Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Land of the Living

So…Narnia-Voyage of the Dawn Treader is AMAZING if you haven’t seen it yet. It makes me want to go back and read the books all over again. And I just had to share one little quote, and mind you I am going from memory, so it is quoted loosely, but it goes something like this:

“I’ve spent far to long chasing what was taken from me, rather than what I have been given”.

I don’t know about you, but speaking as a person who is prone to the victim mentality, this quote hit hard. Victimization is a difficult thing, a very difficult thing. Anyone who would classify themselves as a victim in the first place had something pretty horrendous happen to them. People may have told them they deserved it. People may have dismissed their story and ignored their pain because it was to much for them to bear. Being a victim is often a plight that a person bears somewhat alone. Often, years are spent pining for what was “taken” from them. Be it their virginity, their ability to enjoy sex, their ability to have a normal relationship, their ability to sleep at night without torturing nightmares, the ability to be happy, the happiness of a “normal” childhood.-years are spent longing for these things. And some of these things will return. With healing a lot of these things, such as the ability to be happy and enjoy a normal relationship will be possible. However, things such as a “normal” childhood, well a person can spend years and years harboring hate and resentment and longing and chasing after what was taken. Seeking, and seeking it, completely ignoring the gifts of the present because the stench of the past is far too strong.

The first time my counselor told me that it was important for me to change my thought patterns, and to redirect my thoughts, I knew that she was right, but it felt so invalidating. I felt like yelling at her, and telling her that I have earned the right to be sad and miserable and I could think about such things as long as I wanted to. And I was absolutely right, I could think about these things as much as I wanted, but what I didn’t realize is that I was forcing myself to stay in the bondage. As long as I continued to focus on things that had happened in the past, there would be no moving into the future. But that was okay with me, because I had fooled myself into believing that the future held nothing for me anyways.

I don’t know what happened, other than a divine intervention, and some tough love from those I love the most, but eventually, I had enough. I came to the point where I had sufficiently spent enough time feeling sorry for myself, and realized that making other people feel sorry for me was not getting me the results I wanted. I thought for the longest time, that if I acted miserable enough, and had everyone around me feeling sorry for me, that I would finally get the attention that I deserved. What I didn’t realize was that it was doing the exact opposite, it was driving everyone away, and as for attention, the attention that I longed for-I was seeking in the wrong place. People couldn’t heal my wounds, only God could heal my wounds. God was the only one who felt my hurt as strong as I did, but He had no desire for me to stay swimming in it. He wanted to heal me from it. He wanted me to stop longing for the past and wake up to what I was missing in the present.

I know there are so many of us who have a tremendous amount of pain in our past, or even in our present. But that does not mean we have to let it permeate into every aspect of our future. We must fully acknowledge the pain of the past, find forgiveness for ourselves and for others, and when the time is right - LET IT BE. Let it be what it is. Nothing more and nothing less. A part of us in need of acceptance, but need not be our sole definition. If something is going to define me, I certainly don’t want it to be “sexual assault survivor” or “depressed girl who recovered with meds and therapy” - I want to be defined by Christ. So therefore, I must live this way. I must make the choice daily to focus my thoughts and my heart on Him. I must choose to think about whatever is right and lovely (Philippians 4:8), and when I do choose to think about such things, I realize what a gift it is. God has given us so much more than we could ever ask or imagine, and He does such amazing things with our pain when we are willing to hand it over to Him. I am constantly amazed by what He can do with a little bit of trust and humility on my part. He can do great things with us messy girls, so let Him. It’s okay to hand Him your pain, He knows exactly what to do with it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Entrusted





Romans 6:17-18 “ But thanks be to God that , though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”

It has been a crazy Christmas season. Fun, and so filled with blessings, but so very very busy. So busy in fact that when I finally take a moment to breathe, I wonder where in the world I have been. I have been here and there and everywhere, with everyone else, doing everything else, but I have been somewhat absent to myself, and absent from God.

And when I say absent from myself, I don’t mean in a selfless kind of way, that might be kind of righteous, but more in a choosing to ignore my own internal state kind of way. More in a way that chooses to ignore the convictions and sinful tendencies I might be leaning towards, and just presses forward, ignoring it all. In fact, I might even venture to say, I have been somewhat passive aggressive towards God. Kind of saying, I don’t have time for you God, and if you wanted me to have time for you, you should have give me a job in ministry. The job I want, where ministry is my full time focus, then I could focus on you. But not now…I am to busy with other things. Too busy being a slave to my own sin, and my own junk, or too lazy maybe.

Sometimes, it is just easier to be a slave. To sit in my own chains of bondage, rather than try to fight my way out of them. And the thing is, I have been set free of so many chains. For a moment I got lazy, and thought that I was home free. But unfortunately, Satan has a never ending supply of chains. Once we are set free from some, he has plenty more that He can pile on. And he will keep piling and piling away, as long as we let him.

But God says we don’t have to. We don’t have to be a slave to these things, because He has entrusted us with the gift of salvation. Not only has He given it to us, but he ENTRUSTED it to us. Entrust: to give to another for care, protection, or performance. You see, He did not just give me salvation so I could put it in my box and pull it out when I get to heaven as an entrance ticket. He gave it to me so that I could use it. He gave it to me so that I could use it. So that I don’t have to be a slave. It’s not just my key to heaven and eternal life, but the universal key that unlocks any chains of bondage that Satan wants to try and wrap around me.

Even the internal chain that has me believing that if God wanted me in ministry, I would already have a job doing it, so I might as well give up. Even the internal chain that says, no one gets anything out of what you write, quite wasting your time. The chains that tell me trying to lose weight is a pointless effort, I can’t do it. The chains that tell me not to try any more. I know that all of these things aren’t true. But yet their undercurrent runs through my thoughts time after time throughout the day. But only if I let them. I am entrusted with the key to change, the key to joy, and the key to righteousness - forgiveness, salvation, and unconditional love. Thank you Jesus, that time and time again, you set me free.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Chirstmas!

What a blessed year! I couldn't ask for more :) Merry Chirstmas to all of you! I hope your home is filled with joy and blessings and lots and lots of fun remembering the birth of our Savior!!! Here are just some cute pics from Lauren in her first Nutcracker, Ryan in his first Triathlon, and my sweet studly hubby Kevin! Blessings to all!!!!








Friday, December 17, 2010

Neither Holiness...nor fitness...are achieved all at once

“Don’t be in a bigger hurry than God. Holiness is not achieved all at once. We need to pray all of the time. And how can we pray all to him without being with him? How can we be with him unless we think of him often? And how can we often think of him unless by a holy habit of thought. You tell me I am always saying the same thing. You are right. I say it because this is the best and easiest method I know, and it is the only one I use.” Brother Lawrence, The practice of the Presence of God

A holy habit of thought. Wow. This is something I so very long to have. A Holy habit of thought. My thoughts tend to be more in the habitual habit of feeling sorry for myself, and rarely drift over to Holiness. However, as the author states, Holiness is not achieved all at once - don’t get in a bigger hurry than God. I suppose God has me exactly where He wants me, learning and tripping so that I may use my own trips to warn others of the boulders on the path. But, I also know that Holiness isn’t bestowed on me by God’s cosmic size magic wand. It is something He can gift me with more and more, but only if I am seeking Him more and more.

My mode of functioning over the past month or so continues to be laziness. I need to get to the gym. I need to get back into my Bible. I need to spend more time with God so that He can help me overcome some emotional eating habits that were formed over the past year or so. And none of this I can do alone. I must think of Him often, I must be with Him often, so that He can lead me into a bit more healthiness and Holiness.

And unless I do all of this out of efforts to glorify God, all of my efforts will be in vein. So, I will try my best to be happy exactly where I am at. To know that God will bless my efforts, and even though one day at the gym will not have me back in a size 6, that if I stick with it, He is faithful to bring results.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh My Goodness? Did they really say that? Really? I'm so offended!

There is nothing like to Holidays for a person who is harboring a spirit of offense. Thoughts can swirl through our mind if we aren’t careful, stealing our joy and attacking our self worth.

“They didn’t eat my pie! They ate grandma’s pie, but didn’t touch my pie. What is wrong with my pie? Am I a bad cook? I thought my pie was good! What is wrong with me, can’t I even make a pie right?”

“I am not having Christmas with THOSE people. Do you hear about what happened last year? I’ll show them. They can spend Christmas alone this year.”

“A sweater? Really? My brother get’s an I-pod and I get a sweater! Seriously! What the heck? I deserve way more than my brother. Who is the one who helped cook dinner? Who is the one who is always there for them? And I get a sweater! This is ridiculous!”

Offense. It can ruin our Holidays, or really our anydays, but only if we let it.

