Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A new year, and a new plan!

It seems that on the dawning of a new year, I'm always struck with a huge desire to deconstruct and reconstruct my life. I know I'm not alone in this. New beginings bring out the planner in me, they make me start dreaming of possibilities and goals, they give me hope.

This blog was born at the start of a new begining, when I was filled with hope and a desire to change and improve my life, and my marriage. This goal still remains, even though we made great changes and improvements in 2010! There's always work be to be done and more joy to be had!

This year will be a year of challenge and change for us.

We're expecting a new baby in April, we are overjoyed, and couldn't be more excited to meet this new addition. But, new baby means I'll be on maternity leave, it means living on less money, it means learning to budget, and to manage our time and money better. This year I'll have to learn to schedule and plan and organize, in order to really enjoy all the blessings God's given me, including time for my marriage, myself and my faith.

This will be a busy year for us all.

So, my goals for this new year, this exciting new begining, is to sharpen my time management abilities, by creating and actually following a schedule. I also need to learn to reign in our spending, I want to learn to craft and adhere a family budget, and I want us to have fun being frugal. I want to carve out a time each day for my faith, for reading the Bible and devotions, and for prayer, I've really slacked in this area and I know how vital it is for my spiritual health that I resume these things as soon as I can.

And of course, once our new baby arrives, I know I will be struck once more with a desire to improve myself, my health and my physical appearance. I cycle through this goal each and every year, but I don't want to talk myself into believing that because I have to do it again and again that I may as well give up, thats no attitude to have. So once our baby has arrived, I will also try and schedule in time for me and exercise and focusing on getting "me" back, to whatever degree a busy wife and mother can hope to achieve.

I hope, that I can carve out some time for blogging, because writing helps me focus and organize my thoughts, which I have always found helpful when it comes to reaching goals!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Its been a while......

I haven't blogged in a long time. Not that I haven't wanted to, but the weirdness of the internet got to me, it made me feel suddenly vulnerable, and it made me feel uneasy, and uncertain. I started blogging to help sort through my struggles and help me express my experiences, to both help me make sense of my world, but to help others make sense of their own, if they could in some way take something from my posts and apply it to their own lives. I started blogging for myself, but I definitely wanted to reach people, I wanted to share something with people, whatever it is I brough to the proverbial table that day. What I failed to realize, is that not all people out there reading blogs are looking to learn from others experience, not everyone is genuinely interested in the personal lives of others, not everyone is good intentioned, and when I experiened one of those "other" people, I felt stung and I wasn't certain what to do next, so I did nothing.

I've been doing nothing for a while now, and it's no more comforting then writing my blog and putting myself out there. So I want to step back in and keep writing my journey here, for me, and for those who are interested. I hope that God will lead readers here, who can benefit from my words, or at the very least, who will be sensitive to them. I hope that God will lead away those who are just out to play the Devil's advocate and be needlessly contrary.

I started this blog as a testimony, that God had swept into my life when it was in ruins and held me up while brick by brick I rebuilt what with careless ignorance we spent years tearing down. I wanted to document how new life was breathed into my home and my heart and my marriage. I had a luke warm belief in God until I experienced loss and pain so great my heart and soul called out for sanctuary, without my minds consent, and God answered, and faith came in abundance.

It's been an uphill climb to piece life back together, to salvage trust and hope and love and to nurse them from wilting to thriving once more, it's never been easy but faith and hope and trust in God has made it possible, and has helped us find light in the darkest of moments.

It's an ongoing journey, and I know we'll never reach perfection, it's not possible for us here on earth, but each new day we uncover tenderness we thought was unretrievable. We rediscover a connection we thought was forever lost. We feel something we thought we'd never feel again, and we're reminded that God is ever at work in our lives.

This is what I humbly believe, and I want to share it with those who are intersted once more.

Katie

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Watching God

Tonight I'm sitting quietly by myself as the kids sleep.

Quietly except for the washing machine which is working much too loudly.

And I'm sitting here thinking how today I got to watch God work in my life.

I got to watch and wonder, what is He up to? Where is He going with all of this?

Today I watched God work, I watched pieces of His bigger plan unfold before my eyes and I wondered, what does this look like to Him, who can see past, present and future? How does this all pan out in the end?

I feel equal parts of terror and awe.

Equal parts of anxiety and calm.

God's moving and working, and I'm watching and waiting, and trying to trust His plan.

It's not easy.

But it's harder still not to imagine that He is answering prayers and righting wrongs.

It's hard not to imagine that this is God's way of granting us a "do over" of the things that have gone so awry in our lives this past year.

It's in His hands.

Those hands have worked miracles.

Katie

Monday, July 26, 2010

Water water everywhere....

Last night, off a long sloping green hilly yard, in a quiet little cove off a shallow but excited lake, 24 people, men, women and children, lowered themselves into the welcoming water and one by one, crossed their arms over their chest, plugged their noses and surrendered themselves to both the arms that submerged them in, and raised them from the water and to Jesus Christ.

I was among them.

Now, generally, I'm not fond of being the center of attention, and though I was eager, and happy to be taking this step in my Christian walk, I was admittedly very nervous. That sense of anxiety increased when we arrived at the home of our hosts for the evening and I saw the crowd forming. Friends, families, church members, all walking toward the lake with lawn chairs and blankets and excited smiles. Lots of people, well over one hundred had gathered to cheer on and support the 24 of us who on this evening were pledging our obedience and love for Christ in a very outspoken and public way. I had never felt so excited and vulnerable all at once.

The setting was beautiful, the instructions were clear and the crowd was warm and encouraging. The music was inspiring and the words spoken by our pastor were both assuring and affirming. I made this decision weeks ago, and now it was finally being enacted. It was time for me to publicly declare that Jesus is my personal savior, and to testify as to why, to tell everyone who would hear my message what I had experienced that brought me to this place of complete acceptance and obedience to Him. I was willing, yes, but was I ready? Ready as I'll ever be!

On that dock, waiting their turn, stood 24 incredibly different people. Old men needing assistance into the water, making their declarations late in life, to three young siblings, the youngest being 9, coming to the realization very early. Couples. Singles. Young. Old. Men and women. Each with a powerful and touching testimony, each with a unique tale to tell about how their lives had been impacted by Jesus and the loving mercy and abundant grace of God.

I was additionally blessed that our lovely counselor who used God's word like salve to help mend our broken marriage was there and assisted our pastor in my submergence. Her presence was another reminder that God has been working in my life. He has been healing my wounds, from my broken heart after losing Everett, to my again wounded heart and pride that accompanied my marital problems. God has been by my side. Jesus has been ever with me. And simple faith (though in reality, it is never simple), and trust, and obedience to His word, has made it possible for me to survive, and indeed thrive, in spite of the struggles I have come up against in this world.

From my place on the dock, and in the water, I looked up to the crowd on the hill and just barely make out my friends from small group, and and my children, and my husband, and I knew with absolute certainty that being baptized on this night, with these people, with this pastor, in this place, was the most right decision I could make. I can't say for sure that I felt God's presence, though I am certain He was there, I can say that I felt our collective joys buzzing in the air. Appreciation and happiness and love were common threads connecting the bodies in the water as well as the ones on the hill, clapping, cheering, singing and praising God.

On my walk back from the lake to the house, soaking wet and shivering, I came upon person after person offering hugs and congrats and pats on the back. Smiles. Genuine smiles and pleasant faces paraded past me and I felt a comforting sense of belonging to this amazing community of Christ followers, and this is significant to me, who has never felt overly comfortable in any group of people, the sense of belonging has constantly alluded me.





