Friday, December 28, 2012

On Christmas and The Flu

Unfortunately all my dreams of an entire day of playing with new toys and eating all the sugar my belly can take were short lived after a little encounter with the flu bug on Christmas. 18 hours of my day/night was spent sleeping, however I did press through to watch gifts being opened by nine littles and that was a sweet time, pile of kleenexes and all. I am going to miss this life in the country with eleven, going to miss it so very much.

After sleeping it off and fever breaking I woke up the next day just in time to spend some time with my best friend expecting twins in a couple of months! What a blessing that time was. They make me want to be pregnant. I'm telling ya what...I think this is the year of meeting my hubby. Maybe just maybe. 

Feeling those boys kick was the most incredible moment. I couldn't get enough. This mamma-to-be has walked through so much life with me and now two boys...blessed boys they are. Cannot wait to meet you Silas and Elijah. 

I think I was expecting this Christmas to be really emotional for some reason...knowing it is some of my last days in family life before moving out on my own...knowing it is just about a year since moving here and being so overwhlemed by all God has done....knowing my own dad is still in rehab--and still sober....knowing that God has so gracefully softened my heart twords my dad....knowing that the Lord is allowing me to feel uncomfortable in having no idea what this year will bring....knowing that Christ was born that He might die that I might live....knowing that one day the trumpets will sound and He will come once again.

And yes, while confined to the four walls of my room in silence thinking about all of this combined on Christmas evening I found myself heeped over my pillow snot pouring and tears flooding my face. And that was all short lived because my head felt like it might blow up from the crying--so I just had to be tough and pull it together.

I just had to trust when nothing in me felt like it. 
I just had to be still and know.

God's grace I think, abundant grace this Christmas.

Yes, this hat was in my stocking. And yes I got tears when I saw it. Proud to be a country girl. 

I adore this picture. I got him Duck Dynasty Season 1 and Mamma thought it was hilarious. 
They make me want to be married so badly. 

I made the girls these legit coupon fun date with me every month for the year. Midnight Waffle House runs, rolls of cookie dough, tennis lessons, Love Comes Softly Movie Marathons.
And they thought they could get rid of me...

Love these little sisters. 

                                      Had to post this one too...boys and their guns. #countrylife

                                                                  Twin bump beauty

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It is a Choice--And it's Not Over

I remember like it was yesterday as we stood in the dimly lit kitchen late into the night. I held myself up on the counter top because my whole body aged. He leaned against the sink and she stood across from me with eyes that exposed my sin. He has just come in from cleaning out my car. It had been building for a while by then, the lying and covering sin and the confession only to give in again.

We're done with the lying. Your words are empty and meaningless. If you choose to continue in your sin, even just one more time, you're out. 

I had battled it like this for years at this point and I remember believing I was free. God met me at Mercy Ministries three years back and from then on His grace held me. I wouldn't be alive if it weren't for what God did during my time at Mercy. Through the years from then to now, I was continually lured and enticed by the desires of my flesh--and I chose to let them rule me. A week without throwing up and a week consumed by it. And just six months ago I believed that throwing up once a week was freedom. Mostly because I was living life fuller and God's provision was evident. From the outside, no one knew. Because I wasn't consumed like before—its not like I was doing it twenty times a day, I rationalized.

This is not that big of a deal. I know you guys don't get it, but this is nothing compared to how it used to be. I really am okay. Great even.

So, thorn in my side I wrote off bulimia as something that I would just have to learn to manage. Yes, I was learning to manage my sin. And I really did think it was the victory promised.

Until this night where we stand together and yet very much separated as the consequence of my sin left me with a decision to make. Them or food. This mom and dad and siblings who love me or a number on a scale.

I don't think I need treatment. I can do this. I'll stop.

The truth is, I didn't want to give it up. Their counsel went against what any professional would say. Quitting anything cold turkey never brings lasting results? But I knew that God had worked a miracle to bring me to this house in the middle of no where Arkansas to restore me to Himself through the love and grace this mom and dad were giving me, and so in the quiet of my room I humbled myself before Him and told Him to fight because I didn't think it was possible. All I knew was that I wasn't ready to leave this family. Rules were put in place for my good and while it was hard, the discipline was in love and it was exactly what I needed.

When it was all over and all the hard words were swallowed down, a little bitter still stinging in my throat and a list unending of my failures and comparisons in my brain, they held me tight and that's when I realized just how much God loves me. That night it became real. Vision for a hope a future mattered more then food and the size of my pants.

