Being Strong

Being strong to me meant being self-sufficent. It meant not relying on anyone or anything. It meant keeping people out and not letting them hurt me. This is what I was taught as a child. Cynicism was rewarded and crying was seen as weak. You were made fun of for showing a soft heart. So I learned to suck in the tears and put on this tough persona. However, it was always a struggle because my DNA, how I’m made, is to love and have a soft heart. What I was doing for self preservation went against my core. So I was and still am at odds with myself. My gut reaction is to not show emotion and keep it inside, but my spirit shouts against that. The only time I cry is when I’m being used by the Spirit. I always blamed my tears on the Spirit as if crying wasn’t my natural self. God has been showing me the reason tears flow during these times is because this is when I’m being my true self.  This is when my spirit can be free.

Okay, some of the persona is real. I love heavy metal music, especially Christian heavy metal music so I can enjoy singing with it. I love the thrill of going down that first huge hill of a roller coaster. I’m not afraid of speaking to a group of big “scary” looking guys. I enjoy movies like transformers and other shootem up movies. I’ve always been a bit of a tom boy. But those loves are not at odds with a soft heart.

God showed me this didn’t just extend to the world. Intimacy with God terrifies me. I feel like a flipped turtle if I open up too much and I try desperately to flip myself back over so I can keep an acceptable distance between me and God. He is the one who can do the most damage to my heart if he chose. I hear the collective gasp, but it’s true. I’ve always depended on him, but if I truly give him my heart, his response could be devastating. What if he rejects me. That would kill me. What if he takes a look and says, “hmm” and moves on.

You may say, “How can you think he would do that.” Just a gut reaction to growing up how I did. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way. I didn’t know that was how I felt. I was just asking God why I only get so close and then back off. This is what he showed me.

The new definition of strong for me is exposing my heart to the creator of the universe and allowing him to do the work he wants. And maybe finding out the work he wants to do is to love me.



Bipolar Christianity

Someone in my family was talking to me about how they hate when they go from a spiritual peak to a dark valley. They are pursuing God one minute and then it tapers off and they go back to pursuing escapism.

I have often felt that way. I have also wondered why. I woke up this morning instantly thinking about how crazy it was to live in escapism, just waiting to die, when I have access to Jesus all the time. Why would I choose escapism? It didn’t make sense. It seemed to me that it was like being in a magic spell. It was a twisted sense of reality. I was led to a book I’ve had for a while, but hadn’t read much of. It was talking about making yourself vulnerable to God instead of fear. I prayed about why I made myself vulnerable to escapism instead of God. It came to me by my repeating the word vulnerable.

If I make myself vulnerable to God, it opens the door for him to reject me. It makes abandonment by God a possibility. I have learned, growing up, that those closest to you will hurt and abandon you. If I become too close to God, he will do the same thing. He can only keep up the pretense of liking me for so long.

Sounds crazy, but it is an actual subconscious thought pattern God showed me I had. I have to be brave and allow myself to be vulnerable to God. I have to trust him everyday so he can show me everyday that he’s trustworthy. He wants to show me everyday. He never gets tired of showing me he is not of this world. His ways are higher than ours. I Need You More


God is taking me through a faith building time. He is encouraging me to ask for what I need instead of worry about it. We all know this is harder than it sounds. He is also showing me his mercy. In the past I’ve made a mistake and then felt I had to deal with the consequences, but lately he’s been showing me to expect mercy. Not to purposefully do something bad and then look for the mercy, but to not be so hard on myself as I grow and learn through my weaknesses. He is helping me in my areas of weaknesses and he is so merciful in the learning and maturing. One weakness I have is anxiety instead of peace. Some people think I’m a very peaceful person and I think that is my true identity in Christ. But through genetics and life circumstances, I have to fight anxiety every day. A strong imagination with a negative slant does not help matters. So over the last six months, I’ve been concentrating on giving my anxiety to Him, silencing the “what if” questions in my mind and making sure I’m staying positive – mentally placing myself in the Father’s arms.

