Failure is NOT an Option. Or Is It?

Adam broke the silence of our family dinner with a bang, “So what is something you failed at today? And what did you learn from it?”

Gulp. And gulp again to swallow my food.

I studied his eyes to see if he was serious. He was.

Silence hung in the air as the four of us contemplated his words, not really appreciating having to think about the areas in which we failed today.

In our Facebook, perfectionist, everyone gets a trophy culture, we generally frown on sharing our failures because it is neither a trophy or worthy of shares. We feel ashamed when we fail, which evokes in us the need to cover the evidence, not display it.

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Just a Runway for Words

A few nights ago, I had this crazy dream…

It began on a Sunday morning at church, the final worship song had escorted the crowd of people out of the sanctuary. Like everyone else, I made my way into the lobby to go pick up my kids and chat with friends. I remember I stopping in the lobby, lost in my own world, thinking about my struggles and how to apply the sermon I just heard. But finally I looked up and saw a couple next to me staring off into space. Their shoulders were stooped almost like they were looking for a lost ring on the ground, except they weren’t searching the floor. They were just staring blankly at the ground, not saying a word.

I turned to them and said, “Excuse me. May I ask what’s on your mind?” And the man stumbled out in reply, “I don’t know…I feel like what was spoken in there just now was good, but it held no power…I’m struggling and bound up with many sins and the speaker’s words didn’t share with me anything liberating. I’m still bound. I feel like the setting was just a runway for their words, as a way to show off their beauty and talent. But it held no power to set me free from what binds me.”

And they both hung their head even lower and walked out of the building.

Then I woke up.

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The War on Worship

Last week I wrote about my journey driving to a Ladies Conference. I shared about the Lord putting it on my heart to turn around and go back to a particular gas station. Once I got there, there Lord emphasized how eager I was to get to the conference, but like a parent whose kid races through the parking lot to get to the water park, He was telling me to slow down, see the people around me and wait for Him.

Well, that wasn’t all of the story!

About 2 hours later in my drive, I needed to go to the bathroom. As I turned into the Collin Bakery parking lot, a psychic place off to the right with a neon OPEN sign, caught my eye. Oh no, Lord, I thought. Are you asking me to go in there?

I contemplated it while I did my business in the restroom. I didn’t feel compelled to walk in there as I had been to go to the gas station earlier. But God was bookmarking that place in my mind. I later realized why.

Fast forward several hours and my friend and I walk into the ladies conference, overwhelmed. We didn’t realize how big this event was. I grew up attending conferences of 50 at the most. This place sat 3,000! And the seats were sold out. The building was brand new and equipped with every kind of the latest, greatest technology for a 5 star production.

After my exhausting drive, I was looking forward to worshiping the Lord and seeing what He had for me at this weekend retreat.

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Wait for Me!

Driving down the highway, suitcases in the back, a girl’s weekend awaited me. I queued up my podcast, punched in my destination and smiled at the 4 hours I would drive in the silence. No arguing children in the back, no questions to answer, no errands to run, no phone calls to make, no dinner to pick up ingredients for. Just me and the windshield, and well, a whole lotta cars on the road to navigate around.

I hadn’t been driving for 15 minutes before the Lord interrupted my journey. I was trying to listen to the sermon I missed from the Sunday before, but all of a sudden a flashback interrupted the pastor’s string of words.

I remembered the time I had driven through this same town and pulled into a gas station to fill up. It was a gas station on the edge of town, yes the one a little run down and scary. I went inside to pay for my fuel and there was a lady there, of Asian descent trying to buy lottery tickets. It sounded like she needed to win money from these lottery tickets to buy something important.

I remember listening to her broken English conversation with the clerk and my heart breaking. I wanted to give her whatever money she needed and tell her that there is a God who loves her, sees her and longs to provide for her.  I wanted to tell her that she doesn’t have to spend money on lottery tickets…that they won’t yield what she’s looking for. But I didn’t. I walked out that door and just said a prayer for her instead.

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How Do We Deal with Haunting Memories?

