Christian Living · Christian Wife · prayer · Preaching · Uncategorized

That’s the Book for Me!

Do you have a stack of books you need to read?

  • In my living room, I have 25 new books.
  • In my office, I have 3 new books.
  • In my purse, I carry 4 new books.

All purchased in the last 2 months.

You know the books I’m talking about, ladies.  The ones that discuss growing deeper with God, they help you be a better Christian wife, Christian mother, make Christian decisions and all the Christian topics you think will “fix” or “help” you?  If you’re like me, then yes!

Why?  Because I’m going to read them all!  Right?  Well no.  However, in my defense, I am currently reading 3 of the 25 books.

My husband just shakes his head and walks off every time we are at Lifeway and he says “Why are you getting this book?” and I reply “Um, for Bible Study” and he replies “How many bible studies do you do?  Shouldn’t you finish one before you start another”  Um, OUCH!

This recent conversation with Lee and a group of friends who are in the same boat  with me made me think.  If we are doing this, there are others doing this!  We are overwhelmed with where to start.  We are tired.  Which one do we read first.

If you are like me, then you get on Facebook and join your Christian groups in a quick early morning conversation.  Then you head over to your devotional you go to in the morning where you click a link and  you are lead to read through a blog, that blogs leads to another, and another.  The next thing you know hours have flown by and it’s 10 am or 12 pm.  AND now your email is overwhelmed with the 4-5 devotionals you signed up for in the process.  Then you feel guilty because you don’t have time to read them all.  Guilt hits you because afterall, THIS IS GOD’S WORD!  ln the process you also came across 1-2 more books you need to purchase because if you get them, everything will be okay!!!!  You feelin’ me, ladies?

WE NEED TO STOP DOING THAT!

Don’t get me wrong, I love these books.  They all are written by wonderful men and women with awesome insight to the LORD.   And the blogs, I love them.  I write one and have friends who write some beautiful words and I cherish them all but Oh -My -Goodness I have become overwhelmed on where to start because of my desire to be a better Christian wife, mom, daughter, and friend

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God. ! ~2 Corinthians 3:5

Ladies, hear me closely:  God says we are good enough!  As long as we are following Him we are enough.  Do we need insight and fellowship from our Christian sisters, heck yes!   Are these books awesome resources,  heck yes!  But that’s just it, these are resources not our whole source.  Have faith that God will lead us to what we need.  He did not intend for us to freak out and be overwhelmed in our walk with Him.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 

I’ve sat here with 6 books piled up, over 20 blogs to read through, and feeling like I would never get through it all in a day.  That’s because I won’t!  I work fulltime outside of the home, I’m a mom, a friend, a daughter and most importantly a wife.  I have a household to run and two regions to manage with 500 agents.  As great as it would be to sit with a cup of coffee nestled in the corner of my couch wrapped in a beautiful blanket reading and posting blogs about my new wonderful findings, I can’t. God blessed me with a family, a career, and a Bible.

God told me my solution was simple, when all else fails, start with the Bible and a simple conversation with Him to lead me to what and who I need in my life. I did this recently and was blessed with this wonderful group of mentors who are guiding me in ways I never thought imaginable.  I have formed new friendships and been guided to Him like never before in my life.  Who knew the solution to being overwhelmed by a simple, enjoyable act like reading and self improvement was so simple.  ASK and PRAY!

I reassessed my involvement in all things in my life.  I deleted Facebook groups and business groups I didn’t visit anymore or are no longer aligned with my values in all areas of my life.  I gave myself permission to read what God leads me to and puts on my heart.   I have a crown on my head put on there by God Himself.  I am His princess.  He is my King and He told me I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  He told me what studies I need to attend and who I need to be around right now.  Most importantly, God told me I AM ENOUGH!  My crown is straight again.  I just needed to slow down, take a deep breath and LISTEN!

So, if you are like me and want to “fix” your life or need “help”.  Yes, God provided resources but the most important source he gave us is the Bible.  Do a google search on scriptures that cover your topic.  Ask God to help you find what YOU need.  If you find a book, ask God if this is the one.  Sometimes he’ll show you through cost, shipping, difficulties ordering.  LISTEN TO HIM!

When signing up for devotionals know you only need 1-2 devotionals per day.  I have one for the morning and one for the evening.  And I know it’s the right ones because they usually address something I’m facing in my life at that time.  God’s timing is everything!

I was signed up for so many online bible studies before I did nothing but study, study, study.  I had no time for application and it was not fruitful for me anymore.  I was still receiving these updates and such and although the information is useful and awesome material I unsubscribed.  Not because I don’t like them, but because there was a time these were right for me, but now God told me I needed something different.  He has provided it.

Find what resonates with you right now, this minute.  Ask God to lead you.  It can be overwhelming and cause you greater stress as you try to read through a pile of books and click through blogs to fix your life.

I read blogs for fun and leisure.  I love seeing what my friends are doing and what God places on their hearts as well.  But I don’t look at each one everyday.  Sometimes I’ll read 4-5 when traveling sometimes all I have time for is 1.  Sometimes they are pertinent to me and sometimes they are pertinent for a friend and I pass it on.  No matter what I am reading, I have learned God leads me to where I am for a purpose.  I may not know that purpose today, but eventually it will come to me and be useful.

I love books, I enjoy reading and learning more about my walk with the LORD.  I am in no way saying don’t read books or blogs.  I am just saying read what is intended for you and your circumstances.  Maybe you are firm in your decision making processes so books on this are fruitless to you however, if your prayer life needs some sparking then books on prayer would be fruitful for you.

In 2016, I agreed to simplify my life and increase my prayer life.  So being the Type A personality I am and overachiever I have purchased every book possible to make this happen.  But God and I talked.

Today, I am reading 3 books:  Lord, I Want to Know You for bible study at church, Fervent for my online study and The Battle Plan for Prayer for my personal knowledge.  I also purchased the Audible versions since I travel so much.  The more I hear it AND read it the more it resonates with me.  I will also turn these on when cleaning or cooking at home or working in the office.  I have loaned out some of the other books I purchased to friends.  If I get them back great, if not, then when I need something God will provide it.

I am blessed with the resources God provides.

God Bless,

Myra

A Very Blessed Woman in TX

 

Christian Living · Christian Wife · prayer · Preaching · Uncategorized

Prayer-Keys to the Kingdom Part 2

In my last blog, I shared one of my husband’s sermons.  This is the last and BEST part of it (to me at least).   This was where I had new insight to a very long history with Prayer.

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened.   ~ Psalm 66:18

  • We must remain in right-standing with God.  We must not have unconfessed sin in our lives.  We must confess our sins routinely, keeping short accounts, then going to the Father seeking forgiveness, grace and mercy.

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” ~Matthew 6:14-15

  • Be pure in heart.  We cannot have have unforgiveness in our heart toward anyone.  No resentment or longheld bitterness.  If so, ask the LORD to create a clean heart in you to reveal anything you may have overlooked or have buried deep within you.
  • Pray with love and ferventcy out of a pure heart with all sincerity.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
 ~Hebrews 11:1

  • Speak of things as though they are not as they are.  In 2 Corinthians 4:18 we are told as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal And in Romans 4:17  we are told as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.  God did, Jesus did, Abraham did, and WE MUST!

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
    because you have rejected knowledge,
    I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I also will forget your children.  ~Hosea 4:6

  • Pray in knowledge of God’s word.  Look up and know the scriptures pertaining to certain requests.  Know God’s promises.  We must know how to stand on God’s word.
  • Never doubt.  God hears and will answer on HIS time.  And it may not be a yes.  If it goes unanswered it wasn’t HIS will.  At least not yet! Sometimes unanswered prayer is a blessing.
  • Pray in Jesus’ name and authority always

And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. ~Job 42:10

  • Pray for others regularly.  God will bless you for it and readily answer more of your prayers.  Everything Job lost in his terrible ordeal was restored to him DOUBLE when he entered into prayer for his three friends who had accused him so vigorously of sin.

TO BETTER UNDERSTAND HOW TO PRAY FOR YOUR FRIENDS READ AND MAKE NOTES ON PAUL’S PRAYERS FOR HIS FRIENDS

Paul prayed that his friends:

  • Ephesians 1:18-19  Might have wisdom and power
  • Ephesians 3:16-19 Strength in the inner man
  • Philippians 1:9-11 For discernment
  • Colossians 1:9 That they would know God’s will
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:10-13 That they have a growing love for one another
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 That they be worth of their calling
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 That they be comforted and established
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:5 That they be steadfast in their love for God
  • 1 Timothy 2:12 They they live quiet and peaceful lives
  • Philemon 6 That they recognize all they have IN CHRIST!
  • Hewbrews 13:20-21 That God would work in them that which is pleasing to Him.

Begin to pray this way and you will become a real prayer warrior and the devil will flee from you.

And there it is.  This is my favorite sermon from my husband.  Knowing him and living with him makes these sermons even more personal because I know the blood, sweat and tears that went into writing these sermons.  I know the backstories to each one of these sermons and makes it mean that much more to me. I am very proud of the changes he has made in his life and the man he is today.  Putting on the new man has never in my life looked so good as it does on him.

I am blessed to live with my favorite pastor.  I am blessed that he shares his faith with me.  I am blessed he prays with me and for me everyday.  I am a blessed woman.

God bless,

Myra

A Blessed Woman in TX

 

 

 

 

Christian Living · Christian Wife · prayer · Preaching · Proverbs 31 · Uncategorized

Prayer-Keys to the Kingdom Part 1

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” ~ Matthew 16:19

My husband has spent quite a few years studying for his M.Div and now his Doctorate.  He has had many assignments.  However, my favorite assignment he had to do was one called “Capture the Sermon“.  In this assignment, he had to listen to and rewrite the sermons in his words as he would teach the lesson.  From that assignment he wrote one called “Prayer-Keys to the Kingdom“.    This one is special because it was a sermon by our favorite Pastor, Steve Griffith out of Dallas, TX.  Steve was not only Lee’s mentor but also the Pastor who married us in July.  I also owe Steve a lot because it was him who gave me my husband back.  Without Steve, Lee would not be in my life or our son’s life.

This is a very timely find because of my new passion for my relationship with God and my desire to improve my prayer life.  Since watching the movie War Room, I have reignited my passion for the LORD and my prayer life.  Imagine my surprise when I was going through this file and found this beauty at the bottom of the stack.  God’s perfect timing once again!

Here it is:

wp-1453485935397.pngPrayer, there is nothing simpler or more powerful.  In 1 Timothy 2:1, we see the first instruction Paul gave the church was to pray.  Prayer is a constant challenge for most Christians- finding time, following up, knowing what to pray for.  And here lies the problem-making it an activity on the to-do list instead of a lifestyle that leads to victory.

Ephesians 6:18 tells us to “Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to the this end with perseverance and all suppliaction for all Saints” This means:

  • Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit
  • Don’t stop praying
  • Call on all believers to help you pray
  • Pray for one another

We are in a constant attitude of prayer; a constant state of communicating with the LORD; a continual dependence on Him, moment by moment in life.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray without ceasing.” We should pray about everything and on all occasions.  Anytime, Anyplace. Whether we are in prayer circles, meetings, our closet, family table, bible classes, devotionals, intercessions we should be walking and talking with God.

Prayer is our spiritual fuel.  We are human but now we have a spiritual engine.  That engine needs not human fuel or fuel of the world but prayer, which supplies our spiritual needs.  Prayer provides the energy needed to wear our spiritual armor (aka The Armor of God).  We cannot fight spiritual battles in our own strength-running on human effort.  We MUST rely on PRAYER.  It is the key to wearing God’s Armor into Victory!

Satan will use every device to keep us from praying. He will cause physical fatigue and zap our energy.  He will make us mentally unfit for prayer through the cares and burdens of the home and business.  He will destroy our power and prayer life through doubt, discouragement and depression.  So, when we feel least like praying, this is the time we need most to pray, for Satan has already gained a foothold in us.  The enemy knows when we haven’t prayed and moves into attack.  Prayer CANNOT be a matter of emotion.  It must be a CHOICE OF WILL.  A constant act of devotion and communication with God.

We must pray in prosperity and adversity; sickness and in health.  When we pray, pray prayers of praise and thanksgiving.  Then pray for what we will, desire and need.  James 4:2 says “we do not have because we do not ask…”  Often we strive after something without even praying about it and asking God for it.  Asking is the rule of the kingdom. If Jesus had to ask, you and I cannot expect to be exempted from it.  God knows what we need but HE wants us to ask Him as a sign of faith and dependence on Him.

The Holy Spirit provides us with power.  “Praying in Spirit” is all about God’s will.  We learn to pray the will of and according to the Word of God by yielding to the power of the Spirit who lives in us.  The Spirit directs us to pray in alignment with God’s plan and purposes, so God is able to answer.  If we pray on our own strength and wisdom, we will not find agreement with God.  We must have the mind of God which the Spirit provides as we pray.

Praying needs to become natural to you!  We must have perseverance in prayer, not giving up.  Prayer should also be done out of spiritual willingness and should not be forced.

The enemy has many ways he will try to discourage you from praying.  Let’s say you have two good days of praying in a row.  Satan will try to convince you it will be like that the rest of your life.  Listen closely, it won’t!  The third day when your prayer life is fruitless, the enemy will try to convince you that you’ve blown it and there is no use trying anymore.  THIS IS A LIE!!!  Do not listen!

If you have a couple of good days of prayer, then thank God for them and try for a third.  If the third day is a failure, just pray again on the fourth day.  Forget what is past and start anew each day.  Persevere in prayer.  That is the only way to get it done.

An old saying about the devil and prayer is that “The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.  He fears nothing from prayer-less studies, prayer-less works or prayer-less religion.  He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom but trembles when we pray.”

And that is the first half of his sermon that was completed on September 6, 2010. Tomorrow I will share keys to prayer effectiveness and some guidance on prayer from Paul.  This is my favorite part of this sermon.  However, if you are like me, and not holding a M.Div. as my husband does then you have quite a bit to ponder for now.  I have to read and reread to fully grasp his words and the content.  I encourage you to do the same.

I am blessed with such a God-fearing man full of wisdom on the subject of our walk with the LORD.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed to make sure I’m living up to the standards Lee has but what I, what we both have realized is each of us has our own walk with the LORD.  Lee’s calling is his own and my calling is my own.  Our expectations for our walks are tailored to each of us but there are certain expectations we share.  This is a lesson we both had to learn the hard way.  It took us both humbling ourselves and almost losing one another to learn it.  Place your spouse/significant other in God’s hands and He will give you what you need.  Together, as one, we now encourage and support one another in our walks through the powerful gift of PRAYER.

God Bless,

Myra

A Very Blessed Woman in TX

 

 

 

 

Christian Living · motherhood · Uncategorized

Medicare or Bust!

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Our Hearts are Sick when they are burdened with Stress

Nothing rings truer to me right now than this quote.

In the last 14 days I have traveled from Austin to DFW.  I have spent more than 8 nights away from home.  What did I do in that?  I trained over 120 agents on Medicare 101, our call center opportunity, and our clinic initiative. I have attended 2016 Product Rollout Meetings for the multiple carriers we represent.  I have held the hands of about 50 new and existing agents to help them grow their insurance portfolio and their business.  I have done over 20 personal business and strategy meetings with agents one-on-one.  I also have to deal with the political warfare that happens in any corporation.  When you start rising to the top, people try to keep you down.  So I’m constantly trying to overcome the things that are being said and I work three times as hard.

I have also broken bread multiple times with the Executives from these carriers and our offices as well as entertained agent managers for each of these carriers.  When did I sleep?  How many nights was I home?  I counted.  In 14 days, I was home 6 days.  However, even when I was home, I was still plugged in.  I was answering phone calls, text messages and emails.  So in reality I have been gone from my family for 14 days.

Has it caused strained on a new marriage?  HECK YES!

Are my children feeling abandoned?  HECK YES!

I have reached a point in my career that most can only dream of.  I have everything I want professionally.  But personally, I haven’t been able to attend church or our COM group in 14 days.  I am exhausted.  I am tired.  I am weak.  I can hear my body screaming “STOP” My skin is dry, my hair is falling out and my husband and children are miserable!  When I am home and finally have a moment to myself, I want it ALL to myself.

I have become everything I want to be professionally but not who I am personally.  Maintaining the professional life has caused so much stress with travel, a constantly ringing phone and last minute office trips that my heart is sick.  I am sick with stress.  It has taken over my life and it is spilling over into my personal life affecting those I love. I sleep on the couch away from my husband, my son can’t talk to me because I just want to be left alone and my daughter just stays away from me because well in her words “you’re grouchy” And everything they do, annoys me (some of it warranted but most not).

Then one day, I “let it go and let God”.

And Jesus is the eternal healer of hearts

As hard as I work, I do enjoy my job.  I am blessed to lead a small group of women in our Women’s Leadership program.  All 4 women are strong Christian Women of God.  I could not get through my week without these 4 fabulous ladies.  They keep me grounded-in faith, in my work life balance, and in everything I do.  Last week we had a very brief meeting after one of our trainings.  We were chit chatting when one of my agents blew me away.

She said, “Can I pray for you?”

I’m sure I had a shocked look on my face.  And she said again “Myra, honey, you are a newlywed and you look like death warmed over.  You should be on top of the world right now, but you look like the Walking Dead”.

I chuckled.  Then she asked the tough questions “How’s your marriage? How are the kids? When was the last time you ate at home?” Because of the close relationship I have with these women I began tearing up.  Then she started quoting me on some things I have preached to them.  “You must take care of you or you are no good to anyone else-your spouse, your children, or anyone.  You aren’t doing that are you?”

I tried to be strong but I could feel God with his hand on me telling me to let it go.  As much as I wanted to be their leader, I felt God’s hand guiding and I heard this voice saying “open up”.  I broke down for the first time in 14 days.  I let all my worries, all my stress out and laid it all out to this small group of women I lead; this group I trust.  This group of women I’m suppose to be strong for.  These women I am suppose to lead saw me vulnerable for the first time ever.  But then something amazing happened.  As I began talking about my worries, my life stressors something came over everyone and each one of these fabulous women opened up.  None of us had any idea we were each dealing with “things”; with stressors in our lives.  I think we get so stuck in our own world we forget that others deal with stress too.  In this small conference room, 5 women laughed, cried, “let it go” and then closed in prayer.  The stress immediately lifted.

JESUS IS MY HEALER!

I am blessed that God has placed some fabulous Christian brothers and sisters in my work environment.  I am blessed to have children and a husband who love me unconditionally.  But most of all, I am blessed that Jesus is my healer!

God Bless,

Myra 🙂

A Blessed Woman in TX

 

Christian Living · Christian Wife · prayer · Proverbs 31

The Blessings of Rain

For the last few weeks, our time has been limited.  From October to April Lee was here with us every other weekend come you know what and high water!  From April to now, we have had one weekend together and a few days in between where we could see eachother for a quick lunch or quick dinner before one of us was heading back to our respective towns.

Lee has been preparing for his graduation from his LCDC program to become a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Intern.  I have been dealing with my career which is in full swing, managing my son’s baseball schedule, and trying to spend as much time as possible with my Senior girl as she prepares for adulthood.  Oh and to top it off, I’ve been preparing for our wedding.

To say the least, life has been overwhelming for both of us!!!!

Lee and I started to get snippy, quippy and cranky with each other.  The stress got the best of all of us-me, Lee, and the kids.  So, I did this weird thing–I told Lee how I felt.  What?  Communication?  Yes, we should all try it!!!!  I won’t go into the details of our conversations but we both said hurtful things over the past few weeks and we were both about to explode.  SO, I had a conversation with God one day and this is what he told me :

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9

Okay, God I hear you!  We needed to come together as one again and face life together.  WOW!  What an awakening that was for me.  I realized my next conversation needed to be with Lee.  I mean really, my dog was coming between us?  Um, no that was not going to happen!  So, I took this big leap of faith and discussed nicely how I was feeling with Lee.  Something amazing happened.  He felt the same way and it had nothing to do with the dog!!!!   We found resolution to our problem before it became a big problem.

I was forced to look at myself in all this as well.  It is so easy to blame others.  It is so easy to say HE DID IT ALL WRONG.  This is something our society does well.  However, I know I am as much to blame as he was for all the things we both were feeling.  I owned it and fixed it; so did Lee.

I felt neglected because he was constantly serving the Ministry he serves and finishing his school work.  He felt neglected because I was constantly busy with work and kids.  Sound familiar?

He came to town last week and God gave us this blessing in our life-RAIN!  Baseball game cancelled.  Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I love more than watching our son play baseball.  He is my favorite player.  However, lately it has been baseball 24/7.  Between Mac’s games and the TX Rangers constantly on my TV at home, I have to admit I was a little baseballed out.  The rain was just the break we needed.

That next day we spent the day together.  I worked from home and he did too.  We had lunch together, later ran errands together, and ended our night at my office helping one of my agents move some furniture into our office.  As simple as all that sounds, it was one of the best days we have had in a while.  We didn’t do anything “special” but my time with him was special because it was something we haven’t had in a while-togetherness.  Lee made me and our family the priority and so did I.  We discussed his business plans and I updated him on my office projects.  We discussed us, the wedding, the kids and just got back to the basics of all things Lee and Myra.

We are back on track.

Lee is my best friend and the first to know anything I know.  He treats me like a princess.  To the point where he spoon feeds me ice cream; it’s kinda the only way I will eat now when we are at home LOL The kids say we are disgusting because he takes very good care of me and my needs.  However, we both let the stress get to us and let it affect our relationship. We let it get bad.  Going forward we will do the following:

  • Put God first and foremost in our relationship
  • Pray; pray for ourselves, pray for each other, pray alone, pray together; pray for our goals as individuals, as a family and as business partners in ministry.
  • Communicate:  We have never been that couple that runs out of things to say. We just haven’t made time to really talk.  I call it “getting naked” because you have to go deep and not stay just on the surface. We talk about his plans, my plans and how they can unite.   We’ve always been that way.
  • Make Time:  We had become that couple who were two ships passing in the night; NEVER AGAIN! We will make time daily to talk and weekly to get away from everything.  And for Memorial Day Weekend we will be detached-no cell phones or laptops (this will however be a challenge for me so please pray).  We are taking a family vacation to San Antonio, however it is still time together as the kids drive with headphones in their ears we will talk for the 2 hour commute.

Although I am now tired of the rain we have seen here in Texas, I thank God for it.  Who knows where we would be if it hadn’t happened.  Once again, God blessed me and us with what we needed.

So tonight I leave with this verse I pray over Lee everyday.  I hope it resonates with you and your significant other/husband/wife

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Ruth 1:16

Goodnight and God Bless,

A Blessed Woman

Christian Living · Christian Wife · motherhood · prayer

What Keeps Me Apart from God-Part 3

Christian Living · Christian Wife · motherhood · prayer

What Keeps Me Apart from God – Part 2

I was going to break this into a two part series but now it will be three.  God has put a lot on my heart tonight to share and the 4th stumbling block is a tough one………

4. Forgiveness keeps us from a closer walk with God.

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25-26

God stresses the importance of forgiveness as a subject 108 times.  I think God is trying to tell us something! I have no great insight to add to forgiveness as it has been preached on many times.  However, this is where my story, our story-mine and Lee’s, can be an example of what forgiveness does in your life.  Here goes………

If it were not for forgiveness, I would not be living God’s will for my life. The mix of Lee’s alcoholism and my immaturity caused great strife in our relationship.   When I left him in 2000, it was the hardest decision of my life because I knew this was the man God had created for me.  However, he had made so many bad decisions and done so many things to hurt me emotionally, mentally and physically in the last few months of our relationship I had to make a choice that was right for me and my children.  I said a prayer, called my dad and left.

When I left I was pregnant with bronchitis and a double ear infection.  My anger and bitterness for things that had been said and done made me say things and do things I wholeheartedly regret. Three times Lee tried to reconcile with me and three times I was too stubborn to forgive him.  I knew the drinking would not end and my immaturity of having everything handed to me from childhood through my relationship with Lee would not allow me to forgive.  Pride got in my way, pride got in our way.

I knew this man loved me like no other however I also knew he had tried several times to stop drinking and couldn’t.  So Lee left my parent’s house one afternoon and I called the police knowing he had been drinking.  I sent the one man who loved me more than anything.  The one man who truly, madly, deeply loved me and my children and I sent him to prison for 3 years with that one phone call.  That was and always will be my biggest regret in this life.

Lee struggled after I did that to him.  Eight months later our son born.  He again tried from the jail to call me and talk to me about our son.  I still would not listen.  I was too hurt from our rocky end and embarrassed at the same time.  Pride got in the way so I told him to leave me and my son alone.  I would do it by myself.  I regretted that comment the moment I made it.  Lee thought I hated him with that one comment.  He thought I wanted no part of him but in all honesty, I didn’t just want him, I needed him.  I had just had our son.

Lee and I can both relive the night he was created in detail.  It was one of the few nights Lee was sober.  It was a rare moment in our relationship in our last few months together-his soberness.  Every time I looked at that little boy I saw his father.  My girls were all me and this one child from the one man I thought I wanted nothing to do with anymore was a living reminder not only in looks but actions and deeds of his father.  He was the good parts of Lee.  A loving, extremely intelligent, kind-hearted little boy who would protect his loved ones to the death.

For 13 years, Lee and my son, MacKenzie, never knew one another.  However, God always kept Lee in front of me through our son.  He is his father’s mini me.  Same mannerisms.  Same face.  Same brain.  It is scary to think of how similar these two human beings are-twin like almost. Sometimes it annoyed me to the point of anger but one night in the hospital with a woman I wish I still knew changed my life!

I came to the Lord in 2001 at Children’s Hospital of Dallas when my daughter had a shunt malfunction.  I was at my wit’s end.  I had a newborn child, and a 5th grader at home with my 5 year old in the hospital.  I never felt so alone until this woman who was in the room next to me visited me.  She told me about Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him.  I thought she was crazy.  I was raised Catholic and in light of recent events in my life I had let God go.  I had given up on God and me doing anything together.  But after a long heart to heart conversation I came to the Lord and surrendered my life to Him.  I let go of the anger, bitterness and resentment and forgave Lee.  After all, I loved this man enough to create a handsome young man with him.  I chose him as my partner. How can I loathe the man who gave me such a precious gift?

I felt the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders.   I began attending Fellowship Church in Grapevine with Ed Young.  It was a great church.  They had a Special Needs program and a Single Parent’s prorgram and one of the greatest women’s ministries in DFW.  I became a small group leader for the Single Parent’s ministry.  I met with some great parent’s of special needs children and I met some life long friends.  It was an awesome experience to attend church there.

After five years of being a single mom, I began dating again.  There was never a man who could live up to what I wanted and there was always something missing.  They all fell short.  There was always some kind of strife.  Now I look back and realize that what I wanted was Lee.

While I was working on all that, Lee was living a rough life of alcoholism and drugs.  He let them take over his life.  He was in and out of prison three times.  His last stay in prison began in 2009.  That is when he turned his life over to God and truly left the alcohol and drugs behind.  In 2010 he led the prison ministry at every prison he was transferred to and studied to receive his Master’s of Divinity.  He is now working on his PhD in Christian Counseling.

It is hard for me to know that the man I loved and the father of my son lived this rough life.   Lee is a well rounded, educated, cultured man who drove sales for many corporations.  If there was an award, he won it.  We had a very nice extremely blessed life.  To know he  had fallen and fallen hard is not easy for me to imagine.  To know I wasn’t there to help him saddens me even more.

Even at our worst, I never hated Lee.  He was always “the one”.  However, until God broke the strongholds of alcoholism we were not going to work.  Until I grew up and became the woman God intended me to be, we were not going to work.  I will not sit here and tell you I was perfect and he was all wrong.  I made mistakes and I have owned up to them.  Lee and I have 11 years between us-that made for some difficult times all those years ago.

About three months before Lee came back into our lives in 2014, God had put him on my heart.  It was a long day of work and I was winding down.  I jumped on Facebook to check on my children’s pages and message an old friend who had messaged me when it popped up.  “People you may know” and Lee Colin’s picture was there.  My heart sank.

I have always prayed for Lee from the moment I left.  Some long prayers asking for specific things and others just a short “God be with Lee today”.  Everyday for 14 years Lee was in my prayers.  He is the father of my son; he had hurt me not my child.  I wanted them to have a father/son relationship.   My son was reaching an age where he needed his dad.  But it was also one of those things that after 14 years I had given it up to God and said “it’s in your hands Lord”.  I wanted him in my child’s life just did not know God had a different plan.

Today, after a lot of time talking and renewing our parenting relationship something else happened.  We got to know each other again and fell in love again.  However, in order for that to happen we both had to forgive one another for our transgressions.  Not just say we are sorry but truly forgive one another for the things we had said and done to each other all those years ago—and we did!

