Time To TALK

Time-to-Talk-temporary-tattoo-design-1002x616

IM BACK!!!!!

It has been a while since I have posted.  We have been busy, BUT in a good way.  We have made some amazing memories spent with our entire family, while our boys were home from college.  These past few months God has shown me nuggets to share with you about faith, marriage, and revelations about myself.

I have personally been on my own journey of reading through the old testament, battling getting back on track with my eating and weight loss, and trying not to worry so much about situations that are out my control.

This past summer I have thought a lot about “Quality Time” and “Talking with your Spouse”.  In the past years of our marriage, we have spent some wonderful TIME together going on beautiful vacations, fancy restaurants, lavish DATE nights, but as I look back I would say that the BEST conversations have been lately on our walks, or on our back porch, starring at our lake.

I seem to find myself looking at these couple’s on Facebook and their date nights, and thinking are you talking DEEP? NOW, don’t get me wrong, date nights are amazing, we encourage them in our small group, we ourselves love going on them, but the key is REAL, DEEP, conversation.  I think back to the vacations and fancy restaurants over the years and wonder…… did my husband and I talk about anything that really mattered? It seems like in a marriage we can go weeks, months, even years, without talking about anything really deep or meaningful.  As we journey through life together as a couple, we change, grow, children leave, friends change, and hopefully, we are growing spiritually with Jesus.  Lets face it, I am not the same young girl my husband married 22 years ago ( Thank  GOD), I have grown and matured in my walk with Jesus, I value different things in life, and two of our three children live on their own now in college.  Life has changed.

A magazine writer recently posted this….

A study from the Brigham Young University and Colorado State University tracked the leisure activity and relationship of 318 couples who were married or lived together. They found that women cared more than men about spending time together. But they were clear that the time had to involve talking to each other. If you can’t remember what an activity like that would be – think visiting a place of interest (an art gallery rather than pub) or cooking together. Just being with their partner didn’t make their relationship better – they had to communicate with them.

The last sentence really stood out to me, Just being with their partner didn’t make their relationship better- they had to communicate with them.

You might be saying to yourself, how do I start this process with My spouse????

First of all your spouse needs other men sharpening him and should be a part of a men’s small group/accountability group. If your husband has other men holding him accountable, he is more likely to serve you, and want to improve the marriage bond.  The concept is called  SERVANT/ LEADERSHIP; its what Jesus did on Earth.

Second, don’t be afraid to take the initiative to start this process.  Ask your husband about his day at work, be interested in the things he is interested in.  Eventually, he will begin to be interested in things you are interested in, and from there the process grows.

I would like to take it even deeper, we need to communicate with each other on a deep level, our feelings, mind state, and NOT discuss our kids all the time! I often think about the fact that one day, it will be just my husband and I in our home.  The time to work on things is NOW, the Time to have deep conversations is NOW, not when everyone has moved on and your now starring at this person, thinking I don’t even know who you are anymore, because we haven’t really talked in all these years.

Our best conversations today are about God, where we are at emotionally, the things we want to do together in Life, our Goals to lead a healthier life, traveling, ministry, friends or loved ones we are praying for, serving others together, work,  bucket list ideas, and  ideas on how to spend quality time together.

A Pastor in Minnesota said, Marriage isn’t a Time for coasting.  It’s when we gear up, when we pursue our wives in love, when we seek our joy in their joy…. and yes when we spend time together.

Ephesians 5:25- Husbands, love your wives as Christ Loved the Church.

We hear this bible verse thrown around in church settings and by Christians all the time, but to really LIVE this verse out is powerful. How did Christ love the church, how much did he love the church, what was he willing to do for the Church?

When “Deep TALK” happens we can experience the following:

  • confessions
  • apologies
  • forgiveness
  • grace
  • discover new things about your spouse
  • discover new things about yourself
  • confirmation about an issue you needed to hear from them
  • encouragement

Romans 15:5-6 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus , so that with ONE HEART and mouth you may glorify the GOD and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the end, you will find that you are craving these times of connecting on a deeper level with your spouse and you BOTH can’t live without it.

I challenge you to Spend quality time Talking to your spouse and getting DEEP! I promise you it will strengthen your bond and bring you closer together as you journey through life.

#womanchasingGOD

Put in the WORK

In January, James and I started talking about a couples bible study. We didn’t know all of the logistics of what it would look like BUT we knew our hearts and the passion we have for marriage. God knew our Church (The Fellowship Church) was about to launch the next session of small groups.

Fast forward to March and we have 9 beautiful couples showing up faithfully to our home once a week to walk out this journey of marriage and Gods truths, alongside us. These last 13 weeks has not only opened our OWN eyes to how we can pray and encourage others BUT it has brought us closer as a couple.

