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Showing posts from 2017

Battlefield of Another Kind

Air stale. Putrid.Thick.
Gunpowder. Rotting flesh.
Graveyard of unburied bodies. Flies.
Explosions, gunfire fly like cars on the Autobahn in heavy traffic. Body no longer reacts to the sounds.
Weapon hugged to chest.
Eyes meet. Recognize.
Dirt and soot and sweat cling to skin like mask.
Those eyes . . . a respite from the battle. For a split second, we are not on the battlefield, not in war...home. And I know, the ugliness won't consume me.
We didn't know each other before our world became life and death. Miles apart. Contrasting sides of "the tracks". Interests, viewpoints, life goals separated us like roaches when you turn on the light.
But here.
In the trenches. Through the battle.
Brothers. More than blood. Soul-mates.
Reason to keep walking.
Sustainer through bitter cold and deep weariness when feet refuse to carry on.
Doctor wounds, tell stories, live our faith that someday this will be over. Carry each other through gun fire, darkness and despair.

Parenting: Ambassador to My Son's Heart

Eyes filled to brim.
Body shaken and tense.
Confusion, disappointment contort the face of child at jagged edge of manhood.
He didn't get in.
Questions, tears escape together.
"Why is he luckier than me?"
Spiritual warfare wages. This boy formed in my womb, knows of God. But doesn't know the Father who can only be known through time and trial and...seeking.
Teeth clenched, heart aching. Determined. Satan will not win. Not this battle. Not. this. boy.
"Satan, get away!"
Words come. God's ambassador to this boys heart. I tell him about the Father I know.
Higher ways. Wiser thoughts.
Good. My good. The good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Faith. Without knowing. Without seeing. Abiding.
And . . .
It's okay to be angry. But tell Him. It's okay for the words to be raw. He'll hear your heart.
Tell Him. Ask Him. Trust Him. Thank Him.
Lies seem true. But they are lies construed to deceive. To trap. To kill.
Seek God. W…

What Freedom Feels Like

The patchwork quilt lays quietly in ripples across the sea of grass growing wildly and abundantly into the sky.The breeze swirls and dances through the peach fuzz on my arms.Sunshine seeps into my soul and feels like being baptized in God's love.I breathe in the honeysuckle sweetness and breath out the toxicity poisoning my spirit. The heaviness that bearing the weights of my world impales into my heart.This world is beautiful. But broken.I am broken. By my own sin. By others' sin.In my brokenness, I pick up the pieces and clumsily tape them back together. Like trying to mend the pieces of remaining flesh after a lion has feasted on his prey.Believing that it must be done before it can be a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Before the spiritual act of worship.But duct tape and clumsy hands cannot repair. The heart is too complex, too essential, too. . .Broken. Shattered. Incinerated. Obliterated.Pieces too small for human eyes and hands to maneuver.It is God's wo…

How to Distinguish Truth From Lies

I cower like a whipped puppy. When accusations are hurled at me or someone disagrees with me. I cower. But I am learning that just because someone else sees me and things a certain way, doesn't mean they are that way. So I am learning to sift for truth. Here's what I am learning... 1. Pray. Tell God explicitly that I am confused. Ask Him to reveal the Truth to me. Even if that means convicting me of sin. I ask Him to reveal any area of denial that I am in and any lies that I am believing. 2. Seek wise counsel. 3. Check my heart, admit and repent of any pride or defensiveness or other sin. And make sure that I am open to being wrong. 4. Trust God to give me the answers I need and to direct my steps. Because He will. Jesus said that if I continue in His word, then I will be His disciple and I will know the truth and the truth will set me free. 5. Seek God with all my heart. Worship Him. In song and in life. And in His word. 6. Give it time. It doesn't always happen ov…

