Be Bold – Share Your Story

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Share Your Story

It felt as though I was convulsing on the inside. The anxiety was crippling as it twisted back and forth in my belly. The words I had practiced over and over in the wee hours of the morning threatened to stay locked up tight where safety ruled. The urge to bite my cuticles was overwhelming because it felt like the only relief that was available to me at the time.

It was the moment of all moments. The moment I would tell over 200 women about the skeletons that laid so neatly in the closet of my heart.

What would they think about me?  Would they see me differently?

It’s a story that typically is not told. From the world’s point of view it’s shameful and private. Something to be kept secret. It’s full of drama. Heart wrenching, yet inspiring. I won’t go into all the details here because that’s not what this article is really about. It’s not about my story.

Share Your Story

It’s about the fact that I was bold enough to tell it.

I closed my eyes and breathed deeply; hoping and praying for solace and confirmation from the Lord about what I was about to do. Even though He’d confirmed it before time and time again, in that moment I felt I needed more.

I was teetering between two very different thoughts. The first was how exciting it was going to be to share God’s miraculous story of how He saved me and my marriage. The second was literally what in the hell was I thinking in telling people about my past?

“Lord, I need you, please help me” I whispered.

As I closed my eyes I felt something like I’ve never felt before. It was like Jesus took a warm blanket and wrapped it around my frail and freezing body. I looked around me and saw dear friends who had loved and supported me. One friend smiled sincerely at me and I knew that it was God telling me, “it’s going to be okay, I’ve got this.” I suddenly felt peace like a river rushing wildly inside of me.

I walked on stage with my Bible in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and began to tell my story of God’s amazing grace and His beautiful redemption.

After a brief opening the words that paralyzed and shamed me for so long came spilling out of my mouth.

Today I have the honor of being a guest over at Rachel Britton’s place today. Rachel is passionate about living bold and fearlessly. I hope you’ll follow me over there to hear the rest of my “be bold” story.  

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My Positively Lovely Story| #fierceFriday

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It’s #fierceFriday (yay)! and HI GUYS! It’s been too long, I know. I’m just about settled here in beautiful Colorado. It’s been extremely challenging and I’ll save the details for later, but today let’s just be fierce, okay? If you have a #fierce story to share contact me! People need to read your words!

It's #fierceFriday #friYAY - what's your #fierce story? Click To Tweet
Today I bring you Lauren. What can I say about my new young friend? She is wise, smart, caring and LOVELY. Her words bring joy and life. Although it’s hard for me to relate to her story, tears rolled down my cheeks as I read her words. I am positively lovely, as are you my friend. Read on!

You are positively Lovely

Positively Lovely

I remember the night everything fell apart like it was yesterday. I’d just come home from a long swim practice and found my dinner wrapped on the counter, ready to be microwaved. I scarfed down the steak and potatoes and headed immediately for my room, so I could work on homework. And that’s when it happened. My first anxiety attack.

I won’t bore you with all the details of what led to the attack (simply because they aren’t that relevant to this story) but I will tell you this: In a moment I went from feeling fine to feeling like my life was over.

The attack was so horrendous I couldn’t get it out of my head the next day. The scenes from that night played like a bad YouTube video on repeat in my mind. I wondered how I could let myself get so out of control, and I was afraid that if it happened once it could happen again. And that night, I had another anxiety attack.

One-by-one they kept coming. Night after night, month after month, I laid in bed powerless to the psychosomatic response that had become a daily occurrence. I’d grown up in the church and given my life to Jesus as a child, but none of that was helping, or so it seemed at the time.

I began to hate the girl I saw in the mirror staring back at me. I wanted to reach through the glass and slap her silly. I wanted to shake her and scream at her, “I hate you!” I wanted to beg her to just stop feeling the way she was feeling. But that didn’t make the attack didn’t go away.

It was a slow process, but as the months went on, I began to let the anxiety attacks define me. When I looked in the mirror I no longer saw a beautiful, captivating woman. I saw a detestable, pathetic shell of a human being who was a slave to anxiety.

