How I Found Wholeness in the Breaking of Divorce

Divorce is an epidemic in our twenty-first century culture.

I remember my children being in public school and realizing that most of their friends no longer had both sets of parents in the house. It blew me away.

Divorce was not a word in my vocabulary. When my marriage hit the rocks, I refused to sign the papers he wanted because I knew divorce was not the answer. When reality forced me to agree with the divorce and even to want it (because of his teen-aged girlfriend living in our house with him),I knew I no longer lived in the world I wanted to live in. I had joined the club.

A few years earlier, my heart had fallen to my toes when I greeted him at the door with a smile, looked down, and saw books in his bag on how to do divorce well. Then and there, my world was never the same.

He wanted to be friends and have a friendly divorce. But to me, there was nothing friendly about divorce and betrayal.

That was almost three years ago and our divorce is just now being finalized.

I had to see the girl a few weeks ago, had to be in the same court room as my now ex-husband and I sat for trial over things we never should have needed to decide.

Then, it was over. I joined my friends for brunch, started crying, and couldn’t stop for a few days. Every ounce of strength I had gathered for the past three years flew out the window and I cried ugly in my father’s arms.

I’m a single woman. Not just a single woman, but a christian single woman intent on staying faithful to the God I know, intent on finding out more of His true heart for women, and determined to continue healing.

Many years ago when the first huge ugly in my marriage started rocking my inner world, God taught me that He not only came for the sin of this world, He also came for the pain of this world. I found Him in ways I had only heard of before.

I found Him greater, stronger, and more powerful than what was rocking my boat.

If Jesus Christ died to SAVE, that not only means my sins are forgiven; it also means that sins committed against me are forgiven and have no real power over me.

If Jesus Christ is the Giver of Life, that means nothing deadly on this passing earth can take eternal life out of me.

And if He cares for me as He says He does, that means the past three years of tears will be redeemed because He weeps with me, then offers life to me.

I can sink or swim. I happen to believe that we were not meant to go down in the storm, we were meant to ride the waves.

It sounds cliche`. The honest truth is that riding waves often looks like swimming in tears.

Let the tears roll. They will purify your soul and cleanse you from pain so you can be washed in life. Let them roll for three years, if need be.

Jesus weeps with you but He doesn’t merely commiserate with you; in the end, He liberates you.

I want to walk with you, not ahead of you or behind you, but beside you. I want us to be community and that means sharing the good, bad, and ugly for each other and with each other.

We are human and life is real.

But God is also God and He is eternally alive. He is Victor over all, through all, and in all. Allow Him to walk with you, then lead you.

Beauty for ashes may not mean your circumstance becomes beautiful, but it does mean your soul will merge into beauty in ways you’ve never known before.

Your pain has led you to glory because even though pain speaks, it cannot have the final say.

Friends, don’t be afraid of the thing you don’t know how to survive. Just make one good choice after another even when you don’t know which is the best one. Trust God to make up for your mistakes as you do the best you know and ask Him to lead you. I promise, He will.

My heart is healing from the inside out. I trust yours will, too. And in the process, I am here for you.

All is grace.

Love, Sara

Just Say Yes

I stepped into the bathroom and looked around, appreciating the faux paint splashed onto formerly jagged up walls.

Thank you, Jesus,” I whispered for the hundredth time.  

It had been a season of blessing. I looked around and wondered at all of it, because I remembered difficult seasons behind those years. My brother drowned, I needed to brave it and get counseling, and daily life was nothing short of challenging. I still had no idea when or if my dreams of publishing a book would materialize, and we lived in a crowded, one bathroom home with seven people.  

God was faithful in those years. But they were hard.

Later, we were unexpectedly able to purchase a three bath, six bedroom home, and my first book was listed on Amazon. The perfect jobs came my way so I was able not only to move in, but also decorate that home.

I kept walking into my office, remembering the years I didn’t even own a desk. I remember carrying my laptop through the house for a quiet spot on the bed, then wondering where to place it when I was done.

I kept doing my make up at my extra sink and mirror outside the third bathroom, remembering rushing through the process in one bathroom while a million people knocked on the door in desperation. Or I’d let them in and two or three of us would crowd the sink.