I may have blogged about this instance in an earlier post, but I remember one time I fainted while in school and the principal carried me out to my step-mom’s car. I was about ten. It was the most amazing experience. I had never felt safe and secure before this event and even though it only lasted about five minutes, it stayed with me my whole life. I’ve been bringing that image back to my mind when I’m anxious. It helps remind me of the truth; which is, I am safe in my Father’s arms. I love this song. I’ve tasted the riches of God. What other King leaves his glory to die? This is Amazing Grace by Jeremy Riddle

A Sign of Freedom

I used to see surrender as a sign of defeat, but it is really a sign of freedom. I’ve been in the habit these past few weeks of giving my anxiety and hurts over to God. I imagine my pain in the form of a writhing worm inside a box. I hand the box over to God and release the anxiety and hurt back to him. I surrender it. The feeling of peace I have after that is amazing.

I started reading a book that’s been around for a few years called Loving our Kids on Purpose, by Danny Silk. I’ve only read Danny’s quotes on Facebook before this book. Our youngest is 15 and our other two are adults so it may seem too late to read this book, but I have learned so much from it. I have learned things I can still pass on to my children and hopefully help them with their own children. But mostly, I’ve learned things about how I relate to God. I’ve learned things about freedom – how important freedom is to the Father and how freedom and relationship works together.

This quote woke me up to God and freedom:

Speaking about Adam and Eve: “Without the option of making a poor choice in that environment, they would not have been free….This story show us the importance of freedom to our loving Father. Without freedom to reject Him, we are powerless to choose Him. Obedience is a choice.”

This got me thinking about choices. I have freedom from God to make choices – good or bad – because of the Cross. I am not powerless. That is a lie from the enemy. I can choose the way of peace. I can choose the way of freedom. I am not trapped in an unhealthy body. I am not trapped in anxiety or fear. I have the freedom to choose to believe the truth and reject the lies.

I love this Bethel song: Freedom

Freedom is ours and we walk it out with every choice we make.

I Don’t Like Safety Nets.

Hi all,

I haven’t posted in a while, because I haven’t had anything profound to share, plus I’ve been on a little downward spiral in the midst of God showing up, which is confusing. I’m still not in the profound arena, but wanted to share what has been going on.

My husband finished school and now has a MFA in Motion Pictures and Television. Yea! He obtained a job before he was even done with school. He works from home and makes enough to pay for rent and a few other things. Yea! I got hired in at my job full-time with benefits and work part-time from home. Yea! Okay, all good things here. God has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams. So what’s the problem?

I have found myself emotionally eating and reading, which I know is very bad for me and a sin for me. I have found myself hiding into books, which isn’t so bad if it’s a chapter or two, but that isn’t the case for me. What is going on?

My husband has a large amount of financial aid debt coming due in November. I know some of it will be reduce based on income, but not all of it. I have been hiding because I don’t want to face it. I was asking God what my problem was with the eating and the hiding from life when he is clearly blessing us. He came back at me with a question:

“Why do you think I’ll abandon you?”

It made me think. I live my life as a dichotomy. I don’t like safety nets, but I am always fighting a lack of trust in God. He always comes through. When we moved to California, we took our tax refund, packed up whatever belongings could fit into a 6X6X9 pod and moved out here. Even selling the house was all God. When we came out here, we had enough money for a room to rent for a week and a half. We needed to find an apartment and a job within that week and a half. Within three days, God provided a job and an apartment on the very last day. No safety nets.

This whole last seven years has been my husband going to school for his bachelor’s and master’s degree on mostly college loans. There has been no safety net on if Matt will get a good enough job to pay back the loans. So this one thing, provision, is what is putting me into hiding. God has always been there for me since I was a child. I have always talked to him and he has always come through, which I think encourages me to dislike safety nets or maybe think of God as my safety net. But there is something that still wonders if this time he will be there or if he will just watch me fall.

I know that is wrong thinking. I know he will be there to provide as he is already doing. Matt has a job in both animation and editing, which is what he went to school for. He is able to stay home, which is what he has always dreamed of. We have this beautiful view of the ocean that I never dreamed was possible – for a price no one would believe. We live in such a gorgeous and fun state, where we can just step outside our door and minister to the nations.

