Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Then By All Means





Honey filled words spilled forth right there in the middle of my day through a dear friend recently.

They sounded foreign and uncomfortable and hard to receive, as beautiful as they were.

Sometimes honey words sound foreign to us when we've spent the day beating ourselves up with our own words.

Or when we've allowed someone else's words to take root and replace the truth of our own.

Brokenness can do that to us.

It can leave us unable to hear the truth because we've heard so many lies about who we really are that when the truth comes in like a flood, it feels foreign and we can't receive it.

Brokenness can leave us with limited capacity for truth because the words that have nearly destroyed us take up all the space.

And if we do not replace those heart wrecking words with truth soon, they can take root.

And they can tangle us up in a world of hurt to the point that we can begin to live and move and have our being out of the words that were spoken out of someone else's brokenness.

And if we do not have a foundation and platform of truth and love and goodness called love letters from the King, to stand on, then our hearts will either move into some form of agreement with the lies or hit full tilt mode, called, they must be right, so why am I even trying to do this?

This is when He sends in the encouragers.

The encouragers come in like a flood and tear down everything that is not from the Father with the truth of everything that is from Him.

And God was so kind to me that day in the midst of my inner turmoil.

He graciously sent the encouragers by way of two precious friends to call and ask me why on earth I wasn't writing. 

I answered that I was busy with the baby and family and such.

Crickets.

They know that I've had lots of babies and that still, I write and they know why I write.

I don't write for myself and I don't for others.

I write for Him.

It is the way that I worship Him. 

But sometimes the very thing we were created to do is the very thing that people will use against us to keep us from doing the very thing that God has called us to do.

And so, eventually, I shared how a friend told me months ago, that I wasn't a writer.

And that because I admired her and she had a long list of credentials, it crushed me.

And it silenced me.

And every time I would sit down to write, I would hear those words over and over again.

Never mind the viral blog posts or beautiful words of encouragement from others.

Never mind any of that.

All I could hear were her words.

Even though I somewhat knew what she meant.

She meant perfection. 

Because you won't find a shred of that anywhere on this blog.

The God I love and adore, the One whom I write for,  doesn't require that from me. 

So I write what He leads me to and how He prompts me to write and I do my best not to worry with someone else's definitions of "writer."

I just write.

And from everything I've read in His word, He always uses the most least likely people.

I am so grateful for the kindness of those friends who spoke truth and life and encouragement to me that day.

Their honey filled words helped me to start writing again and also reminded me of one of my favorite quotes.

"If you hear a voice from within you say, 'you are not a painter,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." Vincent van Gogh

I believe that this not only includes negative self talk but also refers to the voices of others who choose to use their words to tear down gifting in other people.

No matter how many voices we have in our life, His voice has to be the loudest.

And the more we do the very thing He has called us to do and the more we fill our hearts with His words, the louder His voice will be and the easier it will be to move past words that do not line up with the truth from the One who tells us...

In me, you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

So today, if you find yourself conflicted over whether or not you can write or sing or dance or teach or paint or pastor or create or instruct or parent or cook or fill in the blank with any number of calling and talent and gifting...

I hope your heart will remember these words and by all means...

Paint

Teach

Train

Write

Speak

Mother

Father

Pastor

Lead

Sing

Dance

Cook

Bake

Create

Encourage

Arrange

Orchestrate

Because the body of Christ needs you beautiful friend.

Yet who knows if you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Grace Abounds



Hello beautiful friends,

I wanted to stop in and post a quick note and a picture of the Prince with his sisters.

Swoon.

We are all absolutely smitten beyond words with Wells Henry Worth and can hardly get a thing done, with the love fest going on over here- and the work load!

I am doing my best to manage the hustle and bustle of our busy family of nine people.

Somehow, by His unimaginable goodness and grace, I've managed to birth a bouncing baby boy and along with my husband, get five children registered for three different schools, get them all out to purchase clothes and shoes and various school supplies. We've taken all of them for haircuts and physicals and dentist appointments, attended all of their open houses and parent teacher conferences and managed decent school pictures for everyone as well as getting one ready for band and one ready for football, all with a newborn in tow. We have also managed to survive a series of strep throat sickness with two of the children and asthma attacks with one of the children. Most of which happened the day after the baby was born. Our oldest son gave us a good scare that day and had to be rushed to the ER clinic. 

I won't even get into the scary car accident we were involved in with five of my children in the car with me just a few weeks ago.

We are all fine thank goodness. So, so grateful for that. 

But it has been a lot to manage to say the least.  

