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Showing posts from 2019

Songs of 2019

I wanted to chronicle the songs that have meant the most to me during this season of my life. When I think back to other seasons of my life, each is marked by certain songs. These are the ones that got me through 2019.

Yes, I Will by Vertical Worship

I count on one thing:
The same God that never fails
Will not fail me now.
You won't fail me now
In the waiting.
The same God who's never late
Is working all things out.
You're working all things out.

Yes I will, lift You high in the lowest valley.
Yes I will, bless Your name.
Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy.
All my days, oh yes I will.

And I choose to praise,
To glorify, glorify,
The Name of all names,
That nothing can stand against.

Oh, yes I will, lift
You high in the lowest valley.
Yes I will, bless Your name.
Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy.

All my days, oh yes, I will.
For all my days, oh yes, I will.
For all my days, yes, I will.

Raise a Hallelujah by Bethel Worship

I raise a hal…

Because of Who I Am

Someone posted on Facebook the other day the following:
Why would you fight for someone who clearly doesn't want you? Please let them go. You are valuable, just not to them. I thought about it for a minute, because I indeed fought for my husband when he clearly didn't want me. I fought for our marriage, even when he had zero interest in making our marriage work. He had already checked out and told me point-blank that he just didn't want to work on our marriage, but yet I fought on my knees before the Lord.

Throughout the first few months of our separation, I prayed day-in and day-out. I beseeched the Lord to intercede. I rebuked Satan, and I prostrated myself before the Lord God Almighty. I went to therapy, and I watched sermons online. I listened to every Jimmy Evans podcast I could find. I journaled and devoured God's Word. I wrote my husband scriptures and prayers daily. I soon filled a 100-page journal front and back.

Shortly after he left in June, God told me tha…

Be Still and Know

After living in Beijing for two years, my sister introduced me to Chinese massage. These massage places are always in a nondescript, run-down shopping strip. These are not the million-dollar spas most women frequent with the plush robes and slippers. These are bare-bones, one-towel-to-cover-you-up-sketchy-doesn't-follow-US-laws-and-regulations-type places. But after my first Chinese massage, it’s the only type of massage I’ll get now. Those ladies will climb up on top of you to dig out the knots in your back if they need to. The massage rooms even have rails above the tables so they can walk on your back. They have no shame and little care about your modesty, but it is so worth when your sore muscles melt.

As I laid on the massage table today, she asked me if I wanted hard or soft pressure. “As hard as you need to get the knots out,” I replied. As she massaged my back, it hurt so good, and my whole body started to relax. Then she worked her way down to my lower back/hip/butt regi…

Covert Red Flags: The Real Things You Should Be Looking Out For in Relationships

Your relationship with your spouse should be the closest human relationship you ever have. As we are dating, we are assessing whether or not that person could potentially fit into our inner circle. This causes us to be on high alert for red flags. Most red flags are obvious--lack of communication, anger issues, irresponsibility, controlling behavior, abuse, etc. A quick Google search will bring up list upon list of red flags we should look out for. Being rude to waitstaff, not making your relationship public, not caring about XYZ, stone walling, gaslighting, and more can all be found on most lists.

But what about the covert red flags? Those things that are less obvious. My first marriage taught me to look out for the overt red flags like the ones found in every advice column. My second marriage taught me to look out for covert red flags, ones that I never even realized were red flags until I could look back. The entire time we dated, I kept looking for the overt red flags, and there …

Why Does Doing the Right Thing Feel Like Punishment?

Today is more a stream of consciousness than my usual polished posts. I've been on the struggle bus the past few weeks, and my soul and spirit have been battling each other. I wrote the other day about my spirit winning out over my soul, and the war has been raging ever since I hit "publish." I've been trying to do what is right--and have been most of my life--but right now, doing what's right feels much more like punishment than any kind of reward.

