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How Long, Lord?

 

Psalm 13

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

 

How many times have I uttered these same words in my 17 years as a single mom? Too many to count. At times, crying out to God in my despair was the only prayer I could manage. Feeling that God had abandoned me and would never hear my cries for help. For years, I have wrestled with the thoughts of anger, fear, abandonment, insecurity, doubt, you name it, I have wrestled with it. I have spent years with sorrow in my heart, wondering when my situation would change. Wondering when God would deliver me from the oppression of this single mom life. Life was my enemy. My circumstances were my enemy. I eventually realized that Satan is my enemy and he loves nothing more than to see me down in the dumps and not trusting God.

“Answer me, Lord! Help me! Deliver me from this oppression!” This was the cry of my heart. Still is on some days. Life is not perfect. I have my good days and my bad days. As the kids grow into adulthood, the struggles are different, but still ever present. They still need me and I still need them. I still struggle making ends meet financially. I struggle with new issues, more adult issues, that the kids are dealing with as they grow up. I struggle with when not to “parent” them but simply encourage them. I struggle with knowing when to just be that loving, listening ear. In all of this, I cry out to God for wisdom, provision and grace.

Even in the times when I feel that God has left me, I guess I am still rooted deep enough, that I still trust that He loves me. I still trust that God is working in my situation, even when I try to sabotage His efforts. Even when I feel abandoned, I still have faith that He IS there, waiting for me to find Him again. In ALL things I give praise! Times of trial are simply making us stronger in our faith. When I am facing the fire, I know that this is the time to really hang on to HIM in prayer and reading His word. Life is full of trials and struggles, but our God will NEVER change.

If you are crying out today, single mom, know that God hears you! Praise Him in the struggle. Trust in His unfailing love for you and your kids. Whatever it is, He will work it out. Keep praying and keep digging into the promises found in His word. If you need some extra prayer, contact me. I’m always here to lend an ear.

God loves you and so do I!

 

I am reminded daily that God cares about the small things in our lives. He cares about those situations that stress us out. It is my personal opinion that He delights in helping us out in stressful situations. I know that I delight in being able to help my kids out when they are facing struggles in life. God is no different, in fact, He loves us so much more.

I was at our local BMV yesterday with my paperwork to register a car that my 17 year old son, Talon had just bought. A female worker calls my number and I go up to her desk. She looks over my paperwork and asks about my proof of insurance. I had driven a different vehicle and had forgotten it. She was starting to tell me that I would have to step aside and call the insurance company when a worker down the line called another number. I was starting to get stressed, when my worker waved me down to the other worker, for no apparent reason and took the customer with the other number. My new worker took my insurance policy number off of my other vehicle information in the computer system and never blinked an eye. I got everything done and it ended up okay. This may seem like a coincidence. It may seem like a positive alignment of fate or something of that sort, but I know better. It was my God. Why would He help me out in such a simple matter? Because He loves me. Why do I help out my kids in simple matters? Because I love them.

Another incident happened a couple of days ago, with my son Talon. He was driving his dad’s 1990 Chevy truck around, doing whatever 17 year old guys do, when he decided that he would swing by his house (he lives with his dad and co-mom). He suddenly felt like stopping by the house and when he pulled into the alley beside the house the A-frame on the truck broke in two. He had no plans on stopping by the house. He just felt the urge to stop by. So, they just had to move it a few feet into the yard instead of having to deal with it miles from the house. I am also, reminded that Talon may have escaped injury because he paid attention to that little nudge to go home. This is not coincidence. This is not some cosmic favor. This is God. I pray over my kids and God hears my prayers.

My 15 year old son, Ty was thrown from a 4-wheeler in March. Had the 4-wheeler landed on him, he could have been killed. Coincidence? Nope! God sent His Guardian Angels to protect Ty and all he ended up with was a scrapped up leg. The Angels made sure that Ty was clear of the 4-wheeler.

Psalm 91:11-12

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

There are little things that God does on a daily basis to help me out. He works out little details to let me know that He is with me and I am not carrying this load alone. When I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, God shows up and performs little miracles to let me know that I am loved by the Creator of the Universe. Life is not perfect and sometimes I struggle on a daily basis, but I am blessed to be loved by my Abba Father. I don’t deserve His intervention, but I am so grateful for it.

kiowahome

I haven’t written in about 6 weeks. It has been a crazy, busy time and still is. I am tired. Life has a way of changing and we have to change with it or we will go crazy. I am trying to find peace in these changes. I am trying to trust God with my future. I will write more about that in my next post, but for now I will catch you up on the last 6 weeks.

