Love That Comes From Ashes!

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes,

the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD,

that he might be glorified. 

Isaiah 61:3

 

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There is so much going on in my life right now I don’t even know where to start.  First of all, I am still looking for a house.  When I began in March to look online at the Real Estate Site for my area I saw house after house up for lease within my price range.  I was excited to start but my current lease was not up till June 1 so it was still too early to actively search.  Some events took place that allowed me to begin my search in April but as soon as I contacted a realtor to help me the available houses went off the market.  Houses are going like hotcakes.  As soon as I would see one it would be gone before I could even look at it. 

I probably was able to look at only four houses in the last several weeks.  Today I had five on my list.  I went to the first one and when I arrived my realtor told me the others had been rented.  While I was looking at the last one someone put a contract on it…so I did not even have time to apply.  Several hours later she called to say she had two houses to look at.  So we went and looked…they were available.  Both were nice and about the same price.  But one was in the school zone that I desired for the boys.  The house was about $100 less than the one I had looked at early and it was in much better condition than the one taken earlier in the day.  The blessing is I liked the layout of this house better!  So I immediately put in the application.   Now I must wait the weekend to find out if I am approved.  Can’t say I know what the Lord will do here so I am just waiting and trusting!

On another front in my life I am discovering some wonderful things about myself and God.  He has brought me through some really painful things these many years.  Many I have shared with you over these past few years here on WLS.  I began 2010 sharing with you the vision I was asking God for.  I made the list and began to pray over it.  I spent some days and nights giving it to God and seeking Him in His Word as to what He might have on His mind.  What I did not expect was that He would do something so incredible that not even I can hardly believe it.  The very things I prayed about year after year are coming to pass in my heart.  Grief has vanished.  Heartache is a distant memory. The tears are not falling for loss or hurt but for fullness and joy.  It is a personal and private thing.  I would not say it is a mountain top experience but a indescribable peace to the depths of my soul.  He has allowed me to be useful in several close friends lives.  He has blessed me with a wisdom I have never known that I contained.  I am not bragging because it is not of me but Him.  To be able to be a channel of love to those around me is something so unbelievably satisfying.  To walk in His Word and understand that the precepts work when applied is even more overwhelming when you see the impact that is made to a life in need of love. 

To hear my daughter laugh and giggle about finding out the gender of her child is giving me pause.  Pause, to praise God for the miracle.  Not just the miracle of new life but the miracle of a being privileged enough to witness a daughter become a mother.  To be able rekindle a long lost friendship has reminded me of not only where I came from but how far I have come and grown as a person, as a woman.  To find love in my heart for those who have hurt me and to pray a simple prayer for them has made my heart smile.  To know that God is opening a new door of opportunities for myself, many of my close friends and family is cause for celebration.  To see the beauty in life and the journey is a moment in time I do not want to forget.  To share the scripture that God has used to heal my wounds with those who are struggling with theirs brings a sigh to my soul.  I know that this is only a season and seasons do not often last long.  But I am relishing in the light of the Son.  I am overflowing with a intimate love for Him that I have never known.  A love that has come from the ashes. 

There are several other wonderful things I could talk about but will save them for a later time!  When God has made the paths clear to me, the ones still left on my list!  We serve an awesome God who saves, loves and raises up for His glory!!!

May each of you that have honored me by your visit experience God in such a way!!!

grace to you

shell

On bended knees. . .

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. 

They have clung to me all my life.  ~Abraham Lincoln

 

 

I don’t remember my mother really ever praying for me, a little girl, but she did dress my sister and I up for church on Sunday morning and sent us down the street to a little Baptist church.  There I heard bible stories and sang songs.  I remember thinking, later as an adult, that she must have thought it important for us to learn about God.  And that was my introduction.   I would be witnessed to over the years as I grew into an adult but I did not receive Jesus as my Savior until 1992.  I had two children of my own at that time.  As a side note, my mother came to know Jesus several years before me so she became an example to me when I came to know Him myself!

The Love that tucked us in, the hopes whispered behind closed doors, your name in her heart, your needs in folded hands, tomorrow’s foundations built on bended knees… a mother’s prayers is always heard.

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. Psalm 18:32

Growing up I never really thought about what it meant to be a mother. The only thing I ever remember thinking and saying out loud is that I wanted to have two children. One boy and one girl. Even in my little head I wanted everything in my world to be balanced. As I became a young woman, I remember still wanting the same thing. A boy and a girl. In my head it never went farther than that. I don’t even think I ever really thought of the children I would have as babies. They were always thought of as young children. I can’t tell you why that was but I can tell you that when God gave me a boy and then a girl I was completely happy and content.