My college boyfriend of a year and a half cheated on me with my best friend and roommate. Over the years when I have told that story, one question always comes up: "did you beat her up?" The answer is, no, I didn’t. I felt like it. I wanted to. But ultimately, what would beating her up have done? It wouldn't have made him love me again. It wouldn't have taken away the betrayal. It wouldn't have healed my heart. I’m sure I could’ve handled that whole situation better than what I did, but al…

Fasting and Change of Plans 2.0

I've never been one to set New Year's Resolutions. I've always felt like changes need to come from within, not just because the calendar flipped over. I've also never had a great desire to close out a year. But this year is a bit different. 2019 has been arguably the worst year of my life. Broken promises and a broken heart left me despondent and dependent. I started 2019 as a newlywed, head over boots in love with the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. I had a beautiful house, two new step-daughters, a husband, and a future of love, hope and happiness. I felt that all of the promises God had given me had been fulfilled. By the time school got out at the end of May, my marriage had unraveled, I lost my house, my new family, and the future I had prayed for. It was such a whirlwind, I didn't even know what had happened to our relationship. Even six months later, I still don't understand why he left or how he could change his mind so quickly. T…

He Was Always Going To Leave

He was always going to leave. It was just a matter of when he was going to leave.

When entering a marriage, or any relationship, really, you don't stop to think of definitions. You're caught up in the moment--the heightened emotions, the thought of everlasting love. When we say we love someone, we know what we mean when we say certain words and phrases, and we make the mistake of assuming the other person means the same thing we do. But for many, their definition of love, marriage and forever are much different than that of their spouse.

When I entered both of my marriages, my definition of love was a choice. I choose to wake up every day and put that other person's needs above my own. My definition of marriage was a covenant. I give 100 percent of myself to you, and you give 100 percent of yourself to me. My definition of forever was a life-long commitment no matter what. I am not basing my love on feelings, but rather a commitment to you forever.

When only one partner h…

Don't Let the Alligator In

We had rented a house right on the shore. My sister and her kids joined us--six kids and two adults at the beach. We've done this before--we weren't too worried how outnumbered we were. The house was four stories tall, with wall-length windows and wrap-around porches facing the water--a small bay that opened up to the ocean. A giant shark torso and head jutted up from the lowest level, giving the illusion it was a "Jaws" attack. My bedroom was on the uppermost level, facing the water. I would lie in bed at night as the waves lulled me to sleep. I would watch the dark expanse and wonder what was beyond the shore. Some days, I would stand at the water's edge and marvel at what the Lord had made.

Next door quite a few yards away sat a fun outdoor restaurant and bar with a large deck that had Christmas lights strung on the ceiling. Bands would play on the weekends and rock out the slough. One night, the lights were out, and all the customers came up on my deck--the …

Wait for Grace

Recently, a friend posted a picture on Facebook that read something to the effect of, "Wait for a man who gives you his time, brags about you, makes you feel safe, thinks you're sexy, wants to help you fulfill your dreams, etc." Of course women should wait for that--every woman wants those things. On the surface, the sentiment of posts like these is nice--alluring, even. I had a man who did all of those things, and I thought that was enough. It wasn't.

What I've come to realize is that all of those things don't mean squat when a man doesn't understand grace. Without grace, he's going to stop giving you his time when he gets mad at you. Without grace, he will start complaining about you. Without grace, he will no longer make you feel safe when you screw up, because, well, you screwed up. Without grace, your sexiness will wax and wane with his moods. Without grace, he won't want to help you fulfill your dreams when you fail to help him follow his. …

Turning our "Why?" into "Why Not?"

Sometimes, we find ourselves in an unwelcome season of life--whether it's a job situation, relationship issues, or just walking through emotional pain. We usually don't understand why it's happening. We want to know the answer to the question, "Why?" We think that if we could just understand why this is happening, then it would make it so much easier to walk through this unwelcome season.

I liken our lives to a road trip to Disney World. I can tell the kids all about Disney, Mickey, the shows, the rides, the characters. I can tell them how it's the happiest place on earth, and that they will have so much fun once we get there. But they will still ask incessantly, "Are we there yet?" "Can we stop?" "Why do we have to drive?" "Can we get some food?" "How much longer?" and other equally annoying questions. As the mom, I know the destination is amazing, but the journey to get there can be arduous. There will be p…

Rotten Fruit

Today's verse of the day in the Bible app is Matthew 7:17-20. It says, "Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

This isn't the only fruit metaphor in the Bible. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness and self-control, then we will exhibit those things in our lives.