So now that I know the problem is a lack of trust. I am going to concentrating on enjoying the ride/journey God has me on. I’m going to watch him provide. He knows I love that feeling of going over that first big hill of the roller coaster, where all you can do is scream your guts out as you fall 200 feet. He knows me and his will for me better than I do and He is good.

Get ready to dance! You are Good by Brian Johnson

Ps. 136 is amazing!

Part II in this discussion with God coming soon – Surrendering. 

Snack Food

A while back I asked God for more hunger for his Word and Him. I have to do this on a regular basis as I’m prone to get too “busy” for God.

The first thing I noticed was the quotes you see all over Facebook didn’t give me shock and awe anymore. This great minister or that great guru did not pull me in. Nor did I feel the need to share them – not even the single scripture verse that magically shows up in my Facebook feed. I felt bad about this at first, like something was wrong with me. I also noticed a longing for the Word of God. A longing to pick up the actual Bible and read it. That hunger is such a great feeling.

I asked God about what was going on and he said man can not live on snack foods alone (My kids would beg to differ). I had fallen into the trap of reading all the quotes on Facebook and reading this great book and that great book instead of The Great Book. I fell into the trap of picking a single verse out instead of really feeding on the Word. Not that a single verse to meditate on is bad, but it just wasn’t doing it for me anymore.

A few days ago I read in John where Mary was looking for Jesus. She couldn’t find him in the tomb. The disciples came and looked too, but couldn’t find him and went back to the place where they were staying. She stayed  and kept looking for him – crying and seeking. Jesus came to her first. He showed himself to the eleven eventually, but Jesus took time to see Mary before even the Father. I am astounded by that. I’m not exactly sure what he was doing between the time he was crucified and the third day, I’ll let the theologians work that out, but he was on his way to the Father and made a pit stop to comfort Mary.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”

I really want to be Mary instead of who I’ve been. I’ve been the person who lets the cares of this world keep me from producing fruit.

I love this song. Hungry (Falling on My Knees) by Joy Williams

Limits can sometimes be good.

I was telling a friend of mine that I’m working full-time now so I’m going to take a break from school this semester. I’m going to tell my students I tutor that I’m going to stop tutoring after this semester. I’ll go back to school in the Spring when I’m done tutoring. My friend said, “Oh, so you actually have limits?” He knows me well. This confirmed what God has been telling me.

I have limits.

It has taken me forty-four years to realize this. I cannot do it all. I always thought I could, but looking back I realize right when I was at my craziest, my body or mind broke and forced me to take a break.

God is showing me a pattern in my life. I can feel it ramping up to the breaking point again, but this time God is waking me up to it and I am starting to remove some things – things that seem urgent and necessary, but are not.

When I was a single parent, I had two or three jobs, two little boys and I wanted to hang out with my friends. I wanted it all. I thought sleep was for the other humans. Then one day, I got into an accident and my body forced me to take a break.

After I was married and had my third child, I thought I could work 60 or more hours in a very stressful job with a high burnout rate, take care of my family and marriage, but not take care of myself. I always came last. My body told me differently and I was on bed rest for three months plus back surgery.

Later, I worked a job that was toxic for me, but I felt I had to continue. I did not take care of myself. I ended up in emergency twice and was put on blood pressure meds. It woke me up and I started taking care of myself. I was completely off the meds in three months.

Now I feel it happening again. I’m working full-time, which is great! But I cannot also go to school part-time, homeschool my daughter and tutor other children. I told myself, “You can make it work.” But God is waking me up to the fact that I can’t. I see myself neglecting my body again. It is giving out warning signals. I feel distant from God.

I have limits.

I’m so thankful, he is helping me realize my limits. I am asking him for wisdom on what I can and cannot do. He created me so he knows what my limits are. He is giving me good insights and I feel hopeful.

Here is a sweet song. God Speaking by Mandisa


Matthew 6:34 has always bugged me. I know this is not what Christians are suppose to say, but it does.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NIV)

It seems like a downer to me. It doesn’t always bug me. Sometimes it speaks to me. Sometimes there is so much going on I have to focus on what has to be done in a given day and not think about all which has to be done tomorrow. But I don’t want it to be this way everyday. I want a better way. I talked to God about it and the thought came to mind,

“Think about what you have to be thankful for today instead of what you have to be anxious about tomorrow.”