I know it’s been quiet on this site lately. With school ending and the holidays beginning, I’ve propelled myself into the “spirit” by immersing myself in projects. That’s immersing, not burying!

I’ve crocheted boot cuffs till my giant ball of yarn dwindled to a tiny skeleton. I’ve made dish cloths, headbands and bows, cooked Reese’s peanut butter cupcakes, hot crackers and ginger-cinnamon chex mix.

In between all the crafting activity we also visited some family for the first time in their new house! We flicked our wrists at some bowling – which Adam won – and twisted our ankles at some ice skating. We huddled, shivering, around the gargantuan Christmas tree in the middle of town.

The holidays are here…ready or not!

I’ve written, but kept it all hidden away in my journal, mostly because I haven’t been ready to part with it yet. I’m as ready to share it now as I am for Christmas Day, but it’s the hope that my words will reach out a hand and help someone up that I share. I know there’s someone else who struggles with haunting memories around the holidays and I want to share the Source of freedom that I’ve found.

This time of year stirs up a whole lot of jumbled up emotions and memories for me. I am deeply nostalgic. Smells, songs, food, a certain color shirt, driving down a certain road can recall those memories in an instant. I remember someone I was talking to, what I was wearing, what I was thinking when I wore that shirt and instantly it’s as if I was there again. Sometimes this can make me smile like when I remember all the Christmases with my grandparents, but sometimes the memories also evoke shame.

It was this time of year when the struggle I share about in my book began. I’ve been awake at night recently remembering what it was like when I needed to talk to my husband…about something I really didn’t want to talk to him about. I remember driving down the road, this conversation burning in my gut, and praying God would give me words and the right opportunity to share them. I remember feeling guilty, condemned and ashamed of myself.

A couple weeks ago I was still awake at 2:00 in the morning remembering how a few years ago I was awake at the same hour because I had something on my mind that wouldn’t go away. I knew I needed to talk to Adam about it, but again I didn’t want to.

So I would wait as long as I could stand it, hoping the thoughts would dissipate into thin air. I remember how my heart would race, kicking adrenaline in my system and preventing any hope of immediate sleep. I never wanted to wake Adam up, so I would just lay there, with a conversation BURNING in my throat.

Then suddenly Adam would cough or turn over. It was like he knew I was struggling. I’d touch him and whisper if he was awake. And there, beneath a canopy of darkness, with tears streaming down my face I would unload the ugliness that plagued me. He would listen and hold me, pray for me and tell me he loved me and then hold me some more. Only then could I drift off to peaceful sleep.

A few years later, when Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled around again, I would fear going back to that place. The memory of those sleepless nights and the conversations I needed to have made my palms sweat. I would do anything to NOT have to clean out that trunk again.

This year I’m not afraid of going back there again, I just remember what it was like. And because the memory is so vivid, maybe there’s someone else who needs to hear my story.

So in honor of that, I’m discounting my book. Starting today and running through December 21st, you can download my book through Amazon for only $.99!! Or purchase a paper back copy through me for only $5. 

NO MORE SECRETS FINAL WEDITS

And for anyone willing to help me share this exciting news, you can enter to win this beautiful necklace from Chelsey Alyse. She does beautiful, custom metal work on all her jewelry and I will draw one winner to receive this necklace on December 22.

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To enter the giveaway, simply do one of the following.

  1. If you’ve already read my book, leave a comment below on how the book impacted you. What did you take away from reading my story and why should others take time to read?
  2. Share either this post or my Amazon link with your friends via social media, email or text. Be sure and include (tag) me so I can enter your name in the drawing.
  3. Finally, buy the book! Send me an email or Facebook message letting me know you’ve purchased your copy.

*One entry per person (although you’re welcome to do all 3!)

*Must be 18 years old to participate

* Winner will be announced Thursday, December 22.

Thank you so much. I pray that through my story, you can find freedom from the memories that haunt you. May you have a Merry Christmas!

 

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How Do We Unite?