Of course my life did not go as I had planned. My marriage suddenly without notice dissolved. My son was 2 years old and I was seven months pregnant with my daughter when my husband of three years left me for another woman. There was so much bittersweet at that time. My husband was leaving and my daughter was arriving. She was my “salvation” so to speak. She kept me going forward because I had to bring her into the world. Had to give her a home. I had be a mother to her. She was born in 1990 and it was then, having just had my world turned upside down, that I realized I could not raise my children on my own. I took another job with the Air Force and they moved me to another state so I would for all intent and purposes be ‘on my own.’ I knew that I needed God in my life. I knew that some how, some way, I would need something higher than myself to help me do a job I had never intended to do alone.

I remember saying to God one day right before moving, that when I got settled in my new home I would do three things. I would quit smoking (terrible habit that I wanted to quit for the sake of my children), potty train my son who was at the appropriate age and go back to church. God took me at my word. I did the first two easily enough but He helped me out on the last one.

My neighbor had invited me to go to church. Her church had a singles group that she thought I would fit very well in. And she was right. I threw myself into it. I took my two little children to church with me, took them to every activity the church had for little ones and for our adult class (they always had a nursery). It was a very short time during that first year that I came to know my Lord and Savior.

I was learning so much about walking with God. I still had a lot of pain in my life from the divorce so I was a walking, wounded soul. I did everything to throw myself into being the best mother I could be. I planned fun things for us to do as a family. I spent every free minute playing with them and teaching them songs and stories. I won’t pretend it wasn’t hard, because it was probably the most difficult thing I have ever done. I have even had to be a “single parent” again with four children many years later which has been even more difficult because of circumstance.

Throughout all the years since becoming a Christian, I have learned the best tool that God has given me is prayer. He has given me a prayer in a moment of chaos, a moment of crisis, a moment of my own ignorance, a moment of discovering my mistakes, a moment of gratefulness, a moment of joy and a moment of getting victory.

One of the first verses I memorized was Philippians 4:6-8 because it told me exactly what would happen if I prayed. And as single mother, I needed all the help I could get. 

 Praying God’s Word: For a woman

who wants to be a better Mother!

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed”

Proverbs 31:28

Heavenly Father, it is my strong desire to be the kind of mother whose children will one day rise up and call me blessed.1 Help me to train them up in the way that they should go so that when they are older they will not depart from your ways.2 Give my children the grace to receive your sayings as I teach them so that they will have longevity.3 So work in their lives, dear Father, that they will attend to your word and incline their ears to your sayings.4

Show, them I pray, the importance of studying your Word so that they will be able to rightly divide your truth, workers who will never know shame because they are approved by you.5 Give me great compassion for my children,6 so that I will truly understand them. Help me to raise them up in your nurture and admonition, 7 dear Father. Fill me with your Spirit, Father, so that I will walk in love, patience, and all the fruit of the Spirit in my relationships with my children.8

Help me to provide well for my children,9 and be a good example to them at all times.10 How I thank you for my children, Father, because they are such a rich inheritance that you have given to me.11 I will have no greater joy than that of hearing that my children are walking in truth.12

Bring that to pass, dear Father, and thank you for helping me to be the best mother possible. I pray and thank you , Father in the wonderful name of Jesus.13 Amen.

(1) Proverbs 31:28; (2) Proverbs 22:6 (3) Proverbs 4:10 (4) Proverbs 4:20;

(5) 2 Timonthy2:15; (6) Isaiah 49:15 (7) Ephesians 6:4 (8) Galatians 5:22-23

(9)2 Corinthians 12:14 (10) 1 Timothy 4:12 (11) Psalms 127:3 (12) 3 John 4

(13) John 16:23

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An Unexpected Trip!

And the man, wondering at her, remained silent so as to know whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.   Genesis 24:21

 

 

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Ever since I can remember, going on a trip seemed to be an adventure to me. The anticipation of going to a destination that I had never been to before.  The whole process in preparing is very important.  I often make a list of everything I need to take. Then a day before I gather it all up and neatly put everything in just the right place.  I like the challenge of packing efficiently.  Don’t use more room than necessary and make it practical and convenient.  These days taking a trip on an airplane you have to be even more efficient because of all the ridiculous charges. Don’t even get me started!  But traveling in a car or my van is somewhat easier. I am a great packer.  I think I learned a few things when I was in the in the Air Force and I had pallet building detail a couple of times. Or maybe having moved quite a bit in several years. Either way I pride myself in getting everything I need in the space I have to work with.

The trip itself is full of different emotions depending on the purpose of the trip and where you are going.  I have been on many trips for very many reasons.  While in the military, I moved around a lot so those were chocked full of stress of moving, anticipation of starting over and sadness at leaving friends behind.  I have been on vacation trips that were mostly great memories for me.  I remember a couple of trips that were under very difficult circumstances.  Going to my sister’s funeral was one of those. Flying to Missouri from Hawaii when my father had his heart attack was hard because I could not get home fast enough.  But for the most part taking trips for me has been and is about the journey getting there.  I used to think it was the place or event itself. 

