Sunday, December 25

Our Life's New Normal

Well, Christmas is over. Gifts are put in their 'homes". Most of the laundry from our trip is put away. Life is pretty much back to normal. And, so... I'm struck with this thought.

"What is our normal now?"

I don't know that answer. I can't even share possible answers. Our house is still for sale. We are pretty sure we know what Scotty's long term work will be. But, that won't start until the house sells, and we can move. So, we don't know what he will be doing in the meantime. If we are moving, I need to start packing some stuff away and preparing. But, if God shows us that moving isn't the answer, then I want to keep our stuff right where it is. Do you see my dilemma?

"What is normal?" I DON'T KNOW!!!

Here's what I DO know. Prior to August 26th, I had a pretty set routine. I knew 'normal' well. There wasn't much question about what was to come each day. I mean... I'd already planned it out and written it on the calendar.

Post August, I haven't known what to expect each day. All I've known is that I can't do it alone. My days have begun with urgent pleading that God guide me, well CARRY, me through that day. And, because He's done that faithfully, each day has ended with humble gratitude to a God that has demonstrated a determination to restore us personally and relationally to a place even better than before. And, I'm amazed at how quickly He's started us on that path.

So maybe uncertainty is our new normal. If you know me at all, you might expect that makes me crazy. It should! I agree. But I've got to tell you... Not knowing where I'm headed on a daily basis but KNOWING Who is guiding me has been one of the largest blessings of my life. You see, after 4 months of living in this lifestyle, I can fully trust that God loves me with a love that redeems, restores, delivers, guides, protects, and encourages. Therefore, I start my days with a sense of uncertainty, maybe. But, I'm sure of the fact that God WILL demonstrate Himself to me in VERY REAL ways throughout each day.

"In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." Psalm 5:3

Without a doubt, SOME of my days are filled with confusion, hurt, anxiety and fear. But ALL of my days are filled with humility, gratitude, hope and anticipation. God does have a plan for us, and I'm waiting in expectation for the revealing of that plan.

Until then... I'm going to enjoy the blessings of this new normal.

Sunday, November 6

The Heartbreak of Betrayal

'...because He always lives to intercede for them.' Hebrews 7:25

I've told some of you that Scotty and I are doing Bible study together. It has been such a blessing! Women's Bible study has been one of THE most important parts of my adult life. So, to go through some of these studies with Scotty has been enlightening for both of us.

We've recently started Breaking Free. Wow! I've been through the study before. But I think it's probably unnecessary for me to tell you how different it is this time around. We just finished the week that teaches that Christ came to 'bind up the broken hearted' as written in Isaiah 61. Beth Moore covers 4 different ways in which our hearts can be broken. The fourth day was spent on hearts broken by betrayal. I was NERVOUS about this particular day's study. I'm a self proclaimed 'stuffer'. And, although I've been much more open about my feelings over the past two months, my default mode is still to gloss over too many negative feelings.

Well... There was going to be none of that! The day's study was TOUGH! I feel I should pause here and let you know that I DO still struggle with hard days. My heart hurts greatly some days over the betrayals that I've experienced. I don't harp on those feelings much here, because the great work that God is doing is so much bigger. But, I would hate for anyone to think that my miracle is that I never face sadness. No! My miracle is that even in the sadness, God is doing absolutely amazing things.

Anyway, one of the points made on this particular day's lesson is that the pain of betrayal is often caused by the fact that the person (in my case persons) doing the betraying had to have know how his/her actions would hurt you yet they chose to do it anyway. Bingo! That is a point I'd rather not think about often. However, it was spelled out clear as day right there in my book, and there was no way around it. Can anyone say UGLY CRY?!?!?

The chosen scripture that day was the scripture on Jesus being betrayed by Judas. How perfect! Have you ever noticed in scripture that when Judas identifies who Jesus is he says that He would be the one Judas kissed? It struck me that it was not going to be abnormal for Judas to kiss Jesus, and that tells me that they were very close. Because of that closeness, Judas' betrayal HURT Jesus deeply. In fact, as Jesus went to pray in the Garden of Gethsamane, He said that his heart was sorrowful to the point of death.