We started this journey sharing our testimony with them, to encourage them, give them HOPE, and break the ICE, so that they knew that we, most likely had covered all the SINS within our life story 👀! Our hope was that couples would get closer to God while becoming closer as a couple.

NO, we didn’t follow a marriage study book, but instead each week, we prayed together and sought God about the direction of the week and discussion. We decided to end each week with homework, these are things that James and I ourselves needed to start implementing again. The goal for each week was to at least try and do this particular task at least once or twice until we met again…

– Pray Together

– WRITE (not send a text) a love note and leave it for them where they would look or see it the next day!

– Each person spend alone time/ quiet time with God / read his word

-Communication rules ( Use I statements, then spouse respond with, so what I hear you saying is)

– Date Nights/ days (keep it simple)

– Be the Fruit of the Spirit

During each week, James and I implemented our homework tasks ourselves. We started walking together every night/ and praying together while we walked! I can’t tell you how amazing it is to hear my husbands heart and prayers for me and our family! We also committed to praying for each one of our couples that attended our small group! We prayed for them by name and were specific to their needs.

We have seen a 180 degree turn in our marriage and how we communicate with each other. Does this mean we never argue??, HA, NO! But it does mean that we have made so many deposits within each other recently and consistently and God is in our daily midst that when we do have an argument or disagreement, it isn’t a drag out or deal breaker like it used to be in the past.

James and I have realized that being obedient and serving others in ministry can be amazing!! We have made it a PRIORITY to spend time together daily, pray together daily, and have alone time with God daily!

For us, we have a shattered past and many hurt feelings and bad memories. BUT God can heal, restore and now USE us to give Hope to others. Many of us keep what God has done in our lives a SECRET! For me, I want to SHOUT it from the rooftops!!

Our HOPE is that others will hear what God has done for us and it inspires them to share their stories with others, and on and on!!

God calls us to share what he has done and make disciples. In order to do this we have to PUT IN THE WORK! We as humans, go to wok everyday, we take care of our children, we make time to watch TV, or go to the gym, BUT we need to make time for GOD and our marriages.

God has shown me that I have to be consistent in my walk with God and reading his word and I have to be consistent in my marriage.

One of the ladies in our small group made a great analogy when we put up DATING on one side of the wall and DIVORCE on the other side and the word LIFE in the middle.

We then discussed all of the ways you can end up DIVORCED and all the things we did when we dated!

This wise woman shared that from looking at what we had created with our layout she saw us swimming against a current and that couples are naturally swept towards DIVORCE by this world we live in. As couples we need to swim together against the current back towards those dating ideas and things that we did as a couple when we first met.

It was a great vision of how God desires us to keep him as our focus and CLING to our spouse and swim against LIFEs/ the enemies schemes to drag us under and towards devastation and RUIN of our families.

If we live by Gods word and PUT in the work, he will honor our labor!!

My hope is that this inspires a couple to try one or more of our homework tasks on the list! Get creative, and learn to LOVE again!

#womanchasingGod

DATE WEEKEND

This is a short and sweet post!

Good Morning,

I wanted to share our SIMPLE “DATE” weekend with all of you!!

I share with people that God puts into my life all the time to make things simple in your marriage. “DATES” don’t have to be expensive or super extravagant all the time.

This weekend James and I had no children, it was a beautiful thing! We stayed at home, but we did special things together.

Prayer walks are amazing- praying together in general allows you to see the HEART ❤️ of the other person and how they think and care about you! It’s the most deepest part of INTIMACY in a marriage.

We had a beautiful lunch together at home that he prepared for us, and we talked about a vacation we desire to take with our family.

Next we drove close to home and took a paint class together that I have been wanting to do ( a tiny bucket list item for me).

Our home was peaceful, quiet, we didn’t spend a ton of money and we spent special time together all weekend.

Lastly, and one of our new passions is we are going to take our daughter and some other small group friends from bible study to do homeless street ministry.

In a video by Francis Chan he challenged us to serve together and make disciples as a couple.

We don’t have to WAIT to have a perfect marriage or be a believer for 40 years to LISTEN to someone and to share what God has done in our lives.

A challenge for you is to

– PRAY together ( a walk or in the car together)

– DISCIPLE and Serve together ( we promise your marriage will be strengthened all on its on by this ACT)!

– Lastly, on your OWN, READ YOUR BIBLE, its a best seller with all of life’s answers in it. Allow God to unfold his truths and answers as you read.

We are consistent in every area of our life, work, our kids, etc !

We need to be consistent in pouring into our marriage!!