Typically, I fear the judgment of mankind. I am afraid to be looked down on or thought badly of. Even as I stood waist high in the water with my pastor on one side and my counselor on the other, I confessed, I was still afraid to have all these eyes on me. Their words focused me to what really mattered "This is about God and you, not them", and what God thought of me, and His judgments matter most, not that I had to fear my friends on the hill, who offered up nothing but good will.

Little more then two years ago, in a state of deep despair, I cried hard over the loss of my son Everett, and then cried out to God whom I was so furious with. In my pain I accused him of being absent, or non existent, or uncaring, and turned my back on him. But He waited for me. Patiently he waited for my anger to turn to a need so deep I could not ignore it. And months of grief festered in my heart, making me inconsolable and lonely beyond belief, finding no relief on my own. One night, while home alone and in indescribable pain, remembering Everett and struggling to make sense of our loss, I called out to God for relief, and it was granted. Grace poured out over me. It did not bring Everett back. It did not un-break my heart. It did not take away the grief. But it evaporated the loneliness. It eliminated the confusion. It soothed. It calmed. It comforted where there was no comfort before.

It has been a snowball effect from then on. By our hands Christ led us to a wonderful church, and a fantastic community of believers who have helped us grow our faith. And this most recent step of being baptized is a public declaration that God is at work in me and my life, and that I am forever and eternally grateful.

I have to share these words from my favorite song sang at the baptism service:

Alive in Us

I was lost, but now I'm found
Oh my God my world came crashing down
But You save
My sweet Jesus how you took my place

Please come down
We need You now
And we sing

Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us, and we sing
Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us

You are faithful, You are true
Oh my God your grace came crashing through me
And You save
Your sweet Jesus how he took my place

Please come down
We need You now
And we sing

Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us, and we sing
Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us

Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us, and we sing
Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us

Katie

Monday, July 12, 2010

Completing Him Challenge-Week #5

This weeks challenge from Courtney at Women Living Well is this, communicate with your husband about time management, make a list of five things you currently do around the house, and then ask him to prioritize them for you according to how important they are to him.

This is a great challenge! I already know the value of knowing what is important to your spouse regarding work around the house and focusing on that, it's definitely a really big deal!

Elvis and I have had the pleasure of working with a really wonderful Christian counselor who had us read a book together called "The Five Love Languages." In this book we found an exercise where we each had to make a list of things we perceive as loving, that if our spouses chose to do for us, we would interpret and accept as acts of love. I was really surprised at how different our lists were! The words and actions I perceive as loving, and therefor use to demonstrate love to Elvis, don't mean or equal love to him! I thought I was being so doting and so loving, but he wasn't reading it that way, and vice versa, what he thought was loving wasn't registering with me! I think the same can be said for time management around the home! I could be totally focusing on things I think are important and helpful to him, but unless I specifically ask him if I'm on the right track with doing things he appreciates, I could be way out in left field.

Since last night was our first night back after my sisters wedding, and we're all a bit sleep deprived, Elvis and Avery are still catching some Z's, but once he's up and alert, I'm going to ask Elvis to help me prioritize my list and I'll be back!

Katie

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Crying....

.....because I needed to.

Because it's therapeutic, and necessary some times.

Because my heart still hurts from old breaks.

Because scar tissue can hurt as badly as the original wound.

Because I'm human.

Because nothing can hurt more then these sadness's I'm carrying around, not even the headache I get from crying about them.

As I've said before, this blog is about rebuilding a better life on God's foundation, and that means examining all the cracks in the current foundation. I've got a ton of cracks, all kinds of weaknesses, all kinds of little places just waiting to cave in on me, if I'm not careful, if I'm not mindful and aware of all my damaged spots.

Better to be aware of them then to pretend they're not there.

So I'm crying over my healing but still aching broken heart. It's been broken so many times before, but through a real beating the past 2.5 years. It still hurts even though God has been patiently and delicately putting it back together, piece by piece. It's whole but it won't ever be the same. It won't ever work the same, or feel the same. It'll probably always ache.

But hopefully over time, the scars of insecurity, fear, shame, doubt, and grief will fade some, to a tolerable, livable degree.

Katie

Bad dreams.....

Last night I had a nightmare, I dreamed my world crumbled down around me and my heart was broken.

I woke up panicked and upset, and quickly realized, it was just a dream.

But I couldn't stop thinking about it, and how last night it was just a dream, but in the not so distant past, it was real. The heart break and the panic and the world in shambles, was intensely and painfully real.

And now I am prone to nightmares.

And fear.

And insecurity.

And jealousy.

And hatred.

And feeling a sense of inadequacy I didn't feel before.

And I'm wondering what lesson God has built in to all of this, and when I will learn it. When will the hurt cease to be hurt for hurt sake and start to be instructional or something to build on.

When will the bad dreams stop and when will confidence and security return?

I hope it's soon.

I want to be something more then healing.

I want to be something more then broken but patched, or torn but repaired.

I want to be whole and healthy, thriving even.

I want to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I want to trust.

Maybe that's the lesson, maybe I need to trust more, in God that is, and do His will which I already understand, and stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, or my world to crumble around me.

Maybe that's it?

1 Peter 5:7 says, Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you

Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Psalm 34:4 says, I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.

Perhaps it is my lack of trust in that God is taking care of me, and my family, and my marriage, and that He is also holding accountable people who are responsible for plotting against me and my marriage, and that I do not need to fear that is giving me nightmares and causing me stress?

Definitely something I need to think on and pray about.

Katie

Monday, July 5, 2010

Admiring Elvis......

This week the "Completing Him" challenge posed by Courtney of Women Living Well is to write a post about what it is we admire about our husbands, then show it to them and let them read it. Great challenge!

So, here goes. What I have always admired most about Elvis is his drive. He has an amazing work ethic, he's motivated and determined and never, ever lazy. He's a hard working man and I really admire that in him.

He's also very sensitive to the needs of others. He puts the needs of everyone else before his own.

He loves his family, even when it's difficult, he loves his parents, his siblings, his wife and his kids at all times.

He's a good provider, he scrimps and sacrifices and does without so that his children, and even I do not have to. He takes care of our home meticulously. He strives to improve it and maintain it and make it a great place to be.

He's silly, and funny and well liked. Seriously, everyone likes him. His co-workers like him, his patients like him, strangers like him, he's a good guy to be around.

He's smart. He's really good with numbers in a way I have never been, I admire him for his ability to do math in his head that I find hard with calculator!

He's strong. He's come through a lot of hardship, on his own and with me, and he's still standing. Life has tried to break him time and time again, but he let God into his world and he's been fortified by Him. His strength is amazing.

There's so much more about Elvis that I admire, but I'll leave it at this, he's a wonderful husband and father, and I feel blessed that God chose him for me, and then placed him in my path so I could find him.

Katie

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's been a while.......

Since I really spoke my mind here about my life and my marriage. We've been busy here.

Happy and busy.

I was thinking today though, about our separation. Someone brought it up and some of the more uncomfortable details were rehashed, only briefly, and I revisited some emotions I hadn't felt in a while.

Anger

Sadness

But mostly shame.

I feel ashamed that my marriage is so scarred in the eyes of others.

We're "that" couple. The couple that separated. The couple that almost got divorced.

My husband is the husband that left.

I'm the wife that was left.

Even though we've reconciled, sought and received wonderful Christian marriage counseling, and are doing so well in our rebuilding, it occurs to me every now and then that the world, our immediate little world might still see us broken.

