Jan 082016
 

Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons

1 In the days when the judges ruled,[a] there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

My Thoughts

This week I have thought a LOT about Ruth and Naomi and the type of women they were and how strong they must’ve been.

We read this week about Naomi losing her husband & her sons. I simply can’t even imagine how much this would hurt or what types of emotions I would feel. I am sure Naomi felt a ton of things.

When I was living a life led by fear I was really in survival mode. Nothing mattered and I couldn’t see through the trees to save my life. I did what I could not knowing God, but I am so excited now to know Him and to know that I won’t ever be in that position again because I have Him!

Right now, God is telling me to make do with what I have and to trust that He will always provide. Money is extremely tight right now and I am not worried about it. I KNOW that God has this and that He will provide so long as I follow Him! It is becoming so much easier to just trust and enjoy what we do have than it is to worry about a bill or where money for food will come from. It amazes me by how peaceful I am in this situation and I know if I didn’t have God right now that I would certainly be panicking.

As far as Naomi and her faith, I am sure it was like when we experience a loss. She likely asked why God was punishing her or how He could allow this to happen to her. Especially when a monotheist faith was fairly new. She may have even wondered if the ‘other gods’ were punishing her for her new faith. However, it is clear that Naomi trusted God even in such turmoil because she followed where He led her and she allowed her story to be one that has touched us for the last few thousand years.

That is amazing and encouraging!

Are you taking the Hello Mornings Challenge? How has it been going for you? Would love to hear what you have learned this week about both Naomi and yourself!!

Dec 272015
 

Picking a word for the year isn’t always the easiest task. Sometimes a bunch of words stick out to us. Two years ago Ann Voskamp touched me greatly with the word “eucharisteo” and that was my word for the year-without me even realizing it. I even bought the bracelet to wear to remind myself to give thanks and to live in thanks everyday.


Last year I had started so many things and never really finished anything properly. I was realizing that multitasking doesn’t always work and that I needed to finish things before jumping into a new one. I was creating chaos with unfinished projects and creating to-do lists a mile long that never got checked off. So, my 2015 word was “finish” as I just wanted to remind myself to commit and finish and to not over-commit to things because I want each project to get the best of me, rather than tiny pieces. My family deserves that, my pets deserve that, my home deserves that, I deserve that and most of all God deserves to be glorified by my actions -including my to-do lists!


For 2016 I have been looking around here and there trying to find the right word for me. I have seen so many awesome ones over the past year and I am always inspired by them. So, a few months back when I started to see the word “FOCUS” and remember that I had seen it I began to wonder if this was going to be my new word.


I have prayed over a new word and asked for God’s guidance and this word keeps finding me and sticking out like a sore thumb. I didn’t even realize that I was unfocused until recently when I was popping out of the #FMFParty chat and being sidetracked by everything from repotting plants, making snacks, and spending time with children. Over the past few days I have found this word in so many images and places and I have barely even been using any electronics because of the holidays. I am certain that this year God is telling me I need to “focus”.

Last year I also picked a verse for the year.

“All things are possible with God”
~Mark 10:27~

I haven’t picked a verse for this coming year yet. As some of you may know via Twitter, I began reading through the Bible chronologically about a month ago. I figure if I can stay relatively on track during the busiest time of the year than I have no excuse to quit during 2016. A TON of verses have been highlighted in my Bible already and I have also made several graphics that I have shared on Instagram and Facebook.

I am still praying about which verse I should really “focus” on for 2016 and have even wondered if my verse would stay the same!

Dec 092015
 

You ever have one of those weeks that feels sooo long and then you realize it is only Wednesday and you have 2 days plus the weekend to get through!? Yeah, that’s me right now.

Grace…

The weather here has been amazing, seriously above freezing all winter so far which is a far cry from our near minus 40 wind-chills that are the Canadian normal. Today, I actually wore a denim jacket with a tee and I have only had to wear my leggings a few times under my skirt. Also, driving is sooo weird because in the winter I am used to snow packed roads and ice that I naturally drive slower. In the summer months I use cruise control so I don’t speed but I never use it in the winter because of the risk of ice so I feel like I am flying!!!

Monday was a nice day. I was able to play a bit of Bible study catch up. I decided to begin reading through the Bible chronologically through Bible Gateway this month and it has been fun and wonderful and a little insane. You see, I decided to start it now instead of in the new year because this is the busiest time of the year with kids and school and shopping and baking and cooking and simply adulting. Whew, that alone made me tired!! BUT I figured if I can stay on track while being uber busy then there is no reason why I can’t continue when life slows down.
No excuses!!

But the past two days have been insane. Yesterday started out with grocery shopping and picking up some Christmas presents. Going easy on the Christmas presents this year as the budget simply doesn’t allow for too much, and frankly, I am tired of the kids acting like we live in a disposable world where money grows on trees. This is Canada, our money is PLASTIC!!

Got home shortly after 1pm yesterday and was carrying things in when the phone rang and the caller ID said it was the Pope AKA school. I swiftly answered and the school principal was on the other line and seemed to be upset. Never a good thing.

