Category Archives: Spiritual

There’s a Plank In Your Eye, Miss!

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

Matthew 7:1-3 ESV

Ah…this scripture. I love it and yet…I find that it drives a stake right into my heart every time I read it. Yes, it kills the monster in me that just want to scream “You’re a fool!” to some random person. You see, I can’t do that because I’m a fool, too.

We all are going to make mistakes daily. We’re all struggling in some way to do something right all the time, but we’re never going to reach perfection. We’re not God. We are called to sharpen our brothers and sisters by gently rebuking them, redirecting their attention to the scriptures and by praying for them, but we are never called to monitor their every move in order to harshly judge them or call them a fool. Search your hearts, brothers and sisters. You may not be doing exactly that, but there may be something similar going on in your life right now and you…as well as I, need to stop it right now.

We are not loving our neighbor when we’re people watching only to create websites that display the foolishness of humanity. ( Yes, I’m talking to you, People of Wal-Mart.) We are not loving our neighbor when we call out their insecurities and make fun of them for it. We are not loving our neighbor when we feign friendship only to gain insight for scholarly gain. (Term papers, social studies, etc.) And we are certainly not loving our neighbor when we’re consistently, without love, calling out our neighbor for mistakes they’ve made in life. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all done some variation of this. We have to check our hearts, folks. If we’re not correcting out of love and concern for their souls, we’re judging harshly and inappropriately. Check your heart and then lead your heart.

Most of us will naturally become annoyed with anyone with whom we’ve spent too much time. We’ll step on each others’ toes and make silly mistakes that don’t feel silly. They’ll hurt feelings. We’ll intimately get to know our neighbor and yes, we’ll discover hot buttons that when pressed, will create deep wounds. We are not to take advantage of this, or even use this to “correct” our neighbor when we finally find out “what’s wrong with them.” Chances are that whatever “issue” you are finding fault with in your neighbor is more your problem than theirs. We will see our own issues and insecurities manifest themselves in others when that is what we’re placing our focus on. Regain focus. Look to Jesus and pray for your own heart, then look back to your neighbor with a heart full of Grace and love. What do you see? If it’s not a person made righteous by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, then you’re going to need to look away again and refocus your eyes and your heart on Jesus before you can safely (without sin) look at your neighbor again.

I am speaking to you, too…self. I am having such a problem with this issue as well. I really struggle with making harsh judgments towards those with whom I am spending too much time. God has placed my family in an interesting and sometimes extremely uncomfortable situation right now. I’m learning that God doesn’t care too much about my own comfort as He sets my heart right.I am very grateful for this and that He checks my motives before giving me the desires of my heart!

Jesus has already died to set you free. You are no longer a sinner, but a saint. (read: 1 Corinthians 1:2) You are made perfect in God’s eyes because Jesus absorbed all of your punishment on the cross. (read: 2 Corinthians 5:21) We are not called to obey the law in order to retain our salvation. (read: Matthew 5:17) We’re called to obey the law out of love. (read: Romans 13:10) We need to live this out every day, to the best of our ability. When we can’t or don’t, there is grace. Please don’t abuse that! (read: Romans 6) We are all in need of grace. None of us are in competition with anyone else for our salvation. We already have it. Just look to Christ to grow you and mature you more each day. You can do this! God has equipped you with everything you need.

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, we come to You boldly, in the name of Your son, Jesus. We thank You for the Holy Spirit that loves us and guides us. We ask that You would make us sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Help us to hear it more clearly and know when we’re making harsh judgements and when we’re truly seeking to correct or rebuke a brother or sister out of love. Help us to focus first on You, Lord and correct our behaviors, thoughts and attitudes before we even dare to look to others. Thank You for growing us and for fulfilling Your word that You began a good work in us and You will see it to completion. We confess that sometimes we don’t trust that. Sometimes we also try to do things on our own and that leads to burnout. We get frustrated with ourselves and become critical of others. Our focus is lost and we sin against You by sinning against Your children. We are sorry and we humbly repent, admitting that all sin is against You and Your will for our lives. Thank You for Jesus who has borne our sin and those of our neighbors as well. Fill our hearts with Your love as we reset our focus back onto You and away from idols and sin. In Jesus’ Holy and perfect name we pray. Amen.

