Just Me

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Seasons...Moving Forward...

I think it has been over a year since I last wrote. Life has been a journey to say the least. I am so blessed to be married to my wonderful man and we are getting ready to celebrate a year together as husband and wife!! Hard to believe. 

The past year has held many changes for us. Adapting to life together as well as blending our family. For the most part it has been a good journey. We have had some things that we have had to work through-no perfect people in this house- but I am thankful for a husband who makes protecting my heart a priority!! I am so blessed. I have grown to love living in Columbus and will actually miss it when we move next week to Tipp City.

I am going to try to make this short and to the point, but there is a lot I want to say. So, get ready...

Moving here took some big adjusting. I went through a very lonely season of not feeling connected. I came from a church that I loved and was very involved in and had many people that meant so much to me, to walking into church each week and seeing no face that I knew. I also began the "fun" journey of pre-menopause. Insert crazy woman here...

During this process, I started realizing that I was battling things from my past, that I thought I had already dealt with and moved beyond. I was falling into this self-condemnation mentality-after all God had done for me...after proclaiming that I was free and walking in freedom, why was I here again?? I am a "hypocrite". Between this mental and emotional process, and pre-menopause, I began battling depression and anxiety. It was hard to understand that during this amazingly happy time in my life with my sweet man, that I could be depressed and lay in bed at night wide awake with heart pounding from anxiety, at the same time. 

Finally in January, I was able to join a small group at my church. I am so thankful for this group of women and the friendships I have formed here. We are real and raw with each other. God is growing us each in our own way and it is such a blessing to be part of this group. Our hearts have been knit for eternity!

In February, I finally went to the doctor and was put on medication for hormonal related anxiety and depression. It has been such a huge help. I also began seeing a counselor, because I knew I had work to do. I had to experience FREEDOM (my word for the year) that God wanted me to walk in on this earth.

It seems like my journey has been two steps forward one step back...one step forward, two steps back...I wish I could give all the details of how God has moved in this process, but time and space doesn't allow, so fast forwarding to more recent events...

I know my "what" that I need to move beyond...I know the "why" behind it all...my issue is the "how"...How do I finally let go of hurts, stop believing lies, walk in freedom?? I know what scripture says, I know how Jesus sees me...so why am I STUCK here in this pit? Why can't I just do it?? Why doesn't Jesus just FIX me?? That is a cool testimony too! 

I dug in. I dug in deep. I started flooding my mind with studies on freedom, songs on freedom, seeking and praying for freedom. I needed to move past all of this and I knew I needed to do my part. 

God has used several things in my life through this journey. One was the book "Unashamed" by Christine Caine. I didn't realize shame doesn't just come because of things we do, but things that are done TO us as well. I was battling things from my early childhood, through elementary, junior high, high school, and into my 20's, 30's, and even my 40's. I had a life time of lies screaming at me. One key thought that I gained from this book, was that the season I am in was a good season. There was a purpose. I didn't need to feel ashamed and condemned because I was here...AGAIN...after proclaiming a testimony of freedom. You see, sometimes, God allows us to walk in a season of freedom, only to allow us to need more freedom. Because God is a good father. He knows that all of it at one time, may be too much for one person to deal with. So he gently, lovingly peels away layers. I am thankful He allows us to walk in those seasons and experience it, even if he knows we have more work to do with Him. I knew that my time in Grove City had a specific purpose. I wasn't to plant deep roots, but I was supposed to dig out of this pit of my past. It took a lot of pain and some deep searching. But I felt like God told me that by the time we move to Tipp City, the work would be done. And I began walking in that hope.

The next part of this process that He began using was confirming that I have control issues...if I can control situations, people, circumstances, then I will not be hurt again. Control is a form of self protection. I have been doing a Beth Moore study and one of the quotes that rattled me in this area was this: 

I am not in control, I cannot control my people. I can not control my situation. Even when I want what is best, I cannot control the outcome. I cannot make people behave. I cannot make people believe. I cannot make people be strong. 
Because I am not God.
He alone knows the end from the beginning. He alone knows how this thing will turn out. I hereby fire myself from his job. And I agree to see my fight for control as what it really is...
a screaming testament to my distrust.


God began prodding...deep...why am I holding onto deep pain? Why don't I release it? And it boiled down to a few truths...
1) I don't really trust Him with it. 
2) I am not allowing His love to truly reach my heart. 
3) I am honestly not willing to let it all go. I was holding tight to my hurt.

Our first homework for our Bible study group was this: "What is my 5%?" What is it that holds me back from fully serving God? I knew. I knew it was my past. I knew I needed to let go and let God...but wow is that hard! 