I stepped into the large walk-in closet and remember having so little storage I would carry things into the crawl space under the house where rat droppings and dirt would cover everything.

Then, I looked around and said it over and over again. “Thank you, Jesus.”

He whispers back to my heart, “You were faithful to do small things.”

Small things. Aren’t our days as mothers made up of small things?

My entire summer was made up of small things, and I’d feel a bit let down when I couldn’t walk to my laptop and type out a lovely puzzle of words creating a picture for the soul.

I’d feel a bit cheap, like I didn’t care enough for some things and cared too much for other things.

But God whispers to my heart, “These walls are painted and this home is lovely because you were faithful in doing the small. The book is available because you typed out those words when you didn’t know what they’d become.”

I’m telling myself, “Soul, the answers you found came because you were willing not only to do the small, but to feel small.”

Ah, yes.

For the soul to feel small is for the soul to know how big God is. And when you scurry down a sidewalk toward a building, hoping no one sees you because the sign outside says “Counseling”, you feel about as small as an atom—and at that moment you wish you were, because then no one would see.

So, hey, sister-soul. That hard place you’re in, when you shed more tears than crack smiles? Did you know that if you walk through it faithfully, there’s a glory-something at the other side?

Those years you spend in a crowded house, wishing you could afford something larger, those things you drop to your knees over, the tunnel you can’t see light in, and the disaster that just occurred that takes your breath away………did you know that all you need to do is follow God with a great, big yes, and He simply does the rest.

You can rest, because He does the rest.

Just be faithful. Just do the small things. Just know that moments themselves lead us right to eternity, because God is a never-ending God Who doesn’t stop leading us into all things good, and He’ll lead you straight to the throne room when He sees you on your knees in the prayer room.

He’ll lead you from your small moments to an everlasting eternity with no end, where there are no moments in time.

He’ll lead you, soul. He’s faithful when you feel nothing else is.

He’s lovely when nothing seems beautiful.

He’s in charge when you can’t see Him leading.

The meaning of a season is that it’s a passing time. We may be in a season of no’s, but we must still follow God with a yes.

Whether you’re in a no season or a yes season, simply choose to be faithful.

Simply worship God.  

Home School, to Public, to Private

I cried the day I made my rounds to elementary, middle, and high schools to enroll my four children.

I was the home school mom who taught her babies how to read at young ages by creating words with wooden alphabet blocks. Often at two years old, I’d be on the floor placing blocks before my toddler and teaching him what it said. It was fun for both of us!

My oldest child started first grade at age four because she was brilliant. The next child was brilliant but didn’t like school, and it was work to get him through it each day. I was thrown into the mess of it all—but I loved it.

Then, my world changed from top to bottom. Out of necessity, I went to work. I knew I couldn’t work and do a good job with home school.  I needed to trust God and do what I needed to do–I would have to send my children to public school. 

Each morning as I put my little boy on the bus at 6:35 am (in NC that’s what happens!), I wondered what under heaven had happened to my home school table.

Each time my girls told me of another crummy boy with gross language and attitudes, I wondered why there wasn’t a better option for Christian moms who were unable to home school. 

But, I was in the thick of learning trust.

Mothers, when we’re in circumstances we can’t change, the best thing to do is put our chins up and trust that heaven is on our side as we wage war with hell. (Many of the pressures in public school are just that—pushes for teenagers to engage in things that could turn their world right over.)

Still, we have to trust. God is on our side as we faithfully choose Him no matter where our children go to school.

I was slowly learning to trust my Master more than any method. There, He showed Himself strong.

This year, Covid-19 is in all its glory as I watch with bated breath to see what public schools have to offer their students. It didn’t take long to get the email with plan B being the best for my children.

But plan B offers them only one day of face to face interaction, only one day in school, and the rest of the week at home doing online classes.

I was getting that pit-in-my-stomach feeling as I realized how difficult our year would be. My business is growing and I realized that many a morning would find four children alone navigating each other–and classes–while I was gone to work.

It didn’t seem like something I could ask of my children, but I had no better option. The drastic change of not being able to be there for my children 24/7 hit me even harder, but I tried to trust what God was continually teaching me over the past few years as a single mother. I had to trust that He would fill in the gaps and we’d all learn things during a difficult school year.

