxiety (which I have come to the conclusion is chemical and diet related, but still affects my spiriutal life greatly like it does my marriage, but this is a whole other topic). And it causes misconstrued messages to him that I am acting out of fear when I speak, when I take action to help him or our marriage. Well, there is some truth to that, but I also believe if we can use the darkness fear to motivate us to move further into healing, then so be it. But my proactive nature isn't always presented in the right way, or my heart for him isn't expressed clearly when I am acting out of fear, nor do I pick right timing to do so. Therefore it appears I am being controlling. But deep down, I just want unity, because I just simply care.
I have learned a lot though over the past 4 months about some deep rooted wounds that I had for years, that have affected the way I respond to certain situations. I have always had sort of a sense of feeling "overlooked", "under par", "not talented enough", "not smart enough", "unimportant". But you know what else I have learned? It's all true to a degree. And that's OK!! To the outside world, one or more of these things will get stamped on every individual that walks this earth. But that is  by the world's view.
Because, deep down, the most important thing is that I put my faith in Truth of God's Word, and not the feelings this world brings. In Christ, all those things are wiped away. I have a HUGE heart that finds value in all of my relationships, even though I may not always be the most consistant or loyal friend. But I am learning to keep in check where my relationship with God stands, because I can easily put others first and find more value in what others say to me than what God has to say to me. And that's idolitry. And that problem there has hurt me more than helped. I just have to learn where and how to channel my heart, receive love, how to be vulnerable, but also keep boundaries. It's a tough ride. But as long as I can heed to God's voice, all these other things should be easy. Did I just say easy? Back to heeding to God's voice, if that's not easy, then this other stuff will be impossible. So I am back to the crossroad once again. Who's voice am I hearing? God's voice or the thing that really sweet friend said with all good intentions that may or may not be what God is saying to me. This is the constant crossroads I am in these days.

Am I getting too real here? Or is there someone out there that needed to know they are not alone in this discombobulated and complicated thing we call life.
Does it even have to be complicated? Jesus said it doesn't.

John 13:34 "Love one another as I have loved you."

"For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matt. 6:32-34

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."
Simple, profound, but yet so hard to live out...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The King's Heart...

For the so many men in this world who struggle to believe that they are able to fulfill their calling as fathers, husbands, providers of the family, leaders, etc. and haven't been able to believe that God sees them as "kings" in His eyes, this is for you...

The Heart Of A King

It is a matter of the heart, my brothers. There are many offices a man might fulfill as a king - father of a household, manager of a department, pastor of a church, coach of a team, prime minister of a nation - but the heart required is the same. "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases" (Prov 21:1). The passage is often used to explain the sovereignty of God, in that he can do with a man whatever he well pleases. Certainly, God is that sovereign. But I don't think that's the spirit of this passage. God rarely forces a man to do something against his will, because he would far and above prefer that he didn't have to, that the man wills to do the will of God. "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15). What God is after is a man so yielded to him, so completely surrendered, that his heart is easily moved by the Spirit of God to the purposes of God.
That kind of heart makes for a good king.
Watch how Moses leads Israel out of bondage, and guides them to the Promised Land. Notice how every chapter telling the story of the Exodus begins, from chapter six to chapter fourteen: "Then the Lord said to Moses?" and the rest of the chapter is Moses doing what God told him to do. Is this how the men you know run their corporations, their churches, their families? I'm stunned by how little daily guidance Christian men seek from God. They have a good idea, and they just go do it. Not the great kings. Look at David. "In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. 'Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?' he asked. The Lord said, 'Go up.' David asked, 'Where shall I go?' 'To Hebron,' the Lord answered. So David went up there?" (2 Samuel 2:1-2). In his heart, and in his daily practice, David is a man yielded to God. He is called, may I remind you, a man after God's own heart.
This is the way Jesus lived. "For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say" (John 12:49-50). Jesus could have asserted his own will; he certainly had the power to do so, and the talent, and we might add he also could be trusted to do so. But no - he was yielded to the Father, in all things. Regardless of age, position, or natural abilities, a man is only ready to become a King when his heart is in the right place. Meaning, yielded to God in all things.

