Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cheating

What does it mean to women when it's revealed their spouse has consistently in some form or fashion sought some sort of pleasure outside of their relationship ?  Cheating comes in many forms :chatting, texting, emailing  flirting, dating sites...it can cost you many things and can only be undone by true reconciliation and G-d's grace. Sorry has to mean sorry and has to demonstrate repentance .   A quote from Dr. Phil McGraw " cheating is doing things you wouldn't do in the presence of your significant other". Admittedly society has become very lackadaisical in this regard lending itself to gray areas that did not exist before .I had a conversation with a person who had struggled with pornography , etc. I'm making a note for myself for future reference as it seems to be a topic of concern. All forms leave women feeling broken and inferior , and unwanted and unimportant. As an encouragement to women when the facts point to infidelity , the odd phone activity,  hotel room bookings etc. and seeking strip clubs and anything outside your relationship, not all men try to justify these behaviors and it is a reflection on their hearts and not your value. Social networking also adds an element that if used irresponsibly can open the wrong doors . Regardless of the struggle G-d does have a position and it's in the side of faithfulness and "staying focused on what is good" . G-d wants better for you , and me . Harsh truth. Anyone that claims differently has been deceived by the evil one and will never experience the anointing G-d has for their lives and relationships . Here's a conversation with a heart transformed by G-d to a woman he lost ,  quite a departure from trite excuses and dismissal, even justification. Mature and accountable . It is honorable in its transparency and most certainly from a man that chooses to walk with G-d and not with some of the fallen views of modern day society. 

"Let me tell you something,  you are perfect,  and if I didn't see that then,  it's my loss (and it had been my loss) and if someone didn't see that in you,  then it's their loss too"

"I'm not perfect" 

"You are fearfully and wonderfully made,  and I delight in you (but God delights in you more)"

"At all and I can't and don't want to be 
I see what you are saying,  I am certainly not perfect but what I desire is for Him to welcome me in His arms and say,  "well done. ""

"The struggle with pornography (at any level) has nothing to do with you.  Realize that and accept it.  It has everything to do with (his) walk with God
To answer your question,  what do I think it does to women... I think it tears at the very fabric of what Good intended to create with sexuality (especially marriage).  It puts up an unrealistic expectation of what love and sex should be and will not allow a woman to live up to that fantasy. It makes the woman feel unimportant and undesirable and at the same time build a wall between a man and woman.
As a man who has learned a few things in his life,  that's how I feel.  I hope that helps.  
To reiterate...  The struggle with pornography has nothing to do with you.  Realize that and accept it.  It has everything to do with (his) walk with God" 

Men , learn from good men. Women too if it's your struggle. If you don't wish to hear from women in your life , better to listen to G-d and men who have lost . 
It's not worth the spiritual and other real world battles and what it can cost you. There are tangible character witnesses on Earth , and moreso Heaven. No one can shield themselves from the long arm of God's law. Clearly some are able to be moved by God's conviction and seek to rise above complacency and status quo be better . 

Pastor Mark Driscill outlines the process of departing from forgiveness which (involving only the conflicted party) and reconciliation (involving the offender(s) and the party injured. 

STEP 1: CONVICTION

God made us with a conscience to guide our decision making through life and to make us feel convicted when we do wrong. God the Holy Spirit shines the light of grace on our sin, exposing it for what it is, calling us and helping us move to repentance (John 16:8–11; 1 Thess. 1:5; Jude 1:15). The Holy Spirit often does his convicting work through other Christians who love us enough to ask about junk they see in our lives. Conviction is an essential step to exposing sin for what it is so we can be free from enslavement to sin.

STEP 2: CONFESSION

As the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and renews our mind, we must then name our sin as God does and accept the truth that we have sinned. Confession means agreeing with God and telling the truth about who we are and what we have done. Confession includes naming our sin to Jesus and anyone else we have sinned against, or who may have been affected by our sin.

James 5:16 teaches us it is best to confess sin to faithful Christians who will pray for us and help us grow in holiness.

STEP 3: REPENTANCE

The heart of repentance is changing your mind about who is god in your life. When we sin, we are worshiping someone or something else as a false god and functional savior. In repentance we turn from those false gods back to the true and living God of the Bible, who alone loved us enough to die for our sin and freedom.

This means a deep change of values occurs, and we change our mind about what we deem important. Then there will be a heart-sourced change of behavior. We must learn to repent continually by turning our face to Jesus and turning our back on sin.

Repentance is not trying to manage our sin, but rather putting it to death before it puts us to death. Colossians 3:5 says it perfectly: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

True repentance is among the greatest gifts given to us because of Jesus’ work on the cross for our sins. In it we find our humility, joy, forgiveness, hope, redemption, perspective, identity, and future.

STEP 4: RESTITUTION

When we sin, we are also stealing from other people. This may include actual property or such things as trust, love, and intimacy. The Bible is clear that our redemption is a gift of grace from Jesus alone to be received by us through personal faith in him (Eph. 2:8–9). The result of this gift of salvation is a new heart that loves Jesus, is humble, and leads to an ongoing life of good works (Eph. 2:10)—not so that Jesus will redeem us, but because he has.

These good works will include our seeking to make restitution for all we have done, whether directly or indirectly, to damage others. Because we love people at a heart level, we want to restore what we took. Parts of the Bible, such as Exodus 22:1–17 and Numbers 5:5–10, speak of this kind of repayment, and men like the rich people in Nehemiah as well as Zacchaeus in the New Testament modeled it when they repaid the people they had stolen from (Luke 19:8).

STEP 5: RECONCILIATION

Once the previous steps have been undertaken, the sin that separated people is forgiven and taken away by Jesus with the hope that they can be brought back together in a loving and trusting relationship. No matter what, if we commit ourselves to the lifelong pursuit of the above gospel process, then reconciliation with others is possible in this life. However, trust, friendship, and relationship are restored only upon confession of sin; they are the fruit of repentance.

