Love Letters: Daddy, I need to talk

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Daddy, I need to talk.

Your daughter is crying out to You tonight in desperation. My heart hurts. Tears are flowing from my eyes like an endless river flowing. I know You know all that is stirring within me, but Daddy I just need to talk to You about it.

I don’t understand why all of this has happened. I don’t know why life had to take a turn in this direction. Daddy, the man You sent to me twenty-two years ago is hurting, he’s struggling, and it feels like he’s fading away. I know he’s here with me physically but he hardly seems like the same person. It’s been so hard watching him the last year hurt more and more by the moment.

I miss his laugh, I miss his smiles, I miss so much about him Daddy. But more than what I miss about him, I miss him feeling like he has life within him. Daddy, it hurts to watch him hurt. I don’t know what to do for him. I don’t know how to help him. I feel like I never have the right words to say. I just want to take it all away. I just want to make things better for him. I want him to jump up like he used to and be that man full of life that You created. I want him to feel about himself the way You intend for him to.

I know You said we would become one flesh when we vowed before You to love one another, and I believe it now more than ever. I may not feel his pain the same way he does, but oh Daddy, I feel pain with him. I look into his eyes and see the desperation of just wanting the pain to leave his body and it sends my heart into a place that nothing seems to draw it back from. I know he’s scared and I’m scared with him. I know some days he feels like nothing is going to get better, and honestly some days I feel it with him. I see how tired he is, I see how hard he’s trying to fight.

But I have to say thank You Daddy. Thank You for helping me to still see that warrior that You created in him. I see him even when he doesn’t. I see all that You are filling him with no matter how much this pain seems to drain him. Every time You allow me to look at him and see who He is in You it does so much for my heart. I guess this is still a part of that whole one flesh, huh? I am grateful that You gave me the honor of being one flesh with this man. I love him, Daddy. I love him so much. I know You know that, You are the one that gave me this love for him. I refuse to let life take that from me! He’s a good man for me. He’s always taken such good care of me, and You knew he would, that’s why You chose him for me.

But Daddy, I feel like it’s my turn to take really good care of him. Can You help me with that? I feel lost. I’m not sure how to help him, how best to take care of him. In my flesh I just want to take it from him and throw it as far as I can. I know that I don’t have that power, but Daddy, You do! I’m believing for that. I haven’t lost hope in You, I can’t do that. You have saved us from so many things in our lives. You have brought us through some of the darkest of times and I know this time will be no different.

You gave me two hands Daddy, and in my right hand is Yours, and in my left hand is his. Help me to keep walking hand in hand with You so that I can be what he needs me to be as his wife. Give me eyes to see past the things I don’t need to see so that I can focus on what You need me to see.  Fill me with more of You. Everything in me knows we can’t walk through this without You, and I don’t want to try!

Keep reminding me of Your truths so for every lie the enemy tosses our way I can send it right back. Hold us close because I know that it’s so easy at times like this to get carried away and I only want to draw closer to You. Strengthen the fight in us, help us to get back up stronger every time we get knocked down.

Thank You for listening to my heart tonight Daddy, and every night when the hurt starts trying to settle. Thank You for listening when I’m alone in my office trying my best to stay focused and when the tears keep sneaking out to roll. Thank You for listening when I’m driving down the road and can barely see the road through my tears. Thank You for hearing our every cry and holding every tear in Your mighty hands. And Daddy, thank You for the healing that I know is coming His way! I feel it in my bones, I feel it in the depths of my soul. It’s coming and I am giving You praise for it! I don’t want my lips to ever stop giving You praise because You are so worthy, no matter what!

I love You Daddy! I’m so grateful I have You tonight and every moment. I trust You and that’s not going to change.

With rolling tears,

Your Daughter, Angie

 

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Inside Scoop: The Reality of a Pastor

 

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Every October rolls around and we celebrate Pastor Appreciation month. But I often wonder, are we really celebrating them? Are we really appreciating them? Is the month of October the only time we should celebrate and appreciate?

Let me tell you about the reality of my Pastor…

Six years ago we walked through the doors of our new home church, Charity Baptist Church. We had no intentions or plans of getting involved in any way, much less joining this church. Our plan was to sit in the balcony or back and simply be a pew sitter. We were there to heal. Our very first Sunday we heard a sermon by the one we believed to be the Pastor. We walked away completely blown away by not only what we heard, but Who we heard. No, not the man, but the One who spoke through the man.We couldn’t wait to go back! We later found out he wasn’t the Senior Pastor, but God did move him to that position within the next year.

