That Friend

Do you know that friend that always has a major crisis going on in his or her life? Every time you talk, their ongoing struggles consume the conversation? And all you want to say is “Get over yourself. You have made it through worse situations and frankly, there are people with even more difficult struggles”. Well, what happens when “that friend” is you?

What happens when you are the one that feels like you are a burden to the people around you? You feel like a Debbie Downer because every time you talk to them or send them a text, it’s about yet another thing you are going through? Right now, I am “that friend”.

Since last June, I have been working with a Counselor on multiple traumas I have experienced throughout my life and although the work done and the Counselor himself are extraordinary, it is completely overwhelming and exhausting.  I get so lost in, not in reliving the trauma, but the years it has stolen from me. Years of anger, depression, oppression, bad decisions that have kept me from the truth and the promises I have been afraid to pursue.

There are mornings that the healing pushes me to pursue God’s truth and His promises for me; and then, there are mornings—like this morning—when it takes everything in me not to call out of work. When I finally willed myself out of bed, instead of putting on my face of fortitude, I didn’t have the energy to put anything on my face at all.  I wanted so bad to reach out to my friends to ask them to pray for me because the weight was too much to bear. I started typing the text, but quickly deleted it as I remembered that just a couple of days earlier I had requested prayer for another crisis that was weighing me down.

Instead of reaching out to my friends as I wanted to, I chose to turn on the Christian radio station to tune out the chatter in my head. As soon as I heard the first song come on, I knew the Lord had taken over the song selection and was my very own DJ. Song after song, I felt the burden that was weighing me down lift right off of me. Song after song, I was reminded that I was not alone.

I was reminded that instead of keeping me from God’s truth and His promises for me, anger and all of the emotions I have felt for 30 years were protecting me from even darker roads than the ones I had travelled. That when I fixed my eyes on Him, I had finally found everything I needed. He lifted my soul and opened up my eyes. He is rewriting my story and nothing could be better.

This healing journey I am on is a difficult one and I know there will be tons more of good and not so good days ahead. But as I listened to the playlist on the radio, I realized that my angst not to text my friends was not because they wouldn’t be encouraging; the angst was the Lord prompting me to reach out to Him. In my fear of being “that friend”, I was reminded that Jesus was the only friend I needed.

Pesky Gnats

Among the several things and people I pray for, my daily prayer for years has been (in no particular order) for finances, Jake, general anxieties, and ETA of my husband. As I journaled this morning, the Lord took over my pen and wrote these words to me. My prayer is they are an encouragement to you as well:

“You don’t trust Me enough to guide your heart. Trust Me in all things. Trust Me to take care of Jake. Trust Me to protect you in the car. Trust Me to provide for you in so many more ways than food or rent. Trust Me to protect your heart and your mind. There are tons of things you covet in your mind. Help Me as we both, together, fight the thoughts that enter your mind. You are so weak mentally. There is no type of protection over your mind. The anxiety you have, the lust you allow, it is because you haven’t given Me your mind. Your husband won’t come until you give Me your mind.

I love you and the plans I have for you and your husband are wonderful! Way more grand than you could ever comprehend. I am excited for you to meet, fall in love with Me as a couple, and walk on the beautiful and hard terrain I have for you, but you need to be ready to walk that road. You need to prepare now so you won’t fall later. You are My beloved. It hurts Me when you fall, when you allow such things to control what you see and what you do. That is not of Me.

I give you desires for you to control not for them to control you. Those desires are a reminder that I have not forgotten you. But I also know a deeper desire is to follow Me, to do as I have designed for you.

Fear. That thought that just came into your mind that you aren’t good enough; that you can’t do it. See how we caught that thought like a gnat flying around? We can catch it and kill it or we just swat it enough for it to fly away for it to come back at some point. Sometimes you think you have killed it, but you weren’t even close. Don’t let the gnat or the thought of it returning distract you.

Let Me handle the gnats of your mind.”