Worse still, maybe they don't believe that there's any such thing as getting over what we have definitely gotten over. Maybe they think we're still broken. Maybe they're just waiting for it to all come crashing down again.

And I feel ashamed. I don't want my life and my marriage to be viewed that way. I have a good and loving marriage that overcame a huge obstacle. We hit a rough spot and came through it in tact, not broken, because if we were ever really broken would we be standing here together today? No, we'd be broken.

So, I was thinking about how God fits into all of this. Of course I believe that it was by the will and grace of God that Elvis and I managed to pull together when things were falling apart and that we healed what was dying in our marriage. God truly was that third strand in our rope, making us unbreakable. And he's using the ugly emotions, the anger, the sadness, the fear, and the shame, for good. He's making it speak to the power of His mercy and his grace and his love. He is so great that he can take the ugliest parts of our life and make it useful and good. He took our marriage issues, our separation, our fears and also our trust, our faith and our courage and gave us a new start, as well as a testimony. We can now testify that even the nastiest and ugliest marital issues can be overcome, and that God is ever present for love and support during your hard times.

God grows flowers from dirt.

I'm so thankful that God has taken such an interest in me and my marriage.

I'm so grateful that He gave us a wonderful church and caring Christian friends.

I'm so thankful for the Christian blogs he's led me to online when I'm searching for like minded women.

God has been taking such good care of me, even when my life has gotten ugly and hard, He's been there walking me through it, and it's been a while since I acknowledged how He is working in my life.

He is.

Katie

Monday, June 28, 2010

Falling behind......

On my summer marriage challenge! I didn't mean to miss last week, time just got away from me!

Last weeks challenge was to share some wedding photo's and review how scared that day was, so here they are:

I think on this day, we had no idea how sacred it really was. We had no concept of how big the covenant we were making was, and how deeply God valued it and expected us to value it as well. We knew we loved each other and wanted a life together, but aside from that, we were so naive. If we knew then what we know now, we would recognize the sacredness of it in a much bigger way.

And now, we're onto part four of Courtney's Completing Him summer marriage challenge. This week is about praying daily for your husband and I am fortunate enough to already own the book "The Power of a Praying Wife", so I'm all set. The hard part of this challenge will be getting Elvis to tell me what he wants me to pray about, but I'll do my best!

Katie

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Completing Him Challenge One! Our Dating Story

The first challenge in the "Completing Him Challenge" at Women Living Well is this: June 14 – Post Pictures from your dating days (or tell us all about it!). Think about one thing you used to do or have as a couple that you have lost in the shuffle of life. How can you regain it?

So here we go!

Elvis and I met in our first year of nursing school. Since there aren't many men in the nursing program, I'd say maybe 5 or 6 in our class, it was pretty easy for Elvis to stand out. I remember seeing him for the first time in the cafeteria, I had heard his name mentioned before, but never actually saw him, until we passed through and saw him sitting with some girls we knew. I remember clear as day asking my friends Nathalie and Angela "Who IS that?!" I think they knew immediately that I was interested. Thankfully Elvis and I were about to have a lot of opportunities to get to know each other, including a nursing placement at the same nursing home where all my fellow students, and even my nursing instructor would play a role in helping us come together! I was a nervous and giddy wreck every day at school trying to find ways to talk to him. He was shy, very shy, and didn't do much talking himself.

For our first date, I got up the nerve to ask him to a group movie date, and wouldn't you know it, the rest of the group suddenly couldn't make it, and it was just us. We saw The Rookie, and held hands. I remember feeling dizzy when his hand touched mine for the first time. I was 21 and ready for a serious romance, and though it was just our first date, I knew he'd be something special.

We snowballed from there, quite fabulously. Before we knew it we were a pretty serious item and I couldn't have been happier. I loved meeting him for our dates, sometimes we met in an in between location since he lived about 45 minutes away, and sometimes he came to my front door. Each and every time I was elated to see him walking toward me, when he came to our house, I met him at the door, sometimes I was so excited I'd meet him in the drive way.

We traveled together, which has always been an exciting part of my relationship with Elvis. His desire to get out and go places has been infectious, and traveling with him was the first time I went anywhere save for school field trips. We went to Niagara Falls, and Florida, and most memorably, St. Augustine, right after we were engaged. We always find new adventures to go on, I love that about us!

Here we are while dating in Niagara Falls:

Here we are at my best friends wedding, a year before our own:


Here's our time line. We started dating on April 21st 2002 (we were 21 at the time)
We were engaged on June 23rd 2003 (we were 22 at the time)
We were married August 7th 2004 (we were 23 at the time)
And the rest is history!

I'm saving the wedding pictures/story for a future post, but part of the challenge is to think about something we had while dating that we lost in the shuffle of life. I think it's the excitement. That sounds sad, but it was entirely unintentional. We used to be thrilled at the sight of each other, we used to get excited to see one another, it was the best part of our days, the days we saw each other that is, and the days we didn't see each other will overflowing with anticipation. I have been trying to recreate that excitement, and make Elvis feel that, by meeting him at the door like I used to. I'm still working at it, but I can feel the pay off already!

I'm loving this challenge, and I can't wait to see what God can do in my marriage!

Now I'm off to read some of the dating stories by other bloggers!

Katie

Friday, June 11, 2010

Who does this kid think he is?

My baby son has gone from this:




To this:



And I swear to you, it feels like he did it in a matter of days! I realize that he'll be 3 years old on his next birthday, but I feel like just yesterday he was 5 pounds 11 ounces and I was bringing him home from the hospital!

I swear just yesterday he looked like this:



But in actuality, he looks like this:



It doesn't seem possible! My baby boy, he's now a kid, a kid boy!

He talks, he talks back!

He runs, everywhere.

He's loud, he yells, he squeals, he protests!

He fights with his sister, but wants to do what she does and be where she is, he secretly is her biggest fan.

He has tantrums, big tantrums, but loves Mama cuddles to get over them.

He's a lover, loves to kiss, loves to hug, can't bear to think anyone is upset with him.

He's amazing. He's overcome so much. He's stunning. And though he's growing much too fast for my liking, he grows more beautiful and amazing each day.

And don't even get me started on this one.....



Who does she think she is!?

Bottom line, I have amazing kids. Stunning, lovely, wonderful, blessings from God, and on days like today when they tried my patience and frazzled my nerves, I haven't forgotten, not for one second, that I am so lucky to have them in my life. They're pure joy, and I think I'll be in awe of them forever!

Katie

Forgive and Forget

I'm struggling with this. You probably are too. I think it's a pretty common phenomenon, to not know how to let go of the hurt and the desire for repayment when someone sins against you.

A very lovely someone asked me how she should go about releasing someone their sin against her. She said she had forgiven them but she wasn't sure she could forget it. That's the thing about forgiveness though, you're supposed to forgive and then really forgive, and leave it in the past. It's not forgiveness if you're just tucking the pain or anger away in your memory and pulling it back up when you're wronged the next time, using it as a weapon, or to build your case against that person. It's only forgiveness if you can leave it completely in the past, and wipe clean the slate of the person who wronged you. I gave advice, the best I could, but then I started to think about how this concept applies to me and my life.

Are there debts I've claimed to forgive but haven't forgotten?

Are there people out there I haven't forgiven at all?

Am I carrying around bitterness and grudges?

You betcha!

Ephesians 4:32 states: 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Once again we're called to emulate Christ. He forgave, you forgive. That's the command.

