Monday, September 29, 2008

Behind Those Eyes: Ms. Perfection (chapter two)

Here are my reflective thoughts for week two in "Behind Those Eyes" by Lisa Whittle, hosted by Lelia. Please note I am writing these Monday afternoon as Tuesdays I am caught up in clinicals with my nursing students. Then as soon as I get home that evening I am running to dance and gymnastics with the girls so posting is next to impossible unless I write the day before.

I re-read chapter two last night. I was intrigued with the verse Lisa used at the front of this chapter. I stared at for a long time. It seemed to stump my thoughts. Maybe I was tired. Maybe it was because of that "flesh women" spirit inside me that has made her presence known and bothersome. She has been trying hard to block the spiritual. I have been tense internally, I can especially feel it in my jaws. I figure this is just part of this battle of letting go. Whatever the reason for my mental block, I was intrigued by this verse:

To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless. ~Psalm 119:96

I guess I was stumped by how the two lines went together and related to the chapter. What was Lisa's intention for this verse in referencing "Ms. Perfection"?

I continued to read this chapter and understand the life drama's Lisa wrote about. We all have gone through these drama's to try and display perfection in our lives, even when it is so far from the truth. Not that is it is wrong to try and achieve these things she wrote about (perfect families, perfect marriages, perfect lives) but the reality is found in the Scripture she reminded usof from 2 Corinthians 3:5 "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God". That's where perfection, confidence, peace and joy come from...our competence in Christ. I agree. I have seen it in others, I have experienced it in my own life.

But back to that verse she listed in the beginning of the chapter. I needed to read more of the surrounding verses to fully grasp what God wanted us to take from this piece of scripture He laid on Lisa's heart. It just wouldn't leave me. Ps 119:89-96 in the NIV version reads:

Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.
Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.
Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts.
The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.
To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.

It's describing the perfection of Christ and who He is or can be in our life, right? Without Him we would not survive life's crisis, agree? He's our life preserver. He is who we should cling to when the going gets tough. We all know that. Now read this section of passage in the Message version and be awed....

What you say goes, God, and stays, as permanent as the heavens. Your truth never goes out of fashion; it's as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up. Your Word and truth are dependable as ever; that's what you ordered—you set the earth going. If your revelation hadn't delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came. But I'll never forget the advice you gave me; you saved my life with those wise words. Save me! I'm all yours. I look high and low for your words of wisdom. The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me, but I'm only concerned with your plans for me. I see the limits to everything human, but the horizons can't contain your commands!

There's that word-TRUTH! Truth is permanent, dependable and inspiring. Truth is perfection, the perfection we find in Christ. Truth is the perfection we are in Christ. Living in truth is living in God's way, obedient to Him. The same truth that carried David through his life drama's thousands of years ago will carry us in the same way. It will circulate through our body to cleanse us and to heal us and most importantly, it will give us life. The truth of who we are in Christ is what we must except, not the truth or labels we (or others) try to place on our self because of how we have lived up to this point.

Lisa's challenge question for this chapter asked us to "search our heart" and ask if it is "more important to be seen as perfect in certain areas or seen as real". I looked in the mirror. Imperfections are too numerous to name here. But then I looked again with spiritual eyes and I smiled. My imperfect life is what makes me real. My heart and internal longing for more of Christ is what makes me real. No more hiding THAT truth. I'm a living, walking, talking example of GRACE and I am at peace with it, confident God will use it for His glory if I am obedient to Him with it.

Perfection will come in the eternal. For now, I am looking for the spiritual wonder and wisdom that I can only gain from God's truth and to live it!

It feels like chaos but He IS up to something bigger than me! So I am seeking out His precepts. I am only concerned with His plans and His truths in me.

Pamela (MrsJoeB)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Continuing this talk about living in truth....

Ok...I can't let this first week in our "Behind those Eyes" Bible study by Lisa Whittle go by without more comments. Can you believe the conflict we are personally experiencing...the unrest...the chaos? Yet in my quiet time this morning, my scripture reading and devotional had me asking myself "what is living in truth for me? Is my past the truth of me today?" Really? Or is it just the few steps that help me to get to this point. It's not coincidence two separate readings (not from within this bible study) took me to these thoughts. It's not coincidence that one of you commented on my blog this very message this morning which I read later in the day.