Today as I look back six months or so, I am so grateful for God's grace in my life. The grace this mamma and daddy lavished on me. And more then anything, the way the holy spirit lived (and continues to live) inside of me. It is simply a miraculous work of God that He would equip me to walk in full freedom from an eating disorder. He really does fight for me because I couldn't do it.

I still can't do it. But today, His grace is sufficient.

This week I watched a mamma choose Jesus over her baby girl. I watched her hug her (not so) little girl goodbye, knowing that this might be the last time she saw her alive. We gave this little girl, my friend, my sister in Christ over to her sin because God does the same with us. Because we can't do this for her. Because she has to choose. I still don't fully understand how this is love, but I know God is and I know He calls us to be obedient to love her in this way. We love her so incredibly much it hurts. I helped her pack a bag and stood in the doorway as she went off into the dark night, unsure where she would sleep. We were going to move in together in a couple weeks. One choice and everything changes.

Whether it is what movie to watch or what to make for dinner--we all make choices and they lead one of two places. Life or death. God urges us to choose life, that we and our children may live.

I am learning to choose life. To speak life. And to believe that God does redeem lives--even the ones that I deem impossible or way too lost to ever 'get it.' Because that was me. Because apart from Christ in me, I am the bulimic, the drug addict, the liar, the murderer. But He gives me a new name--redeemed. It is a choice to believe it. It is a choice to live it. 

It's not over for T. It's not over for me. And it is not over for you. Let us choose in Christ.

But exhort one another every day as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. Heb. 3:13

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Seeing Fatherlessness From the Other Side

We lingered in the kitchen a bit longer then the rest. Just the three of us, me and these dads.

We had just stood up from praying, interceding on behalf of my friend who lost a baby and his brother in need of a job. We are the body, even here in this office. Even here in the middle of the business world, with all of it's bidding and deception and hunger and gain. I see the Bride getting ready—oh glorious day. And it's not all ugly, not like I thought.

He was filling up his coffee mug and he turned to us just a little more angled and his face took on a gaze, ever distant.

Pray for my kids please. I haven't seen them in two years. And I really miss them, but they don't want anything to do with me. 

The depth of his eyes shed tears untouched and pain that has yet to simmer away.

My heart does a little jump and I wonder about him now, the man behind the glasses. I didn't know the burden he bore. I didn't know about these kids of whom he spoke. I didn't know. I missed the pain and the anger and the regret. I lost sight of the bride inside the business.

I am still and listening and the other dad, he pipes in. Yeah, mine moved out a few months ago and I am just so frustrated with her. I want her to come back and yet I'm mad too. 

She moved out? I didn't even know until now, months into the turmoil. I am quiet. 

At least 75% of the girls in my life stand beside me in this fatherless generation—and there is hope in the Abba Father, the one who adopts even the fatherless, even the fathers.

But it is not often I give much thought to the dads that make us girls without earthly fathers. Until now. And maybe we change the focus from cleaning up the devastation of the fatherless one to preventing it in the first place?

Maybe, the fight for the fatherless generation starts with the father?

What do we do to engage the men of this generation in the battle? How do we enable them to recognize the battle that rages and the weight of their role in it?

We can’t change the past—but the future, well the future is me and you, it’s us. It’s our brothers and our nephews. It’s our husbands and fellow youth guys. It’s our grandsons and our sons. It's our co-workers. We are the bride and He is coming for us, soon I hope. This is where it changes. It matters.

Today my big sis found out she is having twin BOYS! She told me about the blessing it is, that she gets to raise up godly men, the weight and responsibility, but the gift. She get's it—she is fighting in her own way. Moms of boys, raise up godly men.

What does that look like for the rest of us? Us 20-something, single, fatherless women? The grandmas and moms? The wives and the sisters, just as broken and unsure as the rest of us?

I know that God is sovereign and perfect as my Father. But dang it, life sure would have been far less painful, far more right if I had a dad who loved the Lord and raised me up like a dad is called to in scripture. Granted, the past is the past and I am daily thankful for it, pain, sin, struggles and all because it led me straight into the arms of a perfect Daddy to whom I cry out Abba Father. I am thankful that He restores the years the locusts have stolen too—that He is doing that through my adopted dad even right now.

But would I wish my journey, my daddy issues, my hurt, my decisions, my rebellion, my struggle to submit and trust, my daddy hole upon the next generation of young women? Heck no.

James reminds us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.

So, ladies…what is our role?