#womanchasingGod

Visual/Fantasy

In our world we talk a lot about men, their faults, failures and shortcomings within a marriage.  We discuss how they are visual and sometimes have wandering eyes.  Our society is filled with social media and pornography is easier than ever to get a hold of.  Men are flooded with visual stimulants everywhere they go in today’s world.

Inside of a marriage, this  “VISUAL” concept can be devastating, if not taken hold of, especially if the man is addicted to Pornography, and or lets his wandering eye last for more than the “2 second rule”.  Many times in conversation with friends and in church I have heard ONLY about the MAN, and how GOD made him visual, which can be a good thing for the WIFE if played out only inside of their marriage.  What I don’t ever hear about is about the WOMAN!

Can I be real for a second? WE as woman have our own struggle.  To me, our struggle can be as devastating, if not more detrimental to the covenant of marriage.  Ladies, lets be real, we watch love stories, read steamy novels, watch reality TV, look forward to valentines day, and in our MINDS WE GO PLACES.  WE AS women FANTASIZE!!!

Although, every woman at some point has fantasized about something or someone, we never speak about this.  We instead, focus on the MEN, and highlight their Issues, while never really bringing up the fact that we have our own.  This Fantasy life, can be a dangerous place to be in, especially when married.  Let me paint the picture for you.

A couple, who seems to be happily married, encounters some rocky times.  The wife needs affirmation and kind words, but the husband is in his own little world and maybe hasn’t paid attention to the wife in that way for a few months now.  She is craving someone to tell her she looks beautiful and to pay attention to her.   While at work, her co-worker notices her and compliments her on her outfit and how great she looks today.  In the moment, she thanks him and moves on, but later ponders on how she enjoyed that compliment, and is reminded how her husband hasn’t complimented her in months about anything.  Day after day, her co -worker says little things here and there that catch her attention and interest. Soon, she is starting to crave this attention she is receiving from this man who is NOT her husband.  This soon turns into meeting her co worker for lunch, and texting him all hours of the day, which she soon looks forward to, even though she knows deep down inside, this is wrong.  The woman is truly longing to receive this kind of attention from her husband, but is now receiving it from another man.   After a few months of this behavior,  finds herself in a an emotional affair with this man, although she hasn’t crossed any lines sexually, she has still lied, cheated, and kept a secret relationship with another man going while married.

This is a classic situation that happens all the time with women in our society and IN THE CHURCH, but no one speaks about it.  We should be addressing the issue that “yes”, men are visual, BUT women,  “fantasize”.  We are taught from little girls to be a princess and we play dress up,  play with dolls and we create these scenarios in our make- up fantasy world.  We dream of a BIG wedding, and when the honeymoon is over and we hit a rough patch in our marriage , the fantasy continues and sometimes it is just played out when no one is watching, with someone else!

I have learned in my marriage that yes my husband is visual, and I can tend to fantasize. We as a couple have to be careful with these issues.  We have to safeguard our marriage and make sure we aren’t placing ourselves in bad situations.  Let me give you some examples-

  • We should  not be texting another man/woman without my husband in the group text
  • We should not be alone with the opposite sex in any situations without someone else there
  • We should not be instant messaging or DM people of the opposite sex on the side
  • WE should not be meeting the opposite sex for lunch/ coffee ALONE

These strategies for our marriage, are to protect our covenant with God and each other. Too many times in life, I have seen or heard first hand that a marriage has taken a turn because of one bad choice.  God desires for us to have Fun and enjoy our marriage.  We need always “date” our spouse and continuously look for ways to spice up our marriage.  The enemy can’t wait to destroy our marriages and our families, so why are we letting HIM!!

I am currently reading throughout 2Samuel, and was reminded again about choices.  King David had a choice, and decided to stay back instead of going to fight during the battle.  That choice of him staying back, along with his eyes seeing a beautiful woman and then sending for her, led to so many negative consequences. Now don’t get me wrong, David, asked for forgiveness and God forgave him, BUT that doesn’t mean it didn’t come with consequences.   In 2 Samuel 12″9- 14, Nathan explains to KING David his consequences.

Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for[a] the Lord, the son born to you will die.”

Just like, in our own lives, we can make one or two wrong decisions that led to a string of crazy behavior.  Can we be forgiven, yes, do we suffer consequences due to our choices, ABSOLUTELY!!

This is why it is so important to guard your marriage and create healthy boundaries together as a TEAM.

Men are not the only ones that struggle, women struggle in a different way and need to be aware of the fact that this fantasy inside of all of us exists, its what we do with it that matters.

 

#womanchasingGOD

 

BEING THANKFUL

IMG_1134

As I enter this New Year, I have been thinking a lot about being THANKFUL!  When I think of this word, I think we can think of so many GREAT things to be Thankful for. I have a laundry list of the amazing things GOD has done for me and my family.  Those things such as health, forgiveness, mercy, grace, our home, my sons being College athletes, and the list goes on, bring a smile to my face and many others have shared in those exciting moments and times with us.  Those aren’t the “Thankful” things I have been thinking about for the last few months.  The last few months God has been showing me and reminding me how Thankful I am for the really ROUGH TIMES.