When God didn’t answer my prayers of surrender and deliver me from the anxiety, I began to doubt His love for me. Even worse, I began to doubt my value. Maybe I’m not worth saving, I thought to myself. It was a total lie from the enemy, but in my weakened state I let it take root in my soul.

Eventually the attacks dwindled. But my beaten identity lingered.

It wasn’t until a few years later, when God brought a counselor into my life, that I began to understand who I was as a daughter of God.

The more we talked through the lies and labels I’d given myself, the more I began to see that I wasn’t positively horrible — I was Positively Lovely!

I’d been a “Christian” my whole life, but in this moment it’s like I was seeing myself for the first time — seeing myself as my Father saw me, instead of the bruised and beaten up version I was holding on to in my mind. By His grace and with His guiding hand, I began to work on exchanging the lies for truth by claiming His word over my life.

Every day I reminded myself that no matter what I face:

I am a daughter of the One True God. (John 1:12)
I am loved more than I could ever imagine. (John 3:16)
I am a living work of art — a true masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)
I am more precious and valuable than jewels. (Proverbs 3:15)

No matter what you face, you are daughter to the one true God. #fierceFriday @lauren_inspires Click To Tweet

It was one thing to read these scriptures growing up, but finally knowing and claiming these truths changed my life.

I began to see when I lived within my God-given identity, I really could do all things through Christ, as Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13. In Him I was not pathetic, helpless or alone. In Him I could drive out fear; I could rest; and I could overcome whatever struggle came my way.

With each faithful step I took, God revealed more of himself to me, and day by day, He pulled me further out of darkness and into the light.

You see, there is a darkness but we don’t belong to it. And not only do we not belong to it, but it also has no authority over us.

Darkness has no authority over us! #PositivelyLovely #fierceFriday @lauren_inspires Click To Tweet

As I mentioned earlier, there was a time I let my struggles define me, but I’m not going back there — to the darkness, to the night, to the overwhelming pit of despair. Because I’ve been called into the light — into abundant life. And so have you. And we don’t have to even entertain the darkness because as children of God it’s not who we are. It does not define us.

You are positively lovely

You are Positively Lovely. And nothing will ever change that.

Positively Lovely Lauren GaskillLauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the Finding Joy podcast. She is passionate about encouraging women to lead spiritually healthy, joy-filled and redeemed lives as Positively Lovely daughters of God. Lauren writes at LaurenGaskillinspires.com and is in the process of publishing her first book. When she’s not writing or speaking, Lauren loves to cook, bake and go on hikes with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who is affectionately named Reese after Lauren’s favorite candy — peanut butter cups.    

 Connect with Lauren here: 

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Overcoming in Marriage

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Overcoming in Marriage

Last week me, my husband and daughter went to our favorite local Mexican restaurant. He had just arrived home after a week-long business trip. As we got caught up on the week’s events I couldn’t help but notice the sweet elderly couple sitting across from us. They both had years of wrinkles splattered across their face that seemed to carve a map of their lives together.

Years of happiness, adventures, and utter heartbreak no doubt were some of the paths on their map.

They were a beautiful couple. I could tell that they loved each other deeply and did not take each other for granted. As they got up to leave, being frail and fragile himself, the man helped his wife up and they grasped hands, each helping each other walk out of the restaurant.

Aside from going to heaven, they had made it. All of the good and bad times had brought them to that moment.

There’s no doubt that this couple had gone through hell to get to where they were.  Because you see, that’s life.

Overcoming in Marriage

About 10 years ago my marriage was severely broken. It was so broken, that those around us just assumed that it wouldn’t survive. There was just no way that it could overcome the devastation.

And honestly it probably wouldn’t have if it would have been left up to just me and my husband. We were too weak. Not strong enough. Every ounce of might that we had disappeared like vapor in the wind.

The damage was too much. The betrayal too deep. Hearts that were once whole were shattered into a million tiny little pieces.

And there was no hope.

Today I’m a guest writer over at Flourishing Today.  I’d love for you to follow me over there as I talk about how John and I overcame the most devastating circumstances in our marriage!