I pray you are able to identify the gnats in your mind!


‘My timing is not His timing. My plans are not His plans. My ways are not His ways. My good for His Great.’ Words you keep telling yourself when you know something is coming, but you have no idea what it is.

I am a planner. I like to know that things have been thought through and planned, so I know what to expect. No surprises. Because, well, I hate surprises.

Let me elaborate. I don’t mind being surprised, but I can’t stand knowing there is one coming. If I am going to be surprised, I would prefer to be completely in the dark until it is fully revealed. I guess that is why I dislike scary movies or scary anything for that matter. I know I am going to be scared, I just don’t know when it’s coming, and that irritates the crud out of me.

I truly believe God finds this characteristic of mine amusing. Because although He is a planner as well, He does not always divulge His plans to His children. He gives us our daily bread. He wants us to depend on Him, trusting that He indeed has it all worked out. Giving us too much might make us greedy; giving us too little, would be leaving us wanting more.

Five years ago, God told me something was happening in my 40th year. That’s all He said, something. No details. No specifics. Not even a category. I already knew that my 40th year would include Jake graduating, but I knew that wasn’t going to be all.

When I first heard that message, I spent months imagining what it could be. Was I getting married? Was I moving to Guatemala? Or back to Florida? Was I getting married? (Oh, did I say that already?) I tried to find answers in everything. I was frustrated that I knew something was going to happen, but I didn’t know what.

As the years passed, the desire to know dwindled. I got busy and caught in the present that I forgot about the future, per say. Plus, it was so far off, it kind of seemed out of reach. Well, as my 40th year got closer, the anxiety and desire to know rekindled and it was stronger than ever. Jake graduated, knew where he was going to school and it was all paid for (PRAISE JESUS!!). But what about me? What was I going to do?

Well, some things worked themselves out and I ended up spending my 40th birthday back home in Florida. I spent 10 wonderful days with friends from throughout the 15 years Jake and I had lived there. Person after person asked when I was coming back. Of course, that was my desire, but I wasn’t certain if it was God’s will, so I just asked people to pray.

When I got back to Thomasville, I was renewed. Not knowing wasn’t scary anymore, it was just unnerving. I prayed and prayed. Begging for an answer. Begging for some huge revelation of the remainder of “the plan”, and it came, sort of. It wasn’t a huge revelation, but it was a huge storm. Hurricane Irma was on its way to crush my home and all I wanted was to be there with my friends. As crazy as it sounds, I wanted to weather the storm with them.

The Friday and Saturday prior to the storm hitting, I was literally sick. My anxiety was causing my body to go haywire. Then God did something amazing. He made the hurricane fall apart. As the days passed, yes, there was evidence of a storm, but there was a sense of gratefulness for God and His never-ending mercy.

After a week of anxiety, anticipating the worst storm in history, there were deep breaths and sighs of relief. I was also relieved. Relieved my friends and their homes were spared, but my anxiety had made a shift. I now knew what my next step was to be.

And this is where I am today. At the crossroad of this next step, a new chapter. I have given a “I’m leaving, but not sure when” notice at work and know that I am moving back to Florida at some point, but that is as far as I know. I am looking diligently for a job. Applying for whatever opportunity crosses my path and praying for God’s direction every step of the way. Would I like the entire plan laid out before me? Of course, but for right now I will do my best to be satisfied with the daily bread He provides and try not to get too caught up in the fact that I still, in fact, hate surprises.

A Glimpse

The study was majestic. His writing desk was enormous and His chair was more like a throne. She had been in His Study before, but she was amazed every time she entered, what seemed to be a grand court. The desk did not face the door, but out towards a large bay window, which had a wide and endless view of the beauty on the other side of a thin glass pane. The sun shun brightly it illuminated the entire room. Even in the evening the moon was just so radiant; no light was ever needed. 

