Season of Prayer

September 10th 2011

At church we are encouraging people to be in a season of prayer, pleading to God to cause brokenness in us, renew us, restore us.  In this process I am writing inserts for the bulletin on various areas of prayer.  I have decided I would share these with all of you as well.  The first few are on brokenness, following is the first one.


Let us pray that our hearts are fully devoted to God, so that he is able to bring us to brokenness when sin entangles us. How do we do this? Let us look at the words of David to give us a start.

David the psalmist says

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise
. (Psalm 51:16-17)NIV

David reaches this conclusion after the events of 2 Samuel 11:1-12:13, when sin ensnared him and engulfed others around him. David’s heart was fully devoted to God (1 Kings 15:3) so he was able to immediately own up to his sin. David admitted to God, as we should when we sin, that his behavior was wretched and that only God could cleanse him.

David’s plea for mercy in Psalm 51 is firmly rooted in the character of God, and not in his own righteousness. David says “My transgressions and my sin is always before me” and he admits “Surely I was sinful at birth” (Psalm 51:3,5). This realization leads David to call out to God, saying

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

(Psalm 51:10-12)NIV

If we do not know how to pray when we realize that our sinful nature keeps us from being fully devoted to God, we can pray the words of David. How joyful it would be for the words of David to be our own, so that we would be renewed and restored by God!

Not What I Wanted

August 22nd 2011

I never wanted to be sick. I never wanted to stay home. I never wanted to home school. I never wanted to live in the middle of nowhere. I got sick. I can’t work. I followed my husband to the middle of nowhere. I home school because it’s our only good option.

I have given up my career, I have given up my freedom, I have given up my friendships, I have stopped going to church’s I loved, I have to do things I know I am not good at. Everyday of my life is a struggle.

I don’t have one person in my life who can even possibly come close to understanding how difficult it is for me every day. How everything I do takes so much more effort then it should. How when I screw up simple things it hurts because it reminds me of why everything is so hard. It’s all so hard because my memory is screwed up, my concentration is bad, and I hurt all the time.

Hurt, I just hurt. Nothing makes it go away. I try every day to pretend it isn’t there, but it is. Some of the things I do are so painful, but I do them anyway because other people are counting on me, because I made commitments and I try very hard to honor those. I pretend because I refuse to allow my body to stop me from doing things.

There is nothing anyone can do to change some of these things, they are facts. What they can do is try to see my life through my eyes.  Watch me very closely in an attempt to see how what I am doing at that moment causes me pain. To see how my memory or concentration might make it difficult. Try to understand that the things I do I don’t do because they are easy but because I am committed to them. Even the things I choose to do, like play drums, hurt. Yet I do those things because I have to have things in my life that I choose to do out of joy, not obligation.

I understand more fully then most will what God means when he tells us to consider it all joy when we face trials. I cannot name one year in the last 8 that has not come with some kind of heart breaking trial. First my mom died, then I lost a baby, I ended up sick and out of my career, I had 3 brain surgeries, my house was flooded and chaos followed, my arms didn’t work for a week, and I had to start home schooling. All too many times I cried to God “why? why do you have to teach me in such difficult ways?” His answer has always been “so you will see more of me”.

I see more of Him, I see his nature. I understand what it is to have his comfort, his strength, his shelter, his arms to hold me up, his ears to hear my cries. I still wonder why God had to teach me all of this through such difficulty, instead of letting me learn it another way.

Then I remember that what I have been through has not been just to teach me, but to teach others as well. To teach my husband and son what it means to stand firm on God’s promises and watch him answer them. Do we have all our desires, do we get a yes to all we ask of God? No. But we can know this, His plan is greater then we can see, His intention for us is greater then we can imagine. He knows where he wants us, what he wants us doing, and when.

I can’t figure out why he has me in the middle of desert, homeschooling, not able to work, and in pain. I cannot figure out how all of this makes sense, but I will keep following him. I will keep trusting him. If I am going to do that I have to trust that he has put my husband and son into my life because he intends it for my good.