 

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When Life is Awkward

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When life is awkward

Awkward.

It’s the only word I can think of to describe my life right now.

A lot of my days as of late have consisted of memorizing the chorus and the clap-snap-clap to “Closer” by the Chainsmokers. I mean seriously…shouldn’t I be doing something…anything else? Awkward.

My youngest little is trying to navigate herself socially around a school that is 3 times the size of her previous school. Bless her sweet soul.

Our current living situation is a corporate apartment, which means that it was fully furnished and provided by John’s company. Knowing that this is a HUGE blessing, it’s also a bit awkward. All of the furnishings are not my own, which means they really aren’t my taste. Awkward.

We’re in the process of remodeling and finishing the basement out in our home that we just purchased. We move in next week and will be smack dab in the middle of it all. Please pray for my hair. I’m hoping it all will be in tact when this is done.

Half our clothes are in storage. (This includes my favorite fall boots, which is a travesty in itself)

All of the above reflect different shades of awkward.

Awkward isn’t necessarily bad, just- um..”awkward.”

On the bright side, amidst all the “awkwardness,” my youngest little and I have had the most fun times lately. We’re learning how to navigate life without Alex and although I miss her so.stinking.much., Averee and I are having a blast with each other as we’re searching for our new normal.

Laughter really is the best medicine.

Alex, who we all know is a freshman in college is having the time of her life. Oh she’s having the time of her life alright…anyone that follows her Instagram account can see that with just one picture. Something has happened and she’s been “struck.” And she’s glowing.  I’ll just leave that right there.

Then last Sunday John had a “God” moment. I love God moments, don’t you? This particular moment was something that included our entire family of four. As he began to share it with me he wept. And then well, you know, I wept. And we wept together for several minutes. I love the beautiful moments in marriage that are vulnerable and raw. I also love the strength of a man who isn’t afraid to cry. Tears from a man reflect such strength. What a blessing.

I’m thankful that throughout the awkward moments in life we’re able to laugh, cry and glow. In this period of transition I want you all to know that appreciate your patience as I adjust to a new routine and writing schedule.

The next 4-6 weeks will be extremely hectic as we are in the middle of the remodel and basement finish and also hosting family visits and I deeply appreciate your prayers!

I love you all so so much!

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A Pain not Wasted | Fierce Friday

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Happy #fierceFriday y’all! Alisa is my guest today. Alisa is a Louisiana girl through and through and she even has the accent to prove it. She blogs over at Flourishing Today and is stuffed full of wisdom. Enjoy!

Death is one of life’s harshest realities. It has the ability to produce grief, fear, doubt and a myriad of other emotions that can leave us isolated and locked up for years. It’s deep wounds can leave scars that are constant reminders of what could’ve been, but will never be. Yet there are times when out of death, comes new life.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. John 12:24

It was 5am and my phone was ringing. I couldn’t imagine who would want to talk at that hour. As my husband handed me the phone, I could tell in his eyes is wasn’t good. “Alisa, your father was killed in a car accident last night.” The words pierced my soul like a bullet in the chest. It was like a bad dream that I couldn’t be awakened from. Thoughts of grandkids he would never meet and special moments he would miss flooded my mind.

He was a good man who served others to a fault.

Why would God allow this to happen?

I struggled with these thoughts for weeks. I grew up in church learning that God was good and that He loved me. Yet at this moment, I saw no good that could come out of this. Each day seemed to grow dimmer as grief and fear settled into what seemed like their permanent home in my heart and mind. I couldn’t seem to get passed the hurt and pain.

I wanted so badly to believe that God was real and that He would show up on my behalf. I will never forget this moment. I cried out, “God if you are real, I desperately need you to show up now!”

And He did.

I wiped the tears away and I felt something telling me to go to Home Depot and get some flowers. I had never planted anything before, so the thought seemed ridiculous. Nonetheless, I went. I got some soil, flowers, a shovel and some gloves. I headed home with my trunk full and my heart open to whatever this feeling was leading me to do. I began planting the flowers all along the side of my house. As I dug up the dirt, I sensed that something new was about to take place. If only for a moment, I felt a ray of hope for the future.