I had to trust my Master more than my method. Only in this way would I keep peace and be able to offer my children the best of mothering under the circumstances we were in.

Still, my heart was fearful and I sunk into weariness, rather waiting for a school year disaster.

Then, as I sat under a sermon at our new church (I’m so grateful for Joy Church), God spoke to me. “Sara, trust Me for good things for your children.”

Realizing my  state of distrust and fear, I said yes to God. I would choose to trust Him before I saw how things would play out. I would trust Him to do what I could not do. I would trust Him to show Himself to my children.

A few nights later I had a dream so vivid that I woke up, jolted into a deep awareness that I had to do something. A few hours later I knew I needed to do my best to get my children into private school where they could be mentored and taught each day even when I was at work.

Sometimes you can’t move until God lets you know that you know that you know that you heard Him speak.

It felt crazy, but I began phone calls immediately. My heart was filled with peace and assurance that I was in line with God’s heart. True to His nature, God worked everything out from paper work to finances to uniforms (yes, they have to wear uniforms, haha), and my four beautiful children are now enrolled in a private academy five days a week.

What’s more, my Junior can take college classes to get a jump start on her associates degree. Not only that, transportation to and from college is free.

My eighth grader gets to do Cross Country and make new friends on the team. This same child also had an unexpected—and amazing—counselor suddenly come on the scene.

My ninth grader gets to do the same curriculum he had just told me he’d rather do and would do so much better at than online school.

My little boy gets to attend the same school his little fishing buddies attend.

And this mama is filled with faith in a good God Who always shows up in many ways  when we’re facing things we didn’t expect.

I trust my Master more than any method. I trust Him when the method seems faulty but is the only way in sight. And when the method seems better, I still want to trust Him most. 

I will probably never home school again, and next year may have them back in public school. But from home school, to public school, to private school, and who knows what next year, I’m learning to lean into Jesus more than I lean into anything else.

Where you send your child is not as important as the spirit you show your child in your daily life with him. If you insist on home school when circumstances are not right for it, you may do more damage than if you trust God and send him to public school.

May each of us mothers trust Him fully whether our circumstances are difficult or easy. And may all of us know Grace that is truly greater than the sins of the whole world.

He’s looking over the earth to see whose heart is with Him so He can show Himself strong. 

May we posture ourselves in position for His blessing (whatever that looks like), and receive His word gratefully. 

From my heart to yours,

Sara

“Be” Before You “Do”

The dear girl sits at my kitchen table, and her lower lip trembles.

She’s letting it all out, this frustration of performance for many years in order to gain or keep approval and love—and how it didn’t work, and she got less than she deserved.

The tears won’t stop, and they pour hot and long. And I say it as firmly to her as I’ve said it to myself, “You are not loved because you dress well, accomplish a lot, or because you love your kids. You can just be who you are—and be valued, treasured, and worth a lot.”

She sits, silent, absorbing the words. For someone who’s worked her entire life—worked for God, parents, husband, and kids—with little thought or focus on her own ease—these words are a gold mine.

She’s not a selfish person; she’s a giver. And she needs to hear it—her worth is not based on what she does or how little mistakes she can make.

Mothers, when you raise your kids with criticism for each little failure you have a recipe for a hard working performer who may crash after many years of striving.

Raise your children in an atmosphere of emotional safety and unconditional love.

Our value is based on the Son of God and His thoughts of us. It is based on the fact that we were created in His image and He wanted us. Hear this—you can work your entire life to gain approval without ever knowing how much you were approved before you ever did a thing.

Outward actions do matter, but they must be a fruit of the heart being in an approved place with God rather than the striving of a heart trying to get to an approved place with God and man.

At birth, when you laid on your mama’s tummy with wet, sticky skin, do you think you were less loved and approved of? You had done nothing, but taken a lot—and you were loved and adored as much as you will probably ever be. You were sticky, icky, squalling, and couldn’t even smile.

How then, soul, do you think that, many years later, you have to perform for love? That you need to prove yourself needless and perfect? That you crash when others see faults in you?

You were a human being long before you were a human doer.

