Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We are meant to be COURAGEOUS

We were meant to be more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. We were meant to be Courageous. I know that song was written about men and I do think that men are meant to be courageous as the leaders of the home. However, in the absence of courageous leadership (and even in its presence), ladies we were meant to be courageous. For our kids. For ourselves and most of all for our God. We are called to do EVERYTHING as if for the LORD. WE are meant to be courageous.

Courageous, not quitters or fearers or haters or downers. Not whiners or enablers or a bunch of other things that I could waste my time listing, but I won't. Because it is a waste of time and because I find myself quite childlike at times, in terms of finding myself apt to lean toward doing what I'm not supposed to do. Yes, I can be rebellious. Its a pain in the conscious.

But back to the point. . . We are meant to be courageous in Christ. If we are in Christ, we are meant to be courageous in Christ. If we are in Christ, Christ is in us and we are meant to be courageous in Christ. We are meant to do the right thing in all that we do and there are times when that comes naturally and is easy and there are other times when we are surrounded by opposition and doing the right thing takes an incredible amount of courage.

Dictionary.com defines courageous as "not deterred by danger or pain; brave." If you look up the word "courageous" on biblegateway.com, 14 verses come up. The first 7 verses are the Lord commanding His people to be strong and courageous for God was leading them to the promised land and would be with them wherever they went. 13 of the 14 verses are in the Old Testament, written during times of war and turmoil and the last is 1 Corinthians 16:13 "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."

Be courageous and follow God. Obey his commands and statutes. Do not turn from them to the left or to the right. Do what is right. Do not be deterred by danger or pain because if God is for us, who can be against us? "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:32. I'm not saying it will be easy, because I'm sure the times of turmoil and war in the Old Testament weren't easy for those who were going through it, but God never said it would be easy. Instead, He warned us that it would be hard and He encouraged us to be strong and courageous and He promised he would be with us wherever we go. So be strong and courageous. Be who you were meant to be in Christ.
There was a time when I thought I would be able to blog every day. I mean, every time I posted "I'm really gonna do it this time", I really thought I was going to do it. But the truth is, I think I was just suffering from temporary insanity and temporarily forgot that I have 4 kids, very little sleep, negligible energy and little if any time left at the end of the day. As a result, I find myself ruminating over what to post for days, sometimes weeks before I ever get around to posting it. I guess that probably makes for better reading and I've come to realize that that's all I can do at this point in time.

These days, I am concentrating. On everything. My kids, my attitude, their attitude, the influences I allow in our lives, doing the best I can in all that I do, doing everything I do for the Lord and trying to inspire my kids to do the same.

I'm struggling these days, but I continue to press on because God didn't build me to be a quitter and I thank Him for that. I have been watching Courageous and Facing the Giants lately, not because they have the same guy in both, but because they both have important lessons that I need to learn from.

I watched Courageous for the first time last week. It made me cry. And if you know me, you know that it takes a lot to make me cry. I wept like a baby while I was nursing Rory and it took me 10 minutes to get it under control. I was so broken because my bad judgement is what got us here. I chose my ex. No one forced him on me. I could have run screaming for the hills, but I didn't. I should have, but I'm glad I didn't because I love my kids. To me, they are proof that good fruit CAN come from a dying tree. Our marriage may have ended, but no matter what happened and what happens, I praise God for the beautiful, wonderful children he blessed me with. But I am broken because, after watching Courageous, I cannot deny that fathers are important and my kids might as well not have one. Which makes them more likely to suffer and to cause suffering to others in the long run. I pray to God that my children being fatherless is a blessing in disguise, as I often say. And not just a burden that will cause them to be less than they would have been if he had stuck around.

I pray that God will use these trials to make my kids stronger, to enable them to better serve Him, and to help them to make wise decisions in their lives -- regarding marital and non-marital decisions. I pray that they will realize that their decisions will affect others and that they will make their decisions -- big and small -- accordingly.

I pray that God will raise up a courageous man who will be a good father figure to my children when they need a father.

Which brings me to the lesson from Facing the Giants. There is a story they tell in the movie about 2 farmers who prayed for rain -- 1 who got his field ready for rain and 1 that did not. I pray that God will help me get ready for the blessings I pray for. I don't really know how to get ready besides by reading my Bible and continuing to forgive my ex and work through my issues and try to better myself, all while keeping in mind the type of person I am looking for so that I do not use my bad judgement any longer, that I do not allow myself to make another bad choice that will adversely affect my children. God, help me to do my best and to be a courageous woman for you while I am waiting for you to raise up a godly, courageous head for my household. Amen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thoughtul Parenting

I feel like a lot of my posts relate to living purposefully, but lately I have come to realize that making purposeful decisions and making thoughtful decisions are not always the same thing. We all have moments when we wish our kids (or husbands or dogs or fill-in-the-blanks) had come with an instruction manual. Some handy, consisely written pamphlet that covers any situation we might ever find ourselves in and also has a handy, always manned, toll-free number that we can call if anything out of the ordinary occurs. A number that will connect us to the expert that can clear up our every curiosity and tell us how to resolve any problems or clear up any glitches we might encounter in the course of life, whether our days be routine or strange beyond strange.

