Confessions of a Prodigal Mom

God

Venting the ugly stuff. We all have moments or times of less than beautiful thoughts that flow into emotion.

Who do you tell your most hideous, soul-bearing junk to? When your gut feels tied into knots, or your thoughts and feelings are more complex than a knot of hair that’s got gum stuck in it…

I pour out my heart to God. Cry the ugly cry that has more snot than tears. A guttural cry that comes from the deep place.

The sobs that rack my body, they overwhelm me and it feels like I’ll never stop, yet it’s over just a few minutes later.

I’m spent, yet raw with emotion. I find relief, knowing that He already knew the hurt, the frustration, the sadness that was there.

He didn’t need me to tell Him, but when I did, a knotted place in my soul emptied out and made room for hope.

My mind cannot comprehend His vastness, His great love, or what He could possibly be accomplishing through my life, and yet I know for certain that there is something.

This is my psalm to Him. Crying out, emptying all of my angst to Him, then looking up with expectant hope.

Yes, there is joy amidst the sorrow. For He is good.

 

Strabismus surgery

God, Uncategorized

I’m having eye surgery tomorrow. So what, you ask?

  1. Please pray for me and for my surgeon for a successful outcome.
  2. This is an opportunity for me to be a voice for the goodness of God, even when circumstances aren’t so good.

For 3-4 years now, my vision has been impaired. Often times I cannot drive or do my regular activities because of it. Even so, I believe NOW, more than ever, that God is faithful and good.

One year ago, my eye doctor said that the impaired eye muscle was inoperable. This spring it has healed to an operable state, and I’m a good candidate for the strabismus surgery that I’m having tomorrow.

Did you catch that? God, in his infinite wisdom, has answered my prayer for healing. From inoperable to operable.

What are you praying for and waiting for God to answer?

Will you trust in His goodness if He doesn’t answer the way that you are asking?

Whether my vision is impaired or not, God is seated on His throne.

Whether my vision is impaired or not, He is loving and merciful.

Realistically, I shouldn’t even be alive, much less having a full and incredible life with people I love and an annoying vision/migraine problem.

Yet here I am.

Photo on 3-30-16 at 9.21 AM

Here I am, alive, in spite of destructive choices, addictions, in spite of trying to kill myself when I was young, and years of depression.

All because of Jesus and His mercy to save me and free me.

I’m praying that the strabismus procedure will be successful and that I can ditch the glasses for good.

But even if not, I will still praise and worship the great God who loves me and gave His life so that I could be saved and free.

Not problem free, but free from bondage. We may never be problem free.

If your circumstances don’t ever line up the way that you desire, do you believe that you can have the abundant life that Jesus offers us?

 

Women of the wailing wall

God, Uncategorized

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We are all different, from several generations.We are the women of the wailing wall.

We are rich and we are poor. Worn hand-me-downs and crisp new trends. Some young and vibrant, some with weathered skin and silver hair, like me.

Although we are diverse in every way, we come in solidarity for one purpose.

To seek answers from G-d.

Purposefully I stride, in my trousers, with large handbag in tow. I pause to grab Torah, the very words of G-d, and slow down as I approach the wall.

Old and feeble, but strong in prayer, beseeching for my granddaughter.

She breaks my daughter’s heart as she is lost and tries to find herself.

I weep, sobbing softly for my daughter’s pain, and cry out for my granddaughter to change her course

To come back to the place that she knows is true.

My heart bows low in reverence though my posture remains standing.

My hands shake as they always do. I gently roll up the message that I’ve scrawled out with my request, tenderly and firmly sticking it into a crevice in the wall.

My lips move as I pray and silent tears fall. My cares and anxious thoughts of the day seem to fall to the ground with each tear.

I look up in thanks. Thankful to the One who hears. The One who sees. The One who cares. I bow my head and smile, then gently walk out backwards.

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Post Script: I wrote this in July when visiting Israel and going to the Western Wall. I was struck by the variety of women that I saw.

Eastern and Western worldviews, from every socioeconomic group and age. Yet many seemed so earnest in their pursuit of an answer from God.

I was struck by the thought of each woman as an individual; each woman had a story, a prayer that they earnestly prayed and wrote, putting the prayer requests into the wall’s nooks and crannies.

I saw many women crying. Some quietly and reverently, some alone, and some with friends or loved ones. I imagined a woman, weeping with expectant hope that God would answer her fervent prayers for her granddaughter.

She is the woman I wrote about.