(Fathered by God )
John Eldredge

Monday, September 20, 2010

Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

I've been putting off updating this because truthfully I haven't really known what I want to say. But maybe as I write, it will come together.
I'm sure many who are reading this have already heard that we did have a miscarriage after all. I opted to have a D&C on Wednesday of last week after the doctor finally came to the conclusion that what I had was a missed miscarriage. Sometime over the course of the month, the baby stopped developing even before there was a heartbeat, but my body just hadn't figured it out. So, to not prolong the already 3 weeks of agony, I wanted to move the "miscarriage" process along as quick as possible, therefore for opted the surgery.
My recovery emotionally and phyically was amazingly easy and quick. And truthfully I was just so thankful to not have the anxiety and rollercoaster of feelings anymore that I was having for 3 weeks during my pregnancy that left me sleepless, restless, and practically nonfunctional on so many levels. It was easier to know how to feel, even in sadness, than it was to not know how to feel at all. And I am experiencing a pretty big sigh of relief right now and enjoying the fact that I can actually sleep again, and think straight.
And by the Lord's hand, He also had prepared me a few days in advance for the outcome we ended up with. I knew before the doctor even said anything last week, that this pregnancy wasn't going to go on much longer. It just took me surrendering my wants and desires and accepting that God was going to do what God was going to do to find peace about it. And I truthfully didn't think I had it in me to carry on in the state that I had been in during the pregnancy much longer. Don't get me wrong, I would have done it if that was God's will. But I may have been a vegetable the whole time with the anxiety that would have come with it. But I guess we'll never know. All I know is that the 3 weeks I just endured was probably some of the hardest 3 weeks of my life! And at this point, the aftermath feels like a piece of cake comparitively.

And today, by God's grace, I am feeling thankful and at peace to know that the Lord knew exactly what I would need to endure everything during and after. And He has shown up mightily over the past month in so many ways. I can't deny that I have experienced Him probably the most through my friends, my parents, my husband, and even through people I hadn't met that were praying for me this whole time. He is so good that way.
He's also been evident through the fruit of what has come out of me despite my circumstance. I was still able to attend a party and dance with joy on Saturday night with my whole heart in the midst of what should be a time of sorrow. I was able to celebrate life and love with my prayer warrior friends on Friday night over dinner and fellowship. I even cleaned and organized my garage on Saturday for goodness sakes! Who does that after a miscarriage?
I was able to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday yesterday by making her favorite dessert and blessing her with our love and hospitality.
And last but not least, God answered a very specific prayer I prayed on Friday. I prayed that He would give me the opportunity to pay forward what many had done for me over the past month by showing sacrificial love to someone else in some way. And He answered greatly! I ended up babysitting a friends' two sweet boys all day Saturday so she could go to work when her sitter bailed at the last minute Friday night. She prayed for God to answer her prayers for a sitter Friday night and she said about 5 minutes before she was going to call into work and risk losing her job, I returned her phone call (not even knowing what she called for). Wow! Is that God or what? So I want to give an extra shout out to God for answering both our prayers so faithfully!

I do not give myself any credit for what I just shared in regards to how I am handling the miscarriage. It's kind of flooring me that I am not in a puddle of tears every day. In fact, I really haven't shed a tear since Sunday of last week before I even saw the doctor to get the final bad news. Not to say I have this great strength because of it. I think God is just giving me a break from the emotional trauma that I had faced for 3 weeks. And I'm gladly taking the break. It is all God and His faithfulness that weaves together these things within what should be a devastating and sorrowful time. He is using this circumstance to build my character, my ability to love, and mostly my ability to know Him more intimately. And I hope that time will not let this part of my life fade out as a distant memory, but that this will all become another tool that God can use for His glory for the rest of my days.