When we know how much we’re already loved by God, we enter rest. In this rest, we show love best to those around us. We want to shed the sweat pants, get up, and serve others. We truly desire to give, and give well. We sacrifice.

All of it becomes a circle of love rather than a striving for love. Circles go round and round with no end of exhaustion, because you receive love as you give out love.

If your lips are trembling today, remember who you were when you were born, and how much you were loved and adored by God—and most likely, by everyone in the room who laid eyes on your wet, sticky, helpless little body.

You are the same human being today, and have the same value today. Jesus Christ died for YOU.

Remember to be in a state of love before you try to give out love. If we can learn this ourselves and teach it to our children, we will have accomplished much.

Three Steps to Forgiveness

I had asked the question a million times, “What is forgiveness?” 

Then, I’d asked another question, “Is it okay to be angry?”

My circumstances forced me out of the usual “don’t ever be angry” stance I tried to live by. Suddenly, life was so raw that I took a good look at Jesus’ feelings when He tipped over money tables and ordered the vendors out of His temple. (Matthew 21:12-13)

I pondered the fact that Jesus called mercy and truth to meet up, and righteousness and peace to unite. He wasn’t asking for mercy and peace only, but wanted it to unite with equal doses of righteousness and truth.

Seeing God’s mercy as it really is allows for nothing else. God is not only mercy; He is also truth. In fact, truth is merciful and mercy is truthful. In Christ, they cannot be separated. 

God’s incredible mercy doesn’t blithely pass over murder, rape, abuse, or any other wrong we see in this world. And in all honesty, those who say “don’t judge” the most are often those who ask for judgement most when an offense happens to them. 

God’s love doesn’t accept all things; it changes all things

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There are certain things love just doesn’t do. Those who are full of true love speak out against things that don’t line up with love.

The mantra “don’t judge and accept everyone” is very quickly used by quilty parties to project their own quilt onto those who dare speak up against wrong. This is such a far cry from what Jesus meant when He asked us not to judge each other that there is no comparison between the two.

Divine Love cannot “accept and not judge” things that hurt and harm the people He loved and died for. Love can only accept things that line up to the heart of God.

God is love and He gets to interpret the meaning of it.

I’ll never forget the day I was driving in my car while my little boy asked a million questions on life and God, when it suddenly all came together in my heart.

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Forgiveness meant seeing God’s heart for the offender. In my situation, it also meant not being in denial, but saying yes when two sets of investigators asked to talk.

Then, it meant releasing the offender into the hands of God and those in charge while I walked free, having given it over after doing my part.

I’d met plenty of women who interpreted forgiveness as denial. After many years of pushing things to some back corner of their mind, they were still crying and trying to “forgive”.

I’d also met women who couldn’t stop talking about what happened to them and seemed bent on bringing justice while the offense was strewn around like some candy dangling in everyone’s eyes.

I wanted neither. How could mercy and truth meet up like Jesus talked about?

Sisters, the truth sets us free. The truth of everything, all the time, in all situations leads us to God’s solution for everything, all the time, in all circumstances.

Embracing the truth of hard things allows us to move from the hard into better things.

How can you find internal release from something you haven’t owned up to or dealt with? Denial cages your soul while truth brings you to freedom. Trust me, I know.

God’s remedy for women is never silent, voiceless suffering. It is always truth, help, and solutions.

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My soul found an incredible release from my situation as I placed the outcome of all things into the hand of a God who cared for me and my children more than I can comprehend. I watched Him move, and hear me carefully on this—because I had done my part, I was able to let it go in complete trust.

When our soul finds absolute rest in the outcome of our circumstance, we know forgiveness has found its place.

Forgiveness is not denial; it is rest.

Forgiveness doesn’t accept all things; it leads us to release all things.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean shutting up when you need to speak up; it does mean speaking with grace and truth regardless of your circumstance.

In short, forgiveness is internally breaking free from your situation after you’ve walked through it, honestly dealt with it, then have put it behind you and moved on to better things. 

Rather than become bitter, you become better. 

You can think of the circumstance without being taken over by it. You can release both the offender and the offense to God while you reach out to good people, good things, and trust God to meet your needs as you put Him first in your life.