I look back at my life and I am so grateful for the years of trial, unknown, tears, heartache, uncertainty, and  LONLINESS.  As I reflect, I think about what God has planted deep inside of me through these years.   I would like to share a few of these things God has shown me. I try to do these as I journey through life.

1- GRACE- the word Grace means undeserving GIFT.  I can look back and say that in my life I given Grace to many people in my life, I can at times, want to PAT myself on the back, but then I think of GOD!  He has given me SO much Grace, and because of his continued outpouring of Grace upon me, is why I have such a heart for others, even when they mess up or deeply hurt me.

2- Laughter- I laugh every single day, sometimes to the point of tears.  There were many years in my life where Laughter was missing, it was filled with stress and worry. I now look at life with a new focus.  God is my focus.  For so long, someone or some issue was my focus which left me sad and lonely.  I USUALLY, still working on this, try and live in the day!  I try and focus on the blessings and laughter of the day!  I LOVE to laugh, it heals my deepest part of my SOUL!  It refreshes me and excites me.  I have noticed it is contagious as well.  My family will start laughing at the fact that I am laughing!! I want to be contagious in a good way, not a negative way.

3- Forgiveness- this ACT keeps me going.  I have learned through the years, that forgiveness is one of the keys to me being healthy and WHOLE.  I used to want people or my spouse to ask for forgives or apologize FIRST.  I have grown in this area and now I don’t care who says it first, if I need to seek forgiveness, then I NEED to go ask for forgiveness and apologize. This act has allowed me to walk in FREEDOM with Jesus, cleaning up my wrongs with people.  It also allows for my heart to be open when people ask me for Forgiveness.  Sometimes, I have forgiven many times the same type of offense.  I often think to myself how many times has God forgiven me for the SAME type of offense??

4- Lastly, I have learned what is really important in LIFE!!  My husband and I have had very nice things, extravagant cars, Million dollar homes, and on the inside we were destroyed as a family.  Today, we live simple, and love to give of what we do have.  God has restored much of what we have lost and SO much More.  Our family, and the restoration has been a journey, BUT a well worth fight!  We spend quality time together, laugh, play games, EAT A LOT, talk LOUD A LOT, are passionate about sports, support each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, and now get to share with our older sons the importance of Marriage, commitment, and Gods covenant and they start to embark on who God has for them in their own future.

As I look back and am Thankful for the rough times, I believe those times have prepared me and created in me, WHO I am today.  As these moments and trials continue to come, I am molded more and more by GOD, his strength carries me, and I think to myself I would have never done that or talked to that person or forgiven that offense, if I hadn’t been through some major fires.

Love is not just a  GOO GOO feeling! If it was, I think its safe to say both my husband and I would have checked out years ago.  LOVE is a commitment, covenant, SELFLESS act, patient to allow the other person to grow, NOT envious, KEEPS NO RECORDS OF WRONGS ( this is a BIG one)!

I pray that God continues to show me how to LOVE as he does, and that I keep learning and add to my list of items God continues to show me that I am thankful for!!

#womanchasingGod

WHILE IN THE “WAIT”

IMG_4389

(Sunrise on the Sea Of Galilee from my Spring trip)

One night, this last spring while traveling abroad In Israel with my son, Isaac, we were in city of Galilee and I couldn’t sleep very well.  I felt as though God was waking me up early, for something special.  I was still adjusting to the time change and our days were filled with walking to various historical sites being as this was a senior year bible pilgrimage.  My mind was swirling with an overload of information about Gods Holy Land.  I wanted so bad to see the sunset over the Sea of Galilee that so many others on our trip had told me about.  I knew I was going to have to get up very early, and at the same time be ready for the days adventure ahead of us. Well, needless to say God woke me up.  I hustled and got ready for the day, while it was still dark, I went downstairs and found a balcony in our hotel that I could sit and anxiously “WAIT” for this beautiful scene to occur.  As I sat in “WAIT”,  the air was cool and the water so very still.  I could imagine Jesus out on a boat in this very same sea, that thought gave me chills.  As I sat there, although tired and a bit anxious for the day ahead,  God was overwhelming me with peace and a sense of calm.  His presence was filling me and preparing me for the beauty I was about to experience.  Those who know me, know that I don’t just SIT very well, I like be DOING something or multitasking.  I’m usually cleaning, running errands, working out, or working, the thought of just sitting and “WAITING” drives me crazy!! With that being said, the sunrise over the SEA of Galilee was the most beautiful, peaceful experience I have yet to see in my 41 years of life, and the “WAIT” was so worth it!