This sentiment is repeated in Colossians 3:13:
13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Matthew 6:14-15 also states:
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

The Lord's prayer asks "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"

It's commonly understood among Christ followers, that in order to be forgiven by God, you must be willing to forgive everyone, and everything. It's a hefty calling.

Some people are easy to forgive. Some sins are easier to forgive. But we're not supposed to pick and choose.

What about forgiving those who've sinned against you, but don't think they have, what if they refuse to give you the satisfaction of admitted they did you wrong? That in my view, makes them all the more difficult to forgive, because my hurt feelings and my indignation have not been first validated and appeased. They're not asking for my forgiveness, so why should I give it? Because He says so, that's why.

There's this person I haven't forgiven. I'm not certain they know I the depths of which I feel they hurt me, and my family. I doubt they lay awake at night praying for me to forgive them. If they're aware of my indignation, they're unconcerned by it. Many times a day I plan out how I'd like to tell them how they've sinned against me. I'd like to tell them how they continue to negatively impact my life. I'd like to make them feel bad for what they've done and how they've changed my world. But then I think I'd be in the wrong. What purpose is served by bringing this person face to face with their sin and my pain? Selfish purposes. That's all. Sure, I'd have the temporary satisfaction of knowing that they knew all that they had done, maybe they'd even feel bad. But then what?

So, in light of the advice I gave today, I'm trying to apply it to this situation. And it's HARD! The conclusion I've come to, is that forgiveness doesn't just happen once, but over and over. Each time that hurt and anger tries to resurface, you have to remind yourself that you've forgiven it, and that you've moved on, and then do it. Forgive and mean it, then move on.

What's done is done, it's in the past. It's not right, but it's done. God's will was done none the less, and though things were changed and battered, nothing was truly broken. The sin against me was used in God's bigger plan to facilitate a change I wouldn't have made on my own. God worked it for our greater good, even though it may have been intended to bring us down. And though I struggle to do it, and I feel like I could choke on the words. I forgive them. And tomorrow I'll have to forgive them again, and the next day, until my mind can truly forget.

After all, Hebrews 8:12 implies that God himself forgives and then forgets:
12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

Who do you need to forgive?

What sins against you cause you to hold on to unforgiveness?

What sins can you forgive right now? What sins do you need to work towards forgiveness?

All the best to you in your attempts, I know it's not easy!

Katie

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Linking up with the "Completing Him Challenge"

My favorite Christian Blogger, Courtney from Women Living Well has started a summer challenge for Christian women looking to become the wife their husband needs. So, I'm joining up because I love the challenge and I'd love to be the wife that my husband needs!

I haven't got a clue how to link a button to her challenge, I'm working on it! When Landon naps this after noon I'll try and figure it out!

I'm so excited to get this challenge rolling!

Katie

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Scarred

Try as I might to be healed and renewed, past hurts and trials behind me, it is undeniable that I have come through to the other side of heart break incredibly, terribly scarred.

I've got scars, big scars, painful and tender scars, all over my heart and mind, even my soul.

And I want to be normal, because don't we all just want to be normal, and I want to pretend I never hurt at all and that life has always been good to me, but I can't because sometimes the first thing you'll see when you look at me are my scars.

I'm trying to heal my life. I'm trying to push forward leaving the tragedies and heart aches and battles I fought behind me, I'm pursing emotional and spiritual health because it feels good, but I can't pretend the scars aren't there. And just like physical scars, they're permanent. My pursuits to overcome might lessen the severity of the scar, it might even ease the pain, and make them more palatable, but they will still be there.

The thing about scars that makes them more then an unsightly reminder of your falls in life, is that they tell a story. They tell your story. They testify on your behalf that you have lived. Really lived. You've battled and fallen and been assaulted by life. They demonstrate the complexities and the intricacies of you, and they prompt onlookers to question their thoughts on you. Scars make the world wonder how you got them. They're intriguing. We're interested in each others pain, and the stories behind them, and we're comforted in knowing that everyone has them. Everyone.

As much as I wish I never fell, my scars show the world I got back up (and in some cases fell right back down). It's as though every stage of life has left it's mark. My freshest and most painful scars are recent, and still throbbing on a daily basis, they're the hardest to ignore and even more impossible to conceal from the world.

Sometimes I want the people in my life to see me, and think "Isn't she lucky, she's got it all together, great marriage, a bunch of healthy thriving kids, she's really got it good!" But, in truth, they don't. People in our family and our social circle look at me and they immediately see those giant, red, throbbing horrible scars of recent years. They see the pain on my face and the effect that loss has had on my body. They see the tired and the worn out look on my face and they know I've been through a battle or two. They know I'm scarred. They know my life isn't perfect, and worst still, they know my efforts to pretend otherwise are just a show. I might fool strangers, but only for a while, but once we get talking those scars just unveil themselves without my consent, it happens all the time.

But lately, I'm more concerned with the scars that only I can see. They bother me the most, the ones that no one knows are there. They remind me of the significance of what I went through in my marriage. They remind me of exactly how bad it was, of how badly broken we were and of how close we came to losing it all. They show me how it changed me, to have my marriage come so close to raveling completely, they show me how I'm not the same woman I was before, and I hate them. These are scars that I wish I never had. Because I never wanted to change like this. I hate that I am so pained by these scars. I hate that I don't trust like I used to. I hate that I can't stand the band Pearl Jam anymore, or anything that represents my husbands independence from our marriage, and from me. I hate being reminded that we were over. These scars are the very worst thing that ever happened to me, because they made me question me, and my value, in a way that losing Everett never did. My baby didn't leave me, he was taken, he had no say in the matter, and neither did I, it had nothing to do with my value, and though it hurts to have him gone, and he left a scar as well, it doesn't hurt in the same way my marriage scars do.

But like I said, scars tell your story. They show the world you fell and got up. My scars, all my scars, show what I've endured and survived. They give me dimension. They make me interesting to the world. My baby died, I fell, and I got up, the scar remains. My marriage crumbled, I crumbled too, and God picked us up and put us back together, we're healing, but the scar remains. I went through hell on earth, twice, and lived to tell about it. My scars can testify to the strength and courage God has given me, they testify to the hardships He carried me through. They're ugly but they're true, and they are a part of me now, unchangeable and undeniable. Scars are a fact of life, and when you try and conceal them from yourself and the world, they become secrets, obvious something's you're trying to hide, you never fool anyone, not even yourself.

It's natural I think, once scarred, to try your best to never fall like that again, to avoid at all costs, another painful scar. But this just gives power to the scars, to the fear, and certainly empowers you no further. Living life afraid of scars isn't living, but cowering in a safe place watching life pass you by, you won't get any scars that way, but you'll wither away in the process.

I'm trying to heal, my heart and my mind and my soul. I'm trying to live my life with vibrancy in spite of all the times I've fallen and all the hurts I've felt. I'm trying to rebuild everything life broke on me, and I'm trying to be fearless in love. I've come up against the same obstacle again and again, the fear of another scar, another ugly mark on my life, and it's slowed me down, or in some cases, completely stopped me from living and loving freely. But now that I've realized the scars ARE life, I can throw myself back into it, with trust and faith and incredibly energy and love and know that falling down, and getting up, and the resulting scars, are the point of it all, not a negative side effect or a worst case scenario. The scars ARE life. They show I've lived and I'm living, they show that life knocked me down and beat me up, and instead of laying their and giving up, giving in, I got back up.

Bring on life, bring on the scars, no matter the fall, I intend to get back up.

Katie

Thursday, June 3, 2010

An instant change in perspective.....