It is so easy to get offended; I speak as one who knows this ALL TOO WELL. When people hurt our feelings, or don’t meet our expectations, oftentimes our immediate reaction is to get offended. The sad thing is that over time, each of these seemingly small offenses add up and up and up and eventually can build into a huge wall of resentment that completely separates us and forces us into an inner angry state that follows us around wherever we go.

So what do we do when we get offended? Surely we don’t just let people walk all over us? Of course not! First of all we have to look at the offense. Is it something worth spending our mental time and energy on or is it simply something that we have built up in our minds into something way larger than it actually is (such as the pie incident or the Christmas present that didn’t meet our expectations). Or is it something that needs to be addressed. Sometimes things happen in our family or with our friends that genuinely do offend us and need to be addressed appropriately. They are things that we do not need to ignore and things that will not just go away because we pretend they didn’t happen. However, once they have been addressed, forgiveness is the next step. Unforgiveness hardly ever hurts the one who offended us and much more often becomes a seething splinter within ourselves. And lastly, when we are offended, oftentimes it is because whatever the person said to us, unfortunately, they were ALL TOO right. They said something that we know to be true, but SOOOOO did not want to hear. In this case, sometimes all that is needed is to humble ourselves, and take the correction.

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 “…my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure, in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Sunday, December 12, 2010

False guilt

Guilt. It is a very strange thing. So often I find myself feeling guilty for things that I have no idea why I feel guilty for. I find myself feeling sorry for the one who wronged someone rather than the person they wronged. Isn’t that strange. Even when someone does something wrong to me, I am much quicker to blame myself for “provoking” the wrong rather than be angry at them for committing the act. I am not sure why this is, I just know that my heart immediately jumps to the perpetrator rather than the victim. Perhaps it is because I know that oftentimes the one who perpetrates has been a victim in some way themselves. Even concerning my own victimization, it was a lot easier for me to forgive the perpetrator than it was for me to forgive myself.

You might think, a victim, what do they have to forgive themselves for. Well, part of the victim mentality is that the perpetrator uses anything and everything you have ever done wrong to make the victim believe that they deserve anything and everything they are enduring. That someone what goes around comes around, and somehow this is “their” fault. It is a horrendous viscious cycle, and this guilt is often the reason people stay in an abusive relationships despite horrendous circumstances. They believe they deserve it, every single ounce of it.

The thing is, it is not real guilt, it is false guilt. There is such a thing a real guilt, guilt that comes from God. Guilt that drives us to repentance of sins, but is immediately removed once repentance is acted out. It should not hang around like a cloud once forgiven. Guilt that moves around like a rain cloud, following us wherever we go, and constantly raining on every parade, that is false guilt. False guilt puts you at risk for removing things you never needed to remove. It puts you at risk for coughing out your very soul, and handing it to another because they have made you believe you are worth nothing. False guilt makes you believe that everything you are is ugly, and you must do everything you can to cover yourself up. False guilt can make you hate yourself, and has even driven people to believe that if they simply removed themselves from the equation everything would be better. False guilt is not from God.

Despite all circumstances, I can assure you of one thing, God does not want you to walk around with a cloud of false guilt over your head. And another thing, this cloud is somewhat difficult to remove. Depending on how long it has been there, it has had ample time to build and build and build, layer upon layer. And it will take time to remove, layer by layer by layer. But when it is gone, you can see the sun. It is a beautiful thing when your vision is no longer clouded by false guilt, and though it takes time to dismantle the cloud, you and God can do it. God never meant for you to carry this cloud around, and when we are willing to let it go and hand it over, bit by bit, we will see Him and His love a little more clearly, bit by bit. We will begin to understand His forgiveness more, and that when He says you are forgiven, He means it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quick Prayer Request

What’s up my bloggy peeps! So I have a MASSIVE prayer request. It may not seem massive to you all who don’t know my baby girl ballerina Lauren, but trust me it is massive. She is doing her first year as a ballerina in the Nutcracker this year and was blessed with three, yes three, wonderfully beautiful parts. She is an amazing dancer, and knows her parts well. However, her confidence is shaky, and the rehearsal schedule is UNBELEIVABLE! We are talking night and day live eat and breathe ballet for a solid two weeks!

If you know my Lauren at all, you know she gets SUPER cranky when she is tired, and throws massive fits!!! I mean MASSIVE! So I am begging for prayers for her the next two weeks. That she falls in love with dancing even more, rather than getting burned out. That she is filled with Nutcracker giddiness and joy and makes tons upon tons of new best friends! And that despite the craziness of the schedule she abounds with happy joyful energy! Thank you all for prayers! You all are AWESOME!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pit stops on the Journey

So since this blog is a “Journey of Healing”, today I had a little revelation as I distance a little more from the pain part of the journey into the growth part, and I just had to share J

I seem to find myself lately not really motivated to do much of anything. Not to say that I am not busy - because I am super super super busy! (Nutcracker rehearsals and performances EVERY NIGHT for the next two weeks). But I am not talking about being busy, I am talking about being productive in the bearing fruit area. My fruit tree has been looking a bit barren, and to be quite honest, I have been happy with my naked tree for the past few weeks or so.

Today while drying my hair (this is where I do most of my deep thinking by the way, why? I don’t know, but it just seems to happen there) I started thinking about why my motivation seems to have flown out the window. I thought back to a conversation I had with my counselor when I was in the hard and fast throws of gut wrenching pain. I told her that if I let go of the baggage I was holding onto, that I was afraid I would lose my motivation. That if I believed I was worthy just because God loved me, and that I had nothing to prove, that I would have not motivation to do anything. She told me that the last thing she was worried about was me losing my motivation, after all it had pushed me to a Med in Counseling and almost to pursuing a PhD in Counseling, that is until all my baggage became crowded around me so tight that I had to face it! But…it happened…just like I thought it would…my motivation kind of went for a little vacation. For the first time I have felt okay with just being me, messiness (literally) and all, just happy with being me. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a GOOD and much needed thing. However, I kind of missed the part of me that was motivated to get out there and do something, to keep my house pretty, and to get off my hiney and to the gym.

So…while drying my hair I felt the spirit move me to a new place. My motivation in the past was to achieve. Yes, I helped others in the process, but my main motivation was to achieve and to feel worthy. But now it needed to change. My motivation needs to change. My motivation needs to be to love and to serve my King, whatever that may look like at the moment. I may no longer want to lead a group at church because I want to appear as if I have it all together, but I do want to lead a group at church because I want to be there to help others know that Christ’s love is unconditional and that He is worthy of our trust. I may not want to go to the gym so that others will say I look good, but I need to go to the gym so that I can take care of the body God has given me in order to better serve others. I may not want to clean my house because it is important to me that my house is cleaner than my neighbors, but I need to keep it clean so that it is a nice place for my family to rest, a safe place to fall.

So…where did my motivation go? My motivation to prove myself and accomplish flew out the window…but God is going to gift me with a new motivation. And I am excited to see what He is going to do with it. I love the journey J

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chit Chat



On any given day we engage in gobs and gobs of chit chat. Be it with children, our spouses, our co-workers, with God, or even ourselves - unless we are sleeping or silently meditating, we are chit chatting with someone or something. Sometimes it is verbal, sometimes it is non-verbal in the form of thoughts or actions - but still chit chatting away. We all know our actions speak louder than words. If we think about, something as seemingly simple and small as daily interactions and conversations, or even short little sentences, can have a huge impact on our lives.

Today I set out with the goal of actually paying attention to the conversations I had. To actually make them meaningful and pay attention to the words I was so flippantly throwing out there. How did it go? Terrible. By the time I had been at work for an hour, I had spent an hour talking to a co-worker, most of which was gossipy type stuff, and none of which was constructive in any way. I didn’t even think about it during the rest of my day, until I sat down to write tonight. I don’t know about you, but today was a major discovery for me that the majority of conversations I have throughout the day are not purposeful and may even be destructive. Ouchy…conviction cuts like a knife sometimes! But I am so glad it does, lest I move through my life making the same mistakes over and over again.

So, with that said, it is my goal this week to be mindful of my conversations. To pay attention to what I say, and not let things slip through my mouth that aren’t purposeful or worse yet, destructive. I want my words to be a tree of life, not mindless chit chatter. Even with the words I speak to myself, I can choose to crush my own spirit or water the tree. I pasted a few verses below to be my reminders…and hope you will find them insightful as well! Blessings and love always! Stephanie


Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

James 3:9-12 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”


Proverbs 15:4 “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”

Ecclesiastes 5:2 “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”


Chit chat - seemingly trivial as a word, but huge implications.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Right now, Daddy

I like to think that if I was Mary I should be so obedient.

I like to sit and play the what would you do game when it comes to bible characters. I like to put myself in their place and wonder if I would do the same thing. If an angel of the Lord appeared to me and told me that I would be with child, that the Savior would be born unto me, what would I do?

