Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The lie

Nothing like a post titled "Fearless" to work up the enemy, right?

Yesterday morning,
after so long without issue,
panic swept over me.
Sitting outside,
laptop on the patio picnic table,
I attempted work.
To those who saw,
or called or passed by,
I probably seemed fine,
possibly even normal.

But frustration grew
as my mind was flooded,
with so many absurdities,
distracted from my work,
brain in a codependent meltdown.

What did he mean by that?
Why didn't she talk to me?
Is she avoiding me now? Is he?
Did I say the wrong thing?
No one situation, all random.

I stopped and prayed.
I searched through, read through,
and highlighted scripture.
Took a short nap, then ran an errand.
The elephant left my chest.

Codependent meltdown?
After having been freed from
codependency and proclaiming
myself healed to all who would listen,
how could this have happened?
I wrestled with it for most
of the evening afterwards.
Was I wrong about being healed?
Had I made a mistake somewhere?
What was wrong with me?

That's when it dawned on me
what was happening.
I KNOW I am free.
I can feel the difference.
What a fun game
for the enemy to play,
to try to cause doubt to creep in.

Satan didn't win any victories
over me yesterday as I struggled
with panic and and worry.
The only way he could have
was if I had begun to doubt,
if I had accepted the lie
that he was trying to feed me.

Instead, I recognized the lie,
and am spreading the word...

Satan doesn't find his victory in
a moment of your weakness.
He finds it in your acceptance of the lie
that you will never be able to rise above it.

Don't give up!

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
~1 Peter 5:8-9

Saturday, May 16, 2015


What would you do if you were not afraid?

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  
Isaiah 41:10

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Guess what I'm doing

I'm writing a book. 

I know, 
everyone says
they want to write a book.

I've decided to take the steps to do it.
I'm taking a class to teach me how to get published.

I'm on the assignment 
where we come up with some titles
and some subtitles and ask friends what they think.

Whatever I decide to use
it will be my working title

I might not use it.
A publisher might boot it.
God might change my focus part way through
causing me to pick something else altogether.

I appreciate your help and your honesty. 

I have been hesitating because 
telling everyone makes it more real
and comes with a bit of accountability. 
I know many of you will be excited for me 
and want to know how things are coming along...

So, here is assignment #1--- 
tell me in the comments here 
or on Facebook 
or on Google+ 
or message me.

Which of these would you want to read?
If you have any other suggestions, I'll listen as well...
but I will probably go with one of these in some form or another.

1. Know Your Worth: Learning God wanted more for me than I wanted for myself.

2. Beyond Survival: Finding out that what God wants for me is better than I could have asked or imagined.

3. Bootstraps: How God saved me from myself

4. Bootstraps: How God intervened when I had sunk too deep

5. Bootstraps: How God intervened when I waded too deep

6. Bootstraps: Too deep in the mud to pull myself out, God intervened

Obviously I like "Bootstraps" It's based on this blog post:

Have questions?
Honestly, I don't have a lot of answers.
I don't have the full picture yet... but God is leading here
and that is the most important thing.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wanna cuddle?

(This week...)

Wanna cuddle?

I looked at the words on the instant messenger and sent back a reply,

I don't even know you.

So? I think you are beautiful.
I want to make love to you.

We had been talking for a few days after meeting in a Christian Facebook group online. I had made sure after an earlier comment that he was clear about my values and beliefs, and we had a few great conversations. At this point, if he had asked me out, I would have said yes.
Now, I'm just annoyed.

I'm not interested in someone
who is only interested in sex.

 I'm not. But we can start there.
I really think you are beautiful.

Beautiful. My mind immediately went backwards...

(A few years ago...)

Crying, replaying A's words in my head,
I followed him to my bedroom.
He was right. I was lucky to even
have him pay any attention to me.

At one point, I interrupted his rant.
Sniffling, I asked him,  
But do you think I'm pretty?

His answer doesn't matter.
My heart hurts knowing how
worthless I felt to allow myself
to be treated that way by anyone.

Some days, when I'm feeling particularly single and alone, and I consider the ways I could feel less so (even though I don't follow through) I wonder if I'm really that different now. Satan is good at trying to convince me that I am the same girl today that I was, that maybe people don't see it because I just have better acting skills.

(Back to this week)

Again I replied, probably too politely.

You don't even know me and
I told you I'm waiting for marriage. 

But I want... (I'm not putting what he said here.) 

I give up.


Convincing you that you are being disrespectful.

He sent a sad face and I ended the conversation.
Later that night, I got another message from him, calling me his lover.

Ummm, No.


Boundaries. You need to be reminded I have them. 

I'm going to cross all of them and hope you still like me.  

You don't think that's disrespectful?

He didn't answer until the next morning, at which point I let him know that I wasn't interested in pursuing anything with him. End of story.

