Saturday, December 29, 2012

Exchanging Presents for Presence Christmas 2012

A week before Christmas I told Steve Demme (Math U See) via email that my family was not the kind of family that does devotion challenges. I asked for prayer for my family to become more like that. I know other homeschool families that have devotions and well, I only wish my husband would lead our guys like that.

 Rewind three weeks earlier...I got a letter in the mail out of the blue with 60.00 cash in it from an anonymous "angel." They had heard my Christmas tree had been destroyed and that I would not be getting another one. Had it had an appropriate container, this would not have happened but we never found the money to invest in a container that was sturdy. I had just been given an amazing tree the day before with a sturdy container! I used the money for gifts for our gift swap at our local homeschool Christmas party for each of my family members and some yarn to make scarves for a couple of gifts. We were both out of work and broke with three teen boys.
My son asked, "Are we going to have presents this year?" I didn't know what to say, but, "Well, a tree sorda promises that doesn't it?"  Boy, did I have a lesson and a bless'n comin'....

On Christmas day, I was alone as most of my family worked late into the evening. I was very sad but kept cleaning slowly and not very effectively. I think I was having my own Chrispity party. I have boys ages 12, 14 and 15 and we had NO GIFTS AT ALL this year. I just had the nativity scene under my tree. I was trying to be mature about it. People *say* that the real meaning of Christmas is love and family and being thankful BUT when you have three kids and nothing--well, that's walking the walk, ain't it?  I called a friend to wish her a Merry Christmas and *LIED to her when she asked me what I got for Christmas. They are wealthy and tend to recoil at the difference my life contrasts to theirs. I made up some gifts and it was tearing at my heart as I did it. I got VERY sad afterwards as I do not lie easily. I prayed but I felt no better. Finally it welled out of me as I hid my face into a cover and cried and boo-hooed. There were a lot of things I could cry about but I wasn't sure which of them was causing this involuntary outburst. I apologized to God that praying to Him made me feel no better, "I am sorry, I am just sad, God.....boohoooohoooo"

Straighten yourself up, Melanie, I said with my "big girl panties" on. You need to count your blessings and pull out of this junk...boohooohooo.

In my Chrispity party, I did say to God, "Well, you could have at least let it snow since we have no presents and I have never had a white Christmas."  Nothing worked to get me out of mully -grubbing despair until my husband called from town and said, "We are bringing company home to spend the night."  WHAT?! Oh no, I have to get up and clean. I acted irritated but I was excited. He went on to explain that it was strange sorda but this *male* acquaintance brought gifts for each of us. They were

godly books called "Grace for Each Moment", "199 Promises of God", "How to Detect Satan and Defeat him" and for my husband and I "Growing Together as a Couple"...a nice sentiment, but I thought--a lot of good that will do--they all hate reading and they wont even read their Bibles. Because it was a *male* friend, this made a difference. I started realizing this was a hint from God that it IS possible for this family to have devotions. I was quiet and kept this in my heart until the next morning when we discovered a double rainbow across my front yard. And guess what? It snowed!

After I reflected on all that happened over the holyday, I learned a valuable lesson. This is for the mature in Christ--I do not think just anyone can receive this. When you are weary in well doing and hate the way things are, there is something called the "sacrifice of praise." You do not feel like celebrating or praising God because all you can do is feel sorry for yourself because of the hidden idols in your heart. When you do not do what feels "natural" and pout and wallow in depression, but put on praise music and worship God because He is worthy whether you feel it or not, your mood will change just like magic. You will have joy running over the brim of your cup. You will have to call someone and love on them you will be filled with the Spirit. I truly think this is one of the keys to the Kingdom of God that is within us. So many blind people seek a doctor or a pill--we miss God when we do.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Let's Talk About Sex, Ba-by!

This is not a testimony but needs to be said...
A word of caution! The majority of Christian argument encouraging teens to wait to have SEX is about getting a sexual disease or “ruining their life with a baby” (Quote from Obama on Youtube). This is a problem-- putting the main emphasis on consequences suggests that the act itself isn’t morally wrong. If scientists wiped out sexual diseases and created the perfect method for not getting pregnant, Christian morality would almost be obsolete. It is sad that we are not armed with a reasonable defense about why we should abstain from sex.  

It is also a mistake to only emphasize the scripture from Jesus that says, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” Why?

Because it can easily degenerate to the weak argument “because I said so!” This will not go deep enough into the heart to create inward conviction. “If you love me, you will eat a grasshopper” and “If you love me, you will never say the word gotcha in my presence” are tests of loyalty but God’s will about sex is NOT that.  

Tell your kids BEFORE they see it on the phone and internet what sex means as a "gift from God."

How? Good question! I heard it all my life but never understood it.