Mary did not have my prior knowledge, like I have. She knew absolutely nothing of the story of Jesus Christ. She had not heard the stories of His birth over and over again, and the stories of His death over and over again, and the truths of His grace over and over again. But I have.

But what would I do If I were Mary? If I had no prior knowledge. I am quite certain that I would have said NO WAY! I would have had a million excuses and reason why God had not only chose the wrong girl, but reasons why the plans I had already laid out for my life could not be altered to fit this in. I am quite certain I would have been horrified and said no. I am quite certain that the last thing that would have come out of my mouth would be, “ I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

And then the Sprit prompted me asking, “Well what if you did know“? What if you did know that you would bear the savior of the world? What if you did know the story of Christ as you know it now? Then would you say yes? The sad thing is…I am still quite certain I still would possibly say no.

If Jesus were to be born to me right know, as I am what would I do? If God were to give me the forsight to know His story, and what would happen to Him, that He really would save the world, what would I do when the angel of the Lord appeared?

I would wonder how Jesus would get along with my other children. I would wonder if we could afford his upbringing. I would wonder what other people would think. I would wonder why He choose me. I would warn Him that I am quite certain I would fail. What if I died in childbirth leaving my other children without a mom? What would my husband think? What would my parents think? Yes…even in my present state of knowledge I am quite certain that if I were Mary I still would have said no. Even if I knew that what the angel of the Lord was saying was true, that the Son of God would be born unto me, I would still have a million reasons why He should not be. Why he should not come into my life. Why I could not make room in my life for the Savior to be born.

Hmmm…sounds an awfully lot familiar. I still seem to have a million reasons why the Savior cannot be born. I have accepted Him into my heart, and I am born again, but I so often say, “God I don’t have room for you in this.” “This one is me. Let me try this one on my own. , can’t I just do it my way this time. Can’t you just let me sin without feeling guilty or reeping the consequences just this once. Why God? Why do I have to be obedient? Didn’t you choose the wrong girl? God do you have to born in my life right now? Wouldn’t another time work better? I just don’t have time for you right now God.”

I say these things so often. For the first time…for a moment…I can feel the hurt that it must bring to His heart. To have his beautiful daughter say, “not right now Daddy. I am too busy for you right now. Not right now Daddy, I am too busy looking for gifts. Not right now Daddy. I am too busy with Nutcracker. Not right now Daddy. there are a million other things to do. Not right now.” How it must pain Him…and yet he loves me anyways.

Dear Lord, Right now Daddy. Please help me to have a heart that is always willing to have you born into my life anytime anywhere. Right now Daddy. During Christmas Daddy, during Nutcracker rehearsals, and work, and cleaning the house, and cooking, and going to parties, right now Daddy. Be my everything right now Daddy. Mess up my plans right now Daddy. I love you Daddy. Amen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Straight Path




Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

What does it mean to acknowledge something? Being the word nerd that I am, I had to look it up. To acknowledge means to admit something, to accept as fact or truth, to recognize the authority of somebody or something. Acknowledge Him - in all your ways - He will make your paths straight.

I have to ask myself if I acknowledge Him. I consult Him, yes, but do I acknowledge Him? Do I accept what His word says? Do I accept the promptings of the spirit as ultimate authority and truth? Or do I choose to accept my own will as the ultimate authority? I sure try. But many times, I must confess, I lean on my own understanding.

What would it look like to acknowledge Him in all my ways? How would it change my life if I believed the God breathe word in front of me as absolute truth and never ever questioned His authority again? That would look amazing. But…yet I am a sinner. I try, but I fall down. I trust Him for one thing, but not the next. I acknowledge His truths in one area, but hesitate to believe them in the next. I am a work in progress.

However, one thing I can accept as absolute truth is this: when I do acknowledge Him, however painful it may seem, my path is straight. I did not say it is cushy and comfortable and a road filled with daisies and sunshine, but it is straight. There is not a single time that I have followed the promptings of His word or the Spirit and ever ever ever been lead astray. Every single time I do, I find that He knew exactly where He was taking me, even though I questioned the destination.

So why do I continue to hesitate? If I know this to be true; that He absolutely will make my path straight, why do I hesitate? Why do I continue to choose my own way over His, particularly in certain areas of my life? Fear. It all boils down to fear, most of the time. I am afraid of what another person might think or say. I am afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, or not meeting their expectations. I am afraid of disappointing someone I love. I am afraid of what obedience might look like to the unsuspecting onlooker. Might it look strange? Might they think I am odd? Might they wonder what in the world I am thinking? Maybe. They might. But that is not for me to worry about. God is my only compass. He is the one who knows my path, and He will keep me directly on time and on course. What an amazing blessing. I will choose to trust.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's in a name?

What’s in a name? It is something we go by. Something we answer to. But really, what is in a name?

A name is something we may use to protect ourselves. A label we can attach in times of uncertainty so that others will know what to expect. When others hear our name they immediately reach into their mental filing cabinet, pull out our file, and whalla, they have their own version of us pulled up and ready to go. But what is in this name, this file? Is it who we really are? Are we really nothing more than merely some drummed up perception of what we think of ourselves or what others think of us? Or are we more?

I believe that we are more.

If we merely added up to the sum of our name, we would be nothing than numbers in a line. Robots, all going about the same business day in and day out. Just people, passing through, and when our time was done, it would be done. But, I believe we are more.

Despite myself and what others would think or say about me, there is a name that He has given me that is much greater. It is that of a daughter of the most high God. It is in this name that I find my true identity. It is in this name that I can breathe amidst the trials of this earth. It is in this name that I can rest and find peace. This is my name. This is who I am, because of Jesus. Jesus, HaShem, The Name.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Silly girl...just trust me...and bring praise

I haven’t blogged in a couple of days, because I have just been overwrought with some family drama. And when I say overwrought, I mean completely overwhelmed, unable to breathe. I am not going to go into the details, let’s just say I had fears that my worst nightmares were coming to pass. They may or may not have, I really don’t know at this point. But, as with any situation involving family, it gets all convoluted and emotions flying everywhere at 90 miles an hour. What I would normally do as a professional came into collision with what I feel I need to do to protect my family, and I wasn't even sure exactly what protecting my family looked like at this point. When professional and personal judgment collide, it is like trying to pick between two equally legitimate paths. Then you add trying to decipher God’s will in the mix, and the roads become one big mesh of unavigateable highway.

Notice, I said “trying to decipher God’s will”. Not that I think it’s wrong to do this, we must seek Gods will. However, I have a tendency to wait about 30 seconds to decipher His will, and then I decide that He is not going to answer, so I had better just figure it out myself. In case you haven’t noticed, I have a REALLY hard time with patience. I have a REALLY hard time with trust, still, although He is working on me. And I am extremely HEADSTRONG, so I jump to the “I will just figure it myself” mantra. All of this I do instead of the one thing I should do, sit in peace and rest and wait on God to provide His perfect answer. Instead I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, screaming the sky is falling, until He answers. And I am so grateful that despite my ridiculous displays, He still answers. That is grace that is unconditional, that is love.

Today, God provided me with a friend who directed me on a path that finally let me breathe. The God path. The path He made that does not require me to choose between my professional and personal judgment. The path He made when there seemed to be no way out, the perfect path, the God path. And He was there all along, all I had to do was wait. His timing is always perfect, He always hears us, and I know that if I would just trust Him, I could save myself a lot of pain and worry.

Instead...I will bring praise.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Be healed

I have this scripture that I just can’t get out of my mind. It is Mark 1:40 - 42 out of the NLT.

“A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.

What particularly struck my attention was the little star by the word compassion, stating that some texts state “moved with anger”.

I sat there dumbfounded over why this situation would move Christ to anger. After all if He is angry, I knew it must be some type of righteous anger. I closed my eyes and hashed this out: compassion, anger, compassion, anger. Whenever I thought of the word compassion, I couldn’t help but have the visual in my mind of the child we sponsor through Compassion International. So with that image in my head, I immediately thought of how angry it makes me at times that we have children in this world that don’t have food and water. Hmmmmm, compassion could lead to anger then. So maybe it is that, Christ so hurt for this poor man plagued by leprosy that He was not only filled with compassion but an anger that His child was hurting. Not just some child, but His child, the child He loves.

Then as I was driving home tonight listening to Sheila Walsh’s “Amazing things happen when a woman trusts God” on CD, I listened to her tell the story of Jesus weeping at the grave of Lazarus. She applied a similar thought to these verses, in that Jesus was hurting for the pain of those He loved.

Wow. I truly have a new respect for what Christ does in the healing process. I have always thought that the hardest part of healing is the waiting. It seems as if it takes forever at times, that God is simply ignoring your requests. It can seem as if we are in so much pain that if we have to bear another minute we will not survive, but somehow we hang in there. I always sat there wondering if God is just sitting back in His big heavenly beach chair hanging out while I am crushing under the weight of pain, after all if He heard me, surely He would act.