Difficult situations can teach us invaluable life lessons if we seek God in the midst of them.

Hard situations teach us invaluable life lessons if we seek God in the midst of them.… Click To Tweet

 

how-2

A month or so later, my mother in law came for a visit to help with my small boys. I knew she saw my pain. But more than seeing, she knew what I was going through. Her mother had died when she was young as well. As we sat down to breakfast one morning, she told me something that began to challenge me to rise up and overcome the emotional state I was in.

“Alisa, maybe you should start a Thanksgiving Journal. Each day write down one thing you can be thankful for. Even if it’s thanking God you have breath that day.”

A few days later, I began my journal. What began as an exercise to overcome, rekindled a love for writing. I journaled my thoughts, my feelings and my desires. Several months later, through divine relationships, my husband and I began attending a local church.

It was there that I gave my heart to Jesus.

I knew He was real, He had shown up for me months before. I realized it was Him asking me to plant those flowers, it was Him giving me the hope for the future. But it wasn’t just for a moment, but for a lifetime. He often reminded me of those flowers. They were a symbol of the new growth He was doing in me. Over the next few years, He began digging up all the hurts from the past and planting His Word in their place.

He was doing a new thing in me. He was giving me a new start, a new life in Him.

Although losing my dad was one of the most difficult times in my life, God used it for my good and His glory.

My salvation came out of his death.

Healing came out of his death.

God will never waste one ounce of our pain. #fierceFriday @alisa_nicaud Click To Tweet

waste-pain

Maybe your going through a difficult circumstance right now. Perhaps your feeling alone, afraid and hopeless. Friend, God has a great plan for you. He wants to bring healing to every area that causes you pain. He wants to touch those places that you’ve built walls around and bring victory into your life.

That’s why Jesus came, that we may have new life in Him.

As we seek Him in the midst of our pain, we will see Him show up in ways we never imagined.

alisa-nicaud-sidebarA native of Virginia, Alisa Nicaud currently lives just north of New Orleans, LA with her husband Philip Nicaud, their five children and their dog, Roux. She owns a boutique coaching practice and is the founder of the blog, Flourishing Today. Through her own tragedies, Alisa is intimately familiar with the struggles of anxiety, fear, insecurity and depression. Alisa’s willingness to be transparent gives her a unique advantage in relating to women from all walks of life and leadership. She freely shares helpful hints and practical encouragement rooted in Biblical truth in her posts and resources. Her passion is to equip women to overcome any limitations preventing them from leading a flourishing life. You can learn more by visiting her blog at www.flourishingtoday.com

You can also connect with Alisa on

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Loving your Spouse Well During the Teen Years

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loving your spouse well during the teen years

When John and I got married a little over 25 years ago we had no idea what we were getting ourselves in to as it regards to parenting. And I would guess that most couples feel the same.

Marriage can be hard, yes.. but parenting?

Ugh..

And how about parenting two teens…that just happen to be girls. 

Oh, God. <Literally>

We’ve got two girls. Honestly we wouldn’t trade them for anything but I would be lying if I told you it’s been easy. Because it hasn’t.

My oldest little is a freshman in college this year and my youngest is a sophomore in high school.

The last 4-6 years have been a bit challenging for us to say the least. We’ve had some hard years, just like most parents.

But I’m not here to talk about parenting teens, instead I want to talk to you about loving your spouse well during the sometimes rocky teenage years.

Parenting teens naturally adds a certain kind of stress to marriage.

And once children enter into the family your marriage matters MORE, not less. Sometimes I think couples get it backwards. They pour every ounce of energy into their kids, and neglect their spouse. But actually, in doing this they are indirectly neglecting their kids and their futures.

When you put your spouse and marriage before your kids, you’re doing them a favor. You’re actually putting them first.

You are literally their example of what their marriage could look like in the future.

I strongly believe that teens who come from a happy home life in which their mom and dad have happy marriages are more likely to have happy marriages themselves.