Confession and repentance involve: (1) real acknowledgment of the offense; (2) remorse (beyond “I’m sorry I got caught”) for the pain it caused; (3) restitution where appropriate; and (4) renewal of character and lifestyle.

Trust is always lessened or destroyed when sin is glossed over or “forgotten” without restoration. Such spiritual denial subverts forgiveness and reconciliation.

A FINAL WORD

It almost goes without saying that this is a very difficult process. Even when all parties involved are working hard to ease the impact of sin, the bruising and pain sometimes make restoration impossible.

If you, or those involved in the disruption of your relationship through sin, fail to work through the process in good faith, restoration is impossible. But by God’s grace, even if it does not occur on earth, we have the promise that it will happen in heaven if those involved are Christians. If they're not that's an entirely different salvation issue .

G-d is good and here is His truth : (Robert Driskell) 

"Adultery is not only a sin against one’s mate, but an attack on the sanctity of marriage, and a course of conduct that can cause havoc in many people’s lives.  Adultery is also most importantly a sin against God.

Marital failures, and many other destructive conditions, exist because of sin.  They exist because humans have decided that their way is better than God’s way.  They have decided that fulfilling their desires is more important than obeying and glorifying the Creator/Sustainer of the universe.  Nevertheless, the Christian must learn what the Bible says about adultery in order to see it the way God sees it.  Only when we change our views to line up with God’s views can we live the full, blessed life He has waiting for us.

In the Old Testament, God Declared Adultery to be a sin Deserving Death

When God set apart a nation to be His special people, He gave them a set of basic guidelines for living.  They were the basis for every other law He would give them.  These laws were a written record of the way God expects His people to behave.  The seventh commandment God gave His people was, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).  God knew that the heart of humankind would naturally seek to fulfill every desire it experienced.  God gave these laws to make His holy standards clear.

God viewed adultery as being a sin so terrible that it was punishable by death.  “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 20:10; cf. Deuteronomy 22:22).  If we ever think that God takes adultery, or any other sin, lightly, we should remember what penalties and punishments He assigned to them.

Adultery is not just an outward action

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). This tells us that adultery can take place within the heart [mind] and is just as sinful as an outward act. The sin of the mind may not affect as many other people, families, and friends as the outward physical act, but it is still a sinful affront to the holiness of God. This applies to the prevalence of pornography in our culture.  Often claimed to be a ‘victimless offense’, the damage pornography does to the heart of the one involved in it, and often to those around him/her, can be just as devastating.  Pornography and adultery often go hand in hand.

Adultery can keep you out of the Kingdom of God

In First Corinthians 6:9-10, the apostle Paul lists some sins that, if continued in without confession and repentance, will prevent the practitioner from entering God’s kingdom, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy..nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God”.  Included in this list is the sin of adultery.  This further emphasizes how serious God views this sin.  He knew the devastating effects adultery has on individuals and families and He wanted to protect us from that heartbreak.  He still feels the same today."


As I say frequently," hope the temporary satisfaction or fix is worth the eternal price." 


Monday, October 27, 2014

Our fam's Halloween - family, Halloween, world religions

Ok. So it's that time of year where my children and I get pummeled as to why we don't celebrate Halloween. I'm an adult and I can take the challenges by adults , my adolescent counter parts however cannot in some instances, so we search for balance. 

We all here in the U.S. have embraced a number of cultures, races, creeds and spiritual foundations over the years since the birth of our nation; the proverbial "melting pot." So we have adopted an overall culture under a number of fascinating influences. 

I have no problem raising my children to be set aside from certain behaviors and observances that have been deemed "acceptable" and the norm for years. 

Let me be clear, I was raised in a different faith base than the one I chose (or better called me) but ironically neither support the celebration of Halloween. I was able to make all of these costume plans with my friends and go trick or treating , some years it was fun, most years we froze our butts off in costumes not conducive to the changing seasons. We never got THAT much candy ! Then I'd have to dump it, you all know the drill, check for pins and razor blades..... Puncture holes, nothing homemade. This was all thanks to a select few crazies... NOW the crazies seem more abundant as are the possible "ingredients". The  world looks different from when I was a child . Needless to say , my richest childhood memories had nothingto do with trick or treating. Just because things are done certain ways for so long doesn't necessarily mean it's fundamentally right. Many parents have left and are leaving poor legacies for their children because old habits die hard. This is a conscience effort for me! 

So I've heard now " I feel sorry for your kids that they don't get to do that ." I have in the past allowed them to wear historical costumes or dress up for functions that allowed costumes at celebrations that are alternatives to the observing a holiday that in its simplest historical breakdown is pagan and honoring of a Celtic god of death Samhaih and his release of evil spirits and ghouls and so on. For the majority of monotheistic religions, that alone should end the conversation. These include the big ones, Judaism,Christianity and Islam. I could cite from the books of each religion, but my research on all world religions took me years and trust me you don't want to read all of the findings and religious doctrines . I'll keep it pretty simple . Believers in each know their teachings and if you don't , time to study! 

I'm not an extremist and I'm not alone. That being said, I don't want to make myself crazy trying to be a "perfect religious , do gooder " or whatever other names I've been called. But regardless of the basis of an individual 'a religious beliefs. If you consider yourself faithful to whichever belief system you claim why is one unofficial holiday so influential? For our family there are some spiritual issues in play. 

Why bother with all of the praying, fasting, observing and asking for favor all year long to discredit it annually?  I want my children to understand and value this one thing. The importance of faithfulness. For our family, the ghouls and gherish images and honoring of dark principalities are not for us and it's not of our faith. And if it's not of our faith , why would we participate just for the sake of good times? 