Lately, I've found myself feeling lost. Uncertain of who I am, where I'm going, what I'm good at, what I want, what I need, what I'm passionate about. In general, I've been floundering, looking for meaning and value in myself.

And in an instant, God snaps me out of it.

An instant change in perspective.

When I look into the eyes of my kids and I realize that to them, I am everything. I'm their whole world.

I'm wonderful.

I'm beautiful.

I'm special.

I'm smart.

I'm capable.

I'm trustworthy.

I'm dependable.

I'm warm.

I'm soft.

I'm loving.

I'm safe.

I am perfect, to them.

Knowing this erases so much of my self doubt and my wonder.

I'm important. Terribly important. I'm the world to these precious little kids. I'm shaping their hearts and their minds, I'm their warm, safe place.

Who am I? Wife, mother, giver of love and security.

What am I good at? Loving my family.

Where am I going? Into the future with a goal of being a better and more focused wife and mother, so I can keeping being what they need from me.

What do I want? To love my family for many, many, many years to come and to create a home that's safe and comforting, a safe haven, for all of us.

What do I need? God, and them. That's it.

What am I passionate about? Same as above!

God's really opening my eyes today, and clearing up a lot of the issues I was struggling with! I'm so uplifted with these understandings, I have so much, and I love what I have, and I to my family, I am very, very important, what else matters?

Katie

How Can I Possibly Want...........

When this is what I have:

Him
And her

And don't forget him
And our homeNot to mention our families, our friends, our health, our jobs, our church, our Faith and our Lord.

How can I possibly justify mourning over what I do not have when my life is brimming with gifts from God, when it is so full of love and beauty, and where opportunities for joy are abundant.

I have a life of abundance. How can I want for more?

I have been convicted on this matter today. This may be the first time I have actually ever felt convicted, and it's good. I let myself want, and be ungrateful for a while there, and now I'm back on track, attitude adjusted and feeling incredibly blessed, grateful, joyful and motivated!

Wanting what you do not have robs you of the joy of enjoying all that you already have.

And when I took inventory, I have so much to be joyful for!

This summer's project is to enjoy the people and situations God has placed in my life.

I want to revel in my husband.

Bask in the wonderfulness of my children.

Find joy and comfort in my home.

Create beauty in my home and yard.

Cultivate better relationships with our family and friends.

And deepen my relationship with God, and a major spring board for this will be my baptism, fast approaching on July 25th! Eeep! Exciting!

Anyway, this is me, standing convicted, I was coveting and pining over what is not mine and what I do not have, and shamefully neglected to appreciate what is mine and what I do have, the most amazing little family anyone could ever ask for (and they're all mine!!)

Katie

Sunday, May 30, 2010

One burned, twice shy....

It's hard, once you've been burned, to trust that you won't be burned again. Before speculation begins, I'm not talking talking of marriage, but of other matters all together. But it's true, once you've seen the worst case scenario, or worse still, been the worst case scenario, it's hard to envision yourself as anything else, even if you've had better outcomes before.

So the past few days I've been quiet here on my blog, doing most of my processing internally for now. My marriage is doing well, my children are healthy, the future is bright, all is seemingly quite well in our worlds, and I am pleased. Very pleased.

And still I find myself standing on the brink of something exciting, the future and it's endless possibilities, and I am undeniably afraid. I'm afraid to charge into the future with trust and excitement and hope, because I've learned the hard way, that sometimes, that trust is broken, the excitement is unwarranted, and hope can die. But do I want to live this way? With cynism dictating whether or not I'll take joy in joyful things? Of course not!

I want to renew my innocence. I want to be naive again. I want to trust blindly.

So today I went searching for hope in the book of Isaiah, and of course God's word never disappoints.

Isaiah 40:31
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.


Isaiah 41:10
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


Isaiah 41:13
13 For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

Isaiah 44:3-4


3
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,

and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.

4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.

I am particularly comforted by this, it's worth repeating:
Isaiah 41:13
13 For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.


He will help us. Do not fear.

So, here I am, standing on the edge of life as it is, and facing life as it will be. Just like you, I have no idea what my future holds. It is certain that it holds both joy and sorrow, but what concerns me most is how much tragedy it holds. How much loss it holds. Because sorrow I can handle, sorrow comes from expected pain, natural pain, anticipated pain. Pain none the less, but easier to cope with then the pain of tragedy, unnatural loss, unexpected, bizarre, earth shattering sadness.

The future is coming.

It's practically here, and worrying won't do a single thing. It wont ensure joy anymore then it will deter tragedy.

Matthew 6:27 says:
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?

So, I'm trying my hardest to suppress fear and apprehension, and embrace the life I've been given. I'm trying to watch it unfold day by day with joy and gratitude. I'm trying to trust that the hardships and triumphs are not accidents but part of God's greater plan for me and my family, and I am trying to relish the blessings I've been entrusted with. And it's not easy. But it's better then the alternative, wresting each day with anxiety and dwelling on all the potential ugliness life could bring my way.

Like so many things that aren't easy, it's rewarding in the end.

“When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly” – Patrick Overton

Katie

Friday, May 21, 2010

No man is an island......

Except, well, we kind of are.

Just making a random observation here, based on personal experiences and those of good friends and family.

We're all little islands.

Or maybe it would be more accurate to say we're all little countries. We all have distinct languages, culture, customs, rituals, exports (things we give or contribute to others) and imports (things we draw from, or need from others). We've got our own politics too, and rules for war.

I've been thinking of this little analogy lately as it applies to marriage.

Two countries, allied, united as one. They benefit from each others exports and imports, they're enriched by their culture, customs, and rituals, and enamored by each others languages, even trying to become fluent themselves so as to better communicate with one another, but, what about those politics? What about the rules for engagement?

That's where it gets tricky. It's hard to learn the intricacies of your spouses politics. Especially when you're not fluent in their language. And little misunderstandings lead to unintentional insults and offenses, and sometimes even bigger understandings that lead to all out war.

I don't think it matters who you are, or how in love you are with your spouse. You ARE an island. You are a unique little world, so is your spouse, and at some point, you're going to come face to face with your differences. Be it in how you communicate, celebrate, relax, show love, or argue, you're going to war over something.

And all though I seem to have my analogy all wrapped up nice and pretty, I don't have an actual solution to how we can avoid this. I think it's inevitable. You can love your spouse, deeply and with devotion, and still find yourself totally perplexed by them. What used to be adorable, charming, or even just tolerable will one day annoy you beyond belief. They will change, so will you. And you will fight.

You might fight a lot.

You might fight HUGE big fights.

And this is where we buckle.

This is where we want to cut our losses and run.

They've changed, we've changed. Maybe you don't feel like you know your spouse anymore.

Maybe you don't even like them anymore.

And I have a theory on this one.

It's because we think we're the center of our own little universe, not just one country among many. And I don't mean this harshly, it's true, it's part of the human condition (and again, I'm just making an observation here), isn't it true that we all feel entitled to something more then we have? We feel like we are entitled to whatever makes us happy, and that our spouses owe us something? Honestly, don't you think so?

I did, well, honestly, I sometimes still do, and then I have to check myself.

This is where I bring in God, so if you're not particularly interested in matters concerning God and Christianity, you've been forewarned.

When we see ourselves as the center of a universe, with a bunch of people including our spouse gravitating around us, it's easy to feel entitled. It's easy to feel important. But, when you see yourself as a floater in God's universe, one of billions and billions of floaters, that sense of entitlement diminishes, and you begin to realize how little you are. When you see yourself lined up side by side with all the other people living this life alongside you, you begin to feel humbled. And in marriage, I think we should all be humbled.