I might not be happy, but I will find joy because I know He is working where I cannot see. I know he is doing the same for my husband and son that he is doing for me, making me more like him. He might keep taking me through things I don’t like, making me do things I’m not good at, he may allow me to stay in pain, but in all of it I will try to keep looking for his hand to move.

I can see him moving. I see him moving in my husband, my son, and myself. I can see how he has molded each of us, changed us. I see him leading my husband, and I see how he has given him knowledge, wisdom, guidance, discernment. I will keep trusting that he has placed each of them in my life for my good. I may not always be happy, but I will keep following, even when I disagree. I will keep following, even when I can’t understand. I will keep following, because it gives me joy. My life is not what I thought it would be, but it is better because my life has allowed me to see God moving. My life means I got to be the recipient to answered promises. My life means I have had the privilege of watching him work in my husband and son.

I am glad my life is not what I wanted it to be. Even if it means I lost my career, I am in the middle of nowhere, doing what I never wanted to, and in pain. I am glad God gave me the life he wanted me to have.

This week was the “hugely anticipated” premiere of the last Harry Potter movie. I know believers who have read the books and watched all the movies, and are animate that it is “only entertainment”. I have not read the books or seen the movies, and I do not intend to. Here is why.

I don’t think believers would find a movie whose main character and hero was a sex trafficker. Why? Because we recognize that there are people who are actually in bondage in real life, and that is not an entertaining thought. There are people in this world who are in bondage to witch craft, who visit witch doctors to ail their woes, who go to high places to offer sacrifices.

How then do we take something that keeps people in bondage, and decide it is good subject matter for entertainment, how do we make sorcery the hero? Because we do not want to believe that the evil is real, that it really happens in the world, that it even happens in America.

I have a dear dear friend who fell into witchcraft, was deceived, in bondage, and still struggles with temptation and with the consequences of it. She was a believer when this happened, she understands Gods forgiveness and grace in ways I simply cannot. I would never look at that friend and say Harry Potter just entertainment just because it came with a front and back cover, just because I can eat popcorn when I watch it. If I did I would be making her struggle insignificant, it would be making light of her very real battle with evil.

When we take something that is the cause of another person not seeing Christ and we attempt to repackage it into something entertaining, we make insignificant the opinion of God. If another person is in bondage to something, we shouldn’t find that a subject of entertainment, but a subject of heartache. God is grieved that there are people in bondage. Repackaging something that keeps others in shackles shouldn’t make us see it any differently. Harry Potter may only be a book and a movie, but it is based on subject matter that keeps real people, created by God, in bondage, and I simply cannot see that as subject matter for my entertainment. Even if I can eat popcorn while watching it.


Our Past

April 26th 2011

We never escape our past, even if we think we have forgotten our past.  The enemy is in the habit of using our past against us whenever he thinks it will support his cause.  In 3 days time he has done that to me twice, in two different ways.

Sometimes the enemy likes to use another person to remind us of our past, he pits one against another in an attempt to destroy them.  A few days ago this is what he did, again, to me.  This is a cycle that has been happening for well over 10 years.  The enemy reminds one person of the past, that person uses it against the other over and over again, causing pain over and over again.  The enemy loves to remind people of wrongs for which they have been forgiven, or wrongs they have forgiven another for, to cause them to doubt, to cause them to hurt, to cause them to turn their eyes away from what God is doing now.  Satan loves to use our past mistakes, and the relationships they happen in, to his advantage.

Other times the enemy reminds us of our past through circumstance.  Taking what is happening now and weaving reminders and tidbits into present things so that we are drawn back into things we have long since forgotten.  I am not in the habit of keeping track of things that go wrong, or of wrongs committed against me, at least I try my hardest not to.  The enemy, however, is.  It is to his advantage to do so because past wrongs by us, and by others against us, are a great way for him to cause us grief, misery, doubt, and anger.  Our past is an easy and convenient battle ground for the enemy.  He can cause us to dwell on what we have been forgiven, or on what we have given forgiveness for.

The only way to win this battle is to turn our eyes to the Lord, realizing that though He knows all, he chooses to wipe away our wrongs through Christ.  The enemy can never cause our Lord to doubt us because of our past.  The enemy can never cause the Lord to pull back his grace, mercy, and love, because of our past.  What a powerful realization, what a powerful reminder that the enemy can not win the battle, because it is the Lord’s battle, not ours.  In Christ we are victorious, so the enemy cannot conquer us, even with our past.

3 Years Ago

March 31st 2011

Three years ago today I was in the hospital having surgery that would change my life forever.  Three years ago today I had part of my brain removed!  Three years ago seems like a lifetime ago some days.  If you don’t know my medical story you should read it so you know what led up to that day three years ago.  Since that day my life has changed dramatically compared to where I was just days before, but not in the way you might think.  I has gotten better!

Just over five years ago, in November of 2005, I had a career I loved, was very active with my church, and was happy with where my life was headed.  Now, I stay at home, don’t drive, home school my son with Nevada Virtual Academy, and will likely never work again.  However, I have more joy now then before I got sick.  Even missing part of my brain!  Three years ago I had to make a decision that would alter my life in the hope that I would be seizure free some day.  Though that hasn’t happened,  I have more joy in my life because I have seen God’s goodness towards me.

How have I seen God’s goodness?  Through his promises, and the answering of them.  Daily He give me strength, despite my weakness.  Daily He gives me shelter so that the trial cannot defeat me.  Daily he surrounds me with his peace, so that I do not fear.  Daily He gives me comfort, despite my pain.  Daily He gives me a supply of grace, so that I might continue to be molded despite myself.  Daily He allows me to come to his feet, though I do not deserve that place.  Daily He defends me, at every attack of the enemy.  Every day, at each step, He is with me, even when my eyes wander from him.  Daily He answers his promises, never failing.  Each day I am privileged to experience the Lord’s work in my life, and I cannot help but to have joy in the experience.

Three years ago I had no idea what the outcome of the surgery would be.  Now, three years later, I know how good God can be, all the time.

3 Busy Months

February 11th 2011

It has been just over 3 months since I last posted.  Since that time I have been on a cruise, started a new school with Bryan, enjoyed Thanksgiving and Christmas, had my in-laws visit twice, and turned in our application for foster care.  The last 3 months have been busy.

The time we spent as a family on vacation was fabulous.  We all got to do things we love to do, and we got to spend some time with friends as well.  Bryan absolutely loves his new school, and his mother is much happier knowing he loves school again.  Having my in-laws visit was great.  Finally, our foster care application got sent after a 6 month delay.

The last 3 months have been busy, but we know it isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon.  We anticipate our family will grow sometime in the near future.  Some might say that what we are doing is ridiculous at the least, some might even say insane.  To have children we don’t know, who have been raised in ways we might not even imagine, come to live with us for an indeterminate amount of time is more then they could handle.  I know it is more then I would be capable of handling alone, but I am not alone.  I have a husband who is a Godly leader, a son who loves the Lord and has a heart for others, and I have God.  I am not alone in this, and God is capable of more then I will ever be.

The past 3 months may have been busy, but I know that what God has planned for us next is likely to make us busier yet.  Busy in a  fabulous way though, busy affecting others lives for the Lord.  I have no desire to end up saying “I could have…but I didn’t have the time”.  If I cannot find the time to do what the Lord is asking of me because I am too busy, then I have allowed busy to become a way of life.  I have no desire to tell the Lord no because my schedule is to full, because I can’t fit it in, or because I’ve filled my life with meaningless tasks.  Busy can be good, or it can overtake us.  I won’t mind being busy, as long as I am busy for the Lord.


November 6th 2010

The calm serenity of the ocean as it laps on the side of a cruise ship.  The smell of clean ocean air.  The crispness of the ocean breeze standing on deck.  The sound of rock and roll.  Yes, rock and roll!  Tomorrow we fly to Florida for vacation and on Monday we board the Music Boat.  Five full days of music combined with the pampering that comes with a cruise.  No cooking, no dishes, no laundry, and all the music I can take in for 5 days!  Am I excited, yes, am I going to be tired when I get home, yes.  It will be worth it to have spent 5 days with a group of friends we are looking forward to spending time with, you know who you are.  This vacation is going to be awesome!

