• mom-with-kids-cartoon1

    Dear Young Pastor’s Wife

    I’ve been in ministry now for 18 years.  Looking back I have realized the most difficult times were navigating through the early years. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had way more serious things to walk through but it seems like the young child rearing seasons were the loneliest.

    I have the pleasure of talking with many moms/Pastor’s wives every week. Some have husbands in full time ministry and others serve in the local church. I wanted to put down some thoughts that may help you. I had to learn many lessons the hard way but am thankful I can pass it along to you.

    Sometimes there is not a cut and dry answer because all situations are different. Maybe you were married, God transformed you and your spouses life and He later felt called to ministry. This is not the life you thought you would have. Or maybe, you felt God calling you to serve in ministry and married someone with the same desires, which was my case. Either way you are in ministry now. The two became one flesh and here you are.

    I remember my first disappointment in ministry. I sat in my little apartment after slaving over a homemade dinner. The table was set, the food was ready but my husband didn’t come home when the office closed. I waited and waited. It was before I could ring his cell until he answered. The longer I waited the angrier I became. I was devastated. I pictured him coming home, smiling from ear to ear because his wonderful, new bride had been so thoughtful to cook his favorite meal. Instead, he came home to a furious woman and cold food. He explained to me that some of the youth wanted to play basketball and it was up to him, the youth pastor, to invest in relationships. And so it began…

    The torture of finding the balance between family and ministry. We were young and inexperienced with life in general. I really wanted the husband that swooned over me in college and he wanted to succeed and do a job well. His motives were pure. We see-sawed on success and failure. In the end I found that I didn’t need to try to change him but I needed to get a new perspective. He would have his own journey with balance.

    Here are some things that help me love the ministry and love being married to a minister.

    1. Get involved- I found that too much time at home isn’t good. I was just as much called to ministry as my husband. Accomplish something outside the home. You can’t live in the shadows of your husband. God has big plans for you too. Disciple someone, find an area of service. Be around and available. Just stopping by the office to see what was going on helped my day. Connecting with other moms was so rewarding. Starring at the clock all day is the worst thing you can do. Any mom who sits in her PJs all day waiting for daddy to get home will probably end up being a nut case and angry wife. This will not enhance your marriage:)
    2. Realize your marital issues are yours- Don’t blame the church and the ministry on your problems. Everyone has issues in marriage that must be worked out. It’s personal. You personally have to find balance and have to learn how to treat one another. The Bible says the church is the Bride of Christ. It is His jewel. Learn to work with it, not against it. Know the priority of your marriage but also the priority of the great calling on your life. It’s a big deal and a heavy weight to carry. I see too many wives bitter and angry at the church as if it has stolen her marriage. It is the responsibility of the husband and wife to work it out. Whether you need to go to the employer and say “too much”, I’m neglecting my family or you work out a great system of nonnegotiable days. An example: Mondays are our off day. We do our best to make it about each other and have fun. That doesn’t always work out but we do not work on ministry. We focus on our life outside the church. Even if it is working on home projects. Realize your husband may feel he’s never enough. He probably feels like he is always neglecting something (you, the kids, the church, the finances). Pray for him, ask God to show him balance. He has a lot of pressure.
    3. Stinking Thinking- The enemy wants nothing more than to get in your head and feed you negative thoughts about the ministry. He wants to keep you from the purpose God has called you to. You must tell yourself, “I am called and chosen by God to minister to people. I am highly favored and honored to have such a high calling.” You can’t ignore that it is sacrificial at times. You have to lay your agenda down ALOT. BUT…… the reward is so much more than any sacrifice. You will be able to look back at your life and say, “I lived with a purpose. I didn’t spend my life focused on me but on a bigger picture.” Don’t get me wrong. You have to take some time for yourself. I’m just saying, Know the honor in the calling. He chose YOU!
    4. Celebrate what you DO have- This was a biggie for me. I spent many, many date nights fighting about the nights I didn’t have with my husband. Instead of taking advantage of the fun date we were on I could only think about not seeing him for the next 2 nights. It was a vicious cycle. Enjoy the moments you have and work the others out later. Make the most of every opportunity.
    5. Negotiate Holidays and Celebrations- As you know, every Mother’s Day is on a Sunday, Easter is Resurrection Sunday, Christmas is the birth of our Savior! Skipping church would be silly. This means lots of family arranging. When my kids were small I would video them getting their Easter Baskets. Daddy had to be at church very early and I didn’t want to wake the kids up at 5:30am. That bothered me at times but I knew there was no solution either way. Some years dad got to see and some he didn’t. The point is, Easter is not about the Easter Bunny but is about Jesus being raised from the dead. People come to church on Easter when they won’t come any other day of the year. It’s probably the most opportune time to see someone give their life to Christ. With that perspective the Easter Baskets are cute but not the focus. This year, we will celebrate Christmas after Christmas with extended family. We are making the most of it. I usually celebrate Mother’s Day before or after. You can make it work or you can sit and cry on the special day. I’ve done both. The first option brings way more peace than the second. Sometimes we put focus on the wrong thing. We should teach our children what holidays are really about. It’s great to have fun traditions but don’t spend more time freaking out over the perfect Easter outfit when you don’t talk about the true purpose of the holiday.
    6. Acknowledge Flexibility- I hear some wives talk about a break, more time off, dads not home enough. Sometimes this is very true and he needs to adjust. Other times I think we forget that our husbands have lots of flexibility. My husband has always worked hard and worked a lot but he does not miss games, practices, taking kids to school, picking them up sometimes. My husband doesn’t have to drive downtown at 7am and get home at 6pm. He does have daily office hours and many nights of ministry but he also has flexibility. It’s a give and take. What are you going to focus on? Yes, Saturday and Sunday is taken but Friday night and Monday is free! As pastor’s wives we must celebrate what we have and not think on what we give up. Comparison is never good but comparing this job to others, I’ll take this one.