And that’s the ultimate goal when we have children right? To raise them up to be happy, well adjusted adults.

Here are a few things I’ve learned a long the way in my own marriage when parenting teens:

Be a team

You’re in this together. I see so many marriages suffer and fail and the primary reason is that they are competing with each other rather than working together.

Raising our daughters has been a monumental task and it’s one we both take very seriously. We realize that it can’t be done with just one of us. It takes BOTH of us, working together as a team.

It’s true that John and I don’t always see eye to eye on everything. And that’s okay. Being on the same team does not necessarily mean that you see eye to eye. In fact, a team is stronger when they don’t think a like.

John and I have two different thought processes in parenting. And although the two are different, we have managed to blend them together as a team to raise our girls the best possible way we know how. Our parenting styles are so different yet they mesh together into something pretty cool. I make up for his weaknesses and he makes up for mine. The result is a really strong parenting style between the two of us.

 

Celebrate key milestones together

 

Knowing that every perfect and good gift comes from Him, we also take pride in knowing that our DNA combined formed two beautiful female humans. Have you ever just thought about how cool that is?

So when milestones such as the first prom, homecoming, academic and/or athletic ability, come around, we take it seriously. Whatever those milestones may be, we celebrate them together as a couple.

I have fond memories of my oldest’s first prom. It was a huge moment for me and John. One in which we celebrated together. We both looked on with pride as parents because everything that we’d been through as a couple had brought us to that huge moment in her life and we didn’t take it lightly.

I’m excited about being a guest today at Searching for Moments. Click here to read this rest of this article!

 

My Love/Hate Relationship with Mothering | Fierce Friday

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Today I bring you Kristi. Kristi is a fellow blogger who just happens to live in Oklahoma, where I’m originally from. We had the privilege of riding together to a retreat several months ago and we hit it off immediately. I love Kristi’s down to earth personality and I know that you will too!

My Love/Hate Relationship with Mothering

 My Love/Hate Relationship with Mothering

Mothering and I have a love/hate relationship.

I love the idea of being a good mom. I want to be one. But there’s a struggle and underlying uncertainty with each attempt. I simply don’t feel good enough.

And I hate it.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Try.

Fail.

Self scorn.

Mothering pity party for 1.

Attempt again.

And girl, don’t even place a June Cleaver-type in my tracks.

 

It’ll be cause for a self-worth train wreck of the awful kind.

She’s so good, and I’m so…not. {sigh}

Cue the shortfall.

And the cycle begins again.

Let me offer a few examples…

There was the day I poked my head in the side door of our little Ellie, our silver flash of a van, only to find crumbs sprinkled on her floorboard and seats. And never-mind the trash shoved into the cracks and seat pockets. Goodness!

I sighed in defeat. After all, don’t good mothers keep clean vans? Mine was a mess. I stamped myself “Not Good Enough!”

Then there was the day milk spilled all over the dinner table – for the 455th time.

 

It rushed directly to the crevice – of course! It couldn’t gather in a nice, little puddle on the tabletop and wait patiently for a clean-up, could it?

With white liquid streaming to the floor below, I bellowed a slow motion “Noooooo” in my brain. I’m not certain what came out of my mouth. Six eyes stared at me as I cried, giving credence that women do cry over spilt milk. And kids stare at their cryin’ mamas.

And then there were those days when winning a tennis match with Serena Williams seemed easier than bearing the internal banter called “mothering indecision”.

Is he really hurt or does he just want attention?

Should I make her tow the mark on this one, or offer a “get out of jail free”?

Should I let them go or should they stay home?

Oh, the indecision…

Its chatter might as well have been plastered on a sandwich board hooked over my shoulders, hanging for all to see: “Bad Mother – Will Never Get It Right.”

But something has changed. I’m not that same mama crying over spilt milk anymore.

After all, milk doesn’t call us by name – God does.

 

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine IS 43:1 NIV

Oh, I still like a clean van. And when those tires shine ~oooo!

But food crumbles left by clean and grimy little hands alike don’t create our identity – our Creator does.

