May 052016
 

I sat there as the modem was supposed to be resetting glancing through the pictures of the first few months of my daughters life that are in the album that hasn’t been put away. I could look at the pictures of myself even then and see the exhaustion and depression hidden on my face, the abuse by the smiling and oh so young man standing next to me making it appear as though I was nothing more than tired after delivering a child.

What the pictures miss though is that I was ecstatic to be a mom, even though I was only 17 years old. I was beyond proud of this little accomplishment that had just escaped my body and been placed on my chest, that doesn’t show in the pictures and it makes me sad to think that she will look back one day at the abusive one and see the pain and sorrow in my eyes.

What’s missing are the bruises and the pain, because no one hurts a woman who is over due thinking it won’t be noticed. No one realizes that those frozen moments in time are fraction of a second glimpses into a world that digs deeper than most anyone, including abuse victims, can fathom.

I use the term domestic abuse because people understand that. They don’t understand when I say I was beaten and brainwashed through the teachings of the Bible, raped for “the glory of god” because of my insolence, denied friends and family without supervision, or that when I speak of the phantom shackles that I still feel holding me that I literally mean, I was held tied up, handcuffed, restrained while being used as a “sex slave” and then beaten for refusing.

Yeah, that’s all missed in those pictures, and in the hundreds of others. In fact, the only pictures of any of this have firmly been in the hands of the police since 2005, when I escaped with my children in tow on a cold February night after being raped and nearly killed… escaped. I didn’t leave, I fled for my life, our lives. The pictures the hospital took of his hand print bruised onto my infant’s head, photos of my most intimate parts torn, bruised, bleeding with measuring devices and other “tools” to help the police understand all that happened. Restraints that are in the possession of the police sitting away in an evidence box.

You can take away the things and pack it neatly into bags and boxes, but you can’t pack away the scars, especially the scars that live on the inside. The images branded into my brain.

All of that is missing and I go down as a victim of domestic abuse, a survivor, meanwhile, I am bobbing up and down in waters too deep always gasping for my last breath.

So much of my story sits in files hidden away because the world isn’t ready for that, I am not ready for that. There are parts of me that have been missing since I was 15 years old and in the 11 years since my escape I have wondered over and over again if those are parts of the puzzle that will ever be found.

Apr 282016
 

The sky seemed to be another evening boring grey and then just as I was about to write, as my Word document sprang to life the passing of the sun caught my window and shone streaks of orange across the wall. I grabbed my camera because I don’t have a phone and I ran to the window, to look at the magic of the sky. Hues of pink and blue and purples, and yes orange, danced perfectly painted. I couldn’t pass them up. I have said it before and I say it now, it’s like God painted the sky just for me.


In a lot of ways He did! No one else has the view from my window. Theirs all show a similar sky from a different perspective. They don’t get the shadows of the truck or the tractor or the trees and while the angle is all too familiar from sunsets and sunrises over the years, they are never the same.


All those colors like the sky is in itself a rainbow. A promise of better things to come and I pull the blanket a little bit tighter as my eyes feel a little bit more solemn and I shoot a prayer up into those heavenly lines knowing that they can’t escape the rainbow, a direct line to God Himself.

In only a few seconds I have prayed for my best friend who has been missing a year, I pray for Andrew, I pray for the money I don’t have and for broken hearts to mend and friendships to restore. I pray that I can feel a bit more lively tomorrow and get my Bible study finished with eagerness instead of weariness.


I crawled onto the bed and my knees cry out that they are sore, but my heart it is the gaping door to my soul that is vulnerable. Ready to be wounded, ready for whatever is in store.

In life we only have a set amount of sunsets before we exit into Heaven and while I don’t know the number, He does, and it is He who I need. I can chose the achy knees to witness His art or I can pass up the bounty He places in front of me and become a victim of myself.

Apr 252016
 

I wasn’t really raised as a Christian, don’t get me wrong, I always had a spiritual relationship with God but it was definitely not something I was being taught outside of school. I dated very young and developed even younger. I remember in grade 7 being relentlessly teased about the size of my breasts, the joke being that I had to have been stuffing my bra with triple-ply toilet paper. The girls saw what I had and they pounced on it, making me dread being a woman and eager to hide myself beneath layers of overalls, hoodies and oversized shirts.