I've had a little time to think about the whole scenario, and have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself. It's not just an act. I really mean it. Several times over the course of the last few days he had called me beautiful. He had said some other really sweet things as well. All things I would have done anything to hear in the past.

The words, "Wanna cuddle?" in the past would have made my heart skip a beat... no matter who the asker was. Not anymore.

Do I someday want a man to think I'm beautiful? Of course. But if my ultimate goal in a relationship is to be loved, honored, and cherished... I know that I can't let my head be turned by someone who doesn't even know me telling me I'm pretty.

It feels good to be able see the changes God is making in my heart, a little at a time... and to know for sure that no acting skills are involved. I value myself too much to let anyone treat me that way anymore... because I know that is how much He values me.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, 
and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize 
that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.
1 John 3:1

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good
and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
Psalm 130:13-14

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Bootstraps (revised)

My story has been described
as one of a woman
who fell on hard times,
pulling herself up
by her bootstraps
to succeed.
That isn’t completely true.

I didn’t fall on hard times.

I climbed into them,
sometimes blindly,
but almost always willingly.
I thought that the times
that begat my hard times
were the answers
to my misguided prayers.
I never bothered to look
to God and say,
“Is this from You?”

While I can’t say for certain,
it is almost undoubtedly true
that I never asked, in part,
because I already knew the answer.   

The Bible clearly states
God hates sin.
God doesn’t reward sin.
God doesn’t offer sin as a reward.
But if the situations before my hard times
were something that I thought I wanted,
there was no stopping me
from charging ahead,
sometimes even giving Him credit.

The most successful path
to my own personal Hell
was slow and steady,
as it is for most who wander.
No sharp turns or drops.
No reason to make me
think I might be wrong.

Murder, envy, and greed are all
great sins, as sins go.
But, Satan knew he was safer
to turn me into a gossip and a time waster,
an in-denial lover of self,
someone who was convinced
she was in control
of her own life,
who wouldn’t be jolted
back to reality until it was too late.
He was almost right.

Everyone has their breaking point
the enemy no doubt took delight
in watching my struggle
to be in control
right up until the moment
I broke and fell to the ground.

There, on my knees,
I did something he didn’t expect.
I looked up towards Heaven for help and hope.

I believe that God cares more for our souls
than He does for our earthly lives.
He will let things be taken away from us,
one after another after another,
until we realize we have nothing
left but Him to hold on to.

Some of us are more stubborn than others.

God let me do things my own way,
though He has the power

to make me do whatever He wants.

He let me make my own choices, and
He let me make my own mistakes,
knowing that when I finally came to Him
in complete and willing surrender,
it would be real and lasting.

When I finally acknowledged
Who was in control,
I raised my arms 
and waved my white flag.

That is when He showed me those bootstraps
and how to pull myself up, 
by grabbing ahold of His hand.

Thank You Lord,
for Your patience and Your grace.
I will spend the rest of my life telling people
how awesome You really are...
and it still won't be long enough
to show how truly grateful I am. 

(Revised from this post: Bootstraps 12/05/2013)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Relationships and respect

Recently I spoke at a conference for single moms. One of the mini-sessions was on "New Relationships." Here is what I shared with the single moms that day on this topic.

"Twenty years ago, my driver's ed teacher gave me the best relationship advice I've ever received. I often wish that I had listened to him sooner. “Ladies,” he said, “If a man does not have enough respect for you to drive safely when you are in the vehicle with him, he is not worth your time.”

He wasn't talking about someone who just truly is not a great driver. Nor was he talking about the man that gets that sparkle in his eye after a snowstorm and asks if you want to go to the nearest parking lot to do donuts. He was talking about the guy who is more worried about getting past that driver who cut him off than the fact that your knuckles are white as you grip the OS handle above the door, or one who thinks it is fun to speed, race, and whip around corners to scare you with his driving.

He was talking about respect.

I think we will all agree that in the search for the man God has for us, we know to rule out a few traits and behaviors. [Current] Alcoholics, addicts, abusers, liars... (those not yet recovering) these are men we want to avoid. We all know that. These are not the men I'm talking about 

Today I'm talking to you about the nice guy you've been dating or are thinking of dating. You have good moments, but sometimes you wonder if something isn't a little bit off. You catch yourself justifying things to keep the relationship together.

As single moms, loneliness is often a part of our daily lives. We love our kids, that's not a question. But, we long for the support that comes from having a significant other. What we don't realize is that keeping someone in our lives who doesn't respect us not only hurts us, but it sends the wrong messages to our children.

When you are in a situation where you are wondering where the relationship might be going, think about the word 'respect'. Is he showing you, and those around you that he respect you? There are a hundred ways someone can show a lack of respect. However, I have five questions for you that can help you get a better handle on that question.

Does he take you out ?
And I don't mean, “Do you make all the plans, go pick him up, and pay for everything?” I mean, does he plan dates, ever? Does he pay at least half the time? Does he pick you up? Does he ever offer to pay for a sitter so that you can go out?