 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph. 2:10 NIV

My Love/Hate Relationship with Mothering

And the incessant indecision? It proved to be works of perfection determining my worth. I was afraid of being wrong for fear of being “not good enough”. It left little room for Jesus and His beautiful grace.

A right or wrong decision doesn’t determine our worth – our Daddy above does.

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph. 2:8-9 NIV

A right/wrong decision doesn't determine our worth, our Daddy above does. @Kristi_Woods… Click To Tweet

The force behind these changes is what I call Godfidence. You know – God confidence.

Godfidence.

Are you mothering with Godfidence? @Kristi_Woods #FierceFriday #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet

It’s not a 10-step process or a read from Mothering for Dummies. (Is there even such a book?!)

No. It’s a little girl walking alongside her big, strong, capable Father, linking fingers in prayer, the word, and worship – fiercely clinging to Him through life’s decisions. And never letting go.

It’s a Daddy who knows just what His little girl needs – and being faithful to love her all the way through the changes. With each change, she gains God confidence – Godfidence. And her steps become more firm.

As my Father revealed lies buried deep in my own heart, He healed me. He healed my thoughts. He healed my mothering way of life. It was a process – and still is.

I changed. My mothering changed. But it wasn’t a mothering issue after all. It wasn’t crumbs, indecision, or spilt milk. No, those were only evidence. It was a heart condition.

As the Lord worked on my heart, I gained confidence.

 

It overflowed into mothering. It was Godfidence.

Mothering with Godfidence? Yes, please! @Kristi_Woods #fiercelyHis #fierceFriday Click To Tweet

So let’s stick with it – mothering emersed in trust of the Lord, okay? Let’s link our fingers with our Father, keeping eyes on His prize, trusting Him as we step. Let’s cling fiercely to Jesus.

Our God will show us the lies. He’ll also help us heal. And we’ll gain Godfidence for this race called life, mothering included.

After all, He can take any love/hate relationship with mothering and beautifully turn it into one of love/love. I’m living proof. To God be the glory.

picture1Kristi Woods is a writer and speaker passionate about seeing women walk deeper with God. She clicks her words of encouragement at http://www.KristiWoods.net regularly and is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions as well as on Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today and on various blogs. Kristi, her retired-from-the-military husband, and their three children survived a nomadic, military lifestyle and have now set roots in Oklahoma.

Connect with Kristi here: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

 

Thanks for stopping by today!  Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below.  Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

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Finding Joy Podcast: Rising Up

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Finding Joy Podcast w/Shannon Geurin

You guys! I’m so honored to be a part of the lovely Lauren Gaskill’s Finding Joy Podcast today!  Finding Joy is a podcast dedicated to bringing you encouragement and inspiration in all of life’s moments — the good, bad and everything in-between.

I absolutely love Lauren. She’s adorable and the kinda girl that you can just easily talk to. It’s a gift that she has.

Finding Joy Podcast

Click here and it will take you to her website where you’ll find the link to the podcast where I talk about:

  • My struggle with infidelity.
  • How God helped me and John restore our marriage.
  • How to combat shame and the lies from the enemy.
  • What it looks like to rise up for Christ.
  • What it means to be Fiercely His.

Enjoy my friends!

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Legacy

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Legacy

We had planned on a long weekend. My sister was in town for the weekend and Alex was coming home too. We planned on going to Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. We were going to go to the Taste of Denver and stroll down Pearl Street in Boulder, eat on patios, all the while looking at mountain views.

Alex was supposed to land at 7am on Friday morning. We were on our way to pick her up at the airport when we got the call that my precious Grandma had taken her last breath.

9 hours later we were packed up and started on the road to Oklahoma so that we could be with family and that me and my sister could be with our Mom.

It wasn’t a time of mourning but a time of celebration.

Because Grandma had fought the good fight.

She had won the race.

And she is in heaven now, whole and healthy, dancing with my Grandpa.

So much changed in her 94 years on earth. From technology to transportation to relationships, there’ve been oodles of changes. Yet with all of the changes, as I look back on my life, she taught me so much.

