God Sees The Heart

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I have been going through some difficult times lately. The decisions I am facing do not just impact myself but deeply impact my family. Sometimes, when I am overwhelmed with such trials, I find it hard to write. The emotions are too strong and as I fight to stay in control of them, I clamp down. I’m left with all the struggles, worry, and stress trapped in my head but not allowing them to show. This only increases this weight of the burdens I am carrying.

Adding to it is I can be my own worst critic. Because I am overwhelmed and worried, I beat myself up for being,well, overwhelmed and worried. This leaves me feeling weak and even inferior comparing myself to others that either seem so confident and strong or supremely happy.

A few weeks ago, as I was having my morning coffee and prayer time, I came across some verses and a prayer I had written back in January and it really spoke to my heart. I felt God nudging me to share it, however I have been reluctant to do so.

Sharing that I am struggling requires me to feel vulnerable and although I have a wonderful supportive husband and family, sadly no matter how hard I try to give, share, and love others, there are still those that glory in my struggle. But, maybe I am not alone. My prayer is that in sharing, that it will encourage someone who needs it.

January 5, 2016

  • James 1:5 Ask God for His wisdom and He will give it to you.
  • James 1:16-18 God does not change like a shifting shadow-He gives the good stuff!
  • James 1:22-24 Follow through with what God’s word tells you to do. Don’t forget the new creation you are in Christ. Don’t forget who you are!

Heavenly Father,

I’m asking for Your wisdom to see the situation through Your eyes, so that my heart and my will are aligned with Yours. You do not change. You give the good stuff. I know that with acceptance of Your will, I will find peace. Help me to realize the creation I am in Your image. Father, help me realize my place in Your kingdom. Bind satan from the oppression and inferiority placed in my heart that I seem to wrestle with daily.

It never ceases to amaze me the goodness of God and the perfection of His timing. When I finally decided to share this post, I went back to my prayer journal and found these two verses at the bottom of my entry for that January day.

Proverbs 16:2 The Lord sees your motives. 1Thessalonians 2:4Seek to please God not people for God judges the heart.

Reminding me that it does not matter what others think and even if some revel in my pain, there is nothing He does not see. God sees the heart!

 

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What Huffington Post Left Out

Weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised when the editor of Huffington Post Divorce contacted me and asked if they could feature our family for their blended family Friday feature story. I had recently had two pieces published on the Huff Post blog, but this was truly an honor. It was a rare chance to share who we really are with so many. I know that it is not a Christian news outlet. However, I am who I am and in the interview I did not hide how much our faith has been the center of our family.

When the email finally landed in my inbox to let me know they were running our feature this past Friday, I could barely sit still for days. All morning on the big day, I kept checking the site, waiting for it to go live. When it did, mouth dry, I nervously clicked on the link. (You can read the feature here.)

As I began to read, confusion began to swirl and then disappointment settled in my spirit. Although it had several elements of what I had said, sadly, every part about our faith, the essence of who we really are as a family and how we deal with stress and difficulties was edited out completely. (Particularly question #5). Also in vowing to spread awareness, the things I shared about my son’s Chiari had been cut as well. But I want others to know us, see God in us, so I am posting my original interview.

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Our family journey has been filled with change, disappointments, victories, worry and joy. Our faith has been there through it all. Divorce and re-marriage is still an issue where we are looked down on and judged by some within the Christian community. I have a passion to reach out and spiritually encourage other moms like me who may feel judged or shamed so I started my blog www.familiesunbroken.com and it’s kind of evolved from there. As a writer, it only takes one moment, one thought, one written idea to change someone’s life. I don’t have all the answers but I share my heart and hope that it resonates with other families like ours.

1. How many family members do you have? Ages? 

My daughter is 17 years old, my son is 12 this month and Daniel’s son is 13 years old. And we have a furbaby named Brady that just turned 5 years old that is the most spoiled in the house.

2. How long have you and your spouse been together?
Daniel and I have been together nearly 9 years and will be celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary in a few weeks.