However, these passages gave me new assurance that He not only hears my cries, but is pained and perhaps even weeping and angry over the pain. He does not ignore one little bit of our hurt, but stands right there in the midst of it with us, collecting each and every tear we shed. And when the time comes, we know He is willing, and we will be healed. Maybe not in the way we expected or imagined, but we will be healed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

prayers for the survivors

I am at a training for dialectical behavioral therapy. A therapy commonly used for borderline personality disorder. A disorder that has a high incidence of clients with sexual abuse or assault in their past. And tonight I watched private practice which was very graphic tonight about a sexual assault, or the word that I hate to say , rape.

Sexual crimes are horrific. I can't tell you how many women I hear who say things like it left them hollow, tearing out their soul. I hate it. I am hurting for them tonight. I have my own assault experiences, but as time passes I hurt less for myself and more for others. I guess that's a normal progression after some degree of acceptance.

Let's just send up some prayers for the next couple of days for the victims. The silent ones. The healing ones. The ones in gut wrenching emotional pain. The ones who self medicate to numb. The ones who cut. The ones who contemplate suicide. The ones who are working to help others but still falling back into their own pain at times. The list could go on...but I think you get the idea. And if that one is you...and you would like specific prayer please feel free to comment or email. I would be honored to pray for you. God bless, and He loves you so much. Its true.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

humble pie

Okay already. I've had enough of the humble pie. Not only was I convicted today about being prideful...see post below...if you will note in the post below I linked the amazing Sam at fields of gold to the wrong blog address. Yea. Yea. Yea I sure did. And if I wasn't only equiped with my blackberry at the moment I would fix it, and will when I get home. Ummmm...what's that you said? Pride comes before a fall? Ha! Yes it sure does. Signing off as his humbled servant Stephanie.

God is a God of second chances


Do you ever have one of those nights where it feels as if angels and demons are wrestling right above you? Had one of those nights last night. And honestly, this morning I hesitated with whether or not I wanted to share about the massive amount of conviction that kept me up last night, or rather just sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened. I kind of was opting for never happened until I remembered it was link up day to Jen at Finding Heaven, and after reading her post, yes, okay God, I will share.

You see, it is easy for me to share my struggles when it comes to things such as depression or healing from past hurts and pains. Somehow these struggles have taken on a "holy" vibe to me. However, I still have a hard time sharing the "real" sin struggles. The struggles with things like pride.

Last night Sam at Fields of Gold linked to my blog. I was so excited, because I felt so honored to be linked to by such an awesome writer. However, I woke up last night realizing that in the excitement that she liked my post, I NEVER EVER EVER EVER even thought much about the pain behind her words. I thought about my own pain behind my words, but never hers. So there I was at 2 am, with God telling me, you need to appoligize to her. Your head got swelled up so big with the yourself, that you never even followed the passion of what you set out to do. Reach out to women and pray for women who struggle just like you do.

I didn't start blogging to get more followers or more likes, yet on days it seems as if that is what I am after. I didn't start blogging to make myself look good. I started blogging so that maybe someone else could derive some benefit from the journey of my own pain and struggles. I started blogging so that women who feel alone, might know that they are not so alone. I started blogging because it was what I felt God wanted me to do. Where did I make the wrong turn? I'm not really sure. But it's time to whip a u-turn and head back up the road to where I started from. So glad our God is a God of second chances.

Today I am linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven as a part of a new sitsterhood that is not about "THE QUALITY OF OUR WORDS BUT ABOUT LIVING THOSE WORDS". Praying for all of us sisters that whatever our struggles, we will see God's hand working as never before.

Monday, November 1, 2010

the other side...

Lamentations 3: 55-57 But I called on your name, Lord, from deep within the pit. You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!” Yes, you came when I called; you told me, “Do not fear.” 

Some of the wisest, most soothing words ever spoken into my life were these, “you don’t know what’s on the other side”. Very simplistic words, but carrying the weight of such truth. If it wasn’t for these words coupled with divine intervention, I would have made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. The truth is, we so often don’t know what is on the other side. God brings us to places where we can only see the next step, if even that. At times we may only have enough light to see where we are right now. As excruciating as it may be, He may call us to wait and trust that He is sovereign. It may seem like the calls we make from the pit go unheard. We may be screaming, where are you God in the midst of this? My marriage is falling apart! I can’t take the pain anymore! Why won’t you take these memories and pain away? Why won’t you heal me? Where are you God? But, He is there when we call. He knows exactly where to find us. And He whispers, do not fear.

We cannot see what is on the other side, but He calls us not to fear. He calls us to rest our heads upon His chest, and upon the truth of the word, and trust Him. We cannot see on the other side, but we do know that what His word says is true. We do know that God works together for the good in all things. The holidays can be rough, especially if we are in the midst of a trial at a time when we are expected to be happy and joyous. It may seem as if no one sees our pain, however it does not stop just for the holidays. It does not go away so that we can celebrate with family, and then return at a better time. It stays, even uninvited, it stays. But rest your heart in His hands, knowing that He sees your pain, and as bad as you want Him to take it away, He asks you not to shrink away from Him, but to cling to Him fearlessly. He sees your pain. He knows your pit. Take comfort in the silence, resting, knowing that soon you will reach the other side.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Contagious Restoration...pass it on! :)

I just read a beautiful post on restoration at www.fieldsgold.blogspot.com. Beautiful thoughts and words. And the funny thing is, she read about restoration on another person's blog, hmmmmm, this restoration thing must be a bit contagious.

Today I have found myself thinking on what a priviledge it is to have the opportunity to write. And, like the silly girl that I am, I have been thinking all day, "don't screw this up Stephanie". Funny that is. Because honestly...I deserve not one millismidgen of what I have been blessed with. There is no way I could have "earned" the opportunity to write, the opportunity to share with others. It is all a gift by grace from God. He can give and He can take away. But He is sovreighn, and regardless of my flaws and/or gifts through grace, He is in control. So grateful that He is control. So grateful that my own mistakes cannot remove His hand from me. What a gift that is. There is no one or no thing on this earth like Him. There is nothing else in this life that is offered up completely free of charge. There is nothing else in life that we cannot screw up. There is nothing else that is completely utterly and completely unconditional. If that kind of love does not inspire restoration, I don't know what will! So I am praying for a restoration of my heart and spirit, and the joy of my salvation. Because there is nothing like it. Nothing even close.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

bursting with "God-news"

Luke 1:46-55, The Message

And Mary said,

I'm bursting with God-news;

      I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.

      God took one good look at me, and look what happened—

      I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!

   What God has done for me will never be forgotten,

      the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.

   His mercy flows in wave after wave

      on those who are in awe before him.

   He bared his arm and showed his strength,

      scattered the bluffing braggarts.

   He knocked tyrants off their high horses,

      pulled victims out of the mud.

   The starving poor sat down to a banquet;

      the callous rich were left out in the cold.

   He embraced his chosen child, Israel;

      he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.

   It's exactly what he promised,

      beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

 

Bursting with “God-news”

I get excited, I can’t help it, I am one emotional girl who gets giddy and happy and squeals with excitement! So, I cannot imagine the joy of Mary as she finds out she is bursting with “God-news”, literally!!!

And I know, I know, I am sure people thought she was a nutcase when she told people she was a pregnant virgin, nonetheless, pregnant with the Son of God. I know I certainly would have suggested therapy, LOL! However, regardless, Mary was bursting with joy, claiming herself the most fortunate woman on earth. And she was. 

She could have hidden, embarrassed, scared that no one would believe her. She could have been fraught with anxiety. But she wasn’t. She was overcome with joy, trusting and knowing that her God was holy and merciful and all knowing. She knew He would take care of everything, and in knowing that she thrived in perfect peace and happiness.

So, I think today, I am going to sit back in the beach chair in my mind with my toes squishing in the sand of His word and let the waves of mercy wash over me, and thank my Jesus for the fact that my life is one big burst of “God-news”!

 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Abandon

I keep running into the word abandon lately. And might I say that God knew when to present this word to me, because had He presented it to me six months ago it would have sent me into a full blown panic attack with hives.

I never knew I had abandonment issues until the past couple of years. Honestly, I am not quite sure how they developed other than just twists and turns of life, and the fact that I have always kept so much of my pain hidden from sight. In a way I abandoned myself believing that if anyone knew the real me they would high tail it on out the door. Regardless of how it happened, abandonment was a very real fear of mine.

Then I picked up Lisa Harper’s book, “Untamed – How the wild side of Jesus Frees us to live and love with ABANDON”. Then I go reading the book I already started, Lysa Teurkurst’s book “Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl” and she starts talking about living with ABANDON! It has always been ever presently clear to me that when I hear a word in more than one place in my life, especially a word as strong as ABANDON, I need to pay attention.