I'm so grateful for so many who have encouraged me. There are so many that have prayed with me and offered to sit and talk with me. But sometimes, you just don't think anyone knows exactly how you feel. I was reminded this week that Jesus does! He knows the pain of betrayal. My great high priest knows EXACTLY how I feel. And when He's interceding on my behalf to my Heavenly Father, He knows exactly what I need. Often, I don't even know how to pray for myself. I'm not even sure during those times what could make me feel better. Jesus knows! And He's interceding on my behalf.

Maybe your pain is completely different. I know we all have pain, and scripture is clear.... We have a high priest who has experienced all of the difficulties of life. He KNOWS how we feel AND He knows how to treat it. There is hope in that thought. There is comfort in that truth. The sadness DOES still fill my heart at times. The good news is that it's showing up less often. But, how awesome to know that my Savior chose the road that included betrayal so that I could find comfort in Him in the midst of my own.

He's so good! I pray that you experience His goodness today in a way that leaves you wanting more and more of HIM.

Monday, October 24


"All of my days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16

O.K. So, last week I had a rocky start. I had a couple of setbacks, and Scotty left for Tupelo on Monday after being home with us for a full week. But, God was so very faithful, and I ended up having the best week I've had in a long time.

From the beginning, I have been trying, sometimes frantically, to piece together the infidelity like a puzzle or a timeline. Let me tell you... That has not been a productive past time. Last week, though, God began to weave a puzzle together for me. But, it had nothing to do with Scotty's sin and captivity. It had everything to do with how God had prepared me for it.

First of all, He brought to mind every Bible study that I have recently done. Obviously, every Bible study that I have participated in has been preparation for this journey. But the most recent ones could not have been better preparation. "Esther" was the first study I led at FBC. 'And who knows but that you have come to (this) position for such a time as this,' Esther 4:14. I think that's all that needs to be said about that one.

I then led 'When Godly People Do Ungodly Things' and 'Breaking Free'. Those two are unbelievably relevant to my current situation. Finally, this past January, I was able to participate in 'A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place with a few friends. No other study has ever been as life changing as that one was for me. God began to show Himself to me in a way that I had NEVER experienced before. I came out of that study realizing that God went to GREAT LENGTHS to have a relationship with me, and I wanted to enjoy the fullness of that relationship no
matter the cost. (Yes. I actually said no matter the cost!) He also showed me how great a price the Israelites had to pay for sin. In seeing that, it became even clearer that Christ came and fulfilled all requirements for sin payment, because we were never going to be able to take care of it for ourselves. I enjoyed the study so much that I led it again with the group at FBC this past summer, and God continued to teach me about His grace and provision concerning sin. He is after RELATIONSHIP with His children. No matter the cost!

Then, early in the summer, I heard the song 'Hosanna' by Hillsong. The first few times, I heard the song, I was in tears from start to finish. I know songs hit different people in different ways. But, for me, this song really brought about a true spirit of worship within me. And, right in the middle if the song are words that absolutely became the CRY of my heart and prayer for my life...

'Heal my heart and make it clean.
Open up my eyes to the things unseen.
Show me how to love like you have loved me.

Break my heart for what breaks yours.
Everything I am for your kingdom cause, as I walk from nothing to eternity.'

I literally prayed these words to God EVERY time I heard them for MONTHS!!!! I have cried over and over as I have realized that God placed it on my heart to pray for the very things that I would need when the news of August 26th hit. Please read those words again if you have not yet seen their relevance in my life today...

Through 'A Woman's Heart', God healed MY heart and showed me that HE alone has made us clean. And, through that, He gave me a desire that all would gain that understanding. Sinc August 26th, my prayer for everyone involved has been that they would pursue Christ and that HIS cause would be accomplished in individual hearts and then on a broader scale to follow. My heart has been broken for myself... Sure. But even more, my heart has been broken that so many people doing life so closely with me were living life unaware of how precious they are to their Father and acting out of that insecurity. God has been able to open my eyes to so many unseen things and in doing so
GROWN my faith tremendously. But here's the kicker... The #1 thing so many people have said to me is that they are amazed at my ability to love Scotty as Christ loves us. I told Scotty the other day that I honestly don't think I could love him any more than I do right now. In spite of the pain that his sin has caused, my love for him has grown infinitely.