 

Race Wars in the U.S. {Children’s Sermon for Sunday}

On Sunday, I’m teaching the children’s sermon at my church. Anthony and I are both youth leaders, working on building a sustainable youth program. On Sundays, we take turns with several other church members teaching a short lesson to the wonderful kids in our church. This Sunday, our topic will be social justice, but more to the point – segregation and reintegration. I want the kids to be thinking about how Jesus would like us to react to this issue today. As I’m doing my research for this sermon topic, I came across an article* that caused me to catch my breath. In 2001, the fight to end segregation in schools was still happening in the south, brothers and sisters! The article states that “A study by Harvard’s Civil Rights Project finds that schools were more segregated in 2000 than in 1970 when busing for desegregation began.”

For us to be fighting this issue nearly 50 years later is an embarrassment to this great nation. How can we call America “God’s Country” if we are not doing His work?

Last night on the HMong for Life radio show** it was revealed that the Del Norte California school district has had money for a HMong teacher since 2009, but has not yet taken any steps toward hiring one. How is 5 years not enough time to locate and hire a qualified candidate? 10% of our local population is HMong, brothers and sisters. That is significant!

We are far past being able to stay silent about these issues. We must stand with our HMong brothers and sisters and fight for social justice.

I haven’t even begun to reintroduce the facts and sad (true) stories of the lives of Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. I’ll get to that later. For now, I’d just like us to consider this one point. Most asian immigrants can never “return home” and for many, the U.S.A is their home, as they were born here. This is their land just as much as it is yours and mine. Laotian blood was spilled for our freedom, brothers and sisters. If you’re not aware of the secret wars during Vietnam, please take some time and acquaint yourselves with it now. I’ll place some links below.

As I consider the deep impact of race wars in the United States, I’m reminded of a certain story from the Bible about the Good Samaritan.

Luke 10:25-37 Living Bible (TLB)

25 One day an expert on Moses’ laws came to test Jesus’ orthodoxy by asking him this question: “Teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?”

26 Jesus replied, “What does Moses’ law say about it?”

27 “It says,” he replied, “that you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself.”

28 “Right!” Jesus told him. Do this and you shall live!”

29 The man wanted to justify his lack of love for some kinds of people, so he asked, “Which neighbors?”

30 Jesus replied with an illustration: “A Jew going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money, and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road.

31 “By chance a Jewish priest came along; and when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Jewish Temple-assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but then went on.

33 “But a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw him, he felt deep pity.34 Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his donkey and walked along beside him till they came to an inn, where he nursed him through the night.  35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two twenty-dollar bills and told him to take care of the man. ‘If his bill runs higher than that,’ he said, ‘I’ll pay the difference the next time I am here.’

36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the bandits’ victim?”

37 The man replied, “The one who showed him some pity.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

It is not the oppressed, brothers and sisters, that are causing this great nation harm. It is the silent – those who see injustice but turn a blind eye to it. It is the oppressor – those who hate because of nationality and skin color. It is the bystander who watches, but can’t be bothered to help.

Martin Luther King Jr. said it best when he said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

 

* BROWN V. BOARD: Timeline of School Integration in the U.S.:  http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-25-spring-2004/feature/brown-v-board-timeline-school-integration-us

**HMong for Life radio broadcast is easily tuned into every Thursday evening from 5-7 pm Pacific Standard Time by visiting http://kfugradio.org 

The Secret Wars

  • Legacies of War: Secret War in Laos: http://legaciesofwar.org/about-laos/secret-war-laos/
  • Laos is Still Under Attack from the Secret War: http://www.vice.com/read/laos-is-still-under-attack-from-its-secret-war
  • A Desperate Life for Survivors of the Secret War in Laos: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/world/asia/16iht-laos.1.8763976.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  • Hmong Story 40 Laos and the Secret War (interactive map):  http://www.hmongstory40.org/laos-the-secret-war/

 

Speaking Out Against Our Kids Practicing Yoga at School

Today, we found out that our daughters’ school is now teaching yoga for physical education. Tonight I had the difficult task of emailing our daughters’ teachers and principals and firmly request that our girls not be involved in any way with yoga on school grounds. I don’t know how this will pan out on their end. On mine, this is a non-negotiable issue.

I feel the need to speak out against the dangerous practice of yoga, as it is far from God honoring. While Yoga is indeed on the surface, a set of wonderful physical stretches and breathing techniques, we need to dig a lot deeper, back to the roots of Yoga, in India.