Early May was not a great time for me emotionally or mentally. I went through what Mother Teresa called a dark night of the soul. I felt disconnected from God and quite frankly, my mind! I did nothing but cry and I felt like I was going crazy. I was in a dark place and at one horrible moment broke down in front of my daughter and said that I just wanted to kill myself. Would I really? No. I hope I would never get to where I really considered it. But, I understand how the mind can go to a place that dark and you have no control over it. I forced myself to maintain my daily Bible reading and my prayer life. Sometimes those prayers were simply, “God, help me.” I’ve been praying a lot of those lately. God answered that prayer through a Facebook post. It was an article on how Satan attacks the mind to keep us from God and our God given purpose. WOW! I now knew how to fight back and I changed my prayers into rebuking Satan and letting him know that he would not get my mind!!! I feel better. I am still emotionally and mentally tired. God is asking me to trust Him like never before with my future and I feel overwhelmed. But, more of that later.

My daughter Cree was married on May 27th. Cree is 20 and going into her Junior year majoring in Elementary Education. She is so young. I pray that they will put Jesus in the center of their marriage and future family and that they will live out love and grace. The wedding was beautiful. She was beautiful. Cree married Antony, a 22 year old Mechanical Engineering Major from Egypt. God bless this marriage.

Another event was Kiowa getting to come home from Japan for the wedding. Kiowa is my 22 year old Airman. She has been stationed in Japan since April of 2016. We had not seen her in 14 months. She was here for 3 wonderful weeks and has now returned to Japan for another 9 1/2 months and then possibly moving on to S. Korea. It was so great to have her home. I am glad that she was able to be a part of her sisters wedding. My kids have always been close. I think they always will be.

God still speaks to me through every day events. He lets me know that He is always near. Even in the darkest moments, he has not left us. He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us and that’s a promise I am holding Him to. I don’t know what the future will hold, but I do know that I will continue to hold fast to my God and my loving Savior Jesus.

 

 

 

Matthew 12:25-26

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?

How did the Church of America become so broken? How did we get to this place where we care more about our Sunday morning productions and many ministries than we do about truly loving each other? When did the Church become a business to be run? People are running from the Church in droves because we have become judgemental, cliquish and mean. Our pastors and church leaders have become selfish. If it isn’t done their way, then it isn’t done. If someone doesn’t agree with their way or their opinions then they are ostracized or defriended. Christianity has become a huge entertainment business and we have forgotten the ONE this whole business is centered around: JESUS! We are mean spirited. We run around gossiping, spreading rumors, tearing each other down and ignoring those we feel are somehow inferior to us. We stand behind our denominational lines and turn our noses up at everyone who doesn’t believe the way we do, because somehow we have gotten it into our heads that we are right and everyone else is wrong. Denominations are man made. WE have divided the church. WE have become so full of ourselves that WE fight against each other to have the biggest church buildings, the largest congregations (whether people are disciples or not doesn’t really matter, as long as they fill the pews), the grandest Sunday morning productions, the most ministries, etc. etc. The Church has become the vehicle to boost our egos. We think all of this is okay because we throw God in here and there. We teach Jesus, so isn’t that enough? Do we actually have to FOLLOW JESUS EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES? Isn’t giving a good biblical sermon enough?

WAKE UP CHURCH OF AMERICA!!!

We are creating broken hearts…broken spirits and if we don’t fix this NOW, this entire country will pay the price.

So, what is the solution?

A better question is:

WHERE IS THE LOVE?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 John 3:16-18

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

1 John 4:8

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Proverbs 10:12

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

Colossians 3:12-14

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Mark 12:29-31

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Why aren’t we loving people to Jesus? Why are people leaving the Church in droves because they are being hurt inside the Church? We are not perfect. I know that. I certainly have done my fair share of hurting others, but Jesus expects us to love one another and not just other christians but EVERYONE! That’s how non-believers become believers…we LOVE them to Jesus. If we let go of our judgemental, selfish attitudes and started to love those in our congregations and our communities, we would unleash revival on America like we have never seen before. But, I don’t feel very loving.

LOVE IS NOT A FEELING!

LOVE IS ACTION!

GOD IS LOVE!

The more love you give, the more love you will have to give. It starts with each christian, each pastor, each church leader, each congregation, in each city, in each county, in each state, to bring revival to a nation. It takes prayer, but it takes each of us being willing to obey Jesus and step out of our comfort zones and LOVE those around us. Reach out to the ones who are broken in some way by life. God will NOT answer our prayer for revival and spiritual awakening if we do not take action and start loving people to Jesus.

A REAL SPIRITUAL AWAKENING BEGINS WITH LOVE!

We CAN unite the Church of America.

We CAN bring God back to America:

It starts with you and it starts with me.