I reflected on a time that I fell into bitterness again. The truth that God spoke into my heart then, resonated once again in my life..."If you trust me with redemption, you have no reason to doubt, to fear, to be angry". 

Perfect love casts out fear...there was some deep fear in my life. I can't really put it into words, but fear played a big part in this pain and process. There were days I would put "Good Good Father" on repeat while focusing on the words of truth. 
You're a good good Father. 
It's who you are. It's who you are.
And I'm loved by you.
It's who I am. It's who I am.
You are perfect in all your ways.
You are perfect in all your ways.

Fast forward to this morning...I am cleaning my house and playing a powerful set from Bethel while I am at work. I'm finishing up cleaning my bathroom when they start to close out their worship set and transition into the service. The gentleman that was speaking said, "When worship started, the Lord reminded me of a line I once heard someone say. You fear the sovereignty of God to the degree that you are uncertain of His love. And it was just running through my head from the moment worship started. It was this idea of trusting ourselves to Him. And saying, You do as you do, because I am certain of your love. And it was just ringing through my head. And then all of a sudden the phrase "Into your hands I commit my spirit" the phrase of Jesus right at the end, right before that moment when he enters into death, he says this. What is beautiful about this moment in Jesus' life is that Luke describes it with one Psalm and then Matthew describes it with another Psalm and both are these beautiful songs of deliverance. One starts with Why have you forsaken me? David's honesty before the Lord in a moment of utter trust. In this moment it feels forsakenness. Psalms 22 ends with this...it begins with Why? Why have you forsaken me? Have you ever felt that way in the midst of your trust? And then at the end of Psalm 22 it says "Oh but you do not hide your face from me. And then Into your hands I commit my spirit, but I take refuge in you. You deliver me. So all across this room I want it to be a prayer of "into your hands I commit my spirit. I trust you. I trust you."

I knew. I knew right then, that I needed to get on my face before the Father and confess and make the choice to let go.

So I did. 

And I cried. A lot. As I was praying, the Lord showed me an image of me as a little girl and while wrong was occurring, He was looking on me and weeping and holding me. He was showing me that He is a good good Abba, daddy. That when I hurt, He hurts. That in those moments of sacrifice as a wife who was not always treated well, that He saw me. He saw those things I did as the sacrifice to Him that they were and He was smiling and letting me know that He was proud of me. I confessed the lies that I have believed and asked Him to replace them all with His truth. That I am good enough. That I am loved perfectly. That His love does not rely on my performance. That I am beautiful. That I am worthy. That I can trust Him with all my pain and that He will use it for good. That I am a kingdom builder. And that my pain will help build His kingdom. And by the time I was done praying, I was stepping into freedom. I laid there in the floor crying and listening to the song, "No longer slaves", rejoicing and thanking him for what He had done. 

Do I think the road ahead is going to be easy now? No...as a matter of fact, I am waiting on the enemy to strike...and I am armed. I have my shield of faith that His lies will not penetrate my mind or heart. That they will bounce off that shield and never even strike. To trust that my pain has purpose and that God has an adventure of service ahead of me fires me up! I am so excited about what is next for me in women's ministry. Now it's praying that He make my steps known. 

FREEDOM. I am free only because of Him. I am blessed. And I am thankful! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

The NEW has come...

It has been quite a while since I blogged...life has been insanely busy for me!! Preparing for a wedding, getting my house listed (much sooner than planned), then selling my house (a WHOLE lot sooner than expected) along with the buyers wanting possession at closing, has thrown life into a tail spin of activity. Plus, I'm still a mom with normal mom stuff! To say that I have been non-stop is an understatement! It has been stressful! Good stress, but still very stressful to say the least! Thankful that I am seeing the light at the end of that tunnel though.

Selling the house has brought on a lot of reflecting...a lot of thinking. As I began the packing process, it brought up 9 1/2 years of memories. This was the home I shared with Dave. We spent time in his house in Michigan, but this was where we lived. This was where we spent our marriage...the "for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health...till death do us part." So, as I started going through things, many memories surfaced. It stirred lots of emotion. Many thoughts...and it's time to share some of those things.

Anyone who has read my blog or knows me personally knows that my word for last year was "NEW"...and though it was the 11th hour, God came through! I just had no idea how new life was about to get. And now, that new is all staring me in the face. 

Dave and I had a hard marriage. We went through a lot...the hardest being his 3 1/2 year battle with cancer. This was the house that we walked through 6+ months of testing and the roller coaster of "he has cancer, no he doesn't, he has cancer, no he doesn't"...it was an emotional, very hard time not knowing what the future held for us. 