Yoga is an ancient Hindu spiritual practice that guides an individual to self-realization through meditation, breathing techniques and both physical and spiritual discipline. It’s a self-serving practice that opens the door to a spiritual realm that is not associated with Christianity, but to Satan himself.

One of the main beliefs in Yoga is that everything is god and in everything there is god. There is no distinction between God and man. While the practice of yoga appears to be a deeply spiritual practice, it is not. Yogis and their followers seek only to worship oneself, by opening the “third eye” and enlightening oneself to the point of “self-realization.”

We already are self-realized. Look in the mirror. There you are! 😉

Seriously though, even the Hatha practice of yoga, which is a physical form of yoga with a light smattering of spirituality, still opens the door for one to dig deeper into the “New Age” practice of yoga. With other ancient practices like Integral, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Kripalu, Kundalini, and several others delving deep into denial of God’s ultimate existence and refusal to acknowledge humanity’s sinfulness and Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, yoga is a practice that we simply cannot tolerate our children to participate in. It’s a slippery slope. Why take that darkened, slippery path to Hell when Christ has so brightly lit a better one for us, Brothers and Sisters? I’m not saying it’s a guarantee we’ll go to hell for practicing yoga, but rather that it’s one in a series of mortal sins that carries that risk that we’ll love serving ourselves so much, we’ll turn eternally from God. We need to turn eternally from Yoga.

Teach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older, he will remain upon it.

Proverbs 22:6 (TLB)

Current media has done a fabulous job of providing a smoke screen as to what yoga “really is” and how it can make your life “more fulfilling.” Everywhere we look, we see messages of peace and tolerance. You’re either for it, or against it, the mainstream claims.

I’m all for peace, but yoga is a practice I simply cannot tolerate, like rape, murder, dishonesty, coveting, theft…you get the idea.

We are God’s children and we are called to live in the Light! We are called to die to self and serve God! We are called to find ourselves in Christ. We are God’s beloved children, bought with a price and adopted into His family. Christ died for us so that we may eternally live with Him and our Father in Heaven. That is the ultimate sacrifice. Not veganism, self denial or poverty. Earth is not all we have. We are not god and we’re not called to be Him.

If you’re still wanting to know more about the dangers of Yoga and the Christian response to it, I’ve provided some lovely links for you. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and I encourage you to seek out more if you’re still interested.

We would love your prayers as we navigate this tricky and touchy issue with our daughters’ school. Have a great day and God bless you, Brothers and Sisters!

In Christ,

Mandy T. 🙂

The following link is a beautiful and painful testimony as to how a woman fell far from God at a young age after being introduced to yoga by her mother at age 7, and many years later, found her way back to Him again. I hope you’ll take some time to read it before commenting on this post, either positively or negatively.  http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2005/march/truth-about-yoga.html?start=1

The Different Types of Yoga: http://www.matsmatsmats.com/yoga/yoga-disciplines.html

What is the Christian View of Yoga? http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-yoga.html

Two Way Communication With God

Tonight I wanted to share with you….daily devotionals! They can really aid you in your journey to opening up two way communication with God, no matter what stage you’re at in life. Please “like” and subscribe and as always, may God’s peace and blessings be upon you, Brothers and Sisters! 

Salt Water Taffy (Christian Living)

Have you ever felt like you’ve just come out one end of a trial just to be walking through another one? Right now, I feel like that. I know God is with me. I feel Him with me. I just don’t understand what it is that He’s doing right now. I hope He’s carrying me. I don’t feel like I have a whole lot left to give right now. In fact, I feel like a piece of salt water taffy in the making.

Are you familiar with the way salt water taffy is made? It’s a lot like the Christian life! First, the sugar, corn syrup and flavorings are mixed together. (We’re so sweet as babies and small children, aren’t we?) Then this mixture is heated up in a large copper kettle either on an open fire or on a large stove. (Trials! Tribulations! Everyone can see what we’re going through! We are tested. Will we scorch from the heat, or come out sweeter?) From there, the mixture is cooled on a large marble slab. (We’re blessed, allowed to rest, to settle our bones a bit.) Next, the taffy is stretched and pulled, repeatedly. The more it is stretched, the more of it there is to pull and stretch. It keeps multiplying. With careful consideration by the candy maker, the taffy will not break. It will produce more and more. (Doesn’t this just sound like Jesus walking with us, Brothers and Sisters? We’re tested, we’re stretched to what seems like our limits, but the Creator knows what He is doing. We become the salt of the earth! We can rest in Him. We will multiply and bless many from what originally seemed like a small yield!) Finally, the taffy is mixed with other flavors to create beautiful and tasty combinations before being placed in a machine that expertly cuts the taffy into pieces and wraps them for sale. (We leave this earth one by one and arrive in Heaven! New life!)