Not wanting to disturb Him she quietly entered the room. Her effort to be as quiet as possible was thwarted by a table which stood in her direct path. Shading her eyes from the bright sun, she did not see it until she walked into it. The sound was quite loud, but Her Father was never the kind who was bothered easily, especially at the sight of His little girl. He scooped her up His arms and placed her in His lap. Though it was an invisible bump seen only to His little girl, He tended to her “injury” for the sole purpose of having His angel on His lap once more. As she had gotten older, she discovered independence. So, moments like these were few and far between.

Loving this moment, He gave her a glimpse of what He was doing. He was writing. Writing about her. His dreams and plans for her. Everything He wanted His daughter to experience. As she read, she was amazed as what He had written. Was this really what He had planned for her? Could this truly be a glimpse into the future she will one day have? Her excitement soon became doubt. Did He know who was on His lap? The sunlight was extremely bright, so He could have easily mistaken her for another child.  Had He not already done so much for her? How could all of this possibly be for her?

Sensing her unease, He cradled her tightly and called her by name. He read aloud the words He had written. His words were soft, gentle, yet full of excitement and certainty. Although still unsure, she listened intently envisioning the words He spoke. The promise of a loving husband, children (possibly 2 little girls and a boy), a strong marriage and ministry that would change the hearts of many.

She was amazed! She could not believe He would desire such things for her. Had He forgotten what a spoiled, stubborn child she could be at times? How she often stumbled, fallen, and tarnished the gifts He had given her? The uncertainty, fear, and shame engulfed her like a crashing wave. She listened for Him to say her name once more. Once He spoke it, she felt solace in hearing it. Maybe He had written this for her. Maybe this was a glimpse into her future. Maybe He did know who she was…His precious little girl.

2 Samuel 7:18-22 – King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed: “Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life? But that’s nothing compared to what’s coming, for you’ve also spoken of my family far into the future, given me a glimpse into tomorrow, my Master God! What can I possibly say in the face of all this? You know me, Master God, just as I am. You’ve done all this not because of who I am but because of who you are—out of your very heart!—but you’ve let me in on it. “This is what makes you so great, Master God! There is none like you, no God but you, nothing to compare with what we’ve heard with our own ears.

Acts 27:25 – “I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”

Bungee Free

“Every time I got pregnant I miscarried. My gynecologist said it was because of the abortion. Dynah was a miracle. But…there’s more to it than the physical part. It’s been twenty-nine years, and I’m still not over it.” That is an excerpt from one my favorite books, The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers.

According to Planned Parenthood, stories like this and the information I shared with you in my last speech are “unfounded claims”. They state abortion to be a “relatively benign procedure in terms of emotional effect” and describe “abortion as a positive coping mechanism”. Today, my goal is to convince you that not only is abortion anything but benign or a positive coping mechanism, but that there are many men and women hurting emotionally. They need to know there is healing and that they are not alone.

Merriam-Webster defines benign as “having no significant effect, harmless”. In my last speech, I shared with you that I have been leading post abortive recovery groups since 2010. What I did not mention was that in 2006 I went through that very same study. Going through the study, helped me realize that unbeknownst to me choosing to have not 1, but 2 abortions did have a significant effect in my life and were indeed harmful to me emotionally and possibly physically.

Now, grant it, in 2000, at the time I had my abortions, I did see my choice as a positive coping mechanism for my careless behavior. However, 6 years later after completing the recovery journey, I realized because of my abortions my self-confidence was non-existent and the dreams I once had, had become (in my mind) unattainable. In exchange for my right to choose, I relinquished my right to dream. As mentioned in the study I completed and now facilitate, Surrendering the Secret, I considered myself a “used rag”; unworthy of anything good, let alone great.

Planned Parenthood and many sources I have read on the subject, including the 2009 Bioethics article entitled, Post-Abortion Syndrome: Creating an Affliction, claim there is no such thing as Post-Abortion Syndrome. I am no medical expert nor can I speak for every post abortive man and woman, but I can say for myself and the many men and women I know who have chosen abortion, it is not harmless nor a positive experience.