In some cultures they like to wrestle and play with Cobras , lol anyone who knows me knows how much I cannot stand snakes, so even this analogy makes my skin crawl . But it's dangerous! A person's entire existence can end in one poor judgment! Such it is the case for each religion , all trying to obtain their respective eternities . If they want to play , play. But until I pass by I'd prefer the snake in its basket lol 

For those claiming faiths in a single god , there's no room for idols or acknowledgment of any others by definition. These include money, hobbies , anything that takes from faith. 

We all have freewill , and in our freedom to choose , we choose to honor light and positive influences. Since no one seems to be racing TOWARDS death skipping and humming, I guess that the god of Death isn't all that he's cracked up to be lol

What are alternatives? They are vast, some have fellowship with fall recipes and family and friends. Observers of Judaism can redirect this type of celebration for Purim, some Christian churches offer games and activities , Muslim communities have joined to offer alternate celebrations . 

It's a different world today than what I grew up with and now also stating the obvious there are more ways to be harmful and seemingly more "crazies" . Or is it just me? Lol 

So that's the not so long and not so short of it. Our family decision not to celebrate something comes from the same place as to why we DO celebrate others . Our faith and historical and spiritual basis of our faith. 

No I don't want my children to be treated like outcasts, and that's happened , trust me. But I do know that I do want their relationships in life to be rich in authentic relationships , something I muddled up for myself many times. In this, their moral fiber and character will be woven . And when the tapestry is complete , at least people can say they are trustworthy and faithful. I think faith is a beautiful and life giving "thing". I've never heard someone say, "well I'm no longer friends with them because they're faithful " or a spouse say "I don't love my spouse because they are faithful and loyal". I have however seen the prices conversely paid. 

If my children could dress up as anything they wanted it would always pale in comparison to wearing their hearts on their sleeves! This is a beacon for who they are as people and how they'll be trusted "Where we stare , we steer" -Lisa Turkeurst. Good and bad ! Sometimes it's so easy to focus on portions of the road we think are important, but take our  focus off the right thing or things , and we're looking at the business end of a cliff, sharp rocks at the bottom and everything :-) 





 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Letter from a Child of Divorce viral video helping people make excuses ? "G-d takes the marriage covenant (or agreement) seriously, even when we do not."

I've seen this video a number of times and find it to tug at heart strings for sure, but I am astounded to see how recently  it is being used to excuse selfish adult decisions and misinterpret the intended message by the supporting organization that I am VERY familiar with 


Below  the video feed for this message it reads "The statistics are staggering: over 63% of children live in a single parent home. Each year over 1 million children will see their parents get divorced, which is three times the number just 50 years ago. The effect it has on children is far reaching and the letter he reads is powerful and heartbreaking. " Yet, the message is becoming skewed for self serving points. I find it insulting and aggravating that people think that lasting effects on children can be talked out of for casual choices to abandon marriage vows. If you are offended by G-d and His Word, I wouldn't read further. I don't mean to sound "preachy" but rather VERY intentional . 

I have been divorced and fought long and hard to SAVE my marriageS even when I was counseled by my pastor that I had Biblical basis to protect myself and my children. I have written about this in previous posts and I know I'm in the minority with my loyalties.  At least most can humor me that it was never intended by G-d for people to search for reasons to quit but rather to trust in His reasons to stay and selflessly WORK. Most of the best things in life are rewards for hard work . Blessings are no exception! 

The truth is this videomessage does not excuse the epidemic of divorce and was not meant to be used as a reactive tool. It is promoted on numerous Christian -based sites as a precautionary or preventive message for honoring marriage and staying married.  As the staggering statistics mounts there is a truth. The Bible is clear that G-d does not support or smile upon divorce and the effects it has on children are just a starting point. Further, it offers only these two reasons accepted for reasons to divorce :
"Beyond that....there are a couple of circumstances in which G-d releases a couple from the lifelong covenant of marriage:
  • In the case of consistent, unrepentant immorality (abuse , sexual immorality, infidelity /cheating) 
  • When an unbelieving spouse deserts a believer."
Additionally Dennis Rainey's excerpt here shows Biblical standpoint. 


"It should not be surprising that G-d declares, in Malachi 2:16, "I hate divorce!" And why does He hate divorce? One reason is that marriage is meant to be a special covenant between a man, a woman, and their G-d.

The vows I shared with Barbara went like this:

I, Dennis, take you, Barbara, to be my lawful wedded wife. I promise and covenant, before G-d and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband; to stand by you in riches and in poverty, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, as long as we both shall live."

When we spoke these words, Barbara and I weren't agreeing to provide some personal services via a contract that could be terminated if one of us defaulted. Instead, we were entering into a covenant—the same type of sacred obligation that G-d made with His children on several momentous occasions, such as with Noah after the flood.

Any covenant—including the marriage covenant—is a binding, weighty obligation. In Proverbs 20:25 we read, "It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows" (NIV). Deuteronomy 23:23 says, "You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised." Jesus said that "every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36).

G-d takes the wedding covenant seriously, even when we do not.

G-d's purposes for marriage

Another reason G-d hates divorce is because it tears at the very heart of G-d's redemptive plan for the world. It is interesting to note the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees in Matthew 19:3-9. When the Pharisees ask, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?'' Jesus answers by pointing them to G-d's purposes for marriage:

And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, "FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.'"


This video was shared by an organization called The Child of Divorce. It is not their mission to excuse divorce but to raise awareness of the actual long term negative effects of children of divorce based on clinical studies as a deterrent , preventative measure. They are maintaining that children are mental victims BECAUSE of divorce .  Clearly  no child would be able to articulate the full effects of divorce as a child as portrayed here . They are developmentally incapable of processing adult issues. They are by nature egocentric and feel their circumstances are directly related to themselves,their behavior and their worth. It takes several years to manifest for many and well into adulthood. There is a caveat in dismissing the seriousness of divorce. Perhaps the increase in the rate , is due to the inability for people to swallow pride and teach their children the importance of integrity and honoring their vows. Agreeably there are instances that warrant divorce especially when endangerment is involved but assuredly these are not today's common causes. Choosing divorce outside of Biblical reasons for personal freedoms automatically places children in the middle and in a lifelong uphill battle and is nothing short of negligent . I LIVE with the reprecussions daily and I was not the party to violate my vows in any of the instances. I was the one who TRULY put my children first, before they were born, during the marriageS and now after. 