Last night I had a crazy, awful dream that my oldest son Caleb died in my arms. He had been sick and while I was holding him he breathed his last. In agony I wept and wailed aloud, asking Jesus to restore him to life. “Please, Lord, please bring Caleb back to life.”

When I opened my eyes, I saw Caleb’s eyes open and roll around the room as if totally confused about where he was. He was alive!

I’ve pondered this dream all morning long. While I was doing my morning chores the song titled Forever by Kari Jobe played on my phone. The words struck a chord within me and caused my spirit to worship. The words say, “The ground began to shake, the stone was rolled away, His perfect love could not be overcome. Oh death, where is your sting? Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated!! Forever He is glorified. Forever He is lifted High. Forever He is risen, He is alive….He is alive!!”

That’s when it hit me. That is the message of the gospel. My dream is what Jesus has done for us – for me. I was dead. My ugliness and sin separated me from God, but when I called out to Him, He saved me. He reached down from on high and took hold of me. He drew me out of murky waters and restored me back to life.

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When the Dark Clouds Move In

It happened yesterday. That dark cloud moved in, uninvited over my thoughts. Even though the sun was streaming through the windows of my house, inside my head, it was raining.

Thundering memories reverberated through my body. Lightening flashbacks suddenly illuminated my mind and I was transported to a few years ago when I walked through the most intense struggle of my life.

See, I wish I had a Wile E. Coyote testimony. One where I continuously ran off the cliff until one day, Jesus caught me, changed me, placed me on solid ground and I never ran toward the edge of the cliff again.

But I don’t.

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Hope in the Face of Tragedy

Yesterday I woke up to read about the tragic events in Orlando, Florida. My heart broke for the people involved.

Through out the day that sadness and compassion for the victims turned to utter frustration as the news reports put their spin on the ordeal, tweaking the facts to support their political view. Add to that some of my favorite writers turning this into a LGBT debate.

This shooting has opened Pandora’s Box on racism, sexism, gay issues and gun control.

Some say if we outlawed all guns we wouldn’t have this problem.

Some say this is the Christian’s chance to fully embrace the LGBT community and love on them in the name of Christ. They say Jesus would be on ground zero administering help anyway He could.

Some say this is why we should elect Trump or Hillary.

Everyone has an opinion on how we are supposed to react and respond to this tragedy, as if compassion needs to be politically correct.

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When God is On the Move

Recently, in an effort to zone out from all the activity swirling around me and actually rest, I queued up The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. For what better way is there to escape the worries of this world than to wander through the wardrobe with Lucy and embark upon an adventure filled with curiosity, faith, fauns, talking beavers and a battle of Good vs. Evil?

I’ve read the book and seen the movie many times, but the line that caught my attention this go-around was when Peter, Susan and Lucy entered the home of the Beavers. Mr. Beaver looked at all of them and said “Aslan is on the move.”

It reminded me of the song “God is on the move, on the move, Hallelujah. God is on the move in many mighty ways.”

When God is on the move, you know it. The air is different. Your spirit is stirred, restless even in anticipation of what is coming next. You can’t  quite make out what it looks like, but there’s a rustling in the bushes and like a dog with his ears perked, you are waiting expectantly to figure it out.

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Walking Away a Winner

It’s that time again…

Lent season.

The other morning while we were all getting ready for the day, I asked Adam if he had noticed the theme of Lent popping up frequently.

He said, “Zach mentioned he noticed more lent accumulating on top of the dryer these days.”

I was brushing my teeth when he said that and I nearly blasted toothpaste on the bathroom mirror.

Trying to regain my seriousness, I said, “Well, do you feel God leading you to give up anything to listen to Him?”

“Fasting,” he replied, regaining his air of sarcasm, and clearly avoiding the subject.

“Fasting?,” I repeated, drying off my mouth.

“Yes, you know, fasting from fasting.”

“Ha!” I responded. “So glad we could have this conversation. I have to take the kids to school now,” I said with a smile and walked out of the bathroom.

As I drove, I pondered our conversation, for I love Adam’s sarcastic sense of humor. It perfectly balances out my tendency to over think just about everything.

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