Saturday, May 14, 2011

God Cares About Twinkle Toes

(The shoes after 5 months of daily wear)

"And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you." Matthew 6:28-30

I know it seems crazy, but God spoke to me through a pair of sneakers.

For anyone who has kids, you know the frustrations of clothing and shoeing a child. At the beginning of the school year we purchased each of the children a new pair of sneakers along with their other school clothes (pretty standard for the family). Well, come November/December, only a couple months out from the beginning of school, my oldest had already put a hole in the sole of her shoe. Feeling a bit frustrated with the situation... money's tight and do I look like I'm made of new shoes?... I told my hubby we were going to need to buy Baby Bear new shoes and then quickly put it to the back of my brain (maybe not the best coping mechanism).

A couple weeks later, with no new shoes on Bear's feet, we took a trip to the thrift store in hopes of finding a couple sweaters to turn into longies for LooLoo. God instead, had me go by the shoe section. Looking at the shelves, I saw an amazing sight. A pretty much brand spankin' new pair of Sketchers brand Twinkle Toes for $5. Upon further inspection, not only did they not have skullys on them, but they had all the jewels attached, the little charms, they were the right size and my daughter loved them!!!

God was so good to remind me that not only does He know what we need, He is such a good God that he would go above and beyond the basic needs to give us what we didn't even know we wanted.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Testimony

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

I’m going to open this by saying that yes, this is long. But in it you are going to find as open and honest a testimony as I can give you. It may not be comfortable but it is who I was and, to the glory of God, how I was saved from myself.

I was by no means considered a “bad girl” in the typical sense. I was a hard worker. I had the determination to achieve the very best in everything I did. I had a steady boyfriend who loved me and whom I adored, my grades were wonderful, I had a part time job, and I had a steady stream of challenging but enjoyable extracurricular activities. I blazed my own trails and, to everyone around me, seemed to have it all together. But if you looked inside, just below skin level, you would have seen something much different.

When I was 8 my father died. I was raised by my amazing mother who did everything she could to make sure that my brother and I were never lacking. My mom worked hard for us, though it meant that we were mostly left to our own devices through our teenage years. For me, that was no problem. I had good friends and a caring family. I had a “strong head on my shoulders that was pointed in the right direction”… whatever that meant. I was a lost little girl who had no daddy to tell her he loved her and valued her and knew she was worth more than gold or rubies. I lost my virginity to a boy at the age of 16 because I thought that that’s what you do to show someone you love them. I carved pictures onto my ankle bone because the blood and pain was so pretty. I was dying inside… but no one knew.

In truth, some knew, but they were all just as lost as me, and together we all decided what was normal. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll right? – but only in the privacy of our own clique. And, in truth, there weren’t really drugs involved and no adult seemed to care about the other two. DARE. We were off drugs alright, and addicted to other things, like each other.

My Junior year in high school taught me about God. No, not the school, but some people around me. I had broken it off with my boyfriend and found a new guy. He was totally into this Jesus person. After going to an amazing concert by a local Christian band I decided this might be interesting. Seeing as how I knew nothing about this religion, I did some investigating and learned enough about Him to accept that he did what he said he did. That his death, burial, and resurrection were enough to forgive my sins and free me from them. So one evening, while discussing God with my current boyfriend, I accepted Jesus into my life as Savior. And I became one of the millions of Christians that people have grown to hate.

I was bold for my Savior. I couldn’t understand why others didn’t accept what was so obviously a great decision. I upset my mom by pushing my faith onto her and my brother. I thumped that bible with the best of them… all the while never changing my lifestyle. Still dying inside, but this time, I didn’t even know it.

Enter college. I followed my boyfriend to college and it was a dream come true. I was attending the college I had always wanted to with the “man” who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I was real edumacated in that there bible and was feeling quite confident. That’s when things came tumbling down -- in a very big way. There was a large amount of dissatisfaction with my current choice of majors (a word of advice… chose a major you are really interested in… not just one that you have a little interest in but mainly chose because it will prove profitable if you complete it). I was going to campus Christian groups and hearing rousing sermons on abstinence and then going back to the dorms for a lay. God was moving in my life, but it wasn’t as my advocate, it was as my adversary. He was positioning all the pieces around me and then… check mate. I was pregnant.

Up until this point, all my “sin”, all my shames, all the things I didn’t like about myself or that would have given people a negative opinion of me, they were all hidden under a beautifully gilded exterior that I maintained with meticulous care. But only Christ knew that in order for my interior to match what I wanted my exterior to look like, I needed a sobering shift of perspective.

And so he delivered. The message was loud and clear. “I am God. There are no others beside me. No self, no boyfriends, no school. No idol you hold so dear will ever right this, but I, the Creator of all heaven and earth, the creator of you and of this little baby, I will make you my own, and you will watch me move in mighty ways, and you will know that I love you.”

At that point, I had a decision to make. Put my life where my mouth is, or turn from God completely. Christ knew what I would choose. He used my little girl to catch my heart and He’s had it ever since. I don’t look at my girl with resentment, or loathing, or with a desire to have a different destiny. I chose my path and despite my choices, God still reached out to me. He still loved me when others were turning their backs on me. When my own mother held bitterness towards me.

I was a teen pregnancy. But by the love and grace of my savior and best friend, I did not become another standard statistic. I am happily married to the father of my baby. I am able to be a stay at home mom instead of working a full time minimum wage job. We live in our own home and not in the garages of our parents’ homes. But most of all, I am loved by a Maker who wanted so desperately for me to know him that He gave me a beautiful little girl even though I didn’t deserve her. My God in heaven reminds me daily that He is my Father and that he loves me and values me and knows I am worth more than all the gold and rubies this earth possesses, and this is the reason that I am still standing.

No guilt of life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Word of God

"Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him" Proverbs 30:5

My youngest daughter, LooLoo, has always been the more strong willed child. She knows what she wants and is quick to cry if she doesn't get her way. Her crying has actually been one of the things I struggle with the most. Since she was born, she's had moments when she will cry just for the sake of crying, and most of those times it's pretty inconsolable. In general though, since she's been getting older, those crying sessions have been much fewer and far between. So when New Years Day came around and she woke up in a crying fit, I was sort of caught off guard.

She came into my room and she didn't want to be held or hugged or kissed. She didn't want her blanket which just about always calms her down. She wouldn't suck her thumb. When I laid my hands on her and started praying over her she just cried even harder. At that point I was kind of out of ideas. So, asking God for direction, he pointed me in the direction of my bible. I did a little "magic bible", asking the Lord to take me to the place He wanted me to read from, and opened it up. I was taken to Ezekiel 3.

Now, I've never read Ezekiel, and the passage starts with, "And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel..." So naturally I asked, 'Lord, are you sure? Have you seen this passage?', but in obedience (or desperation) I just started reading to Loo. And as soon as the words started coming out of my mouth she stopped crying and climbed into my lap. She snuggled with her blanket and sucked her thumb and was calm. I also felt that I was supposed to stop reading when Loo decided to leave the room. Two chapters later, she got up off my lap and walked out.

What have I learned from this experience? The word of God is living and it is powerful. The whole time I was reading, I was reading about plagues and famine and God wiping out his people and only leaving a remnant and death and destruction and wondering, 'What on earth are you teaching me here Lord?!' Then, by the end, it was abundantly clear. It wasn't about what I was reading... God's word, every part of it, every single word from beginning to end is God breathed and has the power to save and transform. Whether I'm reading about life and life abundantly, or death and destruction, it came from the nostrils of the one and only living God and it has power beyond my understanding.

Praise be to God alone!