Changing Adventure

October 30th 2010

Two weeks ago we made the decision to take on a new adventure.  At the time we were unaware of an amazing option we had for this adventure that we have now discovered and are excited to undertake.  Our new adventure was home schooling, our changing adventure is virtual schooling, public school at home through a virtual charter school.  The program is amazing.  If any of you have heard of the K12 curriculum that is what it is based on.  For kids like Bryan this is great, because it lets them work on their level, grow at their pace, and never holds them back because of the rest of the class.

Bryan will still be home but Nevada Virtual Schools provides all the lesson plans and all the supplies.  Whatever he needs to do a unit they will send him.  Like a public school he will be assigned a teacher who will track his progress and put together the lesson plans that best meet his needs.  We will both have contact with that teacher throughout the year  His work will take about 4-5 hours any given day, with approximately 25% of that being online.  For us, this not only allows him to work at his advanced level, but takes the pressure off of me to keep up with him in planning and teaching.  I will still play a very active role in his schooling, but I will be able to use their tools to help me in the process.

So this new adventure we have been undertaking for 2 weeks is now changing, but we believe it is only another step in the right direction for Bryan.  When I told Bryan “you will be able to learn at your pace without waiting for anyone” he reacted with excitement.  Waiting was a consistent problem for him in public school, and even this last two weeks he has had to wait on me since he moved through things faster then I anticipated.  So the prospect of not waiting on anyone to learn and move on must be exciting for him.

In The Books

October 23rd 2010

The first week of our new adventure is in the books, literally.  We have completed one week of home school, and the student told a neighbor he loved his new teacher.  That would be Mrs. Porter, and no that is not my mother in law.  It took me a couple of days to get use to being called Mrs. Porter because no one calls me that, even the youth at church.  Not only does the student love his new teacher, the teacher loves her new student and is loving this adventure.

I have learned this week that my student can learn one particular subject faster then I had planned on.  This is a great problem to have, but it made Mrs. Porter have to print more worksheets then she thought she would.  I also learned that I can be up and ready to teach at 10:00am every day, which is a great accomplishment for me.  Mrs. Porter discovered that her memory can be a problem, but that the internet will make up for that most of the time.  The student learned that Mrs. Porter likes hands on learning for subjects like science since we did an experiment nearly every day.  In the end, now that the first week is in the books, we have learned that you don’t need a stack of text books to do school.  What you need is a student who excited to learn, and a teacher who is willing to feed that excitement.  If every week goes this well, please Lord, school will be a huge success.

For those of you who follow me on twitter, and are friends with me on face book, you already know this.  Starting on Monday we will be home schooling Bryan.  All of the history behind our decision is not important, the only thing that is significant is that we are convinced that this is the best way to ensure his educational needs are met.  All of the details will be set into place over the next week or two, in the meantime we will work with what we have available to us and figure out a schedule that works.

This is only sort of a new adventure because Bryan was home schooled in kindergarten.  Once that year was over we made the decision that putting him in school would be best.  The primary reason was my health, at that point I was still having 3-6 seizures a day and had not yet had my surgery.  Now, though I am still having an occasional seizure, my life is not nearly as disrupted by it.  Will it be perfect? Will it come easy?  NO.  What we do know is that with one student being taught by one teacher he will be the focus and he will be taught what he needs and based on where he is.  This is a new adventure because teaching addition and subtraction is much different then teaching decimals, fractions, American history and science.  For me this will be an adventure in memory, for Bryan it will sometimes be an adventure in patience.  Regardless of all of that we have a wonderful principle.  Mr. Porter will be the principle at this school, and yes being married to the teacher Mrs. Porter will have it’s advantages and disadvantages, but in the end we know the student will benefit from it.

The paperwork has already been filed, so Monday we will officially de-enroll Bryan from school, he will clean out his desk, and this new adventure will begin.  With the Lord’s wisdom and guidance we take this on.

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