This was the house where we finally got the definitive word that he did have cancer...then we began the surgery process...several surgeries and procedures. I watched the man I was married to endure so much...I nursed him and cared for him...here in this house. 

This is the house that we got the word that he was finally "CANCER FREE"!!! We had some good scans and all looked like life was finally going to move forward! We put it behind us and trusted that God had healed him.

This was the house that we were told "there is nothing more that we can do outside of attempting some experimental medication...you decide!" And he fought. He tried to beat it. We prayed for healing...people around the world prayed for him to be healed.

This is the house where Dave received eternal healing...my room is the room where I first sat as a widow. 

This is the house that I walked through grief in...along with my kids. I learned so much about grief and that insane process it takes a person through. I was given a new, more sympathetic understanding for those walking out that process. 

This was the house where new came in...the promise God breathed into my heart and mind for 2014...I saw it take place right in front of me!

This was the house where I heard I was going to become a Gi-Gi...and my sweet granddaughter is due any day now! I can not wait to be there when she takes her first breath and hold her and kiss her and love her!!! I can't wait to make memories with her as she grows!!! Exciting days are ahead for me!! 

This is the house where I logged into my Christian Mingle account...and got a smile sent to me that would change my life...it's the house where he walked up my steps to meet me for the first time...it's the house where I started dreaming of him...and it's also the house that I am leaving to join him in the life we will have together!

I have lived in or around Urbana my entire life. In the past few weeks as I have been running errands, I have looked at this town with different eyes. Eyes that knew my time here was coming to a close. "Bittersweet" is an understatement!!! Part of me is torn knowing who I am leaving behind...but I also see who is waiting for me!! There are times that I feel like I have had to "choose" between those who walked with me through my darkest days and the man who offers me a life like I never dreamed I would experience! Bittersweet indeed.

As we loaded up the truck Saturday and I watched my house empty out, it was surreal. Though this house holds many good memories for me, it also was the place of the hardest days of my life. Days I will never forget, but also don't ever want to relive. The thought that keeps running through my mind with every box, every piece of furniture that went through the door was 

"...to bestow on them a crown of beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of  the spirit of despair!"
Isaiah 61:3

I reflected on the verse I held onto through terminal cancer, Jeremiah 29:11 "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." I clung to those words when my future truly seemed hopeless...when I didn't know if I could keep my house...when I didn't know if I would have to get a job or who would even hire me with my resume' (or maybe more like the lack thereof!)!! When I didn't know if I could go on one more day.

And God came through!

And He will always come through.

I walked out the door and headed to the place I will soon call home...as I pulled into our neighborhood...emotions filled, thoughts flooded...I never dreamed I would experience the "American Dream"...not with facing life as a widow. We will live on a cul-de-sac in the all American neighborhood. I wanted a motorcycle a year ago and actually considered saving money and buying one...my man has a Harley and we LOVE going out on rides together!!! I prayed that he would have a son about my boy's age so Trevor would have someone to grow up with and enjoy...his son and my son are so much alike it is scary!! They laugh, play, joke, thoroughly enjoy each others company!!! And they are in the same grade and 6 months apart in age!! My hearts desire has always been to be a stay at home mom...and not have to worry about bringing in money...his job will allow that for me! God is so good to see the desires of our hearts, that in the realm of eternity, don't matter...but they matter to his kids and so they matter to him! He's a good Abba Daddy! 

I am blown away, not just by my circumstances...all those bonuses God has given me, but by the man I am joining in this life. I could not have asked for more in a spouse! He is wise, funny, hard working, loving, considerate, a gentleman, a great dad, a man of prayer, giving, compassionate, strong, supportive, encouraging, handsome, and he is mine! I have been so blessed by HIM! If you took away the bonuses that he brings into my life, I still got the prize when I won his heart! I am blessed!!!
I would be amiss if I didn't include some words to those I am leaving behind as I move. My church, my friends, and my family.

Though I know the Lord is the one who got me through the journey of cancer, I could not have done it without His gift of you! You were "Jesus" in human form in my life. I walk away with deep mixed emotions. I am thoroughly excited about the life ahead of me, and at the same time, incredibly sad to say good bye to daily life with you all. 

My church- you have been a rock in my life. I could not have walked through that process without all of you. The cards, prayers, visits, words, gifts, meals, and most of all your love and support meant the world to me and I will always hold you all dear to my heart!

