Friday, October 14, 2011

I got your back!

So, I felt compelled to write this tonight.  Because a group I belong to is an "open" group, I know you can see that something has me a bit riled up.  I won't go into the details now.  My friend doesn't need to relive the details any more than she has to but I will say this.  I was questioned as to why I keep posting in response to her attackers.  I prayed about it, wondering if I was doing the right thing....I'm not name calling, hating on, or slandering anyone.  I also had a discussion with my husband about it.  After all, he is my best friend and the part that completes me.  When I had his backing as well as peace in my heart about it, I felt I should explain here.

My daddy used to say (as well as many other people and it's in many songs,) "if you don't stand for something, you fall for anything."  "To have friends, you must show yourself friendly."  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  "greater love than no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend."  Part of those quotes are scripture and I have something else on my heart to write about as well so I'm trying to make this quick.  When I get a minute, I'll come back and add the books and verse numbers they are found in.

If you've not known me personally or only knew me for a short time, there is probably a characteristic, or quality if you will, about me that you are not aware of.  When you are my FRIEND, and I feel you are being wronged, I will back you 100%.  I may get angry with others in the process and that's ok as long as that anger does not cause me to sin.  Jesus became angry with the money changers in the temple.  He yelled at them and knocked over tables and ran them out yet he was a man without sin.  He stood for what He believed in and what he knew was right.  When Christ was carrying the cross after having been beaten over and over and over by the soldiers, he needed help.  He needed someone to take the weight off of his back and place it on theirs.   We all have moments in our lives where we are weak and need someone to bear that weight for us.  If you are my friend and I can help do that, I will.  Even you are not my friend and I feel you are being wronged, I WILL step in.  That's just who I am.  I love with all I have and I don't hold back.  Maybe that's a weakness maybe not, I don't know.  I know sometimes it does cause me to be a bit more burdened but it's also those times those burdens are so heavy that it brings me to my knee's and I look to God for help.  If I'm to be an example, I'm to emulate what Christ would do.  If I could paint a physical picture for you I would.  If Christ was walking this earth today in fleshly form and he saw someone being attacked that was too weak to defend them self or was grieving something so terrible they just didn't feel they had the strength to go on, I have NO doubt he would step in.  Look what He did for the prostitute that was being stoned.  He put a stop to it and told them, "let he who is without send cast the first stone."  I am not perfect, far from it but the older I get, the more of an example I try to set for my kids.  Not just because I have kids but because I've matured enough to feel that draw to be more like Christ.  I can not, in good conscience, sit back and watch those hurting be knocked down even further.  When they feel they are too week to be their own voice, I will gladly step up and be their voice.  If their arms are too week to lift in praise to God, I will stand behind them and hold up their arms.  I can not apologize for that and I can not back down until the battle is over.  With God all things are possible and He is making a way before us!

Mandy, I love you!!  I will always be an ear and voice when you need one!  I pray the peace of God envelopes you each and every day.  I'm so sorry for what you've had to go through and what you are continuing to go through and if I knew of a way to make it all better I would.  Trust in God!  Know He loves you and that He see's you as His beautiful master piece!  Never forget what He's brought you through and what He will continue to bring you through!!!  Wish I could be there physically but since I can't be, I want you to know I am here prayerfully, emotionally, and verbally!

The Joy of Marriage

God has laid it on my heart to write this for quite some time now and I've been disobedient.  I'm not exactly sure why as I have what I consider the best marriage a girl could want or ask for.  I think it's because I don't want anyone to feel I'm judging their marriage or that I see myself as an expert on the topic because that is so not the truth.  I'm still learning more every day.

I will say this.  I see so many marriages falling apart around me and so many of my friends struggling to keep their marriages together and it saddens me.  I've always said I want to be that old couple you see walking through park holding hands that stops in front of the fountain to take in it's beauty and at that moment, feels their love grow even more and embrace each other for a kiss.  After having 3 kids, buying or building a home, declaring bankruptcy, a child that goes through a teen age pregnancy, maybe even a run away and who knows what other tragic events that have come into their lives and after 65 years, love each other more with every passing day.  I'm not saying they didn't go through struggles but they had and nurtured their coping skills to get them through those rough patches.

It's couples like that that we all need to take a moment and sit down with them and ask them, "how did you do it?  What was the secret to staying so in love and staying together?"  I have heard answers from couples who have been asked this question and by far the top 3 responses are, " Always keep God the center of your marriage,"  "never go to bed angry", and "never forget why you fell in love with each other to begin with."  WOW!  How could anyone forget that?  Unfortunately, it's forgotten more often than you think and here's why.  This was the top answer I've heard when couples have been asked, "What happened?  Why did your marriage fall apart?"  Not always, but a lot of times they say, well, the kids came along and I got so focused on taking care of the kids and he got so focused on providing for the family that we never had time alone together.  Life just got in the way and we lost track of who we were, who each other was, an why we married to begin with.  I find this heart wrenching and sad.

I guess you can say that I'm one that tries to learn from others mistakes and successes.  I'm a people watcher.  I look for those attributes that make someone great and stand out in the crowd and I see those flaws that often times, are the down fall in a relationship.  I watched my grandparents struggle to feed 8 kids, keep up a farm, and love each other.  I didn't always see smiles and roses from them.  But if I could pick any one of their characteristics that I picked up from them, it was determination and a big heart.

I watched my parents who had both been married, had kids, and divorced before they met each other.  They came together as a blended family and added me as the caboose.  I saw them struggle financially.  I even saw some emotional struggles but the 2 things I picked up from them was a grounded faith in Christ and unconditional love.

I was engaged twice, been through some troubled relationships, went through a rebellious phase because of those troubled relationships but when it came down to what I wanted in a spouse, God always reminded me that I was about to settle for less than his best.  That I was about to get myself into the complete opposite of what I'd learned from others who have had successful marriages.  God brought Jeremy into my life at a time where I could have gone one direction with someone else that was "comfortable" but not what God wanted, or I could step out in faith, believe what my heart was telling me and go in the direction I thought God was calling me.

I chose the one that was out of my comfort zone.  And I don't mean that in a bad way.  I mean that sometimes, when you get in a routine and something that's comfortable but maybe not "great", it's easy to go that route than to take something completely new to you.

"Most" of my relationships before had been built around physical attraction or someone that tried to "rescue" me during a difficult time in my life.  Far too many knights in shining armor are really common folk and thieves.  They see what you can do for them knowing full well they expect to get but not give in return.  I'm not speaking in a physical manner, I'm speaking about all aspects of life.  So when we settle, we end up in a routine that usually has a dead end and lacks growth.

HOWEVER, when you DON'T settle, when you don't lower your standards, when you build your relationship around Christ (and for those on my friends list who aren't Christians, well....I'll keep praying for you!  :)  tee, I would say to you to build your relationship around common beliefs and values) and Keep Christ 1'st and your spouse 2nd,...when you learn each others love language and start speaking it, marriage can be the most beautifully amazing thing you can experience on earth.  So many times when kids come along, the moms #1 focus is the kids and the dads #1 focus is bringing home the bacon.  Though those are VERY important things, your spouse should always have place above your children.  I know that's a difficult concept to grasp.  Especially for us moms.  Believe me, I've struggled with this myself but when you take a spouse, he becomes an extension of you and you of him.  Neither one of you function properly and smoothly when a piece of you is missing.  Ask any grieving widow or widower.  It's like you've been amputated.  What happens when you stop focusing on your spouse an start focusing on your kids only, that part of you that he/she has become becomes a stub where that limb has been amputated.  You start learning to function without it.  Naturally when this happens, you become 2 individual units again instead of 1 fully functioning unit.  This (placing spouse before your children) is very much a biblical concept.  One thing my husband and I vowed to do when we got married was, when children came along, we would continue to have a date night.  That is, time alone together without the children.  Time to reconnect and be sure we were still moving in the same direction or get going back to moving in the same direction.  That in no way means that when your husband is at work you sit and day dream about him all day and neglect the children.  The children are an extension of your unit as a whole.  They need to be nurtured and loved and cuddled as well.  What it DOES mean is that you don't let having children cause you to push your spouse to the side.  One of the MOST important things you can teach your children besides to have a strong Christian walk is how to have a successful marriage.  Children who see their parents hold hands, hug, kiss, go out on dates usually have stronger healthier relationships than those that don't.

What happens when you don't put your spouse before your children?  The kids see that.  They see that you don't respect the other enough to talk about important matters together.  Or they see that when you do discuss important issues together, you are quick to shut down the others spouses feelings and have an "it's my way or the highway" attitude.  Which of course "generally" leads them to follow in your footsteps and repeat the cycle.

If you didn't marry for the right reasons to begin with or have let the kids become the center of your life and have "fallen out of love," it's never too late to rebuild and restore.  I'm not saying that divorce is never necessary.  I'm saying, before throwing in the towel because, "he's changed" or "she's changed" or your "bored", pray about.  Start making efforts again to show your spouse you want to try and work on things. Start speaking his/her love language and you will be astounded what God can do!!  Naturally, even I have my limits.  Jeremy will tell you that one of the things I told him before we got married was, "If you ever hit me, or cheat on me, I'm gone!"  I'm not saying that is the right answer either but the Bible does allow divorce in cases of adultery.  There are some super forgiving people that can forgive that and try and work things out but for me, the betrayal would be so hard and so deep, I can't honestly say I could move past it.  I've not been there in a marriage but I have been there in a serious relationship, forgiven, and was burned again and I realize now, I can't keep moving past something that is typically a cycle.  I may be strong in a lot of area's in life but that is not one of the.