In the last five years, our Senior Pastor has discipled us, mentored us, guided us, and has spoken God’s truth directly to our hearts each week. I can’t remember a time that our family has been through something that he wasn’t there offering support, prayer, love, and words of wisdom and encouragement in some form. Why is that a big deal you may wonder? Because I know the demands on his time.

The idea that often floats through the minds of many is that the Pastor only works on Sundays and Wednesdays. This just isn’t the case at all. They rarely have a day off, and when they do, they’re not truly “off”. While many of us have set hours to clock in and clock out, Pastors are always on the clock so to speak. In the midst of all the demands, they are raising families, nurturing and investing in their marriages, and continually investing in their own personal intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Their day consists of hospital visits, counseling, planning, studying, praying, putting out fires, building relationships, impacting the community, meetings, answering phone calls, texts, emails, and I’m pretty certain that’s not all. Sometimes I wonder how they possibly manage it all and still keep Christ and their family front and center. Now I know because I’ve watched. They truly keep Christ front and center and draw strength and wisdom from Him.

Pastors have a demanding job, but it’s more than a job, it’s a calling, an anointing. There’s no doubt that my Pastor is called and anointed! Each week when I hear him preach what the Holy Spirit has put on him to preach, I can see it. Every day when I see him live out his life and serve the church, I can see it. Every time we’ve ever needed anything, we can see it. He spends a lot of time in the Word and in prayer so that he can lead this church the way God has directed him to lead it. I never have doubted his leadership one minute because I trust that God is truly the one leading his life and vision for our church.

So, I purpose the question again, are we really celebrating and appreciating our Pastors? Should we only do this one month out of the year? Absolutely not on both questions!

Celebrating is acknowledging and praising publicly. Appreciating is recognizing the full worth of, being grateful for, understanding the full implications of, and recognizing the value of. How often are we doing that?

Our Pastors work hard not because of a paycheck but because of a passion, a love, and a calling. They give their all, day in and day out. They feel the weight of what they do. They see past an earthly perspective and instead look at everything through an eternal perspective. They wear many hats, face many battles, and bear a lot of responsibility, one that reaches far beyond the life we live now.

So how can we truly celebrate and appreciate our Pastors more than just one month out of a year? I’ve listed a few ways below that I think is a great start for all of us…

  1. Respect them! Recognize and respect their leadership. When God places someone in a position of leadership, our job is to trust God’s choice, and respect the leader. God is in control, not us, and He knows far more than we do.
  2. Encourage them! We all need encouragement, but those who encourage the most seem to be the ones that get encouraged the least. It’s not an easy path, they could use some words of encouragement along the way.
  3. Pray for them! They face battles many of us could never imagine, and the enemy fights them just like he does us. Pastors are not exempt from facing difficulties in life.
  4. Support them! We may not always agree with the “how” of things getting done, but when we do the first three things listed here, we know we can trust the “why” things are getting done. God has given him a vision, get on board!

Let’s make a point to truly celebrate and appreciate our Pastors! Honestly, where would we be without them? I know we can truly say, we wouldn’t be where we are today!

I’m starting with me today, I want to celebrate and appreciate my Pastor! Thank you Dr. Marty Payton for the countless hours you spend on faithfully living out your calling as a Pastor! I know the lives of our family wouldn’t be the same without your leadership of our church! We respect you, your vision, and your leadership greatly! We thank God for you and are praying for you and your family!

Take time now to give a shout out to your Pastor! He deserves it!

P.S. We did join the church and jumped right in serving! That day, God used that man to speak right to us! We’re thankful!

“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.” ~Hebrews 13:17-18

Women of Faith…You are Seen, Known, Free and Loved

 

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It’s getting closer and excitement is beginning to fall through the air like confetti! This isn’t just any type of colorful confetti that you would just toss on a table for an ordinary party. No, this confetti is the kind that falls like rain at the most exciting moment you could imagine. Can’t you just hear it? It’s not the sound of a steady rain on a gloomy Fall day, but more like the sound of a Spring thunderstorm that you just know is about to bring on the colorful new growth of the most gorgeous flowers!

So what’s the excitement that’s brewing? It’s Women of Faith Conference, the Farewell Tour! I wish you could feel the chills that just ran a path right up my arms and straight to my toes as I typed those words!

Women of Faith, those three words alone are enough to cause the enemy to tremble in his rain boots! Having an arena full of these women is enough to make him run like the wind! The power of Christ running through a building holding thousands and thousands of women filled with the Holy Spirit, surrendering their hearts and lives to that power, and letting go in worship as they soak up every ounce of His truths and hearing that they are loved by Him, how could this not raise the roof in praise of the One and Only true King! That’s not the kind of roof raising the enemy likes to stick around for, that’s the kind that makes him flee!