Sex is largely a mystery.  It is holy (special). It is a gift with built in meaning of spiritual unity that leads to God’s blessings for your life and future. It is spiritual superglue that will make you one in soul to your spouse. It’s God’s wedding gift to us and it is more valuable than any masterpiece or work of art. Would you take your favorite artwork down off the wall and use it as a TV dinner tray  to spill soft drinks and serve popcorn on?


Sex bonds us spiritually like superglue. If you are a nonvirgin, then you know how strange it feels to just be friends after having sex with a friend.

There is an invisible, powerful spiritual happening that takes place that you do not control. You can try to dismiss it and shake it off—but it is real. Here is the scripture that reveals this: 

Genesis 2:24 “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be UNITED to his wife, and they will become ONE FLESH.”   And I Cor. 6: 15-17   Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”
Sex is a “soul tie”.  There is no such thing as “casual sex.” It is a mistake to trade it just to “see how it feels” or to feel like a “ man “ in society because everyone else has done it (or says they have).


If sex glues people together, and we spend our life gluing ourselves together and then prying ourselves apart from them, we are conditioning and training ourselves to not really unite with anyone spiritually. You would be destroying your ability to bond in marriage and will leave yourself never appreciating the wedding gift God gave you. You wont even know what your missing!  No wonder the studies show that as fornication increases, so does adultery, instability and lower satisfaction in marriage. 

God promises rewards for obedience to His commands. He is so good to us because His commands are for our good anyway. You will gain His favor. That means, you will have a blessed life. Even when the devil causes trouble, because you love and obey God—your situations will work out for your good. (Lev. 26, Galations 6:7-10, Deut. 28). 

The Lord commands us not to have sex before marriage BECAUSE He wants to protect us. He wants to bless us with things we cannot have if we tear them up. He has prepared a gift that is so awesome it takes years to understand and experience (the gift that keeps on giving) and  as you become one and best friends with your spouse, he wants your marriage to look like your union with Him in the Spirit. If you cheat on your spouse, it’s very similar in spirit to cheating on God with another god. Faithfulness is parallel like a mirror image.  

If you received a 60.00 leather baseball glove as a gift to play ball, would you go scoop up muddy pond water with it trying to catch a creature? NO, the gift giver  would be mad. God gets angry too when He is hurt but He is more grieved in his heart than anything. 

 He wishes you knew.  

His word says, “For a lack of knowledge, my people perish.” 

Sex before marriage is a crime against God whose ways are HIGHER than our ways. You feel different when you compare yourself to other people in the world saying, “hey, I’m not such a bad guy afterall”, until you compare yourself with a holy God and His command for you to become as He is. 

Sex is a seal when a man and woman pledge their lives to each other. 

What happens when you use too much glue? Imagine creating something special for a younger child. You are going to let them assemble it and put it together because it is fun. You tell them how to assemble it, but they do not listen, as they begin to pour out glue all over the delicate pieces and ruin it—wasting your effort in preparing it and ruining the parts and pieces. Would you get mad? Would you be irritated and frustrated? God feels these things too.

 A real *hottie*     <====You know you wanna click that link!

Tell God you will honor and respect His gift. You do care about the gift enough to follow instructions. You will not abuse it.

In Jesus name,


The world is the devil’s stage and his ways are all around on the internet and TV and in pornographic magazines and jokes. All of it is to distract you and rob youof blessings and truth. Don’t be fooled.


Let’s pray for your future spouse that you will love each other with whole hearts and for your whole life!




Friday, March 2, 2012

Just a Ticket to Heaven?

Condensed notes from a conference on Power and Love:
Don’t focus on the devil and sin (Have a “single eye”). Our problem is not with sin—we have an identity problem-- that through a lack of the Word-- we are destroyed. Our fight is with our identity (submitting to God in a fallen world with our feelings instead of faith; walking by faith and not by sight or circumstance). Don't APPLY the gospel(religious formulas)—You ARE the gospel in Christ.

You can pray your “best prayer” and nothing changes because you are “applying God” not allowing Him to flow through you. Don’t let your prayers be attempts to get help for life’s “issues” but let your prayers be about the power of the KingdomLife! The power of life and death are in our tongues and we are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. We have reduced Christ to a “ticket to Heaven” instead of manifesting His image of LOVE and being the "salt" and "light" in the world. We were created in the Maker’s image and He IS LOVE. We are hated by the enemy because we look like our Father and were made to Love and be LOVED--to reflect that image.

Photo credit: Azarius 

We were not created to think for ourselves independently of God—that was what Eve did. The serpent questioned her obedience to Father and think for herself. We were created to Love and obey the One that would keep us safe and blessed.  He said if you love me, you will obey Me. “Sophisticated” has a definition that means: “Loss of innocence.” Not everyone wants to be LOVE/manifest their Creator/live their purpose. They want to try and retain their “rights” that sin temporarily provides.

The devil doesn’t think we love God—he thinks we only need him. Love not your own life to death—that's how we overcome the evil in the world around us and just look at Job. He knew that everything he needed or wanted was in the Great I AM. He would not trade his soul for the world.

