Saturday, January 30, 2016

Battle Plan: Acknowledge, Identify, and Pray

The most frightening part of healing to me is being up against satan. I don’t believe his attacks end, he never ceases the attempt to have us make lives for ourselves instead of following Jesus. 

Satan attacks me the hardest during times of healing. Two weeks from now I be at Rachel’s Vineyard continuing my post-abortion healing. I will be placed in a home for three days with other women who share my story, my pain, my shame. It seems like eons ago when I scheduled this event - I was desperate then to be amongst women like me. Now, my thoughts are, “do I have time for this?” The devil plays in my schedule, plays in my to-lists, plays in the mess that is my home. The devil plays in my insecurity - sharing a room with someone I don’t know, making new connections - will they like me? Will my face still be breaking out? The devil’s favorite place to wreak havoc is in my insecurities.

I am sitting in a battle right now as I type this, a battle I have let him win before. Last night I sat in silence thinking about my sin - trying to put a name tag on it. 

Hello, My Name is an alcoholic, not this time. 

Hello, My Name is a drug addict, nope and that is said with a big fist in the air. 

Hello, My name is a sex addict, that’s laughable given the scars I deal with today that over-sexualization left me with. I wish it were those things, to me those seem easier to fix than what I am today. 

Then it dawned on me

It’s pretty clear knowing my love language is Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. And you see it clearly when you glance back at my past, the lengths I went to feel love (or what I thought was love) from people. 

I am a strong proponent of The Five Love Languages, a book written by Gary Chapman, and I have even been known to say that this book would have probably saved my second marriage (the book and a strong dose of Jesus). While I am all for knowing your love language and knowing your spouse’s and your children’s, I still head a warning. Be aware that your love language could be come an excuse for your sin. 

The devil tells me 

She isn’t building you up. She isn’t saying how amazing you are often enough. I don’t think she really likes you. You should move on, find someone who fills you, who makes you happy. 

Your boss isn’t giving you the accolades you deserve. That “thanks” means “yeah, you are just bugging me.” Prepare yourself for rejection, because you are going to be let go soon. Get ready to hear, “we don’t need you anymore.” 

He never pays attention to you. He has so many things placed before your relationship. You need more attention, it’s time to act out. It’s time for a change. It’s time to find some attention. 

Then the devil says the fight isn’t worth it, walk away. 

In all these things I can say, “Well, my love tank wasn’t be filled” and excuse the actions that happen afterward. I can deflect until the cows come home and fall right back into the pit. 

Want to know the difference that I am experiencing right now? This is all in print and I’m giving it to you. Acknowledgement, the first step in change. 

You see, nine years ago, I had all of these same thoughts, but I didn’t identify them. I didn’t call them out one by one. I found the attention I was missing in someone else. I took the pretty scene that was my life (at least from the outside) and shook it really, really hard until all the pieces scattered falling back into, well, something that wasn’t any better than before. 

So how do you fight the devil? 

Well, you watch The War Room, of course. Sorry, have to laugh a minute because in know I took the words out of someone’s mouth. I know that I am going to get at least one comment that says, “Oh girl, have you seen The War Room? You need to watch it and fight that devil, girl.” Oh my, after typing that I think I’ve actually said that to someone, I may or may not have included “oh girl”. My pure southern girl comes does out when I am preaching to someone, though. Oh girl, you need to pull up your boot straps and take that bull by the horns. Put on your big girl panties, girl, and go move some mountains. All you need in life, girl, is sweet tea and Jesus! 

But seriously, how do I fight this battle? How do I stare into the lies that are catapulted at me daily and stand strong? 

My first step is to identify who is talking to me because I know for a strong straight up fact that God is not telling me to find attention outside of my marriage. That reminds me of a gussied up quote I’ve seen around Facebook, “Just in case you’re confused the Lord will not send you someone els’e husband.” The topic is soften due the picture of Kermit the Frog sipping tea and the follow-up line, “but that’s none of my business.” It’s a true statement - God isn’t going to bring you someone else’s husband and He also isn’t going to tell you to get your cup filled other places. 

Acknowledge, Identify and Pray. 

Now, don’t expect to find my closest emptied and pieces of paper taped to my wall, but know I am doing some serious Meme prayers. My grandmother prayed constantly, we thought she was off her rocker because we’d always hear her whisper, “praise you Jesus.” And it’s a funny family story that she would utter, “Lord save her” many times when my sister went through her black only clothing phases (she was goth before goth was a word) (it worried my Meme). As, I stand here today I know that she wasn’t crazy, she was smart, always lifting things up to Him. Prayer is the only way I am going to get through this, I can’t fix this myself. 