"Show me how to love like YOU have loved me."

That was my prayer, and did God ever deliver! I'm terrified that you will read this post and think great things of me. Please don't. I have the same sinful nature that led Scotty down a path of destruction. And, my God loves me anyway. I didn't know back in late spring that I would
be called to demonstrate that same love. But God did! And He led me to pray for it.

At the risk of sounding like an over the top Christian (and it's quite possible that's what I'm becoming), I think we should all hit our knees right now and praise God for His sovreignty. He knows every second of every minute of every day that we live. And, not only is He walking us through the present, He is preparing us for what's not yet known to us. He is weaving our days together like a puzzle. Please take my word for it... You DO NOT need to fear! If He's calling you to walk a difficult road, He WILL prepare you for it. Truly in the midst of mine, I'm compelled to "rejoice in the sufferings, so that I may be overjoyed when His glory (who He is) is revealed," 1 Peter 4:13.

Thursday, October 20

A Great, Big Much

At least once every day, I'll say to Claire, "Claire Bear, I love you.". When I don't hear much in return from her, I'll say, "How much does Mama love you? Just a little bit?" Her response is always the same...

"No! (Giggles). You love me a BIG much!" (and her arms are stretched as wide as they can go).

Over the past week, so many of you have contacted me to say that you HAVE wanted to fight this battle for me. Several of you have even stated that by talking to those who have hurt me, you have felt you were betraying me. And most of you confessed these things to me with eyes full of tears. I just want to say that I have not felt as if you love me a little bit! I have felt that you love me BIG much! Actually, it feels like a GREAT, BIG much. And I thank you!

While my last post urged you NOT to fight but to forgive (and I DO still feel that way), I must say the desire from so many to WANT to take up for me has been a huge comfort! Not only that, it's been a reminder that I have many allies... Many friends whom I can call on when/if I lose heart. If my resolve to do the right thing for everyone involved should waver, I know I have friends who will stand with me. I can't tell you how much that means to me.

I am suddenly reminded of Moses leading God's people through the desert. There was a battle in which God called on him to stand with arms lifted. As long as his arms were lifted, the Israelites were winning. But when his arms dropped, the army experienced loss. Aaron and Hur literally came in beside Moses and held his arms up so that victory could be experienced. Moses was God's chosen warrior, but there is
no doubt that Aaron and Hur were key to the victory.

For whatever reason, I was chosen by God for THIS battle. But, I am keenly aware that victories have been experienced because so many of you have been willing to support me. You may not realize it, but figuratively speaking, many of you are holding my arms up HIGH, and we
are enjoying very literal victories.

I'm so grateful we weren't called to do life alone. I can't imagine walking this road without each of you. Thank you for being faithful, uplifting, and precious friends. I love you a GREAT, BIG much! :)

Friday, October 14

A Call to Celebrate...

"But, while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, ran and kissed him... But, the older son became angry..." Luke 15: 20, 28

Well... Last week was a difficult week for me. Every time I decided it was time to blog, I would convince myself that my blogging "tone" would be too negative. I was VERY afraid that I would sit down to blog with the best intentions and end up saying things that I would later regret.

It was probably best that I DID NOT blog last week. But, now that I have some perspective, I've decided that I must write about the bad days as well as the good days. It is certainly not my intent that anyone reading assume that I never experience difficult days. I can honestly say that the number of joy filled days that I have had since August 26th AMAZES me. But... there are still dark, dark days.

A couple of weeks ago, God began to speak to me VERY CLEARLY about my response to the women involved in our story. Hmmm... Let me tell you,that's not fun. His message to me was clear. "I MUST begin to move towards forgiveness in EVERY situation in order to experience complete healing for MYSELF and MY family." That message sounded both liberating and impossible to me.