My friends-thank you for the laughter, the times I complained and whined and you still listened, your love! I have so many wonderful memories that I will always cherish! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep in touch!!! I love you all! 

My family-I am thankful that distance will not keep us apart. 

As I close out this blog...there is a song that is very fitting for where I am and it happens to be by one of my all time favorites-Steven Curtis Chapman...ENJOY!!! 

I am so thankful for the beautiful things that God has blessed me with...He redeems and restores and does it in exceedingly, abundantly, greater than I could have imagined ways!! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

He popped the question!!!!

It has been a long time since I last blogged...life has been keeping me very busy and a certain someone has kept me very preoccupied! I actually started this blog post almost a month ago, but am just now getting around to posting it...we have been extremely busy!!! 

It did not take me long after meeting Chris, to know that he was the one. As a writer, I struggle with a strong enough adjective to describe him! Amazing, respectable, loving, hard-working, driven, strong, secure, wonderful...you get the picture...

We have been talking about a future together for a while. We both knew we would get engaged and married eventually, but "when" was the question. We agreed to wait until at least March 1st before he asked me to marry him...and so from that date on, I knew every time I was with him, the potential was there for the big question! There were a couple of times that I thought he might and he didn't. One was when we had our Chicken Enchilada Night with several family members being there. It was the first night that my parents met his dad and step-mom, so kind of a big evening! I even told my cousin that I could see him proposing during the prayer-which he admitted to me yesterday, that he had considered! He and I tease each other a LOT!!! Earlier that day, he was telling me I hadn't earned enough "Bling Points" for the ring...he also let me know that Wal-Mart had a great cubic zerconia for $29.95 and they even had an extended service plan for only $4.00! That night after everyone left, he asked if I wanted to go look at rings at Wal-Mart...so being the brat that I am, took him up on the offer! And we actually went to Wal-Mart! We laughed and joked and had our typical fun time together! We went back to his house and he then says, why don't you go look in my jacket pocket...there might be something in there...my brain started to spin..."Could my ring be in there?? What if it's empty and he is just joking??" I refused and told him if there is something in there for me, he needs to go get it. I went home with an empty finger, but a lot of laughter from the fun evening!!

After that weekend, there has been much joking and fun...I earn bling points, then I lose them (when I dish what he dishes...so unfair!) and he often reminded me of those points!! I knew each time we were together it COULD happen, but never knew for sure when. I am a very hard person to surprise, so he really enjoyed that challenge and I know he was very careful in every word and action. 

Well, last week was my birthday. I didn't expect it on my birthday-too obvious! But I thought MAYBE sometime around then. I kind of thought he would propose on Saturday when we went out and celebrated my birthday together...but no popping the question. He took yesterday off work. We decided since the weather was so supposed to be so nice, we would take our first real ride on his Harley! ANYONE close to me knows that one of my "wishes" in what I wanted in a man, was a motorcycle...and he has a HARLEY!!!! (See, God cares about the little things in our lives and gives us exceedingly more than we could ask or hope for!) We sat down on Sunday to decide where to go and decided on Old Man's Caves! He had not been there in years and I LOVE going there! I enjoy a hike and the beauty of it all. And the ride would be great on a bike...so we decided that would be our destination choice! 

I am very observant and since I was anticipating a proposal anytime we were together, I was kind of watching and listening for clues. Nothing. Not a single thing made me think this was the day. So, I resolved that we would enjoy this day, the beautiful weather, a great first long ride together on the bike, and a whole day together alone! Making sweet memories!! It was going to be great!

We went to Old Man's Cave first...there was still some ice and it was a tad slick...we both about wiped out a few times and didn't stay there long. I would have enjoyed a longer hike, but there is always next time. I kept telling him that I had a favorite area there, but couldn't remember the name of it...so after looking at signs, we figured out that it was Ash Cave! It is an easy walk with a paved sidewalk ( no ice) back to the huge cave with a water fall! It is just beautiful and awe inspiring...at least for me! 

We arrived at Ash Cave and made our way slowly back to the cave. It was a nice leisurely stroll, just enjoying each other and the scenery. We got back there and I think he liked it as much as I did. We took a couple of pictures and made our way over to where we were somewhat behind the waterfall. He commented that this was the kind of spot you could just sit and soak it all up...and I agreed! There was a large rock there and so I took his advice and sat on the edge of it, soaking in the moment and the beauty! 