The devil is a cut off withering branch—he is coming to nothing. He loves attention because he is nothing. He tries to get us to focus on ourselves and our past failures so we will be distracted from making waves for the Kingdom of God. That way you will “need” God instead of love Him. When horrible things happen to innocents they say “God allowed” it and accept it as final. That is very deceptive and damaging because it takes the fight out of our spirit and prayer life. If we are faithful in hiding His word in our heart when you don't need Him to help us out of a trial, when it comes; we are ready-- not reactive.

 Christians have put God in the position to “fail” them as we avoid spiritual response-ability (Like Adam tried to blame God for the woman He gave to him). We allow our losses to preach to us rather than the Truth and then blame God. We stop Love by “loving our own lives to death.” If you, as a follower of Christ, would just die to self—you wouldn’t hurt anymore. You wouldn’t be like the wicked that are offended by-and-by. You wouldn’t wear the T-shirt from Wal-Mart that says, “It’s all about me.” You wouldn’t see men at face value, you would see them in their God given WORTH. We don’t have sin problems~Jesus took care of that! It is identity problems! Which side will you be on? Yours? Or Gods?

Marriage and children are gifts—why do I want to run from it? (Lack of knowledge and love) Strife in the family is from a lack of LOVE.

Also, He never gave us these gifts at the cost of KNOWING HIM.

Notes from Dan Mohler

**Have you ever considered that the “pearl of great price” is YOU and the Merchant is Christ? Look it up.

Life is fair? If God were fair then we would all deserve to be incinerated in hell. We reap what Christ sowed with his body. Is that fair? Is it fair what He had to do for us? Are you finding God through Life’s issues or through the Truth of the gospel? Life isn’t bigger than Truth.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

God Likes Me to Wake Up Early!

I was undisciplined and loved to sleep "late" even though THAT was never gonna happen. You would have thought it was a sin to get some rest when I was going through mommy-boot-camp. God's boot camp. I knew the "Proverbs 31 woman" got up "while it was still dark" to begin serving her family. I also believed people should be up with the roosters ideally--I mean, roosters ARE God's alarm clocks for us; or  were BEFORE technology and big city. I was growing more and more in the Lord when this hapened:  My house sat up high so that knocking on my bedroom window would be a dangerous balance without a ladder. Nevertheless, at the crack of dawn twice in my life, I have had angels knock on my window to get me up out of the bed. zzzzzz  How did I decide it was an angel? My grandmother Lucy mentioned that angels have knocked on her window to wake her early mornings and she said it  a few days after my experiencing it! Mandible dropped to the floor when she said it! I couldn't interrupt her fast validated what I had thought.  I wish God was all around me like this all the time. I think He is more active in our lives at different times.

Another thought....
 People talk about God waking them up to pray. He was waking me every morning exactly at 4:15. I was soo lazy that I failed Him. I just had heavy eyes and zzzzz.  I went to church one day and the  pastor speaking said that God had been waking him every morning at 4:15! I wanted to shout out but I had been unfaithful. He quit waking me up and I regret my laziness. Never forget though, that His mercy is new every morning and if you draw near to Him, He draws near to you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oil & Water

Living in the dorms of a strict Baptist college, my wild roomate and I were weary of being “good.” We wanted to have a good time but seemed to have no options. We decided there was nothing wrong with what we were planning to do but we were going to keep it quiet because other Christians wouldn’t understand. Well, toward the end of the night, I was ready to call our fun quits but she wasn’t. She dragged in very late, drunk and with a new boyfriend from campus (that wasn’t right for her).

The next morning I dragged myself to church, alone, feeling very guilty and hypocritical. The class prayed for me right there that day as I confessed on my own free will of how miserable I felt. When I got back to our room, my roommate and I were like oil and water. The room was filled with such tension and division from that point on that I could barely stand to be in my own room!

One weekend she left and stayed out of town so I finally could relax in my own domain. It occurred to me from another person’s testimony that I might could touch everything in her room with olive oil and pray for her as I went around the room and perhaps it would restore what had been lost and bring back the peace. So, I sang and praised God, alone, in our dorm room and anointed her shoes with prayer and each and every hanger she would touch to get her clothes down and the stereo knobs, etc.

When she came back, I left. I was gone a couple of days, but when I came back and walked through the door, she had Christ adoring music playing and had taped notebook paper ALL OVER the entire dorm room (my side, too) with messages of repentance and forgiveness and prayers for God to forgive her. Like I anointed the room everywhere, so did she.  She apologized for our problems and I stood amazed looking around the room at about eight or nine notes taped randomly in our small concrete room. I was told it wasn’t the oil as much as it was my faith. “The anointing breaks the yoke.” Isaiah 10:27

Why we call His word ALIVE

In high school, not long after contemplating God could be real, I had went to a Christian’s house for a slumber party. There were 22 girls there from Satsuma High School. We prayed for an hour holding hands in a circle and I was shocked that it was so meaningful and interesting that it only seemed like ten minutes (my, my what families could do if they replaced TV with that!). If you had told me beforehand that I would sit and be in prayer for an hour I would not have liked that.