The process began at the beginning of the week and by Wednesday night, I had met with, emailed or written each of the women involved. I believe my situation is different than "most" spouses who deal with infidelity, because I was friends with each of the partners. There wasn't the same level of friendship with each of them, but there was still friendship. So... the betrayal was two sided. I wish I could list every detail of every conversation. I would love to be able to tell everyone how God worked in every interaction. That would not be appropriate in the least. But, I just want to say that I heard from each person EXACTLY what I had expressed to God that I needed to hear. EXACTLY!!!!

Now, I know it's not all about me. But, in a situation this huge, why would God be so good as to allow me to hear insignificant things that I had determined I needed to hear? Because He loves me! Because He is SWEET! And, I believe that He was blessing my attempt to be obedient in forgiveness EVEN THOUGH my flesh wanted to say, "It's still early! Surely I get to be angry for a little longer!"

A parable that has been important to Scotty and me during this whole process is the parable of the Prodigal Son. Let me assure you that Scotty is very much that prodigal. He squandered the inheritance on reckless living. And, like the prodigal, once he realized what he was giving up so much and that he was meant for much more, he began his journey home. And, I believe that his Father is celebrating over his return.

What God showed me, though, is that I COULD react just as the brother in the parable did. I had the opportunity to resist Scotty's return. Just like the brother, I had the opportunity to pout over our Father's celebration for his return. In doing so, I truly could have hindered his journey home. How could I have lived with myself if my selfishness KEPT a prodigal from returning to his FATHER?

And, then it hit me. It's possible that I COULD be that brother in the story of other prodigals by refusing to forgive. I don't know the journey that is being taken for all that are involved, but I know this... My heart's desire is that everyone know the love of our Father. And, I know that I DO NOT want to be the reason someone misses out on experiencing that love to the fullest.

So, I needed to forgive. I needed to forgive so that I could let go of bitterness. I needed to forgive because I'm tired of my focus drifting on occasion to people that are not important to the COMPLETE healing and restoration of my family. And, I needed to forgive to free others up to run with ALL that is in them to their Heavenly Father where true forgiveness is experienced.

So God brought it all together... in a WEEK! His blessings in our situation are too many to count. I am so grateful! In fact, I came to the point where I decided, "How can I hold on to bitterness over the very thing that has brought about healing and wholeness in my husband, myself and our marriage. So, I CHOOSE to forgive. I wish it was just a one time decision and it was done. I'm human and it's not. It's a process, but it's worth it!!!!

Here's my question... Are any of you acting as the brother towards anyone involved in this story on my account? I wouldn't presume that you have taken that on for me. But, I do know that I have been shown such GREAT love by so many. Therefore, I feel the need to say (just in case you're angry FOR me), let's celebrate over the return of the prodigals! I'm not the judge of any heart. God is responsible for that. But, I can tell you, honestly, that I prayed for discernment and I detected TRUE repentance from each person involved. So, let's get out of the way. Let's allow the prodigal to see the smile of the Heavenly Father that is REJOICING over his/her return. And, instead of pouting in the corner, let's join the party!

Tuesday, October 4

More Good News...

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

I wonder if any of you are growing tired of my posts. In this present situation, God is teaching me so much about Himself, my self and others using life's circumstances as my visual aid. Each day is fresh and new with a different lesson on the horizon. BUT, the basis for the lesson is still the same. Some of you may be ready to scream, "Let's just move on, please." And, I am sure that one day I will. But for now...

The very first day that Scotty shared his unfaithfulness, there was no doubt in my mind what I was going to do. Love him, forgive him, and let God redeem. There are several reasons why THAT part came easy for me. But, the main reason was that Scotty already demonstrated the fruit of TRUE repentance (no blame shifting, full responsibility, complete brokenness, etc.) in his brokenness, I could see the lies he had been believing about WHO he is. And, I could tell that he was READY to believe what God says about who he is. And, THAT made my choice so easy. Because THE BEST thing for me is to have SCOTTY whole and well in Christ.