I'm listening God.

The reality that was laid on my heart this morning is the truth I am to live in is the truth of how God sees me. My past doesn't make me who I am, it only help me to reach this point. When I am rejected or scorned, I can look on Jesus and know I am redeemed and loved. When other say my past prevents me from being used by God, I look on Jesus and how He is using me despite human opinions. What I am, in and though God, is my truth.

When you look in the mirror, do you see what God see's? Because that's the truth.

I commented on Lisa Whittles blog that I think the following song says it well for all of us in this study and it should be our theme song. At least for the beginning ride! Lelia had this on her blog a few weeks ago. Since I am at work and I am restricted from yahoo and all those wonderful places you go to download videos, I leave you the word to this song.

"Whatever You're Doing (Something Heavenly)"~Sanctus Real Lyrics

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly
Time for a milestone Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...To...
Time to face up Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out'
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly
It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time breathe in and let everything out

It feels like chaos but God is up to something big in each and every one of our lives. I'm scared of the unknown but incredibly excited!!!

Emptying my past, filling it with Him~Pamela (MrsJoeB)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Isn't starting a new blog bible study fun? Thank you Lelia for hosting this! The adventure of what the study hold for us is exciting and challenging. Then I started reading the first chapter of Lisa Whittle's book we are using "Behind Those Eyes: Whats really going on inside the souls of women" and the mood for me changed. Lelia whats us to answer the question what is "authenticity'? I am going to be authentic-honest and truthful here (my definition for this word)...I suddenly felt dread and caution. Really. Why? Because I sense God is going to make me face an issue I have put off and been struggling with. I even thought about not reading the rest of this book. My thoughts have been plagued with this concept of whats really going on inside the soul of me for this past year as I have come to a stronger faith walk with Him.
"What you're after is truth from the inside out" ~Psalm 51:6 (MSG)
I love blog-land. I can express my heart and not really worry about poor outcomes or insults. If a reader doesn't agree they just don't comment and they don't come back. In some ways we are being hidden by our computer in that we can so easily express ourselves, sometimes better, than if we are face-to-face. At least for me that is ocassionally the case. As I stated above, God has convicted me to look into my soul for some time. A few days ago when I wrote my last post I felt like He was saying, "Pam, you sound like a broken record". My post are pretty much about moving beyond my past of being in a pit because of my sin, alone & rejected but redeemed through God's graces. I felt like He was saying "Isn't there more to you than your past? Wouldn't they (you the readers) want more from you than that? Have I not called you to comfort the weary and those who need to know My grace. Have I not morning by morning awaken you and opened your understanding to MY will so that it will guide you to share it here?" (Isaiah 50:4). So what is really going on inside my soul? Who is impersonating my reality?

For years I would walk by a mirror and never look at "me". Maybe it was out of shame or discontentment. Even when I would get ready in the mornings, I only saw what I was doing, how the hair was laying, the shading of my make-up, but never looked at "me". What is real about me? What is behind my eyes? What are my true feelings and where do they come from? Am I who others see me to be (big OUCH here)? Am I pretending to be something I am not? Am I hiding behind this 45 year old body? Are we afraid to be real, to be authentic? Will others truly accept us for who we are? Does that really matter? It has for me. I'm working on that.

I don't know about you ladies, but this may be a painful journey. I am thankful to have you, my blog friends, to walk this together, to lean on each other, and pray for each other. My soul craving is to be real-so very real that at the same time I am the sweetest aroma for Christ. I want my realness to build others up and bring them closer to the God I have come to cherish so. I am imperfect. I am not a writer, my spelling is awful and my computer skills are quickly becoming outdated but my heart and my inner soul is longing to be revealed. Not for me, but for my Lords glory. I hope as we painfully draw closer to achieving this authenticity, God will be magnified.