I lost a piece of cheap jewelry (highly prized by me at the time) and swore up and down that someone had stolen it (thinking evil of others). Mrs. Dean, now Mary Dean Sikes, (the lady that hosted the party) with kind eyes, helping me look for it, was a little shocked with my value differences and was sure that no one had done such and quieted me with a loving firmness. I remember that as a defining moment not to think evil of your Christian brother. Lo and behold, there it was in the bathroom floor against the cabinet! I felt relieved and ashamed. Her values were clearly more pure than mine. I was saved AGAIN that night as I asked Jesus to be the LORD of my life. I was high emotionally for about two weeks after this experience but it did begin to fade. They had taught me the concept of having a “quiet time with the Lord.” It sounded good and I was trying to implement it with diligence. Just me and God, alone, talking everyday.

One day, a cheerleader from the party skipped up to my locker to ask how I was doing as a new Christian, and I, being in a deeply serious mood, kinda snapped at her, “Well, let’s see…I have had nightmares three nights in a row of Satan scaring and paralyzing me. My mom works at night and I am at home alone. Why would God, who loves me so much, allow this?!” I skipped all the “hello, thanks for asking, it’s nice talking to ya.” She didn’t wince at my sarcastic tone a bit but tried hard to remember just the verse I needed…”Oooh it is something about snakes and scorpions…here, here is my phone number, call me when you get home and I will have it for you!” I was flattered because I thought she belonged to a higher class than me but didn’t take her seriously. By the time I got to class, I had decided to throw her number into the wastebasket by Mrs. Salter’s desk. I got home that afternoon and fixed a nice big bowl of cereal (my habit everyday) and went to the TV. I debated on whether or not I would have my “quiet time” with the Lord since the new was wearing off and all.
Captain Crunch and I decided I would. So, I begin in prayer, "God why are you letting the devil do this to your child? Three nights of the same terrible dream. Don’t you love me? Are you really there?" I opened that Holy Book and my eyes fell on Luke 10:19 and it has been a part of me since. “BEHOLD, I give you POWER to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and NOTHING shall by ANY means hurt you.” Out of the thousands of verses I could have looked on, THAT very one? I mean in 1989 there was no youtube or internet for me. So, ironically I am digging a phone number out of the phone book (hated doing abc order as a lazy teen) that I had just trashed two hours earlier to call cheerleader Amy and tell HER the verse. This was a big deal to me because I didn’t know the Bible well and was a baby Christian. I was proud!
So, His word is alive in me.

God Plays Basketball

I spent a great deal of time at my very athletic boyfriend’s house when I was a teen drinking all of their milk and eating their ice cream. His parents loved me and his brother hated me (maybe because of the ice cream). We had dated five years and I was proud of that. When God began calling me and him, he refused and I accepted the call.
It went something like this:

I explained how we could not be unequally yoked together and that I couldn’t be in an intimate relationship with him if he would not make Christ the center of his life and become a Christian. He and I were alone that day at the house because my mom had dropped me off. There were no cell phones, really, back then. He full well let me know he wasn’t going to go to church and be what I expected and I was hurt that he was going to throw our whole five year relationship away at this turning point. I was going home! Called mama, but she wasn’t answering. So, I, sulking, sat there in front of him on the couch. I thought “what now, God?” So, the strangest thing happens. Boyfriend asks me if I want to play basketball. Umm, dugh, NO! Play basketball when you are throwing our relationship away? That's how I felt but I yielded instead of letting him have it! First of all, I only played that game when we were bored out of our minds around there for I was allergic to sports and not very adept at them. How could he simply ask me to play a game when my heart was breaking?! Since, I had just asked God “what now” and I had heard somewhere that he works in mysterious ways, I accepted this weird current.

A little background info:
(not my photo)