BUT, not long after that day, I began to really worry about what OTHERS were thinking about my choice to stay in my marriage. I found the need to explain to anyone who would listen how significant the changes in Scotty were. I didn't want anyone 'feeling sorry' for me. I wanted everyone to know that Scotty was still God's best for me. I guess really I DID NOT want to look foolish to people looking in on parts of our story.

Then 1 Corinthians 1:18 came to my mind. The message of the cross IS unconditional love. It is grace and mercy. It is forgiveness. It is FREEDOM. Yet, it is foolishness to a world that is perishing.

And here's what I began to realize... The way in which a believer relates IN this world SHOULD look different, maybe even foolish, TO this world. As believers, we ARE NOT called to be door mats! We most definitely are not called to forgive and remain in dangerous or tempting
circumstances. But, I believe that we are wise followers of Christ when we choose to forgive those we love and help restore them to healing.

So, are you facing a situation in which you are being called to do something that the world does not understand? Do the opinions of others in any way hinder your obedient walk with Christ? Let me encourage you with this thought... The blessings of doing what God wants me to do
for myself, my husband and my family FAR outweigh ANY negative I have faced so far. I am learning that God truly does desire to bless obedience. In my case blessing has come in the form of true joy, overwhelming love, and indescribable peace.

So, step out in faith! Don't be afraid of looking foolish to a worl that is dying. We KNOW that what some would describe as foolishness is truly
the power of God. The same power that accomplished Christ's finished work on the cross is actively working in our world today. THAT is
great news!

Friday, September 30

Join Me in Prayer...

I have run into so many people who have said, "I've been praying for you ". Each day, I receive messages from friends that want me to know they have just spoken with our heavenly father on my behalf. Letters, emails, etc. all come in regularly telling me that we are in your thoughts. Let me start by saying, we can certainly FEEL the prayers. I have given a few of you some specific prayer requests. Today I began thinking that I should list some requests here. I would LOVE for you to join me in praying for some very specific things.

1. Our house is for sale and we NEED for it to sale quickly! Mainly, because we won't be so pressed to find a new career for Scotty if we don't have this house note to make each month. We aren't sure where we will go if/when the house sales. But I do know that even if we stay in Clinton, I don't want to live in this spot. So, that's first on our list.

2. Secondly, I am desperately praying for direction for Scotty as far as career. When I was a sophomore at MC, I experienced God guiding me towards a career in education in a BIG way. Scotty has NEVER experienced that kind of direction. Now, God has always provided for us, and Scotty has been able to do things that he enjoys and is gifted in, but he has just not felt that feeling of 'THIS is what I was meant to do'. I have literally pleaded with God that now would be the time that Scotty experiences that kind of calling.

3. The obvious prayer request is that God would lead us WHERE HE wants us to be. This one is tough for me. There is a part of me that wants to stay right here and show everyone what God can do. That is the part of me that LOVES this sweet place. Scotty and I have both been here 18 years! Wow. That is the longest I've lived anywhere. We met here, got married here, I started working in a district that I love here, we had our kids here.... And mainly, we have formed relationships with some of the most caring people that have ministered to us
through each and every one of those events. Ugh... I get sad when I think of leaving our life here.

Then, there's the part of me that occasionally gets nauseated just sitting in a car rider line just because I've ended up in line near someone I really didn't want to see. There are nights that I leave the soccer fields so worked up that I find it difficult to fall asleep hours later. I HATE to think of leaving the comforts of home, but there is something to be said for going somewhere that we can start over. And, there are consequences for sin. Leaving our home might just be one of them.

4. Pray for Scotty. Some of you may not be ready to read this, but I need to write it anyway. As long as I've known Scotty, he has struggled
with self doubt, shame, feelings of defectiveness, and unworthiness. He became a believer at age 18, and fell in love with God and His word.
The first ten years of our marriage, we both grew in our faith; but, sadly, Scotty still experienced these feelings. As I'm studying When Godly
People again, I'm understanding that Satan (the liar) encouraged those feelings of shame, unworthiness, and defectiveness until Scotty
began to act in those ways. If that description seems too simplistic for the horrible things that have taken place, I am truly sorry. I tried to
make the description as concise as possible for this post. The beauty of God's work in Scotty's life right now is that he can now see himself
as God sees him. The moment the truth was out, walls that Scotty had put up as a defense mechanism began to come down. And as he
was able to truly see God's love, he was able to also feel loved by me in a way that I'm not sure he ever had. Naturally, he experiences
waves of sorrow and regret DAILY. I believe that's normal, but I would ask that you pray with me that God would protect him from Satan's
darts of shame and guilt.