Today we are engaged to be married this summer and our family has been put back together again.  Since I am now living God’s will for me, I am happier and more blessed than I have ever been in my life.  Lee is now a pastor and finishing up his schooling to be  a Christian Counselor.  I have moved to a job that requires less time and pays more money.  My special needs daughter, Marissa,  will hopefully get into a program at Texas A&M for special needs children and my son is an A/B honor student in the top 10% of his class.  Fourteen years and a lot of forgiveness has changed our lives.

Life is awesome all because I forgave one man who had hurt me in a way I never thought could be repaired.  God can fix anything but first you must give it to God and let it go!

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Mac, Lee, and Me

What grudges are you harboring tonight?  Who has hurt you that you need to forgive?   What friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, doctors, nurses, church members, strangers, and loved ones are you harboring anger, bitterness or resent toward?   LET IT GO!  GIVE IT TO GOD!

Me, Lee and our family  have not had an easy journey and 1700 words does not do it justice.  There is so much more in those 14 years on both sides but hopefully this quick highlight reel helps you understand how forgiveness can change your life.

Verses to Guide you:  Psalm 41:9-13; Isaiah 49:14-16; 2 Timothy 4:16-18, Romans 12:14-21; Luke 17:3-4

Goodnight and God Bless,

A Blessed Woman

Christian Living · Christian Wife · prayer

What Keeps Me Apart from God-Part 1

As I work on this new space in my home to have a closer walk with God, the question arises what keeps us from a closer relationship with God? I know this is one of those questions we all ask.  Lee shared these verses and reasons with me and our children a while back and I think it’s worth sharing with the world.  The interpretations are my own but the verses and reasons are Lee’s.  This is a very deep topic so I am piecing it together in a two part series.

1. Compromise does not exist in a relationship with God.

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46

You cannot turn your life to the Lord and expect to keep living the same life.  God tells you

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come – 2 Corinthians 5:17

When you turn your life to God, your life changes.  You become a new person.  You leave your old world behind and begin living the new life God has promised you.  You follow God’s laws and emerse yourself in His word. You change your life to live God’s will for you.

Just as our children are a reflection of our parenting, we are a reflection of our Heavenly Father.  What we do, what we say, and how we act are a reflection of our belief system.   This means we live by the 10 commandments and all the instructions we are given in life’s instruction manual known as the Bible.  We quit drinking in excess, begin to take care of our body as God’s temple, and find refuge in knowing that we always have God on our side in everything we do.

It is a 100% commitment to the Lord, nothing less!

2.  Rebellion keeps us apart from God

But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. Zechariah 7:11

 And they have turned to Me the back, and not the face; though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened to receive instruction. Jeremiah 32:33

To rebel is to refuse to obey God’s laws.  To be closer to God you must not ignore His voice.  You have to let go of the rebellion and succumb to His will for you.  You have to quit trying to put God into your world and realize you are in God’s world.  Live by His rules, do as He says and life is peaceful.

Just as any parent child relationship, you will test the boundaries.  For those of us who are parents, we can understand the pain that is felt when our children rebel.  We know the turmoil it brings.  So why do that to your Heavenly Father?

You will find as you walk closer with God, your life actually becomes easier.  Life stops being so hard by living God’s will for your life.  Please know, we are not perfect.  There was only one perfect human and that was Jesus Christ.  You will slip and you will have moments of weakness.  Pray through those moments.  Temptation is hard but with God anything is possible.  You can and will overcome!

3.  Time and busy schedules keeps us from having a deeper relationship with God.

As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Matthew 13:22

Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! Psalm 39:6

 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25

We must make the time for Him daily.  God gave us life. He is the great creator.  Just as we make time for our earthly parents, we must make time for our Heavenly Father.  Every morning for as long as I can remember my mother and grandmother have gone to God first thing in the morning.  If that meant they woke up at 4 am then so be it.  God was always first no matter what!!!  This was a great example to live by growing up and now I have a man who does the same thing.  I have not mastered this yet but I am trying.

For me, I had to break it down to smaller parts.  I had to start with the goal of church every Sunday.  Done!  Then I had to add life groups, comm groups, or whatever your church refers to them as….Done!  Then joining a women’s Bible study.  Done!  Now I’m working on joining the women’s ministry and helping them out slowly but surely.

It is through my church relationships I have met some of the most amazing people I know.  They have been great mentors in my life. By giving God the time He showed me what and who I needed in my life.

God is amazing!  He knows what you need but if you don’t give Him the time, he cannot share His plan with you.

My goal is to wake up at 5 AM every morning and meet with God first thing in the morning.

Compromise, Rebellion, and Time are just three of the obstacles to a closer walk with God.  Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow to find out the last 4 of the 7 obstacles. Lee’s insight always helps me, hopefully, it helped you tonight as well.

I am blessed to have a wonderful man of God to help lead our family in our walk with God.

Goodnight and God Bless,

A Blessed Woman

Christian Living · Christian Wife · motherhood · prayer · Writing

Mom Space Updated

I have been ill with walking pneumonia all week.  However, yesterday I finally felt human enough to do some home projects.  Lee and I found a desk and a chair.  The kids put my chair together and Lee tried but putting together a desk is not his thing.  So, we returned it to WalMart and they are putting it together for us 🙂  Ask and you shall receive.  God is good!  I should have it tomorrow.  I’m excited to finally have this space as my own.