    I write all this to say moms, it gets better. It gets easier. I know where you are. I sympathize with that feeling of loneliness. These are a few things I’ve learned over the year to combat the feelings. Don’t waste these years saying “if only”. See the beauty of it. Make it work. See your family as honored to have the beautiful life they have been called to. Being positive spills over into your kids. They end up feeling honored too!

    with love,

    Ashley

  • The Power of the Quiet Moments

    As I search for a song to inspire and remind me of my Good Good Father in the quiet moments of the morning, I find myself turning the music down. It’s so loud in the dark, quiet room. When my kids came down for breakfast I wanted to play it for them. I had to turn the volume up as loud as it would go. What was too loud in the quiet room now wasn’t loud enough. It was a perfect visual of what happens in the quiet, alone moments of life. As we sit down in solitude, our spirits and minds are quiet and we hear the still, small voice so clearly with no noise or interruptions.
    The opposite is also true. When we clog our life with business and loud activity we can’t hear clearly. We strain to listen. We want answers and feel God is far. He’s not, he’s near drawing you near to Him. It’s up to us to stop, make time and listen in the quiet moments. He speaks. The enemy wants us to keep clutter and noise around us so that we feel our loving Father is not near. Don’t believe it! He loves you and hears you. He wants to speak to you. Put yourself in a position to hear clearly. It’s a good indicator to know if your surroundings are truly quiet when you must lower the volume. He doesn’t always speak to us in the big earthquake moments of life but mostly in the quiet, personal moments. Get alone. Put your phone down. Turn the TV off. Close your computer. Sit, listen and be still. His ways are perfect.

  • Marriage is a Fight

    If you gather a room full of married people you will soon find out that marriage is not easy. Not ONE person will say it is. Why is it so tough to keep a marriage healthy? “The two shall become one flesh” Ephesians 5:31. It’s called a mystery. You have two individuals with different needs, opinions, thoughts, pasts and influences. It’s not a beautiful merge then you float through life on a cloud of love. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “ All you need is love”. Love is a powerful thing but it’s not a fluffy emotion. It’s a laying down of ones needs and elevating others. That doesn’t sound like love but torture to some of us. Read 1 Corinthians 13. It’s about denying your selfishness. It’s about doing the unnatural thing. Selfishness is natural. Love is not.