He looks at me and says, "You know, I had some big plans for asking you to marry me, but I think the to-do list that is in front of you is really getting to you." As he handed me his coat, he asked,"So, do you want to reach into the pocket on my jacket and see what's in there?" My brain immediately started spinning-"this is it!! He is going to propose!! Is he really going to ask me to marry him?? Maybe I am wrong and he is teasing me again...is this REALLY happening right now??" pitiful I know... I was afraid to reach into his coat pocket and was also dying to at the same time! I leaned over and put my hands on my knees and my head down in disbelief that this moment was here! I looked at him, grinning the biggest grin I have had in a long time and reached into the pocket of his coat...there was the little felt box. I pulled it out and stared at it, grinning...I couldn't stop. He opened the ring box up and there was my GORGEOUS ring!!! He then gets down on one knee and says, " love you with all my heart, will you be my wife?" And I, of course, said "YES!!!"  We hugged and shared the sweetest kiss ever! He placed the ring on my finger!! People there in the cave applauded and cheered and we asked a lady to take our picture. It was the sweetest, most perfect proposal I could have asked for!!! I could have stood there for a long time, just enjoying our moment!!! 

We walked in as a dating couple and left as an engaged couple!!!  I am over the top excited and blessed that this amazing man loves this girl!!! I could not ask for more!!! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year...A Gift...

Here I sit, 8 days into 2015. I have been very reflective lately. Doing a LOT of thinking and processing. Thinking about things that have happened in recent weeks in my life. Things that have happened during the 2014 year. And of course all that transpired in the few years before that. 

I use the Timehop app and it has been bringing up lots of memories and thoughts. Just this past Monday on Timehop was the reminder of the day that Dave first went to the doctor. The appointment that led to many more appointments, tests, surgeries, a life altering journey. A spiritually altering journey. One I wouldn't want to repeat, but am truly thankful for...all I learned and how I grew through that process.

I have thought about last year. The pain. Lots of deep pain. Faith rattling pain. I saw what I thought would take years to restore. And I sit today with so much restoration! I am blessed and so thankful for God's mercy, love, and grace. I remember the journey changing words the Lord gave me..."No matter how today's page in your book of life looks, the enemy does not get to write the final chapter." And that "My ways are not your ways"...and I wonder if I had my way, what would today look like?? I don't think I would be where I am in restoration. I would have written the story completely differently...what would I have missed? Sometimes, we just have to CHOOSE to trust His plan...Romans 8:28 is still as powerful and true as it was when it was penned. I am thankful!

And then there is the very new adventure of this man in my life. In November I took my kids to the zoo for the zoo lights and I told them numerous times, "Next year, I will be walking around here with a man!" Joking, but not. Hopeful that by then God would send someone into this lonely woman's life. I had no idea, I would be there a few weeks later with a wonderful, loving man. I had no idea the adventure that was embarking when I started talking to him. I sit today with a mind spinning and trying to wrap itself around the gift that is in front of me. He is funny, loving, and kind. A hard working, driven, successful man. A devoted, wonderful Father. I can see the bond between he and his kids is a strong one! A man of prayer. He's attentive and pampering. Gentle and sweet. Giving. (and he has a Harley!!!!) And he's mine!

Yup...mine. Ahhhhh...

I have spent much time praying for the man that God would have for me. I have prayed about the moment that God knew he would walk into my life. I have prayed that I would have no doubts at all and I would know, that I know, that I know. Right now, God keeps confirming that this is the way for me to go and I am to continue to walk this path...and not only walk it, but to enjoy every moment of this gift in front of me. And I am. My life has changed drastically since he walked into it. Everything is different. New goals. New thoughts. New hopes. New dreams. 

Yup...there's that word again...NEW!!!

So much new I am overwhelmed. I always pray about my word for the year...and I believe the Lord just gave it to me today...
James 1:17
"Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows." 

I feel God is pouring blessing over me this year. I am embracing what He has in store for this woman. I see a lot of good ahead and I gladly receive every good and perfect gift He sends my way! In July, I will receive a precious gift in the birth of my grandbeebee!!!! That is a monumental event and I am so excited for all that is in store with this precious life! I love how God has used that baby to restore what was so broken! He is so good!!! And then there is this new man he has sent my way...only God knows for sure what is ahead for us, but it looks really, really promising!!! I am over the moon blessed to know him and have him in my life. More on that later I am sure!

One of the things that helped me through some of the tough things I faced late last year, was enjoying my moments and knowing they were a gift...that word and verse fit well! 

So...now, what will I do with the "GIFT" of 2015?? 
What kind of gifts will He send my way this year??
What gift will I leave those I impact with by the end of 2015??  
What will I do with the gift of my relationship with the Lord?? 
How will I grow that gift this year?? 
Every day is a gift...what will I do with the gift of today?? 