The stories that will be told are stories that will go straight from the hearts of these women that God has specifically chosen and called to the crevices in the hearts of the women He has called to filled the seats. Each woman who takes her place in that arena is a daughter that has heard His whisper, the soft and gentle words, “Go Beautiful, I want you there.” I am a firm believer there are no coincidences in this life, every step is a divine appointment set up by our Master appointment maker, our Daddy who loves us beyond all imagination or comprehension.

Every girl wants to know she’s seen, she’s known, she’s free, and she’s loved. We may not realize when we’re little girls daydreaming about what we want to be when we grow up that our truest and deepest desire will be these four things, but they were born into our hearts from the moment our Creator shaped them. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that before we were ever formed in the womb, He knew us. HE knew us! God has already orchestrated the perfect melody for our hearts through these that have been called to the platform to speak truth and encouragement into our hearts and lives. The Women of Faith Farewell Tour knows that when we know these things, it changes everything! Under the umbrella of that arena that God has appointed and anointed, He will be showering us with exactly what each of our uniquely designed hearts are waiting for.

Ladies, I’m not sure about you, but my heart is ready to feel everything in my life being changed again! Yes, Jesus Christ has changed everything in my life before, but because He knows me, He knows when my heart needs refreshed, recharged, and refueled. He knows when I need to be recalibrated. That’s why, sweet friends, I heard the whisper, “Go Beautiful, I want you there!”

Maybe you’ve heard His soft voice whisper to your heart, maybe you’ve listened, and maybe you haven’t, but can I just encourage you for a moment? If you are feeling His breath upon your heart, embrace it. There is no one who knows you deeper or more intimate than your Father. He knows what you need to hear, what you long to feel, and what battles you’ve been fighting. Draw near sister, He’s waiting to fill you in every way you’ll allow Him to.

Maybe I’ll see you there in a couple of weeks! I’ll be the blonde headed lady sitting in her chair wiping tears, laughing in joy, waving my hands in praise, and jumping up in worship of the One who brought me there just to tell me in one more way how He loves me! Oh, how He loves me and you!

From Boo Boos to Breaking Hearts…Three Navigational Helps

gods roadmap for mothers_t_ntGoing from kissing boo boos to praying for broken hearts, this is where I find myself. It is by far the hardest place I have found myself in motherhood so far. I’m convinced that there is nothing harder on this journey than learning how to navigate through each new stage as they come.

In the recent months my mind has been recalling numerous times that my daughter came running to me with scraped knees and bruised legs. I have to say as I look back, those were the easy days. I could almost effortlessly make her pain go away as I wiped her tears and kissed the boo boo. Now, broken and bruised hearts, I’m afraid these aren’t so easy. I am still wiping tears only they have multiplied quicker than dandelions, and praying desperately for God’s divine intervention, wisdom, and guidance.

But as my mind drifts back to the reality that is, my heart breaks with hers. Life isn’t simple, there are times it’s just plain hard. So, as a Mom, I have found myself more frequently praying, “God, how do I navigate through this season of life in a way that helps us both and honors you?”

God has tapped my heart, grabbed my attention, and reminded me to saturate her and myself with these words…

“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 on your hearts. Impress them on your 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6 – 9

Here’s three navigational helps God whispered back to me:

1. Love Him with all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength. (Emphasis mine)
When I love Him with all of me, I am filled with all that I need to handle things better and better equipped to help guide her through the many difficult circumstances and situations life will bring her way. God is first and foremost and I have to love Him fully in order to lead my daughter to do the same. It’s through Him that we are equipped to be the Mom He called us to be. Everything in our lives and theirs starts with us loving God with all of our hearts, souls, and strength.

2. Keep His commandments on my heart.
His commandments remind and guide us, and when they are kept on our hearts, everything else will have a tougher time getting through the truth that guards them. Keeping His word at the front door of our hearts by reading, meditating, and memorizing it will help our thoughts not fall victim to the enemies lies (like that I’m a failure as a Mom). God’s Word locks him out and allows no forced entry. We are better equipped to guide them through life biblically if His commandments are present in our hearts.

3. Take time impressing on her heart the same things He has impressed on mine, and never miss an opportunity to talk to her about them.
There are many conversations that will take place between us and our kids and the best way to use that time is to impress God’s truths on their hearts every chance we get through the opportunities that life presents. That’s why God says talk about it when you sit, when you walk, when you lie down and when you get up. It’s not just a matter of speaking those words into their lives, but living them out in our own lives as an example as well. He tells us to do them first and then teach our children. I’ve never really liked the old saying, “Do as I say not as I do.” If I want my daughter to live a life for God, she needs to see her Dad and I living a life for Him. Our words will mean absolutely nothing if our actions aren’t lining up.