I'm so thankful for His grace. 

His grace is sufficient....

Our Macey Girl is doing well and has been living on her own and supporting herself for a long time now, but we never stop being Mama, do we? Our children need us differently once they are grown and I do my best to make myself available without smothering or hovering over her life.  I'm still learning. Still making mistakes but still trying! I love her more and more and do my best to demonstrate my love for her even though we aren't under the same roof any more. Sometimes that is a floor move at her adorable apartment or a pumpkin candle and a little love note left on her door step or even a Sunday night dinner at our house with the nine of us- my favorite. 

I'm learning to meet the ever changing needs of seven precious children and navigate a new normal here the best that I can. I have certainly made my share of mistakes but thankful that He gives me the grace to do this. 

Grace abounds.

A big family isn't for everyone but when I look at these longed for, prayed for, hoped for babies- all I can see is love.

And I can't find a thing in the world wrong with love.

Just messy beautiful, trying hard, learning and growing and forgiving in a family motivated by love.

I think that's all He asks of us....

That we love.


I'm so looking forward to writing again and have missed you all so much!

I have a long list of notes to post here soon, written in some kind of 3:00 a.m.- I'm nursing a baby handwriting- but here's hoping.

I hope you all are enjoying a glorious fall and that your homes are spilling over with the plumpest pumpkins this season!

Big Hug...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Crowned






Morning Glories,

Lots of excitement in the air here at our house!

We have been blessed with a beautiful new baby boy!

I am incredibly humbled to introduce you to Wells Henry Worth...

"Wells Henry" has a big, beautiful name with lots of meaning and purpose.

He was crowned on July 15, arriving two weeks early, weighing in at 8 pounds and 10 ounces and is healthy and whole and has absolutely captured our hearts! 

We are so in love with this sweet boy and all of the children are over the moon excited about their new brother.

My mama heart is grateful and thankful and humbled beyond words.

Will try to share more words and pictures soon. 

Right now we are soaking in the sounds and the fragrance of a scrumptious newborn baby in our home again.

Nothing compares with this gift. 

Big hug to you sweet friends.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Watermarked




He missed everything.

Every single moment. Every single opportunity.

He missed every dance recital. Every birthday and every Christmas morning.

Never once so much as a phone call, a letter or a single card or gift.

Never one apology, or single attempt to make amends.

I have no idea if he was even there the day I was born. If he was happy or sad or disappointed.

There is not a single picture. No tokens from that day and barely anything from those years.

Those years that define you.

And those wounds cut deep when you are a daughter with a missing piece.

Each time I would see a Daddy with his daughter- it cut deeper.

There was no room for healing when the wounds sliced straight to the bone and marrow.

Daily. Hourly.

And the enemy would whisper my entire life.

See...you just aren't worth it.

Even your own Father could see that.

And so I would live my life without the posture of worth. For many years.

And because the enemy was so set against me ever discovering anything even close to worth and because he was so set against me ever discovering the one true Father- where I would unveil my true identity- he did not hold back in this area of attack.

Not by a long shot.

There were seven years of my childhood - stolen in part by a new man who would never come close to the role of a Father.

But who instead caused more suffering.

More pieces.

As if those things weren't enough.

There would be more.

And the enemy would whisper for years....

See...You just aren't worth it.

Anyone can see that.

By the time I was ten, there was a new Father figure.

By the time I was twelve, he had promised everything under the sun.

Including adoption.

There were words about being a Father to me and how we were going to be a family.

There were notices out in the paper, that an adoption would be taking place, giving my birth Father
a legal chance to claim me.

He did not respond.

There was a wedding, a court date, and a legal name change.

And the Father line on my birth certificate would be replaced with the name of a new Father.

A better one.

My saving grace.

My recompense.

My hope redeemed.

Or so I thought.

Every, single little girl dream inside me would come to a crashing halt.

I will spare the details because they are between my heavenly father and me.

But the enemy came in like a flood to destroy me through this man.

I finally relented at the tender age of fifteen with a suicide attempt.

My world was just too painful to breathe anymore.

The rejection and abandonment wounds as wide as the ocean is deep.

I'm sorry to share that I would also be completely rejected and abandoned by this new Father as well.

Wounds like that will threaten to kill a girl. A daddy leaving. A daddy harming. A daddy destroying.

And the enemy would whisper...

See....you just aren't worth it.

Even your adoptive Father can see that.


I wish I could say that the pain associated with the word Father ended there.

But the enemy was relentless.

I would go on to search for the love I so desperately needed and wanted and ended up a single mama at the age of eighteen years old and would continue that path for the next ten years.