    The commitment of marriage is a big deal. For some of you, you had no idea what you were getting into and others, quite frankly just thought it would be different. Discontentment will probably come. Crisis will probably happen. What do you do and how do you handle it when it does come? STAY! STAY! STAY! Don’t give up! FIGHT! FIGHT! You will probably have more moments fighting for your marriage than basking in the goodness of it. It is when you fight for it that you will enjoy the spoils of it. There is nothing like a whole marriage. A marriage that is unified is an example of Christ and the church. This is why it is so attractive to those watching. The fulfillment of a healthy marriage is a treasure. Nobody said perfect, only healthy. Do you fight for your marriage? If the answer is no, you are probably on the road to “done”. It’s worth fighting for and not giving up in the tough season. You may ask yourself if it is even worth your effort. The answer is YES. You will be glad you did. I’m a product of a fight. My parents fought, I fought and I will teach my kids to fight. Not verbally scream at each other but dig your heels in the ground and stand. Fight for the commitment you made. Don’t let the seasons dictate your future. Let God’s word dictate your future.

    Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

    STAND! After you’ve done that keep STANDING! Don’t give up. You will be glad you fought. I believe in you! YOU CAN DO THIS!

    with love,

    Ashley

  • Thanksgiving

    Happy November! As we enter this season of Thanksgiving I am personally overwhelmed with gratitude. While living a life in ministry, I have experience the joys of abundance with people and the heartbreak of need. As this subject in spoken about, the first thing that probably comes to mind is money. Needs consist of much more than money. This can be the area that stands out most because it has such an outward effect. It is an area of need that stays on your mind because it presents itself all day, every day. Think for a moment about other things that a person’s life may lack. What about love from a spouse? What about a need for direction in parenting your child? Maybe your need is for true friendship.

    I can look at this subject and understand it deeper now that I have experienced need in so many areas. Did God stop taking care of me in these seasons? Was I doing something wrong and being punished? Absolutely not! People ask these questions when needs arise.

    Need is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, it was through my need that I grew closer in my relationship to the Lord. Paul says it best in Philippians 4:11-13.

    “11Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

    The prosperity gospel that says, “If you believe, you will be without need” doesn’t hold up. Paul clearly states that he learned to live with everything and nothing. Does God want you to be rich? Maybe? Does He want you to have needs? I think so. It is when we feel we don’t have needs that we become self sufficient. Self-sufficiency is the enemy. When a person stops looking to the Creator and starts looking at themselves it becomes dangerous. Our dependency on Christ is everything.

    I would not trade my time of desperate need for anything. During the season God taught me to lean on Him and trust Him when nothing made sense. Something in me was broken and rebuilt. A person’s perspective changes after walking through seasons of need. I remember a time when pulling up to a gas station would put a knot in my stomach. I would have to balance a checkbook to make sure I had enough to put $20 in. Although life seemed excruciating at the time it was a learning tool for me. Today as I pull in to fill my gas tank to FULL without anxiety, I say a prayer of Thanksgiving. A prayer of thankfulness for God providing for my needs and for lessons and perspectives I learned in my time of need.

    The key is to take your eyes off of your need and fix them on the provider. Jesus came to bring life and life abundantly. Abundant life is not a life of no needs but a life fulfilled. How can we truly appreciate what we have if we have never been without? This principle is true in all areas. Maybe you need friends today, maybe money or maybe you need peace in your home. The question is, How do we learn in these seasons of need? What actions do we take when life becomes overwhelming and true needs arise?

    Phil 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

    The peace of God will guard you when you can’t see a solution to your season of need. I am living this principle now. I couldn’t imagine how things in my life could turn around. Pray and watch the God of peace transform your situation. It can happen and it will happen if you allow God to do it. Be grateful and thankful in whatever season you are walking in today. I pray that you will be filled with peace today:)

    with love,

    Ashley

  • Duck Image

    Lessons From Mama Duck

    After just moving to another state, God blessed us with a home on a large neighborhood pond. Every morning and evening I have the privilege of sitting on my back porch, watching the ducks and geese. I have two little families of ducks. Mama duck is followed by 6 babies waddling behind. As I observe these sweet ducklings, I’m being taught lessons on parenting.