Later on I realized that this same issue worked to my “benefit” and attracted the boys so I did what I could and wore low cut shirts and anything to accentuate my curves. I continued down this path until about 2 years ago when God began to place modesty on my heart. Suddenly I found myself being uncomfortable showing my chest, and finding myself loving the way I feel in a skirt or dress. I mean, really, a dress is so easy to wear, it already matches. Slide it on and voila!

God also placed it on my heart to quit dying my hair and to let it grow and be healthy, the way He created it to be.

I have to admit, this whole long hair thing sometimes gets in the way, I am learning though. Learning by asking friends how they pin their hair up or pull it out of the way so it doesn’t end up being washed with the dishes.

I have had a blast going through my wardrobe and purging everything that wasn’t modest and to my standards, it makes getting dressed SO much easier, and I feel silly that I never took that advice seriously when I had read it the first ten thousand times.

I still love to wear hoodies and oversized clothing around the house, especially to clean or when its super cold and I just want to snuggle in, but having clothing I love and know aren’t going to send the wrong message has motivated me to get and stay dressed a lot more often.


This is most definitely a journey as I strive to obey God and I am excited to see where God is leading me on this journey. Going from the girl who showed too much and was a teen mama as a result really makes this journey into modesty so much fun, because of how completely unexpected it was. I am now the mother of a teen, surrounded by Christians with strong values, especially online. Who will offer me prayer, words of encouragement and scripture that evades me.

I would love to hear about how God speaks to you about your wardrobe or other areas in your life! Maybe He is speaking to you about parenting or marriage or being single. For whatever season you are in I pray that God’s loving hands cup your face and engulf you in His radiant love, light and peace.

If you have a prayer request please feel free to message me or leave it in the comments below!!

Apr 232016
 

A few months ago it was just a tweet made by a friend that she was wanted a group of us to submit a post to a book compilation that would be sold with our words stretched over the pages with the proceeds going to charity and I scoffed at her idea, thinking there was no way that I would be submitting my work because I am a blogger, not a writer, because my posts aren’t educated or thought out, they are journal entries that are the result of my fingers tapping without thought across the keyboard, often faster than I realize I am thinking.

My outlet.

When I was specifically asked by a friend who was contributing if I had submitted I said I wasn’t, because my work was not worthy of being put in a book. She nagged encouraged me to just consider it and even offered to help me select something if I needed help. I still said no.

As the deadline was already past I was reading back on some of my old writing while looking for something and stumbled on a couple of posts that I was surprised came from my fingers and didn’t belong to someone else’s. They weren’t great, but maybe they were good enough.

Maybe.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
~Galatians 6:7~

So I reached out and sent my link and asked with the utmost apprehension if this was “good enough.” I almost immediately received a more than encouraging reply stating that it was great (it isn’t) and that she was so glad I had decided to submit something because I had been a part of the community for so long.

Every bit of anxiety I could muster up has flooded me, wondering what any of this means, mostly the negative things, though really, how can charity be negative? That’s an anxiety disorder for you right there. Fear has overtaken me on more than on occasion and silenced me, but not this time.

I hear that the book is coming along well and while I don’t know any specifics as to when it will be released or how many contributors there will be, I do know that it will be available in paperback and that means I will have a book, sitting on my shelf, with my own work in it. Not a chapter or anything more than a page, but still my words. My heart, my soul, my pains and sorrows, my love, tears, community. My faith.

That is a crazy thing to think about when everyone I know is writing a book and I have been asked to many times about the trials I have overcome, the pain I have endured and how I came to Christ. Maybe this is going to be my one and only moment published in a book, or maybe it will be a catalyst for my words to go to paper. I am a writer, I do it every day. But am I an author?