You are defined not by what happened to you, but by what you make of it.

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Whatever you don’t let go of still holds you captive. But, whatever thing someone meant to hurt you with is undone when you release it and learn from it, instead. As Corrie Ten Boom says, “There is no pit so deep where God’s love isn’t deeper.

Forgiveness is a gift to yourself and an act of worship to God.

Fly free!

Moms and Mornings

It’s morning, and the day begins quietly except for the knock, knock, knock on my office door.

I’ve been hiding in here with a cup of coffee, my Bible, and Jesus. Because life is so full of late that I’ve been leaving little margins on my paper while I clutter the entire page of each day with scribbles those around me can’t read clearly.

This morning, the knock is persistent.

Yes, son?”

I’m so hungry. Can I make some breakfast?”

He’s too young to cook so I ask him to wait, but give him a snack. And I get lost in my musings the next second.

Knock, knock, knock—again.

May I have peanut butter on my apple?”

The day is off. Already my mind is swarming with what needs to be done and what will happen whether or not anything gets done. I will load the car with kids and take them swimming, then return in time to host a houseful of guests. This morning I choose between laundry, cooking, and cleaning—perhaps all three?

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The kids will have a list with chores to accomplish before the fun begins, and I will be buzzing about like some bee that’s just been mortally wounded, trying to get the house ready and food prepared.

And then, it will hit me. I did this yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. I did this last year, and the year before, and the year before that.

The floor never stays clean, and the garage fills with more recycle garbage in a few weeks. No one really knows how hard I worked and no one really cares that I kept the yard spotless.

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What they remember, and what I will remember in years to come, are things of the heart. I’ll say, “Remember the year we learned to spend more time together?” Or, “Remember the year we all learned to apologize?”

Remember the summer we sat in the living room talking about life, the importance of a relationship with Jesus, and how to have one?”

Mothers and wives, the rush of today will never fill our quest for the meaning of tomorrow.

The moments we give to God help bring us to the eternity we get to spend with God.

Moments with God don’t have to be alone, quiet, with stevia sweetened coffee and a Bible. Moments with God can be all moments in the day.

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Because when God is first, the page of your day won’t merely be filled with pursuits for present gratification. When you walk with God, you are quick to deny your small desires for a greater good. You look ahead, and you look behind, and you determine how today will make your goals for tomorrow become reality.

When you’re sitting in that chair with a greying head, pondering life and how you lived it, you won’t be sorry you paused the rush to grab a Bible and show your kids the way.

You’ll be truly glad you stewarded the gifts God gave you, rather than rushed through life ignoring His hand pressing your heart to be, do, and dare.

When you hear of your kids’ grown-up lives, you’ll be glad you took time for them—because now, you would love them to take time for you.

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And as you sit, with the presence of Christ satisfying even your later years, you’ll be so glad you allowed Him to remove the clutter from your page, align the words correctly, and leave a clear margin at the side.

Let little boys knock on your door repeatedly for peanut butter, and let your brain begin to swirl with a hundred demands on your day. Then, take a deep breath and remember the most important things you will remember in the years ahead.

Give your moments to eternity, for in a short time, eternity will have overtaken even the comprehension of this moment in time.

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Live well, for in a short blip, when time as it is, ends, you will know the meaning of being fully alive. Jesus wants that life to permeate us now and only to continue, then.

Let eternity begin in your heart today—then, bring eternity to the hearts of all those around you.

Loved or Liked?

Are you just chilling at home?” she asked.

There’s a lot I need to do today, but I’m still in bed,” I responded truthfully even though I knew she was already headed out the door for a long day’s work.

My mom can know everything about me and think nothing less of me, for some odd reason. She’s one of my best friends and I guess we both love and like each other. 

Covid-19 is still on the rise while the morale of many is on the low. I’ve written pages of inspiration, sorted my little boy’s legos, almost completely caught up on paper work, and gotten my children started with on-line school. I’m working out with my girls for the first time in awhile………….Next?

You can only laugh for so long over quarantine comedy until you feel like you may need a quarantine dirge. I’ve laughed so hard for so long over one single video that my daughter looked at me yesterday and said, “Mom, you need a social life again.”