Also, a part of Acknowledgment is this that came across my Facebook today: 

The Enemy Fears Your Destiny
The attacks on your life have much more to do with who you might be in the future than who you have been in the past. The enemy fears you becoming who God has made you to be. (Desperation Youth Conference 2015) content from #GirlsWithSwords
Posted by Lisa Bevere on Friday, January 29, 2016

The attacks on your life have much more to do with who you might be in the future than who you have been in the past. The enemy fears you becoming who God has made you to be. ~ Lisa Bevere

The devil isn’t pulling me back into what I was, he is trying to stop who I will be, the plans God has for me.  

And just because that Kermit reference sent me off and a “SQUIRREL!” here are some fun (but not so funny) Kermit Tea Memes. 

Now, my family is standing around completely impatient because I need to shower so we can go have quality time together.  Have a great Saturday my friends. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Why Me?

“Why me?” is a question that Matt hears often come from my mouth. Somedays it is, “Why me?” when I am the lucky person who gets to change another poopy diaper. “Why me?” when my sewing machine gets jammed and I’m working on dismantling it into a million pieces just to find that my tension is off. “Why me?” was a normal question when our old van (Shirley) had a flat tire or an engine light came on or it ran out of gas without tell me that it was even low.

In the last year as I have recounted my story and found grace in all my yucky parts, Matt has heard “Why me?” in a different context. Not, “why did these things happen to me?”, but…

I’m telling you, I have tried to finish that sentence five times now and it just doesn’t sound right, so let me just tell you a story. 

I will spare the long winded details that lead me to Jamie Ivey’s blog, but I was there searching for something very important. As I was reading through the titles searching for a name that I thought I heard on one of Jamie’s podcasts, this post title hit me: We Are More Than the Worst We’ve Done. And the picture of Jamie standing outside of the Travis County Correctional Center peaked my curiosity. Okay, I will just admit that I was hoping it was a post about how Jamie had spent time in jail, not that I wished that on her, but I live for real grace stories. 

In the blog post she tells how she is part of a group that ministers to the women in Travis County. She describes the women and how they are there “through bad choices and circumstances.” She understands how much she can relate to them as a mother. Serious, you need to read this post:

Me, being me, I quickly left a comment thanking her for this post and told her a bit about me and my story - I am sure she thinks I am a crazy person. 

Then, as I went about my work, as I swept the dining room floor, as picked up toys, I couldn’t stop thinking about those women. I am quite sure I shouldn’t question God’s actions good or bad, but today I find myself asking him the same question I’ve done so often, “Why me, God?” I could have so easily been one of those women at the age of seventeen or even in my thirties. I could be waiting for my child to visit me on a Saturday. 

I can’t say I wouldn’t have the same feelings about redemption if I went on to the county jail seven years ago, if the district attorney did find reason to keep me that January morning. When I stop and think where I should be, where I could have been, if God had not picked this path for me I am awestruck…speechless…brought to knees - not sure if I can put words to this feeling. 

I pray those women get to feel their redemption through giving all their stuff over to Jesus, I pray that they get to see why God laid out this path for them. 

It reminds of 1 Peter 5:10: 

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

So, I am not really sure if this little ditty brought you any major realizations, but I just wanted to share it with you. 

I am HORRIBLE about thank you notes, and birthday cards, but I don’t think a million of them would truly convey how thankful I am for this, where I am today. This family, the ability to be a mother here with these girls everyday. 

If you listen to podcasts I strongly suggest Jamie's:

Monday, January 25, 2016

Leaning on the Lord

 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

This Amplified Bible version on my favorite, most needed, bible verse came through my “on this day” section of Facebook this morning and I have to think in someway it is a sign.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord…do not rely on your own insight or understanding…

I went to bed last night asking “why?” 

And I woke up this morning with an overwhelming feeling that I will never know, that I am just to trust that the Lord has a plan for our pain. 

My mind went to something I wrote last February on the anniversary of James’ death: 

I’m not meant to know all the answers, but I am meant to have faith that He knew the plan for James’ life. 

That same feeling rushed over me as I processed the news of the passing of Samantha’s only child, Briauna. 

You can read about Samantha and also James in this post I wrote about Tragic Mistakes. 

Matt and I have a difference of opinion when it comes to heaven. I am not sure why I take peace in the thought that my loved ones are up there looking down on me, praying for me, cheering for me, but Matt feels that Heaven is so amazing that our loved ones are so involved in the glories that thoughts us do not pass their minds. 