"The truth may initially hurt, but the truth may be the best thing that has ever happened to you." (pp.19)
Here's to living in truth and being authentic! Together!!

In the shadow of His cross~Pamela (Mrs JoeB)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Walking in Faith: My Final Chapter

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.~Col. 3:16

If you have stopped by from our blog Bible study "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith" written by Lysa TerKuerst and hosted by Lelia, my comment on that final chapter is posted below in my last entry. Yesterday I went to conference for parish nurses, a spiritual retreat to refresh and rejuvenate. It was indeed all about my walk of faith, the journey I have made as I have studied that book and learned with all of you in the Bible study. Let me share what occurred in the conference yesterday.
The conference topic was gratitude. The message was simplistic. I was starting to grow frustrated in that I was longing for something a little more deep, you know, Beth Moore deep or Elaine for the Journey deep. Plus I knew that within this conference each year we are given anywhere from 2-5 hours of silent time to spend on the beautiful camp ground worshiping and meditating on God. I was ready for this part of it. Then I heard His still small voice.."look at the simple things". I wanted deep. He wanted to remind me of the simple as I had begun to bypass these things each day.
It's easy to do isn't it? Such as waking up and being thankful for life and another day to love and serve? Seeing another person's suffering and realizing your own may not be so bad and praising God for it? Hearing that special song on the radio that reminds you of how much God loves you and how much He has carried you through? The simple things. Gratitude.
After lunch the time of silence began and I started my usual journey to a cross on top of a hill on that camp ground that I found the first year I went to this. It's my yearly pilgrimage where I go to study God's word and pray-rejuvenate. Yesterday was beautiful (in the 70's) and there was a cool, soft breeze. The road to this special place is long and high as you can see in these pictures. Half way up the hill it curves and goes even steeper. My thoughts immediately went to this Bible study we just competed from "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith". Our journey has been like this road-long tough, painful. As my walk weighed heavy on my joints and my muscles burned, I was reminded how this Bible study has weighed heavy on us at times and burned deep into our souls-has it not?

I was tired half way up this hill and got winded (thanks to those extra 15 pounds I am carrying along with my bag of Bible study supplies) and many of us came into this study weary of our own failures and found ourselves catching our breath from the spirits convictions as we journeyed along. The recent rains had dug out deep creases in the dirt road so I had to watch my step to avoid tripping or that not a representation of our life and our need to keep focused on Christ in every circumstance, in every situation? My carry bag weighted me down. It was only my Bible, a notebook, my journal and all my colorful pens but it seemed to grow in weight. What a true representation of the "baggage" we allow ourselves to carry and the impact it can have in us-weighing us down.
At the top of this hill you can go right to a wooded picnic area or go left and further walk up hill toward two other park-like retreat settings. My cross is to that left in a place called Walnut Point. There in the green foliage, is a simple wooded cross surrounded by seats, waiting and beckoning someone to come and sit in it's presence and see Jesus. The sun's light shone on it and it radiated. I walked the distance and there in the tree's I saw destination. Do you see it? Do you have a destination? A plan? A motiviation? Does your walk of faith have a purpose? A goal? These simple pieces of wood some together to mean something so significant and it calls each of us daily to sit in it's shadow, to soak up it's radiance.
As I sat down to cool off from the walk and prepare my heart, I took out the camera and started taking pictures of myself with the cross-like my teenage girls would do. I hated the pictures...I hated the way I looked in them. My expression seems so hard and cold.
How ironic this place is called Walnut Point. Walnuts have a hard shell around them and God reminded me that I too have allowed this hard shell from my life choices to develop around me, and my heart. Like the walnuts, we need to be cracked opened and exposed and I have been doing that this past year but this journey of exposure and transformation is not nearly over..
So, for a short time, I stripped off my weight and I soaked in the radiance of the cross...

In our journey of faith we have to daily soak up His radiance and humble ourselves in obedience.
I than sat there contemplating this hard shell I have been working through, thankful of how much I have cracked through, acknowledging how much more work laid ahead of me. Bugs, like spiders and flies and mosquito's tried to distract me...kind of like sin does in my life. But I kept turning my gaze to the cross. The Lord then provided me with a beautiful butterfly to remind me of what lies ahead.