The root of my abandonment fear is that I am ultimately very afraid to be alone. Alone means fundamentally flawed, and fundamentally flawed is at the core of my shame. Hence, I have believed one of two things, 1. if I let someone in, I had better hang on to them with all the might I have 2. sometimes it’s just better not to let them in than to risk losing them and being left abandoned.

But Christ, He calls us to abandonment. He calls us to live in such a way that we would lay everything else down and follow Him. So many of us sit here with such a burning Holy emotional passion for Him, but we stop short of abandon. We stop short of the action because our emotions don’t follow. Our emotions say, wait a minute, are you really sure you want to put ALL your eggs in this one basket, what if He fails you? Then where will you be? And our internal dialogue goes something like this: Love Him, but keep your self at a distance, you really are a mess, what if all this Bible stuff isn’t true, you need more than just Him, you can’t even touch or see Him, Abandon, Really?, you can’t do that.

Lies. They are all lies. Abandonment and fear lie hand in hand. We may carry around emotional scars that leave us fearful to the core of being abandoned, but one thing is true. When you forsake everything for the sake of the Cross, HE WILL NOT FAIL YOU! When you decide to love Him with abandon, you suddenly free your heart to be completely His. And when your heart is His, you can rest assured that He does not abandon. He will ask you to love others, and you need to love others, and others to love you, but your heart will always remain in His hands, and regardless of what would be abandonment wounds inflicted by man, He will protect your heart with His jealous love. Living with abandon is not easy; I haven’t figured it out yet. But I know the first place to start is to let go of my fears, to ask Him to help me overcome my doubts and unbelief, and to jump with both feet into His arms, and to willingly pour out my heart to others knowing that my Savior will never abandon me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm all itchy

I went to Women of Faith this weekend in San Antonio. Awesome is the only way I know to describe it. Seeing so many women gathered together to worship and learn more about our amazing Savior, it was simply amazing. And yet, I leave a bit confused, as I always seem to do. For as long as I can remember, I have been unable to attend an event such as this without feeling intense, I can't find the word, so I am going to call it itchyness. Intense itchyness. Even as a little girl attending church camp, I couldn't just come home like the other kids being simply glad to be home, I come home all itchy. All itchy to take action.

While I was going to counseling, I found out that a lot of my motivation to acheive was out of a need to counteract feelings of shame. But not this, not this itchyness. I don't think it is the same. This kind of itchyness is a passionate longing to minister to others. A passionate longing for ministry. It has never ever been enough for me to take in a message and apply it to my life. I have this burning need to reach out to others. I want to tell and tell and tell and tell, they need to be set free. They need to know that freedom is possible.

I know that God has put this itchyness in me for a reason, and maybe others feel the same itchyness and just don't talk about it. But...for me it is consuming. I trust that God would not put such a longing desire to spread His word in my heart without a purpose. He has given me passion for a purpose, and i know that He has me exactly where He wants me for know. But I can't help but passionately pray that He gives me opportunities in ministry. I know it may never happen, but I hope it does, I dream it does. So...I am picking back up my computer and am going to start finishing one of the many scripts I have started for a book. The hardest thing for me to do it seems is finish what I have started. But, finish I will. Because it's all I know to do with this Holy passion itchyness that burns, and let God do with it what He will. Amen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Delight yourself

Psalm 37:4
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

I have been feeling rather undelightful the past couple of days. Nothing is really wrong, just kind of wallowing around in an icky kinda funk. I keep reading stories of people who are going through so much more than I could imagine. Really, I have it pretty darn good. So…there I am comparing myself to others, to their thoughts and emotions and wondering why I seem so undelightful. Thinking I know what they are thinking and feeling, and reminding myself that I don’t measure up.

There is a problem with comparing ourselves to others, and depending on others for our emotional cues, the problem is we really don’t know what they are thinking or feeling. We only know what they present on the outside, and the assumptions we make on our own. And oftentimes, we are left feeling as if we are less than enough because we aren’t handling life as well as “they” are. So now, not only are we in a kind of icky undelightful funk probably due to hormones or something, we are in even more of a funk because we “shouldn’t” be in a funk. And let the spiraling of internal dialogue begin: I feel icky, I shouldn’t feel icky, other people aren’t feeling icky, why do I feel icky, what is wrong with me, I must not be normal, and on and on and on it goes – until whammo! – something whacks us in the head making us realilze how unbelievably ridiculous it all sounds.

What choice do we have then when we are in an icky funk? Delight YOURSELF in the Lord. Don’t expect someone else to pick you up and delight you, don’t spend hours ruminating on the undelightful, but find what is delightful and DELIGHT YOURSELF in the LORD!!! He is something stable. He is the one person who we know exactly what He is thinking about us all the time, “I love you, and I forgive you”, and that’s something worth delighting over.

Seeking delight in other people or things will never fill the deep down yearning desire in our hearts. It may soothe the icky funk for a moment, but it is not lasting. What is the desire of your heart? And How can you delight yourself in Him so that He can give you the desires of your heart?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hebrews 4

My sweet wonderful amazing husband led me to this passage. I believe it speaks enough for itself. So I'm just copying and pasting it from The message version and encourage you to read any other version you enjoy as well. And I would love to hear how this speaks to you :) blessings for a restful Sunday!

Hebrews 4

For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. 2 We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. 3 If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith. Remember that God said,

Exasperated, I vowed,

“They’ll never get where they’re going,

never be able to sit down and rest.”

God made that vow, even though he’d finished his part before the foundation of the world. 4 Somewhere it’s written, “God rested the seventh day, having completed his work,” 5 but in this other text he says, “They’ll never be able to sit down and rest.” 6 So this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Those earlier ones never did get to the place of rest because they were disobedient. 7 God keeps renewing the promise and setting the date as today, just as he did in David’s psalm, centuries later than the original invitation:

Today, please listen,

don’t turn a deaf ear . . . 8 And so this is still a live promise. It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today.” 9 The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. 10 God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. 11 So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience. 12 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. 13 Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

The High Priest Who Cried Out in Pain 14 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. 15 We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. 16 So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Emotional Poo

What a blessing today was for all the miners in Chile. I cannot even fathom what they must have been through, and I know this is such a girl thing to think about, but holy cow the stench must have been awful.

So often we find ourselves trapped. We might have been there so long that we no longer even realize we are trapped. Kind of like, you know when something smells REALLY bad, but after you are in the room with it for a while, it doesn’t smell so bad. We can be sitting in a pile of our own emotional poo, and at first it has a stench, but after a while you just get used to it. All of the sudden, it doesn’t smell so bad anymore, but it’s still poo.

Then along comes Jesus offering us a rescue pod up into the light. And funny thing, we might jump on the rescue pod, we might choose to stay in the dark, or we might choose to send a decoy up just to make sure things are safe. Yep, a decoy, sometimes we might send someone up who looks like us and acts like us…if we were perfect. We send up the clean nicely kept and perfectly groomed version of ourselves up into the light just to see if we are accepted. However, the real us…sitting in all our poo…is still down in the pit.

Jesus wants to rescue the dirty ooky nasty stinky girl that’s been down at the bottom of the mine for years. He doesn’t want the decoy, He knows you’re not perfect. He wants all of you, messy poo included. You may have to put on some sunglasses, because His light might take a while to get used to. But once you let Him save you, ALL of you, you will see yourself for the beautiful princess you are, and all that poo…well it just washed away.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Finding Forgiveness


I have been hit hard lately with lots of stories of women struggling with issues in the past. Struggling to forgive others, yes, but mostly struggling to forgive themselves. I wrote this poem about a year ago, when I was processing through some of my own story. I haven't ever shared it on my blog, but the time just felt right to share it. Much love and blessings, and although I know some of you by name, there are countless others who I do not...but I am praying for all of us women that this weekend perhaps we can be just a bit kinder to ourselves, and allow a Christ's love to become our reality a little bit more.

Finding Forgiveness

Oh the breath of air I breathe
Cleansing is the peace that comes
When true forgiveness has been received
And the waters begin to run.
There really is no one to blame
For the wrongs that have been done.
Each one of us has felt the shame
Yes, every single one.
How deep the waters run of shame and guilt and doubt.
The soul begins to yearn for peace
My darling, you have to let it out.
Don’t hide beneath the bed of lies
That you should be ashamed.
No, let your songs of praise arise
To the one who breaks the chains.
He heals your heart with a song
Sung quietly in the dark.
You have been waiting for so long
To receive a brand new start.
So take your life and live your dreams
For you were just a girl.
How deep, how wide is the stream
That overcomes the world.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bloggy Awards...Blogs I love!!!