    Everywhere mama duck goes, baby ducks follow. How many moms are reading this totally understanding where I am going. As you try to drink your coffee or pay a bill, have a conversation or even go to the bathroom, little ducklings are following you around “Mom, Mama, Mom…Maaaamaaaa!” Our kids tend to yell for us with no regard of what we may be doing. If they need us, they need us. The thought doesn’t naturally cross their minds that we may be in the middle of something. They are always close and needy. The same is true with the ducks. She doesn’t take one step without them behind. I’ve never seen Mama duck shewing her babies away asking for a moment to just be alone. She knows this time is valuable. She knows this time is molding them for the rest of their lives.

    It’s amazing to see how closely the ducklings replicate everything mom is doing. If she jumps in the water, they are right behind. If she splashes around bathing herself, they do exactly the same. They watch her every move and replicate it exactly. I’ve never seen her do anything that the babies didn’t copy. The way she eats, the way she runs, the way she sticks her head under water while her tail feathers stick into the air. As cute as it is to watch, it was also convicting.

    Motherhood is one of the most weighty responsibilities a person can face. Motherhood, it’s no joke. It’s tough, it’s sacrificial and it can be so much pressure. We as moms should be very aware that our children are watching and replicating our behavior and everything we do. We are their God given example. As I talked with a friend I reminded her of how our children take on our attitude and reaction without even realizing it. If you receive bad news, how do you react? Do you cry out, “What are we going to do? Why? We can’t get ahead if we try!”. Or do they hear, “This is not great news but we know God has never let us down and won’t this time either”.  Our children are carbon copies of us. It is up to us to show them a life of faith and trust, not a life of worry and anxiety. When I heard, “Hey mom, they have really low gas prices”, I knew they had been listening and observing me. What 11 year old notices the price of gas?!! I had never discussed the issue with them but they observed from the backseat. You don’t have to have a speech with your kids for them to learn something. They are watching,  listening and learning as you live in front of them. If you are a Christ follower, allow them to see faith and trust in action. Don’t use statements like, “I don’t know what we are going to do”. Let them see you trust and obey. Allow them to see God taking your situation and making good things happen. Always give God the credit when He takes care of you. Don’t explain it away. Build your little ducklings. Do what Mama says, not what mama does doesn’t work. We learn by observation. As you walk through the next season, whatever that may be, visualize the little ducklings waddling behind copying your every move. It may encourage you to walk a little differently.

     

    1 Corinthians 11:1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

     

    with love,

    Ashley

  • Wait…He’s Got You

    What a year!!!!! Learning the ways of God is so exciting, frustrating, stretching, building but most of all molding. Molding of my faith, my character, my thinking, MY LIFE. Last year I was in a place of questioning God’s timing of revealing something difficult. This year I’m waiting on Him to reveal something grand and exciting. No matter what you are waiting for, I’m sure you are waiting.

    In the midst of our waiting it is human to feel different emotions. Maybe you feel abandoned, neglected or just not heard by God. I had the opportunity to help someone in this time of waiting by sharing the timing of God in my life. In every moment a huge decision had to be made, I’ve had to wait. Every time I try to figure things out on my own and force answers. Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God”. Why can’t we sit back and let Him work things out? Oh yeah, we are scared He may not come through this time. Let me remind you, HE NEVER FAILS. He is working it out right now.