Sitting at home on the couch and watching a movie is nice, but it is NOT a date. 
Coming over to do his laundry while you cook him dinner is NOT a date. 
Sleeping over is NOT a date.
Sex is NOT a date.

Does he keep his word?
Being a single mother means we have suffered through a lot of disappointment in our lives. It dampens our ability to trust others and what they say, especially men. If you are in a serious relationship, and you are not beginning to believe him when he says something, there is a problem. 

1. Either you have serious trust issues that are going to make it hard to keep any healthy relationship. Or 
2. He keeps his word so infrequently that you are unable to build any trust in him.

You deserve a man who keeps his word.

Does he make time for you?
How often does he text you randomly? Is he always busy? Does he 'forget' to call? 
Even if the rare times you do get together are great, you need someone who cares enough to make time for you. He does not need to be at your beck and call, all day every day.  

Is he proud of the relationship?
You should be dating a man whose friends and family know you exist. How do they know? You have met them.

If you spend the whole evening with a man on Saturday and on Sunday morning he will not sit with you in church. It doesn't matter what he says about “gossip” or “taking things slow” … cut him loose.

Someone who truly cares doesn't get mad when you occasionally tag him on Facebook. He is willing to change his FB relationship status. He does not have to be okay with your whole relationship playing out on social media.  However, if he is hiding you or hiding the relationship, then it is time to move on.

Do you have to make excuses for him?
As you were reading these questions, the man that you care about now, or someone from your past likely popped into your mind.

or some of you, when that guy popped into your mind, you were likely thinking about his but. Not B-U-T-
T … BUT. He would make more time for me BUT our kid-free weekends are opposite each other's. I do always pay for dates, BUT he doesn't have a job right now. I'm not allowed to interact with him on Facebook BUT it's just because he's not ready for people to know about us yet.

If you are thinking about his BUT he is either not in the place for a relationship right now, or he is not the right guy for you. Nobody is perfect, but excuse after excuse is not going to get you where you want to be, or where God wants you to be.

Some men will get a “No” in some of these categories because they are jerks. They don't respect you. They don't put your needs first. They want what they want. Love is the opposite of self. Someone who always puts himself first does not mean it when he says that he loves you. He may not even know what that word means.

Others will get a “No” to some of these categories even though they are not jerks. A man can be a really good person and still not be the right one for you, for whatever reason. As hard as it is to let go of them in terms of romantic relationships, you need to know that God adores you and he doesn't want you in a relationship with a man who doesn't feel the same way.

I talk about sex a lot because we have to deal with it a lot. Those of us who choose to abstain until we are married are up against a great struggle, both internally and externally.
God makes it clear in His Word that sex outside of marriage is a sin. But I am going to tell you something you won't hear often enough. I want you to know that if you choose not to abstain, or if you fall into temptation, God still loves you. God isn't angry with you. God can be disappointed with your choices, but you aren't going to Hell for having sex. 

Are you living your best life? No. 

Are you experiencing the relationship God intended for you? Nope.

But God still loves you. 

If you slip up and end up having sex, you can not let yourself be pulled into a downward spiral of guilt and shame and let that pull you away from your relationship with Him."

It's not an excuse to do whatever you want, it is a reminder that the God who created you wants you to get up and try again... remind yourself: God wants MORE for you than this. He ADORES you and wants you to be with someone who does also.
 For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
~Zephaniah 3:17

Friday, May 1, 2015

Being alone

Healed of my codependency,
I've been working hard to curb
the needy habits that codependency caused.
It is becoming easier and easier.

I'm encouraged by a huge reduction in
depression, tears, exhaustion, frustration
that used to flare up regularly due to
my own unmet hopes and expectations.

The biggest change, one that I expected
and have been looking forward to the most,
has not happened yet. I've spent time trying
to figure it out, but I'm still confused.

I can't figure out if God is waiting
to fix this part of me too, until I manage
to learn some important lessons here
or if this is just how He made me.

I still don't like being alone.

I enjoy being around people.
People energize and inspire me.
I may talk too much sometimes, but
meaningful conversation is something I crave.

I don't just want friends to lean on.
I want friends who are comfortable
with leaning on me, asking me for help
or saying hello for no reason at all.

I've honestly felt lately that my desire
to not be single could be ignored, possibly
(maybe) even satisfied, if I could manage
to cultivate some close friendships.

Is there something about myself I don't see
that keeps this from happening?
I actually asked someone recently, who said no.
But she and I don't really hang out either.

Am I bitchy? Whiny? Too opinionated?
Do I complain too much? Do I hog the conversation?

Am I a bad listener? Do I seem insincere?
Maybe I ask too many questions?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not doubting my worth here.
God thinks I'm awesome, of that I'm sure.
I just wish He'd clue some other people in
and then point me in the right direction.