Contentment

We get spoiled with our new cars, new shoes..fancy clothes..nice houses..microwaves, iphones, and the list goes on…even movies..right at our fingertips.

I was raised in a very poor and disfunctional family with abusive parents and siblings that fled to avoid it. At 11 years old, I had been sexually abused consistantly for 2 years, emotionally abused most of my childhood and moved to a new house or city every 1-1 1/2 years. We had no running water, barely any food, poor living conditions..no electricity and no friends. I was overweight as a child, sad and bullied. That is no joke or exaggeration. But I had God.

How did I find Him? Actually, he found me. I had few books as a child..and had a children’s picture bible. The images in that book told me what He was like. Tracks from my babysitter’s bookshelf told me what He did for me..and He spoke to me plainly as a child. I heard His voice at 3 years old. He was my best friend my whole life.

Humble Christmas TreeNow, I’ve been spoiled somewhat..I’m not a rich woman at all..I have a husband with cancer, no food right now for my kids..no income to speak of..and no money for Christmas. We barely have furniture that is what many call nice..and the artwork on my home walls are from my kids..nothing else. I don’t live in extravegancy..and my car is old and worn out..but my home is clean..and my kids are responsible(9 year old is still learning that one).

But when I start to grumble about my situation, I forget from where I came from. Today..I was reminded of how far I have come, where I came out of..and the abuse I survived. Had a counselor once tell me he had NEVER met someone ever come out of that much abuse and trauma without some form of alcohol or drug addiction. (Never tried them or been drunk in my life)

And you know who I owe it too? My Best Friend..Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.

I had a Youth pastor once tell me that since I never said the sinners prayer I was not saved. Ok..so I know that God speaking out of the blue to a child at 3 is odd, but that was hugely judgemental. I know I would go to heaven if I died right now. I still hear Him. I have dialog often.

Lately..I have become disgruntled..complacent, depressed..and angry. I had hated my life style..and completely forgotten what I have that so many don’t. I know I’m not alone in my monetary struggles..the poverty level is rising in America. The lack of help for the poor is rising. Government funding for such benevolence programs is dropping..

It’s time to be happy with my humble surroundings..with my humble car..my humble income, my humble furniture..and my sewing machine ;)

It’s time to be happy with a board game while the cable and internet is about to be shut off until next payday. Time to be happy with gifts from the Dollar store from my kids.  Happy with holey boots..at least they don’t leak yet..and they are warm still. I’m happy with my gringy leather coat I have had for 15+ years(and it shows). Happy that my husband is still here..and breathing.

No, we don’t have enough for this week..or Christmas for that matter..but popcorn is a good snack the kids don’t mind eating over and over.. and they don’t mind soup several times a week. I don’t mind drinking protein shakes to save money on groceries.

Seeing the Nutcracker this year would be awesome..but making cookies with a few simple ingredients is way more fun and a whole lot less expensive. No, we can’t go on a sleigh ride like we hoped, but singing carols down our neighborhood street is more fun.

Thank you , Father, for waking me up. Thank you for food today..heat and a home. Thank you for a car, a little gas to drive the kids to school and clothes that still fit for now.

 

Comment Love

comments

The Nature of Christian Love

The only way that you can be an instrument of healing for others, is whether you truly love them or not.

This week’s message from Ted hit home, like always. Right to the “heart” of the matter. And a matter that God has been dealing with me about for a while. A matter that has helped me become dreadfully ill. WHAT is it about Ted’s messages that just keeps healing the dark dirty corners of my heart?

My son said it best..”he doesn’t nag you, he levels with you,” Joshua  age 17.

stoningRemember the prostitute mentioned in the Bible in John 7? She really did deserve to be stoned for her horrible sin of adultery. The pharisees were the law keepers on matters such as this and carried out the punishment as well. But Jesus stepped in. Why?

Jesus Responded in Love when death was deserved. He responded in full grace because He truly loved her, like family should. In so, he responded in love and compassion. The Pharisees responded in religious judgement.