I have to just think that Samantha was saddened to receive news that her sweet daughter was joining her at just fourteen. I know that Samantha wished for Briauna to have a long, full life.  Fourteen, that also leads me to question, why do some get such a short life? 

Gracious Lord, 

Thank you for your continuous grace even when we sit in question of your plans. Lord, please help me to process this sadness. Please, Lord, help me to find pieces of you in this pain. Please heal the hearts of Briauna and Samantha’s family today. Please bring peace to Samantha’s mother, Kathy, as she faces burying another one of her sweet girls today. I just ask that you be with them, they may question your plans as well, but work in their hearts, Lord and help them to not stray from you at this time. 

In Jesus Name, Amen

After writing this I searched and search for a picture I have a Samantha and Briauna from Shelby’s 3rd birthday. Of course I found things I had been missing for months, but cannot find the picture - it’s that always the way it is? 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I Wonder, Song for You Saturday

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts and barely had enough patience to save this for a Saturday. 

As I was mopping floors on Thursday morning this song came on my current favorite pandora station (link below) and left me wishing that I could hit repeat. 

Jesus Christ
You bled Your love, laid down Yourself
And gave me life
In naked shame You hung and You were lifted high
Here I lay in awe and wonder
I am afraid
For no one’s ever sacrificed and loved me this way

So on my face I fall under Your heavy grace
Here I lay in awe and wonder

Those words, if I wasn’t completely tone deaf I would be singing them on the street corners. Can we just take a minute to laugh at the fact that I am so moved by music, but cannot and I mean CANNOT carry a tune to save myself. Be thankful that my husband’s amazing voice drowns mine out on Sunday mornings. 

Anyway, back to these powerful words, the first one to hit me, “in naked shame you hung and you were lifted high.” As Easter quickly approaches those words have such a strong visual, my goal is to live everyday with the thankfulness I feel during lent, so thankful every single day for the love bled for me, for his life he laid down for me. 

Then, “for no one’s ever sacrificed and loved me this way” this hits a core pain and reminds me of something my counselor said to me once, “you may never feel the love you deserve from a human father, your heavenly father will be the one to show you that love and that love with fill in the gaps that you’ve missed from your worldly father.”  I cry, that feeling of sacrifice and pure unconditional love that I’ve only received from my Heavenly Father. 

Random thinking: I really miss Myspace at times like this. Don’t remember how we could place a song on our profile and it would automatically play when you were there? It was the most annoying thing especially when you were trying to sneak on myspace at work, but man, I this would be the song that blare when you came to my profile. 
Again and again I’ve played this song as I’ve sat my desk and worked this week. Many times lifting my hands up to him, many times drawn to tears and every time thanking the Lord for my today. 

Thank you Lord for saving me, thank you for every single day of my life and thank you for loving me through all of it. I am so thankful to feel your heavy grace every single day. 

My favorite Pandora station at this time: 

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Great “should we try again” Debate

I have three beautiful daughters. 

I am living in two worlds, mother of a teenager and mother of preschoolers (I guess I could still call Morgan a toddler). 

I am hopefully, please Lord help us, going to be out of the pull-ups stage soon with Morgan. Please, please, please say she will get over her stubbornness soon! 

Everyone is sleeping through the night and in their own beds, even toddler beds. 

If you have been around Matt and I when the topic has been brought up, you’ve hear me say, “Nope, no more we are done.” 

So, can someone tell me why I am having the “should we have another baby?” debate with myself? 

And I am not sure why I am bringing this debate to the World Wide Web, but here we go. 

I was watching the documentary, Mitt the other night (have you see it, you should. Find it here: and watching him with his sons started this little voice in my head. 

Ahh, look at him with his sons, Matt should have a son. Ahh, we would have cute sons. 

And after church on Sunday this same voice said,

Ahh, look at Gus in his skinny jeans. Ahh, I would rock at dressing a little boy. 

Thanks, Emily. Thank you for dressing your kids like little men and making me want a boy! 

Then, today I was watching this video with Rachel Hollis’ son (click here to see it) and the little voice was like,

Ahhh, look at his hair. I want a boy!

Which led me to texting Matt and telling him I am having this debate. Which was not a good decision AT All, because if there is one person who is  all for having another child it is my husband. Just call him JimBob Duggar, seriously he would have gaggle of kids if I would say yes. 

I have a long list of reason not to have another child. 

1. My Career

I’ll wait for you to stop laughing. 