In life, I have experienced times when I am what I call “In the WAIT”, I am in holding period, awaiting  my miracle.  Recently, God has brought into my life many women who are where I was many years ago.  They are “IN THE WAIT”.  Maybe they are praying for a miracle for their husbands sobriety, or their marriage to reconcile, or their spouse to just come to church and seek God the way they are.  I find myself feeling and knowing exactly where they are in life.  It is a tough place to be, BUT as you sit and WAIT, what is God doing in the meantime behind the scenes?  Many times, I wanted to rush my WAIT time, I couldn’t understand why this had to be so many years of pain, and tears, I mean God COULD just make this all perfect right? Well, I also knew about free will and choice and that I also had a CHOICE while I waited for my miracles in my family.  I remember being so consumed with what my husband was doing or where he was at, that I stopped focusing on God and myself.  As I look back now, I realize that the WAIT, was what I needed because I had to allow God to work on me so that I was ready for the beautiful SUNRISE he was about to unveil in our family.

While I was in the “WAIT”, I did a few things that helped me along in my journey to healing.  I attended an amazing Church in Arizona, that truly blessed me, Life Link Church.  I then went back to our counselor that we attended as couple and I decided to see her alone.  I knew that as I moved through life I didn’t want carry this baggage with me.  She always told me, Stephanie, remember, YOU TAKE YOU WITH YOU!  I knew that I had some serious deep resentments, anger and bitterness I needed to get rid of.  This was a process of her giving me some tools to work on and me getting closer to God.  I had to stop worrying about my husband and really fix myself.  I had to daily, give over my spouse to GOD.  One of my favorite things to share with women is that when you meet God, he isn’t going to ask you about your husband.  Trust me, I used to wish this wasn’t true, because I had such a laundry list for God about my husband.  To this day, I  constantly remind myself about this fact about my life. This in itself, allows me to apologize, forgive, and keep laughing through life.  I want to meet God and have him say, good and faithful servant.

SO, while we are “WAITING” for our sunrise miracle in our lives, we have to keep fighting for our families, keep fighting for GOD and his TRUTHS.  My middle son, is a senior and for football, they each wrote their Mom a letter.  My letter was a sweet glimpse of my sons masculine heart.  In his letter he said,

“I thank you for fighting for your marriage so me, Isaiah, and Moni can have two parents in our home.  You always found time for us no matter how much work you had or how many troubles were on your plate at the time.  Even though times got hard you kept our family together”.

This is from an 18 year old young man who lived through some very unknown times in our family.  When I read this I thought, THE WAIT, was so worth it.  Gods miracles and timing is so perfect!  We just have to have faith that the journey and road we are on, can end in a beautiful way.

My sons letter makes me think about all the things we try and do for our children,  we make them eat gluten free, don’t eat too much sugar, don’t drink soda, take them to the best schools, BUT we tear apart and don’t fight for the ONE THING in their life that they REALLY DESIRE AND LOVE, and that’s the family UNIT. I recently saw a clip of the movie, INSIDE OUT at our church, The Fellowship Church, and the one part showed her CORE memory was that of her FAMILY, all three of them together.  I thought this is so true, these are our children’s CORE, us as their parents.  The two people my children knew and loved the most, were fighting ,most of their years, at odds, separated and now contemplating divorce.  So now, my three children GET to experience the miracle of our family right alongside me.

You may be in the “WAIT” right now in your life and marriage.  I know exactly where you are, and I know its hard and you can’t seem to see past a few hours, let alone days or even years.  BUT GODs timing is NOT ours!  His timing is so perfect.  Allow him to prepare you during this WAIT time for your MIRACLE.  Have Faith that he can restore your family, break addictions, allow forgiveness and start over.  Allow him to work on YOU, during this wait time, STOP worrying about your spouse, GOD sees them.  It not our job to FIX them, but it is our job to work on us, be the BEST we can for JESUS, and PRAY specifically for your family. I know now that I was ready for my MIRACLE of restoration when it happened.  Was I perfect, NO, it was a journey, But I had worked on myself during the “WAIT”, so that when the sunrise came up, I was able to smile with my family and take on whatever came our way.

Ask yourself this, while I Am “Waiting”, what does God want me to work on, what areas are deep and dark that I need to rid in my heart, who do I need to forgive, how can I start praying, what are some healthy things I can start doing for myself? How will you allow GOD to make you WHOLE so that when your SUNRISE COMES UP, you are able to embrace it with a SMILE and  have PEACE!

Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter came to him and asked, Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, ” but seventy times seven!”