Imagine I am trying to walk out of a door. There is nothing in my way nor is there is anything holding me back from leaving this room. But what if there was something keeping me from walking out of the door, like a bungee cord for example? Outside of that door there is freedom and a future, but if I am tied in here all I know is what occurs in this room. It may not be all bad in this room, but outside there is so much more. I can tell you that my decision to abort my babies kept me on a bungee cord for a very long time. I was able to move forward, but could only get to a certain point before I was pulled back.

Now, several years later, I still struggle with insecurities, fears and doubts, but am wiser and more aware when they arise. I am also aware of my higher chance of miscarriage or even infertility is not a punishment from God, but a consequence to my “right to choose”.

Because of the media and public opinion, there are millions of men and women today (possibly in your life) that do not know they are suffering because of their choice to abort. Even if they do associate their symptoms with their abortion, they are probably too ashamed or riddled with guilt to seek the help they need. I know that was the case for me.

Although society and media say abortion is benign and a positive coping mechanism for an unplanned pregnancy that is not the case for everyone. I understand I may not have convinced all of you, but if you or someone you know ever comes to a place where abortion is an option, I pray the seed I planted today will sprout and remind you that everything you are told in the media is not always true.

In closing, I don’t know any of your stories. I don’t know what has tainted your life, but I want to reassure you that if abortion is part of your history, it no longer has to be a bungee cord holding you back. I want you to know that I was once held back myself, but through God’s grace and forgiveness those choices will no longer define me. I now embrace and recognize my 2 children in Heaven and know one day I will be reunited with them. I am one voice, just one person, but if my words have stirred something inside of you, I encourage you to please contact me or someone who will help. Please know that you can live bungee free.

– A persuasive speech I wrote and presented in speech class. –

“Let Stand”

However much I like to cook and try new recipes, needing to marinade overnight and tons of ingredients and preparation is not for me. Quick and easy recipes have always been my kind of cooking.  With that being said, my ever favorite recipe are the “break and bake” cookies. They are so easy; pre-heat the oven, break, place, bake, let stand, and enjoy. The only downside of this recipe is the “let stand” step. When you just want to “enjoy”, those extra few minutes can be excruciating.

Though excruciating and seemingly unnecessary, those few minutes determine the final product. If you let the cookies stand too long, they will be too hard; and letting them stand for too little time, will cause the cookies to fall apart when you try to serve them. Now, some people don’t mind their cookies hard or falling apart, but I believe most people enjoy them when they are firm around the edges with a soft center. YUM! Want a cookie, yet?

Life is the same way. We aren’t always sure of all of the ingredients, prep and cook time required. Yet, we can be certain that as long as we are cooking with the Master Chef, whatever is cooking will be delectable.

A year ago today, Jake and I started a new recipe of our own.

1 cup of fear
2 cups of excitement
1 Tbsp of anxiety
1 semi-ripe teenager
1 semi-ripe adult
100 cups of faith
Mix first 5 ingredients with 5 cups of faith in pre-loaded car. Blend for 10 hours.
Let stand until further notice. Sprinkle faith throughout as needed.

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29)

Shine vs. Shield

In the Bible, when we read about a person, their name is usually followed by a description of where they are from or their trait; Jesus of Nazareth, John the Baptist, Ruth the Moabitess. Now, Jesus and John had it pretty good. Their titles were positive and had no negative connotations associated with them. Ruth’s, on the other hand, said she was a foreigner, an enemy of the Israelites.

What if we all had titles that described who we are? Some people already do. Someone with a title of  M.D. or PhD, is known to have gone to school for a long time, they have knowledge in their field and quite often are immediately respected. Anyone would be proud to have such a title. But what if our titles had nothing to do with our career or our accomplishments, but our character? What if the world gave us our title? Would you be proud of your name?