Our journeys throughout our lifetime most often do not end exactly the way we picture.  Sometimes we get detoured or worse stranded.  But as I look back on the detours and the times I was left on a roadside I find that even those were adventures.  I realize getting stranded on a roadside is not considered fun, by any means, but you do remember the trip and hopefully you learn something.  All the detours, road blocks or roadside emergencies are necessary for us to appreciate the actual destination.  I mean how many of you have pulled into the hotel parking lot or the driveway of loved one’s long separated from and let out a sigh of relief….we’re here!  Then the very next thought is “let’s go have some fun!”  Excitement immediately takes over and the trip with all it’s obstacles forgotten.  What a blessing! 

It is the same for “time” as in days, weeks and years.  I have come to realize in just the past few days that time is relative.  I kind of alluded to this in my last post “He Will Do A New Thing: I’m Still Waiting!”  Time can simply melt away when the very thing you have waited for years finally manifest itself into your life.  It is an amazing thing really.  It is as if you never spent anytime in anguish, tears or loneliness.  How does that happen?  How does God weave that into our psyche?  I believe it is the same way with forgiveness.  If you have truly forgiven and have walked in that forgiveness over the years, the pain and heartache vanish.  It is as if the trespass has never happened.  I have experienced that very thing a few times in my life.  It boggles my mind!

I am thinking that when one forgives they are saying “I choose not to dwell on that”.  I choose to let it go.  Something else I am learning is that when you practice loving others no matter how hard they are to love, the longer you do it the easier it becomes.  And if you combine the forgiveness with love it becomes a powerful instrument to channel God’s love through.  The world does not make sense of this kind of forgiveness.  And sadly we do not hear of too many stories of this.  Although I do know a family who has forgiven a man who murdered their son.  I also recall the Amish family who forgave the man who killed their daughter.  So I know it is possible.

I have spoke often of the things I have experienced in the realm of relationships.  Namely my two marriages which ended in heartbreak.  Can not really compare the two nor can I say the pain from one was more than the other.  Both were very devastating.  The first because I was young, in love and full of dreams.  The event took me by surprise and it was totally unbelievable.   It left me feeling broken, angry and lost.  In the years that followed I began a journey of rebirth.  Not only did I come to know my Lord and savior shortly after I began to learn about this concept of forgiveness.  When I realized that I had to do this in regards to my first husband I began to wonder what it would entail.  I eventually made the choice to do so but I quickly realized that it was not easy.  I had to give up the anger, resentment and the feeling of abandonment.  I had to literally find a way to not dwell on those things so the forgiveness that I chose to give would not be in word only.

I would learn this lesson over and over throughout the years since.  When my second marriage ended with my second husbands crime, I thought there is no way I can forgive this time. But immediately God spoke to me and said, “Forgiveness is not about him and what he did it is about you and what I want to do through you!”  I understood that the forgiveness was not something I could ignore and it was not something I could put off till later.  I had to do it as soon as possible so the Lord could begin the healing.  So I could begin the work of walking in it as I had done before.  Those events in my life were the times I was stranded on the side of the road.  Each time the Lord came to my rescue.  The detours I have taken since the day I accepted the Lord were the choices I made, wrong turn maybe or just not paying attention to the signs. 

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. 

Isaiah 42:16

Today I am standing at a road that is so very exciting to me.  I turn around and look back from where I came and can not believe the distance I have traveled. What is really amazing to me is the waiting, tears and loneliness have seemed to vanish.  It is as if they never existed.  I can not explain it nor can I put into words how overwhelmed I am at the possibilities God has brought into my life.  I started the beginning of this year praying for God to do a new thing.  New Year, New Life, New Hope! In my heart I wanted it to be something so amazing that I would not have ever imagined!  I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is going to take me on trip in which I have never been on, one very few get to take.  I am ready because He has prepared me for it.  He has given me all the instruction and tools I need.  He has conformed me (and still is) to the woman He wants me to be, this day at this moment. 

I have my list made as to all things I will take with me.  I have my itinerary somewhat jotted down leaving room for unexpected surprises.  I have the map from which God will guide me through.  I am thinking right now about the arrival and anticipating event.  The new thing God is doing is going to be exciting and wonderful because it is from Him. And I always said I do not want anything, if it is not first from my Lord….I hope you who stop by from time to time will go along on this trip with me.  I can not tell you the destination right now because I myself do not know.  I believe God is still working out all the details.  So, yes I am still waiting but at least I know now what kind of trip it will be.  The vision quest I spoke of in a January 2010 post What would you say if I told you the craziest thing? is becoming a reality.  And my heart is overwhelmed and grateful….basically it is what I made my FB status today, “The peace in my heart matches the smile on my face!!!”

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We serve an awesome God!!!

more to come…

grace to you

shell