God is a Tree Hugger.

God is a tree hugger.

I am a deep, strong Oak

When the tornado comes

and I’m on the ground

My roots are taller than any man.

it may seem over

as i lay there


The Gardener comes

In the cool of the day.

He picks me up

Plants me

Puts a hedge of protection

around me.

My roots grow again

stronger, deeper, thirstier.

The wind whispers through my leaves.

It says:

You are mine,

You are loved,

You are magnificent,

You are powerful,

You are strong,

You are the center of My universe,

You are the only thing I see,

You are my creation,

God is a tree hugger.

Luke 15 NIV


A Specter Called Shame.

Shame is the sensation a person receives when they do something wrong, like the morning after they’ve drank too much and realize they made a fool of themselves. As long as they recognize the shame, learn from it and use it to spur them into a better direction, such as not drinking too much, it can be a useful tool.

Shame is defined as:

“a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.”

If shame, as a tool, could stay in its rightful place on the shelf until needed, it would be okay. But shame rarely stays in its proper place. It’s not shame’s fault. We as people take the tool down and misuse it.

I have done this frequently with my past mistakes. Every time a memory comes up where I acted foolishly or made a wrong choice, I feel the sting of shame creep up on my face. I push the memories back down and say it is covered by Jesus’ death on the cross. That is true, but because I push the memory away due to shame, I never learn what God wants me to learn from those memories. They can not be fully redeemed.

There is one shameful memory that keeps coming back to me over and over again. It is something I have never told anyone ever, not even my husband. This one memory has haunted me and fills me with shame every time it pops up.

The last few months I have been on this journey of not hiding from my feelings. I am on this journey of allowing my feelings to rise to the surface, exam them and then let them vaporize and blow away instead of stuffing them back down.(1) I was walking along the seawall one morning and this memory came to my mind once again. The familiar shame crept like a shade to the surface. I pushed it down as usual stating,

“I’ve been forgiven for this. I don’t have to think about it anymore.”

That is true, but it wasn’t allowing me to learn what I needed to learn from that mistake. It wasn’t allowing me to feel the feeling and let it go. I took the memory and asked God what he wanted me to see when I remembered it. What did he want me to feel? How did he feel when it happened and how does he feel now about it?

I put the memory in a glass box and examined it from all sides. I felt the shame still there, but not as strong. I began to look at the girl who made the poor choice. She was so young and desperate. She had all this hurt, which had not been dealt with. She was so strong for even functioning. Yes the girl, me, did make a mistake and it was my fault, but there were so many other circumstances surrounding that choice. I thought about if it were someone else’s life? What if I was reading a book, from birth until this poor choice. I would actually expect this choice of that person. It would not have come as a surprise and I would have wanted to hold that person, comfort them and tell them they were just looking for answers in the wrong place. Looking for something that only God can supply.

In doing this examination, I felt such sympathy for the young girl. I felt sympathy for me. The shame disappeared. Love filled the hole that shame left. I learned many more things from the examination. I’m no longer afraid of the memory.

It is no longer a specter lurking in the shadows.

I couldn’t think of a good song from this topic, but I like this song: Come Away From Jesus Culture

1. https://geneenroth.com

It was over…

It was pretty much over after Matt saw my car. There was a week of trying to decide what to do, none of which involved praying. At least not on my end. I was just waiting for his decision. I will admit to some inappropriate behavior during that week to two weeks, but Matt wouldn’t go much past second base without leaving his wife. At the end of the week, he called me at work. He said he was going to leave his wife and asked if I would still respect him. I broke down crying hysterically not sure what to do as it was now on me.

As a side note, now 15 years later, we’ve been reading, “How to Hug A Porcupine: Dealing with Toxic and Difficult to Love Personalities” by Dr. John Lewis Lund. Matt was thinking out loud how things might have been different if he knew how to handle his first wife. Maybe if he had known and tried to do the things in the book, they would still be together. That didn’t make me feel bad at all. I wondered the same thing as I was reading it.

Anyway, back to the story. The job I was in was a cubicle world so everyone heard me breakdown. I didn’t even care. I called my mother and she only said, “I’ll love you no matter what.” I called a close friend and she only said, “I wish I was in your place, but don’t do it, it will ruin your life.” That sent conflicting messages. Really what it boiled down to was I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway.