This walk of faith is like breaking through that tough cocoon of our life to be beautifully exposed and to be able to fly for Him. Are you ready to fly for Him? Are you ready to live out His calling for your life-omitting your self and fully relying on Him? Living in His motivation and not your own? It's tough but the outcome is so promising and so free!
I journeyed back down the hill, full of the simplicities that were around me and their mighty significance. Before returning to the retreat center I walked their labyrinth and prayerfully unloaded and gave God gratitude for this journey. Not just today's journey but our journey through our blog Bible study on walking in faith.
What are we made of? What are we taking on this faith journey? What are your motivations? What are God's motivations? I leave you with a thought from Alicia Britt Chole book "Anonymous" which I read in my Bible study this morning:
"Jesus saw clearly that honoring God's ways and living for man's awe were mutually incompatible life motivations."
What are we living for? Where are we going in this walk of faith? I sometimes struggle for man's approval and it has been part of what has created the resulting hardness and coldness that has encompassed my heart and soul in the past. In breaking free, I have come to see life differently and to seek a different kind of approval. God's approval. It requires walking in faith. It requires commitment. It requires humility and brokenness. But I want to radiate His presence. I want to fly for Him!! How about you?
In Him~Pamela (MrsJoeB)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yes to God Blog Bible Study

What an amazing journey this study has been. Thank you Lelia for hosting it. I have so enjoyed every one's thoughts and perceptions.We have literally walked the chapters in these past weeks ad look how we have grown!! Here are my thoughts on our last chapter from "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith" by Lysa TerKeurst. Everything quoted from the book is in bold pink!

Chapter 20: Every Promise Fulfilled
The Bible is filled with a lot of promises from God. Some we take for grand it, sad to say, some we learn to rely on as it my be our only hope in a most painful situation. In our walk of faith we have to identify God's promises for us and live in. As Lysa wrote, we have to own God's promises personally.
"We come to depend on God and His promises to instruct us, teach us, and lead us...our possession of God's promise affects us. He shapes and molds our character. He redefines who we are and what we are about...God and His promises gain control over our lives. Our relationship with Him so profoundly changes us that we live completely different lives as a result....continue striving to become a women who looks back on her walk with God with no regret."
No regrets? Is that possible? Others want to remind me of where I have gone wrong and how, in their eyes, I could not change and I can only be living in sin the remainder of my life. And they call themselves Christian. They claim to know God and His graces. I have made a few poor choices in my life. We all have. Not one of my sins are too great to be forgiven by God, only by man. I do know about grace and redemption-up close and personal-fully-completely. It is a good thing, a very good thing.
I look back at my past ad I have finally reached that level in which I can now look not at the sin but at the outcome and I am humbled and I am grateful to my God because of what He has made of me despite it. Lysa quoted Andy Stanley in this chapter "Through relationship with God, man is finally capable of doing that which he was incapable of doing on his own". I am capable of really messing things up. In God I am capable of so much more!! My brokenness and the pit I once got myself into has yielded such a fire in my soul for this relationship I now have with Christ that would not have come any other way. Now I can fully live in and through Christ and there is so much joy!!
I read the back cover of this book again. It said that in reading this book you'll learn to...
+embrace a new level of faith (I have!)
+depend on God like never before (I do!)
+believe God for great things (I do! I'm excited and I'm scared too)
+come to end your abilities and accept God's provisions (I have no abilities, I am nothing without Him. I am learning to trust in His provisions more)
+be prepared for miracles (daily I look, daily I anticipate)
What a blessed journey...Thank you Lord for your presence in this.Thank you Lysa for the insightfulness to follow God voice in this. Many lives are being transformed, including mine.

In His Graces~Pamela

Friday, September 12, 2008

Through the Storms...

"Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south..."~Zechariah 9:14

That is exactly what was happening to us here in Missouri this Friday evening. I was driving in to work the night shift and the radio station started announcing tornado warnings in two different areas locally. Always makes one a little nervous-at least it did for me only because I wasn't in the safety of my home with my husband and family. Then the radio station went off the air! A few more miles down the road cop cars came racing up behind me and I knew this wasn't looking good. When the tornado sirens started going off I called my husband and asked him to pray that I would make it to the hospital safely.

I did (thank you Jesus). Walking in the open parking lot was a little nerve-wracking but I made it in and was able to help finish putting the patients out into the hallways for their safety. Five minutes within walking in the employee entrance at the back of the hospital a tornado came out of the skies in front of the hospital and quickly went back up. Oh my gosh...if that had happened when I was walking in...I probably would have needed a new uniform!

But God was protecting He always does. The dark clouds moved in from the south like a snake slithering in the grass. An occasional lighting bolt and loud clasp of thunder would shake the air. The power was there and yet it doesn't compare to the power of our God.
As the storms of life blow in, the dark clouds of depression or despair impound us, the adversity and rejection strike at us...remember, our God is so much more powerful. We are to cling to His promises of love, of grace, of protection and ride out the storm into the safety of His peace.

Safe in my Lord~Pamela (MrsJoeB)

P.S. Praying for all of you in Texas-I know tonight's experience pales in comparison to what is happening in your world.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I with Lelia, our fearless facilitator in this blog Bible study from What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst, can't believe this book is at its end!!What a wonderful journey this has been to travel with each and every one of you and to read your insights into these chapters written by Lysa. Here is my heart and thoughts on these next two chapters, Lysa is quoted in the bright pink!

Chapter 18:A Promised Made is a Promised Kept

"He is looking for those souls who are willing to press close to His heart and hear the cries of the forgotten."

Who are the forgotten? Are they only in another world or can they also be in our backyard? I thought of our little Worknesh we have adopted through Compassion International this summer. I long to give him what we have. My heart was sadden by Lysa's desire to adopt Sergei. I e-mailed her assistant Holly to find out what had happened in that situation since this book is copyrighted 2005. Holly stated that government has closed all adoption channels and the TerKeurst cannot advance forward with this. How incredibly sad for them all. But he is not forgotten, he lives in their heart and now ours. Because of a compassionate heart, a ministry called Compassion International was started and little Worknesh is not forgotten either.

Is this all that we can do? I think not. I am confident there is so much more we can do when we walk in faith. Who are we being called to reach out to in the name of God? Who is feeling forgotten that sits in our pews on Sunday morning, in our neighborhoods, at the grocery store line, etc? God calls us to reach out wherever we are. Are we up for the challenge?

"FAITH stands for Forsaking All, I Trust Him"
I feel this truly sums it up when we look at what it means to walk in faith. Forsaking everything that holds me back, everything that takes away my attention, everything that wants to control me...forsaking it all so I can trust Him!

Chapter 19: God Brings Dreams to Life

This chapter I highlighted a lot. I have grown frustrated in my attempts to grow our church women's ministry. I felt God nudge my heart in this direction and yet no one has the time, the desire, or the commitment to grow this ministry also. I ask God, Why? What is wrong? Is it me? Did I not hear you correctly? Why does it seem that no one else "hungers and thirst" as I do? Why do I feel alone in this?

The pastor acknowledged my heart for women's ministry and also is aware of the frustrations I am experiencing. He shared his mother had encounter the same thing and sometimes we have to "step back...for a time" as she did. Our church is in a building campaign and there are people in the congregation who do not support our growth and the need to build a bigger church building. This drama has hindered so many ministries within our church-not one is unaffected at the moment. We need your prayers in this. So do we let this dream go? Do we put it on the back burner? Do I let go of the need to help women grow in Christ?

"Though she still didn't know how, I pray she knew God could find a way. Though she didn't know when, I pray she now knew the timing was in His hands. Though she didn't even think she had much to offer, I knew God would fill her gaps. I pray she simply knew God was calling her, inviting her, wooing her to something with His fingerprint all over it, and that would be enough."
Okay I just continue this walk in faith...forsaking all I trust you.