5. Last one. I promise. Pray for our marriage. There is no way for me to describe what is going on in our marriage now. And, you don't really want all of the details anyway. But just imagine that walls that we each put up for years that kept us from connecting with each other deeply... the way that God intended for us to connect... have been demolished. We communicate like never before, we ENJOY each other's
company, and we are studying the Bible together daily. The most amazing thing is that we've discovered how DEEPLY we still love each
other. So, what's the prayer request? Please pray that God would guard our hearts. I know that Satan would love to attack us now while we
are wounded and recovering. Pray for our strength and continued dependence on Him.

I really didn't intend to go on and on for so long. I know that you aren't surprised. Words can't express how grateful I am to be able to share from my heart and know that I am surrounded by people that love me enough to intercede on my behalf. You are such a blessing to me!

Tuesday, September 27

My Lesson in Emotional Provision

"And my God will supply all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

There is an illustration that Beth Moore uses in one of her Bible studies that has spoken to me over the years. She uses a glass pitcher and stones. In an effort to demonstrate how we so often look to people to 'fill us up', she places the stones inside the glass pitcher. Each stone is a symbol of a compliment, encouraging word, act of kindness, or anything else another person could bless us with. I don't know about you, but people toss such 'stones' my way all day long. Still, at the end of the day, the stones would reach the top of the pitcher, but through the glass pitcher you can see that there is still a whole lot of unfilled space between the stones.

Isn't that what we do so often. We are looking to other people to fill our cup when no human being is capable of filling it. And, by the way, they weren't meant to fill it. We were always meant to find fullness in Him. God CAN supply everything we need to be whole in Him. Not only that... He WANTS to do it.

The second part of the illustration is very enlightening. Beth filled the glass pitcher to the very top with water. The water symbolized a filling of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. After that filling, there's NO unfilled space in the pitcher! Therefore, when a stone (still symbolizing things we get from others) is tossed into the pitcher, the water splashes out. THAT is what I was created for... To be so COMPLETE in Him that I don't NEED from others. But, when the compliments, encouraging words and acts of kindness come, the love of Jesus within me splashes out onto whoever gave it.

I love that illustration. This is one of the concepts that our therapists spoke a lot about during our week in Branson as well. I believe this is the reason that Scotty and I are experiencing closeness in our marriage like we've never experienced before. Each and every day, we are pursuing God first. In the position we are in, there IS NO person that could minister to us in the way we need it. Maybe that's why James tells us to consider it joy when we face trials. We truly find God at our points of deepest need. Atleast for me, I had to find myself in a place of complete brokenness to look ONLY to Him to put me back together. And, in that pursuit of the same Person and the same goal, Scotty and I
are in a place that amazes me. I told him on our date Saturday night that if I was able to choose to take away the infidelity and have our
marriage back the way it was, I would turn it down. Now I know what our marriage was intended to be, and I can't go back to the ways of
the past. Now, if I get to choose to have the relationship we have now WITHOUT the infidelity, well that's another story! :)

I wish I could tell you I have arrived. I wish that I didn't still find myself in places of feeling that I need something from someone else. If I can be honest (and why wouldn't I be now?), there are still a number of things that I feel I need from others involved in our story... Explanations, true apologies, truth, recognition of betrayal, and my list could go on and on. But, that logic is of the flesh. And, honestly, if I got all of that, my situation would be no different. So I must, once again, approach my Heavenly Father with everything I think I need and let Him meet those needs according to HIS riches in Christ Jesus. When all is said and done, that's what I really want anyway.

Thank you, Father, that YOU are always enough. And YOU are able and wanting to take care of ALL of my needs.