When Ruth left Moab for Bethlehem, she was known as Ruth, the Moabitess. Now, this may not mean anything to us, but in those days, her title basically said she wasn’t welcomed and wasn’t able to take part in certain freedoms. It said she would have to struggle in this land. In addition to her title, people knew she was a widow, had no family and no wealth. She was lower than low. Imagine that kind of life?

So many of us have similar struggles with our titles, but what is even worse are the traits associated with those titles. Let’s use my titles as an example. Some of the my titles are divorced, single parent, non-degreed. Traits associated with those titles are failure, damaged, used. Because of these titles and their associated character traits, my success/happiness expectancy plummets.

Now, the Biblical/Christian response to the whole “title” thing is God doesn’t see our titles or isn’t limited by the expectancy of such titles. True, but what if I said He was the one who gave us such titles and allowed such negativity to be associated with those titles? I believe this to be true and Ruth is a prime example.

Ruth’s title said that she wasn’t worth much and nothing worthwhile could ever be expected to come from her life. I believe God loved that. I believe He used it to His and Ruth’s advantage. Because He knew that when He turned Ruth’s life around by allowing her to marry Boaz,which in turn included her in the lineage of Jesus, it all could only be attributed to His divinity! No one would have ever seen that coming! God proved her title and the character traits associated with it did not determine nor described her future.

What if the same is for you? What if the title of weak, fearful, failure, lost, damaged, or used may be the truth for your past, but not the truth for your future? What if the titles you have been given or given yourself, make His promises and victories for you only that much sweeter? What if instead of holding you back, your title is actually what God is using to  push you forward? What if instead of hiding behind your title, you stood in front of it proud of how God is and will continue to shine through it?

Wake Up Call

Crying in a dressing room because you hate the size that you have to wear. Overly sensitive and often defensive at the topic of weight (especially your own). Taking a laxative to minimize the size of your stomach. Some people may consider these things only a heavier person would experience, but I want to assure you that thin people also struggle with these things. How do I know? Because this thin person struggles with those things.

I have been fighting a secret battle for almost a year now…so secret, in fact, I didn’t even know about it until this morning. I have been, for a while now, getting really upset at people when they say something about how thin I am. The comments are irritating to me because people do not understand that just because I’m skinny, it doesn’t mean I don’t have issues with my weight.

About a month ago, I was in an Old Navy dressing room crying. When I tried on the size I normally wore, they were too big. So, I tried on the next size down and they fit. To some people, needing to try on a smaller size would be exciting, but when you aren’t trying to lose weight and the size you fit into is a zero, it starts to become a problem….to some. I was upset, but not enough to do anything about it, yet.

For the past week, I have been feeling bloated; my stomach was the size of a woman in her 3rd month of pregnancy. I figured it was just that time of the month, but when that “time” passed and my belly was still large, I was bothered. I, by no means, think I am overweight, but my stomach sticking out like that was really bothering me. So, last night, I thought my stomach just needed a little help, so I took a laxative. This morning, a bad headache, cramps, nausea, everything except for what I wanted to happen, were my wake up call. I know…TMI (Too Much Information), but there’s a point, I promise!!

As I laid in bed feeling like absolute crud, I knew what I had done was stupid! I knew I had fallen into a pit and it wasn’t a pit that came out of nowhere; it was a pit that was in plain sight and I had let it (possibly even helped it) get deeper. I realized that the defensive attitude, the crying spell in the dressing room, and the weight loss were all signs of my unhealthiness. I started to see how easily I could fall into an eating disorder that could, even if it didn’t kill me, make me extremely miserable.

Now, I know plenty of people might be reading this, creating their own opinion, coming up with their own diagnosis of the situation, or thinking “I told her so”, but the truth of the matter is all of this has allowed me to realize that this is just another area in my life, that I desperately need a Savior. I cannot do this on my own and although I have a great “corp counsel” of ladies that are always available, I know that only through Christ and the prompting of the Holy Spirit that I will be able to make a change for the better. After all, He was the one who gave me a wake up call this morning…one that I has still haven’t fully recovered from.