I would like to write on a more serious level and develop my ministry (or determine if I even have one). Also, I currently have two jobs besides being a wife, mother and blogger. One of which I just started and am very interested in continuing. The other gives me a great discount for all my home interior needs. So, I am really not looking forward to maternity leave, you know? 

2. Space

No, I am not planing to join NASA, space as in we don’t have any. I always tell Matt that he sealed the deal on not have another child when he fell in love with a three bedroom house. Yes, we could convert the playroom, but really do we want to? Yes, we could put three kids in one room, but do we want to? And no, Shelby is not sharing a room with her four year old sister. I’ve always been firm about that. 

3. Money

I am fully aware that there are families that have more kids then we do that survive. It’s call a budget. Have I told you how Matt and I are two-time Dave Ramsey drop outs? Those part-time jobs I mentioned before are happening for a reason. I feel like every time I turn around someone is wanting money, like the school…there is always something happening that we need to pay that costs money. And incase you didn’t know having a baby costs money up front. 

4. I’m Gettin’ On Up There

I am seriously no longer a spring chicken. I will be 39 in November, ugh 39! So, I automatically become “high risk” even though I know people have kids in their 40s. Wow, let’s think about that I minute, let’s say I have a child this year, right around my 39th birthday. Add 18 years to 39 and I will be 57 when that child graduates high school. And Shelby would be 34. I could be a grandmother when my child is graduating from High School. Wait. Is my math right? Oh, well 18 years from now Shelby should will be about 32, but still…32. 

Besides thinking about any other “high risk” things that could happen having a baby at 39, there is a very strong chance that I could have another pregnancy effected by ICP. Having Morgan was nerve-wracking especially because for the last two months I didn’t sleep. I would go into this risking having a child that would not survive the entire pregnancy, but don’t we all have that risk? 

5. It’s a 50/50 Chance We’d Be Buying More Pink

Even though we’d love the child not matter the sex because seriously I would love another girl, I was made to be the mother of girls. We really have a 50/50 chance at having a boy no matter how much my husband would love to have a son. I always joke and say we would definitely have another girl because that is Matt’s lot in life. The oldest of four boys has to have all girls, that is just the way it supposed to be. 

6. The Fluffy Factor

Let’s chat a bit about this topic. I would love to lose 40 pounds and have “started” “attempting” to “get healthy” many times in the last twenty-two days. Even though I am thinner than where I was when I had Morgan, I’ll have to expect to put on some fluff over a nine month period. And I know that since I am old (that statement I know is making some reader mad) removing that fluff will be more difficult than it was ten years ago. Ah, who am I kidding, I am still carrying the fluff I gained when I had Shelby…almost 15 years ago mind you. In an ideal situation I would get down to a healthy me and then get pregnant, then be pissed because I just lost all that weight because we all know I won’t be drinking kale smoothies during my pregnancy. 

This time last year I was in a bible study where we learned that this debate is not ours to answer, that God is the one to make the decision if we have children and how many we have. We should not prevent that and let His plans take their course. 

What you talkin’ about Willis? 

I was dumbfounded. 

I know someday I will learn whether that is true and if I went against God’s command by making this decision myself. 

It’s a hard debate. On one hand, I really don’t want to find myself at the age of sixty thinking, “man, we should have tried one more time.”

On the other, four months from now I don’t want to think “What in the world did we do?!?!”

So, it’s time to pray. Should I have another child or should I get a really cute dog?

it could be a boy

we could name him Sam, Sam Matthew so we are passing on the name thing. 

I guess you should keep an eye on my Instagram, I'll either be posting a pregnancy announcement or a picture of a really cute puppy. I have no clue. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thumping My Bible: Thoughts on Making a Murderer

Where are my Downton Abbey posts, you ask? Well, two weeks ago I skipped watching Downton on a Sunday night because I was enthralled in Making a Murderer. Now, that I have marathoned through the series, here is what I have to say:

There are not very many things that leave me standing on top of my stack of NIVs thumping my bible, but I find myself there after finishing the Netflix documentary, Making a Murderer. 

Have you seen the story of Steven Avery? 

If not let me tell you that it is a horrible story of brokenness and heartache. Watching it made me angry, made me sad, but never lead me to hopelessness about this situation. Because there is always hope, there is always grace and I am hopeful that redemption will always find its way.

I found myself praying the same prayer that I repeated as I sat in a courtroom in November - Lord, please speak to their hearts. 

After concluding the final episode I went to sleep thinking, “I am going to determine the truth, see how the documentary was possibly edited, if the facts were spun or misdirected.” I woke the next morning thinking, “the truth doesn’t matter.” Now, I know the truth matters to Theresa’s (the young woman murdered) family and the truth matters the Avery family, but for me here in a Houston suburb, the truth of this story doesn’t matter. 