I still have to find a rug and some other knick knacks but that is the fun of this project.  Creating this space that is mine.  Creating the space that will bring me closer to God.  I could have bought a lot of things but spending time with my daughter and creating things with her before she leaves home makes this space even more special for me.

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I have updated my mantle and made it makes me feel great. I still have some projects to complete but that is 100% of the fun of this project
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This is a project my daughter and I are working on ……..it’s not complete
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Another incomplete project

Stay tuned as I continue to update on this blog.  I’m just excited to have the time (due to a new job) and the resources (due to a new job) to create this space in my home.  God has blessed me with a wonderful new job that lessens my time away from home with an increase in income. This door was opened as I turned my life back towards the Lord and I will never forsake him again.  I am blessed from my relationship with Him.

God is good all the time, All the time God is good.

Goodnight and God Bless,

A blessed woman

Christian Living · Christian Wife · motherhood · prayer · Proverbs 31 · Writing

Creating My Prayer/Mom Space

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

What is Prayer/Mom Space?

Prayer/Mom Space is that place you go to think and talk to God.  That place that brings you peace in the middle of a storm.  It can be your spiritual space in your heart or a physical space in your home.   I decided to make my space physical and devote it to the Lord because without Him I would have nothing.  I also needed a space away from my bedroom, away from the kids, away from life where I can just sit down and turn off the world.  That is the only way this blog can exist.

How do I create a space?

Simple.  First and foremost, pray.  Ask God to help you find a space you can go and meet with Him privately.  You will be amazed at what He says to you.  Second, research ideas..  What appeals to you?  What makes you sit down, close your eyes and say “ahhh”?   For me, my space has to be in a corner of the living room.  So, two things have to happen.  First, it must go with the rest of my living room decor and second, it must be able to take me away from one of the main areas of our home.  Fortunately, we have teenagers who have forgotten our living room exists anymore so distractions will not be a big issue for me.

What is my style?

I am not an interior decorator.  I like to create things but putting them together to create something beautiful in my home is a challenge.  However, if I have something that sparks an idea or a few ideas I can create some very beautiful spaces.

Here’s my first process:

  • Set a timer for 30 minutes
  • Gather magazines
  • Just cut out what appeals to me
  • No thinking; just cutting

Once you are finished gather your pictures and analyze what you cut out.  You will find some theme to them.  For me, I like french country, rustic country and all things country.

My space will look something like this Rustic 2 Rustic livingwpid-img_20140812_211909.jpg

This is the area of my home I will use to create that space. I rent my home for now so I am limited to what I can do.  However, in June/July/August we will begin looking for our forever home and that means no holds barred for this DIY-er.  Lee loves my home “piddling” as he calls it.

Excuse the dog, she was a little tired and needing of attention:)

My second process I will be do the following:

  • Pray: God help me find some spaces that appeal to me.  Reveal to me the style you wish for me to have to align Your will with my will. 
  • Set my timer for 30 minutes
  • Get on Pinterest
  • Create a Board for my space
  • Search for things of interest to me-mom spaces, prayer spaces, heart rooms, rustic offices, french country; whatever God places on my heart to find.
  • You can find my Mom Space Pinterest board when you click here

My girls will join me if they are around but for the most part I like to do stuff like this alone without distraction.  This is a very important space for ME!  This is key to making it successful for you.  It is YOUR space.  I have to tell myself that because many times I forget and let the kids take over spaces mentally, spiritually and physically.

I am not a selfish mom but I am learning to be one.  Not because I’m mean and selfish but because I have to do what makes ME happy.  I have to do for ME to do for others.  ME is not a word a lot mom’s use very often.  When I am with God that is my time.  It does not belong to anyone else. In a house full of strong-willed Type A personalities -it can quickly be forgotten. But remember, He is Your Father.  He is THE King of kings and Lord of lords.  So you can afford to be a selfish, princess or diva for a few moments of planning for Him.

Finally, I will go shopping.  I will search Craigslist, go to Canton (huge flea market in TX), hit the Goodwills and Salvation Army’s and as a last result go to the furniture store.  Remember there is not right or wrong to this process.  This is MY process that God put on my heart to share with you.  Tweak it, use it, don’t use it but remember whatever you do it will be right for you and just as You are fearfully and wonderfully made as told in Psalm 139:14 so will this space for you and God be made. God does not make mistakes!

How will your space be created?  What will it look like?  There is not a right or wrong answer.  This space is subjective.  It is yours!  Your opinion is the only one that counts.  But I would love to hear about or see your space so please comment below or link to this blog.  I will share mine as soon as it is created.

Whatever you do to create your space do it with this verse in mind and in heart.  Pray it over the space you will be using.  That’s what I have done.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

Goodnight and God Bless

A Blessed Woman