What I do know is I need to stop the inside chit chat that goes on from bringing me down and placing words in peoples mouths before they have even opened. I need to stop sowing seeds of myself stating that “I suck” and am “not worthy” because God didn’t create anyone to suck and He paved the way so that we could all be worthy if we chose to obey Him.

Sometimes we need to lean back on our six pillows (yes I have six) and let our souls exhale, whether it’s a physical release or a spiritual one that ends up being ink and paper, or a drawing, a prayer sent up. A moment of thanksgiving, or a realization that I am forgetting all about thanks-living. I need to hand it all to Him.

Amazing Grace is a gift that I don’t want to neglect or ignore or waste.

Today as my soul exhales in wondering what the future holds, it inhales the new life that is springing up all around and I am able to feel content, safe, fearless. The smile on my face not needing to be faked, no façade to break.

As I struggled to pull the deeply rooted weeds from what’s supposed to be a flower bed I was reminded that I must sow seeds of strength in the One place that they will grow roots strong and firm like those of the roots I couldn’t tear from the ground. The pot may be cracked but the earth is rich and full and the seeds I sow how more than enough room to spread and grow.

Apr 212016
 

We stood there in the hallway choking back tears after she had been hitting refresh for hours on end trying to find out what had happened and how, she reached for me for the first time in years, her 13 year old self, and I reached my arms around her and hers slid around me and in a single moment we became a part of the same club, united under the worst circumstances, our hearts shredded by death -suicide. Her best friend from a year ago gone, just like that and I had no way to console her broken heart outside of that embrace.

I understand it all to well though, growing up here I have been to some 30 funerals, a large majority because of suicide, and I have attempted it myself, on more than one occasion, seeing it as the only way out, to escape the pain of the day.

My throat grew tight like my allergies were acting up as we stood there in what seemed to be forever while not long enough. I didn’t want to let my sweet girl go because I just wanted to console her, to tell her it was all going to be alright, but there is nothing right about 6 teens killing themselves in the last 3 months. Nothing at all.

I knew then that this time it was different. This time she really was hurt. The other kids were simply faces with a name to her, not someone she had loved, I never imagined that my daughters heart would first be broken by death instead of a boy in the halls of the school.

Questions I couldn’t answer came flowing from her in those 24 hours after Facebook broke the news. Why don’t the boys grieve the way she does? Why is everyone dying? What happens next?

So we spend the week sitting with each other, saying not a word, the snap chats from her friends pictures of walls without words, solemn and in their grief they are forever united as well. They are the kids who survived. The kids who were friends with the girl who died. Titles they don’t want to bear that will follow them through life.

So this mama turned to what she knew and prayed. Prayed that eternity will unite them in God’s light. Praying for peace, understanding, help. Asking friends to pray because I don’t know how. Knowing that where two or more gather in His name… He is present, uniting us all.

Apr 182016
 

The laundry is done and I am placing the last of the folded clothes away inside a child’s drawer and decide to straighten up a bit. Three throw blankets that had been pulled from the top closet shelf folded and put up. Bending down to pick up a toppled over guitar I spot it.

A pile of soiled laundry tucked in the corner by a child who decided to hide a spill instead of being honest. I breathe deep and remind myself that I am homemaking for Christ and that I will be talking to this child about how hiding something and being deceptive is also lying.

The dishes are washed and sitting in the sink to dry and just as the last of the water drains and I toss my rag into the wash a plate pops in and again I have to look to God because that little plate could lead to a lot of frustration.

I am learning that when you live with your two kids and your two parents you end up with a lot of things always being dirty and rarely in a state of cleanliness that lasts more than a few seconds. These are my top 5 tips that I use to enjoy homemaking and make it awesome.

ONE

Worship music.

Yep, you heard me right, since I feel that homemaking is a calling from the Lord and I believe that I should do it to the very best of my ability in that moment or on that day I often sing hymns or play worship music on my IPad as I move around the house form one task or the other. It keeps my focus on Christ and serving Him by serving my family. One day I had a revelation on the bathroom floor and I haven’t looked back.

TWO

Grace.