Truth is, parenting is never easy. I am learning that more and more every day. When she hurts, I hurt. When she cries, I cry. When she’s broken, it breaks me. I’m grateful to have the help I have from my Daddy because no one knows more than He does the pain or the reward of being a parent.

These new stages of life may be difficult, challenging and may hurt, but they are also rewarding. I get to watch as my daughter grows into this beautiful and unique creation that God has made her to be. I know that everything she goes through is to grow her and along the way it grows me, too.

Lord, help us to love you with all that we are, keep your commandments on our hearts, and take every minute and opportunity to talk to our children about them. Impressing your truths on their hearts is the greatest impression we can make on their lives, help us to never forget that no matter how tough life gets. In Jesus Name, Amen.      

 

 

3 Reasons Why I Don’t Want My Pastor Stepping On My Toes

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“The Pastor really stepped all over my toes today!”

That’s the statement I grew up hearing immediately after the service and all the toes were making their way out the doors with either smiles on their faces, or some of the scariest and grumpiest looks I had ever seen.  Those words stuck with me as a child and as I became an adult, I remember thinking that each time I went to church, I was supposed to get my toes stepped all over!

Along the way, I would walk out of church feeling one of two ways. One, something was wrong and there was no hope for me because I didn’t feel anything in my toes, or two, I felt like one of the worst human beings that ever walked the planet and was completely discouraged. Truthfully, these two feelings did little to nothing for my relationship with Jesus or my walk of faith. No matter which way I left feeling, I knew this, it didn’t make me want to walk back in those doors.

Fast forward several years, I feel the freedom to say, “I don’t want my Pastor stepping all over my toes!”

For the longest time I felt like those words might have been secretly placed on the “bad” word list of things I wasn’t suppose to say as a christian. But the more I wrestled with how I felt each time I walked out of the church building doors week after week and pleaded with God to show me what was wrong with me, the more freedom I began to feel to truly express why that statement has become so important to me. God opened my eyes to three truths straight from His Word.

Here are three reasons why I don’t want my Pastor stepping all over my toes:

1. Change doesn’t happen in my toes, it happens in my heart.
Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
When my Pastor is teaching every thing the Holy Spirit has led him to speak on that Sunday, stepping on my toes with his words won’t create a clean heart, it will only create bruised toes that return to normal a lot quicker than my heart will when the Holy Spirit is squeezing it. I didn’t used to understand this difference because I was always waiting for my toes to hurt instead of paying attention to what was taking place in my heart. My Pastor spends a lot of time praying and seeking what God would have him to teach us, quite a bit of time studying, and I feel certain that the mission isn’t to bruise my toes, but to change my heart. So why is that the mission?

2. Everything I do doesn’t flow from my toes, it flows from my heart.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
God reminded me of this verse time and time again. Especially when I couldn’t understand why I was becoming so increasingly frustrated with church. My toes had little to do with how I lived out my life. This is the very reason I need a clean heart and renewed spirit, because everything I do will flow from it, not my painted but bruised toes. So why does it matter what flows from my heart?

3. What flows from my heart will find its way from my mouth.
Luke 6:45 says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
My words will reflect what is in my heart, not my toes. I don’t need what my Pastor preaches on Sunday to be so harsh that it steps on my toes, I need it to be so truthful that it squeezes out the evil, stores up God’s truths, and stirs up change. But, I need more than just to be told what I’m doing wrong, I need ways to apply God’s Word to my every day life so there’s room for change to happen.  If my mouth is going to be full of His praise the way His Word says in Psalm 71:8, then it’s more important for my heart to be changed then my toes to be stepped on. The words I speak can be the well that draws others in to Jesus Christ, and unfortunately they can also be the car that drives them away from Him. My words matter in more ways than I could ever imagine. My toes have nothing to do with my words, it’s all in the heart. 

I grew up hopeless, discouraged, and frustrated, yet somehow I knew this wasn’t how I was supposed to feel as a Christ follower. When I hit rock bottom at the age of thirty-one and encountered Jesus Christ in a way I never had before, He opened my eyes to a lot of things I was holding on to that wasn’t of Him. One of those things was I may not have felt anything in my toes, but that’s because He was pressing my heart. Now, I live a life full of hope, encouragement, and enthusiasm in Him all because He set me free from looking for pain in my toes and drew my attention to my heart.