A Reason to Give Up

I could live in the shame of my past. I could accept the judgments of others.
I could. Because I have committed heinous acts. Against God and other people. Very public things that most people who have known me for a few years know about. And others who haven't that I openly confess to.
But I don't live in shame. Because that isn't what God has for me. Or you. I won't live in character defects. I don't have to.
I do not delight in them. I rejoice because Jesus plucked me out of the clutches of Satan.
But because I remember where He's brought me from, I love Him even more. I am deeply and profoundly grateful. I am keenly aware of what God has done for me.
So while people may turn their backs on me, I will not cower. I will boldly declare God's goodness and allow the Spirit to mold me to be different in the future.
My God is amazing. He has done marvelous things for me. It's difficult to draw a deep breath when I try to meditate on it all. Everytime…

What the Cross Means to Me

I would probably be dead.No exaggeration. No dramatics. Without the cross of Jesus Christ I would probably be dead.I would have given in to the darkness. "The anger of the enemy would have swallowed""alive".The lies of Satan would have consumed me like a python consuming a baby piglet.I believed I wasn't good enough. I believed that there was something inherently wrong with me. I believed that I was a garbage person with a Judas heart. That for whatever reason, I was born evil.I lied, cheated and stole. I gossiped, and wore pride like a Bubble Boy wears his bubble. I sought attention through negative behaviors.And I self harmed. All while going to church 3 times a week and checking off the to-do list. I was "raised in the church".But then Jesus plucked me out of the clutches of Satan. I haven't had suicidal thoughts in years. I'm open and honest about who I am. Regardless of what anyone says to me or about me or thinks of me, I know wh…

The Story of Our House

Neither of us had a job when we got married. And yet, nearly two weeks ago, Michael carried (er...hoisted seems like a better word) me over the threshold of the home God has given us.

For the first few years of our marriage, jobs came and went. And we had baby after baby. We depended heavily on our parents for financial support.

When we finally had some consistency in the job department, we still didn't live within our means. At one point we took out payday loan after payday loan, getting further and further behind.

We would not pay our bills for months and get our electricity cut off.

All of our cars were given to us or bought for us. We went through several cars in the first ten years of our marriage.

To be honest, I can't believe we ever even TRIED to live on what we lived on. But we were not responsible with what we did have.

When I gave my life truly and fully over to Christ, things started to get better. We gradually began paying our bills consistently. We stopped asking…

What She Said

In love she said "you know I don't agree with the way you are leading your kids astray, take care, Hannah, take care".
I called her to tell her that we bought a house. A nice one. Much nicer and bigger than we ever dreamed we would have. God has been good. Much kinder and more gracious than I deserve or even knew to hope for.
But she stopped short of rejoicing, because she believes I have left "the faith" and when my soul is at stake...what's a new house?! 
I wasn't angry. I was sad. And grateful. And full of love. I appreciate her caring for me enough to talk to me about it. Instead of just halting all interactions without explanation.
I know it was motivated by love. I know it hurt her to say. Because I know she loves me.
I took her seriously. I considered her words.
I searched my soul.
I do not believe I am infallible, that I have access to something that other people don't. At some point in the future, we may realize that we …

Pardon Me While I Have a Little Moment

I want to write.

I want people to read what I write.

I want my writing to make a difference.

I've been doing this for 10 years. 8 at this blogger address.

I have almost no followers through blogger. I have had 124 likes and follows on my Facebook page for...I don't even know how long. And most of those people don't actually read what I write.

I have to share my writing on Facebook to get anyone to read it.

People don't like my writing enough to go out of their way to make sure they can.

This isn't self pity. It's reality.

I want to write. I want to be a writer. I would love to make a living as a writer and quit my day job.

But I've been doing this a long time and it just isn't working.