Today I received the coolest thingy!! A bloggy award from an amazing writing named Jen! I truly feel very blessed and humbled that she enjoys my blog, because she is just one amazing writer and artist! Check out her blog, her art is AMAZING, as is her writing and insight!


The rules in receiving the award are:


1. Accept the award and acknowledge the person who bestowed it upon me.
Jen, thank you sooooooo much for this award! I think you are awesome, in so very many ways, your blog has truly been a blessing on so many days for me!


2. Pay it forward to 15 newly discovered blogs you enjoy.


1. Mommy on Fire
She is on amazing mommy, with some adorable kiddos! I love all her posts, from home tips, to sharing her story, to just makeing me giggle! i love her blog!

2. Amy Sullivan at What Consumes You
Her story about her daugther stole my heart. She has a beautiful spirit, and is just enjoyable to read.

3. Fields of Gold
She has such an amazing understanding of scripture.

4. Kris Collins at I love the bible
This is one of my most dear friends blogs. She doesn't post very often, but when she does it is very powerful. I love you Kris!

5. Nichole at the Journey to Finish the Race I just love how she finds Jesus in everyday life!

6. Nickie
A girl with one awesome story!

7. Traci at Ordinary Inspirations
This girly is awesome! Writes, crafts, cooks, and has an amazing love for her Savior!

8. Lost in the praries...Found by God
Love her posts! Not the mention she is the host of the ever entertaining "caffienated randomness".

9. Lindsey's Log
I have not read a post of Lindsey's that I have not LOVED, she is so very insightful!

10. Myrtle's Turtles
Judgeing from her pics, she is a waaaaaay more talented cook than I am, and her incourage post touched my heart to the core.

11. Life in His Hands Amazing amazing amazing story or an amazing girl with an amazing God and amazing strength and amazing grace!

12. Melissa Taylor
Melissa is an author/speaker for Proverbs 31. Everything she writes shoots straight to my heart. She is one amazing woman of God.

13. Made by girl
AWESOME interior design!!!

14. Hillside Women
The blog of my church's womens ministry, if you live in Amarillo, you should totally check out Hillside Women, and www.hillsidewired.com

15. The Me I want to Be by Tish
LAST but CERTAINLY not LEAST!!!! This is my amazing aunt-in-law's blog. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. I love her dearly, she is just entering the bloggy world, so lets get her some followers!!! She has an awesome heart to share!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wherever you go...there you are

So….this morning started off plain enough. I got up, got ready, took the kids to school, and headed to work. As I pulled into the parking lot, I had a choice to make. I can go inside and stare mindlessly at the computer for an hour while I wake up, or I can go over to the school I do a prevention program at and work with some teens. I sat there…knowing what I needed to do…there were kids I needed to see. But, somehow the mindlessness of opening my emails and drinking some coffee while I woke up seemed to beckon me.

I made the right choice, today that is, many times I have made the wrong one. I went to the school, and found myself enjoying the kids as I always do. But…I couldn’t help but feel the spirit tugging at me. Why am I so reluctant to come over and make a difference in some kids lives? Shouldn’t I be excited about this?!? Why would I rather stare at a computer and vegetate than actually do something worth while? Why?

Because somewhere along the line working with these kids became not good enough for me. Somewhere along the lines, I decided to abandon what I am doing right now with my heart, and place my heart in the future. Somewhere I decided that I want more than this. I decided that I wanted to be in ministry and working with survivors of sexual assault and kids with autism. I decided that I want my own private practice where I do yoga and Christian Counseling. I decided to mentally check out of the present and into the future.

Who on earth do I think I am? Somewhere did I put myself in charge of my destiny? When did counseling kids who desperately need someone to listen become not good enough? If this is not conviction, I don’t know what is!!!

So tomorrow I start again, and OMG I am so thankful that I get to start again. I may want a lot of things in the future, and some of those may come to pass, and some of them may not. But…this is not my choice. All I can do, all I need to do, is be a servant in the place that God has put me RIGHT NOW!

How sneaky Satan is. Sometimes He just taunts us with who we “could” be so that we completely abandon who we are and everyone around us, rendering us completely ineffective and stuck inside the dreamland of our heads. Well, not anymore!!! This chick is saying enough!!! God has planted my feet where He wants them to be for now, and I will serve and consider myself BLESSED beyond measure to have the opportunity to work with such amazing kids. The most beautiful perfect place to be is right where He has me 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Someone pull me out.....!!!!!


Such a fun birthday party. The kids were swimming and having a great time. Lauren finally got brave enough to go down the big slide. Her only hesitation was that there were no floatie arms allowed when going down the slide. But, with the assurance that one of us would catch her as she came down, she decided to go. And she went again and again. And each time she was set back on the shallow steps of the pool so that she could get out and go again. But…this time…something different. She was set on the steps and then she decided she wanted to go swim in the rest of the pool! Her “catcher” was busy catching other kiddos and while he wasn’t watching, she jumped off the step gleefully into the water. Only problem was, uh oh, no floatie arms. Thank the Lord I was standing right there, and so was the lifeguard, and both of us simultaneously jumped in to pull her out. I got to her first, after all no one can beat a mommy on a mission to save her baby! And she was fine, no swallowed water, nothing but a few seconds under the water and a little bit of a shocked look on her face.

I cuddled her up in a towel like mommy’s do, and went to sit down with her. Everyone who saw was making a scene and checking to see if she was alright, and yes she was fine, physically that is. However, emotionally, her little heart had taken a walloping. Every time someone talked about it, she would whisper in my ear,”mommy tell them to stop talking about it”.

And it didn’t stop there. We went home that night, I thinking she was just fine and all was well. The next morning however, she started crying while sitting on the coach, and when I asked her what was wrong she told me she couldn’t stop thinking about “it”. She went on to tell me that she can’t stop thinking about what happened at the pool. Well, I automatically assumed that she was afraid of the water and going under again and assured her that I was right there to grab her this time and always would be. But, that didn’t seem to ease her pain. Distraction worked, but every time things got quiet, she would get upset again.

So, while I was in the shower worried and thinking that my daughter had some mild form of PTSD, it dawned on me. Shame and guilt. What are two of the major issues I had with my own PTSD type issues, shame and guilt. My poor baby felt like she had done something wrong. So…immediately I went to her and asked if she felt like she did something wrong. She immediately responded to with tears pouring, and her telling me that she shouldn’t have jumped off that step and that she was a bad girl. That she had forgotten to put her floaties back on and was sorry.

How my heart broke for her, and I have spent all day reminding her that she did nothing wrong, everyone forgets things especially when we are excited, and we were just so glad we were right there to be able to pull her out.

Shame…my baby girl felt shame. Is it the first time she has felt shame? I don’t know. But it’s the first time I witnessed her shame and my heart shattered into pieces. Shame, not guilt, because guilt is just that you did something wrong, but shame is different. Shame is the “I am a bad girl”, not “I did a bad thing”. Shame is about the person, it attacks the soul, making you believe that YOU are bad. Shame is the emotion I shouldered for years, and spent a year of therapy breaking through. Shame is a downright icky tool from Satan, I don’t like it one bit.

Shame will stomp all over you if you let it. It will convince you to hide your real self in a closet, and never come out because if you did, people might reject you the same way you reject yourself. Shame is evil.

I watched one of the most precious people in my life experience shame this weekend, and it was excrutiating. And it made me think. What is it like for our Father to watch us experience shame? What does He think as we continually trash ourselves for things that were not our fault or were long ago forgiven? I wonder if He feels the same desperation that I felt…wishing that He could take the words “I am a bad girl” right out of our hearts and minds so that we would never ever feel that way again. I wonder if He longs to hold us in his arms, and say “baby girl it was not your fault”, or “we all forget sometimes”, or “give yourself a break”. I bet He does. There is not a loving parent on the earth who wants their child to feel shame, and how much more is His love for us. He died for us for a reason, to be released from the grips of sin, not to hold our noses in it even when there is nothing griping our heads.

If shame is binding you today, especially if it is shame from past victimization or abuse, maybe it is time to let it go. It may have become your best friend, but let’s kick that shame out of its long sustained throne and put Jesus there instead. Let Him be your best friend. Let Him take the place of the shame. He is a much better friend, and He won’t keep you in a closet, but He will help you rediscover who you are, and He will do amazing things through you. He will tell you that you are beautiful, and don’t let shame tell you any different.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Glueless

As I was reading back through an old journal, I found a word that I loved. Glueless. I felt glueless. Not just unglued, but glueLESS. Lacking glue, as if the glue had never been applied in the first place. Just kind of like a big blob of parts, lying scattered on the floor in no particular order.

It’s a panicky feeling, glueless that is. Just when you rummage up enough strength to pull yourself back together, someone comes along and pokes you and you fall apart again. And sometimes when you do manage to pull yourself together again, you leave out parts, or you put something in the wrong place, or you just flat out get tired, and lay on the floor in pieces. Glueless.