The truth that I need to grasp is that on this side of heaven we are all flawed. We all have failings. We all have sin. Without Jesus sin manifests into a great calamities. Sin takes over our lives and leads us to places we never should be. 

As each interview ended I found myself saying, “he needs a strong dose of Jesus.” Not that the person was wrong or wicked, but I felt a need for hope. They all needed something bigger to hold onto. 

There is someone who is being eaten away by the truth they are carrying about the events that happened almost ten years ago. My prayer is for it to continue to eat at them, for a callous to not form over their pain and that their despair will lead them grasping for help. I pray that in that pain they will feel God’s presence, they were will sense God’s peace and they will embrace the redemption that is given to them. 

I pray for hearts to be softened, that God helps everyone involved to come to a place of forgiveness with themselves and others. I found myself listing out names  (Ken Kratz, Dean Strang, Steven Avery, Brendan Dassey, I could go on and on) and praying for these names, names that after watching the documentary have become faces. 

One of the filmmakers said in an interview that this project started to “start a dialogue,” my hope after watching this that it starts a dialogue of prayer. I do suggest, if you have netflix, to watch this documentary. You may want to read this article first written by Jonathon M. Seidl for I am Second:

One last thing, can someone please give me a gold star for not obsessing and getting lost in research about this case. I am known as the private investigator in my family and with my friends. I love to put the puzzle pieces together, but in this case I feel that it’s not worth it for me. Reading through every detail of this case will not change my feelings because I stand here today thinking that the truth will never fix this story, it will never heal the pain for these people. That the Sunday School answer is the only way to fix this, the only answer is Jesus.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Amazing Thing About Grace

I feel the most amazing thing about grace is that it will always feel like way more than you deserve. At least it does to me. 

I heard before (or so I think) that receiving grace helps you to give grace to others - you are changed, you get the big picture of it all, you understand the feeling of receiving such an undeserved gift. 

Let me tell you, I don’t only want to give grace to others, I want to give it as my friends have given grace to me. I especially want to love others as I have been loved by one dear friend. 

During the many discussions I had with Matt before I told my abortion story, I asked multiple times, “how will this effect my friends who have lost babies?” I have been touched by many women who have lost children, either through miscarriages or shortly after a child’s birth. I heard the stories, witnessed the heartache, seen the longing to just have a healthy baby to hold in their arms. Their stories always lead me to a place of shame - not by their doing, but by my own un-forgiveness of myself. “How could I have done this, when they had to go through that? How was I so ungrateful?” 

As I wrote my story one dear friend came to mind again and again. The always smiling, always cracking jokes couple that I have sat in the pew behind me for the past two years hold some serious heartache. I believe that Becky and I had friendship “love at first site” when we met and my heart broke each time I thought about sharing my story with her. You see, Eighteen years ago my dear friend and her husband buried a little boy, who was to be their middle child, after a stillborn delivery. 

Of all the people I know, I believe that Becky has a right to be angry at me, to be angry at my actions, to have issues with me and so many times I’ve wanted to tell her “I am so sorry for what I did.” Somehow typing that just now lead me to, “I should be apologizing for underestimating the holy spirit that lives in this woman.” Because let me tell you, she is filled with God’s love, filled, overflowing. 

I don’t cry every Sunday morning, but when I do I use an entire box of Kleenexes - kidding, somewhat. 

This past Sunday was out of the ordinary. I was given a heads up before the service began that there would be a topic discussed by my father in-law, but his sermon wasn’t directed at me. The topic was abortion since Sunday was “Life Sunday.” I am very thankful for these warnings and I quickly put on my armor, put up my wall. I even prepared Shelby since she was the only one in the pew next me. Things stung a little, a few tears rolled down my cheek. I knew that there was a scattering of friends sitting in the sanctuary who were thinking about me as the sermon when on, then I felt a tap on my shoulder and a folded offering envelope was passed over the pew to me. 

My heart. My first instinct was to climb over the pew and give Becky a huge hug, but I decided that a firm grip of her hand would probably be better received. After our embrace, her husband, Andy, grabbed my hand as well and I am telling you the flood gates were wide open. 

I don’t think I could ever do justice with words to describe how much their love means to me. How completely overwhelmed I am by their grace. The one couple who have every right to withhold their love have changed my life. I want to love others as they have loved me, I want to love them as they have love me! 

Amazing what grace does. 

Thank you guys for loving me even after knowing my unloveable parts.