As a follower of Christ, your attitude about forgiveness should mirror the attitude of the one you are trying to be like. Forgive others as he forgives you. (Tony Dungy)  Uncommon Marriage

Blessings

#womanchasingGod

The Prayer Box

In the Book of Joshua, chapter 10 a BOLD and powerful prayer is said.  Joshua is now leading the Israelites after Moses death.  They are about to fight the Amorites.  The Amorites consist of 5 kings who have joined forces to try and fight Joshua and the Israelites.  The Israelites also made a treaty with the people of Gibeon, which made the Amorites nervous.  In verses 12-15, Joshua says to the Lord in the presence of the Israel:

“Sun stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,

as it is written in the book of Jashar.

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.  There has never been a day like it before or since , a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely  the Lord was fighting for Israel!

This story reminds me of a time in my life that I was praying outrageous , BOLD prayers!  They seemed like they were really outlandish and FAR fetched.

The church we attended in Arizona was called, Life Link Church.  While we lived in Arizona, this was our home church. One of the many things I loved at our church was every January, we did a prayer BOX as a congregation.  We started this at the beginning of the year and prayed over this box all year corporately as a church.  Each member was given an index card, and I thought to myself, Am I  supposed to FIT ALL my requests on this TINY card?? Well, that card was full!

This was a particular rough time in my life.  My husband and I were separated as a couple and we were co- parenting our children.  Our marriage was in the air as well as his sobriety on every level.  By this point, he lived in a condo a few miles away and I rented a small home.  I tried to keep our life as sane as possible, but every night my boys would want to pray for us to be together as a family and would ask if we were getting a divorce.  I had prayed for the many areas of my Life that seemed to be in a continuous spiral, but now I was going to place them all on this index card and placed it in the church box in HOPE and PRAYER, that I would see some miracles in my own life.  I sat at church that morning and listened to everyone else share what they saw GOD do in their lives, and I wanted some of those miracles so bad in my own life.  I sat and listed the many requests on my heart.  I felt like I had to write so tiny because I didn’t want to leave anything out.   I then, placed that index card in the box and I remember feeling kind of excited, I prayed BOLD, BIG prayers:

  • I prayed that God would save my husband from Drugs and Pain killers that had gripped his life and SOUL.
  • I prayed he would stop seeing other women and fully commit himself to me, his WIFE.
  • I prayed our family would be reunited.
  • I prayed that generational curses, of addiction, pornography, adultery, molestation, would stop!
  • I prayed our financial situation would be restored and we would find a home together once again, get a car, and we would both find good careers.

I listed many more areas of my heart, I was very RAW and I had nothing left to hold back.  My family and husbands life were hanging in the balance, I knew I needed to pray BIG!

This prayer journey started in January, and yes, that’s right, It was a year long journey. A year full of twists, turns, heartache, and disappointment.  I truly felt many nights, God are you really there? As the months went on, I felt like my husband looked worse,  the addiction was getting deeper, and I felt like he looked more and more lost.  It made me sad to see my family split apart and all of us so broken.  I kept thinking, today will be the day, he will call me, check into rehab and start his journey back to truly Living again.  Well that day literally didn’t come until almost a whole year later!.  I guess Gods timing and mine are REAL different.

I learned a few things about myself during this year:

  • I am able to have Boundaries and still Love
  • I Need Gods word in my life DAILY
  • Forgiveness was the best for my heart to heal
  • I was reminded of GRACE (Undeserving Gift)
  • God had protected me and my family in some scary and unknown times
  • Trials made me grow and be strong
  • Lastly, I missed my family, and my heart longed for our UNIT!

Finally, the MIRACULOUS day came and the phone call from my husband came.  It was the month of December, 2008, he called and asked me if I would help him get into a rehab ASAP.  He had finally hit a bottom, money had run out, his LIGHTS had been turned off in his condo,  and all the party buddies were no where to be found.  MY MIRACLE had finally come!! It wasn’t instant like Joshua’s, but God knew he had his own work in me to be done first, so that I could be ready for this next step in the journey.   I worked quickly and in 2 days, we had my husband on a flight back home to California, and a rehab bed ready for him in a wonderful place that my friends husband worked at in Sacramento.  How it all worked out financially, was truly yet another miracle from GOD.  Even though we had a long road ahead, and there were  no discussions about our marriage,  I knew this was the first step and the beginning of his road to recovery. 

I believe that NOTHING is impossible with GOD.  My God is strong and powerful, we just need to pray BOLD prayers.  I remember this saying from FCA, pray as if everything depends on GOD and WORK as if everything depends on YOU.

We need to stop thinking that our God can’t fix our mess or our life’s troubles are too Big for him.  I mean Joshua prayed for the SUN TO STAND STILL, wow, that is BOLD and BIG.