Christine

Healing prayers

God

Have you ever prayed for healing? Maybe you asked God to heal you, or a loved one.

Whether it was a silent plea to what felt like the air, or universe, or whether it was a prayer read aloud from the scripture, you can know that God hears and he cares.

Maybe you, like me, have battled disappointment with God.

If you have prayed earnestly and he didn’t answer your heartfelt requests, it can feel as if God has forgotten or forsaken you.

I know, as I’ve felt that way many times over the past several years.

Four years ago I began having a severe tremor that I’d never had before, and an increasing amount of terrible migraines. If I’m honest, I had never empathized with migraine sufferers before that. The searing pain along with sound and light sensitivity can be maddening and is debilitating.

Soon there were more symptoms. Electric type shocks in my hands and legs. Double vision that made it dangerous to drive, so my friends and kids began to drive me to do errands. My balance was off and I could be quite clumsy and have difficulty standing at times.

My family doctor and neurologist were terrific, although along the way I did see other doctors who implied that the symptoms may be psychological. Eventually, my husband went with me to the Mayo Clinic.

They prescribed a life-altering pair of glasses with a prism that helped correct the double vision. I couldn’t believe the difference and much of the time I could see clearly with the new prism glasses.

During all of this I did the fundamental things that I knew to do as a follower of Jesus. I had laid out my heart with God all of my unconfessed sin, and asked him to show me any sin I was unaware of.

I went to the elders of our church and asked them to anoint me with oil and pray for my healing as the Bible instructs us to do in James.

[James on prayer and healing]

Nonetheless, my healing didn’t come. For these years I wrestled with my beliefs of God. I had come to know God over a decade ago. I had begun to see his character through the scriptures and debunked many of the false ideas I’d had about who he really was.

I rightly began to believe that he is a good father and is always there, even when I don’t feel him or see him at work in my life. This reality stared right in the face of the reality that I wasn’t healed.

I knew and believed that God was able to miraculously heal me. Yet he hadn’t.

Enter disappointment with God. Self doubt and condemnation. Along with well-meant comments from others, this was a recipe for turmoil on my worst days. Did God forget about me? I know I deserve punishment for my sin. Is this as chastisement for something I’ve done?

A month ago I asked God again for healing. I felt a sensation, sort of a wave through my whole body. I shot up the question, “God, are you healing me?” and felt nothing else; heard nothing; sensed nothing.

Later that evening, I flipped my glasses up, then down. Up, then down. I was checking to see if my vision was healed. I wanted so badly for this to be the time. Yet I didn’t want the disappointment again. Nothing, no change.

I woke up the next morning blurry-eyed as usual. Although my vision wasn’t crystal clear, it was better without the glasses than with them! It’s been 5 weeks since then and my vision is still better! I’ve had a day when my vision was very blurry and doubled, yet it was still better without glasses.

Although I’ve still had an occasional migraine in the past five weeks, it is clear that healing is taking place in me. I stand on the truth of what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said in essence when they were commanded to bow down to a statue of God or be thrown into a fiery blaze:

God is able to deliver us from any fiery trial. Even if he does not, he is still worthy of our praise and he is good.

[The king spoke to the three] “But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

(Daniel 3:15 and following, emphasis mine.)

This is a call to persevere in your prayers. God loves you and is concerned with what concerns you.

God is good. Whether he answers our prayers the way we desire or not, his character and heart for us is good and loving. We can’t see everything and understand God’s ways, but we can trust the ancient and relevant words he has given us in the Bible when we don’t get it.

God is listening. God loves you and wants you to turn from self-reliance to relying on him when you are weak.

He is able to deliver and heal, and if not, he is still good.

 

To read more of this story in context, click here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel%203&version=NIV

Do you need a miracle in your life?

Uncategorized

DON’T GIVE UP.

Does your marriage look hopeless? Does your wayward child or addict relative seem like they won’t come back? Are you depressed or anxious and have battled it for years? Keep on praying and persevere. Joey and Lauren are living proof that God is still at work doing miracles. Just last year I posted this video from our friend Brian Haynes’ church. It encouraged me in a dark time when I was feeling very down about my own circumstances.

Over the last couple of weeks, I went with my husband and two kids to Israel. Guess who was on the trip, too? That’s right, Joey and Lauren. It took me a day or two of trying to figure out where I knew them from, and it was this video! If you are contemplating divorce, take heart, God can work in the hardest of hearts. Just ask Joey and Lauren.