You are who you are. Your spouse is who they are. You have needs. They have needs. If we can revisit that "country" analogy again for a minute, we get used to having those needs fulfilled by our spouses exports, that we get frustrated, angry or depressed when those resources dry up. When we start to see our spouse as the only resource to fulfill our needs, eventually, we tap them out. No one person can completely sustain another, emotionally or physically or spiritually. It can't be done. But, if we partner with God, and make him a part of our marriage, and draw from him along with our spouse, and maybe more often then our spouse, well, we will never experience the frustration of a well running try. His resources don't tap out. His love is ever ready. He is always there to listen. You can cast your burdens on him 24 hours a day. He is always willing to give out grace and forgiveness, and He is prepared to be a mediator between you and your spouse.

Got a beef with your spouse? Stupid question! I know you do, I do! But, what happens when you go to your husband or wife with that beef? What happens if you bring your concern/complaint to them and they don't change whatever it was that was bothering you? Frustration? Anger? Arguing? More arguing? You got it.

But, what happens if you bring that concern to God? What happens if you lay out your problem with your spouse to Him? What happens when you pray for your spouse? When you pray for change, in them and in you? When you pray that God comes into the problem and offers a solution? Don't know? Try it!

Now I can only speak from personal experience here. If you don't pray, or you don't consider yourself religious, or you don't know what it means to have God in your marriage, this will sound quite unusual to you I am sure, I've been there too. I know how backwards it can sound, I know how completely ineffective you are imagining it would be. And if you don't consider yourself a Christ follower and you're not interested in what the Bible says about marriage, then none of what I've said will bear any relevance to you, and for that I am sorry, this must be a terrible bore.

But I see marriages so differently now.

Since my own marriage buckled and broke under the pressure of trying to satisfy my spouses every needing and expecting him to do the same. We disappointed and let each other down for years and years, allowing resentment to fester and grow until we just fell to pieces.

In our brokenness, we somehow found something to hold on to, our faith in God and his ability to make good from any bad, make right from any wrong. And I implored Him to fix what we had broken, and He did.

Piece by piece God has helped us rebuild our marriage, and I am learning how prayer can help me cope with fears, concerns, expectations and feelings of entitlement I have. Not that I never bring those to Elvis, but there's a discernment that needs to happen, and I've learned it's best to bring them to God first, and let Him guide me on what to do. He does.

He changes hearts.

He changes attitudes.

He changes marriages.

Now, I'm not a marriage expert, nor am I a counselor. What I am is a baby Christian, brand new and completely in awe of what God has done in my life, of what he has carried me through. And perhaps this is my testimony, that God can grow flowers from dirt, I know this to be true.

I've seen it.

He changed my life, and gave me new eyes to see the world with.

And I see struggling, sadness, discontent, loneliness, anger and despair in so many relationships, and even still in my own marriage (which is not perfect and never will be). And I can't fix anything for anyone.

I'm just a floater in God's universe. I'm a speck. I can't make anyone a better marriage. I can't change anyone or their spouse. I am on the grand scheme of things, insignificant (except in my own little family where I am quite significant). But I've got this one insight. Just one testimony to convey.

If you've tried it all and nothing's worked.

If you're tired of struggling.

If you want to jump ship.

If you don't know what to do next.

Try Him.

Just try.

And see what springs up from the dirt.

Katie

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's quiet....

My house is absolutely silent right now.

Just the sound of an occasional car driving past, and the hum of some appliances.

Other then that, silent.

Elvis is working, Avery's at school, the dog's in her crate, and Landon's taking a nap.

And I am sitting at the computer in awe of the silence, and of the time I have to myself, but not at all sure what to do with it. It's the age old problem, so little time to myself, and such a long list of things I could do with said time. I really struggle with productivity. In theory, I want to be productive, I want to pack as many useful tasks as possible into my day, but when time like this pops up, when I have time for me and the rare opportunity to hear myself think, I want that time for me!

I can do laundry and dishes and get dinner started when there are kids tugging on my pant leg and yelling in the background, I do it all the time! But what I can't do with two rowdy children and yappy dog running around is think, or read, or relax, or pray, these are things that require silence, the very silence I am experiencing right now.

I've been thinking about my life, and the rebuild I started a little over five months ago. Things are for the most part coming along quite nicely. But, some areas that I was hopeful to jump in and dramatically change, are taking longer then I would like. Weight loss is one of those areas. I'm not sure how to get this area of my rebuild rolling, I feel like I've tried everything, except for actually trying, I just can't get my head in the game, but I'm keeping at it and hoping eventually the deduction will stick.

But, other areas are doing great, I feel different. I feel better about me, and the image I am projecting to the world. I feel like I've redefined me, and given me a "look", a more put together and polished one then I had before. I feel my marriage is continuing to grow and strengthen as is my relationship with God, and I am feeling more secure then I have in a very long time.

But, I'm also feeling spread too thin. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at times with all the "little things"I'm trying to keep tabs on, and blogging is one of those things. I love it because it's for me and it's a fantastic outlet, but I find myself sitting here at the computer writing, trying to find the right words to say what I'm feeling or experiencing, and I'm battling the frustration rising within me, and fighting off the urge to close down the whole darn internet and erase my whole post, because it feels insufficient, or inadequate, I feel like I have a bad case of writers blog, and I need to work on that as well.

On a brighter note, my children are fantastic and shine their amazing bright light into every dark corner of my day. My daughter is such a little me, she's truly paying attention to everything I say to her, and I'm starting to get some of it back now. She's started to tell me "Mommy, I love you" and "Mommy I think you're beautiful" and "Mommy I think you're special", because these are things I tell her on a daily basis. And I LOVE that she is considerate enough to tell these things to me, because she already knows how good it feels to hear them. And my boy, oh my boy! He's talking up a storm these days and I'm just so thrilled watching him transition from baby to real kid! Of course it's bittersweet, but he's going to be one precious, special kid!

Another reason to smile has popped up too! A chance to get away, just Elvis and I, has arose and I so hope we get to take that trip and get some much needed time alone together!

So, that's it for now, the silence has been broken, baby boy is up from his nap, my "me time" is now his time!

Katie

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It feels like forever.....

Since I had time to blog!

I don't think I've ever paid enough attention to how full and busy my life actually is!

Between kids and work and home and husband, I've got a nicely filled in schedule, not that I'm complaining, not one bit. I love having so much purpose and so many blessings filling up my life, but sometimes, well, often, I crave some "me" time. Such is the life of a mother eh?

So, right now the kids are both in bed, and Elvis is due home in about 20 minutes, maybe less. The house is freshly cleaned, dinner's in the oven, yummy desserts and appetizers are ready to go, and I have a few minutes of absolute silence to do whatever I want with. I choose blogging!

This blog is so valuable in helping me sort through my own head and making sense of what I find there, I think I'd be truly lost without an outlet for my thoughts and feelings.

So, what am I feeling you ask? I'll tell you!

I'm feeling hopeful, overjoyed, in love, contented, excited and blessed!

Big change from just a little more then half a year ago!

I'm feeling in awe too.

In awe of how good God is to me.

How faithful He is.

How dependable He is.

And also, in awe of the power of prayer, and of trust, and of faith.

Through prayer and trust and faith and reliance on God, I've made it through indescribable lows in my life. It didn't change the lows, they happened just the same, but I made it through them, where without all those things, I'm not sure I could have.