3. What are some of the biggest challenges of blended family life?
I think it is the same as in many blended families. It is trying to find balance between home and work while coordinating schedules, parenting time, school and other events.
What’s one specific problem you’ve faced time and time again and how have you sought to address it?
Daniel is the “every other weekend and one night a week” parent so we have to cram family time as well as one on one parenting time into a very limited space. Because of this, he feels he never sees his son enough. What we have found that works is we deliberately set aside one on one quality time with him and we plan it before his parenting weekend. Sometimes it’s going to breakfast on Saturday mornings or mountain biking on Sunday afternoons, etc… As a family, we try to simply do activities to make memories. We do a lot of day trips. I think I have a talent for finding activities to do or places to visit that are out of the ordinary (lol). Daniel tells me all the time how much he loves me for that. His son appreciates that we respect the short time he has with his dad and it has helped us to appreciate the family time we do have together and the memories we are able to make.
4. What’s the best thing about being part of a blended family?
I feel that it’s learning to love each other coming in from the outside. More of an effort goes into learning our children’s individual uniqueness and as we have grown more as a family, the effect is that we love and appreciate each other all the more for that effort.5. How do you deal with stress in your household?
We have a very strong faith that is rooted in grace, acceptance and forgiveness. During times of stress in our home we have tried to teach and practice extending grace to each other. We try to accept each other, that we are not the same and each of us has our own thoughts and feelings, as well as reactions. We are not robots. We then try to forgive each other, learn from it and move forward.
As far as handling the internal and emotional stress that comes with being blended, prayer helps us a lot. Daniel works out at the gym several times a week. He calls it his therapy, and I love to write.

6. What makes you proudest of your family?
What makes me most proud of our family are delicious ordinary moments. It’s those moments when we are not a blended family, we are just family. Moments where we are at the dinner table eating together, laughing hysterically at inside jokes and sharing about our day. Those moments where we are riding together in the car singing and dancing to the radio, playing at the park, or camped out on the living room floor watching a movie. It is those moments where we are not a blended family around the dinner table, we are just a family around the dinner table. We are not a blended family having fun, we are just a family having fun. I really am proud to say over the years we have shared countless moments like that.
7. What advice do you have for other blended families who feel like a peaceful family dynamic is out of reach? The best advice I can give is only what has seemed to work for us with a lot of time and patience. First, throw your preconceived ideas out the window. It will never be what you expect. Accept that there will be tears, yelling, confusion, and adjustment. Second, make your marriage a priority. That doesn’t mean your children are less, but because your children deserve more, and don’t need to go through another divorce. The kids will learn to appreciate the stability of a healthy family home. Finally, learn to be selfless not selfish. Focus on making memories instead of what you can’t control.
I also want to share just over a year ago, my son was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation and underwent brain decompression surgery. It was an emotional eye-opening experience for both his father and me, but from that came better communication, patience and appreciation for each other as his parents. It affected every one in both families. It helped to solidify in our hearts that at the end of the day, what truly is important, is each other.
I would like to sincerely thank Huffington Post for everything, especially the wonderful opportunity to share with so many that otherwise would not be possible to reach. I want to say thank you for including a link to my blog so that I could write this post and share what was left out. Allow me to share more of a part of who I am, who we are.
But most of all, I want to thank God for opportunities to allow me to share Him and how he truly has helped make something new out of our brokenness.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
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You may have started out broken but God heals and restores to unbroken.

 

A Mom’s Prayer For The New Year

2 Kings 25:29-30

29 “So Jehoiachin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king’s table, 30 and for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, according to his daily needs, as long as he lived.”

Last year we celebrated the rolling in of a new year with our children. We laughed. We drank sparkling grape juice (both red and white). We did sparklers and fireworks in our back yard. And when midnight came, we knelt in our family room and prayed together. And God blessed us so much this past year. It was not without many difficult times. It was not without many happy overflowing moments either.new blog picOur celebration was much the same and completely different! It was just my husband and I together. We got delicious take out from Outback. Snuggled and watched a movie. Made a few fireworks of our own. But when midnight came, we knelt in our family room and prayed together. We prayed for each other. We prayed for our three wonderful children, calling each by name. And we prayed and claimed the verses that I shared, for God to give us just what we need each and every day. Simple. Powerful. Believing.

This is my prayer for you and me in this new year. May it be Simple. May it be Powerful. May it be filled with Believing. Believing that the Lord Jesus gives us just what we need for each new day!