"The joy of the journey is not simply reaching the promise land. The real joy was experiencing God throughout all the phases of faith."
Yes..your right Lord, you have been there..your have truly been there and I am thankful. You are my joy...despite it all, there is such great joy!

"Neither the journey nor the promise land will give my heart what it truly desires. I have to walk with God daily and let Him have His way in my heart. I have to embrace the struggles as well as the triumphs, the joys and the sorrows, the deaths and the resurrections. No shortcut or quick fixes will help me become the women God wants me to become."
God, Plant your desire in my heart. Make your dream my dream and lead me on.

"Walking closely with God gives us a more keen insight of our desperate need for Him."
I am desperate for you Lord. I want to be in your word constantly. I can't breath, I can't sleep without your Presence in my life. As Beth Moore said in my devotional book this morning (Breaking Free Day-by-Day)- "I wouldn't trade the relationship with Christ that I discovered in my desperation for all the spotless track records in the world". AMEN and AMEN!!

"...the important thing is not what you do for God but rather that you come to know and believe Him along the way."
I believe. I know. I lay this ministry down to you. If it is to happen, you will make it happen. I just want to be walking this faith journey beside you.

Thank you for being here today.

In Him~Pamela

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Good Cleansing

It seems that everywhere I look and in most blog sites that I visit, there are frequent postings on all the struggles we seem to go through. Life is hard for so many. It leaves people broken with wounds that don't heal and scars that won't go away. Even in this, it is so encouraging to reflect on each bloggers journey, how they have overcome, and be encouraged to persevere. No matter what we are hit with that is negative in our life-illness, rebellious children, rejection, broken relationships, financial pressures, spiritual droughts-despite it all, God is in control. No matter how painful life may be, how beaten and broken we may get, our response to these situations in our life helps to make up our inner being, strengthen our spiritual souls, and equip us to better fulfil God's mission in and through us. Today I came across a most fitting verse for us as we seek to rid ourselves of our pain and struggles and seek God's control in our life. May you too be encouraged by this verse from Proverbs...
"Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beating purge the inmost being"~Proverbs 20:30
Last night I watch my septic patients body fight its infection. It's a challenging thing-full of pain and struggles as the body tries to compensate and return to its normal state-the state in which it was created to function in. One can die in this process if the cleansing isn't thorough. For an infection we have antibiotics and other supportive medications to fight the unwanted evil. As I was caring for this individual I realized my life, my spiritual battle and cleansing is like this. My body shakes and groins at my past pain, my failures, my wounds. This unwanted evil infection weakens me and at times I too have come close to touching death-a spiritual death. My spiritual antibiotic is God's Word. There is nothing more powerful then removing this infection that wants to control and kill me spiritually. The supportive medicine for my healing is not only God's grace but your life messages written out in your blogs. And I could not heal without prayer. My inmost being is fighting evil and this purging process seems to be a long and slow process but if it reveals the me that God created me to be it. I am willing to be made willing (Beth Moore quote). I am thankful.

God is in control-not the wounds and evil that try to plague me. God is in control if I let Him be.

In Him~Pamela (MrsJoeB)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith Blog Bible Study

If you have come over from our host Lelia's site for this Bible study, you know we are venturing into chapters 16 & 17 of this wonderful book. I read these chapters a few weeks ago and as I sit here and review what I had highlighted, I am humbled in how relevant these words are for my moment, my pain today. I have quoted Lysa from her book in dark pink.