Here's an actual testimony from an adult who was a child of divorce who was asked to share her INNER thoughts at a conference people were attending to protect their marriages, struggles her parents never knew she battled, it's applicable as it addresses her life stages from a mature , experienced perspective :

http://nationalmarriage.com/2012/06/the-product-of-divorce/


I have children representing varying ages who can definitely, wholeheartedly agree with each and every stage and points made . If more people didn't dismiss the effects , there may be more of an effort to do the work to cultivate their marriages thus putting their children first before themselves , before quitting and chalking it up to simple minded excuses and the assumption contrary to facts that children can process anything relatively close to what adults can.  I am incredulous how dismissive it is to expect such a thing , ADULTS can hardly handle it!   Choosing divorce for social and convenience are not condoned by G-d, that is the unfortunate fact , marriage is created by Him for reasons endless books of the Bible address. 


This may no longer be the popular opinion , but look around lately. Neither has the importance of the focus of G-d. 



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dedication

Right off the bat I can, as usual ,hear the song "Turn, Turn ,Turn" by the Byrds (?maybe?) , and it was a hit in its day when they cleverly assigned a tune to the lengthy verse from Ecclesiastes (3:2-9). Of course the Bible doesn't have the "turn, turn , turn " in it. "To everything there is a season," indicating that life is going to have good and bad seasons . I guess this is a topic I've always known and accepted and so it's sensible to me not the chasing happiness only all of my days. Maybe that song helped! 

Greysonn's dedication raised many questions with my kiddos about what dedication is , of course they don't remember this process quite obviously because they were newborns and extremely young when it occurred for their siblings since they were born very close together .

We talked about the word dedication and found it to mean "a strong and expressed loyalty to someone or something". In this case it would be to G-d. Throughout the Bible it is expressed the roles of man, woman, husband, wife, child and parent. This particular affirms the faith of the family and the acceptance of parental responsibility . 

" The best passage for discussion is Deuteronomy 6:4-7. First, it commands parents to love God; if they truly wish for their child to one day love and follow God, their lives must be an example. This is a good time to query parents about their own personal relationship with Christ.

Second, Deuteronomy makes clear that the duty of teaching children belongs to parents; Sunday schools can provide weekly instruction, but parents must seize the teachable moments that arise throughout life. Explain the value of prayer (for example, repetitious prayers like "Now I lay me down to sleep . . .") at meal times and before bed. Urge them to read aloud Bible stories for devotions. Give them practical ideas they can implement into their daily family routines." -Ted Weis 

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 calls adults to be faithful to G-d first, following His commands and then to raise His children the same. 

""Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on their children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Dedication and commitment have been a beacon for me for my children and in fact all of my relationships. As I've been told that I am not enough of a person to be offered dedication , I do find  it interesting that it doesn't extends to my children since they, just as everyone else's children are an extension of me not only by birthing them but by raising them. They are a reflection of my heart, my soul and my daily efforts regardless of any circumstance. I don't wish to over-idealize them but I have children that still despite daily struggles ,pressures and temptations , are servant hearted , and on a positive track to be men and women of integrity. They are and will be trusted , they are loving and genuine and give with no self serving motives. And none of it is by mistake. So , even at my lowest I can rest in the assurance that my sole efforts are not coming back empty. So my heart must be somehow producing good, genuine fruit. 

It still by no means is a place devoid of frustration and anger and loneliness. Regardless of innumerable reasons, we are not living with the full family support G-d intended. 

I remember the very first praise song I sang from stage , was I believe an arrangement by the then exceedingly talented music director. And that's an understatement. He was "stupid talented" . It was a bluesy,swing kind of thing "Give, and it will come back to you , good measure , pressed down , shaken together ruuuuuunning over ". You can't hear me singing it but sadder still is the fact that you couldn't see this director during rehearsals have this mini dance choreography whenever we said "pressed down , shaken together and ruuuuuning over" . (Luke 6) His shimmying was comical. 

I've come to realize that music has always been a large part of my life and that the vast majority of my Bible memorization is because of someone cleverly placing the verses to music. 

I've grown so disappointed by the condition of humanity, so many turning their backs on the very foundation out country especially was built upon. Choosing the flesh over G-d. Even the longest lifetime has no bearing on the true length of eternity. So I'll muddle through knowing no temporary solution is worth an ETERNAL problem. Rudeness, dishonesty, unfaithfulness , selfishness. I read a quote the other day that said , "Selfish people often mistake selfishness for strength ; it takes no talent ,no intelligence,no self-control,no effort to sacrifice others for your ego." So basically contadictory to the fruits of the spirit . 

Anyone that has known me knows my walk and efforts well and probably also know, oddly enough I never wanted to have children. And yet I have so many! I wanted to perform and travel like in my youth and I'd still love to be doing that now. G-d had a plan for me and I can trust in him so much too because now I know this is far more important. While I have been left behind to take on the daily tasks outlined for me in the Bible alone and am only found to have worth as a mother , I keep thinking of the little lights that are running around .They are "heck bent" on being important to someone and everyone and willing to give their hearts into everything. These kids request us serve and stop every time we see a homeless person. Their innocence and pure hearts full my soul and just when I want to hop the first plane out of here , God sends the right smile or right words from the depths of their souls. So I'm here , and despite all of the work I pour into them during waking and sleeping hours ( which lately seem one and the same), I'm seeing the reward for my dedication . 

Today's message focused on reaping what we sow. In all aspects , good and bad. And planting nothing also reaps absolutely nothing. 