Joey and Lauren seated together on the right

Joey and Lauren seated together on the right

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If you need a miracle, I hope that you’ll be encouraged like I am by Joey and Lauren’s story. It’s not just a story, it’s a reality that I had the joy of seeing lived out in front of me for two weeks as I hiked with them and twenty-something others in Israel. They are real, authentic people who are in the process of loving God and loving each other. It is beautiful and a joy to see!

This is the repost:

Today’s text from our friend Brian Haynes will speak for itself: God moments happen all around us all of the time. I love that God is constantly at work in people, in marriages, and in churches. If you need hope for your life, your family, your marriage or your church, take 6 minutes to watch this short documentary. It is a God story.

Walk by faith, not by sight

Christianity
IMG_3533

No more progressive lenses, I’m switching between readers and distance glasses.

Have you ever wanted to dance at a doctor’s office? Kiss and hug your doctor? Weep for joy with thanks and gratitude at your doctor’s office? Inside I wanted to, recently, but I could tell by Dr. Romero’s reserved demeanor that I should keep the displays of emotion to a minimum. I simply ended with, “Tell your wife to give you a big hug and kiss.” My happiness was because the doctor gave me a clear and concise explanation for the double-vision and migraines that have been troubling me for the past couple of years. I had a micro-vascular stroke during a severe migraine at that point in time (2.5 years ago) and it caused a palsy in the oblique muscle of my eye, resulting in double vision. Eureka! It all made sense now….

In more simple terms, a killer migraine caused a “short” in the nerve that goes to my eye muscle, causing it not to work properly, so that I now have double vision. That causes a vicious cycle of more migraines and other complications. I’m pretty happy with this news. It doesn’t really change the circumstances, but it does affirm what I’ve been telling doctors and everyone who will listen for quite a while now. My takeaway…we know our own body better than anyone. Except for our Maker. And boy, are we wonderfully and intricately woven together!

Walk by faith, not by sight. These words have a more profound meaning than ever before to me, because without my glasses, I see everything double! Even with my glasses, my eyes fatigue very easily and sometimes I can only do half of what I’d planned in a day. That used to really frustrate me and make me so mad. Kicking and screaming mad inside. Feeling sorry for myself mad.

Recently walk by faith, not by sight means when I don’t have sight, quite literally, because of fatigued eyes, I must rest. Rest can be active, you know. That’s something I’m learning. When I am not sleepy at all and it’s only 1:00pm in the afternoon, but my eyes must rest, I am forced to close them. I have choices in that moment. I can be really frustrated at my situation, and obsess on what I’m not able to do at that time, or I can simply take the time to be still.

Prayers for healing and health

suffering

If you have every prayed for healing, and not received physical wholeness, you are facing a quandary.  There are many assumptions that flow from not receiving full healing. My previous post doesn’t take you through all of the assumptions, only straight to my acceptance. However, I believe that it’s important to de-bunk these wrong ideas that I assumed about my prayers not being answered the way that I wanted.

I have prayed, my family has prayed, my friends have prayed, and we have done as James 5:13-16 instructs Christians who are sick. We continue to pray for complete healing in my body, yet I’m not fully healed. We’ve prayed for many months, and I have no doubt that most of us praying actually believe that Jesus Christ performs healing miracles. We believe He raises the dead back to life, He makes the blind see, and the mute hear. So when our prayers aren’t answered with a “Yes” it caused me to feel several things:

1. I believed that I must not have enough faith.

2. I felt forsaken and unloved by God. It felt as if I was completely unheard by Him.

3. Deep down I felt that I must have done something wrong to be afflicted physically.

I can’t tell you that I don’t think of these things at all anymore, but something about the truth of hearing Isaiah 55: That God’s ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts are not my thoughts resonated deep in my soul. This truth corrected my assumptions when I heard this Scripture related to our prayers for healing, and Pastor Brian answered the BIG QUESTION we all have when God doesn’t heal our loved ones. (See this post to link to Pastor Brian’s sermon)

I still struggle. Sometimes what I know in my head to be truth about God doesn’t match up to my feelings. But today I know, deep in my soul, that God loves me and hears my prayers, even when I’m not completely healed. He’s moved and listens to our prayers. You and I can trust His heart when we don’t understand His ways.

Daily bread and health

Uncategorized

The overall theme of my life right now is daily bread.

bread

Do you ever feel as if you don’t have enough time/energy/resources/health to accomplish your daily plans?