A wounded heart begats a wounded heart. If you want to stop the insanity and restore instead, you first have the courage to forgive and respond(not react) in full love. Taking something personal, is selfishness. Loving in return with full grace is selflessness and true Christian love. 

And there is only one kind of love I know that heals.

Here is the definition of true love4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

Comment Love

comments

Favorite Breaking the Cycle that Destroys

Trauma often reciprocates co-dependency, especially if not dealt with and proper tools are not set in place and put in motion.

Definition of Co-dependency: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (typically narcissism or drug addiction); and in broader terms, it refers to the dependence on the needs of, or control of, another.[1] It also often involves placing a lower priority on one's own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others.[2] Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including family, work, friendship, and also romantic, peer or community relationships.[2] Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, or control patterns.

 

chained to anotherThe term “generational curse” goes deeper than some spiritual oppression that most Christians use it in reference for. When a damaged person does not deal with the inner damage and turmoil, heal and recover, they can in turn, become as the person who traumatized them. Thus the cycle begins and a “generational curse” is passed down. 

But when that damaged person, desires healing and proactively seeks it out, getting help where needed from the right counsel, the generational curse starts to break apart. I have seen this evident in my own life. Once I recognized that the control I felt others had over me was really because I was allowing it in the first place, I was able to disarm it within myself. The key, dearest, was in me, not anyone else. I was also able to identify several relationships that were causing me harm and not good.

I had been praying for a long while, for God to help me learn how to be a better friend to my husband. We have not gotten along since the day we got married. It’s been almost 11 years now. And I was ready for change in my own life, my person, my career and my marriage. It’s funny how God allows things into your life that causes a “bread crumb trail” to lead you where he wants you to be; especially when you’re not really listening to his voice at the time.

In my case, he used a swollen thyroid gland in my neck to begin the path of healing in me I’ve been praying for since I was 18 years old. And it rippled into healing for my marriage as well. And the key, was always there. I just didn’t get it. All this time, I had been standing at the well yelling out for water..and it was right smack in front of me. I just had to pick up the bucket.

“Your heart can only be in chaos if you are living in the future, in the past, or are doing the opposite of what it tells you to do in the moment.”  ~Andrew Van Dyke

Psalm 106:7-43 talks about this as well. But it talks about it with a different perspective. The old maxim, “Those who forget history are bound to repeat it,” was just as true then as it is now. God recounts the Israelites failures not to make they feel bad, but to remind them they are a people who are naturally inclined to sin. God continued dealing with his people even though they continued the cycle of sinning, repenting, trusting, growing complacent and then sinning again. The goal was for them and succeeding generations to learn from their past failures. BUT not dwell on them.

There is a difference in living and dwelling in the past, than there is in using the past as a launch pad for growth in the present and future. If he wanted us to forget our failures, he would not have given us memories. He wanted us to grow and learn and break the sinful cycle.

**Theoretical thought for the Scifi lover: With this all in mind, it can be speculated that if we had it to do all over again,(time machine), we would only repeat the same mistakes. Because we would be prone to sin either way, leading us down the path we are already on. So why regret it, instead, wear your scars with pride and keep pushing forward.

Comment Love

comments

A Lesson in Grace

Everyone needs it.

For the last few years since I was in the hall where the shooter killed the two young girls at New Life Church, I have had somewhat of a chip on my shoulder, a grudge, if you will. That day, I went to church without my kids or husband. Kids were sick. My SUV was parked at the very last parking spot right in front of the doors where the shooter came in. So as you could imagine, I was headed down that corridor and to those doors to go home after church ended.

shooter marksI just happened to see my old friend of 10 years, Laura and stopped at the TAG Chapel doors to say hello. Within 30 seconds of stopping, a really loud clap sound echoed down the hall. I didn’t know what it was, I’m a country chick..but the next thing I knew, more sounds came through the hall and a hospitality personnel shoved us all into the TAG Chapel. Shots were fired and hit only 5 feet from where I was standing in the hall. It was about 10 or so of us in the TAG Chapel, hiding. Adrenaline pumped through everyone’s veins.

new life church parking lotThen, he ushered us out the back doors. We all looked for ways to escape the parking lot until finally the SWAT team showed up and shoved us all into the basement media room at the World Prayer Center. We were there for 5 hours smashed against each other, waiting.