A whole lot of grace. God gives me grace and I know I have to give my family grace. They eat, wear clothes, shower, make messes and aren’t perfect and neither am I. If God is so eager to give me grace, then it is my duty as a daughter of Christ to be a daughter that gives grace to my parents and children too.

THREE

Time Myself.

I hear so many people complain that they don’t have time to do the dishes or take the trash out or even clean the bathroom. Flylady says you can do anything for 15 minutes and way back when I used to set a timer for 15 minutes and would be amazed by how much I could get done in that time. Now I am less into the timer but have learned to use my time wisely.

For example, last night, I turned the kettle on for my tea and even though it was Sunday and the meal was big and my brother had been here I decided to wash dishes while I waited. I was done washing up before the kettle went off, which was less than 3 minutes. Dishes that I had planned to just leave for today because I was in pain and not feeling well were finished. Today we were able to wake up to clean pots and pans so the morning wasn’t rushed and we weren’t working around a mess.

FOUR

Pick up as I go.

If I head into a child’s room with laundry to deliver I will pick up any trash or Lego that has made its way into the room or onto the floor. It makes sense to make fewer trips and it makes it easier for my young teens to pick up their rooms on their own. It also makes my job easier if I find a glass or a plate and have it ready to wash BEFORE I do dishes!

The same goes for laundry, and of course, other rooms. Instead of walking past a throw on the floor I will grab it and fold it and toss it back onto the couch. Our one dog LOVES to throw the pillows and blankets in the living room around and if I want it to look somewhat orderly I may as well just pick it up as I walk past it. That way, when a bigger job like vacuuming comes along, the floor and surfaces are for the most part ready to go!

FIVE

Have a schedule.

Daily tasks are simple but easily forgotten. Put away my OWN laundry. Open the curtains. Bring any dishes from my bedroom to the kitchen. Fill my water bottle.

My weekly tasks include a day for wiping down the entire kitchen, meaning I remove everything from the counters and spray it, wipe it, and get rid of any crumbs. It always shocks me how many crumbs get behind things each week! EWW.

Other weekly tasks include vacuuming upstairs, vacuuming downstairs, deep cleaning the entire bathroom (I do some things as needed through the week so it stays mostly clean), watering the plants, fish tank maintenance, sweeping the stairs. I am sure you get the idea.

Monthly tasks include things like washing the comforters and duvets, turning mattresses, wiping the windows, cleaning out the car, and decluttering.

I don’t have to check my schedule every day but I do check it regularly. It is a nice guideline to help me be productive throughout the week.

What are your tips for keeping homemaking fun? I would love to know your tricks in the comments!

Apr 072016
 

It’s been a long time since I have known what feeling whole actually is and sometimes, okay, a lot of the time, I wonder if I will ever experience the feeling of being whole during my time on earth. It seems like everyone is living a whole life, husband, kids, church and they seem to have it all together and time to spend just with God everyday and perfect children and a clean house and I always feel like a ragged mess that has been dragged by the rabid jaws of a dog and tossed off a mountain side with my hair matted and poofed out while simultaneously being glued to my head. ß-Run on sentence??

I breathe in the crisp spring air each morning or afternoon or whenever I crawl out of bed and I know that in Christ I am whole, after all, He isn’t in the business of making the broken and defective. I remind myself to do what I can do glorify him wholly in my actions throughout the day and I know that there is always more to give and less of me to do it and as I exhale the stench of the day I know that I have done my best and that in His eyes I am the child He created me to be and not a creation of this world, or myself.

And, I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be whole if it is something that is given to me by humanity or my own selfish needs.

Jen mentioned whole milk and I think about how if milk isn’t homogenized it will quickly separate in the fridge and the fat and the thin will break apart like oil and water and you will need to shake it to make it worthy of consumption. The heavy “cream” sitting on the top in a way that seems to defy gravity. Any mama who has pumped her breast milk will have experienced this and many will wonder if the milk is still good. The fact is, it is perfectly whole even in its separated state.

So, in turn if I am milk and to be whole I need God then He is the cream on the top protecting me and keeping me safe down below and when the world shakes and its my time to go we will unite and look clean, new and fresh. Wholly-whole.

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