I have tried the glue of the people variety, which is a nice product. It will help you pull yourself back together, and sometimes will wrap you up in a big hug and guard you from unwanted poking by others, but there is one problem with the people variety. It comes and goes, because this type of glue cannot hold 24/7, nor was it designed to. So although it is an excellent accessory glue, it cannot be the binding glue.

I have also tried the glue of the accomplishments variety. It comes in a very pretty bottle. And it does some nice things. This glue will help you to appear to outsiders as if all your parts are together even when they are not. It is some amazing stuff, but the problem is, it always runs out and you can never get enough. And depending on the prettiness of the bottle, the price can get higher and higher. This is a very nice product, and will create an excellent craft project, but will not hold you together for the long haul, and you ALWAYS need to go out and buy more.

There are so very very many types of glue available, and I have spent a lot of time and money trying as many as possible. But you know, I just haven’t found one that does what I need it to. They all have their good qualities, well most of them that is, but none of them do the job well in all areas. Except for one, and it’s free. But, I have been reluctant to use it; after all, you get what you pay for right? In most situations yes, but this one is a little different.

The beauty of this glue is that it is the best stuff, but completely free of charge. You see, the manufacturer is very wealthy, and He doesn’t need to make money. And His heart is not like ours, He wants everyone to have what He has to offer. Some of us hesitant to pick it up because it sounds too good to be true, or because we feel like it is some type of handout and we would rather see if we can’t take care of things for ourselves first.

But, this glue will hold forever, provided we follow the directions for applying it and apply it daily. The glue doesn’t work unless you use it. His WORD doesn’t STICK unless we let it, unless we apply it. But the beauty of it is that once you pick up this glue, you never have to feel glueless again. It’s a never ending supply. It’s all you need. It can be all you want, and it can become what you crave.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gimme, gimme, gimme, I NEED I NEED I NEED!!!!

Phillipians 4:4-7
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Please give me peace, please give me peace, please give me peace I found myself saying as I sat in the car today. I couldn't even quiet my mind to pray, or much less to listen, just to whine, oh please God please gimme gimme gimme, I NEED I NEED I NEED!!!!

And then when I finally just took a deep breath and forced myself to relax, here it comes. The thoughts, I think inspired by the Holy Spirit, "You know Steph, I'm not your fairy godmother, I am God. Peace is not something I am going to bibbity bobbity boo you over the head with, it's a choice." And I sit there in the car laughing at a completely innapropriate image of Jesus in a princess fairy godmother dress with a wand!!! Lol! I'm glad God has a sense of humor, and knows I really need a visual to be able to take things in, LOL, He knows me all to well!!!

So then, peace, it is a choice. I choose to accept his peace, with thanksgiving in my heart, rather than whine for it and expect it to just blast into me with some sort of supernatural tap on the head. I choose to beleive He has it all under control, and choose to relinquish my own desire to control over to Him, with a gracious attitude and a humble spirit. And when I do this, the peace comes to guard my heart, the peace that surpasses all understanding, the peace that only He can give, should I choose to recieve it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Incourage Post...Whispers of Love

If you are hopping on over for a visit from incourage.me, let me say welcome, and I am so excited and happy that you are here!!!! Jumping up and down, smiling, and giving you big hugs!!! I feel so unbelievably blessed to have the opportunity to share a little love in the awesome beach house community that is incourage. Yayyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

However, I must acknowledge that the topic I write about is heavy. Sexual abuse and or assault, or for that matter abuse or assault of any kind, rips at the hearts of so many women. It cuts straight to the core of the heart and attempts to crush the spirit. However…there is One who goes deeper still. Deeper than the pain, deeper than the agony, deeper than the gut-wrenching thoughts and emotions, and straight into the core of our very being. Jesus, the One and Only who can heal the deepest of wounds, even the ones that still bleed years later.

Just close your eyes and say his name for a minute, Jesus. Let him soak into every single fiber of who you are. Just say his name and rest in it for a minute. Such a beautiful name, such a beautiful Savior, He is amazing. He is healing. Even when the nights seem to last forever and the days are spent in uninvited agony, His name is still there, and He still provides a place of rest, a place to be still. To still your heart, and quiet your soul, to cry your tears. He can calm the deepest of sobs, the kind where your whole body shakes while you curl up on the floor. He can calm that little girl and heal her pain. He can, if I know anything, I know that He can. He loves you with an unfathomable jealous love, and never let’s go. So thankful that He never lets go.

And so thankful that He gives us community through something as modern as the internet, so that when we are hurting we can reach out to others and know that we are not alone. It would be my privilege to pray for you today here on the floor of the incourage beach house. Please leave prayer requests…and I will pray for each and every one by name today and throughout this week. I love you all dear sisters, now let’s dry up any tears and run out onto the sandy beaches, soak up the Son, and play for a while...it's gonna be a beautiful day! Blessings and Love Always! Stephanie

Thursday, September 23, 2010

spiritual deodorant

Fair warning…if you are prim and proper…and an itty bit to much TMI offends you, then you might want to skip this post, LOL! But if not, read on!

I forgot to put on my deodorant yesterday, yep, ewwww, go ahead and gross out if you want, because, yea, it is kinda gross. So, needless to say I spent all day trying not to exert myself to much, hoping that what was applied from the day before might carry me through the day. And it did, I went home smelling rather normal, at least I think so, LOL!

But…it got me thinking…spiritual deodorant. I have been a little stenchy the past couple of days with my attitude and emotions. They have just been downright selfish and stinky. And grant it, circumstances are stressful right now, but still no excuse for bad behavior. And my spiritual deodorant, my Bible, has been sitting on my nightstand a lot lately. I have neglected to apply it every day. Even on the days I pick it up and peruse, sometimes I neglect to apply it. Deodorant doesn’t do you much good if you pick it up and smell it but don’t apply it!

So my challenge for the rest of the week is two things. First, slow down. I have been in such a stressed out hurry that I do silly things like forget to put on my deodorant, slip and go kaboom in the shower, and brush off my quiet time. Second of all, when I do have my quiet time, I need to apply it. So I challenge all you deodorant sniffers out there, who sniff but do not apply to actually apply with me this week. Be it one verse, or a verse a day, whatever works for you, let’s work on taking biblical truth and applying to our lives! And then see what God does, I have full faith it will be amazing, and it certainly will block those stinking selfish emotional outbursts! Love and Blessings always! Stephanie
James 1: 22-27 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Oh!!!!!!! And, I will be a guest blogger on www.incourage.me on Sunday September 26th, this Sunday!!!!! Please visit it and leave a comment!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yayyyyyyyyyyy God for giving me this awesome blessing of an opportunity!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"It’s hard to be a woman and be strong” - loving words spoken to me by a dear friend.

There is a delicate balance that exists between strength and sensitivity. A balance that I think it is harder for a woman to walk. We are emotional beings, God made us that way, but we are also very very strong. We may not believe it at times, and it may not show up in physical strength, but a woman of Lord, she is anything but weak.

The past few weeks have been rough for my husband’s side of the family. My father in law had a massive heart attack and is continuing his battle in the hospital as I write. And through it all I have seen enormous strength. I have seen it in my father in law as he continues to survive trial after trial, and although he may be too weak for surgery right now, “weak” is the last word I would use to describe him. I have seen it in my husband as he continues to work as a policeman night after night, and spend the time he usually would be sleeping in the hospital day after day. I have seen it in the entire family who despite struggles of their own, continue to support Mike day in and day out. I have seen that it is true that God works in ALL things. But, I have also seen this, as the weeks wear on, at times our own strength somehow begins to wane.

In the past, when my strength begins to fail, I would emotionally shut down. However, through the past year I have learned to ask for help and to let Kevin in on my hurt. I have learned to trust him with my emotions. Which has been awesome! But this time is a little different; Kevin is more exhausted than I am. So yesterday I had a choice to make. I could emotionally blow up all over Kevin knowing he has too much on his plate, or I could give it to God. Well, I didn’t make the best decision. I blew my emotional vomit all over my sweet husband who was already in a state of exhaustion. And then…I did what I should have done and gave it to God.

It is hard to be a woman and be strong. It is hard to want a shoulder to cry on (and although there are multiple shoulders in my life, the only one I want is Kevin’s) and yet at the same time realize that God’s shoulder is big enough and real enough to take on all my tears. And for me, it is hard at times not to be selfish and realize that Kevin will give me what he has when he can (this is more wisdom from my very very wise and loving friend). So, I will be a woman and I will be strong, because a woman of God IS ANYTHING BUT WEAK. He has enough strength to raise the dead, and He has enough strength to calm my emotional seas. He has enough strength to hold my Kevin when I can’t be there, and He has enough strength to heal my father in law. Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

Ephesians 4:17-18
“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

Sometimes I feel distance from God. It is not something I like to feel. As someone who harbors some abandonment wounds, feeling distance from God is almost unbearable for me. Be it distance that is self-induced because of sin in my life, or just a season where I don’t feel God quite as strong as I have before, distance is just not something I like. I like to feel God laying on me like a thick cozy comfy warming blanket, I like the warm fuzzies . But over the past week, there have been no warm fuzzies to be found!