And then there is the end of that verse..."who does not change like shifting shadows". It makes me wonder what changes are ahead for me this year...and it is so reassuring to know that my Rock doesn't change. He is immovable, dependable, stable. Always there no matter what we face or encounter. 

Thankful for my word for the year...it is exciting and I am ready for all He will do in my life and the GIFT of 2015!!! 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"NEW" Details...Part 4...

I have shared about the hard year I have had this year. Many times through this year, I waited on the NEW thing...the good thing...the fun thing...the exciting thing. And it didn't seem to happen. I stood in front of our Bible study group in October and said "God is running out of time to do the NEW thing He promised, He better get busy!!" 

I have shared that I have battled loneliness this year. The depth though, no one but those closest to me really knows. I know God fills the voids in our life, that He is enough. Period. But part of who I am is a help-meet. And when that other side is missing, HOW?? How do you fill that part?? How does God step in and "BE" that physical person in our life?? I think the magnitude of that void was partly due to the caretaking that Dave required. It went above and beyond the normal and it became part of who I am. I believe that one of my calls in this life is to be a Godly wife...so how does that fit in the life of a single, widowed mom?? I have battled greatly this year.

In Dec last year, I decided to join Christian Mingle again. More out of curiosity than hope. Just to see what might be out there. I did message a couple of men and even met one and developed a friendship with him. But honestly...it was HORRIFYING!!! I realized this world is full of FREAKS!!! Not the kind of pond I care to "fish" in. 

I went to IHOP in July with a dear friend. Before we went, I was praying over some things specifically that I wanted God to direct in while we were there and had time in the prayer room. And He did...in every area!!! One thing that I felt he was saying was I needed to step back from that hope and get off line. When we had time in the prophetic room, that word was spoken over me. I was in a "waiting season, a season of deepening"...hmmmm....I had no idea what the next few months would hold. And it was needful that I be focused on the Lord for the journey ahead. When I got home from IHOP, I stopped my account. 

I can't say that I walked those months focused and strong. Some of my loneliest days were during that period of deepening. I am sure partly due to the enemy fighting me. God was working and leading in my life and doing what needed done. And I am thankful for it.

I had no idea what was ahead though...

I knew that my subscription to Christian Mingle was expiring in early December. So, on December 1st, in a moment of nothing else to do and curiosity, I decided to log in and just see what was new on there since I last logged on. No intentions. No hopes. No plan other than log on and get back off before the account expired. 

Then he sent me a smile...

"Hi, I really like your profile...want to tell me more??"

"Thanks!!! What would you like to know??"

And the rest,as they say, is history. 

Yes, I have an amazing man walking life with me right now. To say things are going well would be an understatement. It's natural. It's easy. It feels so right. I can't say enough good things about this man! I am blown away (and often cry) when I am thanking God for him. We just click. Our humor is eerily the same...twisted, a little off, sarcastic...I have laughed and smiled so much this month that my face hurts! He is a total gentleman and has a deep respect for women...a respect you don't often see in this world. He is an amazing father. He is a very hard worker. He encourages me. He edifies me. He is a man of prayer...

I have a list of standards for whomever I marry. It is a 2 part list...one is a list the necessities...one is a list of wants. The wants are selfish desires that I have, bonuses from Jesus! He fits that bonus list...and fits it in an exceedingly abundantly way!!! The requirement list is yet to be seen....some I know he fits already, some require time to determine if the shoe fits...but it looks good so far! And it is so exciting!!!! And God continues to speak to me and He is saying to walk in this and enjoy what is in front of me.

To say that this man is "NEW" would win the understatement prize!!! I am LOVING this NEW adventure in my life!!!

NEW...think about that...God told me that was my word for 2014. I reflect on this year and though some of the NEW was not easy, it was worth it. As my year was winding down in October and I was walking through a HARD season, I really wondered what God would do before the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve...I had no idea the HUGE blessing headed my way. I had no idea that I would sit and reflect and be thankful for the redemption and restoration that would be possible before that moment!!! 


I still don't have my word for 2015...I'm sure when He reveals it, I will share it...whatever it is, I know I can count on it. He is faithful. He is good! Always. 

In the hard. He is good.
In the day to day. He is good.
In the pain. He is good.
In the NEW. He is good.
In the loneliness. He is good.
In His plan. He is good.
In the doubt. He is good.
In the valley. He is good.
On the mountaintop. He is good.
Always. He is good.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"NEW" Details...Part 3...

More "NEW" for you today...