I watched the following YouTube video on making salt water taffy and it really hit home for me. I can see the parallel between the Christian life and the making of taffy. We do not have to fear the trials, Brothers and Sisters. Our Creator is with us. He knows what He is doing. When we are stretched, it is His hands that are doing the pulling and coaxing. He knows there is something better for us than what we have, what we are doing, and who we are right now in this moment. Will you join me in trusting Him this day, no matter how scary it may seem, Brothers and Sisters? We will not be left to scorch or to fall apart. We are being molded and stretched by expert hands.

Dear Jesus. Love me to do good. Love me to do no harm. Love me to stay in love with you. I borrow these words – this prayer from my Pastor, but they are also from You, God. You are always with us. In the moments when we do not know what to say or what to do, You provide the words and the wisdom that we need. When we feel we are being stretched too far, You carefully guide us along the way. We are burdened and hurting and we place our fears and our situations in Your hands, Father. We believe. Help our unbelief. Forgive our unbelief. Bless us, we pray. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 
amish

Going Amish?

amish

 

One of my all-time favorite books is Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth. I cannot read this book enough! Right now, I’m reading it for the fourth or fifth time and taking more intensive notes than I ever have before. God has been placing it upon our hearts to live more sustainable lives and to love and tend His creation. For the last couple of years, Anthony and I have been working really hard to live more with less. We got off track about a year ago when we moved back home to Oregon, but we’re slowly getting back to where we want to be. Eventually, we will switch from 100% electric lighting to 100% non-electric lighting, from owning a clothes dryer, to not owning one (and line drying all of our clothes), and we will cut down on our use of a car for any errand within five miles of our home (unless it’s on the way home from church or work, which are both more than 10 miles from home). We’re selling pretty much everything that is non-essential and that does not honor God. This includes home decor, clothing, and most small electrical kitchen appliances. This change began in the heart, and is moving outward, to our actions. It’s not so much that we want to be Amish, as that we want to honor God in all we do and say, and we want to be sure we’re considering long-term cost to our environment, neighbors, and our wallets, as opposed to short-term gain for ourselves.

The more we pare down, the freer we feel. We live in a small (by “normal” standards) two bedroom, one and a half bath apartment. It’s around 900 square feet and it’s ample room for the four of us. We park in a community car port and we live less than half a block from the schools, and less than one-quarter mile from a local grocer’s. Everything we need is within one mile of our home. Though we do not have a backyard, we do have a small patio, and we are using that to grow some food. We currently have cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, mint, rosemary, basil, oregano, broccoli, limes, lemons and oranges growing on our back patio. There is still room for our two girls to play out there as well. We plan to increase our crop by double next year, adding beans, cilantro, potatoes, radishes, cucumbers (for pickling), and tomatillos or some other type of peppers.

Our girls are expected to help water the plants, feed the pets (we have a small dog and a cat), and clean up after themselves, as well as set the table, prepare some simple foods (like cutting olives with a table knife, tear lettuce for salads, stir baking mixes, etc), fold laundry (towels, wash cloths, socks, underpants, cloth napkins, etc.), and sweep and mop tiled areas, to name a few. I also expect them to clean the bathtub every Monday evening. (They love that particular chore, since it means they’re the first to take a soak in a clean tub!) We do not pay our girls an allowance. We had been using a rewards system to bribe them to do chores, but we’re removing that from our home, since we don’t believe that it’s spiritually beneficial to bribe them to assist the family, or for any other reason. This can lead to a sense of entitlement, and that is not a spiritual blessing in any way, shape or form. Instead, we reward ourselves with time spent outside, such as a daily walk to the park to play on the playground. We live exactly a half mile from two different parks (one in each direction), both with playgrounds. Taking a walk to the park is a daily occurrence, provided it’s not pouring down rain outside. This is ample reason for the girls to complete their chores in a timely manner. They absolutely love going to the park with enough time to spend socializing with the neighbor kids.