I have felt that way and struggled for the past few months because of health challenges. I have often felt frustrated and incompetent because my body doesn’t always cooperate with my plans. With my health situation, I am not sure from one day to the next if I’ll be able to follow through on my daily plans. This can be discouraging and sometimes makes me downright angry. Until a couple of months ago.

In February we visited our friend’s church and ironically, the sermon was about healing. We were reminded that God does hear and answer our prayers for healing. However, He doesn’t always answer the way we want Him too. I don’t want to sound irreverent, but uggggghhhhhhhh. Sometimes He doesn’t answer the way we want. He still loves us in spite of that and His ways are higher than our ways. When He doesn’t answer our prayers with a complete healing, we can trust Him for our daily bread.

Here’s what I mean by that: Like the Israelites in the desert, He lovingly supplies what you and I need each day. Not what I think I need, but what He knows I need.

This truth from Pastor Brian’s sermon has coincided with a study that I’m doing on the Old Testament tabernacle in the wilderness. Just so happens that I keep going back to the subject of daily bread and manna that God provides for His newly freed people.

I am still facing the same physical challenges and health issues, but I’m not so frustrated and angry for the past couple months. I am trusting God for my daily bread. On the days when I feel like it’s only a few crumbs, I’ve started asking God what does He want me to do with the bits that He’s provided for that day.

If you have thirty minutes, check out this great video of the sermon that I mentioned above.

God’s Plan for Your Life Sermon  Click on 02.03.13 Healed

You’ll be glad that you did!

Photo credit: Vegan Richa  Richa is one of my favorite food bloggers. Beautiful pictures with delicious vegan food.

What you do matters

Christianity

Do you believe that the little things that you say and do really matter? Well, they do. After a couple of discouraging days, I have been surprised and thrilled by a few of my friends.

Yesterday morning started off with a voicemail from a friend that may be a little “out there” for some of you….but I loved it! She prayed out loud for me on voicemail. Even though she didn’t know the exact circumstances, her prayer was beautifully simple and hit the nail on the head with what I was going through.

A little later I received this sweet text from another friend:

text prayer

She included a Scripture. (which I couldn’t wait to look up, it was Ephesians 1:17 ) The greatest part was that I didn’t know who the text was from until much later in the day, because I didn’t have her name in my contacts. So for most of the day, I felt better just because a couple of people let me know that they cared about me.

This morning was the icing on the cake! I was stuck at home for a few hours because we had electricians at the house doing work. There was a knock on the door, and it was a friend that I haven’t seen or talked to for a few weeks. She popped by and said, “I have been thinking about you so much the past few days, and praying for you, and I just thought I’d stop by to see how you’re doing.” What?!?!?! Incredible…..

I will close with this thought: What you do and say can really matter to someone. It only takes a moment to pray for someone. You can pray while driving, cleaning, working, or showering. While texting someone a quick message only takes a minute, it could be a turning point in their day. Leaving a message that you care or praying on voicemail actually matters. These three friends demonstrated God’s love to me in their simple acts. I know that others care and are praying, too, but these are tangible markers in my day that point me to the reality that I’m not forsaken or forgotten.

Now pick up your phone and tell somebody you care about them!

7 minutes with your teenager

Parenting

There is a seven minute time span that I love with my teenager…it’s the car ride to and from school. These are the best power-packed seven minutes of our day! I used to feel as if I were just “taxi mom”, and I used to complain sometimes about driving my teenaged kids around. Let me be brutally honest: There have been times that it’s just been plain exhausting driving to and from activities and I’ve even resented it or dreaded it.

I’m beginning to see it differently. The seven minutes we spend driving together to and from school are times that I now treasure.

Remember when they were little? All kinds of cuddly moments and nap time, tons of car rides, playgroups and crafts abounded. There was no need to look for power-packed moments. In fact, both mom and kiddos got excited about preschool days. Mom ran errands and talked to grownups, and the little ones had fun with their peers.

Since we’ve shifted this school year from home school to public school, I am on the hunt for opportunities to spend with my daughter. Car rides are my favorite!

Strangely, our morning rides are probably good because I’m so groggy that I don’t pepper her with questions. We ride in comfortable silence for a bit, listen to music, and conversation ebbs and flows. She’ll usually tell me about something that’s upcoming that school day. We pray together as she heads to class.

Afternoons are completely different! We’re both awake, and Danielle usually has anecdotes or triumphs or frustrations to tell me. Now I love these driving times. If I can force myself to be quiet and not try to pry information, it can be my favorite seven minutes of the day with my teenager!