Things transpired that afternoon that made me realize how unimportant little me was to some of the leaders in that organization. That year was tough and I walked away from God for about half a year. Had to really ask some tough questions. Was God real? Have I been deceived all my life that there is a loving God that cares about little me? It was a loooong walk. But I realized that leaders are people just like the rest of us, they make mistakes. They were just thinking of the safety of their families..

That feeling of abandonment by my respected leaders caused bitterness to rise up in me that festered for several years. Just last year..did I finally come to terms with that bitterness.

My beloved friend and Pastor, Ted Haggard fell from Grace. But it was just that..a huge fall. But was his “huge” fall so necessary? Why was he cast out..why did he have to leave? He’s a brother right? Would you excommunicate your blood relatives for such a sin..Sin is sin, right? Only society puts value on the sin to justify their own, right? If I tell a white lie, does God put levels on sin? The answer is no..I guess you better excommunicate me too..then.

This past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to rub elbows a bit with a lesbian couple. A rather charming couple at that. And their baby girl is so incredibly adorable. But being raised in such a hypocritical and legalistic culture of Christianity, immediately biases took over my head. I struggled with how to communicate with them without the bias showing. Which, by the way, I totally failed. I truly didn’t know how to interact with them. One of my best friends in High School was gay. An amazing singer and song writer. He was saved, but struggled with some stuff from his family being torn apart by crime. He is still thought of as my brother and I love him dearly to this day..But I would not associate with them publicly..yah, I know, that was stupid. Right? Why? Cause I was taught that.

But see, here is the thing about all these little tid bits of stories from my past..they all lack grace. Last Sunday, I was just torn to bits about where I was emotionally. I was having renal issues and my heart was giving me trouble. I was miserable, swollen feet, headaches, the whole nine yards. And the tears just started coming and would not stop(seems the side effect of going to St. James lately) I want to be free of my emotional cage. Then I spotted a book next to the back door of the church entitled “Why We Eat Our Own” by Michael Cheshire. That was a way intriguing title.

why we eat our ownThe cover had a dinner plate with a Holy Spirit Fish symbol on it being cut and eaten with a fork and knife. Very symbolic of the title. Now you have to understand..I would not be in that place..in the back of the congregation..had I not: been in the hall with the shooter years ago, not held the grudge and bitterness, not met the lesbian couple, not had a friend who was gay..not been a part of Ted’s flock when he fell, not been miserable with physical and emotional baggage from my past. etc… All those experiences seemed to add up to that moment to put me in that seat. See, God doesn’t ever do anything without a specific purpose. Our steps are destined. Each and every one.

Now, you have to understand, I usually stand at the FRONT of the congregation, singing my best and hardest in total worship to God. I Don’t ever pick up a book and read half of it EVER in one day. As a kid, I struggled with ADD and have comprehension issues.

Sunday night I read just the forward and got immediately hooked. Just the forward! Monday, I read half the book and am still enthralled with it. And I’m gonna read it again.

What is it about? It’s about how Christ followers have created God in their own image. Yah, you read that right. See, Christ followers have focused way to long on the religion and not on the love we are supposed to reflect. If your sin is “bad enough”, you get kicked to the curb, sliced up, chewed up and spit out. I know, I have felt it too.. You see, I wear wings. Fairy/butterfly costume wings. Crazy huh! Did I mention I blow 40 foot bubbles? As a profession?

glitter tatoos for kids

Glitter tattoos for a special Birthday party last week.

I’m a Children’s entertainer part time, and I dress up as a fairytale creature wearing wings. Some call me a butterfly princess, some call me a fairy. Depends upon who you are and how you were raised. Either way, my christian friends and some of my own family, flesh and blood, have told me I’ve lost my way and I need to repent..or they shun me all together. People are afraid of what they don’t understand.