This thought from God spoke to me. I have been so anxious because of something I’m in limbo land about. I don’t know if what I want is going to happen and I’ve been playing the waiting game. The what ifs have been having a field day in my mind. What if I have been waiting all this time for a no answer from God. So many different what ifs. And then there’s the conversations with people in my mind. Does anyone else do that? Have complete conversations in your head based on what people might say? Those are such a waste of time.

I started practicing this idea of listing what I have to be thankful for today instead of thinking about what I have to be anxious about in the future. I felt such a load lift off me and everything looked and felt lighter. I know we’ve all heard “count your blessing,” but it was such a great reminder for me. God is a good God and loves to speak to us. He loves to switch our perspective.

Just wanted to share this song because I love it by Tatum Yonts. It’s called Judgen and it has nothing to do with this post, but as I said, I love it.

Salvation Story not Shame Story

I’ve been going through a stressful time. I’m in limbo land, which is my very least favorite place to be. I’d rather know either way about something. I let it affect my health. I clearly have not been trusting God as I should. Instead of drawing close to God once I recognized this, I went further the other way and went to my place of escape – books and eating. Why would I do that? After a couple weeks of this, today, I got fed up. Or maybe God just got on his mega phone and said, “Hello!” Either way, I decided to finally investigate why I do this. Why I hide from God when I get to a certain stress level.

One reason I discovered was I turned God into one more thing I have to do in a day to feel as though I’ve done enough – to feel as though I’m good enough. God is not a thing to cross off my to do list. God is not that monthly phone call I make to a relative that I don’t want to call, but know I must so I will be considered a good daughter, niece, or grandchild. God is in me. His throne room is a place of refuge that is only a thought or a thought of a thought away. When I think of God in us, the word tesseract comes to mind. I found this image online. I believe this is a good image of God in us and us in God. Tesseract image

Another reason that came to mind was there was something I was placing between myself and God. I asked what it was and the word shame come up once again. I asked myself what was my first shameful thought – something I had control over. A thought came to mind. I asked God to forgive me for what I did. I then had this picture of the deed going up in flames. I felt I was suppose to write down what I did and burn it. I did a poor job of burning it as I dropped it into a wet sink before it really burned, but I got the picture. I saw the ash. I watched the water wash over the ash. I watched the ash disintegrate before it even got to the drain.

The shame does not stand in the way of God and I. It no longer exists. I am clean. When and if the memory comes back, it is seen through the eyes of one who is forgiven. Like I did something wrong and was going to prison, only to have the judge set me free with the deed completely expunged from my record because someone else paid the price for me. It is something I can look back on and say, “Thank you God for taking the punishment on yourself and completely wiping the stain off me.” It is a memory of relief and thanksgiving.

My past is my salvation story not my shame story.

Forever Reign by Austin Stone


“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19

I let fear get in my way this week. I wanted something and worried about it so badly, I caused myself bodily harm with the stress of not giving it over to God. I started collapsing into my own little world of worry, doubt and fear instead of resting in His promises.

Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention. Ps. 42:5, Netbible

I again reverted to my gut reaction, which is, “No one will be there for me. I am alone. I am the only person who will take care of me.”

Yesterday morning I woke up to a huge rainbow in the sky. Anyone from California understands how rare rainbows are without rain. There must of been some kind of moisture because the rainbow was beautiful. I was so caught up in my mind with worry, that I didn’t see the significance. It took most of the day to remember the rainbow – I’m not alone.

God is not like my human parents, who because they were wounded themselves, wounded me. He is not going to leave me alone when I need him most. He wants to know us and he wants us to know him.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3

He died so we could enter into the Godhead directly. He died so we would never have to be alone again. He died and was resurrected to give us full access to his glory.

I had forgotten all of this during the week. I’m so thankful he reminded me and took the time to speak to me. I have peace again. God is such a lover of our souls. I’m overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave