Friday, November 4, 2011

7 months later...

James 1:2-27  “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
The wisdom of these verses brought new meaning to my Christian walk…
It’s been a few months since I’ve had “time” to sit down and put my heart into words.  Life as I knew it started to change.  My heart was being led in a different direction and the only person that knew and understood was the Lord.  He gave me the above verses for confirmation, comfort and peace.  He knew I was not prepared for what was to come but He knew I would seek Him for comfort. 
As Christians we are so set in our journey of life.  We have our own expectations of what is to come and how our path should “go”.  We tend to be self-centered never asking what God has for us but letting others know we are “following” Him.  I was guilty of this.  I remember when we moved to Maryland in 2003.  We were “burned” out from ministry (because we did it in our flesh) and we just wanted a new start.  So we picked up our life as we knew it and headed to Maryland.  Tim worked for his parents.  I found a job and we made “ends” meet…5 years later through a series of events…my husband answered his call to preach.  We were dead set against going back to college but once again…the Lord moved in our hearts and put a precious saint (Dr. Thomas Berg) in our lives at the perfect time, and before we knew it, in November of 2008 we packed up our stuff and headed to Michigan.  For three years we watched as God continued to meet our needs, change our path and move in our hearts.  We were working for the church, supervisors at the college and very active in the Church Ministry.  A few months before graduation, I recall a preacher friend of ours sitting down with Tim and I and talk about how Tim should take a church.  Though the idea of it was “exciting” we knew the hard work and I knew my husband was not ready to leave where he was.  We talked about it, prayed about it and though I felt something in my heart I did not have peace for a while.  From April of 2011 until October of 2011 my life flew by.  In May, Tim graduated from college, was ordained into the ministry and we headed to Florida for a two week vacation to unwind from the last 3 years.  While in Florida, I shared a burden I had on my heart with Tim about how I had no peace about staying where we were but that I had no idea what God wanted from us.  Tim did not have that feeling but he told me “God made it very evident for us to come to Michigan and when it is time to leave he will make it very evident as well”.  I took that and knew that I needed to wait and see what this “feeling” in my heart really was.  When we returned from our vacation we hit the ground running knowing that we needed to prepare for the upcoming events.  Things started happening and our hearts became heavy with burden.  We turned to the Lord for comfort and guidance.  God was really doing a number on my heart and as I started to grow more and more in Him, and search the scripture for truth, wisdom and comfort I started to see my heart.  I knew there were a lot of things I needed to change.  I started to make things right, cleaning out some of the things in life that hindered me and becoming more faithful in my devotions and prayer life to Christ.  It was during these moments that I felt as if I was under attack and alone.  I wasn’t, but if I hadn’t been faithful I would have lost that fight.  With the reality of our financial situation becoming very evident and the burden that Tim and I both had now shared we started praying about what He would have for us next.  Tim called and spoke with some of his friends that are Pastors, preachers, evangelist and family.  They gave him the same advice.  Tim put his name out to most of his preacher friends and we asked the Lord to give us complete peace about what was to happen next.  After communication with good friends of ours we were introduced to Pastor Marty Shott.  Tim spoke with him over a few weeks and eventually the Pastor Shott invited us out to Connecticut to visit and had asked Tim to preach.  We didn’t have complete peace about this would be the “place” but we went and by the end of the week we were almost positive.  We didn’t want to make any decisions without first going home and praying about it, speaking with our pastor and seeking council from other godly men.  When we returned it was evident that this was the answer.  Doors opened wide and the present one was shutting.  Some did not understand why we were leaving; others cheered us on and shared in our excitement.  Our every need was met, even down to the very last dollar that we would need to complete our next journey.
The road that led us to where we are today had some mountain tops and valleys, some hurt, some pain, but most of all it had Christ leading the way.  Today, I sit at a desk, at Harvest Baptist Church and can’t help but be thankful for this new chapter in our lives.  We are happy, we are thankful and we are loved.  We know the road ahead will have its valleys but with every valley there is a mountain top.  I am so thankful to be used by God, so thankful for all those who have helped us to get where we are today and I look forward to what the future holds. 
Psalms 32:11  “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thoughts on talking with my "Biological Father"....

I've only started this post about 10 times....can't seem to get past the first line....