Has God worked some miracles in the lives of those around me over the past few weeks? Yes he has! Have I seen some prayers answered? Yes I have! Do I know that God is still here and listening? Yes I do! But I want me some fuzzies!
So…I found the verse that is listed at the top of this post. And felt the need to desperately dig into it. So…if you want…you can dig in with me…and we will see what we can find!
In verse 17 Paul pleads with us, insists of us, not to live in futile thinking, purposeless-useless thinking. Ah-ha! I definitely do me some useless thinking, in fact if I am honest, I do me some downright harmful thinking. Trashing myself, trashing others, getting angry and resentful. Yep…not only do I engage in some silly purposeless thoughts, I engage in some downright icky thoughts. So, a step toward the warm fuzzies, clean up my thought life!

Okay, moving on to verse 18. “They are separated from the life of God because of the ignorance (willful neglect or refusal to acquire knowledge which one may acquire) that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts”. Ah-ha again! Ignorance-ignoring knowledge which is right in front of me. I have an entire book of knowledge sitting on my nightstand called the Bible, ummmhmmm, I must confess I am not reading it as much as I was. And is it due to the hardening of my heart, an unyielding unpenetrable heart? Well, um, yea, it could be. I have always struggled with unbelief. That is, struggled with the fact that the things I read in the bible are true. Yea, it says God works together for the good, and that he loves me, but really? I thought I had a soft-squishy heart, but I think it is a little hard! I am not letting the truth that I do read penetrate the depths of my heart!

So…if I want my warm fuzzies back, I know what I have to do! Isn’t it awesome that God really has a plan for everything we need, and will lead us just to the verse we need to get back on track. Clean up my thought life, read the bible, pray for help in overcoming my unbelief, and let what I read penetrate my heart and change my live = warm fuzzies (no more separation from God)! I am on the way to getting my warm fuzzies back!!!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Caffienated Randomness: The woman I want to be

“He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised.” Romans 4:20-21

She did not waver in unbelief. She is not swayed to the right and to the left. When others come and tell her what they think about this or that, she did not move. She stayed steady in her beliefs. She redirects her mind to the place she knows is true, the spirit that lives in her that is life. She acknowledges that the Bible is truth; God’s word is truth, regardless of her feelings. And He is sovereign, even right now, in this. She did not waver.

She was strengthened in her faith giving glory to God. She watched the things that went on, she watched the pain bubbling out everywhere, yet she gave glory to God. She sat quietly and thanked Him for what she knows is true. That regardless of all circumstances, even in pain, she can be content and strong because of the strength of her God.

She is FULLY persuaded that God has the power to do what he has promised. She does not waver in knowing that He has saved her, and that He has saved every single one who cries out to him. She knows He will take care of her and everyone around her, she knows that even in this He is working in the pain. She knows all things work together for the good.

So she quiets her wandering wavering mind. Knowing that she was made to do so. Knowing that she was never made to carry burdens alone. Knowing that although she cannot fix things, she can fill the gaps with faith. She knows that rest is a choice she makes daily, she can rest in Him, or she can franticly run with the world, but she chooses rest in Him.

Thank you God that I can rest in you, that your scripture speaks the truth and that despite the pain and struggles you can guide my heart to a place of unwavering strength and belief. Please help me to be the she that I write about, the she that I want to be, the woman of God that you can make me. Most of all I ask that you bind the flesh in me, so that through all of this the only words that exit my mouth are words that you speak through me. You are working even in this God. I will quiet my spirit and trust your strength. Humble my spirit, so that I may serve, and do whatever you would have me to do. Don’t let me resist the promptings of the spirit out of fear, and guard my heart and mind from anger, fear, resentment, and bitterness. Bless and keep all of us God. We love you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ahead of myself

I think I live in a state that is always ahead of myself. It is like I am constantly stretching out, reaching with all my might towards the next thing, but never able to fully embrace what I have in the present. I hear it all the time, “live in the now”, “enjoy the journey”, “don’t get ahead of yourself”. Yet, time and time again I find myself ahead of myself.

I find myself ahead of myself. We all have a perceived “self”, what we see ourselves as. The self I see is always in the future, never content with where I am at, and always looking to see where I want to be. But it kinda stinks. And it causes some stinky messes in my life. Like, not getting things done that need to be done NOW, because I am too busy making plans for THEN. Always thinking that if I can just get here or there, that I will be content. But every time I get there I am not content. I find myself again looking for the next thing.

This is not the first struggle I have had with this “getting ahead of myself”. It is something I recognize and struggle with time and time again. Something that God and me are working on!!! But just in case you struggle with this too, I wanted to share a few things that are helping me to refocus in the present.

1. A daily “reset” statement. Really it can be anything. For me it usually looks something like this, “God has given you this day, don’t rush through it, don’t hurry through it, enjoy every minute of it” And of course the verse to go along, Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

2. Making a list of what I want to get done TODAY, and doing my best to check those things off. This helps keep my mind focused from getting sidetracked on daydreaming of the future. And this list has to include spending time with my husband and kids, that doesn’t include checking my blackberry and Facebook.

3. A thankful journal. Listing 5 things EVERY day that I am thankful for that day.

4. Stopping, sitting, and breathing. Focusing on the present, feeling my breath and my body exactly where it is at. Noticing things in the environment around me. This helps keep me from getting “lost” inside my head, and refocus me when thoughts are drifting.

5. Realizing I have a choice in what I think about, for the most part. I can choose where I focus my thoughts, and depending on the choice I make, the emotions often follow.

6. Realizing that it is not all about me me me me me me me. Oftentimes, just doing something for someone else every day can help me refocus in the present. When I am constantly looking to become who “I” want to be, it is easy to forget about those around me. Do something for someone other than “me”, every day. For a change, put someone else “ahead of myself”!!!!

Philippians 4:11-13 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.



Isaiah 41:10 "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Comma Drama

I kind of don’t have anything to write today, but for whatever reason still feel complelled to write, About what…I have not idea. It’s kind of like I have hit a writers block. If I’m honest I have hit it in more ways than one. There seems to be a never ending comma that is just hanging there to irritate me in the story of my life. Not in all aspects, in my family life things are progressing quite nicely. But professionally, I am at a comma spot. I have the degree I want, I have a lot of things I want, and if I look back on the sentence I just wrote maybe that is the problem The problem that I used the word I 4 times, yes 4 times in once sentence. Hmmmmmm. Could it be that I am living in the I? Could it be that I am living to get what I want? Could it be that I am holding out my cup, and asking God to fill it with all the things I think I want, and it has yet to be filled because the cup cannot be filled selfishness? Hmmmmm. You know commas are there for a reason, they allow a pause, a break in thought before the next thought is introduced. Perhaps the text will resume when I have realized the totality of the thought before the comma. Fullfillment does not come from seeking the things you want, COMMA!!!!, but seeking to serve and know me more through BELEIVING and SERVING.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

But...I'm already more than a good bible study girl

I have read many Encouragement for Today devotionals over the past couple of years. These are the devotionals put out daily by Proverbs 31 ministries, which I love and would definitely recommend subscribing to, they are free! And EVERY time I read one by Lysa Terkeurst, I would LOVE it! And then came the tag line at the end of almost every one, “for more on this topic check out my book “Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl”. And every time I would see the name of this book, there would go my thoughts. “But I am already more than a good bible study girl, what possibly could that book have to offer me, that book is not for me, that book is for people who just go to church and that’s it, I don’t need a book like that” But yet…every time I would read her devotionals the thought would enter my mind that maybe I should pick that book up, and every time my pride would say “nope, you already are more than a good bible study girl”.

So there I am helping a church on Sunday and from across the way I see the bookstore, and there is Lysa’s face staring at me from a book cover, “Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl”. LOL! It was almost as if this book was haunting me. So when I got done helping I wandered over, and picked it up, opened the cover, and low and behold, there were things I could learn from this book! LOL! Shocking that I don’t know it all isn’t it. LOL!

Since then I have started reading this book, and let me tell you that I am quiet certain it was written just for me. And…I have discovered that I still have a looooooooong way to go in becoming more than a good bible study girl. So…yet again…I got my toes stepped on in the most loving kind of way. I would encourage you to check out this book, because even a girl who already believes she is more than a good bible study girl can still use some growth, and for me, A LOT of growth 

Love and Blessings from a Stubborn Sister,
Stephanie