Make no mistake, I want my Pastor to speak God’s truths straight from His Word and to bring my attention to my sinful nature and ways, but I also need him to show me Jesus through how He brings me His truths just like it says in John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus Christ is the Word that became flesh, and He is full of grace and truth. When grace and truth are lived out together in unity and balance just as they are supposed to be, we won’t leave feeling hopeless and discouraged, we will walk away knowing there’s hope for us through Jesus and because of that truth we will feel encouraged and our lives will begin to change and look more like His.

 

Love Letters: Even Now, Thank You…

usAll words seem to have left me in that moment. We felt sure we knew what we would hear that day and as we sat and waited, we laughed. We laughed at silly jokes, comments, and anything and everything that came our way enjoying the moments just before it all changed.

I have to admit I was surprised at what we were hearing. I knew in the beginning there was a risk, but we had all agreed we felt everything would be fine, and we trusted You. We knew You would take care of her, there was never a doubt in our minds or hearts to that fact. We’ve watched as You have many times before.

I’ll never forget her tears as we drove home that day, and I know that You were holding them in Your hands even as they fell. It was hard to see the road through the water that filled my eyes as she spilled her heart. My heart broke for her as she shared with me the deepest feelings in the pit of her soul. She’s my daughter and when she hurts, I hurt. I know You understand that more than anyone! As much as it hurts me, I know You felt it deeper than even I did. But You are Daddy, You know best.

As we sat on my bed the next night talking about possibilities, I know You caught her tears, and mine too. I wondered what Your plan was and what the outcome would be once we received final word, but I knew that no matter what, You were taking care of her, just as You promised You would. Listening to her talk, it made me such a proud Mom! She loves You so much and wants to follow Your heart with all of hers. Her awareness of You and what You have done for her is forever imprinted like a hand print in fresh cement. She hasn’t forgotten that You are Daddy and You love her.

Oh the hurt that filled my heart when I received the phone call the next day. How was I going to tell her Your answer? How could I break her heart for the third day in a row? Sitting there as the words came across my lips, I watched as her eyes turned to a glossy river flowing. As her mascara left a dark trail running down her face, I felt a dark trail making its way through my heart, and You wiped both of our tears. At times like these I wish it was as easy to make her hurt go away as it was when she was just a little girl and all I had to do was kiss the boo boo away. But I knew You are Daddy and You will heal our hearts.

I am reminded of that day in the Emergency Room bathroom floor where I fell to my knees just four years ago and I cried out to You asking You to save her, take care of her, and heal her. What I remember most about that moment was hearing You promise me You would. I spoke aloud what I knew to be true then and what I know to be true even now, she was Yours before she was ever mine. Oh love, I asked You for Your provision and protection as we stepped out, and that if there was any risk too great for You to give us that knowledge prior to follow through, and You faithfully answered. How could we possibly be anything but grateful and thankful for how You love her? You are Daddy, and You will go to great lengths to protect her.

I can’t help but think about how the answer came on the third day. On the third day You were resurrected to life again. Hope overflows in my heart knowing that what dreams and desires she feels is dead will be resurrected to life again through You! I know she feels that same hope, I seen it when she started smiling again. In the midst of the hurt, discouragement, and broken hearts, we have seen You at work all around us. You have already shown us glimpses of how You are receiving glory through all of this, and it has been like a kiss on the boo boo!

You’ve kept Your promise, and we knew we could trust You, no matter what. Your answer may not have been what we thought it would be, and as much as it hurt to hear, we trust You completely. You showed us long ago that our faith was never misplaced when we placed it in You. Many life lessons have taught us that even when the outcome isn’t what we want it to be, You are Sovereign, and it’s what You want it to be with reason and purpose.  We know who You are, and we know You do all that You do because You love us. So there’s nothing left for my heart to say even now but…

Thank You for Your everlasting love and for protecting us from what we can’t see up ahead! Thank You for wiping our tears and healing our hearts. Thank You for the promise of plans and purpose! Thank You for the smile You are putting back on her face and in her heart.

With a grateful and healing heart, I Love You, Lord!

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Love Letters: The Beginning of Our Song

A love song begins

Twenty seven years ago I entered into the most important relationship I would ever enter…

I remember so many people telling me Your name and where You came from. I heard all about Your family heritage, and the long road You traveled to meet me where I was standing. You seemed so unreal and like You could never be interested in me. But they still wanted to introduce us!

People spoke so highly of You. I heard numerous stories of the wonderful things You have accomplished. How could one person be all that I’m hearing? My mind and heart battled with the thought. Then the day came…

I remember it like no other, the day I finally met You. I could tell You were there because I recall feeling exactly what they told me I would. It started as a beautiful picture of love, You showed me what You had done for me. Our heart to heart told me You loved me. Me? How could this be? You asked me if I would trust and believe You, and I said yes! You lavished me in Your love.