I know sorrowful days will come, as I'm sure the emotions will go up and down as I heal from all of this, but God is my constant and I trust that He will be faithful through it all as He as already been thus far.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Life

Well, after a grueling week of being tossed around emotionally by some really incompetant nurses at my OBGYN office, having tears of sorrow and loss after being told we lost the baby, then having hopes risen up again for 4 days in fear of them being squashed again while the nurses tried to figure out what the heck was going on with me, it turns out that we indeed are still having a baby..phew...and I'm still exhausted!

This has been a huge test for me of whether or not I can really still stand on what God was putting in mine and my plethera of friends' hearts about the outcome of this despite what the nurses were telling me. There was something deep inside that still wanted to believe that there was a baby still there and I held out until I got the right answer. It all came to head when I prayed desperately for God to grant wisdom to these nurses who were perplexed by some inconsistencies of the medical side of it. On big factor in this fiasco is that my doctor has been out of town this whole time so there hadn't been an actual physician overseeing my case this whole time, just a nurse flag! But after I had prayed for wisdom, the NP finally consulted another OBGYN in the practice on Thursday about the situation and that's when things started finally coming together and we learned that the inconsistencies were only due to lack of judgement on the NP's part in this.

We should NOT have had any ultrasounds until my hormone levels had reached 2000, but they had given me 4 prior to that which was completely unnecessary. And the NP made the wrong diagnosis Monday based on the ultrasound. So when the doctor got wind of my levels going over 2000 on Friday, lo and behold, we went in for an ultrasound again and WALA!! A BABY! They also confirmed that I am not as far along as my dates say I am, which was throwing the NP off as well. She for some reason wouldn't take that into consideration, but the doctor confirmed that I am only 5 weeks instead of 7 and everything is right where it needs to be for 5 HALLELUJAH!! We're having a baby!!

But to be truthful, my heart is still working up to the rejoicing part. I am having shake off the emotional roller coaster that I have been through the past week. Everyone around me is rejoicing with us, but I have some things to wrestle with still for sure. I am thankful, I am. But I am actually having to ask the Lord to put my heart at ease and bring out the rejoicing that He wants me to have. Because my flesh is still fighting some fears of what is still to come.
But He is so faithful because He has confirmed to me today through a Bible Study that I am doing currently, that it in obedience and trust that my rejoicing will come! And that He delights in our glad hearts. He has given the wisdom and discernment to the doctors that I totally asked for...and has brought new life back into my heart and has sustained a little life in my womb that I could not have made happen on my own!!

I also don't want to forget to mention that this baby has been bathed in prayer by countless prayer warriors over the past 2 weeks and I have no reason but to walk in thankfulness and a glad heart for what God has done thru this. The amount of love and support that has swelled up around us by our dearest friends and family and from people that we don't know as well but are friends with through's just a humbling thing and something we hope to never forget or take for granted. I only hope that we have the opportunity to pay forward to others the unconditional love and grace that was poured into us by our loving Father and by our amazing friends and family, because we could not have gotten through this week without it.

We serve an awesome, living, breathing God who wants to live and breathe into our lives at our deepest time of need...and that is when the "new life" He promises really takes root!

Today is the first day of a new chapter in our lives...let the rejoicing begin!

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!" Isaiah 43:18

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wholehearted Trust

Some who read this may already know, but a week ago today, I found out that I was pregnant. It was a big surprise to us. Then, within 24 hours, I began to have complications. I went to the docs last Monday to do the usual tests and ultrasound. Though things still seem to be in tact, there has been some fear that things may not be progressing like they should from one of the tests they ran. Now we go back Tuesday to do more of the same to get a better idea about what is going on. It has been a roller coaster for me over the past 6 days. I've had every thought, fear, doubt, faith, hope, more fear, you name it going through my mind and heart all week. But as I have been praying and and have had many many others praying for us, the peace that surpasses all understanding has fallen on me the past 36 hours. It's been amazing. I feel good about the outcome and am just having to wait til Tuesday to find out what is going on for sure at this point.
All that to say, I want to share this prayer that the Lord gave me yesterday that I am praying daily, even sometimes multiple times daily, and I'd love to have others join me in prayer if you would like. I am standing on His promises and trusting Him in this, even though I may not feel it all the time.
So here it goes:

Dear Lord Jesus,

I am asking for your manifest power and love to be evident during this time. Thank you that you have set the path before me and that my eternal pleasures are in your right hand. Thank you that you go before and behind me as a shield of protection and as my Shepherd when I am lost and confused. Especially now. I proclaim right now that You are my rock that I can set my feet firmly on no matter what happens or how I feel. Thank you that this life inside of me is in Your arms no matter what.