On top of all the other warm and fuzzy emotions I'm feeling tonight, I'm feeling grateful!

But, back to hopeful for a moment, and you'll have to excuse me for being vague, but I have to for now. But I feel a sort of hope and excitement I haven't felt in a few years now. It's a nervous anticipation, it's joyful, it's dreamy and it consumes me, it's absolutely fantastic to feel this way again! I feel lit up and inspired and maybe even younger and more innocent, if that's possible, maybe I just feel reminiscent of young and innocent, it feels good just the same.

My time may be precious and limited, but my life is good, the rebuild is still going strong and God continues to amaze me with his support and love and the blessings he pours out on us each day.

I'll be back, as soon as time allows!

Katie

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nostalgic

I'm feeling very nostalgic today. Mother's Day is fast approaching and motherhood is on my mind.

I'm thinking back, a little over five years back, when I was just freshly married and the desire to be a mother first popped into my consciousness. The desire to be a mother was instantly burned into my heart and took over my mind, and before I knew it Avery was on her way! I can remember the day I tested and found out I was expecting her like it was yesterday. Finding out I was expecting her was a flurry of emotion, anxiety, happiness, excitement, fear, but mostly completely unbridled joy.

Avery has been pure joy since the day she was conceived. From that day, the day I knew that just maybe I'd be a mother in 9 months, she changed me. She transformed me into a completely different woman with a completely different outlook, and I can't thank her enough for making me a mother and being my first introduction into the fantastic world of parenthood!


*Look at her precious chubby cheeks! Look how dark she is!*


*Look at all that thick black hair! She's beautiful!*


*First precious little smirk!*


*All dressed up for one of her first outings*

*Couch cuddles with Daddy*

Seriously, motherhood is not something to be undertaken on a whim, but man oh man is it ever worth it. It's worth the sleepless nights, the stress, the worry, the remarkable increase in volume you'll notice in your house, the toys on the floor, the clothes on the floor, the food on the floor.... It's just worth all the little "inconveniences" if you can call them that, to have these precious little people in your world, enhancing every day. They love you, they teach you, and they deepen your capacity to love, they change the way you view the entire world, whatever the "cost", they're worth it.

Everett and Landon aren't quite old enough to be "nostalgic" over their baby hood, though Everett is unique in that I am nostalgic for every day of his life. But even though I have young children, I am nostalgic for the baby days, and truth be told, I can't wait to do it all over once more. Pregnancy is a very unique stage in motherhood. It's filled with a very special and unique type of joy, and anticipation and love that is only experienced while pregnant. I want that again, once more. One more joy to add to our already fabulous family!

Katie

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blogging when I don't feel like it!

That doesn't sound quite right.

What I mean is, I'm here, sitting at my computer, with something weighing on my mind, with something needing to be said, but my head hurts, the house is too quiet, I have to make Avery's lunch still, I have laundry to get to, and I want to have a bath and read before bed and it's already 9pm....

Time's a tickin'

Time's a wastin'

So, I'm blogging, even though my attention is being called other places, because I need to more then I want to.

I started this blog to keep me on track and accountable during some big life changes I am making personally, and we are making as a family. But, I am quite easily distracted, and sometimes I forget that this blog has a purpose beyond my own creative expression.

I need it.

I need it to remind me of my goals, the small ones and the big ones.

I need it to keep me sharp and on my toes, and most importantly, I need it to keep me accountable.

I need it to ensure I actually strive towards my goals, and hopefully meet some of them!

I think I talked, at least briefly, about how my belief in God, which has been gradually growing over the past few years, introduced me to the concept that Satan was indeed as real as God is. That belief was a hard one to adapt, somehow believing in God comes naturally, even in a world that thinks you're crazy for placing faith in something you can't see, but believing in his nemesis is somewhat "crazier" if you will. But, realistically, if God exists and is rallying for good and for our salvation, then it's not unreasonable to believe that Satan exists and is working and rallying for our downfall, right? Right (I think).

Anyway, my belief in God is solid, and I'm wrapping my head around the reality that Satan is invested in tearing down what God builds up. I'm getting used to the concept that the stronger and more vocal we become with our faith in God and our hope in Jesus, the more of interest we become to Satan. Non believers are of no threat to Satan's work, maybe in some instances, they help him achieve his goals. But, believers, those growing in faith and doing God's work and being vocal to others about their beliefs, they become somewhat of an annoyance to Satan, suddenly you're on his radar, and then he feels the need to intervene. This is, at least, how it has been explained to me, and I find it logical, and a little frightening.

So, if I'm growing in faith, which I am, and I am becoming more vocal, which I am, and I am working with God to build things up (which I am, haha), then is Satan now much more aware of me then he was about 2.5 years ago when I was just a "surface believer", a "ye of little faith"? Maybe. Maybe that would explain the sudden feeling of being torn down, I feel a destructive force moving through my life, and it is unsettling to say the least. I can't explain it, but I feel a "tearing down," a real negativity in my home and in my relationships, and I don't like it!

Then I read a very interesting scripture verse, where Jesus explains to Simon (aka Peter) that Satan wants to "Sift you like wheat" and that resonated with me, deeply. Is this a test now? Where we've build so much up, where my faith has grown to the degree where I can declare myself Christan and prepare for a public baptism, where I have declared my Christian marriage counseling successful and my broken marriage healed, Satan is now testing the validity off all of those accomplishments? Is Satan trying to poke holes in my success? Is he shaking my foundation to see if it is as sturdy as I say it is? Will I revert to old ways with a little pressure? Will I give and cry "uncle" with a little testing and a little pain? Hmmmmmm, interesting concept. And if we're talking the Bible, and Christianity (which we are), then it's a reasonable assumption.

It's also been introduced to me, the idea that Satan is limited. Unlike God, he can't be more then one place at one time, and he doesn't know our hearts, or our thoughts, that is to our benefit for sure. But, I have been told, that Satan has been observing people and sin for as long as there have been people, and sin, so he's pretty good at reading our faces and actions (and body language). So, our scowls and crossed arms and big huffy sighs, indicate that there's a crack by which he could get in and do some damage with in our relationships. It's also been told to me (by varying sources), that Satan uses people, like puppets, to do his work when he's bitten off more then he can chew, and that he uses mostly normal people in our lives or on our paths to trip us up and facilitate break down in his desired areas of destruction. These people, unbeknown to themselves, become little minions, or as they sometimes call themselves, unaware of the powerful meaning behind the seemingly benign tag "Devils Advocates." They get in there and they meddle and gossip and give "advice" and they "advocate" and they seem perfectly harmless, all the while they're introducing a toxin, they become a weed in your garden.

Now, all this rambling is leading some place, I promise, but seeing that this devil concept is relatively new to me, I'm still working it out in my mind as I type this, bear with me.

I've invited God into my life, and I've asked him to help me fix what I've spent years breaking.

I've asked him to teach me new ways to work my life, my parenting and my marriage, because my ways weren't working all that well.

I've partnered with Him, with my church, with my small group, with my counselor and with my husband to create a new life built on the truth and promises of Christ, and it feels fantastic. It's brought a sense of freedom and hope and insight that my life truly lacked before. Life isn't easier now, but the path, even when it's dark and winding and a little scary, is illuminated with His light.

So, here's me and God walking along doing good things in my world. Here's me telling the world that I love God and I follow Jesus, and that Christian marriage counseling works wonders, and that I'm getting baptized and life is great. And then suddenly, I'm a blip on Satan's radar.