    We over come this fear by the word of our testimony (Rev 12:11). In 1996 I was at a cross roads. I felt a tug at my heart knowing the Lord wanted to do something special in my life and future. I had fear of making a wrong decision so I continued to pray about it, seek counsel and confuse myself. What I knew in my heart was clear but the steps that I should take were not. I knew God was calling me to ministry but I couldn’t imagine how I would get there. As I stood at the alter crying out for wisdom once again, the guest speaker came to me and said, “You are called to ministry.” I opened my eyes, looked around and realized she was talking to me. She gave me clear instruction and I knew it was from Heaven. She said, “stop looking to your right and to your left and fix your eyes on Jesus, then you will know the way.” I still tear up every time I think of the word He gave ME! I felt so honored that He would take the time to speak specifically to me. The story didn’t end there. It would happen time and time again through my life. Every time my faith is built and every time I am reminded of how God works things out for my good. I always have the thought, “well, what if I mess it up or miss it?”. We are not God’s show dogs that jump through hoops to get a treat. We are His heirs, His sons and daughters, His beloved. If you can identify yourself as God identifies you, you can trust and lay back in His will and know He has your steps ordered and is working all things together on your behalf. God’s character is a loving father that wants good for His children. He is not playing hide and seek, He is only working out the details for the perfect time to reveal the plan. He’s got you. He loves you and is well aware that you are waiting. Let’s not get weary in doing good as we wait. Let’s celebrate the season we are in because we know it is only preparation for the next. Do not fear! Trust Him today!

    with love,

    AShley

  • The Least

    I recently had the opportunity to serve at a homeless shelter. I had always given to shelters and shared a concern for them but had never actually gone in and sat with or served the people. It was an eye opening experience in many ways, from the ones being served to the ones serving. The people, mostly men, came from all different backgrounds. Some had been in prison, lost jobs and never got on their feet,  drug addicts… and the list goes on.  I was invited to share a pre-dinner devotion. I was very intimidated to share with just about all grown men starring at me. I felt, “Can they really relate to me? Do they need to hear what I have to say?”.  Please picture me 5’1, starring up at everyone, dressed for the day, hair fixed, makeup on, jewelry in place, Ha! The answer was YES. They needed to hear what I had to say because it was the message Jesus had given me to comfort. They needed comfort too. The same Jesus comforts us all no matter what social class we belong to. God’s Word breaks through all barriers.

    Luke 14:12 Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

    God will reward you for inviting those who COULD NOT REPAY YOU. Jesus’s ways seemed so backwards to people. Still today people want to know “What’s in it for me?”  Who invites the poor, crippled, lame and blind to a banquet? He turned our thinking upside down. It’s not up to us to try and figure out why the homeless and destitute are in the condition they are in. God will give you discernment. Believe me, I know there are people who make it their job to call the list of churches until someone pays their power bill or crooks who give a good sob story while stealing your purse (that actually happened to me) but there are those who genuinely have no hope to live. We have no idea what their lives have been like. Our calling is to reach the hurting with love. I hope you are not too clean to get your hands dirty. Jesus forgave prostitutes and healed leprosy. He loved the outcast. Try giving to someone without something in return. You will be blessed.

    with love,

    Ashley

  • a true love story

    A True Love Story

    I am filled with joy and gratitude to be able to write this post. Today marks new beginnings, a bright future and a new life. I can safely say that 2012 was the toughest year of my life.  Thankfully that is no longer my story. I’ve been given a hope and a vision like never before. I have never wanted our family’s lives to matter as much as I do now. I will forever share the message of Love Wins. Love is a powerful thing.

    I Cor 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

    I’d like to share a love story with you…

    It was 1997 when a young girl who had been saved a couple of years felt a tug on her heart to pursue ministry. She knew she was called but had no idea what to do next. She had never had a minister in her family or knew anyone who had gone to a ministry school. After a guest speaker prayed over her the calling was confirmed. The Lord spoke to her and said stop looking to the right and left and focus on me. I will make your path straight. After sharing the “news”, excitement was not the reaction she received. It was quite the opposite. People were concerned about her future and how she would get a job and support herself. The only ministry college she knew of was the one her pastor had gone to and it was 13 hours away. There was no way she could be away from everyone. She loved being with her family and was pretty dependent on them. After much deliberation, they gave in and allowed it. Knowing 2 people at the school, the bags were packed and the 13 hour trek began. She had no idea that this would be the foundation of her future. As she wiped the tears watching mom and dad drive away she was immediately surrounded by girls that took her in and showed her the ropes. She didn’t have time to be homesick. It would end up being some of the best memories of her life. God knew what he was doing.