We all want this manual because we want to know what to do without doing any of the legwork or experimentation or though-process ourselves. Because all of that is just too messy and we might have a setback in the process or even -GASP- fail. We might no do everything perfectly and that's scary. That's why moms generally want dads to use the instruction manuals when they but something new or fix something old. And that's also why dads are a necessary part of the parenting process. Because they tend to be hard wired to think outside of the box and experiment confidently with parenting.

So what do you do when life is not ideal and you want to reach for that instruction manual that does not exist? Reach for th one that does. It has been said that the Bible is a universal instruction manual, that it can instruct you in all manners of life. And so far, I have yet to find a problem it won't help me with. And whenever I am just to frustrated to read my manual, I hit my knees and talk to the expert. He's just a toll-free (price paid by Jesus) prayer away.

As one of my friends posted on Facebook the other day, no one ever makes a lock without making a key and God doesn't allow problems in our lives without a solution being there, too, even if that solution is just as simple as calling the expert.

Today, I encourage everyone to practice thoughtful parenting. No cookie cutter was used to make us all and there isn't always an easy fix, but check out your instruction manual and call on the expert and do your best. Only you and God know what that is and only God can help you tap into that best, whatever it may be. And while you're at it, live thoughtfully, too. I am a firm believer that we would not deal with all the problems we deal with if everyone thought before they did. Have a great day in the Lord.

Friday, March 2, 2012


I had a lot of time to think on the drive to OK and on the drive back. Much more than I would have if I hadn't driven all but 4 hours of it. Not that thinking is a bad thing, but thinking while I was driving somewhere I had been to before to be with Joey, which also happened to be the place where he met the woman he left us for. . . It made for too many thoughts about him. And her.

People can think up some crazy things when they have been hurt. Like wounded lions, we can all give in to our baser instincts and lash out when we are hurting. The important thing is not to give in to our crazy thoughs. At least, not while they are still crazy and pain-laced.

Most of my thoughs centered around a vengeful plot to post ads in OK and TX craigslist personals, including their pictures. . . His and hers PSAs to warn people in the surrounding areas of the type of people they are. Something to the effect of "don't trust him, he is a narcissistic sociopath who will charm the pants off of you as long as it suits him, but has no actual loyalty to anyone but himself and will only keep you around as long as you serve his purposes and then he will leave and never look back." Looking back, that's not really a PSA. Hers. . . Something to the effect of "warning, this woman is a chronic slut who trolls bars around military bases (typically Fort Sill), looking for soldiers who are about to receive large bonuses and using her sexual prowess to trap said unsuspecting idiots for as long as it takes to drain them of their bonus and then moves on to the next unsuspecting idiot. She has no regard for marital status (hers or theirs), only for an anticipated pay day." But maybe that's just me being petty. After spending hours fantasizing about posting these PSAs to every craigslist in TX and OK, I decided maybe that's not the best course to take, but I did still want to post a PSA, so here goes:

Women, there are men out there who will say what they think you want to hear to "get" you and then after a while they will not be able to follow through because it was all a lie, at which point, they will cut their losses and run for the hills. This is why long courtships (without the complication of sex) are good. It takes time to see the true character of some people and when determining whether or not you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, its good to take your time. Your life is a long time. Don't waste it on the wrong guy.

Men, there are women out there who are technically not hookers, who will sleep with you in order to convince you to spend money on them. They may even get pregnant in order to trap you. They probably won't care if you are married or not, but even if you are and they know that you are from the beginning, they will probably still expect you to marry them when they get pregnant. Once you have no more money to give or life gets sufficiently hard, they will find someone else to leech money from and they will move on. They are loyal to money, not to you. I know indiscriminant sex seems fun and harmless, but sin often seems fun for a season and afterwards produces pain and consequences.

Everyone, look at the people you are considering spending time with. None of us know how long we will have on Earth and none of us can extend that time beyond what God has determined we will have. Look at the people you are spending your time with. Look at them carefully and determine what kind of person they are and if they are the right kind of person to spend time with, much less your life with. Do not tell yourself that the way they have acted in the past is different from how they will act with you "because they love you." People are creatures of habit. They may act like the person you want them to be fore a while, but eventually they will revert back to reality and you will see their true colors. Wait it out. Be sure before you consumate your relationship. Otherwise, you might end up pregnant with your 4th child, abandoned by the person you thought would stick around forever "because they love you." Its not a fun place to be.

Beware of the people you let into your inner circle. Make sure they belong there before you let them have free reign there. Guard your heart. A broken heart is a nasty wound to try to heal from. Especially if you have an ever-present audience of children to remain strong for.

I hope this PSA helps someone since it wasn't that easy for me to write, even after 40ish hours in the car and countless hours afterwards spent contemplating it.