IT STARTS WITH LOVE!

GO OUT AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

 

 

 

 

 

Where have you been?
I’ve looked for you for ever and a day
Where have you been?
I’m just not myself when you’re away

The above is the chorus of a hit 1980’s country song sung by Kathy Mattea. When I heard Where have you been? at work a few days ago, the chorus became more like a prayer:

Where are you, Lord?

I search and search and I still can’t find you.

Why have you left me?

I am deeply troubled without you.

My spirit longs for your presence.

Where are you, Lord?

Why have you abandoned me?

There are times when it seems that God has left me to navigate this world alone. I pray and pray, but it seems that God is just, gone. I feel alone. I feel like I have been left to handle my life issues alone. For years I cry out for relief from the oppression, but my prayers seem to fall on deaf ears. Does He hear me? Does He care? Does He know that the world seems to be crashing in around me? Does He care? I can’t do this alone. I am tired. I am weak. My source of strength has left me. My heart beat fades, until it beats no more.

My spirit cries out,

 I NEED YOU GOD!!!

I NEED YOU JESUS!!!

WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME???

In the stillness, I hear a whisper:

 I have not left you.

I love you.

You are my beloved child.

I am here.

I will never leave you

nor

forsake you.

My heart beats again. My spirit quickens with joy again. I am not alone. I cried out and He heard me. He wiped my tears gently. He whispered my name and calmed my fears. He loves me. I am alive, because He lives within me. I can conquer anything, because He is with me.

I’m just not myself when you’re away.

Stronger Together

 

I love this picture of myself and my companion, Sister Kay. I am honored that this is the picture on the Associate poster with the caption: stronger together. As Sister Kay and I have walked through the 6 integration units together, I have learned so much about myself, the Sisters, and providence. We have become friends and I cherish the time we have spent together.

Stronger together. As the Sisters grow older and gradually come home to “The Woods,” we, as associates, have the job of being providence in the world around us. It is our job to live out the charism of the Sisters of Providence by bringing love, mercy and justice into our sphere of influence. We can not do it alone. We need the support, prayers, encouragement and love of the Sisters to keep us going. We need to come back to the motherhouse to connect and strengthen each other so that we all may have the courage to continue the journey that our dear Saint Mother Theodore started those many many years ago. We need each other. I am blessed to be included in this community of Sisters and associates. I am excited to see where this journey will lead. I am somewhat anxious as I step out of my comfort zone, but I will eagerly embrace the challenge, as I walk arm in arm with the Sisters and fellow associates. We are indeed, stronger together.

Mission And Ministry

 

Deep within us

Is the power to change our lives

Heal the broken

Loose the bound

Live welcoming to all

(author unknown)

The congregation logo for the Sisters of Providence is, “Breaking boundaries, creating hope.” Throughout His ministry, Jesus was about the business of breaking boundaries and creating hope in the lives of the hopeless and oppressed all around Him. The above poem is a beautiful representation of how Jesus lived those last years in His ministry. He broke the boundaries of what was culturally correct in His day to create hope for those who so desperately needed hope in their lives.

What is hope? 

Instead of giving you the standard dictionary definition, I am going to give you my definition.

Hope is the unwavering certainty that no matter what chaos is playing itself out in the world or in our own personal circumstances, God is at work in the midst of it. He is in control and there is nothing and no one that can stand between us and His will for us. He works for the good of those who love Him and He always will. 

There are so many people who live without hope in their lives. They don’t know the hope that a relationship with Jesus brings. How can we bring hope to those that we come across on a daily basis?

Luke 19:10 tells us that the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. This was the basis for His ministry. Jesus did that through healing the broken, loosing the bound, and welcoming the poor in spirit. This unit challenged me to think of life as ministry. I was challenged to open my eyes and my heart to the ministry opportunities in my daily life. Life is a ministry. A wise Sister told me a few months ago that my job in the food service dept. with the Sisters of Providence was a ministry. She wanted me to see that I make a difference in the lives of the Sisters and their guests simply by my willingness to be present. It has not been easy for me to see my job as a ministry. In my mind I didn’t see ministry as serving these women of God who do so much to serve others. because of the words of this wise Sister, I have started to see that my presence, my smile (even when I’m tired), my prayers, are indeed a ministry and I can think of no better way to serve these beautiful women. I have spent so much time frustrated because God would not place me in a “full-time ministry” position, when I have been in one all along.

When we open our hearts and our eyes to the pain in the world around us, God will give us opportunities to heal the broken, loose the bound and welcome the poor in spirit. I have found my ministry. I am to stand with the Sisters, fight injustice, love my neighbor and have mercy on all. I am to live as Jesus lived: life as ministry.