Sunday, December 16, 2012

There is Hope

I've been reading some articles this morning about the shooting in Connecticut and why God would allow something so horrific to happen to innocent lives. In reading the comments to one article in particular, I'm seeing how lost some folks are. Unbelievers are quick to blame God and insult those of us who do. As if our peace of mind and heart is a threat to their opinions. And others say "if there was a god, why would he allow this to happen?"

I'm wondering if all these people who don't believe there is a God suddenly do, and now they're blaming the tragedy in Connecticut on Him in efforts to prove their own ideas of Him. Fact is, for whatever reason, He did allow this to happen. However, in my estimation, it goes beyond taking Him (prayer) out of schools, as I've heard some say, although I believe that does play a part. It was truly horrific what happened to these children and their teachers and their families. I can't imagine the pain those families are feeling. This is a very clear picture of the evil that lies within the heart of man. I can rest assured, though, that those babies are in Heaven with their Creator for eternity, where there are no more tears, no more pain. They are home and they are safe. (That's not to be inferred that I'm by any means glad about the shooting; it's merely a reflection of the confidence and trust that I have in God and His divine will)

Meanwhile, we have a society left behind that is still evil and self-seeking. What now will become of the families and all those left behind who make the conscious and so-called "educated" decision to reject our Messiah? Do they have any hope of ever seeing their loved one again? As long as they reject Him, I believe they don't. I'm praying that hearts will be turned to God through this terrible tragedy.

God sent Jesus to experience the pain that we all experience, yet he was completely innocent the day he was crucified - to atone for your sins and mine. God allowed that to happen, too. God sacrificed His son for the sake of all of us, that we would believe in Him and therefore, have eternal life. Death is but a detour for believers. It is not the end. But for those who don't believe, death is the beginning of anguish unlike anything we can fathom with our feeble minds. It means eternal separation from God and from those we love on Earth who chose to trust Him. I have the hope of seeing my loved ones who have died again one day. That's the peace I have in trusting God.

Just as a judge in a civil court sends murderers and thieves to prison, likewise, the Judge of the Universe will sentence us according to the choices we make in life. That judgment hinges essentially on whether we reject or accept Jesus as the Messiah. All this to say, in my own opinion, if God is willing to sacrifice His own son for the sake of all, then I fully believe He will allow other tragedies to occur. Perhaps to get our attention. I don't know why. One day, we'll know all the whys. Right now, we should just trust Him. That in this tragedy, there is hope. They are gone from this life, but with Him, they will live in exceeding joy with Him for eternity. We will be with them one day, if we choose to believe.

Like it or not, our country was founded upon Christian principals. Faith in God was essential to the success and prosperity of our nation. Our government in recent years has begun efforts to "fundamentally transform" those principals into what they feel will be better than the ideals of our founding fathers. In that process, our God, the God of Israel, and any reference to God has been systematically either removed or threatened. It's no surprise to me, however, because Scripture says that kind of thing would happen. The problem is, we've allowed that to happen to the point where society doesn't see the need for Him anymore and it shows in everything we do. Jesus is the light of the world. Without Him, there is darkness - and that's what we're living in now - darkness. We've embraced nearly everything His Word explicitly tells us not to because we think we know better.

If you really want to know the truth, I recommend picking up a Bible and reading it for yourself rather than taking someone else's word for it. Find out for yourself about all the prophecies contained in the scriptures that have come true. It isn't a fairy tale. It's the Truth. It's your prerogative to deny yourself the Truth and just accept what others tell you. But is all that really worth it? Are you willing to bet your life - and death - on what you've heard or what you currently believe without actually reading the Scriptures? I hope that anyone here who isn't a believer will earnestly seek the Truth for yourself. Don't take my word for it, or anyone else's. It's there for you to find out for yourself. I pray you do.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why I Stand With Israel

For a week now, Israel has been defending itself against continued Hamas terrorist attacks. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that Israel would defend its citizens against such hostile and senseless attacks. I've noticed, however, that some people don't share that opinion, and I have actually been personally attacked for my position on the subject. When I say "attacked," I mean bludgeoned with obscenities, name-calling, and insults by someone whose position that we shouldn't stand by Israel is supported by nothing more than the statement that "the Jews hate us" and a few anti-Semitic videos found on YouTube. I was attacked for defending Jews by someone who knows nothing about me, let alone the reasons behind my views. I was blown away by the hostility this person expressed over my so-called "stupid" and "uneducated" views.