It’s Monday morning—and nothing has changed. What’s more, rain is pouring down on the roof while the sun has disappeared along with all semblance of normalcy.

I’m not sure what normal is anymore. For the last two years, my life has twisted, turned, tipped, and tobbled over in the most hell-ish fashion and it’s taken every ounce of heavenly grace to make it through to the other side.

My daughter looks at me. “Mom, it’s so weird that coronvirus hit right when so many other things in our lives are happening.”

I agree. It’s so, so weird. How much more could possibly happen in two years?

I decide to make the most of today by lighting candles, baking a french toast casserole for breakfast, and turning on my favorite worship music while I kneel in front of the screen with my Bible.

My daughter joins me and I stroke her head while the words continue over, over, and over.

By Your Spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat.

The resurrected King is resurrecting me.

In your name I come alive to declare your victory;

The resurrected King is resurrecting me.” (Elevation)

Truth be told, God is as good today as he was yesterday. I stare at mountains rolling by on the screen and realize this: God is every bit as much with me here as he was when I’d hike upward five miles and spend hours gazing at immovable majesty.

Or when I slept at the top and woke to a shimmering lake nestled in those snowy peaks. Crazy, wild beauty.

Mountains are steady.

They’re always there.

They carry strength incomprehensible to our small human beings.  

I love mountains and haven’t found them close enough to my new home to get to, yet. But God is as real, strong, and steady in my housing development as He is on the mountain side.

I just need to tap into HIM.

Sometimes we look for external indicators of internal reality, when God is saying “I am always here.”

It doesn’t take mountains, people, or things to create the love of God. Love always is, no matter what, because God always IS.

We don’t really create love, joy, peace—God has already created it and we merely maintain it or disrupt it. God is a steady, never ending, faithful presence—always available, always there, always full of grace and truth.

We look for outward expressions of love when there’s an eternal Lover of our souls Who far exceeds any human love we could have. For heaven’s sake, we even seek love in the form of media ‘likes’.

A thousand people hitting ‘like’ on your Instagram page can’t compare to one God scribing eternal LOVE all over your life, every day, no matter what.

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Photo by Kerde Severin on Pexels.com

During this time He says to you, to me: “Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah 49:16, ESV)

He also says in 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (ESV)

You may be rushing to work this morning—or, like me, savoring this time when you can slowly drink coffee and listen to worship music with your child. Either way, no matter what, remember that Jesus Christ is unchanging—and He’s watching out for you with strong support and love deeper than you love your own children.

Cheers!

Pass it On

I walked into her small warehouse and looked over the shelves.

Impressed with this young mom who ran her own business besides running a house smoothly, I studied the bottles to see what was inside. All of it was for healing purposes.

It’s awesome to run into a business that sells only healing products when many stores are loaded with cigarettes, preservatives, and sugar.

Here,” she says, “Take these to your sister.” She pulls open a small drawer and empties the contents into a bag.

I look at the label. “Healing Salve,” it says.

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A few of the best people in my life! 

My sister smiles. “She says she will never change the recipe because God gave it to her.”

I’m throwing a few of those freebies into my own suitcase. I’ll rub them onto aching muscles and pray love and healing into aching hearts.

Truth is, I’ve been praying a lot on what to do or say (or not do or say) in a certain circumstance. I’ve asked counsel, and some of it varies. Always, I come back to the realization that God’s peace is powerful and only He can lead me right.

A book may give advice, but it is cut for your particular circumstance?

A friend may speak into your life, but does she know all the ins and outs—and if she did, would she still say what she says?

A verse may speak to you—but is your application of it God’s heart for you?

Wounded sister, struggling to fight your battle and win—listen hard to the Lord. He may direct you to do what is crazy. Or, he may ask you to try something you’ve never done before. 

Walk closely to Jesus. He breathes life into the impossible and speaks promise to lies.

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Choose where to give your energy! 

He knows each heart and knows where each difficulty began—sometimes, long before symptoms rose.

He goes deep. He goes carefully. He goes lovingly.

He offers a hand, but you need to hold it.

He promises wisdom, but you need to receive it and apply it.