We have significantly decreased screen time for our children, to a mere 20 minutes a day (for computer games on Sesame Street.org) and one movie a week, on Fridays, when we make popcorn and settle in on the couch as a family. This week, we watched Beauty and the Beast and all of us girls were delighted to discover that my husband knew all the words to every song in the movie! Anthony and I have cut down screen time for ourselves, as well. We’re working on cutting it down even further. It’s a tough habit to break! He is in online school, working towards a degree in forensics and criminology and I home school Theresa, using the internet as a frequent resource for her. (I have found very helpful videos on YouTube for my visual learner.) We have to be very mindful of how we are using the internet. It’s so easy to become distracted!

Our financial situation has always been bleak. We were love-sick kids who got married on borrowed time and borrowed money. We barely had two nickels to scrape together, and then we started having children. You can guess how that’s all turned out. 😉 We tried chasing after the “American dream” but found that for us, it’s more of an “American nightmare.” We have little interest in corporate America and even less interest in working far from home. We value our time together as a family, and our small home that allows us to be in close proximity to one another. Yes, we do occasionally (read: daily) drive each other nuts, but we also have some insanely funny moments. I would not trade this time with my family for anything, nor would I desire a larger house so that I could “escape” from my husband or my children. We make time for each other, and for ourselves. It all “comes out in the wash” as they say.

Behind our home is an empty property, full of grass, wild flowers, birds and often, deer. We love to stand on the patio, quietly talking to our friends, the deer. Right now there are five young bucks that make the trek to our “backyard”. It delights our girls to no end to see them out there, munching on the sweet grasses or laying lazily in the sun. I love listening to the hundreds of birds outside our window. There is a stream about 50 yards away, down a bit of a ravine, and I know the area is teeming with wild-life. I am in heaven here. There is always something new, something beautiful to enjoy, even in the middle of a small town.

Because we enjoy our friends the birds and deer so much, we want to preserve their land. Limiting our time in the driver’s seat, cutting down our carbon footprint, and reducing our use of non-renewable energies. We’re beginning to shop locally (which is an adjustment, I’ll admit! I love Fred Meyer!), frequenting farmer’s markets, purchasing locally made toiletries, using cloth napkins exclusively, cleaning with water and vinegar, and clearing our home of unnecessary clutter. (Clutter equals fire hazard, among other things.)

The reactions we’ve received about these changes have been, surprising to us, mostly negative. People ask why we’re striving to be so different, and ask why we’re trying to buy our way into heaven. It’s not about buying our way into heaven at all! It’s about ensuring there’s still a planet with fresh air, healthy (recognizable, non-genetically modified) foods, and room to run and play and explore nature, for future generations. Most of all, it’s about living in a way that allows us time to be free to do what we love best, and that is to love God by serving others. I cannot serve others very well when I am tied down to a large house, cleaning lots of things that I do not really need, and working at a job I hate just to be able to afford these things. That, to us, is the opposite of a dream.

God has deeply and richly blessed our family. I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve discussed leaving this town to go somewhere else and make more money, and on one finger the number of places and situations I’d rather be in. God has planted us here, and we intend to bloom right where He’s planted us. This, above all things, is the Amish way. We will bloom where God has planted us until it is time to be with Him forever in Heaven.

Matthew 6:26

Nest Full of Birds

Very recently, someone wrote a really scathing blog posting about me. This person is not only a Christian, but an ordained Pastor’s wife. Everything she said about me was true. As I read the blog posting, it was all I could do to sit upright and not fall over as if in deep, deep pain. What she wrote exposed me. It exposed the ugliest side of me. I’ve moved on and I’m no longer that woman, but in her eyes, I still was. She never saw past that. It hurt so deeply. It still hurts, being compared to Jenny from Forrest Gump, but…that’s who I was for a season in my life. I was a mess. A terrible, ugly, ragged mess.

I smiled anyway. I laughed anyway. I danced in the rain and I shot arrows at the moon, hoping to catch a star anyway.

Unlike Jenny from Forrest Gump, I was smart enough to marry the right guy. I was smart enough to find God before I sat in the Judgement seat. I was smart enough to look in the mirror.

But I wasn’t smart enough not to hurt people.