G-d reminded me of this cute site I set up for Aemilia a few years ago, where I was able to read books to her online. I hope the link works . This story is the "Little Red Hen", some may remember it from childhood with a trifold message on reaping what you sow, work ethic (DEDICATION to a cause ) and the benefits or as some may say blessings for perseverance ,sacrifice and commitment. This is how I feel about my children too ! 

I hope the link works it's a fun story to revisit , it's me reading :-) if not just copy and paste it "old school " 

http://www.zoodles.com/en-US/parent/books/the-little-red-hen/readings/5bd63794-99e0-4935-b625-7ba144aefa7a/preview





Saturday, October 11, 2014

Psalm 23:3 and forward

"He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me" 


Today's message was a refreshing take on a verse I learned and memorized in my childhood . It's always interesting to see how the same verse can resonate differently at varying stages of my life. I'm sure this isn't specific to me. Of course back then , first grade , I had no real idea what I was memorizing. Or why. 

As always the truth that good deeds don't always equate to immediate rewards and the reverse in the case of poor behavior... It's always uplifting to be lifted up ! 

I 'm finding people's hearts are more evident in their actions , especially as frequently as words come back empty. Something interesting is the consideration of how hardships ebb and flow throughout our lives. 

I ve heard trials referred to as pits, lows, valleys ... However it best illustrates ... 

"Every valley, every passing hill, makes me rally , (and )climb back up the hill" . Sage words in Nichole Nordeman's song "Brave" . And it's fitting because those that choose to go THROUGH the valley are the valiant . 

Today the pastor pointed out that those who avoid the valleys or storms and stand right outside of them , are the quitters, those who are too weak and unwilling to learn . 

If you journey the valley, as especially in my experience , the blessings are much larger at the peak. There were three cautions outlined today when found in a low point of life . 

1. Do not rebel and turn from G-d from the valley
2. Do not reside there 
3. Don't quit while in the valley- or that's where you will be held . Bleck. 

I needed to jot down these thoughts while fresh in my mind. 

And then came to me the old theory of "fight or flight " . I've heard it said that if you want to see a true person, see how they respond in times of struggle. Fight ,flight, perseverance or cowardice ? 

For some reason I am brought back to my school age years where there were those pivotal moments that are burned into your memory, where you know exactly where you were and what you were doing. For instance, my parents recall their detailed whereabouts when JFK was assassinated, I can remember the shocking developments of 9/11, and previously the Columbine High School shootings . Prior to that though I remember the media coverage of The Space Shuttle Challenger, there was such a build up of the crew and their backgrounds. 

I remember the teachers joining in the hallway and then the principal wheeling in the coveted tv cart which in most cases meant in class movie ! ( you oldies but goodies know what I'm talking about). 
G-d must've had His hand on this situation to offer us such background on the crew that we learned had exploded. He allowed us to empathize and feel a sense of commonality as they had been accurately portrayed as regular people. 

The reason I thought of this was I've been experiencing some real eye opening circumstances where true hearts are exposed . Christa Maccauliffe ( spelling?) was a school teacher blessed to be on board the Challenger excursion. There was a testimony I heard at some point that the crew recognized the imminent danger prior to the fatal explosion and mission recordings revealed the climate and final responses and thoughts as they knew they would not be returning to Earth and their families alive. It was stated that Christa MacCauliffe accepted her fate in grace and peace and could be heard reciting today's exact Psalm . Psalm 23 until the final incineration . It was recorded another female crew member on board chose a slew of profanities and hostilities . Her name evades my memory . Of course despite my investigating validity of the record, I NASA was unable to answer my call ;-) so for some of my contradictory consistent nay-sayers, knock your socks off . For everyone else, treat it as truth or a hypothetical antidote ...There are two points here . 1) when in the fire what is the true character ? Do you stand "outside the fire " like Garth Brooks said and 2) what is the legacy you are leaving ? There's a reason I remember Christa Maccauliffe's name and not the other woman's. Graceful, even for an adult whose recall is reaching back to grade school. 





Monday, October 6, 2014

No words to speak- my version of deep thoughts :-)

I've always been an "artsy fartsy" person. Longer than I've had my faith. So . I was the girl who would scream lyrics into a hairbrush with songs' bass-lines taking over the beating of my heart. And with tears pouring out of my eyes, I survived adolescence. 

I would "dance it out " (thanks Grey's Anatomy for coining the term for it). I painted disturbing and liberating images . Anything, for release and distraction .

I cannot even express the innumerable struggles I had growing up in my pretty suburban home, but it doesn't even matter much now. 

I've found myself in a pit lately where one day I sit at the bottom and let the menacing drops of my personal storm pelt and saturate me to the core. Then the next day in anger or perseverance , I muddy the underneath parts of my nails , scraping at the slippery and dirty walls trying to reach the light. Prayer, anger, anger at G-d, prayer, devotionals and then more hurt and anger. The next day, renewed strength and empowerment . Annoying I know. 

These days my smile is really a scream that is so loud it can only be heard in the depths of my own soul. 

In purging my home for life changes I came across my old and long "lost" iPod. Woo hoo! I spun (yes old iPod so I "spun" the menu )and saw something . I've been here before and my music selections emulated it. And I'm still alive to talk about it!?! I even surprised myself at the eclectic nature of my playlist. Secular and spiritual music collided and perplexed me in their commonality . They all had different foundations , but the same messages . Below are a few.. "Youtube " them if you dare to take the time for reflection today .

"Come on , come on, you've got to move on, this is not the 'you ' I know...I don't know, why it has to be this way and I don't know the cure. Please believe . Someone else has felt this before . " (We All Need Saving) 

"Young girl don't cry, I'll be right here when you're world starts to fall... Don't start forsaking yourself" .( The Voice Within) 

And now recently , as I struggle to see why I try so faithfully hard to reap few earthly rewards , the entire chart of " Try" -" put your make up on , get your nails done , curl your hair , run the the extra mile, keep it slim til they like you .." Most of those for me fell to the wayside in child rearing, but you get the gist. 

I hovered over and landed on the clip from the low budget and highly impactful movie clip from "Fireproof" based on the extraordinary book " The Love Dare". Watch it. Please . Over a million views ... All of those people can't be wrong to seek it? In fact, watch the movie in its entirety . 

Lol this movie stars Kirk Cameron... I had a full color life -sized poster of him doing a C Jump in a seemingly 80's " Members Only" snap tab neck and all of its now horrific 80's fashion sidekick accessories! This joined countless other boy group posters , I don't know how my OCD mom coped. I do recall my dad , upon entering my pre-teen room that has been freshly painted my then color du jour (lilac on three walls and one dark violet - gag) saying " WHAT are all these posters? Why didn't you save us some time and money and paint your room flesh colored ?". He was exaggerating of course , it was still modest but funny nonetheless. And I a clearly digress, lol. Clearly he departed from his smolder on "Growing Pains" to an honorable man with a heart for integrity and positive messages . 


Trust. I am singing all of the lyrics to these songs until the storm clouds open! But thank you for instilling me the love of art to see beauty when I'm not seeing it everywhere else! 


Friday, October 3, 2014

Innocent children-Society, Parenting

While it was never my goal , and is nowhere near my aspirations , for my children , I have been somehow primarily responsible for instilling worth in my children. 

Life (and Satan) have dealt us some tough hands and it leaves children feeling unwanted and broken . The truth is there are certain spoken and unspoken societal expectations and definitely there are faith expectations of adults , in relationships and as parents . 

We had a difficult weekend with my daughter who had to face the very adult issue of how it feels when people you place your trust in break their promises. 

It happens plenty but in the cases of children it is particularly difficult to endure.  It seems as society moves closer and closer  the concept of seeking self happiness no matter who or what the cost has become the most embraced theory. Thus we have the song "Happy", which I love by the way. "Clap along if you feel that happiness is the truth."  But is it ? Where has integrity gone ? 

I had a glass of wine with a dear and wise friend who has also experienced similar emotions and circumstances and sure , some decisions were made at her expense and that of her children, and her husband sure seems "happy". I struggle to see how joy can arise from someone who destroys children's hearts and leave in their "happiness" , permanent heart scars in their wake. 

I read today from the children's prayer calendar that I am to pray that they grow in grace to know G-d. Does that guarantee happiness either? No. But it guarantees blessing. 

As the case generally is , I was bombarded by messages consistent and completely applicable to our lives. Especially for my children , they have been very hard on themselves as children are as they watch people walk in and out of their lives. 

I saw a quote on my Facebook feed that said something to the effect of " Our children are constantly looking to us to show support. How do you know how to be there when they need you?" 

For me it has been simple, I choose to be here , even when it isn't about MY happiness. 

I then saw an image that said" We haven't lost our men Our men have lost G-d". The attached article was even more intriguing as it addressed the progression of society away from true faithfulness. 
My children placed their faith in men as have I and trusted that they could be secure and important. It's simple to know children's hearts because they share them all of the time, their joys and pains, fears and concerns, and what is important to them. That's how we are to know where we can support them. I have boys and I want them to be true men of honor. 

While I am the one consistent person in their lives, one positive aspect of raising children in a faith is the hope that when the world and people they trust deceive and devalue them , they have a refuge for their innocent hearts. That they may hear a louder and resounding truth than what careless actions of people communicate to them . 

I pray G-d guards their hearts and keeps them free from vindictiveness and impulsive behaviors that hurt others and that they use their personal experiences to their advantage. As the Phoenix rises from the ashes a glorious creature, so may those who learn character from how not to treat people. 

Just as I've heard it said children are like blank canvases "we write on the slate of who they are ." It's a very big responsibility to take on a true work of art  and continue to mold and shape them to be good people. People of true character:integrity, love, compassion, honesty and faithfulness. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Scattered

IThis entry is bound to be as scattered as my thoughts. Raw. I know . I am experiencing the full spectrum of emotions. "When people act like they don't care , you should believe them" .

My children have been so sadly restless in their trying to understand so many things . Ysabel is usually up late but lately her sleep deprivation has been unparalleled . She isn't herself and I can understand. She takes in much and releases little( with the exception of her daily interactions with her sister. Argh!)  and today's thought is partly why. 
I remember when I was a young Christian adult, (so last week��) that this was one of my favorite praise songs "have mercy on me oh God, according to your unfailing love. Create in me a pure heart, make my spirit new. Create in me a pure heart make it pleasing to YOU". To Him. Not to the ways of world. 

I'm so saddened and disappointed to see the fallenness of these "modern times" . Love the song "Happy" , it always makes me bounce around with the baby especially because he loved that song too. But it's a testimony to the "culture " we are in. That happiness is the key , and as long as you're happy, it doesn't matter who you hurt. Gross. 

My children are feeling very rejected and we have been in this place before and it is one of the most painful things to watch happen to children .

It's hard to teach them hope and faith in a godly promise, when they see many promises carelessly come back empty. And these are not the "I know I said we could get ice cream but now we're not" kind of broken promises. Although I've been guilty of those a few times and I always feel disappointed in myself as a mother when I do. 

There is a gift that G-d gives us as children and that is the gift of purity , childlike naiveness and He cherishes it. It's been said that children are like blank canvases and what they experience writes on the slate of who they are. 

I'm calling upon our Father to hold tightly 
onto his children. Guard their pure and untainted hearts. Protect them from careless individuals and those who forsake their faith for happiness.

I know the power of influence on young children's impressionable minds and souls and I can only pray that my children do not impose upon anyone in their life the pain they have been exposed to. I hope to instill positive into them before the world gets a hold of them and changes or contorts their hearts for God. That is the reason for my daily and pointed praying, I do not want them to grow up to deny their faith. Or compromise it. So much of who we are is molded into us at very young ages. I think of Footprints frequently and in times when I feel lost I reference it. I think my first exposure to this imagery was when I was a kindergartner . So pure and open hearts are key . "Blessed are those of pure heart " 

It makes me hate myself sometimes that I trust as well and have allowed them to be so disappointed. As I'm writing this I'm exhausted and looking down the business end of a huge mess trying to get Ysabel's party details finalized. And she is sad because I'm sad and she thinks as all children do, that somehow circumstances are her fault. If she just didn't have a birthday party everything would be different or if she just did something differently .... That's what children do and it kills me . Breaks my heart. I'm trying to make her special day joyous and she deserves that.
I now hope that these babies grow up to emulate the opposite of how they've been treated and hold steadfast to what I've been trying to teach them in Him. That they may be honest , loyal, obedient to Christ and honor their promises . 

I pray their "happiness" but moreso their blessings. Blessings are earned .I wish for them to be bold and committed to truth that they take the joy and the pain (see I have this word association illness lol , I hear certain things and I immediately have musical Tourette's as my dad calls it and songs pop into my head . "Joy and Pain , like sunshine and rain".... Rob Base. Sorry. ) 
But I know if they stay their courses and seek G-d above man, blessings will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes of any pain or despair. 

Encourage and soothe them and us Lord . Help them to know that even though we see no reward for doing what it right , at least you keep your promises. Good and bad !  Thank you for sending people into our lives to intercede on our behalf and to advocate for us. I'm tired and my spirit is weak . Party ready... Here's hoping ! 

Faith of any kind is not usually convenient . But there is a danger in claiming convictions and then turning your back on them. G-d thought I was stronger than I am . I have so much faith in Him , but He has too much faith in me. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Praying in the Spirit, Compassion- Spiritual, Parenting

IYesterday I prayed for the kiddos and the specific subject was compassion.  I didn't spend much time here as my children are extremely compassionate and sometimes to a fault.  I sometimes think that they are so sensitive to the needs and feelings of others because in all honesty it's something that is frequently lacking in their own lives. We've had a rough road together and I do my best to "cover them" where others have been lacking.  Some lessons in life have been very hard on them, but through His grace they have learned how NOT to treat people. So I said my prayer for them then and it was one of gratitude for strengthening their hearts. 

Today's guide is "Praying in the spirit".  This is a challenging one for me because as all things dealing with the spirit, it's an intangible concept and my children are fond of tangible and visual aids to learn.  If they are walking with G-d as I try to encourage them to and through my prayer, I would hope that it become so familiar to them that it is always the first reference they access in all parts of their life. So how to explain praying in the Spirit.....

A common practice of prayer tends to be calling out to Him only when we're in the trenches of some relentless pit. We want Him to valiantly show up and "save us".  So I reminded the children that it's G-d's desire that we speak to Him in ALL seasons of our lives.  When it's good and when it's not-so-good.  We kind of set up ourselves up for failure in how complacent we can become as humans when we don't have any perceived threats. So we forget to pray because we think things are good.  Even and especially Christians are going to experience hardship and tested.  And just like in school, like that clever phrase says, "If you ever wonder where G-d has gone, remember a teacher is always quiet during the TEST". One of my favorite in-depth studies was one on the book of Esther.  Sometimes G-d begins a great work then "seems to disappear" from the story. Esther is depicted as  a woman of great faith and  strength, and yet in the book there is NO reference to G-d. 
   Christianity didn't really come easily for me and it didn't happen overnight. I even wish I prayed more.  When I was a young Christian, maybe 19 or 20, I started going to my first REAL Bible studies (sorry Catholic school lol )and I remember "Prayer Requests". And everyone got out their notebooks and starting writing down everyone's problems, concerns, praises.  And then the next week, same thing, week after week. Notebook was filling up and I realized , holy cow, if it keeps up like this all I'll be doing is praying. Aha moment!  That's what G-d WANTS! For us to have our sights so set on the Lord that we pray "without ceasing".  I wonder how life would look if we didn't have time to focus on anything else but G-d. Maybe a bit better and a bit brighter? 

The kids and I don't like the "season" we are currently in, but we have to remain faithful and go back to that good old perseverance and continued protection. But it's my ultimate prayer that they pray in the storm and also during the calm. Maybe G-d is a bit like Marilyn Monroe lol " If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve my best."
Grant, Lord, that my children'
lives may be marked by
prayerfulness, that they may
learn to "pray in the Spirit on
all occasions with all kinds of

Friday, September 19, 2014

Humility - Spiritual, Parenting

Today's message for my children is humility. While it is something I address logically , I can honestly say I haven't always presented it with spirituality attached. The closer I walk with G-d the more I realize that it's all His omnipresence . There are times when being a good person and doing the right thing are a conscious effort indeed but I suppose our thoughts and actions are influenced by what we access as truth.

19. Humility—"God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility toward all." (Titus 3:2) 


This is a good message particularly for my children in the simple fact that they are performers and gifted in their hearts and minds . I say this as their mother and as a person who is very mindful of influences and ways of the world. 

They all perform well and work hard and are a couple of them are truly targeted as a result. But they receive positive feedback at the competitive level. My method of teaching humility has generally been to wait until a situation arises and encourage the children to be empathetic ,especially if they have witnessed or participated in a conversation where bragging and unnecessary competitiveness arises. 

Dance is a difficult forum as are the performing arts in general. All and many aspects of life require confidence and faith in oneself. Let's face it they're still kids but I am frequently displeased and frustrated about things I hear that go UNADDRESSED.  Trust that if I hear my children act out I call it out immediately . I grew up in the performing arts and believe me when I say that the environment has gotten worse . As such a personal attribute , there has been so much focus on competing against each other that it bleeds over into friendships and wreaks havoc on people's natures . 
I have chosen the approach that we are to focus on challenging and competing with ourselves. Dance is an art that comes from within. Some aspects cannot be taught in its most beautiful form. And we will mind our business.  The truth is some of my children are better at maintaining humility than others.   It makes me a little crazy! But it still may be more than I've seen. Regardless I will pray for my children and all children actually. I realized that many conflicts both in childhood and adulthood are a result of a LACK of humility and the belief and practice of the term "leveling". Constant play on individual insecurities, building oneself up to "compete" with someone who has something we desire or value. Annoying. And in it's ugliest form , it extends to tearing people down to bring them to the same perceived "level" . It produces bullies and a blatant lack of a compassionate filter. I spoke today to my children about how it is unbecoming to volunteer our successes without invitation. We have a new little motto . "Put up your FRONT". 
F-Focus (on yourself in G-d and your goals)
R-Reward is rarely just tangible 
O-Obey ( rules so your successes are never questioned or challenged)
N-No bragging 
T-Thank G-d (for the gifts and talents you wouldn't have without Him wanting to have them) . 

So if you hear me say to one of my children "are you FRONTing" it's all good! It's a visual and intentional reminder not to be drawn into spiraling situations and keeps their sights set on what is right . Hopefully. Lol

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Remembering - Children and Spiritual

Today's prayer on my prayer calendar for the children is :
18 Perseverance
"Lord teach my children perseverance in all they do, help them especially to run with perseverance the race marked out for them" Heb 12:1

I have been a mother for 19 years and I've felt the tests of having to persevere as a single mother and a married "single" mother for the majority of it. I'm spending a great deal of time in the Word today because I need justice, I need protection and I feel like I need for once in my life for other people's joy and happiness not be at my or my children's expense. So I realized how hard it is to pray for perseverance when I'm struggling to do it myself. And then a message came to me in His perfect timing on my phone.

As I'm falling apart I am generally unable to speak lately.  I'm not on a call to martyrdom. I have sacrificed so many parts of my being for the betterment and security of my children and the last child I had was a pregnancy that was unmatched to the prior ones.  And again, I was expected to sacrifice.  The joy was taken from me. Not many know the struggles I was enduring then, as I didn't want to burden anyone and to be honest few truly cared. I know it's easy to get wrapped up in our lives and endless pursuits of happiness. But are these pursuits ever truly satisfied? In Bible study years ago, I learned from a great teacher that it is human nature to be anxious, even to the point of engaging in sinful and selfish behaviors.  Because we're wired for ETERNITY and were never intended to feel completion apart from G-d. So not here. I experienced a reminder of this as I felt my consciousness slipping away as my life was slipping away slowly from uncontrollable blood loss.  I knew it would happen this way I had dreams of it and I pleaded for my life and that of my unborn son and fought for it every time I received discouraging news throughout the pregnancy or had those unwelcomed pains or hopeless bleeding.  I was expected to sacrifice. And I did.  I knew things were wrong when my doctor who had missed the birth, lost her normal calm bedside manner, I had done this before and it was usually calm. My life and my son's life had not been respected and I would be told later that I was exaggerating.

That day the clamor, shouting and way too much blood was proof that such assumptions had endangered us both,  a testimony to the spirit and care the baby and I received and such disregard. Only my mother and medical staff were there. My mother was distraught, my doctor was distraught and through the rails of my hospital bed I realized that my father and children had arrived and weren't permitted in. Now more panic and my eyes met sweet Ysabel's . She was crying.  I don't recall much just so much pain because he came too quickly for me to have the benefits of anesthesia and so much sternness from my doctor as the staff quickly multiplied.  "Type her blood, she's bleeding out.  I don't know ! I don't know!".  Med orders . "We couldn' t get her the IV, how do we do it ?" "In her legs, just stab it in her legs!". Ow! Ow! It wasn't working and then came the uncontrollable convulsions. I couldn't stop shaking , my jaw was hurting from clenching. My eyes hurt. Freezing. "I'm freezing" Blankets and more blankets but I couldn't feel warmth.

"How's mom doing ?" the baby's nurse asks. "He's really looking for his mom." 

I couldn't keep my eyes open. I WANT to keep my eyes open.  But they didn't open for hours. Perseverance. And I'm expected to sacrifice.

Greysonn began his life with a very challenging disposition , he was colicky, he was unhappy, he felt the stress, still. Persevere. Then persevere some more , just me and Greysonn. Trying to earn back what was boldly and assumptively taken from us. It took me 12 weeks to be able to walk normally, nearly function and heal physically. And now the emotions.

It seemed simple, "no stress". But we weren't worth it . And still aren't .  I know and live the TRUE all inclusive sacrifice of having children, of having Greysonn. And then am alone to "teach" perseverance.  Is it supposed to be solely my lesson to teach them all? HOW is it simple to walk away for any reason natural or supernatural.  What is it in me that demands that regardless of circumstances all of the responsibility to pick up pieces is solely mine, even when I'm wronged ,  and then everyone wishes to benefit from the very child their actions almost erased our existence.  No stress . Sacrifice. What AM I good enough for? Cover us in protection Lord as you did that day. Show me hope. How to teach perseverance. Help me to not cry when I see a new baby and pregnant women. Help me stop crying at all.

My phone just dinged and I read this from on an un-related and unexpected person   , " Hang in there. I have faith everything will work out. I feel pain, heartache and worry with you. I am on your side and will do whatever I can for you and the kids. If you want to talk I'm always here for you. I love you.That doesn't make things better but maybe it will help your soul." G-d moves in such mysterious ways and in such perfect timing. And He's sending me encouragement. So why can't I BREATHE?

There are no godlier words that could have been spoken to me. But it released the flood gates.  I have never experienced such uncontrolled sobbing.  Thank you for your message G-d through that person.  Please hold onto me and the children when no one else will. Send me the right helper and support.  And deal with those who follow their own wills over yours. Help me to live what I'm trying to teach them today. Help me to stop CRYING. Help someone to stand up for US.