I pray that You PRAY BIG AND BOLD prayers for your LIFE!

Blessings

#womanchasingGOD

STONES

IMG_4185

IMG_4184

Picture 1- Actual Stones from the Valley of Elah I brought back from Israel)

Picture 2- The Valley of Elah, and me holding actual stones from the spring that David would have grabbed his stones

 

I remember the first time I shared my testimony, I was terrified.  It was in Monterey, CA at a beautiful beach house in front of about 35 women at all women’s retreat.  For the first time I was going to share all the shameful feelings, and embarrassing moments in my life, BUT GOD.  I had prepared, prayed, and had elders in the church pray over me, but my legs were still shaking. During worship and before they announced me, I was praying, God this is YOUR STORY, just speak through me.  I spoke, I shared, I cried, and God inspired me to be RAW and real, because he is the one that did the miracle in my marriage and journey.

In Luke 8:17-  it says, For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

I knew that I had to finally get out the deep, dark ugliness that surrounded my marriage for so many years, so that the enemy could stop reeking havoc with our minds and our marriage.  After I shared and brought DARKNESS to the LIGHT, many women came up to me and said they too, had a similar story.  Since that beautiful night that I shared in that beach house, God has used his miracle of our marriage to inspire many others.  My husband and I started speaking and sharing more and more, whenever God presented the opportunity.  Each and every time, we shared together or apart, women and men came to the alter or to find us, crying and finally finding that courage to open up that DARK place they have been carrying and bring it to the light.

In my life, I used to be very ashamed and embarrassed of my journey.  It was chaotic so say the least.  At many times, I felt as though it was a bad dream, or a movie, like this couldn’t be happening to me.  I wished during those moments, that someone in church or someone I knew would have spoke up and been REAL AND RAW and shared their testimony.  Many times, in church, we as believers cover up, we put on a happy face and a “Perfect” family persona.  Well, guess what, there is NO “Perfect Family” or “Perfect Marriage”.  God finally showed me, stop waiting for someone else to be “RAW”, YOU BE RAW, you tell the world what I have done in your life.  I have found that my obedience, although at times still hard and scary, is so rewarding.

Today I was reading in the book of Joshua 4:19-24- it reads:

On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan.  He said to the Israelites,”In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean? tell them, Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’  For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over.  The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.  He did this so that all the peoples of the Earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.

What has God done in your LIFE to show his POWER, that you are holding onto?  SHARE it, speak it out!  Maybe your not exactly going into public speaking, but God has done something in your life.  You might be in a small group, or have some friends in your life that need to hear the miracles YOU are holding onto.  In the old testament, as stated earlier, they set up stones, so that as people passed by, they would ask, “What Happened here?”  I have laid stones in many different states and areas that I have lived, by sharing the miracles along my journey.  The stones that I share, open up women to come forward and say ME TOO, or I am so glad you shared because I need HOPE in my own walk with God and marriage.  This is definitely not a testament to ME, this is the GLORY OF GOD and his miracles.

This last spring I was fortunate enough to travel to the “HOLY LAND” with my middle son Isaac for 11 days.  We ventured all over Israel and saw many of the sites and places in the BIBLE.  One of my most favorite, was the Valley of Elah.  Many of the historical sites now in Israel are very tourist drawn, I think that’s why I loved the place where David slain Goliath the most.  After a long day of touring, our large bus pulls literally to the side of the road and our tour guide says, “We are here”.  SO, we all file out and start our journey alongside this road into this valley.  I was like wow, this IS IT!!  NO tourism here, it was the Valley of ELAH!.  We were standing on the ground and right in the same stream where David picked up his stones.  As we approached the place, people had created their own PILE of stones to show they were there.  YES, just like the OLD TEASTAMENT.  The pile of stones had writing on them from different people that had been there along their tour to see this spot.  I loved seeing that, it was a reminder that we need to remember what God has done in our lives.  We need to share and not be afraid of what people will think or say.

My marriage today is by NO means perfect, but we are walking out our Covenant with God, still learning, still facing trials, and learning to laugh and build stones along the way.  Our stones now are a living testament to our 3 children, who know the BATTLE we have endured and they have seen a REAL, RAW marriage.

Every time I share, I remind myself that this is about GOD, NOT ME.  God gets the glory and the enemy is defeated when Darkness comes to LIGHT!! Once we share, God can now work on us and our Journey to Freedom CAN BEGIN!! I am no longer a prisoner to SHAME, EMBARSSAMENT, HATE, JEALOUSY, ANGER, BITTERNESS, and I try very hard not to bring up the PAST!!  I am no longer a slave to the Dark PAST!  I can now stand tall and place STONES of Gods miracles along my journey.  I remind myself everyday, someone needs to hear what God has done in my once, CRAZY marriage.  I pray for God to place hurting women in my path so I can share my pain and hurt that God has turned to JOY.  Our Children GET to experience the joy of our FAMILY UNIT, family vacations, laughter, craziness, ups and downs, on the backs of our pain and hard work to mend what was so very BROKEN. I know, like I know, that there is nothing IMPOSSIBLE for GOD. There is no Marriage that is “TOO BROKEN”, or things that have been done that God can’t mend, we just have to be WILLING!!