There was a special spot I stood in when throwing the ball toward the net, it was much closer to the goal than normal. My boyfriend stood farther back in the normal range. He always won but encouraged me through the game. I really hated it. I began making a few good shots that really surprised me. I got the idea that maybe God was going to use this game somehow to fix the problem at hand. So, I got bold and moved to the area that he shot from instead of my little spot. I wanted God to get full glory. Shortly after, the ball hit me in the face-- you could probably see my nose throbbing like a cartoon. I would have used that excuse to quit and he knew it because he ran up to me apologizing and saying, “We don’t have to play, we can go in.” I said “No, we will play the game.” I had just thought to myself while holding my face “a fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering.” So, I would suffer.
Now, my words aren’t going to be able to capture this part but I’ll try. I threw the ball furiously trying to keep it from him and it would go into the net. I was suprisingly good for a bit and he began to argue and cheat over a point (at this point I was flattered). I let him have the point because I knew by now that God WAS in this game. I would win. I played with the faith of a child. Then I made some poor shots again. “Oh no, what’s wrong?” I thought. Then I thought again “Are you going to have faith, still?” I said yes to me and kept trying (although I think, now, some of my thoughts were really not my thoughts at all but the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit). That ball, I would throw it and it would land on top of the entire goal board and spin only to fall into the net. It was hilarious a few times how I kept getting points. But the final win put goose bumps on me with waves of warm joy. Instead of trying to get the ball from me, he stood, watching me as I was going to attempt a three-pointer (all the way back to his chain link fence) to win this game. The girl who had a special spot close to the rim because I had weak upperbody strength, now had a special trot. I was nervous a little though. I steadied and prayed seeing only the ball in my face and the blue, cold sky around it. “Jesus, please help me get this ball in.” I threw it with all I could and IT DID NOT EVEN TOUCH THE RIM, WHOOSH! Into the net it went. I heard “you can do ALL things through Christ that strengthens you.” And I looked at Boyfriend after I did the happy dance for a second, and said to him earnestly, “You can do all things through Christ that strengthens you.”
I have reflected on this story through the years and shared it a few times. It’s funny to me how all of life’s events are like the ups and downs in this game. When I was doing well, it stopped and I began missing shots. Would I still believe? When I got hurt doing something good, would I be willing to suffer for it? Pay for it? Would I know the sufferings of Christ? You will suffer in this world. Either for good or evil. Would I live life in the comfortable special spot or do greater things than my own ability with Christ and faith?
With some of the crazy shots that I had made, I can see that my ability-my own strength-won’t make it by itself—God’s gotta put a spin on it.

Gracious Living

We were very poor. Plastic containers had just been slowly leaking into the market for organization. I had CRIED OUT to God to help me with the mess in my life (fist in the air and all). I had always heard He was a "God of Order." Organization was a must and God had begun teaching me things through Julie Morgenstern Organizing from the Inside Out. She says that organization is a skill anyone can learn, but I experienced some of it that way and the other was a gift from God. Let me clarify:

I didn’t take some of her advice seriously while reading the book and even disagreed with the Professional Organizer at times (lack of funds caused me to not invest in her wisdom). Two years down the road after some changes in my life, I was able to receive and accept things that either I argued with or didn’t need and skipped over in the previous readings. I used the book for a few years to change my ways. More of her wisdom was available to me at a later date when I was ready.

I was keeping a clean, orderly home, doing a good enough job. As a reward, I could go to my girlfriend’s house (you know who you are), and spend time with her. She, like me, was overwhelmed in the same situation. It was my good pleasure to try and free her like I was being freed. Some girlfriends are very sensitive about this and they can take offense to your good ideas to help them. And, what works for some will not always work for another. People must be ready and they must trust you and well, you must be led by God if you are going to be an effective Professional Organizer. Okay, Okay, I’ll get to the point.

Just before going to her house, I had looked at a newspaper advertisement that featured an awesome plastic container that was 17.99. “That was expensive for plastic drawers!” Yes, that is how poor I was. It might as well had been 100.00 to me. There is no way I could have that. Oh well, I thought and went on to go help my friend “clean up.” Well, it was a mess for sure but I was optimistic and was telling her about the container I saw and thinking she might could get it and use it. She really needed several. She was dynamic with lots of stuff. She was in such a horrible mood about it that it fell on deaf ears and she wasn’t very pleasant to work with that night. We did make it better though. Early the next morning I got a phone call from my mother-in-law. She was a newspaper reader and not too involved with my life but involved enough to know I was onto organization and she had a good heart. She said, “Melanie, I saw something in the paper at Big Lots for 17.99 and I just wanted to know if you wanted it, it…” I interrupted, “OH MY GOD, I can’t believe this!” I exclaimed. “ I just saw it yesterday and wished I had it. I even tried to get my friend to get it for herself. Thank you sooo much! YES!” When she brought it to me, it had a small blue and gray sticker on it from the company called “Gracious Living” and it had a crown on it. I still use the container ten years later (and I have went through many of them). It was no coincidence, it was God and I know it. He gives us just enough light for the step we’re on sometimes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

God Speaks Through Your Children

I guess God was after me to become pure. He was definitely watching me and checking things. All of this happened in one month. I am so grateful:

I shopped at the Goodwill store a lot when I was without the boys. I can’t tell you how I went broke saving money! One day, a new item had been donated by the store and I was in there to shop in the last 15 minutes before closing. It was a strong, gorgeous purse, unusual. “Eight dollars?!” “This is the Goodwill, people!” Yes, I know, that’s really not bad but I was an aggressive bargain hunter and could find better deals. The cashier was annoyed by my pondering this purchase because she really wanted to lock up and go home. She rang me out and was locking the door, keys wringling, as I studied the receipt outside. “Hey, she forgot to ring up the purse” I noticed. Oh well, when I come back in next week, I’ll just pay for it. So, a few days pass and I begin to rationalize (after spending my other money) that I don’t have to rush back there—after all, it was their mistake. Why should it inconvenience me? I thought, I do a lot of business there and they really aren’t going to miss it. It was given to them! It could have easily been given to me. So, I pull in my friend’s driveway for just a moment to say hi, not getting out of the car. My very young son was in the car with me. She compliments me, “What a cute purse.” My son just spills out to my adult friend, “She stole it!” We both looked at him…eyebrows wrinkled...awkward. Well, just what could I say? So, I said, “WHAT?! Why did you say that?” He had no idea why he said it. Things that make you go hmmmm..

A week later, I go swimming at a local creek with my threee boys. I happen to see my "first love" of several years. The nostalgia of it was exciting but I was acting calm, cool, and collected. I hadn’t seen this person that I dated six years of my life in over 15 years. I introduced my children and he introduced his. We were just into asking how the parents were, standing at the water’s edge when my young child, in the most innocent, sweet voice, says to me and him “Is that your husband?” Well, my first love was taken aback, literally stepping away physically though he was not in my personal space but he seemed shocked with a nervous laugh. I was shocked, embarassed and dumbfounded until I realized that the Holy Spirit is like some quality control manager of my marriage, my life. Yes, this same child about the “stolen purse” had spoken a precise word in due season, again. I hadn’t even had adulterous thoughts, YET. We laughed it away but there was nothing else to say, really. The excitement dissolved before it strengthened. Now this must have been a trying time for me and my marriage because I was dealing with the spirit of adultery (if there is such and I am sure there probably is). I would get mad at my husband, harden my heart, and remember the verse that tells me if I do that I will fall into calamity (crisis). But…..

I was taking a different son out on a “date.” I had a few errands to run before our date officially started and would be seeing a man in this that was my husband’s friend. He had kinda flirted with me before and said that I always “looked good.” So, as I was pulling the mascara through my eyelashes close up to the mirror, my son wanders up and says, “you know, Mom…you might not look pretty to other men, but you are beautiful to me.” OOOOOOO-K. The mascara brush halted. What noone but me and the Lord knew is that I was NEVER around other men and had no idea where he was coming from except that at that exact moment my heart was meditating on things exactly matching his strange little statement.  I wanted attention and to feel good. By the way, if my husband reads this, I blame him for letting me feel that vulnerable.  I knew right then by the third time that God was on me like white on rice!
So, I paid for the purse by way of donation AND when I have a stray thought toward another man, I pray and renounce outloud anything that sets itself up above God and His ways. I pray for that man's life.

Fear not, for I will be with You

My Dad called me at 3:46pm on Fri evening of October 2010 and left a voicemail that strongly and simply said, "FEAR NOT--For I will be with thee." We were on our way to ride rides at the fair. That's not a feel good message. He also isn't into the custom of calling me frequently and especially not in the habit of leaving Voice Mails like that. So, silently I worried what doom was lurking around me? Would the ferrris wheel come unhinged? He has a gift of discernment that has been amazing in the past. I was a bit unsettled with this warning.

By the next morning at 9:10a.m. I had to call 911 to lift thousands of lbs. off of my son and neighbor (neighbor's back not broken but both feet were) and it was traumatic! The roof collapsed on a shed built two or three decades ago and it was very heavy.  My husband had just left and I was alone with the boys doing work in the backyard. The shock I was feeling made me go in slow motion, I couldn't dial three digits on the phone fast enough. I experienced shock but had hope that God was near because of that strange, timely message. My other two sons were able to make it out of the building that we were demolishing with a deep small cut to an arm as they fled through the threshold of the falling structure. My first born son and neighbor was trapped under the weight of this (whom I could hear but not see or access ) and is fine this morning.
My very kind neighbor ('Big Mike' Crenshaw with the two broken feet) had no insurance and no pain meds. Emergency workers had to cut their way throught the building rubble to get to him. After I called my Dad to let him know what had happened, he told me that he had been washing dishes the day he left me that warning and all of a sudden just stopped and made that call. God can see the enemy's plans and intervene.

Demons in my house

My mother didn’t believe me. To the best of my knowledge, they were not very strong demons. They showed off for her though when she stayed one night. I wasn’t really living for God, or “walking in the Spirit.” I decided that if demons were real then I know for sure God is! I got on the phone and called a church or two. The lady said to me that because I was a Christian, I would be harassed. “But I have anointed my house with oil!”You could still see the cross oil marks I had made on the paint job in the slant of the light. No one offered to come out and pray with me, so I figured it out on my own.