The relationship was on fire for a while, at least until I felt like I kept messing up. I look back and see that I thought I couldn’t measure up. You deserved more in this relationship than I was giving. The ups and downs of life seemed to keep carrying me further and further away, yet You remained there waiting for me. Our relationship floated high and low tide for twenty years, and then the tide changed…

During the darkest times of my life when I felt incredibly alone, You showed me who and where You were. It was as if the fire that had been lit all those years ago was being flamed in the very pit of my soul. I was so overcome with regret, shame, guilt, and feelings of worthlessness that my eyes couldn’t see past the pain that my heart was feeling deep inside. I sat alone in my bedroom floor curled into a fetal position and cried uncontrollably.

Suddenly, a familiar feeling rushed through me as I encountered You like never before. Time froze as life entered me again. There I was face to floor having a soul to soul with the One who held me firmly as I rocked in agony. You told me You loved me, again, but this time it penetrated in places it didn’t before. You asked me if I would trust You with all of my life, and believe all the promises You have made me, and I said yes! My life was overwhelmed with Your Presence, and even as I write these words I feel a swarm of chills. To my astonishment, You really were interested in me, messy and flawed ol me!

What began as a beautiful picture of love at the age of 11 became a beautiful love affair at the age of 31, the day my love song began, the beginning of us! Some days I still can’t believe how amazing You truly are! You forgive me for every mess up and You always pick me back up. When I am feeling unloved, You encompass me with Your unfailing, never-ending love. When I’m having a bad day, You kiss me on the forehead with sweet tenderness. When I have a bad attitude, You straighten it out and set me back on course. When I cry, it’s You that wipes my tears. When I laugh, You rejoice with me. I never knew true love existed in such a pure form until I met You and experienced it for myself.

I never thought there would be a relationship that would stick through this life with me. I mean after all, I do know all of my flaws and imperfections so very well. The relationship wasn’t always first in my life and it wasn’t always where or how it should be. I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, I’ve made some poor decisions and choices, and I’ve messed up more times than my poor hands can count.

But You have been the One person in my life that has never turned away from me, even on my worse days. You see me for who I am and love me anyway. You help me become a better person! You chose me! Me! Sometimes I like to just sit and immerse myself in the truth of Your love. You have stolen my heart, but then again, how can You steal something that You created for You?! Thank You for loving me, even the me that can’t seem to get it together on most days! You have changed me from the inside out!

Love Always,

Your Daughter who has never known love until You

P.S. to my readers:
Twenty seven years ago, I accepted love, and twenty years later I fell deeply in love with the One who gave everything for me. The life altering truth is, He’s in love with You just the same. He gave everything for you too! If you’ve never met Him, let me introduce you to the love of my life, Jesus Christ. He’s like no other, and He will change your life! Life may not always be easier, but it sure is sweeter all because of Him.

“This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” ~1 John 4:10

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5 Ways Driving Can Be A Lot Like Life

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Driving to work on the interstate I began to notice things all around me. The more I thought about them, the more I realized how driving can be a lot like life, go with me here…

1. It doesn’t matter how you’re moving, there’s always going to be those who want to fly past you like you’re sitting still.

As I entered the highway at 70 mph and continued driving, I noticed all of these vehicles quickly approaching my rear bumper and giving their best shot to push me out of their way. When it didn’t work, they flew around me and cut me off, which brings me to my number 2!

2. There’s always going to be a struggle where one has to decide to take the position of standing firm in what they believe and letting things go.

These vehicles that didn’t seem to be happy at my speed of traveling, which may I add was slightly above the speed limit, would quickly bolt around me and cut me off. At this moment I had a choice to make, do I let rage take over and fly back at their bumper and do the same as they did to me, or stand firm in what I feel is right and safe for me and let them go. Luke 6:31 says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you”, and there are many other scriptures that tell us not to seek revenge, that love covers an offense, and to forgive one another. It’s not for us to take rage and fly back, it’s for us to stand firm in what we feel right is for us, and let things go in forgiveness.

(Ephesians 4:32, Proverbs 14:29, Proverbs 10:12)

3. We can either be a follower and go with the crowd, or we can be a leader and set the pace.

I can’t lie, it seemed as if I was being left far behind as multiple cars quickly passed me. I even thought to myself, is there something wrong with my car? Why am I so far behind and unable to keep up? Maybe there isn’t anything wrong with my car or me for that matter other than the fact that I like to set my pace within the boundaries that have been set for guidance and safety. Following the crowd can lead us to paths that aren’t right for us, (like a speeding ticket!), and take us into traps that the enemy has set. But being a leader and setting the pace, that can take us to our predetermined destination safely. God had our path set before we were ever born. He doesn’t want us to follow the crowd, He wants us to follow His Son, Jesus Christ, and be a leader that sets the pace for others to find Him.