 

 

Real Love And Rainbows

I have seen it all over Facebook and social media along with everyone else; opinions exuberant or angry over the supreme court ruling on marriage yesterday. People practically shouting about God’s judgement while others joyously displaying rainbows shouting back equality with hashtags such as “#lovewins”. DSC_0915

And I believe deeply with every thing in me that love did win, but not in the way you might think. See, for me love won on the cross when Jesus laid down His life for the ones shouting hell and judgement. For the ones shouting equality. For my enemies. For the ones I love most dearly. For all. For me. John 3:16 “For God so LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that WHOEVER believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. One of the most quoted verses in the Bible does not say “whoever believes unless” it says who. ever. believes.

The gospel of Jesus has not changed. It is the same today as it was yesterday. It is that love, that sacrifice that we need to be sharing with the world as Christians. Leading everyone to the cross. Leading everyone to Jesus. I am a follower of Christ because I believe He died and arose again. I believe He is the picture of unconditional perfect love; a picture of God’s love in the flesh.

I love how the pastor of Newspring Church described it in a post:  “Amidst the protest signs, yelling crowds, and political referendums, the simple message of Jesus’ love for you is often drowned out. Never doubt that Jesus loves you more than you could ever know. Jesus doesn’t just love a future version of you; He loves you exactly as you are right now. Jesus’ love for you has no prerequisites or requirements. Even if you hate Him, Jesus loves you and wants what is best for you. Love is at the core of everything Jesus taught. Unfortunately His message of love has been conveniently left out by many who would rather make a point than make a difference  (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8-10; Romans 5:8; Psalm 86:15).”

As I wrote about in my last post, I did take that step of faith toward a speaking ministry. In my message I shared that sometimes you just have to let go and let God be God. Shouldn’t we be leading others to the Cross and not trying to pick and choose what sin we think someone else needs freedom from? Lead them to Jesus and let Him cleanse their hearts from whatever He deems unclean. It is with deep conviction that I say rather than voicing opinions that we simply lead “all who are thirsty” to the only One who can quench that thirst through grace, love, and mercy.

Social media and all over has been lit up with rainbows. I love a quote I saw posted on Instagram by Jackie Hill Perry written by John MacArthur. “Every time you see a rainbow, listen to me, it represents the victory of grace over judgment. What does this world deserve? Judgment. What does it get? Grace because this is the age when God has hung up His bow. The triumph of mercy over wrath, this is the age for us to go to the ends of the earth and tell them of God and His mercy, God and His grace.DSC_0915

What Are You Doing With Your Little?

Photo taken at Chatlos Memorial Chapel.

Photo taken at Chatlos Memorial Chapel.

We have all gone through seasons of change; seasons of fear; seasons of testing; seasons of forgiveness; seasons of miracles. My emotions have been all over the place since going through so much with my son as well as other things that have popped up in my life. I have had to take a step back from writing and other things, pray, and regroup. I have been feeling God pulling me to venture out of my comfort zone and serve Him in different ways than I have in the past, particularly speaking publicly about some amazing truths and scriptures He has revealed to me.

My husband and I heard Pastor Jimmy Evans speak a few months ago about obedience and serving God. He explained that we go through certain trials in our lives so God can see if He can trust us; to see if we are ready for bigger things. He explained it this way, “God will not give you more than you can rule over. God lets you make big mistakes in a little room before He opens the door to a bigger room.” I have always heard sermons and teachings on placing my trust in God but never really asked myself, “can God trust me?”

Matthew 25:21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “

Luke 16:10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.

So lately I have been asking myself what kind of a servant am I and how am I growing and learning to better be the woman He created me to be? God has given me a message but am I willing to take that step of faith to share it? After giving it some thought, I called my dad. He pastors a local church and talked with him about speaking on Sunday morning. He was reluctant to do that but offered me Wednesday night. It took me back at first. Thoughts like “Lord, you’ve given me an amazing message and I am bursting to share it! Why not let me share it to a larger audience like Sunday morning? Why not open that door?”

Then I remembered the sermon and the scriptures about God giving you rule over little before He allows you to rule over big. My heart was convicted. I called my dad back and told him how honored I would be to share and speak at the Wednesday night service. So tomorrow night, I am taking that step of faith into what may seem like to some as the little room. I am going to trust Him and if only one person shows up, I will pour out my heart to that one person in obedience to the Father. Praying with each small act of my obedience to go in the direction He is guiding my heart, he will open another door. The more I am faithful;  the more I lean into God, the more He will trust me and give me more opportunities to serve Him.

So my question is what are you doing with your little as you are waiting for your big?Blog little