By His grace He gave me an indescribable gift of a daughter that to this day, I will tell you I do not deserve.

And with that gift in my arms, I would go on to endure still, even more heartbreak.

Because nothing stirs the aching Father wound like having a child of your own.

And so I searched for him. The birth father that started twenty something years of heartache.

By His grace, I found him.

Shortly after, I would drive a long way to meet him in the state penitentiary.

I wondered how many daughters had gone before me, being searched and frisked and put through security to wait in a holding room for two prison doors to open to meet the man who missed it all.

To meet the man who decided they just weren't worth it.

I can't even begin to describe the emotion that gripped my heart that day.

It was fear and pain and wonder and hope and years of worthlessness.

It was dread and sorrow and suffering and unanswered questions that cut so deep it hurt to breathe.

I got my answers when one of the first things he said to me was this.

"What happened to your face?"

I remember fighting back tears and being so confused I could barely stand.

"My face?"

"You have so many scars and marks on your face."

"Your face is all marked up."

I remember feeling like I had been punched in the stomach a gazillion times, to put it lightly.

Years of acne with only being allowed to use soap and water had left their damage.

I died inside that day.

Down to my core, I died a thousand deaths.

I would go on to be abandoned all over again by the man who started it all.

And the enemy would whisper...

See, I told you that you just aren't worth it.

Even your own birth father doesn't want you- not even twenty years later.


No one does. 


There is so much more sorrow in this area of my life, but God, in all of His graciousness gave me a sweet husband, who is not perfect, but who longs to lay his life down for his family and from the first part of our courtship shared his heart with me about his dream of a big family of his own to love one day.

We are both humbled- daily.

That the God of the universe, the author of it all, would trust two very broken people, with the hearts of children of our own, is especially overwhelming to me.

That He would entrust me with the raising of sons.....

To call me to the enormous task of the raising of boys into amazing grown men who will be purposeful and intentional and lead their families with love in the admonition of the Lord is just enough to keep me on my knees for the rest of my life- in complete and total gratitude and humility.

Tears.

Today when the enemy tries to come in like a flood with memories of the past and tries to convince me that I'm simply damaged goods and that I'm too marked up to be of any real purpose in life...

I punch back with everything that I am with one powerful word.

"Watermarked"

Webster's definition is : "a faint design made in some paper during manufacture, which is visible when held against the light and typically identifies the maker."

I love this part- Which is visible when held against the light and typically identifies the maker.

After years of struggling with these things and trying to find Father God in the midst of such untold sorrow and suffering, as well as walking through years of inner healing and forgiveness....

I now speak the word.

The truth that is the living, breathing and sharper than any two edged sword - gospel.

I hold up my circumstances and situations to the light.

And I can clearly see the mark of my maker on my life.

Maybe you were abandoned or rejected as a child, teenager or even as an adult. Maybe you've never even met your birth father. Maybe your Father tried to destroy you in the most unthinkable and unimaginable ways. Maybe your Father has passed away and this day represents a tremendous loss for you. Maybe this day is painful because of how it highlights all of the good that you never received. All of the Father's that did show up and did pour out and did invest. The ones whose daughters were worth it. Maybe it represents and magnifies what you've never had.

Maybe this day is the rehearsing of a death of what should have been and never was.

You have a Heavenly Father who knows and who understands and who longs to fill every heartbreaking wound with His immeasurable love and healing power.

"For in me, you live and move and have your being." Acts 17:28

You are not your circumstances.

The unfortunate series of life events that you have survived, do not have to define you. What seems missing in our lives, is really a beautiful opportunity for the Father to step in and fill every place where there has been a void.

When there is loss or less or not enough, we simply have more room for Him.

He will restore.

He will give a recompense that there will not be room enough to receive.

He is no respecter of persons.

He did it for me, with years worth of Father wounds a mile deep.

He will do the same for you beautiful friend.

So today, if the enemy tries to whisper. Tries to stir up those painful things. Tries to convince you that you are worth nothing. Tries to make a mockery of who you are in Christ, even.

You tell him this....

I'm watermarked with the mark of my maker.

I'm marked and set apart and loved and cherished and adored by the author of it all.


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he'd made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.-  Eph. 1:3-14

From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 
Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.  Gal. 6:17-18 

For those of you who struggle with this day, for any number of reasons. I pray that these words and this video are life-giving to your heart this morning.

I'll leave you with the amazing Priscilla Shirer and the most beautiful truths today.

The spoken word.

Brace yourself.