If you do, you can rest. No matter how difficult or grueling the climb, God walks beside you and holds your hand, promising to never, ever leave you alone.

His recipe mixes all ingredients of your life into one powerful, healing salve. And if you allow him, he will show you what to mix up for those around you.

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Make your family most important! 

Because all God’s daughters are called to bring life, healing, grace, and blessing. This is what your Father does, and this is what He gives you to pass along. In the areas where you see you haven’t done so, simply turn your heart and receive his grace all over again.

He won’t change his recipe for healing salve. Apply it gratefully.

Unexplainable Peace…….

The little lady looked at me eagerly. “I can sleep on the floor,” she said.

My brain did one of those twisty-turvy-upside down spins that happen when you’re moving out but need to get renters in your house.

I looked at her, and I said yes.

Sure, she could sleep in the empty Air bnb living room even though the bedroom was already occupied by another renter and I hadn’t expected her for several more days when the other renter would be upstairs, and I was gone. 

I was paying a huge mortgage and moving four children across the country. The bills would roll in and I needed to get renters into the house. As I talked to the Lord, He brought one after another—people who needed a short term place to call home. People I could trust.   

My head spun with a million things to do, things to sell, things to sort, and things to pack. Renters to bring in and a house to rent all the way on the east coast. Jobs to work as long as possible. An ex-husband I couldn’t bring myself to say good bye to, and a life being folded up like a towel, stuffed into a box, and taped shut forever.

One of the renters ended up being a true christian with the gift of prophecy and encouragement. Another was a writer who just needed a simple room to focus on her project. And yet another was a couple who was eager and willing to tend the fire and care for things around the place.

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The garbage pile in the garage grew to astronomical heights as the other side of the garage filled with a renter’s boxes and the art studio next to that filled with another renter’s stuff. My own stash filled the center of the garage, and the shop held the moving sale.

That was the day, when I sold things I couldn’t move and had friends fill in for my lack of marketing skills until my ears burned. They did the job better than I ever could have. 

I’d stand in the middle of the mess, wondering why under heaven I had this strange sense of peace. Why was I in a bubble of protection where nothing could harm me, where nothing could stop me, where nothing could touch me?

It was as crazy as it sounds. My phone kept pinging every few seconds with someone asking about one more thing they wanted to purchase, while my ex husband texted me a list of things he wanted and talked about the dog which was ironically being dog-sat by a dear family who desperately wanted to keep her. 

I was relieved to have her away as she barked a lot and I kept cringing at my own voice trying to  shush the poor pooch right up. 

The dog was finally gone when my daughter said those dreaded words, “Mom, can you please check my head. I’m itchy.”

How under heaven do you pack up a 3400 square foot home, sort and sell, prep for renters, find a new house to rent thousands of miles away, cancel your clients, transfer schools, and treat for lice??

I lifted her hair and sure enough, there it was. That sticky little white speck I’d recognize anywhere, followed by a trip to Walmart for another hundred dollars worth of chemicals and essential oils. Then, the laundry going non-stop for the next few days.

My brother flew in to help drive the truck across the country, and I met him in my kitchen, fell into his arms, and sobbed out loud. He cried with me and we both stood in the kitchen together, broken up over my broken up home. 

Divorce and betrayal must be from the hottest places of hell. And when it comes to moving, people rate it as one of the top most difficult stressers. But for me, it really wasn’t.

We groaned over lice and moaned over boxes, but I told my lovely children that none of us were dying, none of us had cancer, and lice was a small thing we could wipe right out of our home.

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I knew what it was like to really hurt, to sit in a court room with the man I loved and married because he filed for divorce and was with a  sixteen year old girl twenty two years younger than me. 

The only thing good about going through enormous amounts of pain is that it sets lesser things into proper perspective.

See this, friends—most of us gripe over such small things that we’re held absolutely captive to the smallest world when God would set our hearts free to breathe, live, dance, and smile.

I stood in the mess and wondered this again: why did I have such peace?

Hadn’t Jesus said it, and yet, I was still amazed by it? “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6&7, ESV)

The day to fly away came quickly, and my brothers sent me out the door before the truck was loaded. I gathered my children as I heard them say, “You don’t need to thank us. This is what we do.”