What I realized, once I got over the initial shock and anger of being attacked in this way, is that these particular people don't understand my position because, sadly, they have never experienced Salvation and the love of Jesus as I know it, so they have no appreciation for it whatsoever. They're blind and cannot see what is so clear to me. It's sad that some folks are blinded in that way. Sometimes, no matter how respectful you try to be and no matter how heart-felt your convictions, they will be trampled on by those who are blinded to the Truth. All you can do is share your heart, pray for them, and leave the rest to God.

And so I did. I could have remained silent and met their attacks without commentary, but I'm a little tired of feeling like I can't speak my heart out of fear of offending others, so I shared my ideas as straight-forward and respectfully as I could. I want non-believers to know why I believe what I do and I feel like it's my duty as a follower of Christ to share that with them when the opportunity presents itself.

I know full well that hostility has always existed between Jews and Gentiles -something I was accused of being ignorant of. Obviously, not everyone believes in Jesus, in the Truth of the Bible, or even in God. One of the many great things about living in the United States is that it's your right to believe what you choose. God gave you that right. God wants all people to come to Him, Jew and Gentile alike, but He doesn't force it on us. That's our own individual choice to make.

I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. In it, God designates the people of Israel as His chosen people. He says that anyone who blesses Israel will be blessed and anyone who curses Israel will be cursed. (Genesis 12:3). It also says in the Bible that not everyone who is physically born in the land of Israel are His because not all of them will choose to believe in Him. (Romans 9:6). Just like Gentiles, some Jews will turn away from God, their words and actions flowing accordingly. And just like Jews who believe, the promises that God made regarding the land of Israel spill over to believing Gentiles, as well. Believing Gentiles are grafted into God's promises by virtue of our faith in God and belief in Jesus as the Messiah. In that respect, we are spiritually the same as the believing Jew in God's eyes and thus we are a part of Israel. (Romans 2:29). Neither Jew nor Gentile is greater than the other, but through faith in God there is no difference. (Romans 10:12)

There are a growing number of Jews who have begun to realize that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah, and the gap between Jew and Gentile is narrowing. It's the love of Jesus shown to them through Jews and Gentiles that brought them to that realization. Jesus is the key to eliminating that gap all together. Yes, there are prejudices, but the prejudice lies on both sides, not just with the Jews. It simply is not fair to a whole nation of people to hate them simply because some of them supposedly hate Christians. Or to hate them at all, for that matter.

I feel it's my responsibility to love the Jews and to bless Israel because I have been graciously adopted into the Kingdom of God, and I am one of them. That's why I stand with Israel. And I always will.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's Almost Fall, Y'all!

I'm trying to pull myself out of the funk I've been in for the last several weeks. It seems like these moods sweep in and then the next thing I know, the seasons are changing and the previous weeks and months seem like a blur. I don't know if it's what you'd call depression, but it feels like a total lack of motivation.

But, this has been a gorgeous day! It's really hard to be gloomy when there isn't a cloud in the sky and the temperature is in the 70s. That's pretty close to perfect. Before long, the leaves will be changing and it'll be time to pull out the sweaters. I can hardly wait!

Until then, I've been adding some fall here and there around the house, trying to get myself into that mode of anticipation that I always feel this time of year.

We've had a Halloween party for the last 8 or 9 years, and every year, I say I'm not doing it again because it's so much work and usually stresses me to the hilt. But the kids love it so much and I hate to let them down. I think some of our best memories together as a family were in the fall, surrounding party preparation. How can I not continue the tradition for our kids for as long as I can?

In the last few years, we've come away from the Halloween theme and moved toward a harvest theme. I just don't feel good about "celebrating" Halloween anymore, but I have to admit, I still love jack-o-lanterns and anything pumpkin-related. Pumpkins just speak fall to me. And the kids love dressing up. So, in a way, I guess we're still doing the Halloween things, but calling it something else...does that even count?

So, here we go. A beautiful new season is on the horizon. Cool, crisp air. Colorful, crunchy leaves. Sweaters. Hot chocolate. Candy corn. Football. Chili. Harvest. These are some of the blessings of the season. I'm looking forward all the great things God has in store.


