Breaking the Mold

Learning to be who God made me to be

#Thanksgiving — November 25, 2014


This year has been a year of changes for us. But really, who makes it through a year without changes? Anywho…we’ve done a lot this year. We switched jobs (and career-fields completely), sold our home then were homeless, then finally bought our new home, started homeschool and… you get the point. So often I find myself just getting through the changes, grumping (<–that’s a real word ya’ll) at my husband and boys and worrying about the outcomes. Now that we’re kind of in a lull of activity I’m sitting down and thinking back over all those changes and I am OVERWHELMED with gratefulness. Despite the upheaval/turmoil that our lives had been in for the last several months, our family is thriving! My husband loves his job as an assistant youth pastor and our boys loves the new house with a yard actually big enough to run around in. Thank goodness for that yard it is my sanity-saver. It’s so easy to get frustrated when you don’t know the outcome of events or the reasons. But I look back now and realize that I had been praying for all these changes for years. So I’m thankful to the God of creation for putting things into motion to give us what was asked for. Even though, like a spoiled child I often whine about the process, I need to just be patient enough to see the results. Do not doubt the goodness of God in the middle of life changes because all things will come together for the good of those who love Him. Big or little, come to His gates with praise and thanksgiving.    Psalm 105:1-3

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.     Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.     Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name;     rejoice, you who worship the Lord.

So what are you thankful for this year?

No “Test” in my Testimony — November 22, 2014

No “Test” in my Testimony

When someone asks for a volunteer to share their testimony I always shrink away. My life has been, for the most part, uneventful compared to testimonies I’d heard. I had no life-change moments. No rock-bottoms that God had lifted me from. No terrible home-life. So why would anyone want to hear about my bland, nondescript dedication to Christ?

My life hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns for sure, but I have a loving husband and two great kids. We live near a great church family that provides for us in times of need (seriously tho, we were homeless for 1 week and had so many folks opening their homes to us it was overwhelming). I get to stay home most of the week/days with my sons and home-school. We might not make a lot of money but we pay the bills and have food to eat and even have extra here and there for fun! God has blessed us.

So why would this ^^ make a good testimony? Well the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the fact that my life has been relatively simple is a testimony in and of itself. I think back through decisions I COULD have made, situations that COULD have turned out worse, opportunities I COULD have taken/not taken. All those forks on the road in my life that would have me somewhere completely different and being someone else. That’s my testimony! God has saved me from bad decisions time and time again. He was guiding my steps long before I realized what the consequences would have been for ignoring His promptings. It all falls back to Jeremiah 29:11, a verse that some say is “overused” but can scripture really ever be overused? I don’t think so.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.

“They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

So when you sit down and look at your life and think that your testimony is not worth sharing. I’m here to tell you that EVERY testimony is worth sharing. God has a plan and purpose for us all and people need to know that even the “ordinary” among us, who think we’re “good people” still need the love and salvation offered to us through Christ.

Have you ever shied away from sharing your testimony? What’s holding you back?

Like a Child — November 6, 2014

Like a Child

When I was little we lived on a farm about 5 miles out-of-town. It was fantastic! My mom would throw the five of us out of the house in the morning and we’d only come back in for lunch and the occasional cup of water. My three oldest siblings usually ran off to the woods for adventures but my sister Rachel and I would stay back playing pirates or building things. When the light above the barn came on we knew it was time to go in and wash up for dinner. My dad was home for most of those dinners. But as I got older he was there less and less. Then he stopped coming to church with us and stopped being involved in our extracurricular activities.

We moved into the city when I was 10 and after that point I started noticing things about my dad that I was blind to before.  Despite my observations,  it wasn’t until college that I realized my parent’s marriage was in serious jeopardy. He was rarely coming home from work and if he did he would either go straight to bed or play on the computer til everyone else was in bed. Right before Thanksgiving my freshman year of college he told my mom he wasn’t come home again…

It was the worst Thanksgiving ever. We spent it with relatives that we didn’t know all that well and the only thing it did was to serve as a reminder of how broken our home had become. I don’t know what it is, but something about your parents in difficulty has the power to turn you back into a small child again. I remember crying out to God late at night in my dorm room just overwhelmed with the pain and hurt this man was causing my siblings and worse my mother. I wrote an email to my dad and told him that LOVE IS A CHOICE, NOT AN OBLIGATION. We were an obligation to him.

He came home right before Christmas and appeared to make amends with my mother and went to AA for a while. Then that too stopped. Fast forward 8 years. We’re back to where we were or worse. My siblings and I told him this past summer that he needed to make a choice. He clearly has.

I find myself feeling like I did back in my dorm and like I did when I was a very small child and was scared in my dark room at night. I’m crying out to God for answers, ANY answers. I know He hears me and will answer. Psalm 116:1-8 says this:

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me;
    the terrors of the grave overtook me.
    I saw only trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “Please, Lord, save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
    So merciful, this God of ours!
The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
    I was facing death, and he saved me.
Let my soul be at rest again,
    for the Lord has been good to me.
He has saved me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling.

I don’t know what God’s intentions are for my family, but I’ve realized that there are somethings that will never cease to make you feel like a child again. Helpless and overwhelmed. But as the Psalm says, “The Lord protects those of childlike faith”. So when I am small and inadequate, the Lord sustains me. I may not have the most amazing father but he is a sinner just like me. And though his decisions hurt me and tempt me towards bitterness I have to realize that God loves him the same as He loves me. I have to have that faith that “He who began a good work…will be faithful to complete it” and that one day my dad will be able to reconcile and forgive.

 What makes you feel like a child again?
Ties that Bind — November 4, 2014

Ties that Bind

Do you remember how hard it was learning to tie your shoes? I do! It was an impossible task! Why couldn’t my mom just continue to buy me those awesome velcro shoes? OR even better yet those sweet jelly sandals! So what if they gave me blisters!

Well I’ve realized that learning to tie ourselves together in unity is also a difficult task. Whether it is unity with my spouse, family, friends or my church. I have to WORK at it. I have to practice. I need mentors and people who have been tying themselves to Christ’s family longer than me, to show me how it’s done.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 

Ephesians 4:1-6 (NLT; emphasis mine)

This verse uses the word “one” 7 times. Why is that significant? Because 7 is used in the Bible as a symbol of completion, wholeness or oneness if you will. So what Paul is telling us is that if I want to have the full unity with God and with others, I need to practice humbleness versus pride. Gentleness versus harshness. Patience versus impatience.

Easy? NO. But neither was learning to tie my shoe. Is it worth it? Well I know how much happier I was when I didn’t have to stop playing to find an adult to tie my shoe again. Unity also requires sacrifice. I have to be willing to put aside selfish things, give up time that I often feel I don’t have enough of anyway and invest in relationships. Learning to tie my shoes was a sign of maturity, just like working at binding myself as one within the body of Christ is a sign of the spirit’s maturity within me.

As I mature I realize that those things that were once so difficult (sacrificing time, money, pride etc) are really just part of learning to walk upright and with confidence. Knowing that these ties that bind are hard-pressed to come undone.