The children were tired and so was I. But Jesus surrounded us on that plane and covered us as we sat in Vegas for four hours watching hot singles fly in just for fun.

Jesus covered me when I sat beside the young wife who was flying to Vegas to join her husband for the weekend, and I was flying to North Carolina to start life over because my husband was with another girl. 

We were both blonde, both loved books and refused to purchase kindles because we were stuck on real paper. Both of us loved romance and relationship. She had it, I did not. Her i-phone displayed her handsome hunk while mine had been wiped clean of each photo.

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

But we both smiled at each other and felt that sisterhood of connection and warm wishes. Life isn’t always fair, but God’s love covers all of us equally.

Do we see this, friends, this awesome truth that even though tears roll and things happen and we struggle to find air to breathe at times—that if we hang on and do the next best thing in sheer faith, He comes in to cover us?

I’m certain of this one thing, I’m not the only girl on this planet who has gone through emotional trauma, who has wanted to change the outcome of life, who has cried up to the heavens at night asking God why.

I’m also not the only girl who has found Jesus standing right next to her with unexplainable, yet undeniable peace.

I’m here to invite you to join me as we all learn to be loved by such an awesome God.

I landed in Charlotte with weary children at 1:30 am to a whole new world feeling like vast amounts of silent space that had never been traveled. We fell into bed and I didn’t get dressed the entire day as my body and emotions tried to catch up.

The rock I had brought from home sat in my suitcase and reminded me again. “The Lord is my Rock.” (Psalm 18:2, ESV)

For then, that was enough. For always, that will be enough. And everything under the blessing of God will be good, and will be enough.

He covers me, and He covers you.

P.S. Two weeks later, we are cozily settled into a sweet little home, and life in North Carolina is just beginning to ROCK. I hug my children daily with deep amounts of gratitude. They are brave and beautiful, all four of them.

Mothering Boys

 

I asked Mom, not you!” she pouted.

Big brother slunk back into his seat. “But I was right, and Mom didn’t answer right away.”

He was upset, and so was she. She felt imposed upon and he felt unheard and disrespected. 

I could turn around and scold him for answering when she had directed her question toward me. I’d done that before. But, I figured out there was another way.

Why not ask my daughter to hear her brother out? It’s a good thing for all children to learn, early in life, not to shut another down when he or she speaks.

My daughter didn’t know that her brother needed to be heard and feel valued. That he had in inborn desire to solve problems and feel wise. That when he offers his voice kindly, it speaks to his manhood when he’s heard.

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She had no idea, but it’s up to us mothers to teach our daughters what they don’t know. When we scold our son for withdrawing after not being heard, we are trying to fix their reaction while failing to see the trigger behind the reaction.

We can spend a life time scolding people, but we’ll gain less ground than when hear them out. 

When the daughter snaps at the son for answering, we should turn to her gently and remind her to hear people out, then request an additional answer from her mother. Perhaps she can apologize for snapping at her brother as well.

Mothers often look for ways to love on their sons, while missing many, many opportunities to show respect. But, many young males read love when they feel respect. It’s as vital as the air they breathe.

I want us moms not to parent in vain. Mothering is exhausting enough without having our best (and often naive) efforts unrewarded. 

My youngest boy is great at problem solving. He has a detailed, nerdy brain, and I do not. Though he’s only eight years old, there are times when he fixes something for me. I use those times to thank him, tell him how great he is at fixing things,  how intelligent his brain is, and how he could probably be a doctor when he grows up.

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My little boy loves being hugged and loved on, but I can tell this speaks to an entirely different part of his brain.

This week I’ll be looking for opportunities to ask my oldest son for input. Perhaps he can research how to do something I need done, or help me choose a gift for a younger boy.

Daily, we can do things that last eternally. We just need to learn how.

And as for the daughter, she’s a whole other topic for discussion. But just briefly, she also needs to be heard. When she snaps at her brother for answering her question, she can be taught to hear him out, then request an additional answer from her mother. She could also ask her brother to wait to share his opinion until she’s received an answer from her mother.

Mothering is a constant dance between the masculine and feminine. But then, so is all of life. Welcome to the beauty!