Friday, September 23


I feel that I should start by saying that I don't have anything super spiritual or upliftingto say today. What I want to say is that I spent my ENTIRE day at a local spa. Yep! I got there at 11:00 and didn't leave until after 4:00. Why? Because shortly after Scotty resigned and life as we knew it changed in the blink of an eye, a sweet friend showed up on my porch with a gift. She quickly left before I could open it. So I sat alone and opened a gift that was from 16! friends. It was a full day's spa package and a ridiculous amount of spending cash to go with it. I was blown away at the love expressed to me in the words of the card and the generosity given to me in my gift.

So, as I was relaxing today, I was reminded that some of God's greatest gifts to me have been the PEOPLE that HE has placed in my life. And, because of that, I feel I should say a few 'thank you's.

First of all, the weekend that the news broke, my mom was out of town. No worries... Lisa Gunn took over mothering duties for all 3 of my children. She knew that Scotty and I would need the time to process all of this information together. I will never be able to repay her for caring for my children. I knew I did not need to worry one second for them. And that's a great thing, because I couldn't have.

During those first three days, countless friends texted and offered to do whatever we needed. A number of my TOT girls offered a shoulder to cry on and encouraging words to live on. They were amazing. A few other friends insisted on sitting right beside us during our last worship service just prior to Scotty's difficult announcement.

On Sunday afternoon, my three dearest and oldest friends drove here just to be with me. They cried with me and supported me. Just two days after life changing news, they even had me laughing hysterically! Amazing friends. Shortly after they left, I was able to talk to my sweet mom. It took her about 4 hours to get here and she TOOK OVER this household LITERALLY! She was amazing and probably the only
person that could have kept things completely normal for my children for the TWO WEEKS that I was unavailable to them.

Just as an aside, I also owe my wonderful mother a big thank you for being the first one to show me a true LOVE for Jesus Christ and His Word. She has been a fabulous mother; encouraging, nurturing, loving me no matter what, but the best thing she has done for me is to
demonstrate utter dependence on her God. Man, am I grateful for that today! The rest of my family has come together to do so many things for us. And, while we haven't seen Scotty's family yet, thet have been encouraging us through texts, cards and phone calls as well. We are blessed by family.

I WISH I could list everyone else that has been so wonderful to us. Those of you that send encouraging texts regularly are so very appreciated. Others have sent cards, offered free babysitting, helped with school pick up, offered to cook for me, and above all just loved us unconditionally.

Recent events have made me question my lifestyle of enjoying friendships and making myself vulnerable by loving others and choosing to do life WITH people rather than in isolation. Anytime you open up to people, you risk betrayal. Satan would LOVE for me to come away from this experience with the mindset that people can't be trusted. He's fighting another losing battle, because he has underestimated all of you. And, doing life in relationships... the way God intended... is always worth the risk!

So, because I don't have the luxury of thanking each of you individually... THANK YOU!!! You are a precious gift to me."

"I thank my God every time I remember you.." Philippians 1:3

Thursday, September 22

Sift, Lord, Sift!

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Luke 22: 31-32

I have a favorite Bible study writer.... Beth Moore. Those of you that read this blog know that. I have several favorite studies of hers. One of them is When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. I've done that particular study 4 times!!! And, now, I'm doing it a fifth time! Each time, God has ministered to me in a different way through Beth's message and God's Word. This time, each day's study is exactly what I need for that day.

The most powerful lesson so far is a study of Peter's sifting. Peter was a pretty big New Testament player. In fact, Christ called him the Rock that He would build the church upon. However, Peter also had some struggles. He rebuked Jesus for telling him that He (Christ) would have to endure sufferings, he had quite the temper, cut off the ear of a soldier and at his very lowest denied Christ three times! As a matter of fact after Peter was told that He would play a key role in the building of Christ's church, Jesus had to say to him, "Get behind me, Satan!"

Yes. Peter had struggles. But, as the verse at the top of this post points out, Peter had more than just struggles. He was facing Satanic attack. And what Beth Moore points out in her Bible study is that Satan must gain permission to launch a full scale attack on one of God's children. The obvious question here is "Why?" Well, I believe that if God allows it, there is a purpose. He knows that HE can work all things together for good.