Father God, I thank you that you love your children and that you love giving good gifts to your children. I will say with an honest heart that I want this baby to survive in my womb and that I want to meet this child face to face while we are still here on earth. But if it is your will to take this child into your arms in heaven, then I will choose to trust that your plan is better than mine, even if my heart breaks, even if I get angry, even if I feel despair, and even if I lose my grip on You or lose faith. Thank you that you never lose your grip on me and that you will ultimately use this experience to reveal yourself to Tim and I in a mighty way. We want your will and your plan over ours, even if we don’t feel it. That is the heart you gave us…to ultimately fulfill your plan and your will.

Lord, I need you now more than I can express and you know that. Help my eyes to be fixed on You and that any other things that want to get me distracted or discouraged, that you will put your hands square on my shoulders, look at my face and give me the strength, courage, and faith to walk forward and seek you no matter what happens. Bless this life in me, bless my friends who have been praying for me. And as a little extra prayer, if it’s your will, make my hormone levels skyrocket to where they should be to sustain this life. And give the doctors and nurses wisdom and a more compassionate and sensitive heart toward me to give me a peace that I am in the right hands with them.
I ask all these things in the name of Jesus,


Psalm 16:8

"I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Divine Conspiracy

My husband and I are probably quite comical to God a lot of the time. Sometimes I wonder if our little life here just entertains Him. We are a piece of work sometimes and yet God knew exactly what He was doing when He put us together, even if sometimes I wonder what in the world He was thinking on those rougher days that couples go through. I am just going to list the differences in Tim and I individually and see if you can relate at all:

I am an extrovert to the inth degree.
He is an introvert to the inth degree.

In my perfect world, I would sit and have a two hour conversation with him every day.
He can go a few days without any communication and not skip a beat.

He is a physical touch guy.
I am not a touchy-feely person at all.

He loves words of affirmation.
I never have been good at giving them or receiving them.

I love quality time with him.
Must I remind you again, he is an introvert.

I love to do things outside the house and be adventurous on my free time.
In his free time, he just assumes read a good book for hours on end at home or sleep.

I am the people-pleaser.
He says what he says and well, to Tim, if it ruffles feathers, it's not his problem.

I am impatient about getting things done.
He's the procrastinator.

I want to be pursued and desired.
He many times just wants to be left alone (not meaning this negatively).

I am a woman.
He is a man.

And God knew all of these things when He put us together before we did...well, except that we knew the woman and man part. I had to clarify :). I heard recently from John and Staci Eldredge that marriage is a "divine conspiracy" designed my God to make us not only become more like Him but also to make us need Him more than we would ever otherwise. It's also defined as something that joins two broken people who love each other but also desperately need Him to keep them together and to create one-ness that can only come thru and remain in our Savior. Because if we do things our way, we are sure to keep ourselves in a pile of broken pieces.

Some days, I think I can't go another day with the differences we have individually. Some days, I feel lonely. And some days, he feels like I am too needy. Some days, I nag too much. And some days he probably wonders where the woman he first married went. But the fact is, we are both changing through our journey together and I've noticed that in some ways we are slowly taking on the others' traits sometimes... God is funny that way. Yet one thing we are both becoming more and more aware of is that because of our stark differences, our pursuit of Christ and His pursuit of us are the only thing that are going to keep us glued together.
I still question how to not depend on my husband for things only God can provide me with. I still struggle with waiting for God to bring revelation to both of us at the same time about certain circumstances. But one thing I don't think often enough about is that our relationship is for eternity, and that God is creating a love story between us within a larger Love Story. It may not always look like that romantic movie on the screen, but it is perfect in God's eyes because He sees the outcome. And for that I am truly thankful for the man that He has blessed me with to share that with here and for eternity.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just Rest