If I could encourage couples do and Bible studies together that I think you would greatly benefit from, I have 3.  I know there are more but these 3 have had the most impact in my life and marriage.  "The 5 love languages", "the love dare", and "I marriage."  Wonderful wonderful books!!!  You can find clips from "I marriage" on youtube.  The Author of that one is Andy Stanley.

And Christian couples, pray together!!  Both as a couple and as a family.  You'll never regret giving your marriage and your children that firm foundation to begin life on.

And Jeremy, I'm happy to say that I see us one day being that 65 year old couple kissing in front of the fountain at the park.  I love you more with each passing day and though we have our moments, I feel blessed to say that we've never had and "big" arguments or felt like quitting and giving up on what we have.  I thank God from bringing you into my life when he did and though we have a lot more room to grow, I feel blessed beyond measure to have the beautiful marriage we have!  Thank you for being not only my life partner, my soul mate, my spouse, but being my best friend and a shoulder to lean on.  With all my love!  ~Mary

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Forgiveness...must we REALLY???

     Please bare with me on this post.  It will open up some wounds for me that I've struggled with for many many years.

For many years now, I've struggled with forgiveness.  Little things, not so much but the "BIG" things, I've had some issue with forgiving.  Not just others, myself as well.  But lately, God has been doing a work on me.  I've been put through the refiners fire.  I know this because the impurities have fallen off and it's been painful.  Friendships have been severed....maybe not "best" friends but none the less, it can still be painful.  A lot of times, I feel alone.  I know I'm not and I know its because right now, I'm going through the fire.  I'm far from perfect.  I will never be until we, the saints are transformed in the twinkling of an eye.  Some area's of my life are so rich and full....I could not ask for a better husband or a more wonderful marriage.  These past, almost 10 years now have been the best years of my life.  I truly found my soul mate...or rather, God led us to each other and for that, I can not be more thankful.

There are people who I feel have done my loved one's wrong.  So much so that there was a point in my life that I could probably say I hated them and have meant it.  Letting go of that was very difficult.  But it wasn't the hardest.

There was a time in my life I was angry at God.  SOOOO angry.  I was a sophomore in high school and told my daddy was dying and didn't have much time.  For those who didn't know me too well or at all at that time, my daddy was my hero.  He was my best friend, my mentor, my comfort, my stability, my strength and to think this was all going to be ripped away from me.  I was mad at God.  I mean, how could he take someone so important to me away from me when I needed him most.  A girl is SUPPOSED to have her daddy walk her down the isle.  A girl is supposed to see the delight on her daddy's face and she presents him with his newest grand baby.  Not to mention, in his later years, some would probably claim my dad was about as close to a saint as you will find on this earth today.  We didn't have much growing up but what we did have, if someone else needed it, my dad gave it to them.  I'm not saying he ever sacrificed his families well being, what I'm saying is IF he could help them in any way, he would.  Even if it was just a kind word or sharing the gospel with someone who was hurting.  A hot meal to someone who wouldn't have eaten that night, a warm bed to someone who had no place to stay.  He was that type of man and I felt my world crumbling in around me.  But I forgave.  I made my peace with God and my dad was healed of that cancer.  Yes he did die to another cancer several years later and yes I was still that girl who's daddy wasn't there to walk her down the isle or to share the joy in the grandchildren she gave him but I knew he was no longer suffering and I knew I was now strong enough to at least try and live up to his legacy.  I fail.  So many times I fail but I get back up and push on because my daddy would have and he instilled that in me.  I hurt when I see the world around me hurting...hungry...homeless....hopeless....downtrodden....sick...because my daddy showed me that.  What allowed me to to forgive God (not that He needed my forgiveness but I needed to give it anyway) was I realized, my dad was showing me what he learned from his Daddy!  Jesus Christ!   My dad was not always this soft hearted, kind hearted man.  He would tell us stories of his teen years and his early adulthood.  Sometimes with tears streaming down his face but the man I always knew was a man that loved Christ first and foremost and did his part to share Christ with others.  He practiced what he preached.  So knowing that I now had the same dad that my dad had and would never be alone gave me the strength I needed to move forward.

Then there were littler things that were even easier to forgive.  A friend "stealing" your boy friend.  You learn not to let boys come between your friendship at an early age and if someone does, you have to question if they were ever a friend to begin with.  Forgive and move forward.

Someone accuses you of something you didn't do.  Make it right, leave it in God's hands and know He'll work it out in the end.  Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Someone fuels their anger and bitterness at someone else on you.  This one wasn't quite so easy to forgive given the circumstances but in the long run, compared my biggest test ever, it was a piece of cake.  When my daddy was sick the second time, I really struggled.  Not with God but with saying good bye.  My thoughts would jump forward to my wedding day or any other big event in my life and I knew, my dad wouldn't be there beside me.  Well, while he was dying, naturally I had some really difficult days.  I had this boss who did not understand at all.  She was hateful and bitter.  Rude and mean!  She even told me she didn't understand my emotion and my connection with my father because she herself hated her dad.  My mom would call me with an update and I'd start crying and she'd call me back to her office and want to know "whats the matter now?"  I'd tell her the news I had just heard and her answer would be "Well, just move on with your life and get over it!"  REALLY???  I was still going through it, how exactly was I supposed to get over it when it was surrounding me every day.  I don't know if you've ever had to watch someone suffer and die in your own home but it's not something you just "move on and get over."  Especially when it's still going on.  Sometimes I still smell the stench of death.  Though my daddy went peacefully, I can't say it was pleasant.  I would never wish ANYONE to have to go through that.  I know many do and I'm SOOO sorry if you have but I would never even wish that on someone I considered my worst enemy.  Well, I was with a temp agency so I called and got a new assignment for the next day.  I told the girl in charge of finding me a position that she either found me a new position or I'd just have to quit.  She had me a place by the end of the day and it was with a group of loving, caring, understanding people.  God worked it out.  I forgave and I moved on...from that job and boss anyway.

Having said all that, now comes the part where I'm going to get real.  I once heard a story of a woman who was brutally raped.  This isn't just any ordinary story.  This hit really close to home.  It was a friend of my moms best friend.  I had met her on a few occasions.  It was a miracle she walked away with her life but what happened in her own apartment where her attacker raped her repeatedly and brutally, I will never forget.  This woman started talking to her attacker about Christ and His forgiveness and what He did for us on the cross.  I'm not exactly sure when it happened but over the course of time, she would go visit him in jail and would continue witnessing to him.  This man, because of this woman's forgiveness, persistence, and strength came to know Christ as his savior!  I always asked myself would I be able to do that if I were in her shoes?

Before I go on with that topic, I want to give you a little back ground information on me and my upbringing.  I was born and raised in a Christian home.  My parents had us in church every time the doors were opened.  I asked Jesus in my heart at the age of 5. It was a very private and intimate time for me, because of that and my age, I can not not tell you a date but I can tell you it was a Christian broadcast that I loved to watch that got through to me and made me understand what it was that Christ did for us.  I went into my room, knelt beside my bed and said a quick and simple and sincere prayer.  Tears ran down my face and it was the best feeling I have ever had.  I was always kind of shy as a kid and felt it was something just between me and God.  I was the same way when it came to baptism.  I didn't want a big deal made about it so my parents didn't even know.  It was a surprise to them (of course I made sure they were going to be there that night).  At a very young age, I made a vow to myself, to God, and to my family and friends that I would remain a virgin until my wedding night.  I took that vow very seriously.  I had a "worth the wait" ring that I never took off.  My first serious relationship, he understood that and sometimes was stronger than I was.  Though he was bad for me in so many other ways,  he respected me as far as not forcing me or pushing me to do anything I didn't want to do.  I was 18 at this time.  However, this was not always the case in my relationships.

I will not mention names, time frames, places, etc in this part of my blog.  It's under the blood, I've forgiven and moved on and honestly, have even forgotten the last name of the one that "wronged" me.  I will say this, he was someone I met in Church and trusted.  We had been dating for a few months and we were supposed to go out one night.  Because of his circumstances at the time, I was driving so I went to his place to pick him up.  He seemed bothered.  He was acting unusual that night.  He asked me to come in and when I did, he locked the door behind me.  He told me to sit down, he wanted to show me something so I did.  He went and pulled a gun out from under his bed.  All I remember thinking was, "why on earth does he have this and why is he showing it to me??"  He said he felt he needed it for protection but didn't elaborate at all.  I got up and said, "well, let's get out of here but that isn't coming in my car."  He packs it back up and slides it back under his bed.  I start walking towards the door and he comes and stands between me and the door and started kissing big deal, we'd been dating for a few months now and had even talked marriage so it wasn't too unexpected but I still had a bit of an uneasy feeling.  He walks me to the bed and pushes me down on it.  I told him no.  I'm not ready for that and would rather wait until we are married.  I stand up and he pushes me back down.  This happened a couple of times and I finally froze in fear.  I knew he wasn't relenting.  He KNEW my values and morals and were I stood when it came to that kind of thing so I was a bit hurt, confused, afraid.  I told him \no a few times but he kept moving things forward.  Here's the part I have trouble with.  I froze up so much in fear that I stopped fighting.  The gun kept flashing through my mind, the fact that he was stronger than me and had me pinned down ran through my mind and for some crazy reason, I felt my outcome would be better if I did stop fighting.  He did finally grow a conscience and with tears in his eyes apologized and said he was sorry but it was too late.  He'd already stolen from me my most prized possession.   The one thing I valued more than anything else.  My purity.   For some reason, forgiving him was so much easier (though was definitely not immediate) than forgiving myself.  Even to this day I struggle with that at times.  I used to replay that night over and over in my head and wonder, if I fought harder would he have stopped?  Or would I be dead?  What did I do to bring this on?  What could I have done differently??   Did I do or say something to make him think that is what I wanted?  Over and over again, I justify the situation for him and lay all the blame on me.  Did I press charges?  No.  A girl who feels she's at fault will not press charges.  After all, he WAS my boyfriend and we had talked about getting married and the shame it would bring to me and my family.  His family, our Church.  But most of all, it was shame for myself I felt the most.  I still can't answer why.  I just know I felt used, tarnished, dirty, impure, unworthy, I could keep going on and on with adjectives to describe how I felt but I think you get the picture.

Why did I rip the scab off that wound and share it?  Because it's too big of a burden to keep pinned up inside.  Because SOMEONE needed to know that no matter what wrong someone has done to them, they are not unworthy, dirty, shameful, or used goods!  God has been working on me and self worth a lot lately and it all stems back from that one horrible night.  That was the night I stopped caring.  About me anyway.  That was the night my vow went out the window because after all, it had been stolen from me, ripped up and put back in my lap.  Not literally but figuratively.  It wasn't long after that my dad passed away so you can imagine the emotions stacked one on top of another.  It lead to some stupid decisions, a few mistakes but in the end, God is always there!  When you feel worthless, He covered that with his blood.  When you feel guilt, He bore that on the cross.  When you feel dirty, He washed that away and made you white as snow!  It has taken me all these years, a lot of prayer, and finally laying it down and not picking it back up to be able to say, I AM WORTHY!!!  No one ruined me!  He may have stole something from me but my God restored what he took 10 times over.  I wasn't supposed to be able to have children.  God gave me and my hubby 3 beautiful miracles.  Olivia could have died during child birth but he protected her.  Caleb was supposed to have been a miscarriage, but he's a live and well.  I was supposed to need fertility drugs to get pregnant with Madi but it happened naturally and immediately.  For every bad relationship I ever had, God has given me almost 10 years of an amazingly beautiful marriage and a wonderful God fearing man that loves me just the way I am.

So, you may ask, is forgiveness necessary?  ABSOLUTELY!!! you can not grow if you are stuck in your past.  You can't move forward if you keep stepping back to old circumstances but most importantly, forgiveness is a must for us to enter into heaven.  The word tells us,
Matthew 6:15 "But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
So ABSOLUTELY YES!!! you must forgive.  It's not always easy.  For some reason forgiving ones self is the most difficult thing to do but if I'm worthy enough for God's forgiveness, I'm more than worthy enough for yours and for mine.  You are worthy, you are chosen, you are called, you are loved, you are special and none of your life circumstances can define you!  Only God can.  From there, it's up to you to grow, show love, and forgive others.   PCOS (poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome) may keep me fat, fibromyalgia may make me feel pain sometimes but by the grace of God, neither of them are going to keep me down or steel my self worth from me.  I am who I am by the blood of the lamb.  I am the righteousness of God in Christ and though circumstances may slow me down, they will never hold me down!
<3  I don't know who needed to read this but some one did and if it helps only 1 person, it's more than enough for me! 
God bless!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hero's come in all shapes and sizes!

So, I've been contemplating writing a book about my life.  Not just because of all that's happened in my lifetime, but because one day, I'd like my kids to be able to pick it up and feel like they are reliving my life through what they are reading.  The good, the bad, and the ugly, but mostly the good!  :)  As I was thinking of how I would start off the book, the introduction if you will, I figured a basic introduction of my earliest years would be the best.  Which, of course would mean introducing the yours, mine and ours aspect of our family.  We were the Brady Bunch of East Tulsa only with 5 kids instead of 8.  My mom had 2 children by a previous marriage and my dad had 2 by a previous marriage and when they were married, conceived me....the caboose.  So naturally, that got me to thinking about my childhood and reminiscing on days long gone.  I LOVE, absolutely LOVE all my siblings and both my parents but as a little girl, seeing as there were SO many years between me and my siblings, I was closest to my daddy and my oldest brother.

It was then that it dawned on me that I'm not sure my oldest brother knows EXACTLY how much he meant to me and exactly how influential he was on me in my adolescent years.  And now, the explanation of my title.  He was my hero!  My daddy was always my biggest hero but my big brother Doug ran a very close second!  He doted on me and spoiled me and was the best big brother a little girl could ask for.  He even had his friends doting on me!  haha!  Keep in mind, he graduated high school only a year after I was born so looking back, it's kind of funny just HOW much attention these high school seniors and college boys paid me.  Some of my best memories are of going out to his room where he kept his weights and watching him work out as he had his music blaring.  I'm still not quite certain how I remember this seeing as he was in college by the time I was 2.  Maybe it was summers?  Another favorite memory was an annual memory.  Christmas.  He would sit with me as I opened my gifts in the old rocking chair in my parents UGLY green living room!  LOL  Pea green shag carpet and a rocking chair that looked like it had a quilt top for a seat cushion cover.  One of my ALL time FAVORITE memories and I'm not even sure if he'll remember this....I don't know if it was my dads motor cycle or his or what the deal was but I always wanted to go for a ride with him on it.  My mom would never let me.  Well he was out riding one time and I don't know where my ride started or if my dad and I had walked up to Foster and met him in the parking lot or what the deal was but I got my first motor cycle ride from my big brother!  I just remember dad putting me on there with him in Foster Middle School parking lot.

I remember the interstate lights on our way to see him in college!  I was so excited I couldn't sleep.  Again, I'm not sure why we were traveling at night...maybe it was on a night after dad had been working but I just couldn't wait to see him.  I remember crying the trip back because I didn't want to leave him.

Another one of my favorite memories is his wedding day.  My sister in law was (and still is ) amazingly beautiful.  Inside and out.  She was like a big sister to me as well.  I think she may have doted on me just as much if not more than my big brother did once they started dating.  haha.  As with any relationship, time and distance have separated us but the love and fond memories will always be there.

I've written several blogs on my daddy already....these were my very first hero's.  As I've grown up and become a mother myself, I've added new hero's.  My kids teachers and Sunday school teachers....that more often than not goes unspoken which is a shame.  I'll never forget the warmth in my heart and the tears that welled up in my eyes when Olivia came home from School last year, it was getting close to Christmas break, and she told me that her teacher told her class the Christmas story and why we celebrate Christmas.  To some, that may not be much but to a parent that is trying to raise their kids up with the same beliefs and morals they have, that is EVERYTHING!!!  I think a child's faith begins at home but it's nice to have reinforcements in the way of Sunday School teachers and School teachers and even more refreshing when teachers are not afraid to speak of their convictions and faith, knowing they may face consequences if the wrong parent gets wind of it and gets offended.  It brought tears to my eye's to know that some of our teachers are not just teachers, but in my eyes, missionaries as well!

My husband is one of my hero's!  He came into my life at a critical time.  I was just beginning to deal with the grief of losing my father and I was making some not so great decisions.  I was looking for love in all the wrong places and for someone to fill that huge void in my heart.  No I wasn't looking for a daddy replacement but I think I was just thinking that if I could experience marriage and love that maybe that love would dim out the part that was now missing and an open wound.  God knew what I needed and though the circumstances are quite comical at best, a new hero was brought into my life!  He is the love of my life!  It's great to experience what God intended when He said "The two shall become one" and I'm not just talking on a bedroom level, I mean in ALL aspects of marriage.  It's beautiful when the love and trust and communication is all on the same level and functioning as one unit.  I'm also thankful I never became "unequally yoked". I see so many of my friends and family struggling with marriage and it's so hard to just sit back and watch and sometimes, though I feel immensely blessed, I also feel a bit guilty that I found (or rather God brought to me) what He designed for us all to have.  I feel guilty that I don't know what they are going through because I've never experienced a relationship that is about to or feels like it's failing.  Don't get me wrong, I'm ever grateful I HAVEN'T gone through that but I'm one who always tries to put myself in someone elses shoes to get a glimpse of what they are going through and those are shoes I can't put on.  I won't put on .  So it leaves me feeling a bit helpless in how to be a good listener when someone comes to me with these issues.  I've learned that most times, a good listener is all they need.  They aren't looking for direction and council when they seek out a friend, but rather a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear.  That I can do and that I can be!  I love you Jeremy Lee Bullard and I'm so ever thankful that God brought us together!!

My children have become my hero's.  I don't know what I would do without them.  They keep me in check and they show me a new side of love that I never could understand until I had kids of my own.  Teenagers, college students, if you are reading this, think about how you treat your parents because whether you know it or not, you are most likely their hero's too!  I would be here ALL day if I went through each of my kids characteristics and what makes them my hero but just the fact that they are mine, given to me by God when by Dr.'s standards, I wasn't supposed to be able to have kids, makes them my hero!  And of course, that makes God my biggest hero!!

Take a minute to think about who YOUR hero's are and the ones that are still here, let them know!  You just might make their day!  :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lord I accept these tears!

So lately, I've become a blubbering mess.  The best way to describe it is that my spirit has become very sensitive to what is going on around me.  Maybe it's my way of interceding for those around me, I'm not sure but I really do cry at the drop of a hat.  For example.  I'm sure you all saw on the news or Rickey Stokes, the 4 car fender bender on the circle the other day.  We were driving by it just after it happened.  There weren't any police or emergency vehicles there yet but plenty of people had stopped to help.  Well, the lady in the very back, bless her heart, it just looked like this was the icing on her cake to a bad day and it was only about 10 or 10:30 AM.  She was sitting in the middle of the road ( the lane that was closed to traffic) on her knee's, rocking back and forth and bawling.  It truly was heart breaking.  I started crying with her and for her.  She doesn't know that and may never know that but I just couldn't help it.  Tears just began to fall.  Here's another example.  My dog has been going through heart worm treatments.  Turns out she was given to us infested with about every worm known to dog.  We noticed the others early on but since she was given to us with heart guard, the thought of her having heart worms never crossed my mind.  Well it was time to get her vaccinations up to date so we took her to our first non emergency vet visit (she had been  before but it was trip to the doggy ER) and they discovered she had heart worms.  We chose to do the effective treatments which unfortunately are very expensive.  When we take her for her second treatment, a different vet is there.  The first time, she was sent home with pain meds.  The second time, she was not and she seemed to be in pain all night long.  Wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink.  Just had a little grunt to her breathing as someone would who were in physical pain.  She had to go back the next morning for treatment 3 so when I mentioned it to her "regular" vet that had not been there the day before, he tells me she was hurting...she should have been given pain meds to get her through the night.  I start crying.

And don't get me started on Praise and Worship at church.  You would think that I would know by now that I need to bring tissue with me because for the past month or 2, I can't make it through any one song with out bawling like a baby.  This is not normal for me.  I'm not saying I've been cold hearted but I got good at hiding my emotions after losing my daddy and in all honesty, sometimes I just was not listening to the words I was singing.  I've started listening...and really understanding what they are saying.  I think I'm now making up for lost time.  I felt I had to be strong for my mom and for everyone else around me when daddy died so I shoved my pain to the back and ignored it for years.  Then I dealt with it.  Then I was better.  Until now, I cry at everything.  A sad movie, a baby being born (after all they are ALL miracles!!) a lady having a bad day and losing it over a fender bender. A homeless person pushing a shopping cart with all their belongings in it down the street.  A beautiful rainbow in the sky.  A heart felt praise and worship song.  Another thing about me that some may not know.  I used to write poetry.  ALL the time.  Words just came to me and I'd have to stop what I was doing and write.  That's another thing that I seemed to have lost after losing my dad.  I wrote a poem for him that I read at his funeral and I don't think I've written but 1 or 2 since and they seemed forced to me.  Well tonight, I was thinking about my newly acquired gift of crying and a poem came to me and I ran and grabbed a pen and some paper and here is what flowed from my heart.  And yes, tears flowed as well.

"Lord I accept these tears!"

When others are hurting and facing their fears,
     Lord I accept these falling tears.
When my brothers and sisters are needing a hand,
     I accept these tears and I'll do what I can.

When babies are hurt and dying or ill,
   I accept these tears.  They know Your will!
When I have no words and I'm not sure how to pray,
     I accept these tears, they know just what to say.

Revival is coming to these dying lands!
     These tears tell me so, as well as the praise in these hands!
When your creation is wounded and broken apart,
     Lord I accept these tears.  They know your heart!

You are speaking to me.  What you are saying I'm not quite sure.
     But these tears in my eyes are washing away the blur.
I'm seeing as you do.  The pain and the fear
     and for that I am thankful for each falling tear.

I tried to stop them and to keep them away,
     but these tears are speaking and calling me to pray.
These tears aren't just pain.  They bring joy too!
     When I see others helping others, in them, I see You!

Lord I am yours!  I thank you for this calling!
     And I gladly accept these tears that are falling!

~Mary Bullard 05/08/11

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Do you REALLY understand??

My A HA! moment of the week.  This morning was one of the most emotional, anointed, appointed, spiritual, touching services I've been to in a long time.  The spirit of God was very much present.  It always is but today was more special for me.  Through a series of skits, songs, prayers, the Lords Supper, and scripture reading, God spoke to me.
     Growing up, I LOVED praise and worship!  I had most all of the hymn's memorized.  But now, as an adult who seeks to know more of God and to grow in my faith, I realize I never really LISTENED to what I was singing.  I was going through the motions.  Sure I loved the Lord with all my heart.  I would tell others of the wonderful things he did for me but I never stopped to FULLY comprehend just what it was He DID do for me....and YOU!!  You should also watch this skit.  That skit wasn't the main thing that brought to mind just how much of a sacrifice my Savior did for me but it did help drive the point home. 
     It all started with a skit some of our Church members performed.  It was a skit showing that no matter what we do, no matter what we go through, even when we feel alone, Christ is there for us!   His grace is there for us.  All we need to do is accept it!  And then through a series of praise and worship song that I REALLY listened to and brought me to tears, and to listening to Holy Spirit speak to me, an analogy popped into my head.  As a child and through my teenage years, my daddy (my earthly daddy) was my everything.  I loved him like I loved no other.  So when he first became ill, I couldn't comprehend why MY daddy had to go through that.  When his second bout of cancer finally lead to his death, I hurt like you wouldn't believe.  It was without a doubt the worst pain I've ever gone through in my life.  My dad didn't choose to go that way.  I sure didn't choose to see him suffer in agony like that and if his parents had been presented with that choice, they sure wouldn't have chosen that path for him either but sometimes, life happens.  And in life, there is death.  We aren't promised tomorrow but we ARE promised eternity.  A bright future! 
     As a parent, I can't even IMAGINE choosing for my child to be a sacrifice so that others may live.  The mommy in me just can't bare that thought. But God did!!  As a human being, I can't imagine allowing myself...choosing to follow that path of being nailed to a cross for all humanity!  A humanity that may or may not choose to believe in me and to accept my sacrifice.  But Jesus did!!! 
     Do you understand???  Do you get just how much of a sacrifice was made?  Do you get how great a gift we've been given if we only choose to accept it??  A loving God cared for His creation so much that though they more often than not, chose to live in sin, was willing to send His ONLY son to be the ultimate sacrifice so that we may find redemption!  He dealt us the Grace card!  He gave us a get out of hell free card!!!  WHY would you not choose such an amazing gift of love??
     I understand that there are those who have a hard time believing that anyone would make such an ultimate sacrifice and for that reason, their doubt leads them to not believe.  Some even hate Christianity for believing in such a Hopeful ending.  One where no matter how much suffering we go through, will ultimately lead to a life of hope and joy for all eternity but I have but one thing to say about that.  If I'm wrong, (which I know I'm not!  I've seen way too many miracles and felt God's presence more times than I could ever even try to count) what do I have to lose???  If YOU are wrong, you've missed out on an eternity with a loving creator who chooses to give His children an eternity free from pain....and sorrow....and death.....and heart break!!!  Think about all the pain and suffering and heartbreak you may have experienced already in your life time!  Wouldn't it be nice to know that once our time is up or once God calls us home that from that point on and for all eternity we will never have to go through that again???  THAT is what my God did for me...and YOU and for all the world! 
     John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not parish but have everlasting life!"
     John 3:17  "For God came into the world not to condemn the world but that the world, through HIM, might be saved!"

Romans 10:9

" If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

My prayer is that all those I've ever come in contact with be given the opportunity to hear of God's love and his sacrifice and come to know a God of grace and ask Him to be their Lord and Savior!

And please don't take this as a "holier than thou" blog.  It is not meant that way.  I've made my fair share of mistakes and will continue doing so I'm sure.  I'm only human!  We all sin.  None of us are perfect and I know I fall short sometimes.  Probably at times I may not even realize it.  But I'm a human that has been saved by grace and that alone gives me hope of a brighter tomorrow.   I do ask your forgiveness if I've ever not been an example that I know I should be.  I ask for your grace to realize that though I strive to do good, live right, and be a light to others, that I do have my weak moments.  I do fall short...I do lose patience and please forgive me for that as well.  And please know that if ANY of you ever want to know about my faith and my love for Christ, that I'm more than willing to talk to any one of you about it.  I've not always been able to say that.  I've been timid...self conscious, intimidated but that is no more.  I can not let my lack of confidence keep me from doing what we as believer are called to do. 

Mark 16:15

   15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

God bless!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

do you practice what you preach???

A little situation over on FB has had me thinking a lot lately and quite frankly has opened my eyes to why so many people are hurt by "Christians."  I put quotes around it because I think one should really think about what it means to be a Christian before showing the world what you "think" it means to be a Christian is.

If you knew someone who was not a Christian and publicly blasphemed the name of Jesus, what would your reaction be??  Maybe even not on facebook.  Maybe this happened in real life?  The world is watching how you react to certain situations and I would venture to say that some may even be purposely testing you.  Well this did happen with a group of my facebook friends. I'm sure we all have circles of friends and acquaintances that don't believe or view things the way we do but our reaction to these circumstances will weed out the Christ like attitudes from the not so Christ like attitudes.  One said friend was/is obviously not a believer. And  many derogatory things were said about my savior!  Things not worth repeating.  Some chose to "unfriend" him because of this but that action from the believers also bothered me.  If you read God's word and pay special attention to the parables, most of Christ's ministering were to doubters, scoffers, blasphemers, and yes, even the "religious" folk.  Religious being the key term here.  It's one thing to claim to be a Christian and live it.  That is what I call a relationship but to turn your back on anyone and anything that doesn't fit into your box, that's what I see as a religious spirit.  If Jesus would have done that, His ministry would not have been the success that it was.  He would only be talking to those who didn't offend them.  The Bible tells us to pray for those that despitefully use us.  Luke 6:28 "Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."

It is possible to be in this world but not of it while ministering to those of it.   Ephesians 4 :26 "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:"  It's okay to be angry at something you find offensive but your reaction to that and your response to it is going to determine what kind of witness you bare.  Jesus was spat upon but still prayed for those that persecuted Him.  By turning away instead of turning the other cheek, you destroy your witness.  Maybe next time you are offended by someone, place them at  the top of your prayer list instead of turning away from them all together.
Food for thought!
God bless!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

If you've ever been slapped in the face with grief or disappointment, this is for you!

So, a few months ago, a good friend recommended a book club to me.  I'm sad to say that she moved away before I was able to make my first meeting.  However, I've been to 2 meetings so far and read 3 of the books.  I'm truly loving this time.  One, it encourages me to get back into reading which is something I thought I'd never have time to do again because I always seemed to have a needy baby.  LOL  Though my babies seem to be growing up all too quickly, I'm noticing their independence has give me a little bit of my independence back as well and it is an amazing feeling. and 2, though  I don't know any of the ladies in book club that well yet, I hope to get to know them better over time and develop friendships.  ANYWAY, I said all that to say, this months book is a MUST read to ANYONE who has ever been slapped so hard in the face with grief, or disappointment, depression or an awful marriage, abusive relationships or has just ever felt alone at any point in your life.  I think it's safe to say we've all been there at some point.

Now let me just tell you this....I haven't even completely finished chapter one and it spoke so loudly to me that I couldn't go to bed without begging you all to read this book.  If you've ever caught yourself wondering if God really does exist and if He does, how can such awful things happen to you or to those you love or to any good person in general, you will want to read this book.  As I read, I find myself saying, "I've said that before...I've thought that....WOW!!!  That's profound!"  I've never had a book captivate me so much within the first few pages.  Not only has the book captured my attention because I've been where the writer is in my own life but she is an AMAZING writer and has ways of making you want to just keep reading.  I would venture to say that if we didn't have a cable installation man coming to our home in the morning, I would probably stay up all night reading this book.  It is called, "one thousand gift" and it's by Ann Voskamp.   Yes it is in the religious section of your book store.  If you don't consider yourself a religious person or a Christian or Spiritual at all, I still plead with you, if you enjoy reading, pick up this book.  I'll even venture to bet you that in some way, it will impact your life!

I think one reason this book spoke to me so much was the feeling the author expressed when she was sharing her moments of grief and questioning God's existence.  Though I don't want to ruin the book for you should you choose to accept this challenge, I do want to share a snippet of a part that really got my attention.  It was when the author was going to comfort her sister in law and brother in law after the loss of their second child.  Their boys didn't live past 5 months do to genetic defects.  They buried 2 sons within a year and a half of each other.  The author lost her sister at a young age and the impact of that loss and seeing her parents grief and turning away from God had her questioning if God really did exist.  When she was in the hospital room she says to her brother in law who's second son is fading rapidly, (and I will continue with the portion I want to share as well as her quote.  It all runs in together and it's the brother in law's response to her words that truly opened up my eyes and made me see things differently...or should I say, more clearly.)  "If it were up to me..." and the the words pound, desperate and hard, "I'd write this story differently."
     I regret the words as soon as they leave me.  They seem so un-Christian, so unaccepting--so No, God!  I wish I could take them back, comb out their tangled madness, dress them in their calm Sunday best.  But there they are, released and naked, raw and real, stripped of any theological cliche', my exposed, serrated howl to the throne room.
     "you know..."  John's voice breaks into my memory and his gaze lingers, then turns again toward the waving wheat field.  "Well, even with our boys...I don't know why that all happened."  He shrugs again.  "But do I have to?"...Who knows?  I don't mention it often, but sometimes I think of that story in the Old Testament.  Can't remember what book, but you know--when God gave King Hezekiah fifteen more years of life?  Because he prayed for it?  But if Hezekiah had died when God first intended, Manasseh would never have been born.  And what does the Bible say about Manasseh?  Something to the effect that Manasseh had led the Israelites to do even more evil than all the heathen nations around Israel.  Think of all the evil that would have been avoided if Hezekiah had died earlier, before Manasseh was born.  I am not saying anything, either way, about anything."
     He's watching that sea of green rolling in winds.  Then it comes slow, in a low, quiet voice that I have to strain to hear.  
     "Just that maybe...maybe you don't want to change the story, because you don't know what a different ending holds."

WOW!!!  That really made me stop and think.  And I know the part that I just shared does have a lot about the Bible and God in it but that's OK....I hope it doesn't turn anyone away. After all this is about they Authors quest to discover for herself what she believes and how she feels about God.  I have to say that the brother in laws response is not a response I would have given during my grief of losing my father.  I was like the author.  I wanted to know why?!  If you ever watch movies about time travel, you probably know the one resounding rule that is explained in all time travel movies.  DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING!!!  because if you change what has already happened or what is meant to happen, you change the entire ending to the story and we don't know that the changed ending would be any better than the current ending.  This man wasn't saying that his boys would have been evil.  He wasn't even saying that his boys offspring would have.  He was simply stating that this ending, as awful as it appears now is for a reason and it's not always for us to know and that it certainly COULD be for the better.  That is some amazing strength!!  I'll not share anymore of the book with you at the moment.  But I do plead with you to pick it up for yourself!  It is truly magnificent!!!
Until I blog again~

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This is where I stand....where do you stand??

Something's been burning on my heart lately and I just thought blogging about it would be the best way to get what I'm feeling across to all those that are my friends and family.  Whether it be that we were in grade school together or met in college, or Church, or met through friends.  I've never been one who has been able to easily share my faith.  As in leading someone to Christ.  It's happened 3 times in my life.  One of which was my oldest daughter and it was the most AMAZING feeling in the world.  August 18th, 2010 will forever be engraved on my heart.  I can't tell you the day I was saved because I was only 5 and I did so privately by my bedside.  It was a private, intimate moment with my and my Savior.

As a child, I always had a very tender spirit.  I longed to hear more about Jesus and what He did for us.  My heart would break when I would watch reenactments of His crucifixion.  It amazed me that He would love ME so much that He would choose to die for me.  Not for the sins I had committed as I wasn't even born yet.  But for the sins that I would one day commit.  I mean, that is some kind of love!!!  I was raised in a Christian home and my mom always had Christian broadcasting or Christian music playing. ( Thank you mom!!)  And at 5 years old, if you gave me a choice to watch Sesame Street or a preacher on television, I would choose to watch the preacher (depending on who it was but I'll not comment on that one.  LOL...I'll just say some seemed harsher than others and a tender spirit doesn't respond well to harshness).  It was late one night. I was already in my pajamas.  Mom was doing dishes.  Dad was probably reading the paper and I imagine my brother was in his room and most likely my sister was either helping my mom with dishes or baby sitting.  I was sitting down listening to a preacher (yes I remember well who it was but it makes no difference.  I know many people who do not agree with this man but I can tell you that night, he was talking about the plan of salvation).  When he was leading those in the audience and watching by television in the sinners prayer, I snuck off to my bedroom, knelt beside my bed, and asked Jesus to come into my heart.  It was the best decision I've ever made.
     I'm not sure why I chose to do so privately.  I think it's just because that is my personality.  I felt it was between me and God and that it was MY decision to make so I did.  I also thank my WONDERFUL Sunday School teachers for the role they played.  My most memorable ones (when I was very young) would be Saundra Winn and Jerry Roberson Sr.  Saundra had such a loving spirit about her.  I don't think there was anyone she didn't love and little kids sense that.  I just wanted to soak up all the Bible stories she told us.  There are so many that played a role in my walk with Christ that if I took the time to name them all, this whole blog could become a novel.
     My whole point is, that as we grow up, there are times we stray from what we are taught.  We don't realize how detrimental that can be to others and their decision or lack of decision to accept Christ.  We are to be a living example and there are times my example was not the best.  There were times my little light wasn't shining so brightly and for that, I am sorry.  It is because of that, that I can not let another night pass me by without letting everyone know that my faith and my trust and my hope lies solely in Christ.  In Christ alone!!  I am not a perfect example.  I need to dig into my word more.  I need to be a better leader to my babies but I pray that from this day forward, whatever I say, and whatever I do brings glory only to Christ!
     Is being a Christian a bed of roses?  Absolutely not.  Is it a huge weight lifted off my shoulders?  Without a doubt YES!!!  My faith has been tried more than once and I pray that if I ever have to face the trial that Job and others in the Bible had to face that when I come out the other side, my light is burning brighter than ever and my hands are raised in praise and my fingers are pointing others to the cross because with HIM, I would not be here today.  There are 2 trials in my life that I can think of off the top of my head that truly tried my faith.  The first being the loss of my father.  The actual loss of him wasn't as trying as when we first received the news that he had cancer and would have to under go surgery.  At that point, I still had hope and faith but when the results came back after the surgery, that's when I faced the fire.  As a sophomore in high school, I was told I would lose the person I loved most in this world.  Don't get me wrong, I love my mother with all my heart but there is something about a bond between a daddy and his little girl.  I was a big time daddies girl.  I went to work with him, I went to mechanics shop when he was getting a car tuned up or worked on, I went with him to run errands, it didn't matter where he was going, if I could, I went with him so to hear that this man that meant the world to me wouldn't be around to see me graduate, to walk me down the isle at my wedding, or to meet the grand babies I would once give him....that he wouldn't be there to hold me and wipe my tears when I got my heart broken or was in my first car shattered my heart into a million pieces.  I became angry.  I was a very angry and bitter teenager for a while. I even tried pulling myself away from him but anyone knows when your world is built around someone so much, you can't ever pull completely away.  So, instead of focusing my anger at my dad, or my mom, or the Dr. or even cancer for that matter, I focused it at God.  I cried, I begged, I pleaded and then I let Him (God) have it.  How could you God?  WHY MY DAD???  Why such a great man of God when there are murderers and rapists and child molesters out there??  How could you pull MY rock out from beneath ME??  If you truly loved me and my dad, you wouldn't let this happen??  Why not ME instead??  I can't bare to see him suffer.  I can't watch my dad die. 
     If you notice in all of those last phrases in my screaming match at God, the words Me or I was in every one of them.  I didn't notice at the time.  How could I?  I was angry.  I felt alone, abandoned.....broken.  This went on for several days.  I stopped wanting to go to Church but if you knew my parents, you knew they made sure we were always at church....(again, Thanks mom!)  So even when my mom was sitting by my dads side at the hospital, she made sure I was in Church.  Most likely if I could see myself sitting on the pew, I probably had my arms crossed over my chest and a grimace on my face because after all, I was being a teenager.  I was giving God the silent treatment.  You know what is funny about that???  Just like parents keep talking when you tune them out...just like they follow you around trying to correct you when you are huffing and puffing and walking away, God does that with His children.  I really don't know how much time lapsed but I remember I was driving home from my boyfriends house and felt God telling me to go to Church that night (it was a Sunday night) and go to the front and have the deacons and elders lay hands on me as I stood in for my dad.  I did the normal teenager thing.  "You want ME to do WHAT for  you?? Are YOU serious?? I don't really think I can do that.  After all you ARE God.  You can heal my dad with or without me."  It was at that moment I realized how much of a spoiled brat and a selfish little teenager I was being.  This wasn't about me.  It wasn't about me at all.  It was about my OBEDIENCE!  It was about my reaction to what was thrown at me.  In that moment, I broke down bawling and squaling humbly before my creator."  I'm not sure how I didn't have a wreck on my way home.  My mom was still at the hospital with my dad and I was the only child left living at home so I was able to go home without having to explain to everyone why I looked like such a mess and why I was crying so hysterically.  I went in, composed myself, got myself ready for Church and that night, I did what God asked me to do.  At the end of the service, during the alter call, I went up and had my pastor and the deacons and elders of the Church lay hands on me and anoint me with oil.  I felt that anger and bitterness fall off of me.  The peace of God fell upon me like nothing I had ever felt before. I had come to terms that whatever happened to my father, it was in Gods hands and He had a purpose for it.  Well, that cancer that was supposed to take my father in a matter of months, it didn't.  In fact, all his tests kept coming back clean. No sign of cancer in his body.  Was it because I obeyed God?  Maybe, maybe not.  I truly believe that was one of my life's tests.  When the day was over and it was all said and done, where would my faith lye?  I honestly believe my dad was given an extension on life for my sake.  I feel it was for the sake of a few others as well but I know it was also for my sake.  For me to realize not everything is about me and that even in sickness, God's light can shine bright.  My daddy got to see me graduate and I was one happy graduate that night!  :)
     When I was 21, my daddy was once again diagnosed with cancer and this time, it was so bad, there was nothing the could do but try and keep him as comfortable as possible and let me tell you, there were times, that being comfortable was impossible.  This time though, I never waivered.  I never doubted that God was in control and whatever was meant to be is what would happen.  I and many of the rest of the family knew it was his time to go before dad did.  He faught the good fight and he finished his race and he touched so many lives during his time as a Christian.  We was a great example and the best husband and father of any man I've seen.  He was far from perfect but in a daughters eyes, she doesn't look for perfection she looks for humility.  He wasn't ashamed to be seen crying. He wasn't afraid to ask forgiveness when he felt he had wronged someone and he took lifes trials  and made them life lessons and for that, I'm so grateful, lucky, and blessed!  Even in his passing, lives were touched.
     Another one of my life's, tonight is a cleansing night and a healing night for me.  It's a good thing tears don't fall on computer screens and smudge the "ink" or you wouldn't be able to read this.  Especially my next trial because you see, one of the most important things to me ever in my life other than God and my parents was to become a mommy.  If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wanted to be a mommy.  I wanted 4 or 5 kids.  Shoot, in my head, as a young girl, I'd have those 4 or 5 kids and was the most patient mommy (Obviously a day dream! haha) had a spotless house (another day dream lol) and had a yard full of cats, dogs, horses and who knows what else.  Looking at that dream now, as an adult, I laugh.  That would have been a true life fulfillment of the movie "Funny Farm".  ANYWAY, my point is, my aspiration was to be a stay home mommy and a good one at that.  When I met my husband and things began to get serious and we felt like this is it, we've found our soul mates (which happened rather quickly I might add...Met in May, engaged in July, and married in October of the same year).  I'm sure there were rumors flying around that I was pregnant (which I was not !  LOL)  Anyway, as things became serious and we began talking about making a life together, Jeremy told me that he was told he would most likely never have kids.  At that time, I didn't know it but I had a disease working against me as well that typically affects the fertility of women.  I hadn't been diagnosed at that time as it was very rarely diagnosed until more recent years.  When he told me this, I maybe kind of laughed it off and thought well, if it doesn't happen, we can always adopt.  Prior to meeting Jeremy, I would often pray that God would prepare my husband for me and I would have visions/dreams of who I was going to marry.  I even told some people that his name would start with a J and that I "thought" in the dream it was Jeremy.  I also felt God telling me I would be a mother.  So shortly after we were married and the topic of kids came up again, Jeremy says, "well you know, the dr. told me I would probably not ever have kids." Keep in mind, he was married once before for 5 years and most of that entire time, they tried for children and were not successful, thus the trip to the dr. and the dr.'s findings.  My response was always, "well you know GOD told ME we would have kids!"  For most women in my family, fertility didn't seem to be an issue so I really thought this would not be a difficult task for us at all.  Especially with God on my side but as we were approaching the 2 year mark of trying for our first child, I began to get discouraged.  Several times in that 2 years I had false alarms.  And several times I had given up.  In fact, just prior to finding out we were pregnant with our first, I had had some adoption papers mailed to me.  They were sitting on our computer desk.  I decided we would give it one more shot at conceiving on our own.  This may be a little to much info for some but I had even went to the store and bought an ovulation predictor kit.  This particular one had a free pregnancy test in it.  I decided what the heck!  I might as well take this test first before trying out the kit.  I've seen enough negatives another one isn't going to send me over the edge.  I hadn't not in the least thought or even anticipated that I might already be pregnant.  No signs, no symptoms, nothing to make me think it was even possible.  In my mind, I was to the point of almost numbness about the whole thing. I'd seen probably 30 negative tests in the past almost 2 years that to me, it was just another test.  Well much to my shock, amazement, and SURPRISE!  It was positive.  I had SO not expected that that I was shaking so badly I thought I was going to faint.  I went RUNNING into our bedroom where Jeremy was sleeping  (he was working nights and had to work that night so he was sleeping during the day), I pounced on the bed and with a quivering voice (because I was still shaking so badly) I told him, "you're going to be a daddy"  He jumps up, but still doesn't believe it.  Looks at the test and makes me go buy more.  I buy a box with 2 in it.  Both positive, he makes me take 2 more AND go have it confirmed at the dr.  haha!  So hope is once again restored.
     We had only been living in Alabama a little over a year at this time so we weren't established at all.  I was working as a waitress at pizza hut to help bring in some money until I could get a better job or until we could get moved to Dothan.  A few weeks after finding out I was pregnant I noticed some things that were not normal.  Cramping and bleeding (again, sorry for the TMI).  I think to myself, oh no...this can't be happening.  Then the situation with my dad comes to mind and I start praying.  I call my mom and have her pray.  I have Jeremy take me to the ER.  We drive an hour to the ER because 1) the local hospital was not equipped for maternity anything.  They don't even deliver babies there.  and 2) I had been told that unless you want to die, do NOT go to the Eufaula hospital.  HAHA!  So needless to say, we drive an hour to Dothans ER.  They do an US but I'm not quite far enough along to tell anything.  They can tell I'm still pregnant but can't at that time detect a heartbeat and the fetus is measuring a little behind where it should have been.  The ER dr. orders bed rests and prepares me to expect the worst.  He wrote on my discharge papers and instructions that I was to be on bed rest do to threatened miscarriage.  A newly pregnant woman, expecting her first child is filled with fear upon reading those words.  I stay on my bed rest the required amount of time and things seem to be going smoothly once again.  Including AWFUL morning, noon, and night sickness.  Everything I ate came back up.  The rest of the pregnancy goes along smoothly until....DELIVERY DAY!!
     April 25th, we go to Jeremy's moms for dinner.  I start not feeling very well while we are there.  I had been having braxton hicks and early labor for months at that point so I dismissed it.  As we go to leave, I had stomach cramps so badly I had to stop and wait for  them to subside.  I told Jeremy that night, "we'll be in the hospital tonight or tomorrow having a baby."  He didn't really believe me at the time but on the ride home, my contractions became harder and time-able.  He asks if I want to go to the hospital and I remembered from birthing classes that you should wait until they've been 2 minutes apart for at least 2 hours because 1st time labors are typically fairly long.  I said no, go home and get some rest because I'll need you when it is time to go.  He sleeps most of the night while I labor.  Finally at 4 the next morning, I wake him up and tell him it's time.  Contractions had been 2 minutes apart for over 3 hours.  We go to the ER ( labor and delivery floor doesn't open until 6 for admittance so you have to go through the ER)  They take me up for observation and I'm definitely having strong contractions but after 2 or so more hours, I'm still only at 2 cm dilated so they send me home.  Long story short, I end up back there a couple hours later.  Labor was LONG!!! from the time I started labor on the home the night before until they decided an emergency c-section was my only option, I had been laboring right at 24 hours.  17 of which was without any pain meds.  I had to have an emergency c section because once I fully dilated, the midwives hadn't thought to check the position of the baby and they had me trying to push a transverse baby out. (she was laying side to side instead of up and down and her shoulder was presenting first)  Her heart rate was over 300 which by that point, it was miracle she made it through and my blood pressure had dropped to 62/40 something and was still going down.  The midwife FINALLY calls a Dr. in after I asked her if my baby would be ok with a heart rate that high.  He takes her out in the hall with a stern order to get out there and we never see her again.  They run me back to the OR and as soon as they start cutting, I start feeling it on my right side. Sharp intense pain.  I can feel them cutting.  I tell them this and the next thing I know, anesthesiologists (plural) were inserting meds into my IV simultaneously.  I have no clue what it was but it worked.  I started feeling groggy like I as going to pass out.  I get to see my daughter born.  She's healthy (thank God!) her first apgar score was little low because of color...after all she'd been through a traumatic experience) and then the last thing I remember was my mother in law coming into the OR (she's a nurse at that hospital) to check and see how things are going and she has this weird look on her face and then I black out.  She later tells me that I had a bleeder that was shooting blood up to the ceiling.  She didn't tell me this until we were home so I never got the full story from the attending dr. but needless to say, it was a traumatic experience.
     By the time we start trying for baby #2, I have an OB I see regularly and have been diagnosed with PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome)  It's a hormone disorder and typically results in all sort of ovarian cysts, weight gain, and infertility.  Because of my experience in how long it took to get pregnant the first time, after 6 months of trying on our own with no success, my dr. puts me on fertility drugs.  They work almost immediately and withing about 6 weeks, I have a positive pregnancy test.  Again, we are elated and call every body and tell them.  Again, withing a few weeks, I start having complications.  This time there is evidence of what appeared to be a miscarriage.  I go in, see my dr. and to my excitement, my HCG numbers reflect I'm still having a normal pregnancy.  I'm told to go home, take it easy and if anything else happens to come back in.  I start experience cramps that remind me an awful lot of the night I went into labor with Olivia.  I start to worry and again, there is physical evidence of a possible miscarriage.  I call the dr., they tell me to come in.   I should be right about 8 weeks along.  The dr does blood work and sends me back for another sonogram after having prepared me for the worst but says at 8 weeks, if everything is normal, we should be able to see and hear a heartbeat by US as well as see the baby.  We go back for the ultra sound and the technician gets started and the poor girl, you could tell something was worrying her but didn't know what.  She does an external ultra sound first and then an internal ultra sound.  For over 30 minutes that girl tried to find a heartbeat and a baby and some sort of good news but all she could see was an empty gestational sac.  A perfect circle but it was also perfectly empty.  I start sobbing.  What did I do wrong, could I have done anything differently to prevent this.  My dr. calls us back to his office.  He gives us the diagnosis of a blighted ovum.  Basically the gestational sac forms that protects and nourishes the baby but for whatever reason, a baby never develops.  He'll go over my blood work, I'm to come back the next day to discuss the results and set up a D N C. (procedure to clean out anything remaining of the undeveloped pregnancy).  I leave hopeless and distraught.  A crying, grieving mess that didn't want to talk to anyone or have to answer anymore, "well, what the dr. say?" questions.  We had left Olivia at our Churches daycare and I sent Jeremy in to get her because I didn't want to talk about it to anyone.  I get home, cry in my pillow for a while and call my mom.  I tell here exactly what happens and what the dr. said and I knew my sister and others would want to know what the dr. said so I told mom, "You can call whoever you want but I'm not talking calls tonight.  I do not want to have to explain this 200 times, it hurts to bad."  I cry most of the night and finally drift off to sleep.  I was in a little bit better state the next morning and able to pray about it and turn it over to God.  I still didn't want to talk about it but I called mom before the appointment and she let me know she had been praying all night.  We get to the dr.'s office and I don't know what it is but hope springs up inside of me and I put my hands on my belly and I start quoting these Bible verses, er 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."  I knew this baby had a great destiny if it was still within my womb and I started praying silently to myself.  The next thing I know, the nurse is in the waiting room asking me if I'd be willing to have another ultra sound because my HCG levels were still increasing at a normal rate.  I give a little nervous laugh and say of course.  We go back for the us and within SECONDS the very same US tech says, "ummm....wait a minute!  I think there is a heart beat" and sure enough, the most beautiful sound and the most beautiful heart rate shows up on the monitor.  AND THEN!  And then, my baby is there floating in my womb!  Measuring at a perfect gestation for where I should be in my pregnancy.  Again, another day of sobbing!  My dr. comes storming into the room with a shocked but happy grin on his face and offers to go blow up a picture of himself to a large size so I can throw darts at it.  I told him that wasn't necessary.  He was only doing his job and my God did His!  He heard my cries and He answered my prayers and the prayers of the biggest prayer warrior I know!  My mom!  The rest of the pregnancy goes without a hitch.  I did end up with another c-section from failure to progress. I labor to 9 centimeters and then I never dilate anymore.  So to avoid it becoming an emergency, they go ahead with a c-section.
     Baby number 3 and final baby, pregnancy couldn't have gone any better and I was able to have her naturally so you see!  I KNOW where my faith and trust and hope lies!  It took some trial and these were only the biggest of my trials.  There were others but these are the ones that made the most profound difference in my faith and my trust in the almighty God!  The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, my great physician, counselor, prince of peace the, I AM!!! 
     If you ever catch me forgetting what amazing and wonderful things God has done for me in my life, I ask you to call me out on it.  Hold me accountable.  We all go through discouraging times but it's those times we need to look at where we came from and with God's help what we've overcome and count our blessings and CHOOSE to be blessed and to be happy.  If you are on my friends list, YOU'VE impacted my life in some way whether it be a friend from elementary school, or Jr. high, or high school, or college or a former co-worker or MY FAMILY.... and I wouldn't not be able to sleep tonight...well, now it's this morning if i didn't know you knew what my God has brought me through and if He'll do it for me, I KNOW he'll do it for YOU!!!  God is no respecter of persons.  He doesn't care what you've done in the past...or in the last 5 minutes or in the last 5 seconds.  He doesn't care how many joints you've smoked, people you've hurt, or lies you told, or the amount of money or items you've stolen!  If you make the decision to ask Him into your heart and to be your Lord, your slate is wiped clean!  You get a do over!  His blood that was shed at Calvary was for you!! All you have to do is accept it!  If I've ever failed any of you in being the example I'm supposed to be, I am SOOO sorry!!! and I pray you will forgive me.  I promise to do better and I am here for everyone of you!!  <3

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Emptiness" A poem dealing with grief

I was going through some stuff today and came across a poem I wrote a little less than a month and a half after losing my father.  I was 21 at the time and I think this pretty well describes what it is like to feel and go through grief.


I wake up in the morning hoping to hear you
    snoring in your bed.
I peak into your room and I find
    emptiness instead.
I go about my day dreaming of returning
     to your smiling face
I hurry through the door but now
     emptiness fills your space.
I wander to the yard thinking you'll be there
     working with your wood.
But as I approach your table saw, emptiness
     is there where you once stood.
I try to run him off.  I try to
     make him go.
But emptiness is everywhere.  Oh how
     he hurts me so.
Right before I go to bed, I go to tell
     you I love you.
But emptiness is there.  It seems
     there's nothing I can do.
Dad, I miss you SO much!  I wish
     you could come home.
But I know you are in no more pain
     and on streets of gold you roam.
But dad, I ask one favor.  I plead to you
     with all my heart.
Could you ask Jesus to get rid of emptiness?
     He's tearing me apart.
I go through ever day.  The pain and hurt
     I hide.
But there is something people can't see.
     Emptiness is by my side.
He brings back all the memories.  The good
     ones and the bad.
All the fun times that we shared. And all
     the times that I was sad.
All the fun camping trips, and all the
     wonderful things you said.
But then he reminds me of all the months
     you lay suffering in the bed.
Of all the terrible pain you went through
     each and every day
And no matter what we did, nothing could
     take it away.
Dad, I wanted you here for all the
     the things that I went through.
To walk me down the isle.  And to see the
     grand kids I'll give to you.
Dad, you were the greatest man that I've
     ever met!
And I pray the example you set for me, for
     my kids I too can set.
So as you're looking down upon me from
     heaven up above,
Send a few angels to walk beside me and
     help me feel your love.
I say goodbye for now, but not forever
     we shall see each other again.
Then emptiness will be gone for good.
     I'll never be tormented again!

~Mary Thompson 12/01/1998

I still miss him more every day!!  Most days now, I've learned to tune emptiness  out.  That part DOES get better but the missing him never does.  I miss him more with every passing day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is phyiscal health tied to your Spiritual well being?

Here is a deep thought for you....a question that I myself have been pondering on lately.  Do you think that your physical health in well being plays a roll in your Spiritual health and well being?  After all, we have a picture painted out for us in the Bible of God and the Trinity.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We are created in the image of God.  Our 3 components if you will being body, mind, and spirit.  It seems to me that in order for our whole to function as a united front, we need to take care of three aspects of our being.  The one BIG difference being that we are flesh.  We are not God.  We do make mistakes and sometimes we don't realize the affect a physical mistake may make on our spiritual well being.

What brought me to this revelation or thought process you ask? If you've followed any of my previous posts, you know I've suffered a long time from a disease called PCOS.  This disease makes it difficult if not impossible to lose weight.  You've read that I've tried every diet known to man and have recently started a quest towards healthier and natural living.  (in short, I've become a Vegantarion.)  Yes I purposely misspelled that.  As far as eating goes, I would be considered vegan.  No meat, fish, dairy, eggs or anything made with any of the above.  HOWEVER, I don't not begrudge anyone who chooses to kill a cow because they like steak and burgers.  That would be the big identifying differences.  True vegans do not approve of animals/animal prodcuts being used for anything....which would include milk in lotion, leather for jackets, and boots an belts.  I truely believe as long as you are making good use of the animal, who am I to tell you what to do.  Not to mention, my favorite jacket of all is my black leather jacket hanging in my closet.  However, vegetarians do eat some dairy and eggs.  So, since I'm somewhere in the middle, I've labeled myself a vegantarian.  LOL

Anyway, since eating all healthy foods, I've noticed a subtle change in my priorities and my spiritual walk.  It's like the temple is cleaned out now and is looking to replace the junk with good stuff.  I do still need to work on time management.  That's always been a problem of mine but here lately, I've found myself wanting more of God.  I've been in a stagnant place for so long though that I'm having a hard time getting my engine running.  I'm having to do a tune up on myself.  Spending more "quality" time with the kids is becoming more important to me.  Reading Christ based books and listening to Christian music is becoming a bigger priority.  I just feel that as the junk is being weeded out, my spirit is thirsting for something bigger and better.  You know that feeling you get in your mouth when you are so thirsty and nothing can quench it.  You search and you search for just the right drink and just the right amount but you aren't satisfied until you've found that right thing and that right amount?  That is my spirit man at this moment.

I also found it funny that this longing for more and this increased thirst came at a time when I've purged my body from junk.  I can't tell you the last time that the physical Mary has felt this good.  I have my days like anyone does where I may have a tummy ache or a headache but it wasn't long ago that I NEVER felt good.  I was having one physical problem after another but as of late, that hasn't been the case.  My good days far out number my bad ones.  So, seeing as these two event coincided with each other that I started wondering if the health and well being of one part of your body, soul, and mind affected the health and well being of another part.   If I had to give an answer based on personal experience, I'd have to say without a doubt yes.  As I get healthier physically, my mind longs for more knowledge and my spirit longs for more God.  Anyway, that is something I just wanted to share with everyone.  I had yet another "aha" moment it seems and maybe my "aha" will bear witness with your spirit.  Until next time....God bless!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My quest for a healthier me.

     Well, after a recent visit to my Dr. where I was basically told that because of my PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) I would not be able to lose weight without a hysterectomy and a procedure performed on my ovaries that would "cure" my PCOS, I began a new quest.  A quest to a healthier me.  All my life I've battled my weight.  Sure in high school I looked fine but in high school, I lived, breathed, ate, drank, and slept basketball.  Every chance I got I was playing or practicing.  It was shorty after high school that I noticed I was slowly gaining weight.  The only change to my life style was that I had to work more than I could play.   Until college that is.  In college, I started dropping a couple of pounds.  Tried out for and made the basketball team.  I was only there a semester however, before life's circumstances brought me back home.  To work again....and again, the weight started coming back on.  By the time I was 24, I was size I didn't want to be at all.  I was also to get married that year

     2 1/2 years after we are married, I give birth to our BEAUTIFUL eldest daughter.  She was truly a miracle as my husband was told he would most likely never be a father.  It didn't take me long to get back to my pre pregnancy weight.  Something about an emergency c-section that didn't go so well tends to play a role in that as well.  2 years and 3 weeks later, I give birth to our son.  I noticed it wasn't quite as easy to lose that weight from him.  Prior to getting pregnant with him, I had some issues and was diagnosed with PCOS.  It CAN affect and usually does affect fertility.  Since it took almost 2 years to get pregnant with our first (we started trying for kids immediately), my Dr. did put me on fertility drugs after 6 months of trying for our 2nd child with no success.  The drugs worked immediately.  We were elated to find out we were having a little a boy.  He is truly a blessing in our life.

Almost 2 years after his birth, I give birth to our 3rd and final beautiful child.  She was born on her big sisters birthday.  Happy BIRTHDAY LIV!!...AND MADI!!!  This time I was able to conceive immediately but again, the lbs weren't so easy to drop.  In fact, they never came off.  I was now the largest and most embarrassed of myself that I had ever been.  Through the years, I'd tried diet after diet.  I hit the gym 7 days a week and NOTHING worked.  If you are familiar with PCOS you probably understand that same frustration. 

I finally got to a point to where I have had enough.  I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I voiced my concerns and fears to my Dr.  I had also been researching a diet I had heard great reports and success stories on but as you can imagine, was very leary to try and waste money on yet another diet that would not work on me.  My Dr. seemed to think it was just a fad diet and brought up the hysterectomy.  I'll be honest with you, at first, I was ready to do it.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that after each of my surgeries I had had, my body felt weaker,  I'm just not sure I could take another MAJOR surgery.  3 babies and 5 surgeries in 5 years does a lot to a woman's body.  I decided I'd give this diet a chance.  It's called the HCG diet and I won't get into details about it as this post would take me all night.  If you are interested, you can read about it at  Well, this diet was working.  So much so that from Jan when I weighed my most to my last weigh in while on the HCG drops, I had lost a total of 23 pounds.  Most of which was done in a 40 day time span.  Well part 2 of the diet comes up when you stop using the drops and start adding in foods and as I feared, I started gaining some weight back.  I was a bit discouraged.  During the first part of the diet while on the drops, you are EXTREMELY limited to what you can eat and drink.  This diet got me thinking about better eating habits.  Once I saw the weight coming back on, I decided to do my own experiment.  I cut out dairy, added sugars and most starches.  Then I cut out eggs...I'm basically down to fruits and veggies only.  My milk is Almond milk.  My butter is made from soy milk.  If I want a dish with a meaty texture, I add in veggie burger crumbles or tofurkey or some other vegetarian meat substitute.  I even found a soda that is all natural.  No sugar, no carbs, no calories....and it tastes yummy!  Well, would you believe, weight has once again started dropping off.  It's amazing!  I feel great! I'm not hungry and as crazy as I probably sound, thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. 

The majority of human heath related diseases has been increasing at an alarming rate.  Why wouldn't it?  Have you seen how some of the food we consume and feed our children is made?  Go to Youtube and watch the video of how McDonald's chicken nuggets are made.  I would venture to say, if it disgusts you like it did me, your kids will never take another bite of McDonald's chicken nuggets.  There is an old saying, "you are what you eat!"  Well, I've decided, I'm going to eat healthy because I want to BE healthy.  My kids deserve that.  I deserve that!  And to PCOS, I say, BE GONE!!!  I am well on my way to evicting you from my body!  :)  I've had my "Ah ha" moment!  It's not been an easy transition. How could it be when I've been eating junk all my life.  Even the stuff I thought was healthy was junk.  Yes I've become that crazy label reader you see in the grocery store making sure what I'm consuming does not have dairy or eggs or meat product in it...or added sugar or high fructose corn syrup.  But I'm PROUD to be that crazy woman!  Watch out world!  A new me is emerging!  :)
God bless!!!