I still love God with all my heart mind and soul. I still read His word, I listen to His voice and I go where He leads..but all other Christians see is the cover..they don’t see the hurting people that I love on every day.

This last year, I got all caught up by what the “Christian” crowd would think of me, what I do, how I do it and who I’m with. But this last weekend, I realized how incredibly selfish that was. Just cause I’m unique and having fun playing pretend for kids..in a healthy way, doesn’t make me crazy. I see the world in a different light and hate blending in. I don’t fit the mold, for sure. **side note, even my 17 year old son thinks I’m cool.

So, to sum this up, God taught me this week to stop judging, stop being full of fear of what others think..stop trying to change people, cause you can’t and just try to understand them and love them.

Grace.

I like blueberries better anyway.

**Ted Haggard is and always will be my favorite Pastor, not because of what he does..but because he is my brother in Christ. Our calling is irrevocable..’

 

Comment Love

comments

Passionate Worship

Last week was Desperation Conference 2013. Let me say…

IT WAS EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

desperation conference 2013

There is just something about dancing like David did, in worship that restores your joy. Not just any joy, but abundant, exuberant, scream till you loose your voice, amazing, outstanding joy.
Worshiping with my two teenagers was indescribable. The conference lasted three days. Full of fun, the Word and building life long commitments to God. Totally changed my two teens. It changed me and restored that burning fire within.

Desperation+Band+DPYou’d never tell, I’m a 40 year old Mom..(yep, 40)
Going back to church with the “older” crowd..(just kidding) felt lacking. My spirit hungered for more. Driven with that hunger for more of God and exuberant praise, I hoped this morning to catch some of it at the 9am service at New Life Church with the Desperation Band. I was saddened to find it boring? I’m not sure why..maybe all the older groups should go to a Desperation conference. LOL

The service had 30 minutes of worship, way shorter than what we used to have there, 50-60 minutes of passionate worship. It felt..complacent?
Due to our car crash and no vehicle this last month, we have missed out on church at St James and I know my spirit was bone dry. Even being on the worship team there came to a screeching stop.

My teen daughter was catching up with a friend after the first service at New Life and doing a sleep over. This friend is special to her, Ariana and her Family lost their home to the Black Forest Fire. I’ve know them for over 10 years. After worship for NLC at 9am I dropped off her bag at the front desk for her to pick up after service and headed home to get the rest of the fam up to go to St. James(my husband really wanted to get back to worshiping there)

I have always found Pastor Ted’s teaching to “hit the nail on the head” every single time. This week, as it’s been, what, 4-5 weeks? since we have been back to St. James? His teaching HIT HOME. The worship at St. James was better than ever..better, dare I say, than Desperation band. (Did I say that?)

Worship had me bawling like a little child. The anger I have had within me for weeks upon weeks just broke into tears..a waterfall of tears. I could not stop it. The sweetness of the Spirit and the Love I felt within me from my God, my Master and King, just washed over me and the anger Tearmelted into a fountain of tears.

At the “greet one another and say Hi” moment directly after worship, Ted rushed over to me and said “Welcome home!” He said he was so happy to see us and have us back..and gave my head a hug like a Dad does to a daughter that came home from College or something. Wow. I still am crying over that one. With my Dad gone, and no family to speak of in Colorado, that MEANT SOOOO MUCH. Oh, here they come again……

His message hit so close to home..spoke to the questions I’ve been asking God for answers for..and confirmed some important words of wisdom my heart needed to hear.

Here is a recap:

“By being responsible, obeying the rules and doing what is right, you avoid causing yourself trouble down the road that could cause a chain reaction that would change history for you and your family. Bad ideas cause tirany and poverty. ~~Foolishness

“Live out with good decisions and counter what others say about you. That in turn will prove their own foolishness and prove you worthy.”
“Respect everyone, be a friend, obey the rules, do not judge anyone, love and pray for them instead.”

“Got a Chronic issue in your life? Find the core issue, resolve it and see the consequences of that problem to drop out of your history and future.”

“Be who you want your kids to be, live by example”

“Responsible behavior directly will change your future”

Comment Love

comments