There are three things she taught me. She taught me how to have fun, how to serve, and to be a woman of God.

I had the privilege of speaking briefly at her memorial service. It was a tribute. Here’s what I said:

She was fun.

Laughing was easy for her and is a sound that I will never forget. We would come stay with her for a couple of weeks every summer. She would make homemade strawberry jam and would always send us home with several jars. I love pickled beets to this day because she made the best and there is none that can even come close to what she used to make.

They used to have a creek that was spring fed across from their house before bottled water even became a thing. She would go with us to the creek, in her dress (because she wouldn’t be caught dead in pants) and wade knee-deep as we picked watercress for salad.

I remember sitting beside her in church and she would make little dolls out of her handkerchiefs for us to play with so that we wouldn’t get bored with my Grandpa’s preaching. <giggle>

She was a servant.

She passionately stood by my Grandpa and supported him in ministry. Not only was she the Pastors wife,  Sunday school teacher, and women’s ministry director; she was also youth leader, cook, janitor, counselor, taxi driver & I assure you, the list goes on. But she didn’t just serve her church, she served her community by personally cooking meals for the homeless and the hurting. And she never once complained.

She was a woman of God.

I distinctly remember hearing my Grandma cry out to God regularly in prayer. She sought him and she knew Him.  She served God faithfully most of her life and loved Him with all of her heart. Her love for him was never personal or private. Although she led many people to the Lord with her words, her actions spoke volumes. I can’t ever remember a single time I was around her when she wasn’t encouraging, exhorting, or urging others toward their faith and obedience to Christ. She prayed relentlessly for her kids and grandkids and loved ones. Many of us here today are the fruit of her prayers. In her later years, when part of the aspects of her personality had faded, that joyful faith in Jesus Christ remained.

legacy

The last couple of days as I was preparing what I would say today, I have to admit it was hard. But as I began to look around at our family, and the legacy that my grandma and grandpa have left, the words came easy.

To her three children, my mom Soni, Bud and Julia: as I look at you today, I see her. I see her sweet spirit and kindness and I see her joy. I see her authentic love for people. But most of all, I see Jesus. I see Jesus in each one of you, because of her.

When I look at her grandchildren Stacey, Sheila, and Kendall; I see in all three of you a compassionate and servants heart. I see her spirit of integrity and gift of empathy.

In my mom’s own words, the legacy that she has left is far greater than money or monetary gifts.

Grandma fought the good fight. All of her hard work, for her, came to fruition the day she took her last breath. All of the love that she sowed into her family and into others came in to fruition that day.

Many of us here today are the fruit of her labor.
The fruit of her tears.
The fruit of her prayers.

We are who we are today because of her example.

Who would’ve thought that on September 20, 1977 when her first grandson Kendall was born, that 39 years later he would preach her funeral. Kendall, there’s no doubt that her and grandpa are up in heaven rejoicing today. It’s all yours.

After I spoke, Kendall, her only Grandson who is now a pastor, came up and preached her memorial.

What a legacy.

My grandparents left us a legacy. A rich, deep legacy. What will be your legacy?

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Why I am Fiercely His

48

“What does it mean to be Fiercely His?”

Someone asked me that question the other day and if I were completely honest with you, it stumped me.

It stumped me?

Good grief it’s the tag line to my blog and it stumped me? Any author, writing coach or literary agent would tell you that’s a big no- no. Because ya better know your stuff and what you stand for in the writing world.

Maybe it stumped me because I hadn’t been prepared.
Maybe it stumped me because I’m not quick on my feet when it comes to responding to people sometimes.
Or maybe it stumped me because it is something that I am deeply passionate about.

Have you ever felt so deeply about something that it was hard to put in to words?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve been in a bit of a lull lately. I haven’t had a lot of inspiration to just sit down and write. Maybe it’s because my life is crazy busy and full of all kinda emotions and has been for the last several months; or maybe its something else? I don’t know. For some reason I just don’t have my usual get up and go.

Ya know..I’ve known God all my life. My parents have known God all of their lives. Both of my grandparents were pastors. So, my parents practically raised me in church and there has never been a period or season of my life where I’ve “not” gone. It’s just something I’ve always done. God has always been a part of me.