She told me my son was okay. Also not the best way to start a conversation but you know how it goes, especially if you’re a boy mom!

I had to rush to the school and pick up my not so little man who had taken the stick of a slap shot to the eye while playing hockey with his friends. He was literally covered in blood and they had his head wrapped in gauze and he looked like a bloody pirate who had just been to war. It made me laugh and for some reason sort of reminded me of ninja turtles. Maybe this is because I am CPR trained to a fairly high level and I knew that because his vision was okay and that he didn’t lose consciousness that he was most likely alright.

We went to the hospital just to be safe and amazingly, or maybe miraculously, we were in and out within an hour! He needed two stitches but another doctor who had seen the chart was excited to see what a slap shot to the eye looked like and popped in before the stitches were done and announced that he would like to try glue. After hearing the two different doctors speaking rather heated in the hallway about potentially gluing his eye shut I knew we were getting glue which is always the best choice when possible because it tends to leave a much smaller scar (and seals the wound so it stays sterile!)

My boy got glued up and then some tape for added measure and we came home and washed those bloody clothes and I sent him to lay down because he was starting to swell.

He was fine, extremely super mild concussion diagnosed for precautionary reasons since it was impact to the head even though he has no symptoms.

Is it Friday YET?

Today, Wednesday, I woke up to pain. My back was on fire and I felt like a wishbone being eagerly torn apart in my lower back. My head was pounding and let’s be real, I felt like I had a hangover except I didn’t go to the party.

Paced around a lot and switched positions a billion times before having to get dressed and go get my daughter from school to bring to the dentist. Somehow in my pain this sweet child of mine managed to talk me into giving her 50 dollars so she can buy a new used phone from a friend. If 50 dollars would make the nagging stop for my poor head it was a great price. Plus, she offered to make dinner which was a complete bonus.

So, now this mama is feeling tired and it’s only 7pm. I haven’t even had a shower yet today and my head is seriously going to explode. Perhaps this is what happens as we age, we get migraines because all that knowledge makes our brains grow or something… Sounds scientific if I use words like cerebral cortex and neural, right?

And then reality smacks me in the face and I realize that it really is only Wednesday and that tomorrow my son has a presentation at school that I have to attend and I still need to pick up some things for the stockings while all I want to do is hibernate and enjoy my green grassed-winter.

So, for now I am going to jump off of here and over to Bible Gateway so I can read some scripture, pull out my Bible so I can highlight and take notes and chill out with God, because He has this.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
~John 15:5,8~

On the hunt for a book for moms of boys? Praying for Boys by MOBS co-founder Brooke McGlothlin has been with me since I was a part of its launch team a year or two ago. A great gift for any mom or mom to be and especially great for a mom of boys!

Nov 202015
 


It had been a long time since I felt safe, too long, maybe even a lifetime, and then I was wrapped up in blankets on a hard mattress being checked every 20 mins through a little window on the door and all I did was sleep. It was a Friday when I went in. A Friday morning and I never felt safer because like the character, Spencer, says on Pretty Little Liars, “I feel safe here. Those bars don’t just keep you from getting out, they keep other people from getting in.”

He wouldn’t be getting in. He wouldn’t be torturing me, raping me. My thoughts were my own and I could do whatever I wanted and what I wanted was to rest. It was the Monday morning when I walked out the doors. I had slept the entire time, other than a few showers. They were worried because I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t eating because I was tired. Oh so very tired.

I never knew how much stress I had been under all of those years until the pressure was alleviated for those brief moments and honestly, I didn’t want to go home and out of my safe cocoon.

Years later and I still struggle to feel safe. I still crave those moments of reprieve that I had experienced. The weight of the world off my shoulder and no one to walk by my window to steal me in the night, no one to kill me like he has promised.

I didn’t know then that I would spiral down into an abyss that I would barely survive, I didn’t know that the god who I had believed was the reason for my abuse was the one who would reach down deep into the pits of my own hell and offer me a saving hand. I didn’t know to not be afraid of the light because the darkness was all that I knew.

Almost 11 years later and I still struggle with feeling safe. With being me. With not panicking at every dog bark or knock in the night. I have come out of hiding and I have placed my trust in the God that saves because this is the only way for me to actually have a life and I try to focus on the Word of God, the Words that tell me to not worry about tomorrow.

So each day when I feel myself falling into worry or panic or stress I have to treat myself like I am a toddler and give it back to God and if I have to do that 1000 times a day I will because if I don’t I am giving evil a foothold on my life and we all know that one step leads to the next and I would rather be making godly steps then allowing Satan to step all over me.

It will be my heel to crush his skull and not him who stomps me down.

27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
~Matthew 6:27~

unwrappingJesus7-600x315

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional by Five Minute Friday Friend Asheritah CiuCiu!! Available NOW!!

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Nov 192015
 

I didn’t just dwell on the past, I lived there, for years and years and even more years and sometimes when I am not careful to be present my mind slips right on back into the black and abusive abyss, haunting my thoughts both day and night.