Saturday, May 26, 2012


The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

We bought a GPS for the first time about three years ago when we were headed down to the beach. It was a totally new thing for me. I was amazed that, not only would the GPS talk us through our journey, step-by-step, but we could actually choose which voice we wanted directing us. There were various male and female voices to choose from. Some with foreign accents, even. We tried a few of them out and unanimously settled on the soothing voice that we affectionately referred to as "Clara." We named her Clara because that's the name of the street we had to turn down to get to the beach house we'd rented for that week - Clara Avenue.

Clara was calm, cool, and collected. That was just her way. And she knew the routes we should take like the back of her virtual proverbial hand. Even when we made a wrong turn, she could tell us within seconds how far to go before the next turn to get us back on track. Before she would give us her new directions, she would calmly and assuredly announce that she was "recalulating" our route. No screaming, no freaking out, no name-calling. Just, "recalculating."

It's amazing how much trust we put in Clara. We'd never met her. We couldn't see her. We just had faith that her programmers knew what they were doing. We blindly followed her lead, no matter where she directed us to go. Sometimes, she would take us on routes that really didn't make any sense. Like taking us 60 miles out of the way or through a really, really bad neighborhood. That didn't happen often, but when it did, we'd just tough it out, having faith that Clara would eventually get us back on track.

Why is it so much easier for us to have faith in technology than to have faith in God? Why do we place more faith in the created rather than in the Creator?

We should trust God to guide us through life so much more than we trust the technology of a GPS to guide us from point A to point B. After all, God is more capable of handling the issues of our lives than we are. We just don't always give Him the opportunity.

Many times, I've made plans without praying them through only to find myself later asking God to help me out of the bad situation that I created for myself. He certainly is under no obligation to do so, but He is faithful, and He has helped me out more times than I care to admit. Oftentimes, He let me go through some pretty bad neighborhoods, but He stayed with me and, once I realized my need for Him, led me right back where I needed to be. I'm so thankful that He is patient with me.

I feel sure that, absent my self-made plans and hard-headedness along the way, I would have saved myself a lot of pain and heartache had I sought God's guidance in the beginning, before I embarked on my new plans. I would probably be a lot closer to the place where He wanted me to be to begin with.

All those little detours I've taken because I didn't consult with Him first cost me precious time. Time that could have been spent on bigger and better things. Things that God had planned for me to do all along. Things I just didn't bother to ask Him about.

But God is full of grace and mercy and He is fully capable of recalculating my route when I make a wrong turn. And sometimes, the place He takes me once I finally do trust in Him is far greater than anything I could have imagined. If I could just learn to trust in Him from the beginning, my life would be much more peaceful.

Peaceful. Just because I trust in Him. What an awesome promise that is.

Linking up with:

Beholding Glory


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vacation Memories

The last nine months have been particularly stressful and a vacation would hit the spot right about now. Alas, it will have to wait for a little while longer. Since I'm in a beachy frame of mind, I thought I'd share some photos from our beach trip last August.

We stayed at the Calypso in Panama City Beach, Florida. I chose these condos for their proximity to the fishing pier and to the shopping and restaurants at Pier Park. Within walking distance to both. This is a view of the pier from our room at sunset.

Much to my daughter's dismay, she is usually the subject of my photo taking. I love to catch her spontaneous expressions. And the beach made it all the more fun. For me. Not so much for her.

All of these pictures of the water were taken at St. Andrews State Park. We stopped there before we headed home, and oh, boy, did we ever want to stay a while longer. It was so inviting! I don't think I've seen it this blue and this clear in a very long time.

Not too far down the beach from the crystal clear water, this is what we saw. And it stunk, too. Fortunately, the wind must have been blowing in the opposite direction because we couldn't smell it at the clear end.

A view of the coastline from St. Andrews.

We enjoyed ice cream from the Pink Pelican. It's sort of become a tradition for us to visit them when we go to Panama City Beach.

We also played a serious game of put put golf at Pirate's Island...

...rode some go-carts...

...and ate out. A lot. I look pretty darn goofy in this picture, but I think my husband looks kind of like Sean Connery, so I thought I'd throw it in the mix. Such a handsome fella, he is.