But that’s not why I’m fiercely His.

Fiercely His is something that I am passionate about and I'll explain why.

You know my story.

It’s packed full of shame and sorrow.

Yet it’s so beautiful.

But how can something so shameful be so beautiful?

How? 

How can something that is intended for utter death and destruction turn out to be so beautiful?

There’s only one conclusion that I can come up with.

It’s because of Jesus’ love.

Can I stop for a minute and tell you something? If you don’t see His love, maybe it is because you have lost your focus. Or maybe it is because your eyes have moved..because His love is a constant. It never changes.

Jesus' love for us is a constant. It never changes. #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet

I write today out of complete brokenness.

Because I don’t understand and I will never understand.

When I am 90 years old or more and I am on my death bed I still will not understand this love or what He did for me.

Because I am so unworthy.

I am so weak and I am so flawed and as much as a I try and strive for perfection I am deeply flawed.

There is bitterness in my heart.
There is pride in my heart.
There is apathy in my heart.

These are only just a few of the ugly things that reside there.

I mean I need to get it under control and I’m working on it. Is this normal as one who follows Christ? I don’t know, but it’s the authentic truth.

Before you go all judgemental on me, can I gently ask you something?

What do YOU have to work on? 

We are all so completely imperfect yet He loves us anyway. What in the world kinda love is that?

He can turn my bitterness into sweetness.

He can turn my pride into humility.

He can turn my apathy into passion.

I won’t go into all of the details with you again, because honestly don’t you tire of hearing it? When John and I were smack dab in the middle of restoring our marriage one of the reasons it was such a difficult season for me personally is because I had lost all of my identity as a woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and the list goes on. So while I was in the throes of restoring my marriage, I didn’t even know who I was. It was as if life was punching and beating me until I was nothing but a bloody pulp.

I was completely stripped bare.

But this is where I learned how to be completely His.

It’s where I learned how to be fiercely His.

It has nothing to do with my upbringing. I am fiercely His because I have been in the depths of destruction and despair and He saved me.

I would probably be dead and my children would be visiting my grave today if not for Him.

But not only did He save me, He DIED to save me.

Jesus died to save me, and I am #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet

That alone friends, is enough.

I am fiercely His because He restored my deeply wounded marriage to complete wholeness and restoration.

I am fiercely His because He restored my relationships with loved ones.

I am fiercely His because He washed me clean of all of my shame and my guilt and made me into a completely new person.

No scientist on earth would ever be able to convince me that there isn’t a God in heaven who sent His Son to die for me because of my mistakes.

So then, what does it mean to be fiercely His?

It means that I am passionate and intense about being a child of God aggressively and intensely.

It means that I fully trust that He will take care of me. He’s got me!

It means that I recognize that I have free will to do whatever I want. We live in such a corrupt world where I can choose to fulfill by selfish desires at any given moment. But instead I choose Him because He chose me. And honestly…it is an honor to be His.

Not only His, but Fiercely His.

It doesn’t mean I am standing on the corner of a busy intersection proclaiming that I am a follower of Christ.

It doesn’t mean that I am knocking at your door waiting for you to answer so that I can share the love of Christ with you.

It doesn’t mean that I will judge you if you do something that I might not agree with.

In fact, maybe this is what it boils down too: Fiercely His means that I recognize I am in no way better than any of you whether you are a believer or not. I can be just as comfortable with one that believes the exact opposite as I can be with one that believes like me. And more than likely I won’t say one word about my beliefs but instead show you in how I treat you.

Maybe it means that I’m just a girl. A girl with two amazing kids and one amazing husband. A girl that is deeply flawed.

What does it mean to be fiercely His?

A girl who still makes mistakes.

I am wondering, am I alone? Surely I’m not. Because at the present time I need some peeps to join me. I need some women who are deeply flawed to boldly stand with me.

I am flawed yet deeply loved by a Savior. I am #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet

Will you? Will you be fiercely His with me?

I love hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below. 

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