I have very mixed emotions about speaking with my biological father (who I will refer to as Dennis from now on).  Since I was seven (I remember before that age that there was a name change but I didn't "comprehend" what was going on until I was around seven) I have known I was adopted (given my dad's last name) by my dad.  Though, through my childhood and even teenage years, I tried to make that an issue I always knew my dad loved me and considered me his own.  The hardest part was knowing that Dennis existed and I had never met him.  Now that it's been 30 years I can understand that there was just a "void" in my life that needed some kind of filling....
As I grew up I often wondered who Dennis was.  Did I look like him? Act like him?  Did I have any other brothers or sisters?  Would my life have been different with him?  I'm not sure at what point my mom told me that he had been accused of rapping a 14 year old girl but when I was told that it hit me like a brick wall.  Once highschool was over and my first year of college was through I remember riding with my mom and asking her what she though of me trying to find Dennis.  She was clearly not "ok" with it but said she understood my desire and told me things that had happened while she was married to him. He was very controlling, a pathological liar and cared only about himself.  I saw the hurt she experienced and put the nagging feeling of trying to find him behind me.  Once married life seemed to speed up and I was to busy working or trying to not be sick to think about finding Dennis.  The internet became more and more reliable and I remember looking his name up and finding some addresses and phone numbers.  I would talk to Tim about finding Dennis.  Tim always supported my decision in this area.  He would always tell me "I can't tell you what you should do but either way I will support you"....
About 6 months ago, Tim was out of town on business and something in me made me look up Dennis' name again.  I found an obituary that his mother had passed away and within the obituary it had listed his name, his sons name (who is older than me), and his brothers and sisters. I called my mom and asked her about Dennis' son and she said she knew of him.  As I read her the obituary she told me about Dennis' mom and dad, his brother and his sisters.  The more she talked the more confused I was about what I should do.  My mom would never tell me I can't find him.  She just gave me warning after warning and experience after experience that it was almost "dangerous" to find him.  She knew how he was and what he was like and was terrified about bringing that kind of danger into my life.  I respected that.  My mom doesn't sugar coat anything and I appreciate that about her.  I talked to Tim for a while that same night and confided in our good friend Rich who has a similar story of adoption (he found his biological mother ) and went off of the words of encouragement he gave me.  I put the nagging feeling behind me once again because I knew I was not ready to handle these emotions that would come with the call. 
Wednesday, July 13, 2011, my dad calls to talk.  We spend 3 hours talking.  This is the longest I've talked to my dad on the phone in my life! It makes me smile just thinking about it.  Within our conversation my dad brings up Dennis' son and asks me if I've tried to contact him.  I told him no and told him I was a little to nervous to bring that into my life.  He said it had been 30 years and people change.  That was the end of the discussion but the nagging feeling was there, again, and I couldn't stop ignoring it anymore.  That night I called several of the numbers that were listed and finally a lady answered.  I asked for Dennis and she told me he didn't live there but that she was his mother in law.  I froze.  The thoughts of "what if she doesn't know about me, what if I ruin this for him" were flooding me.  I asked if I could have a number to reach him and she said she could give him mine.  I told her my name and she said "How do you know him?" I told her he knew my mother.  Little did I know, she knew exactly who I was.  I didn't hear from Dennis that night nor the next day....until around 8pm.  My phone rang and when I looked at the number I knew it was him.  I answered and He asked for me....and told me it was him.  I asked him if he knew who I was and he said yes, he knew I was his daughter.  I won't go into detail about our entire one hour conversation, but I will tell you that my guard was up, I saw a few red flags go up, and the nagging feeling is no longer there.  I don't know how this will turn out in the end.  I'm glad I got to talk with him, I'm glad he is doing well and I'm sure he's glad to know I'm doing well.  There are some major concerns but that is what I expected....
What I am so thankful for is my mom who protected me all those years ago to make sure I wouldn't have to go through such a scary life.  I'm thankful for my dad, who is confident enough to know, that no one could replace the love I have for him.  He is my dad and will always be my dad.  I gave my dad a pocket watch one fathers day and I had it engraved with "Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad". 
Just another chapter in my life....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

When God says no...

Most times we take a no from God as an insult.  When we don't get our way we believe that its not right and that we should get what we want.  We snub our nose at Him and cry and ask the question "why"....I have done this for most of the 16 years I have been His child....

Today tested me, I don't know exactly how to say it...maybe I tested myself....maybe I got my hopes up....maybe it was all valid....but today was a test....and I understand.  I mean my heart doesn't hurt any less and my desire seems greater.  I sat there, when the answer was plain to see, and cried.  I told God I know it's best.  I told Him I know His answer is perfect and I told Him I know He knows my desires and that His will and way for my life was far better than what I could come up with...and I believe it 100%.

Others have struggled far greater than I have.  Others have given more than I have.  Others have been more determined than I and the one thing most lacked, was their faith in God. I am so thankful for a relationship with the one who created me, with the one who's love is never ending, with the one who will never leave me nor forsake me.  He is all knowing, and gracious to such a sinner as I.  In the valleys he comforts me and on the mountain tops he spoils me.  I don't deserve His love...I really don't...but I am so thankful for it....

I'm thankful for His "No"....I really am....its just hard....

This song has really gotten me through so much....I first heard it only 4 years ago but it has come in my greatest times...and my hardest times....


Lately I've been looking back, along this winding road
To the old familiar markers of the mercies I have known
I know it may sound simple but it's more than a cliche
There's no better way to tell you, than to say

God's been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams when I go to sleep each night
And though I've had my share of hard times, I wouldn't change them if I could
'Cause through it all, God's been good

Times replay and I can see that I've cried some bitter tears
But I felt His arms around me, as I faced my greatest fears
You see I've had my gains than losses and I've known more joy than hurt
As His grace rolled down upon me undeserved

God's been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams when I go to sleep each night
And though I've had my share of hard times, I wouldn't change them if I could
'Cause through it all, God's been good

For God has been my Father, my Savior and my Friend

His love was my beginning, and His love will be my end
I could spend forever trying to tell you everything He is
But the best that I can say it is this

God's been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams when I go to sleep each night
And though I've had my share of hard times, I wouldn't change them if I could
'Cause through it all, God's been good