Those STONES of the past are for display of GODS miracles alone!

These are GODS miracles in our lives, why keep them a secret!!

 

Blessings

#womanchasingGOD

 

HEART ISSUES

In my life I have found that it is very easy to look at other people and find their faults, rather than  to look at myself.  Being married to someone who was a “loud sinner” for many years, gave me even more fuel to feel this way.  While living in Missouri, we had the opportunity to see an amazing counselor.  During our many sessions, he uncovered some glaring truths about us.  My husband was a loud sinner and I was a quiet sinner, but our personalities were that of a tortoise(my husband) loves to not discuss issues and close off and I was the HAIL STORM  (I am going to go rounds with you until we come to an agreement).  During the years of loud sin, I found that I lost myself.  I started to harbor deep feelings inside. I was truly starting to become an ugly person on the inside and it would explode out of me in various ways.  I became judgmental, jealous, angry, and bitter on the inside.

Eventually, after years of dysfunction, my husband hit a bottom, and checked into a 90 day program back home in California, for drug and alcohol abuse.  I was so excited for him, this had been what I was praying for.  My prayers were finally answered.  While he was working on himself, and getting clean from pain killers and alcohol, I had been intently immersed in my own one on one counseling because I had become a woman that I never wanted to be, a bitter woman.  My husband was off working on himself and working through his issues,  getting clean, while I was left with deep heart issues, that NO REHAB could just cleanse me from.

Many times I looked at my husband with disgust from his loud Sin, but all the while God could see my filthy, ugly heart that was deep with my own ugly sin.  I think because he was such a loud sinner, I looked so put together on the outside to others, while all along my internal side was slowly starting to seep out from deep within, and it was ugly.

Heart issues are deep wounds, that only God can heal.  I knew I had to get real with God and get deep with my feelings.  This didn’t seem as cut and dry as going into a rehab, this seemed harder and deeper.  God started to reveal the layers that I needed to peel back about myself.  I could no longer keep using my husband as a scape goat, even though what he had been doing was wrong, so was my SIN. My sin were HEART ISSUES.  I knew deep inside that no one could fix my deep heart Issues and give me peace other than GOD.  I had to grow in my relationship with God and read his word to learn more about his truths and apply them to my life.

If you are married to a loud sinner, you will find it easy to look at his shortcomings as the only real issues in your life.  They may be infidelity, addictions, gambling/money issues, compulsive lying, or pornography, but I assure you if you are real and honest with GOD he will reveal your own shortcomings through the Holy Spirit.  As loud as all those sins are, our secret heart sins, if not dealt with can fester, build and become a spreading virus from within.  Its easy to believe we are justified and righteous when living with a loud sinner, but this is so far from the TRUTH. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 5:28, when he said :

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

As women, we tend to look and judge our husbands actions,  but God is more concerned about our hearts. In reality what is harder for God to deal with? An addiction, or a deep seeded HEART ISSUE? A hard heart, turns to stone and leads you away from GOD and those closest to you.

I can finally say today, that I have found PEACE within my heart.  I am a work in progress, as we all are, but have a come a long way.  I am definitely not that same woman I was years ago.  God has grown me in ways that are indescribable.  I still struggle in certain areas but I have PEACE about who I am in Christ, where I am as a woman, and who I Am as a WIFE and Mother.  Here are some things that I try to incorporate into my life that I have learned along my Journey  (I have to thank my counselor’s and spiritual mothers in my life along the way).

#1- Read Gods word Daily

#2- Pray daily and be specific and Honest with GOD

#3- LAUGH OFTEN (this is my favorite)

#4- Never give up on my Goals (personal goals we make for ourselves)

#5- H.A.L.T.-  Never make decision when I am Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired

#6- Take special time for me (whether that be the gym, read a book, take  a nap etc)

#7-Be a good listener (This is a challenge for me, but I am always working on it)

#8- Step out and take chances – TRY NEW THINGS

#9- FORGIVE, myself and others

#10- DONT LOOK BACK IN THE PAST- Keep moving Forward!

Heart issues can be the hardest to work through, but are very rewarding when you can see the growth.

PSALM 51:10- Create in me a pure heart, O GOD, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Blessings

#womanchasingGOD

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