There is no one way to move forward though, no way to get over the PTSD. I take meds, a LOT of meds. I have actually posted pictures of my meds on Instagram because of how disgusted I am in having to take them, but they are what allows for me to be focused enough on the present and the future that I can actually live with my past. They free me from the phantom chains and release me into the loving arms of God.

For a long time I would dwell on the fact that suicide attempts never worked and “God never wanted me back” or “God won’t even take me, nobody wants me”. Somewhere along the jagged, slippery road I have realized that He is the only One who ALWAYS wants me. ALWAYS loves me. Even at my worst. Even when I have sat there bleeding out and overdosed He breathed life into my lungs and told me it wasn’t my time and He planted seeds of purpose that the meds have allowed to finally grow!

I was raised Catholic. I always had at least a Bible or two around and I had read through it in it’s entirety several times before I was done middle school. Yet, I didn’t dwell on the words or let the Word dwell in me. I didn’t allow God’s love to flow into me even though I had accepted Him as my Lord and Saviour. I knew the words on the pages, and the pages knew me, but we had little connection.

I look back now and I see that hell on earth and I know without a doubt that had I not went through all of that I wouldn’t be where I am spiritually today. I wouldn’t be blessed to be able to say “I understand”. I wouldn’t be able to listen with an emphatic ear or pray from my heart words that bring a world of welled up tears.

I have felt like Job and even used Job 3 as a suicide note. You see how distorted the Bible can become in the mind of someone who is completely undone? Now I feel more like those who were in the lineage of Jesus, right back to Genesis –the Beginning. Where polygamy and sin ultimately led to David and from the stump of Jesse we received Jesus!! I feel like that, like all of my ugly-sin is sending out shoots and new life and growth.

I am not healed, but I am whole.

When I feel like my life is less than, I know that God will use those moments to give me a more than opportunity. Will I go down in some great book centuries old? Not likely, BUT that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t turn life around and be an example to the people I interact with and impact every day.

I will not only dwell in His home forever, but forever He will dwell in me!

Nov 182015
 

The wind violent and wicked outside the windows with a smack of an extension cord bashing against the wall like its eating its way into the house and out of the fight. The sound itself is cold the rain pouring down thick and supposed to turn to snow. Puddles no longer puddles since they cross the drive from marsh to marsh, a skating rink waiting for the temperature to drop below freezing.

The sun hasn’t been seen for days. Not sure when it will appear again. The weather forecast doesn’t look promising and the scent of cinnamon roll candles permeating the air is already beginning to grow old among a winter that hasn’t yet begun. The flames steadfast and strong, no flickering tonight as the wax is growing low, you would never know there was a wind by looking at those beautiful fiery flames.

Regardless of the relentless banging everyone is in bed. The hockey game turned off, the alarms not set because there is no work tomorrow and likely no school. I watch the fish tank opposite my own bed, the albino fish munching down on algae so small I can’t even see it. I am reminded of God’s power and how He always provides. Always and for all of his creatures, like this microscopic algae that clearly tastes great to the fish choosing to munch on it instead of the fish food, and the thousands of snail babies that hatched the other day because of the vast food supply in the planted tank.

As the wind slows and is nearly forgotten before whipping back up the Gospels speak to me and I am reminded of Jesus asleep on the boat during a treacherous storm while everyone was panicking. He controlled the weather and told it to stop and it obeyed.

27 But the men marvelled, saying, what manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
~ Matthew 8:27~

And because of that, I will sleep well tonight, because God has this. He is providing for the fish in the tank, the grass that is growing strong and green and I have no doubts that He will provide for and shelter me and no storm will be one too big for Him!

So in a time where the world is full of gun fire, bomb fire and fires held in the hands of those holding vigils we have to remember that the Lord our God has this, He has us and He has the world in the palm of His hands.

24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?
~ Luke 12:24~

“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”
~Ephesians 6:19~


Nov 152015
 

It’s been another pain-full week with only one day where I didn’t have any pain until closer to bedtime. I am definitely grateful for the day that I was almost pain free and it did in fact make the gratitude list.

I have been writing a LOT in my gratitude journal the past few days. I wrote a few hundred things in the last three days which is awesome! I switched it out of my planner and into my journal so I would have room for it all and room to plan… God is good!

It is so easy to become weary when the sky is in a perpetual state of grey. I am actually waiting for the snow. Yep you hear me, WAITING FOR THE SNOW. I need it to snow because once we have a nice layer over everything even a grey sky reflects light off of the snow and the weary dreary goes away and energy returns and life begins to feel normal again.

The sun was actually out this morning when I woke up and put the dogs out. I stood there reveling in it’s yellow warmth and soaked in ten or so minutes of vitamin D and it felt lovely. Unfortunately, it clouded over quickly afterwards and the chill in the air returned. Oh but that sun was beautiful and warm! And now the candles are lit and they remind me that the light of God is always there, even when the clouds are trying to stop me from seeing the light.

I would love to hear how you fight the blues during the fall and what makes you feel weary!? I think for me that the time change really doesn’t help with the grey days. Can you be jet lagged from daylight savings? Oy!

Remember to pray for Paris and the rest of the world right now. God always prevails but asking for Him to intercede can never hurt!

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