I called Matt and told him I would be with him if he left his wife. Either that night or the next he sat down with her and told her it was over. He was leaving her and moving in with me. He left everything to her except his guitar, pillow and clothes. He closed his business and sold his equipment, giving her all of the proceeds. We both left the church. We weren’t asked to, but why make them ask us.

All of our friends, were no longer our friends. We received lots of condemning letters. Most of them deserved. The hardest letter to receive was the one from my pastor. He had always said, I was the most honest person he knew. He felt betrayed. That letter broke my heart. Mainly because I knew I had broken his. I told only one friend face to face and huge crocodile tears rolled out her big blue eyes. It’s making me cry even now. Everyone thought we were having an affair for a while and planned it. But it was literally a matter of 1 to 2 weeks. We were selfish and hurtful and to this day I wish we had done things differently. Even if only to have Matt leave his wife due to a toxic personality and live on his own for a year or so. So as to not hurt so many people.

But God has redeemed this as he has everything else. I’m just heartbroken that his redemption was the bloodied welted stripes on his back and the nails in his hands.

More story to come.

Some more…

I had stopped spending time with God. I started to try and recapture my youth, which is hard to do with two little boys. I started smoking cigarettes again, I don’t even know why – twenty-five and stupid I guess. (I know there are some smart twenty-five year olds out there.) I was driving down the road and trying to light a cigarette while looking back to see if I could change lanes. I look up and there are cars stopped ahead of me. There shouldn’t have been. I didn’t even have time to break. I smashed my Cavalier into a Pontiac while going 45 miles an hour. In a tribute to Pontiacs, the woman I hit only suffered a mild whip lash and a small dent in her bumper. My car was totaled. I did a face plant into my airbag. I didn’t have a seatbelt on. (We’ll talk about my self destructive behavior later)

The ambulance came and patched me up, while the cops wrote me a ticket. I refused to go to the hospital because I wasn’t sure if my insurance would pay for it. They towed my car and left me at the scene of the accident with no way to get home.

A little more details…

By now probably the only ones reading this are those who have been there or have been in a similar situation. While that is my target audience, the others might learn something too.

Here’s how it went down.

My husband’s first wife was toxic for him and maybe he was toxic for her. They fought every hour of the day and had to argue across the house to not get into physical blows. Those who know my husband now would not have recognized him then.

I came from a love starved upbringing and had a very rough life up until that point. God had redeemed a lot up until then, but I always kept myself too busy. I had two little boys and worked full-time. We both went to church and as I stated previously, Matt was on the worship team and we both were youth leaders.

Matt and I started by sinning in our heads. We compared notes after we were together. We both started fantasizing about each other thinking it would never happen because he was married and we were Christians. Matthew 5:28 was forgotten by both of us. A lot of times, for me anyway, the fantasy was just being with him. I remember thinking, “I would take a bullet for him in a second.” But he wasn’t mine to fall in love with and I was coveting my neighbor’s husband.

Still, we both thought we were safe because A) We didn’t know we both liked/loved each other and B) We were Christians and Christians don’t ever divorce.

I’ll finish this up soon, but just to leave you with this, the Bible doesn’t lie. James 1:13-15 is real.

Nitty Gritty

I decided the segment I will take from my life is how my husband and I got together and the redemption that came out of it.

I fully believe that God can redeem any circumstance or situation. His grace does not stop when we get saved. He loved us before we were saved, how much more after we are saved. I’m going to put it all out there first before trying to explain it or try to help you understand why it happened.

I’ve only told a few people at our current church. So here goes.

Here is the short of it. I got into a car accident. It messed up my back pretty good. After seeing the car, Matt decided life was too short and he wanted to be with me. The only problem was he was currently married. Within one week, he left his wife and moved in with me. We lived together unmarried until his divorce was final and then we got married.

Sounds pretty bad in straight forward black and white. How about something else to make it worse. Matt was on the worship team and we were both youth leaders. We left the church without being asked. We hurt many people.

Next post, I’ll explain some things, but I’ll let that sink in.