Thursday, January 18, 2018

5 Common Misconceptions About Women Who Can't Have Children [Me]

This month marks four years since my hysterectomy. I've been settling some thoughts in my heart and want to share them.

5 Common Misconceptions About Women Who Can't Have Children [Me]

1] When I hold your babies or play with your children, I wish they were mine. Your children are precious and I enjoy them, but it doesn’t cross my mind. The closest thought I have is I wonder what our child would have been like? Thank you to all of our friends and family who share your sweet kiddos with us!
2] I avoid Mother’s Day services because I cannot handle it. That might be the case for some but I steer clear for your sake. I don’t want others to have to worry about consoling me. Instead, we go to Silver Dollar City where no one knows and we just have fun.
3] I have a hole in my heart and feel my life is incomplete. While it takes time to heal from the disappointment [maybe forever], my heart is whole and my life is full. There’s not a day that I wake up and think something is missing. I’m grateful to God for that.
4] Fostering or adoption is the next step. Not always and that’s okay. We know these are huge, life-changing decisions built around following God’s plan for us. We still don’t know what is ahead of us but it can, and likely will, look different from anyone else we know.
5] I feel like less of a woman. This is another area where God has graciously protected me. My identity and self-worth are not tied to reproduction. I may not be able to share in the birthing or breastfeeding conversations, but I’m still a woman with a lot of other conversations yearning to be had.

I share these pieces of my heart to let you know I'm okay. Even though it still hurts, at times, I'm happy and look forward to the future. I look forward to seeing God's plans for us continually unfold, as we trust Him. I look forward to Him using our story to help others.

Friday, May 13, 2016

I saw my husband before I knew he existed

A few months ago, our small group talked about how God speaks to us through visions and dreams. I was reminded of my most memorable vision.

It was the summer before I moved to Springfield. I was in a worship service with my eyes closed when I saw a dim glimpse of a man. I only saw features - blue eyes, blonde hair with a little curl to it and a big smile.

I felt God speak to me, "This is the man I have for you. He will love and appreciate the things that I have placed inside you, not just your outward beauty. He is smiling because he is happy but also because He loves Me."

I knew it was a vision from God. I knew it was a piece of hope to my heart. I knew it was direction for the future.

I moved to Springfield a few weeks later. I met Dave on a Sunday night at Central Assembly of God. However, I didn't connect the vision to him. I truly believe God blocked it from my memory so I would not overthink building a foundational friendship with Dave.

A couple of months later, I was standing in my bedroom and the vision came back to me. I looked up at God and said, "Is this him? Really? This soon?"

I called my mom and my brother asking them what I asked God. They both said the exact same thing, "Why not? You've been faithful to God."

God speaks to us every single day in so many different ways. Be listening. Be watching. Be expecting

Monday, November 23, 2015

Colors of Love

Written for Dave, in honor or our sixth wedding anniversary.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

When Truth Has No Voice

A sea of whispers
melts down my back
searing scars form
clear waters become black.

Rearranging words, exchanging stories.
Lies linger longer
when truth has no voice.

A sea of tears
melts down my face
writhing scars scream
the depth of my disgrace.

Rearranging words, exchanging stories.
Lies linger longer
when truth has no voice.

A sea of peace
melts into my soul
healing scars remind
truth will be known.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The lie that I can handle it [alone]

A couple of weeks ago I decided I would buy some peanut butter. I hadn't bought any in about a year because I found out I have a slight allergy to peanuts (all legumes). It makes my tongue itchy, tingly and gives me sores almost instantly.

Well, I decided I was doing so well that I could handle it. So, I bought a big jar for $4 compared to the little jar of almond butter for $7. I told myself that I was saving money and it was going to be fine. It wasn't. I made a huge peanut butter sandwich with banana slices. I thoroughly enjoyed it…for about two minutes. Then came the itchy tongue. Then the tingly tongue. Then the sore on the tip of my tongue.

I was frustrated that I couldn't just eat something I have eaten my whole life but I was more frustrated with myself. My track record told me what would happen but since I hadn’t had any issues, I just thought I could start eating peanut butter again. Wrong. I wasn’t having issues because I wasn't eating peanut butter  DUH! :-)

I started to think about how often I subconsciously believe the lie that I can handle it [alone]. It = any part of my life that I try to do in my own strength. I do well and my reliance on God starts dropping off. I don't notice right away but then there's a moment when I realize how very, very tired I am  just flat out weary from running on my human, exhaustible strength.

The truth is I can't handle life alone and I'm not made to handle it alone. Whether it’s thoughts, planning the future, showing love to others, eating healthy, exercising, working  WHATEVER "it" may be  I'm not built to do life without Christ's strength. Why? Because I am weak. And, in my surrendered weakness, His strength is perfect.

If I’m not relying on the Lord, I'm not making room for Him to work in my life.

If I’m not making room for Him to work in my life, I’m doing life alone.

If I’m doing life alone, I'm not fully surrendered to Christ.

It seems harsh, but it's true. At the heart of my relationship with Jesus, is giving Him my weak moments, my strong moments and everything in between. It must be continuous dependence on Him or else I'll lose myself in myself. I don't want that. Besides, there's so much more peace, rest and joy when I rely on Him and not myself.

Here are a few verses that remind me where to find my strength and how God honors a dependence on Him:

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. 1 Chronicles 16:11

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. II Corinthians 12:9

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sharing my story

I was honored to share my story at for Hysterectomy Awareness Month. When pain finds purpose, there’s a level of comfort and assurance that also brings healing and hope. To read my story, visit the link below 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Jesus is my emotional bellhop [and so much more]

I load up all of my emotions and give them to Jesus. Sometimes I think I'm rid of them but end up taking them back, unpacking them and wearing them all over again.

I think, for the most part, it's a process. I wish I could always pack them up, give them to Jesus and never see them again. I love those rare times when they are gone for good, but that's just not what real life looks like because I'm human.

It's pretty wonderful how Jesus is always willing to carry my baggage. He lovingly takes it from me, even when it's the same stuff over and over. I never sense frustration or judgment. That's because He truly knows what it's like to live in our world.

While I’m not an outwardly emotional person, I am a thinker which can lead me through many thoughts and emotions that can easily drain the life out of me. What can I do to consistently give Jesus my emotional baggage, but also allow Him to change what my baggage looks like?

Be aware of what I'm carrying. I consider myself to be a "strong" person and I tend to bear burdens that Jesus didn't intend for me to carry – for myself or for others. It's important for me to evaluate what I'm carrying because I can easily find myself under a heaping load, trying to carry it all by myself.

I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! Numbers 11:14

This scripture is when Moses was leading the people out of Egypt. He was weary from being the sole person in charge. His awareness of carrying the overwhelming load led to his vocalization to God for help. In that instant, God gave Him the wisdom to deal with the situation and relief came.

It is the same for me...when I finally see I’m carrying too much and ask God for help, He provides some form of an answer that brings relief. Routinely checking myself can save me a lot of wasted energy.

Hand it all over. The moment I recognize I'm dealing with emotions that only Jesus can touch or heal, I must surrender them to Him. It’s a place of total submission – no longer wanting to control and knowing I truly can’t control.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. I Peter 6:7

I love it when I see something I have never seen before. I’ve quoted the second part of this verse many times but what an impact the first has. Humbling myself under the mighty hand of God comes before casting all my cares on Him.

Why is that? Because that’s an act of surrender and it’s the only way I can fully surrender my cares. An amazing thing happens when I do this, I feel a peace and a lightness that allows me to rest in Him.

Realize I don't have to take it back, or at least not all of it. I don’t always see this when it’s happening because it usually happens over time, piece by piece I take back all of the junk. For me, this occurs in the mental realm and I’m learning to not only sift through my thoughts/emotions but also refuse the ones I identify as untruths.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. II Corinthians 10:4-6

God has given us weapons of warfare directly connected to our thoughts and this is confirmation that many of the biggest battles are within the mind. The only way to counter the attacks of lies from the enemy and self is to rely on God’s word – the absolute truth that breathes life and hope into weary despair.

I’m not always successful when it comes to using scripture to fight the mental battle of emotions, but when I do, there’s a shift in my spirit and my perspective becomes clearer. I begin to see things for what they truly are and stop holding on to baggage that just isn’t true or healthy – this is when I see the transformation take place and Jesus helps me redefine what I allow to stay.

Yes. Jesus is my emotional bellhop [and so much more]. If I left it at bellhop, what kind of relationship would that be? "Here, take my baggage. I'll tip you for a good job done but give it back to me in the same condition you found it." 

No. If I let Him, Jesus not only takes my baggage, but He helps me to release what I'm not meant to carry, to discard the things that hold me down and He sets me free from bondage. In Him, I find true freedom – freedom to live and be who He has called me to be. 

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30