    As God spoke to her, He was also speaking to the heart of a young man with a bright future ahead. He was living the American Dream playing baseball for his college. He was having the greatest year of his career and began being looked at by scouts. This was a dream come true. Finally, all of the hard work would pay off. He and his family would be set for life. There was one problem. He felt a tug on his heart that wouldn’t go away. As he sat in his room while all of his buddies partied, he grew closer and closer to the Lord, hungering for His word and to know his voice. He knew this was a calling from heaven. How could he tell his family and crush their dreams? How could he tell his coach? The pull and heaviness wouldn’t leave him and he knew what he must do to be obedient. He broke the news to parents and coaches. The reaction was also concern that he was “throwing his future away”. Ministry could wait. What better platform than a MLB player, right? He knew what was right and followed that path.

    In 1997 the two would meet in college. They almost immediately knew that their hearts were drawn to the same things and they couldn’t imagine their life without each other. God set up a divine appointment. One thing after another opened up for them. A romance had begun that led to a covenant. They immediately began their life of ministry together and had the privilege of touching many lives and having their lives touched by many. The enemy hated to see a commitment. Even more than that he hates those in the commitment making a difference for the kingdom of God. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Christ comes to give life more abundantly. In 2012 this couple hit a major road block. It would end up being an opportunity to throw in the towel and call it quits. Too much had been done and the hurt was too deep. They didn’t even remember their 14th anniversary. The enemy was close to having a victory. She was crushed and he was dead inside. He forgot a very important detail… they still loved down deep. Their love for each other and God carried them through and made them stronger.

    Today that girl and guy will share their 15th Wedding Anniversary. What God puts together, let no person separate. This bond and covenant was put together by God and will continue to reach the lost and hopeless with a story of grace and redemption. It is For Love, For Life. May this love story of my life touch yours. God’s path is not for the timid or faint at heart but for those who want to live a life worth living. Excited to see what God will do with the years ahead. I can’t wait!

    Happy Anniversary, Timmy. You are a gift from God.

    1Cor13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    Love Wins, The End.

    with love,

    Ashley

  • The Wound

    As I walked out of the garage door, boxes stacked three high in my arms, my foot hit the driveway half on pavement, half on grass. Before even realizing it, boxes went flying and I fell knee first. Usually when I or someone else falls I get a pretty good laugh in because that kind of thing is funny to me. On this day, it was not funny. I was alone trying to get one more load moved from the old house to the new house. My first thought was “I HATE THIS!!!!” It just seemed to add to the confusion and pain I was already enduring. At first I didn’t even feel it. I was numb. After mumbling something about my annoyance , I felt the throb in my knee. When I looked down, my knee was pouring blood. I didn’t even care. I just rolled my eyes and said “Great!”. The pain became more and more intense. That week, the wound was so sensitive. If anything came near it, I would cover it to protect it. I couldn’t sleep without it hurting. I couldn’t go one moment of the day without being reminded of it  because it hurt. It was a gaping wound.  After a little doctoring the wound began to heal. It was gross and gooey and still hurt but the pain was not deep anymore. It finally scabbed over and became less sensitive. I was still reminded of it if something hit it or rubbed against it. After that stage the healing was complete but there was a scare. I will never forget that injury because I can look down and see the evidence of the fall on my knee. I rarely notice it and sometimes forget about it. When I see the scar, it doesn’t bring me pain anymore but I will never forget it.

    It is no coincidence that this happened when it did. God clearly compared the body healing to spiritual and emotional healing that day. When injury happens, how do I know what to expect? What’s ok for me to feel? What’s ok for me to think? How long should the process take?

    Let’s take a look at injuries in life. We all have them. The first reaction is shock. When I first fell, I didn’t feel the pain of it all. The same was true when I received my wound. I was in shock even though I felt I had been prepared in some ways and even had an idea. You tell yourself this can’t be happening.  Even preparation can’t prepare you for some news. I walked around numb for a few days just trying to figure things out. The second stage is the gushing blood coming from your wound. This is a time when all you can do is sob, pray and hurt so bad that you think you can’t endure any more pain. It’s like the truth of the matter comes completely to light for you to deal with. Nothing can stop it, you just have to bleed for a little while. After you stop the constant gushing of emotions the wound begins to heal. This part is not pretty. Have you ever skinned your knee then take the bandaid off and drainage comes off with it? It’s ugly and still painful but the wound has to be cared for. You can’t just move on and act like nothing happened. This process seems like it will never end. I was told that God will take you deeper in the pain so that deeper healing can be done. He will comfort you in these times. One day you feel like you have the hope of your future, the next day you can barely get out of bed. You are not going backwards, you are being healed deeper. Anything that reminds you of the injury hurts. A look, a word… ANYTHING! It’s ok to hurt and natural to try and protect yourself.