Chapter 16: God's Portion, Position, and Promise
I have had to struggle with one of my daughters and her father this week. I will never understand why parents when they divorce cannot keep their kids consideration in all circumstances priority. As I have set boundaries and rules for my 14 year old who boarders on making wrong decision, her father likes to interfere with giving her freedom, while bashing me as a mother. In 2004 when I divorced him we went through a rough situation, I made poor choices and yet I was led back to the shadow of the cross with the assistance of my friend Shelby. In a pit of despair, humiliation, and grief, I found grace and forgiveness from a God I had known all my life.
"Whenever I'm feeling weak, unable, or inadequate, I ask God to be my portion and fill in my gaps."
In these past few days I have been crying out for peace from my God as I have had to relive that painful time. My daughter has thrown back the accusations of my part resulting in the divorce and even untruths involving it all which she keeps getting from her father. All because I chose to stand up for her and say no to activities I felt were unsafe for her. Her frustration combined with our angry responses gives her a reason to be with her father instead and so the battle begins. Her father does not have an environment that promotes God and the values we hope to instill in our kids. Her father, like others, refuse to believe that God could grant us grace and and forgive my sins and therefore I must always pay the price. Somehow the results that lead to our divorce has become one sided.
""God not only wants us to rely on Him for our daily portion but He also demands we keep first place in our lives reserved for Him".
In situations like these, it's hard to keep your focus. We have worked hard to keep communication open between our families and watch how we talk about the other parent, even when they angered us or we disagreed with them. The effects on the kids when you don't literally tear them apart and confuse them. As I walked through these last few days, reliving that event and the accusation that I am a fake and could never have a testimony for the God I have clinged to, I have wanted to scream and run for the hills and leave it all. Leave it all, including this faith. Am I fooling myself? Has these last few years just been a disguise of satan and not Christ working in and through me?
"God allows the heating and the pounding, the abrasive rubs and polishing in my life for a reason. They are purifying and smoothing me so I will reflect Him."
It's been God in my life and not satan. Forgive me Lord for thinking anything else. Satan is hard at keeping me from completing this phase of death within my faith walk. Once he thought he had me because of my poor choices, my mistakes, and yet I gave them to God and He is turning it around. I have to proceed on and rest secure that God will protect my daughter, our daughters, from the untruth they are force to confront.
"Opening night is on it's way"
Yes, it is...I am ready for the resurrection phase of my faith walk.

Chapter 17: God's Dream, God's way
Though I have experienced great pain and fear these last few day, I have clung to the promise verse I received at She Speaks from Deuteronomy 33:12 "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders."

I am secure in God. No matter how many hard words and accusations come my way, I must remain truthful and I must keep my children, our children's thoughts and feelings in line to our reactions in all this.
"Remembering the death phase keeps us humble and keenly aware that the resurrection has nothing to do with us."
This has been a humbling experience. Last night we sat the girls down for a family meeting to again confront what is true and what has been untrue in our lives. We again asked their forgiveness for any pain we have inflicted on them and even continue to inflict. We then told them they could choose at this point to forgive us, they could chose to make this family work, they could chose to love us but they had to chose this. We were not going to force them in any of this. We also again reminded them that they are encouraged to love both parents and to be involved with both parents but we would also do all we could to protect them when we sense something was not safe or good for them. We also share how our relationship with God has really grown since we, Joe and I, came together and it is only because of what we have gone through and the brokenness we have been able to overcome. We promised to live Christ out in our lives even if they chose not to have Him as part of theirs. We will not give up on God capturing their hearts like He has captured ours.
"God's dream must be experienced God's way. If you settle for anything else, you'll never be satisfied."
I will delight in in my God...despite it all. I will stand strong but I continue to seek your prayers. though I still choose to leave part of my testimony unveiled, I cannot survive without your cherished support.

In Him~Pamela

Tonight on the way home from a birthday dinner we had for the boyfriend of one of Joe's girls I heard a song from a country singer-I think his name is Kenny Fowler. It said "best mistake I ever made...God works in mysterious way" fitting this is tonight. God's work with our past mistakes truly amazes me. Thank you Jesus.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Prayers Needed

Blogger friends-blended families go through some of the same issue's as the basic two-parent family but some of those issue's are more dramatic because of the "blending". My family has been faced with a crisis within our family structure. A crisis that may tear this family apart. The pain is very fresh and satan is trying to defeat us as a family unit by making me question not only myself as a parent but every other role I carry. If I feel so close to God and so secure in where He has me and who He has me with, then why do our children pull away from us and God? We needs prayers...desperately need prayers please.