I may be losing some of you. Please understand that I am NOT saying that God caused the sins that have done serious damage to my marriage and our family. No way! This was NOT his plan for our marriage. BUT, can He use it? Absolutely. And He already is.

The point is that sometimes warfare enters a believers life because, just like Peter, there is something in that life that needs sifting. Peter's devotion to Christ was pure even though the rest of his character needed a little work. And, the only reason that God would grant Satan permission to 'sift Peter like wheat' is... Something needed sifting! Today, why would God allow someone with a whole hearted, sincere, and
pure devotion to Christ to get caught in the snare of demonic seduction? I LOVE Beth's answer, even though it sort of makes me shudder...

"Because, not unlike Peter, something needs removing, sifting, changing that an intense encounter with the kingdom of hell would best accomplish."

Do you have chills? Satan got used! That makes me smile. Maybe there IS a competitor deep within me, because the fact that there are
occasions when Satan thinks He is winning a battle only to find out he was USED to accomplish God's greater purpose makes me want to
stand up and fight. I want to be a part of the winning team!

One more thing... I realize that I wasn't the one caught in Satan's lies. It may seem unfair to some that I must reap the consequences when the attack and sift was meant for Scotty. In other words, if there was something in Scotty that needed removing, couldn't He have used something that would have affected only Scotty. Let me answer that. I will not know God's ultimate purpose this side of heaven. But here's
what I do know... My Heavenly Father LOVES me! And, He would NOT have allowed these horrible things to have happened to me if He
could not turn them into good FOR ME! AND, in the process, I could use a good sifting as well. I believe that and I trust HIM! So, it is in that trust that I say, "Sift, LORD, sift!"

Sunday, September 18

STILL good...

Wow! Where does someone in my position begin...? I know it must seem odd that I would write so publicly in my situation. And I'm not sure if writing about life's lessons under such circumstances is proper or good etiquette. BUT... I have ALWAYS been an open book. I've never tried to look like I've got it all together. What I HAVE tried to do is to beVERY vocal about the way in which God shows up in my daily life. Due to the fact that He has been 'showing up' even more than usual, I just can't stand not sharing. If it's uncomfortable to read.... Well, don't! :)

My God is so, so good. I have trusted that for a very long time. You see, I've been a believer since I was 7 years old. Shortly after that, my family's life began to change, and CHANGE became one of the few constants throughout my time growing up. So, looking back, I walked closely with the Lord even then. When I came to MC, I came hungry to learn more about God. And, I was blessed to be in a place where so many people were focused on my spiritual growth. On and on it continues... Marrying a man that 'hungered and thirsted for righteousness', studying in women's Bible studies, experiencing the births of my children, seeing God work in difficult life situations that sweet friends experienced... And through it all, I saw a whole lot of God's goodness. But now, THAT knowledge has moved past my head and DEEP into my heart! I can't explain it with words. But, those of you who have been through hard situations know what I mean.

Let me be clear... Sin is terrible! The consequences are far reaching and long lasting. For that reason, I am even more amazed that God can use even this to bring goodness to me. Yes! Just three weeks after hearing the worst news of my life, I feel God's blessings all over me. I love my husband more than I ever have! I am even more grateful for my amazing, beautiful children. I see God's provisions for us everywhere. And, I am honored to be living THIS life that He has chosen for me! He is GOOD, His mercies are new EVERY morning and HIS grace is sufficient for EVERY situation.

Certainly, I wish we could have learned some of the lessons we've learned in three weeks WITHOUT the disaster that has been our tutor. Don't you know that King David, Peter and even Paul felt the same way. The Bible is full of examples of humans the fell BIG, repented BIG and then were used in a BIG way. I am sticking with this, because my God is faithful! And when He uses this thing that Satan is sure will be the death of us and our testimony and turns it into something beautiful, I don't want to miss it! And I will speak Joseph's message, What you've intended for evil, God has used for good. I love Him so much!