God is stirring some things up in me lately and it's been very hard to put my finger on what it is completely and why He is stirring it up. But I can say that it seems the outflow of what is going on within me is just merely the feeling of discontentment, but not necessarily the bad kind of discontentment. The Lord told me yesterday that is actually what some call "Holy discontentment". It's the kind that has made me completely unsatisfied with the status quo. The day-to-day mundane side of life is just not cutting it for me anymore. Though I enjoy some areas of my life for mere enjoyment, and am looking for the silver lining in those areas that just seem cloudy right now, it still is leaving me feeling a bit empty, realizing that there is more to this than finding things to fill my time up just for the sake of getting through the day. For those things that maybe in that moment make me feel happy but leave me empty still later. You probably see where I'm going with this and honestly it has become almost too cliche when you hear that only the Lord can fill these longings, but it is becoming more and more evident and true in my life and He is obviously doing a lot to make this a total reality in my life rather than just head knowledge. I still am working it out and can't say that I feel completely content just in Him yet. But He knows what it takes to get me there.

For example, this whole issue of our finances and not hardly being able to pay our bills month to month. Yet still thinking that if I just had this or that extra thing, it would bring satisfaction. If we could just get our debt paid off, or if we could just go on a nice dream vacation debt-free and with not a worry in the world. Though I believe God is capable of fulfilling this desires, He is obviously trying to accomplish something else beyond my grasp or understanding because those desires just aren't being met at the moment and all I can come up with is that He has to be enough for me. And He is whether I feel it or not.

So the only thing left to do is rest in Him. Rest in His perfect plan that is currently in process, even if it doesn't feel perfect. So much easier said than done. I am to rest when I feel stuck when all I want to do is just get out there and do something that feels useful or productive, or that I have some worth to give to someone (disclaimer: not my own worth but Christ's worth in me) and also move me out of the rut I feel myself in a lot of the time lately. The more of a rut I feel in now, the more I want to get myself out of it. But then I usually find myself back in it. And God just simply says, "Rest"?? How, Lord, how?

In January, the Lord made my heart come alive again thru Discovery. I was able to receive and give love like never before after that weekend and God's love was more real to me than ever. My receiver had been broken for a long time and the Lord repaired it. And by March, I was able to find some direction and purpose out of all of my life experiences that had left me broken for so long. My heart felt free and I was given this driving force from that to love without limits, help others' lives be changed through what God had shown me and love the way Lord has so freely loved me.

But I'm learning more and more that to find a place where people can receive that is few and far between. So many people are still walking around with their "receiver" broken. And I am lately finding myself trying not to let mine break again. Because I am letting words and actions of man leave me disoriented and confused when their responses don't come out like I'd hoped...and at times I just want to shut my heart down because it hurts too much to keep it open. I'm also finding that receiving from others in my time of need can be just as difficult. Lately I've been tested with that greatly and it was tougher than I thought it would be. But I really can imagine now how Jesus felt when it came to giving to others who wouldn't receive it. What a humbling place to be to experience what He did. So here I am still left with this discontentment. Though the Word says that we are to be content in all circumstances, I don't believe we are to be content with the status quo if it is leaving us lifeless, heartless, and loveless. Jesus taught outside the box and I want to live outside that box. But I also have to accept that just resting in Him is as outside the box as you get in this world. Because the world tells us to do the opposite and keep trying until we succeed. But if resting in Him makes our heart open, loving, and full of Him, when the Lord says, "Go be my disciples", we will be ready and willing to go wherever He leads without abandon...and with His love and power...and that is when we will have all we need. So now I must rest...sigh. Again, so much easier said than done.
This verse really spoke to me last week. I believe it applies to my post because we are nothing and useless without His love flowing through us. And learning to rest in that love is vital.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (The Message)