The plan for my life that the devil had was to break me down. Make me COO-COO for Cocoa Puffs, Wear me out. Cause me to think evil of my husband and his family. Isolate me and tear my support away from me. Yell at my kids, abuse them because MY needs were not met and I had to meet all of their demands NOW. Learn to blame again. He tried accomplishing this through waking my stair-step babies through the night. I had an IMMENSE FEAR that because I was blessed, that something was on its way to destroy the good in my life. I made sure the windows were locked when my kids slept because of a show on Oprah where a woman’s child was abducted because the windows were unlocked. I FEARED SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) all my child had to do was go “uh” in the middle of the night and I was like a sleep deprived, neurotic supersoldier on my feet in an instant. Baby monitors had nothing on me. My children, rarely if ever, slept through the night (I tried everything) and they were born consecutively almost and were healthy.

 My husband had to work and it was hard work in the heat—he had to get rest so I tried to take the blunt of being up with them at night. When the children were able to sleep at a grandparent’s house (usually only one child so I hardly got rest even then), I heard the crying anyway. Sleep deprivation causes hallucinations but it’s funny I had no hallucinations unless it was time to be asleep and rest. I did not sleep when they slept at nap time for FEAR of them waking and being in danger while I slept. Two toddlers in a house without supervision is irresponsible and you will pay in some fashion or another.

Once, all the kids stayed overnight  with my mom. I thought FINALLY! I was looking forward to some PRE-BABY life relaxation but the devil’s minions had other party plans. With ALL the children gone, I woke to the sound of crying! Lying there, I full well knew they were not at home this night. Nevertheless to shut the sound up, I got up anyway. I walked to their CLOSED bedroom door (still hearing the crying) put my hand on the knob, and opened the door to an empty room of silence. That’s when I began figuring out the evil plan.

On another night, I woke up to the crying of my first child, settled him down. Then I woke not long after to the sound of my middle child and got up with him. Just as I drifted off to sleep, third son wakes up crying. This happened merry go-round a few times and it will make a momma beside herself with anger! Even if I spoke to the demon(s) after refusing to lay my head on a pillow again “yeah, go ahead, just wake up the next one” --it would. On a different night, I was up because I couldn’t sleep. I sat in my child’s room at about 2:30 3- ish a.m. I was watching their little TV and heard from the front room “BAM- BA- LAM- BAM- BAM!” We had wooden floors in the front living room and I was at the very back of the house. I frightfully yelled for my husband that someone was in the house. He gets up, fist pulled back, crabbing sideways toward the living room. NOTHING. No one. Next morning, I get up in my clean, everything in its place home, and our family portrait is across the room on the floor face down. It being the only thing out of place--way out of place. “They must have been really mad”, I thought. That’s what they did when mom was there. They threw a VHS movie across the living room and she acted as though she didn’t see it but it was her first acknowledgement the next morning. Also, of important note, it WAS always in the 3 a.m. hour that these things happened. There is something to the “witching hour” but I don't know how that works in different time zones ;)

O.K. so how did I finally rid myself of demonic show-offs after first having to identify the problem? I knew the Word of God AND BEGAN APPLYING IT.
I knew that God “dwells in the praises of His people.”_Psm 22:3 SO, I began praising.
I knew that if I draw near to God, then, He will draw near to me. James 4:8   I lifted my hands and on my knees while I was afraid.
I knew I wanted to aggravate those demons like they were doing to me. So I put Christian TV and radio on all through the house....And most importantly,
I knew NOT to rejoice that I had power over them LUKE 10:19 and Luke 10:20 but to just rejoice that my name was in the Lamb’s Book of Life. His presence makes them flee.
It is not by might, nor by power, that getting rid of those pests would happen, but by His Spirit. Zechariah 4:6.

James 1:23 and 24 described me because God taught me amazing things when I was younger but because I knew them and did not do them, I was like a man staring at his face in a mirror but walking away, forgetting what he looks like. I would pray and then FORGET what I even prayed for! I turned every radio I owned to POWER 88 Christian radio and at this time, WORSHIP videos were on TV with singing and scripture, I turned them on. I got ON MY KNEES in the middle of the chaos and lifted my hands to a worthy King and began singing fragments of the old worship songs that I knew. They don’t wanna be here when Jesus draws near me. That’s when they left, after a few times of that. God is real.

On A Royal Telephone

I was told, "God isn't moved by your desperation, but by your desperation FOR HIM." I found this to be true after awhile. I was stuck in a rut asking Him for change and seeing nothing happen. I began wondering, "What is wrong with me, that He will not honor my prayers?" I was trying to get out of sin. Why couldn't he just microwave me a miracle and fix me? So, based off some scripture on fasting--I had had ENOUGH and decided I would do this for three whole days. I was determined to get God to move for me. I had a good attitude, I kept my mind on Him and tried praising him with the best of my singing during the day.