I understand completely why she wrote what she did, and I sincerely hope it edified other’s faith. I’m glad she learned something from our exchange. I’m glad I learned something! Something I’ve been learning to do lately is to find things about myself that I really like and then focus on developing those areas. I like that I have a teachable spirit, and I like that I’m strong and willing to challenge myself and reach out beyond my comfort zone. I’m learning Hmong (slowly) which is incredibly difficult and scary for me, but I’m doing it! (Check out my YouTube video here of my first words!) I’m doing it because my Pastor and his family are Hmong and I’m learning that there is a huge population here in Southern Oregon and California that are Hmong and are losing a bit of their culture, as they’re expected to (or perhaps even desire to) adapt to North American ways. They’re my Brothers and Sisters. I want to meet them where they are, not expect them to come to where I am.

Something else that I am learning is that it is very difficult to be a Christian. As time passes and I meet new people, have new experiences, I begin to understand the importance of Jesus’ telling us to love our neighbors as ourselves. It’s so easy to love ourselves more – to do things that benefit ourselves, rather than reach outside of our comfort zone. It’s easier to take care of four or five people, than to reach out and lend a hand to someone outside of our family. Reaching out may cause us to become burned. I’ve already been there, why would I subject myself to that again? Because we’re all birds, being raised up in the same nest, so to speak. We may sing a different song, but we are all from the same Father. He feeds us variations of the same food, but we are all fed each day without fail. We simply have to choose whether or not we will allow ourselves to be fed. I’ve found that it’s more fun to eat with friends than to eat alone. God help me, I never want to go back to eating alone again.

I’m not Jenny anymore. I don’t wear the same tattered dress, but make no mistake – I carry many scars. Scars I am proud of and will boast in Christ about. He sewed them up! He held me and carried me and changed me. He gave me Life, showed me the Truth, and lit the Way. He sent His people to scar me, to speak His Word, to hold me, to dine with me, to dance with me, to celebrate with me, and to cry with me. Each little bird He’s sent has sung a different tune, but they’re all beautiful and I’m glad to be in the same nest with them.

Romans 12:2a, Psalm 27:10

wpid-2012-06-11-19.08.59.jpg
Precious girls, sharing God’s love

 

It is likely that the world will tell us that we are trash to be discarded. We will be told that we are worthless, and we are despicable to look at, but as God’s children, we need to remember that this is not true! To Christ, we are Treasure worth dying for!

Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 

Romans 12:2a

There are so many of us who have had rough lives, hard childhoods we are still recovering from and parents who have abused and discarded us. We must remember that God is our Father and He will never leave us.

I have a second verse for you, Brothers and Sisters. This verse has carried me through life for more than ten years, and it’s been an immense blessing to me. I share with you, in the hopes that God will use it to touch your soul and bring you nearer to Him as you read it.

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.

Psalm 27:10

Brothers and Sisters, you are not alone. You have a purpose. A painful childhood can and will be redeemed by the powerful God that created you. You are not trash, but Treasure! You are already won! I love you. God loves you. Dry your tears and pray now. You are not alone. You are never, even in your darkest moments, alone.

Heavenly Father, I lift up hurting souls to You tonight. You are the great Physician and Healer, and You are also the Great Comforter and Father to all, especially the Fatherless and Motherless. You see our tears, You hear our cries, You know our pain. We are not alone. We thank You for Your infinite love and wisdom, that even when we do not understand what it is that You are doing, You still lead us, in our doubts, in our pain, in our stumbles. You love us even when it seems no one else does. You raise us up and care for us. Thank You, God. Thank You. In Jesus Name we pray and Praise Your Holy Name. Amen.

 

 

Psalm 73

3For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills. 13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. 14All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments. 15 If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children. 16 When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

Lord, thank You for never leaving us in hard times and in good. Grant us the strength and wisdom to live into Your will all the days of our lives.

Theresa Up To Bat

Tee-Ball {Proud Mama}

 

Theresa Up To Bat
Theresa Up To Bat

 

Yesterday was Theresa’s first tee-ball game and I was a mess of proud, happy tears. Before the game, Anthony laid hands on Theresa’s head and prayed a Father’s blessing that she would shine for Jesus on the ball field and be a Light for all to see. She played her little heart out and had a wonderful time doing it. Theresa’s a bright, sweet child on her own; when she lives into God’s will for her life, she is even more beautiful than this Mama ever could have dreamed her to be. I’m constantly amazed by this wonderful child of mine. I had no idea that parenthood could ever be this rewarding, or that a child could be such an immense blessing. Each day, I’m blessed more and more by this beautiful child. Her first tee-ball game was no exception. It was the rule. This child is special and is called for big things in life by a big, big God. I’m so lucky to have been chosen to be her Mama.