    The next stage is a deeper healing. The scab begins to form. The injury no longer consumes every thought, every conversation and every moment. The wound is still there and if the scab is hit directly, it will break the wound open again and begin to bleed for a while. This happened to me. I was so far along feeling so free and one thought prompted by one conversation sent a rush of pain and memories that I hadn’t dealt with in months. The healing was not complete. There were still things that had to be healed in me and molded God’s way. Although I felt the sting of this pain again, my recovery was so much faster.

    The final stage is the scar. You and everyone else can see that you have a scare but it isn’t the main thing you see. It’s only a reminder. You can talk about it with no pain, you can bump it on things and it doesn’t hurt. Your leg looks a little different and you will never forget it but the healing has taken place.

    I’ve had to learn to allow the stages to happen. God wants to heal us through our circumstances, not around them. Trials bring purification and faith. Injuries are going to happen. Give yourself time to heal and walk through it. Dodging it only makes you stay in the gross, gooey stage. Deal with it so healing can be completed. Scares are ok. People say that their tragedy didn’t define them but mine did. It changed my life and my perspective. I will never be the same and that is something I am thankful for. I know there are so many people looking for answers in the middle of their wound. Keep pressing forward and don’t waste your time questioning every step. Healing will come.

    Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God,stricken by him, and afflicted.But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

    We ARE HEALED!

  • Your Strength or His?

    Galatians 3:2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.

    You received the Holy Spirit as a gift. You received because you believed. We as Christian spin our wheels trying to do the right thing and be the right person when what we need to do is believe the right thing. You may say… Are you telling me all I have to do is believe??? Well, we act out of our beliefs. If you believe God is who he says he is and can do what he says he can do then you will begin to act like it. Faith is believing. I have asked myself a million times in my life, “What am I doing wrong?”. I was genuinely trying to act a certain way to get the desired reaction from God. “If He is pleased with this then this will happen.” He is not moved by our action, he is moved by our faith. You will live a life pleasing, holy and acceptable to the Lord if you have faith. I love the fact that it says, After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?

    I have had the privilege to talk to many hurting women who have said… I never thought my life would go in this direction or I never thought this tragedy would happen to me. We cannot control the future and we have no idea of what lies ahead. Life comes and it doesn’t always set you up for perfection you hoped for. I am so challenged when I read, “Have you experienced all of this for nothing!?? Surely it was not in vain.” What a scripture! What happens to you is no accident. Are your steps not order by God as the Word says? I’m sure the Galatian church began to say “why me, why us, why are we being persecuted, aren’t we being good Christians???” Paul walks up to these people and gets in their face and basically said, What is wrong with you people! Stop trying to do Spiritual things out of human strength.

    My challenge to you today is, Believe what God says and stop trying to work spiritual things out with human strength. Pray instead of calling a friend, seek God in the Word instead of analyzing the details and allow Him to speak to your heart. In Mark 9, the disciples are healing the sick and casting out demons in the name of Jesus. There was one boy that was demon possessed and the disciples could not cast this demon out. The father explains this to Jesus and asks him to cast the demon out if he could.  “What do you mean, ‘If I can?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” This troubled the disciples and they asked why they were unable to do this. Jesus then said, “This can only be cast out by prayer”.  This scripture holds the answer to how we handle spiritual matters with spiritual weapons. Keys for us… belief in the Word and prayer. You will not only benefit with victory but also you will not wear yourself out fighting with your physical abilities. Your experiences or challenges have not been in vain. I see the miracle of mine and I am confident, you will too!