I wasn't accustomed to praying a lot though I had faith and was full of the Word.  A close friend in the Lord asked me to pray for her grandmother, that was in the hospital, with a possible broken collar bone. My friend, Tiphani, was worried her elderly granny was far from Jesus and just wanted prayer for her. I hesitantly agreed to pray for a lady I didn't know or feel anything for. I really didn't care. Just being real honest folks. BUT....I loved and cared for Tiphani--I felt that. Because of her, I decided I would pray and honor her request. Now I know, this sounds terrible--but this is the state I was in. So, I prayed for Helen with the same earnest I would have prayed for Tiphani.

I went on about my day as usual working, working, working. Then as I was scrubbing carpet in the babies room and singing fragments of long ago praise songs that I could muster and remember, it occured to me so strangely and definitely that this Helen needed a song in her heart--the joy that I was feeling as I sang.  So, I promptly with bubbles and yucky stuff on my hands--stopped in the middle of the job--to deglove and call Tiphani. She answered, and I don't even know if I said hello. I just matter- of -factly said, "Tiphani, Helen needs a song in her heart!" After saying it, I knew it was an abstract random way to begin a phone call. For a milli second, I thought, she is going to think I am a scatterbrained! But, much to my delight, she was as enchanted about it as I was. "OH MY GOD, I cannot believe you just said that." She had an accepting tone in her voice. After her thoughts took their time to process my diagnosis for her grandmother, she said that her grandmother had just asked several granddaughters to please find an old song that she hadn't heard since like the 30's. We didn't have Youtube--so that would be a HUNT! It was called "Royal Telephone or Telephone to Jesus--something like that."

Tiphani was feeling challenged by the request and we were trying to figure where to find this old song--if we even could find it. We called Christian music stores asking what to do. All of that was to no avail. However, God validated her request through me as a result of fasting and prayer.I got to be a chosen vessel of the KINGDOM OF GOD, WOW! That's what makes me feel ALIVE.

Finally, a year later, we found it. Guess where it was? I had a CD with it on there the whole time we were looking for it. It was on a Burl Ives CD that I had bought but never listened to. I had had it for several years. It's amazing, isn't it? God showed me in an awesome way how prayer works for those you do not even know. I was bursting with joy to be able to wrap up the cd to be gifted to Helen. Be in love with your Maker. He is so worthy.

My Boys and Their Fighting

Why can’t music start playing in real life’s teachable moments like it does in musicals? There would be a lot less fighting in the world if love songs started playing when people were mad at each other. I armed myself with a song to sing for the next time my strong -willed boys would start to fight.

 It was an old country song (Thank God for You Tube). See if you know it…"they’re gonna fight and they’re gonna fuss, but they’ve got something special-it’s brotherly love....We fought like tigers over that old red bike, I’m batting first and you can’t use my glove..” Keith Whitley sang it with Earl Thomas Conley. It helped a little, once.
Another time, I took one of my boys to the store to buy his brother a gift for a future opportunity to exercise grace for the next fight. I told him, “Now when you get into your next fight, use the power of grace with this gift.” So we wrapped it and I hid it under my bed and waited. A few days later, the battle of wills began between the “sons of thunder” (and their names are James and John). Two of Jesus’ disciples were nicknamed this because they fought so much and they were brothers. I was able to arm my youngest with tangible grace. It really helped, but you can’t do this everytime. I mean, it would break my bank and presents don't always fix things. It did work nicely. Above all, it was memorable.

A momma just can’t fix everything. I bowed my head and prayed while they were going at it in the living room once~ though I was about to go all “coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs” on them because I can’t take their fighting! When I had finished praying  I looked up and they were hugging and crying. It wasn’t for show, it was a real desperate prayer and God was right there, right then. You get tired of responding the same way and it never changing! It’s too bad that this wouldn’t happen EVERY time, but it did
work that time.

When my youngest kicked my meanest, most aggressive of the trio in the chest (and this at my lovely glass table), my meanest started swelling up with a prideful steam. His face turning red as he held his breath and his eyes grew wide with the pain it takes to control yourself and be graceful. He had been learning about grace and forgiveness with home education. I knew what he was trying to do~ control his anger and forgive. He, usually, wouldn’t have taken as long to return fire being my most intense child. He began to cry as he submitted to God’s teaching and died to his own will--chest heaving and all. I sat there like I was watching a movie as it happened in lightning speed.  Holding back that flesh hurts more than getting it kicked, obviously.Are you ready for this?

The countenance of the youngest started to change and he, too, began to cry in the millisecond of unpredictability. They hugged one another, crying harder than they could ask for forgiveness (ages 9 and 11) and they stood there hugging one another as I looked on without a word~mouth open but no popcorn. I stood there, dumbfounded, at the Spirit of God working between them. I assure you, this is not a natural reaction. Thank you, Father. (Pic not of my actual boys)
Thanks to my Dad who once responded to me in a letter through postal mail, “you may be carrying him right now, but the memories of his growing and learning will one day carry you.” That is precisely true.