When we take these two passages together, we can see that whatever is inside of you will be shown through your actions, words and behavior. So if the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, then you should bear the fruit of the spirit. Conversely, if you are not filled with the Spirit, you will be filled with the opposite. Think about the antonyms of the fruit of the spirit: apathy, despair, impatience,…

I am Not Enough

Go anywhere on social media, and you can find memes (pictures with words on them) of beautiful backdrops with the words "You are Enough" written in elegant fonts. There are songs and even Ted Talks hailing, "You are enough!" There are books about healing from heartbreak titled or subtitled, "You are Enough." Most of the books I've found titled this are Christian books. Taking it a step further, some memes even say, "For the right man, you will be enough."

The sentiment behind "You are enough" is that you are worthy; you are valuable; you are priceless; you are a treasure. These words of encouragement are meant to help strengthen those who are plagued with self-doubt, those who are struggling with emotional pain and those who lack an identity in Christ. It is imperative to our Christian walk that we remind ourselves of our worth and value every day. We are children of the Most High King, and we are loved beyond measure.

The fallacy…

Locusts: Why We Should Obey the Lord in Times of Devastation

Growing up Baptist, we were taught at a young age all about the plagues in Egypt. Bible characters cut out of felt were stuck on an easel as a visual aid in Sunday School. When we talked about the locusts, I always imagined disgusting bugs more like a cicada/flying cockroach hybrid. Especially since it was the eighth plague. The Egyptians had already suffered through blood, frogs, gnats, flies, boils and more, so locusts had to be horrid. When I found out that a locust was a grasshopper, I was quite disappointed, and then a little ashamed that I was an adult by the time I figured it out. I mean, in the realm of disgusting bugs, grasshoppers aren't high on the list. Doodlebugs, ladybugs, butterflies and fireflies are at the bottom of the list of disgusting bugs, and crickets and grasshoppers are right above all the cute bugs. Seriously, how much damage could a grasshopper do?

Then, I saw it for myself. Several years ago, we had a grasshopper infestation in our area. Those little s…

Those Words

“This just isn’t going to work out.” The dreaded words. The end. It's over. In my years of dating experience, I’ve heard Those Words several times. I’ve also said Those Words a time or two. Whatever partner is on the receiving end of Those Words is undoubtedly disappointed, hurt and saddened, but it’s a harsh reality that many relationships don’t always work out.

The majority of dating relationships end prior to walking down the aisle. But once you say, "I do," you never expect to hear Those Words ever again. But too often, it happens anyway. Families are devastated, hearts are shattered, and covenants are broken.
When you realize a dating relationship isn’t working for you, that’s when you utter Those Words or some variation of them. The thing is, though, after you say “I do,” you no longer get to say Those Words when the going gets tough--even if you feel the relationship isn't working. Every relationship has its ups and downs, marriage more than any other. That’…

Lottery Ticket

The other day, God gave me a “vision” of my husband winning the lottery. He had the winning ticket in his hand, and he was jumping up and down—so excited he had just won $100 million. After the excitement wore off, he started examining the winning ticket. He looked at it confused, and he turned it over. He shook his head and set the ticket down on the ground, walking away from it. Some guy came by, picked it up and said excitedly, “Mister! You have a winning lottery ticket here!” My husband shook his head and hung it low. “No, that’s not a winning lotto ticket. It’s just a piece of paper with writing on it.” He walked away.

God showed me several things through this. First, is that just because my husband couldn’t see the value of that winning lottery ticket (me, his wife), that winning lottery ticket was STILL worth the same as it was before! It doesn’t matter if he can see my worth or not—I am still more valuable than rubies and diamonds. Next, a winning lottery ticket isn’t the …

Spoon Perspective

We ordered a shrimp egg roll as an appetizer, and it was sitting in the middle of the table. I took the spoon wrapped up in my napkin so I could drizzle the sauce on my egg roll--because no one likes someone who double dips! I set the spoon on my appetizer plate and ate the egg roll. My husband reached across the table and took my spoon off my plate to drizzle sauce on his egg roll. I smiled at him and looked at him sideways. I thought to myself, "Why would he use my spoon when he has his own?" For a second, I thought maybe he just really wanted to use my spoon. I touched his napkin, in which was wrapped a spoon and fork. "You have your own spoon, you know," I teased. Embarrassment and laughter flushed across his face. He covered his face and laughed, "I thought that spoon came with the egg rolls!" I shook my head no, and I smiled at this precious man. "I was wondering why you would take the spoon yourself and not share it," he finally said aft…