(Psalm 139:16)

4.  Guard rails are there for a purpose, they are not restriction, but protection.

As I was driving and trying to ignore the fact that I felt like a turtle in a world full of cheetahs, I noticed guard rails to my right, and to my left. They serve a purpose and it’s up to us as to how we see them. We could look at them as restriction and a challenge, or we can see them as protection that keeps us safe from entering areas where we could get hurt. So often God’s commandments are seen as harsh restrictions, but they are really placed there with the utmost love. He knows what lies outside of those rails and He wants us to be safe, protected, and unharmed. His guard rails help us to become over comers instead of being overcome by life.

1 John 5:3-4 )

5. There are always going to be others further ahead of us. We can either drive ourselves crazy trying to keep up, or we can relax and know that we’ll get there when we’re suppose to.

I looked ahead and seen the number of cars that had left me behind, and I had a choice to make. I could either speed up and try to keep up with everyone else and put myself at risk for a speeding ticket, wasting my gas, or a collision, or I could stay at my current speed and place in traffic and get to where I’m going when I’m suppose to get there. I have learned I will always get to where God wants me to be in His perfect timing. Speeding and trying to keep up will only waste my energy, burn me out and put me at risk for not arriving at my destination in the desired state that God needs me in.

(Galatians 5:7, Jeremiah 29:11)

Okay, so I said five things, but here’s a bonus that God reminded me of rather quickly:

We’re all going to be in both positions at one point or another in our lives. By the afternoon ride home, I flew up on a bumper and went around on my merry way and saw them only in the view of my mirror. We’re all human and all of us fall short (Romans 3:23).

Who knew driving could be such a valuable life lesson! God loves to show us that He’s in our day-to-day lives! He is a very involved Father, and I am thankful for every teachable moment! Hopefully, after this lesson, I will be more mindful while I’m driving and in life.

Love Letters: Thank You From The Waiting Room

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I was only sixteen years old when you chose to have us meet. There he was standing with a broom in his hand and doing silly things to make me look and laugh. I couldn’t help but smile and let out an explosion of laughter at his every successful attempt. It truly took just one word he spoke to me to change my life forever, “Hello.”

Hello, and just like that you attached our heart and souls forever. You sprinkled our first date with memorable moments that would last us a lifetime, and would feed us joy and laughter with every recall. I love to hear him remember and even tell others how I spit my food out on his arm, yes those flying tomato seeds, as he made me laugh yet again. I was amazed that by the end of the night he still wanted to go steady with the girl who gave him a shower of tomato just hours earlier at the steakhouse dinner table.

I didn’t know that night would be the beginning of many curvy roads full of obstacles and traffic jams, but I did know that it was You who placed us together. Somehow because of that, I knew we would be okay, no matter what came at us. Everyone thought we were crazy and too young, but we knew we were destined to be on this journey hand in hand.

Today, as I look back over the last twenty-one years, I see Your hands all over us. Oh, how many times did we make the wrong decisions and choices, and how many moments did we come so close to losing it all. But You, being the faithful Father You are, You held us together. You weren’t about to let anything separate what you joined together. Never have I seen Your power so much at work in our lives before!

You blessed us beyond measure when You chose us to be the parents of this amazing and beautiful angel that has been a part of our lives for over fifteen years already. We couldn’t understand what You saw in us, but were so thankful for your mercy and grace. Our hearts were in pieces watching her experience such hard times at such an early age, but You mended them as ministry grew from her brokenness and her faith blossomed what seemed like way beyond ours on most days!

Today, as I sat in that waiting room, I felt You just like I had all the times before. I felt the peace You were giving me, I heard Your voice calming me, and I felt Your love surrounding me. I know my mind has went many places in the last several months, especially the last twenty-four hours, that I didn’t want it to go, and I just want to say thank You. Thank You for being faithful and reminding my heart how You have welded us together, for how You sustained us through some of life’s worse trials, and how You have always brought us safely through.

Although I felt out of my mind, You remain in control. More than ever I just want to say Thank You for bringing him into my life when You did. My life wasn’t going down the best path, and You used him to help change that. We have seen how much stronger we are together, not only with one another, but with You. Our lives may not be easy, and we may have had to travel down some damaged roads, but You have brought us through, and we know this time will be no different.