All in all, it was a great trip and I'm more than ready to go back. My parents always took me to Panama City Beach as a kid, and I have so many fond memories there. I love it!

What an awesome God we have to give us such beautiful places to enjoy!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Slowly, But Surely

I'm making a little progress here! I started this blogging thing in 2009 and have just now figured out how to add a photo to my header. All you seasoned bloggers make it look effortless, but let me tell you, I've spent a lot of time just trying to navigate my way through Blogger to figure out how it actually works. Little by little, I'm finding my way, and it's so much fun!

So, hopefully, it's a wee bit lighter and more friendly looking here. I'm pleased with it for now. I hope to be back with some fun stuff this weekend. I have some projects that I'd like to share once I get over this nasty cold I picked up from my husband.

Hope you're having a great week so far!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No Condemnation

Romans 8:1 - There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Today's the day. My oldest child graduates from high school tonight. I feel numb.

I feel like there are so many things that I took for granted while he was growing up. I didn't spend as much time with him as I should have. I didn't pray with him as much as I should have. I didn't do a lot of things that I should have. I find myself wishing for more time to do all those things I never did for my son when he was younger.

I feel ashamed of my selfishness. I feel guilty. My heart aches for my boys who grew up always separated by hundreds of miles from their dad. He is in the military, so visitation has always been rather difficult and infrequent, which is no fault of his own. Their childhood could have been happier. Instead, it was painful because, in addition to the fact that they couldn't be with their dad, I was distracted and preoccupied most of the time, searching for my own happiness. And it was my own selfishness in that pursuit that caused their pain. For a time, I couldn't see past my own desire for happiness enough to put them first. Not that I didn't love them. I did, always. But I took them for granted. I lived for myself and justified my actions by convincing myself and others that I would be a better mother if I could find happiness for myself. I was so lost and deceived.

What I didn't realize was, it wasn't happiness that would make me a better mother. It was God. And it was God who would fulfill that need that I was so desperately searching for.

The boys' dad and I divorced when they were young - they were four and two-and-a-half years old. I remarried first, and my new marriage wasn't without its problems. It was quite rocky and for a while, I questioned whether I had done the right thing. I guess deep down, I knew that I hadn't done the right thing, but I really wanted it to be the right thing. I had been counseled by therapists who merely validated my feelings and then prescribed anti-depressants to numb my emotions. Things just didn't seem to get any better.

One day, I called in sick because I was so depressed, I just couldn't get out of the house. I broke down sobbing that day and in my bedroom floor, I fell to my knees begging God to take the pain away. I begged for His forgiveness and pleaded with Him to just show me what He wanted me to do. I told Him that if I was supposed to go to my ex-husband and beg him to take me back, then that's what I would do. I just needed God to show me. I was exhausted from trying to figure it all out myself. Once I got it out of my system and felt a little release, I waited.

I don't remember exactly how long I waited, but it seems like it was about a week. I had been talking off and on with my ex-husband and told him I was thinking of bringing the boys to Charleston, where he was stationed at the time. I still wasn't sure what I needed to do, but that plan was on the radar. Shortly after this conversation with him, I learned that he had remarried and didn't bother to say anything to me about it.

So, that was that. Now what? Despite our problems, I knew that I loved my current husband, so I wasn't devastated. But I was still confused. I decided that, probably, God was trying to tell me something, but it didn't sink in right away. Sometime shortly after the news of my ex's remarriage, I became sick with what seemed like a stomach virus or food poisoning or a parasite of some description. Whatever it was, it was nasty, and it came out of nowhere. After a couple of days of it, on a hunch, I ran to the drug store and picked up a pregnancy test.

Yep. You guessed it. I was pregnant. And stunned.

If that wasn't a confirmation of what God wanted me to do, I don't know what was. As if my ex getting remarried wasn't enough. But, I guess in my mind at the time, it wasn't really. I'm sure God knew it would take more than that to get through to me. This pregnancy felt like God was saying to me: "What's done is done. You need to stay right where you are and trust Me from now on." It took my having another child to realize how precious children are and what a blessing it is to be a mother. God brought me to a place of utter dependence on Him and He knew exactly what it would take to change my heart. After so many of my mistakes and selfish decisions, He finally got my attention. He created me to be a mother, and it was in that role where he made known to me my deepest desires.