This one is so exciting to me!!! And I need to back track a little in time to give you the details.

I have been in church my entire life. I was taught at an early age to be involved in the local body of believers and have always been actively involved serving in my church. Whether it was singing, playing the piano, helping with VBS or the nursery...I was always involved. 

Dave and I began attending Fellowship in Oct 2009. I came from a traditional church setting and so the contemporary way of doing church was new to me. So, for a while I sat and soaked and observed. And looking back I needed that time of rest and even more importantly-growth! 

A few years ago the Lord started stirring in me...what was next?? What was going to be the way I serve in my local church body?? I started thinking about ways I had served in the past...music, kids ministry, teen ministry, women's ministry...where would God have me now??

As I began to think about those things, I thought of the verse that says, "who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." And then I started to think over my life...

I have faced a lot of difficulties in life...from my childhood on. I know the pain many women walk in through this life. I've experienced divorce, which included infidelity. I have done the marrying a second time and blending a family and I know the difficulties and challenges that can brings. I have done the fight of cancer. Then terminal cancer. I know widowhood. I know the prodigal child. I know the echo of singleness. I know single parenting (twice). I know marriage hardship. And other areas of life hardship...

BUT, I also know the One who got me through it all...

AND I love to tell my story of the One who got me through it all...

And I saw where God was calling me to serve.


So, I started to think about and seek how I would serve in that capacity. And God began to open some doors. 

The first was with a non-profit organization called the "Lily Closet". Our purpose is to minister to single parents and provide clothing and out reach to them. When I joined I wasn't a single parent, but I know single parent and I have a heart for them and the load they carry. It was an obvious door that God had opened for me and I walked through it. It has been such a blessing to minister with this group over the past couple of years. And it was a start in my call to minister to women.

The next door that opened was to take over our Friday morning Bible study at church. I have now been in charge of that for 2 years and I love our time together each week. My first Bible study changed my life and I pray other women experience life change through our time as well. It knits hearts and provides that connecting that we as women need with the loads we carry in this life! It has been a gift to be able to walk in this calling!

A couple of years ago, I looked around my church and knew we needed more. I even approached a couple of our pastors and tried to get things going, but God seemed to say "Wait." I wasn't sure why at the time, but trusted His timing and purpose.

Last October after Dave had passed away and I was settling into the new life in front of me, I felt like God was saying to begin. So, I set up a meeting with a couple of ladies that I felt God had directed me to approach and we got our heads together about what was next...we needed ideas to share with the leadership and a goal. And we knew we needed more for women at Fellowship. We came up with the idea to do a survey and see what feedback we got from the women we wanted to minister to. The pastors thought it was a good idea so we did it...and the response was amazing...the response was God saying "YES!"

I didn't know it...but at the same time that this was going on, God was stirring in the hearts of some other ladies in the church. When the survey came out, they contacted me and wanted to meet and share what God was doing in them. We had no idea at the time, but one lady in our church was already planning on doing the Priscilla Shirer simulcast in the spring...God was all over the "YES NOW" for the women of our church. We began meeting together and the Lord was leading and opening doors for the women. It was such an exciting time of YES from the Lord!!

We have had several organized events for the women this year. We have more Bible study options than before. We are planning our first one day conference for February 7th (and not just for the women of our church, for anyone interested!) It is so exciting to be part of this work..this calling that God has in my life.

As we met and prayed about what God had for us in leadership, we prayed also for God to direct in the structure of our ministry and He has done so. Our leader asked us to each pray what area we were to serve in the leadership team. God led me to co-leader of prayer. The "ironic" thing is, that over the past couple of years, God has been deepening my prayer walk. I had no idea He would call me to serve in that way in the leadership team for the women of our church. It has been an honor and privilege for me!!! I am thankful!

So, the "NEW" today that I share is my calling. A call to reach out and encourage women. 

Women who carry the weight of the world on their shoulder and just need to connect with other women who carry the same weight load.
Women who have a hard, empty marriage.
Women with a prodigal.
Women who hear the word "cancer".
Women who bury their husband.
Women who walk through being cheated on.
Women who are lonely.
Women who are the only parent in their home.
Women who have ghosts from the past yelling in their ears.
Women who need to see themselves the way God sees them!
Women who hurt.


I am blessed and honored that God placed this desire in my heart. It has been a thrilling adventure to meet with other women of our church and plan and follow what God is doing. It thrills my heart when I sit in a room packed with women and SEE what God has done in the past year for the women there! What an amazing adventure it has been! And I am so thankful I got to sit and watch it all unfold!!! 