So today, Daddy, I come to You, You who have been faithful, merciful, loving, and forgiving, and I say I trust You. You’ve given me every reason to trust You, and no reason not to. Take care of Him please. I know the healing power that is in Your touch, touch Him. It hurts to watch Him hurt, it’s scary to not know what’s wrong, and sometimes scarier to think we might find out. I feel helpless to him in the midst of it. The waiting room is filled with many distractions and noise but it’s also filled with Your presence, the One who hears our voice in the midst of it all and has the voice we can choose to hear above all!

So tonight, I pour my heart out to You, everything I have, everything I am, and everything I could offer, and I am at Your feet asking You to do all that You do best, in His life, in our lives. I trust in You, You ARE our Healer! I know that in the coming days we’re going to see Your mighty hand at work in ways that will blow our minds and You’re going to do it all again! I really just want to say Thank You in advance for what You are already doing and how You are taking care of everything. Thank You for loving us, for forgiving us, and for seeing something in us especially when we can’t see it in ourselves. Thank You for being faithful! Thank You from the waiting room. 

I Love You!

Love,

Your Daughter who longs to sit in Your lap and lay at Your feet. <3 

P.S. Thank You for attaching our heart and souls together, with Yours. You’ve changed our lives!

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.” Psalm 62:5

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Reeses, Recess, and Rest…Will I ever get it right?

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I’ve always been one that has a hard time slowing down and being still…

There I was lying in the floor of my kindergarten classroom on my big blue mat trying my five-year old best to settle down and fall to the fate of my nap. It didn’t seem to matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t be still. I tossed and turned and with every squeak of my mat I knew my teacher was listening and watching, and waiting.

I gave it all I had that day but my little mind kept wandering, my eyes kept looking, and the rest of me couldn’t get still as if recess depended on it! Oh, and it did! I knew that if I didn’t get still and fall asleep I didn’t get to go out and play with the rest of my napping friends, and I wouldn’t get to dip my tiny hand in that great big candy jar that was filled with Reese’s Pieces!

So I kept turning over, and over, and over until it happened. I remember hearing the sound of Mrs. Brown’s shoes getting closer and with each step my heart would beat faster. Then the dream of recess and Reese’s fell to its death as the words came flowing from her mouth, “No recess for you today young lady!” My little heart was crushed as tears of sadness began flowing from my little weary eyes. Can’t you just hear my pitiful voice saying, “But I can’t help it, I can’t go to sleep.”

Sometimes I just can’t be still. There’s always a list that plays in my mind like the credits rolling at the end of a movie of all the things I need to do. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been told, “You better slow down” or “You need to stop going all the time”, and the most repeated words, “You need to take some time and rest!” Now, please don’t get me wrong, I love every single person in my life that has uttered these truthful words to my ears over the years. I know they say them because they care, but I still have to stop and wonder, why do I have such a hard time doing them?

I grew up watching my Mom and Dad work so hard to take care of us, provide all of our needs, and give us a good life. I also watched as my Daddy never could be still or slow down until life had a way of forcing him to. Five heart attacks and a few surgeries later, I heard my Daddy say the words that I think I needed to hear as much as he needed to say them. As he sat on my couch and we talked he said to me, “I just don’t stress out like I used to. I’ve realized it just isn’t worth it.” My Daddy doesn’t know this but at that moment, my heart slowed down and my mind was frozen in its never-ending tracks.

The beauty of it is, I have now heard the three most important men in my life say those words to me, maybe in different ways, but the meaning all the same. My Heavenly Father, my Husband, and my Daddy all have spoken to me on the need for me to slow down, be still, rest, and stop stressing. As I sit here and type these words, I sit in front of my living room window looking at the most beautiful painting I have ever seen, it’s God’s message to me in the most gorgeous shade of white, “Be Still, Slow Down, Rest, and Stop Stressing.”

I may not have been allowed to dig my hand into that candy jar that day or rush out on to the playground and be the first to get on that big wheel bike, but I have learned a lot since that day…

1. Sometimes being last out on the playground might mean you’re the first to learn a lesson from it years later in life. (Love the parable of first and last in Matthew 20)

2. When you have an addiction to a candy in your adult life that you can’t quite understand, it may come from not being allowed to have any in Kindergarten. (Okay, this one might be a stretch but hey, I have often wondered!)

3. When God sends a message to us repeatedly it’s because He cares about us, love us, wants the best for us, and He doesn’t want us to miss it! (And maybe because we have the tendency to be a little on the stubborn side so He has to reinforce it just a little more than usual!)

I’m grateful we have a teacher who is listening, watching, and waiting on us to surrender to what He knows is best for us. With the sound of Him drawing closer, we don’t have to be afraid, we can be thankful to know that this is when the dreams He has for us comes to life as He whispers from His heart, “Be still.” It’s often when we get still and be with Him that He is most glorified in our lives!

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“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10