It still took me a long while to really appreciate the lessons that I learned in all this. My boys continued to suffer in that they were still and always would be children from a broken home, and with the birth of a baby sister, they were regrettably not given all the attention they needed. This breaks my heart. Also, when my daughter was about a year old, I decided what better time to go back to school and pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer. I was still searching. Thankfully, ours is a God of patience, and He saw me through a year-and-a-half of classes before He finally showed me that this wasn't His plan for me and my family. It was just another attempt by me to write my own destiny.

Gradually, as the kids have grown, God has revealed to me what He was trying to teach me all along. That marriage and children are gifts from Him, and they're a reflection of His love for us. He showed me that, since he blessed me with children, maybe He just wants me to be a mother. Not a student. Not a lawyer. Not anything besides a mother to these precious children. Raising my daughter along with my boys has given me a new perspective on God's love and forgiveness. Through all my mistakes, God carried me. That may sound corny, but it's true. Looking back, I can see that He was always there. He didn't leave me for one second.

Since that day of reckoning in my bedroom floor, I've seen my marriage restored and my family cared for beyond the scope of comprehension of my feeble little brain. Where my deepest desires were once to merely be happy, now, my deepest desires are to see my children walking with God and for my husband and I to be righteous examples of what it means to follow Jesus.

Knowing all this, it's so clear where all the condemnation surrounding my son's graduation is coming from. As my son graduates from high school and moves into the next chapter of his life, I will not embrace the guilt and shame of the past. Instead, I will, with a grateful heart, accept the abundance of God's grace and forgiveness, and, in faith, look forward to what great things He has in store for us.

Thank you, Lord, for your forgiveness. Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for your patience and love. Thank you, Lord, that in you, there is no condemnation. Amen.

Linking up with:
Beholding Glory


Thursday, May 10, 2012


I've always thought that teaching would be the perfect job for me. I love kids. And I like the idea of being off with my kids during the summer and Christmastime. For those reasons, it would be a great gig.

The reality is, along with the great hours, you're also dealing with 25 to 30 different personalities every. single. day. Personalities that haven't yet learned the art of self-restraint or the importance of "inside voices." Personalities that don't cover their mouths when they sneeze. Personalities that get sick and vomit in the floor and then you have to clean it up. Personalities with nose bleeds. The list goes on.

I'd never make it as a school teacher.

I learned that today.

What drew me to that conclusion, you ask? I went to the zoo with my daughter and her 3rd grade class. The little girls in our group were very sweet, but we had a couple of questionable moments. One of my daughter's friends twisted her ankle and then, later on, became sick to her stomach. We made it through alright, though. No, I didn't have to clean up vomit, but when she started feeling sick, it did cross my mind, and had that happened, I don't know what I would have done. I probably would have joined her. I've never been one to handle any type of bodily excretions, whatsoever.

Wow...this post just took a turn for the worst. Back to my point.

I did have a point.

I think.

Maybe not. Here are some photos I took today with my iPhone.

Hello, nostrils! Not a good angle...

Right before we left, a small boy - maybe 4 years old - came unglued when he spilled his drink all over his shirt. He screamed bloody murder. The kind of screaming that makes you think "what in the world are they doing to that kid?" Two women who had just come out of the gift shop saw the little fella crying. One of them reached into her bag and pulled out the t-shirt she'd just purchased from the gift shop. She walked over to the boy's parents and asked if she could replace their son's wet shirt with the new, dry one she just bought. The parents were reluctant to accept such a generous gesture from perfect strangers, but when the lady insisted, they consented. Even though the shirt was way too big for the little guy, he was happy and dry once again, and his parents were visibly relieved. I noticed my eyes welling up as I witnessed this scene. It had the love of Jesus written all over it. What made it even more amazing was that the boy's family was white and the ladies who offered to help were black. It just goes to show that, even in the midst of all the racial tension in the world today, Jesus is still at work among us, in spite of all that.


Linking up with:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I took this photo on Easter in 2010. It's my absolute favorite! I had just finished taking some Easter pictures of our kids, and caught them as they were walking back to their grandparents' house. This is their driveway. It's really beautiful, especially for the couple of weeks right around Easter.

Linking up with:

Black and White Wednesday