Good Enough…Is It Really?

Why go for great when good is so easily accessible?  That question is something that so many of us struggle with. Something good comes along and we are distracted by the fact that something good is actually coming our way. We jump on it because well, come on it’s the best we can do, right? I mean, we surely couldn’t go for great without eventually proving to ourselves and to the world that we should have just stopped at good (Please note my sarcasm!). What lies we [choose to] live.

John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly, but so many of us tend to only focus on that part of the verse. We ask God, “why can I never catch break if this verse is so true?” I believe God’s response to that question is that we need to read the whole verse. The beginning of that verse says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” So, if we are promised abundant life, we are also promised that someone, a thief, is out to steal, kill and destroy it. Yes, it stinks, but it is just a part of this fallen world we live in.

God calls you to step up and be a great person, but you don’t believe you have the ability because “the thief” has stolen the confidence (in Christ) you need. God tells you that  He will fulfill the promise He made to you, but you believe that if it hasn’t happened by now, it will never happen. You move on from that promise and stop pursuing it because “the thief” had killed the little hope you had.

The word abundant means “exceeding some number or measure or rank or need”. Having life abundantly is having over and above; more than is necessary. To me, that qualifies as great…not good. So, why settle for good when great is, not only attainable, but promised to us? I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to take the chance and wait on my great to come along!

Three’s Company

“Come and knock on our door, we’ve been waiting for you. Where the kisses are hers and hers and his, Three’s Company, too!” Are you singing it? (I’m showing my age, but it doesn’t matter because I don’t look and, surely, don’t act it.) But, I digress.

This past weekend, my friend, Judy, moved in with Jake and I. This is a good move for us, considering we both could use the financial help and I had an extra bedroom. She and I haven’t ever had a roommate (since Jake and her mom don’t really count as “roommates”), so this is a new adventure for us.

As we prayed about the decision, I (possibly she as well, but I won’t speak for her) had the fear that this could ruin our friendship. We have a great friendship! We are supportive and encouraging of each other. We are each other’s prayer partner in so many areas of our lives and although we have walked different paths, we seem to be in a similar season. So, living together, I feared, would put a strain on that.

Although it has been only 3 days and the potential of a strained friendship could always be there, we have decided to just be honest about our feelings. For example, I was in a super cranky mood yesterday, I was suffering from severe cramps and hadn’t eaten all day. When I got home from work, Judy called me to help her finish move her stuff from her apartment to storage. I was in no mood to do anything except for lounge around the house, but I knew she needed the help, so I changed into my comfy jeans and headed out.

After a couple of hours, I was done. I just wanted to go home and my attitude was not hiding that fact at all. Later on, after we both were back home, I was still cranky because although I had dinner, I was still hungry and on top of cramps, I was now sore. All I wanted to do was just sit and relax. The 3 of us were in the living room watching television or on our respective electronic device. Judy was trying to make conversation and all I wanted was quiet. I wasn’t outwardly rude, but my tone was not loving in any kind of way. And instead of letting her know I would rather not talk, I gave short answers.

This morning, as I texted with Judy, I felt the Lord telling me to apologize to her. I did. She responded by justifying my behavior. Albeit, very nice of her, I reminded her that was not becoming nor was it conducive of a woman of God who is called to be set apart. I explained I was not having a pity party or guilt trip, but felt conviction to repent from my behavior. As the good friend she is, she accepted my apology, forgave me and that was that.

That simple incident reminded me that I am called to be set apart (holy). “As obedient children,” Paul says in 1 Peter chapter 1 beginning in verse 14, “do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’.” I struggle with this verse because I feel haughty thinking of myself as holy, but it is not haughty because as His child, God calls me to be holy.

I am, obviously, far from being holy and will most likely get aggravated with Judy and Jake before the day is done, but I pray as He did this morning, that the Lord will continue to remind me that I am called to be holy and that three can create a great company and not be a crowd!