I'm not blogging to make money. I know that blogging won't ever be my day job. I blog for practice. I blog for training. I blog because in order to write books, I need a platform. I need to be able to sell my work to a publisher and having a platform is a big dea…

The Parenting Advice that I Have Never Read in a Parenting Book

I have a lot of regrets as a mom. There's not a single moment as a mom that I can point to and say "this is the ONE moment I would do differently". Because there are a million moments I would take back and do differently. If I HAD to pinpoint something, I would say that I wish I had stepped out of denial sooner. Which translates to...I wish I had known Jesus sooner. Because Jesus is the one thing that has changed everything. The thing is, I read tons of parenting books. I wanted to be a good mom. I wanted to nurture and be a safe haven for my kids...but I wasn't. And no amount of "how to be a good parent" books made a difference -- except to increase my self loathing, condemnation and hopelessness.The biggest change for me began the day I truly surrendered to God. Don't get me wrong, I didn't become June Cleaver overnight. But a healing process began. My eyes were opened to the pain and anger I had been denying. And as I allowed God to peel back the…

The Catch

Sometimes  I feel like a fraud. Sometimes when I want to express my love to God, the words catch in my throat because my actions aren't always aligned with those words. Peter comes to mind in those moments.He was quick to declare his love, faith and loyalty. But his actions were not always as bold or in agreement in their declarations. And sometimes, he completely missed the point. And yet, even when he denied knowing Jesus, Jesus never denied knowing him. And when He missed the point or got it wrong, Jesus didn't tell him to go away. Or render him useless and relegate him to being a silent observer. He invited him out onto the water. He ate dinner with him. Included him in private, intimate moments. Appeared to him and taught him after the resurrection and then filled him with His Spirit and used him to implement and teach and govern His Kingdom on Earth.My deficiencies do not render me useless to God. They render me humble and reliant on Him. They embody opportunities for Go…

What God Did

I stood my ground in my bare feet.

After 14 and 1/2 years of marriage, we stood in the kitchen. Contemplating. Surrendering.

Neither of us had ever really let the word divorce settle to the ground. Always afraid that the ground would explode if we did. We both regretted. We both wished from time to time. But it was never REALLY a road we were willing to take.

I had manipulated him into marrying me. Because I was dead inside. Because I opened my soul and allowed Satan to plant his claws there.

I didn't know that knowing I hadn't been chosen would leave an emptiness in my spirit. I was selfish and impulsive and manipulative and I groped the control of my life out of God's hands and I coerced events to get what I wanted.

But I didn't get what I wanted. And to this very day, if I could take it all back. I would.

And so, even though I admitted my lies and manipulations years ago, as he struggled with fidelity, I took each revelation and indiscretion as lashes that I deserv…

Things I Learned (or relearned) in 2016: Part One, Probably

1. My kids success isn't always in God's plan.

I prayed that my child would win. Not for bragging rights or for the parental status it would bring. For my child.

So, I watched my child run like the wind...way behind all the other kids. And my heart sank. Why couldn't God allow my child to be good at this one thing? Why couldn't He allow my child to be successful this one time?

I blinked back hot tears as my heart hurt for my child who was obviously working as hard as they could...and still losing by a large margin. And I asked God why.

It took a few minutes for the answer to come, but I realized that my child is not the only child on the field and I am not the only parent praying for their child to win. Obviously they can't all win.

So I changed my prayers. Instead of praying for my child to win, I prayed that God would do whatever He thought best and to help my child not find their worth in their loses or wins but in the Father who loves them regardless of how the…

This is Hard to Say...But it Needs to be Said

I cannot express to you how much I do NOT want to say what I am going to tell you.

A while back I went through spiritual formation counseling.

The process began by personality tests and spiritual gifts assessments and then, and over a period of weeks and months, I was given spiritual disciplines assignments to complete and then I would report back periodically how each task had gone. It was all in an effort to find how I personally connect with God.

Bible reading, meditation and journaling were all very productive for me. Surprisingly though, silence and listening and community are all major players as well. Who would have thought?!

But, there's a major way that I connect with God that I had kind of missed.

I've written before about how I get great ideas when I'm washing dishes. But, at the time I was acknowledging this, my idea of connecting with God was much more narrow than it is now and so I didn't recognize it as connecting with God.

For the past little while I ha…