Monday, December 29, 2014

"NEW" Details...Part 2...

Want some more of my "NEW"?? Here goes...

I am an emotional eater. Always have been. It has been such an outlet for me and the stresses in my life. When I turned 40, I determined to get into the best health that I could. I began weight watchers and lost about 25 lbs and also started running and got myself to the point of running 5K, I just never ran an official 5k. In May that year, I started having some foot issues and stopped running  until it eased up. Then summer came and it was crazy busy. I also have a difficult time with feeling defeated when I can't accomplish something. When I hit the track again, I was so discouraged and was no where near what I was before the foot problem. So between the two, I quit. Then in August of that year, we were told Dave was terminal. At that point, I had to take a backseat and I had to start focusing on his care and the care of my kids. So, taking care of me was not the priority. Slowly, during that time, I gained back the 25 lbs I had lost plus another 10. 

Once Dave passed away, it was time for me again. Since I had a lot on my plate and knew I had a lot of healing and processing to do, I decided to "baby step" changes in my life. My first, was on July 26, 2013 when I gave up pop. I basically drank a cup of coffee when I got up and drank pop the rest of the day. This was a huge step for me and I was so proud as each day went by and I wasn't drinking pop. I still have not had any and I do not miss it!! 

I knew I needed to make some more changes, but wasn't sure what was next. A couple of months later, a few of my friends started using Isagenix. I watched as they were sharing their success stories and decided that I would give it a try as well. So, on Dec 9, 2013, I jumped on that bandwagon and decided to get some weight off...like 70 lbs of weight off. Could I really do this??? That is a pretty lofty goal...

One of the things that Isagenix discourages is drinking coffee...anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE coffee. But I decided if I could give up pop, I could do coffee too. So my last cup of coffee was on Dec 8, 2013. My goal was to not drink any till I hit my goal weight, but I ended up making it ONE ENTIRE YEAR without a drop!!! On Dec 9, 2014, I had my first cup of coffee...YUMMMMM!!!!! So delicious in taste...but SO TERRIBLE in how I felt after I drank it!!! My mouth was running faster than my head and I felt like someone was twisting me inside between my heart and my stomach. HORRIBLE!!!! So bad, that I am almost afraid to drink it again! Decaf please??? And to think I used to NEED this to function?!?!?!

Then another baby step came in January when I started jogging again. I started training on my treadmill and was very dedicated to getting up at 4:00 every day and working out first thing! I was using the couch to 5k program, determined that I would run an official 5K this year. And in May, I did just that!!! There was nothing like that moment of crossing the finish line on something I NEVER would have dreamed I could accomplish! NEW!!!! I have continued to run and I love it! It is my therapy-physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually! I had a set-back in August when I started having pain in my knee and it got really bad. I was so depressed thinking I was going to need surgery and I knew that I would be laid up for a while. I also remembered what happened when I had a foot injury 2 years ago...it really depressed me. After attempting to just rest the knee for a while and seeing no improvement, I went to the doctor expecting to hear I had a torn meniscus...but instead he said it was a tendon issue and I could return to running as I was able to tolerate it!!! I was ecstatic...and scared too that I would give up. But...I was determined...and I started on Week 1 Day 1 of my 5k training. I didn't even feel like I was running when I started again. When I stopped I was doing 3 cycles of 17 min run/1 min walk...and now I was doing next to nothing. But I slowly rebuilt...slowly...and I once again am able to run 5K...my goal is 10k and I will do it! My favorite run is getting up on Sunday morning and running the sun up while listening to my worship and praying and thinking. I am even running OUTSIDE in the cold...Yes folks, miracles happen! 

Back to the weight loss...Most of my journey in my health has occurred in 2014. I hit it hard and strong for the first part of the year then really started battling with emotional eating again after all the problems I was having with my daughter. So from April until Nov, I yo-yo'd the same 5-7 lbs. By the end of Nov, I saw that the scale was starting to creep up again, not a lot, but enough for me to know either I was going to keep going up or do something about it and get serious again. So, a friend of mine and I determined to hit it hard as of Dec 1st. And I have!!!  I am currently down 63 pounds and only 7 more to go to reach my goal!!! I have gained so much confidence and feel good about how I look...for the first time in my life. I still can't believe the girl looking back at me in the mirror!!! 

This journey has been a huge "NEW" in my life for many reasons. I have proven to myself what I CAN do...that when I put my mind to something, I can accomplish it and accomplish it well! I have a "NEW" life in front of me and have done some things I never would have done 63 lbs ago! The old has past, the NEW has come!!!