Fixer Upper

Comedian Michael Jr. has a stand-up act where he talks about the "good room." He gives an analogy comparing our lives to houses. He talks about the "good room" in the house--the one where the furniture is just a little nicer, the carpet is newer, and everything is perfectly in place. For anyone on the outside, it seems like this person has their whole house (life) in order, because look how great this room is! The rest of the house, however, is not nearly as clean and put together. He explains that Jesus is standing outside with a mop and a bucket waiting for you to ask him in to help you clean the rest of your house. He continues to say that Jesus won’t force His way in—that we have to ask Him to come in. We don’t have to clean the house on our own—that’s what Jesus wants to do for us.

Speaking of a dirty house, there is no show that inspires me to clean the house more than Hoarders. Hoarders is a TV show that features people who hoard a massive amount of trash a…

Irrevocable

Many times we hear that people are "following their calling," or that people are "called" to do something. For some, it is clear to them--even from a young age--what they are called to do. But for so many of us normal folk, how do we know what we are called to do?  Most of the time, we feel like we are buzzing around from work to home to parenting duties, to church (maybe, if we aren't exhausted from all of the practices, games, recitals and performances our kids are in). How can we even be sure what we are called to do in the first place? Is it our profession? Is it to be a parent?

We have to realize that first and foremost, we aren't necessarily called to "do" something, but we are absolutely called to "be" something--to be sons and daughters of The Most High King. Isaiah 43:1 says, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are Mine." That's pretty powerful that the King of the Heavens and t…

Popular posts from this blog

Those Words

“This just isn’t going to work out.” The dreaded words. The end. It's over. In my years of dating experience, I’ve heard Those Words several times. I’ve also said Those Words a time or two. Whatever partner is on the receiving end of Those Words is undoubtedly disappointed, hurt and saddened, but it’s a harsh reality that many relationships don’t always work out.

The majority of dating relationships end prior to walking down the aisle. But once you say, "I do," you never expect to hear Those Words ever again. But too often, it happens anyway. Families are devastated, hearts are shattered, and covenants are broken.
When you realize a dating relationship isn’t working for you, that’s when you utter Those Words or some variation of them. The thing is, though, after you say “I do,” you no longer get to say Those Words when the going gets tough--even if you feel the relationship isn't working. Every relationship has its ups and downs, marriage more than any other. That’…

Because of Who I Am

Someone posted on Facebook the other day the following:
Why would you fight for someone who clearly doesn't want you? Please let them go. You are valuable, just not to them. I thought about it for a minute, because I indeed fought for my husband when he clearly didn't want me. I fought for our marriage, even when he had zero interest in making our marriage work. He had already checked out and told me point-blank that he just didn't want to work on our marriage, but yet I fought on my knees before the Lord.

Throughout the first few months of our separation, I prayed day-in and day-out. I beseeched the Lord to intercede. I rebuked Satan, and I prostrated myself before the Lord God Almighty. I went to therapy, and I watched sermons online. I listened to every Jimmy Evans podcast I could find. I journaled and devoured God's Word. I wrote my husband scriptures and prayers daily. I soon filled a 100-page journal front and back.

Shortly after he left in June, God told me tha…

Covert Red Flags: The Real Things You Should Be Looking Out For in Relationships

Your relationship with your spouse should be the closest human relationship you ever have. As we are dating, we are assessing whether or not that person could potentially fit into our inner circle. This causes us to be on high alert for red flags. Most red flags are obvious--lack of communication, anger issues, irresponsibility, controlling behavior, abuse, etc. A quick Google search will bring up list upon list of red flags we should look out for. Being rude to waitstaff, not making your relationship public, not caring about XYZ, stone walling, gaslighting, and more can all be found on most lists.

But what about the covert red flags? Those things that are less obvious. My first marriage taught me to look out for the overt red flags like the ones found in every advice column. My second marriage taught me to look out for covert red flags, ones that I never even realized were red flags until I could look back. The entire time we dated, I kept looking for the overt red flags, and there …