Maybe, just hypothesizing here, maybe Satan leans back in his chair and thinks to himself, "Oh yeah Katie? You think so do you? You think your faith is so solid? You think you've solved your problems with God?" Maybe he's all smug like a mafia Don sort of vibe to him ;) And maybe he thinks "Lets just see about that!"

So, here I am going along all nicey nice with my Bible at my beside table and Church on Sundays, small group every other Tuesday and this blog to spread the news that I'm growing and learning, and Satan comes along and gives me a little shove, and I trip. I stumble and fall because of Satans influence. Maybe I tripped over anger. Or jealousy. Or bitterness. Or hate. Maybe an issue I thought was dead and buried has worked it's way back to the surface. And Satan sits back and waits with baited breath, and he's watching to see what I do next.

Now, we can stop being all hypothetical and narrative here, this is all real, it's actually happening. I felt that shove! I actually tripped and stumbled over issues I thought were dealt with. And I also tripped over my anger, jealousy, bitterness and hatred. I'm human! My ugly human emotions and sin are all still present, the difference now that I follow Jesus, is what do I do with them. And what I think Satan would be wondering, if this little narrative continued, is what will I do? Will I lash out? Will I retaliate? Will I gossip? Will I argue? Will I punish? Will I forget everything I learned in weeks of marriage counseling and in half a dozen Christian marriage books? Will I sin and sin and sin to avenge my rights and my entitlements and my heart? Well, will I?

Good thing about this scenario, is that it is literally playing out as we speak, so the decision is in play, I can make it go either way. And the good thing about this blog, is that it has a fantastic way of focusing me, helping me get to the root of the problems and really envision what's going down in my life. This real time play-by-play is helping me gain clarity, and it's helping me plan out my next move against my opposition (we have clearly laid out who that is by now right?).

There's a weed in my garden.

There's a puppet in our midst.

Seriously, there's a meddler, a trouble maker, a little seemingly benign pest in my Eden! But what can I do? This interference is bringing out all the worst in me, and clearly this "pest" is a vehicle for destruction, threatening to tear down what God and I and Elvis have been so tenderly and carefully building up the past five months.

Trust me, I want to revert, I want to become all kinds of ugly and sinful and hateful. I want to retaliate, and defend and get all huffy and defensive. I want to gossip! I want to gossip SOOOOOO bad.

But I wont.

Know what I am going to do?

What I have to do?

Pray.

That's it.

Well, pray, and trust.

Sounds absolutely terrifying doesn't it.

There's a weed in my garden!!!

A predator on the loose!

I should be reacting with five alarms, call in the army, claws out reacting!

Nope.

That's not what we do.

That's not what I have been taught in my Christian schooling I have been receiving these past few years.

That's not what God wants from me now.

He and I, and Elvis, we've partnered together to rebuild our broken lives. We've hashed it out, we've laid it all on the table, we've squared it all away and we've rebuilt. We built a new fresh life on God's solid rock of truth, and it's good. It's sturdy. We invited him in to our hearts, our lives and our marriage, and He's there in all of it.

My "house" is built on Him.

My marriage and heart are filled with Him.

I know the truth.

I'm following the way.

What God has joined together, no man (or woman) can tear apart.

We are three strands of strength, unbreakable.

That fear?

That panic?

That doubt?

That worry?

They aren't from God. God wants me to trust that He's in this. He's got this. He's got our backs and our hearts. We can trust in Him.

Those negative, self destructive emotions? They're the poke from Satan. They are his tests and his temptations. Think you're so good Katie? Well here, feel some doubt! Feel some fear? How do you like that? Don't you want to panic and lash out? I know you do!

Nope.

I'm going to pray. Pray that God helps me keep a level head and helps me keep His teachings at the front of my mind. I'm going to pray that what God has built up in us and in me is fortified and stronger then any external wrecking balls that may come our way. And then I'm going to trust. And keep doing what we've been doing this past five months.

Brick by brick we're building a new "house."

Brick by brick we're rebuilding a life, based on new things, exciting and hopeful God filled things.

I won't take down even one of those bricks at the temptation of Satan, or a minion of his.

I won't be tricked into kicking over a wall we just built out of anger.

I won't cut down God's hedge of protection over jealousy.

Not me!

If any one of you lovely readers made it to the end of this, thank you. Thank you for enduring this painfully long rambling, while I sorted through my current issue and devised my plan of attack. If its completely inane, or totally nonsensical, or just too out there for you, lets blame it on my five day headache and the resulting sleeplessness shall we?

Katie

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Decision

I made a big one!

One more step in my faith walk. A BIG step in my faith walk.

I'm excited, and nervous, and characteristically afraid of what others will think (that's SO the old me, not the new me I am trying to be).

It's been on my mind for a while. It's been popping up in conversations. It's been calling to me, and today, I finalized my choice, submitted and sent my request.

This summer I am going to be baptized!

Not the kind of baptism we had as kids, not a sprinkle of water, or oil, but a total immersion, in front of a lot of people, video taped for all to see baptism. BIG DEAL.

That sounds strange. It looks strange to see typed out too.

But it's true, and it's exciting and it makes me feel really happy.

This summer I'm going to make a public declaration of a change that happened privately nearly two years ago. I'm actually quite late in making this declaration, but better late then never.

I'm nervous though, because until I started attending our church regularly, I hadn't really heard about adult baptism, and I'm sure a lot of my friends and family haven't either. I assure you, it's common, and it's expected of those who follow Jesus. But, I'm nervous, because no one I know aside from my friends at church, have been baptized as adults, and even though you know it's right and even though you're excited about it, it feels odd, to be the odd one out in your personal community. I am, and always have been so worried about what people think of me, I'm deeply self conscious, nearly crippled by it at times, so to do this, to step forward and do something this open, and this different from what I've always known, it's a big deal.

But then again, it IS a big deal!

What I need to remind myself is that I'm not changing suddenly with my baptism, that changed happened already, in my bathroom, nearly two years ago when I was feeling grief so intense it brought me to my knees, and while I was there, I prayed, and immediately, I was changed. So, this isn't something new, this isn't coming out of left field. And my friends and my family know I am a Christan, they know I believe in God and Jesus and the good that faith has done in my life, in my healing process, and in my marriage. They KNOW it, but why do I feel like it's such a big and scary thing to really show it? I've got to shake that attitude off!

It's good. It's so good, to finally tell everyone that Jesus has saved me, truly, from the depths of my hurt, from an undefined but hollow loneliness, and from hopelessness. And my faith brought with it a promise of a reunion, a heavenly reunion with Everett, and an eternity with God, it's good. I'm still a work in progress, but I'm a better work in progress because I'm working towards better things. It's all good! So I've got to stop worrying about what others will feel about it.

So, this summer, I'm getting baptized, showing my obedience and doing what God calls us to do. Jesus did it, so will I. I'm excited, and scared, and curious, but mostly happy, to be in a place in my life where I can openly declare that God is good, and that I have trust and faith in Him and His work. Not too long ago, this wasn't the case. I'm happy to be in a place where I have scrounged up enough confidence to do something that feels a little scary, because my beliefs are bigger then my fears.

Seems I am growing and changing, I just hadn't noticed quite yet.

Katie

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What to do?

It's 8pm. Elvis is working, Avery's sleeping over at my sister's house, and Landon is in bed. The house is quiet, aside from some laundry that needs to be folded, there isn't much that needs to be done, so now what should I do?

The problem is that there are just too many options! What to do when there's so much I'd like to do, but only 2-3 hours to fit it all in to?

I could:
*Fold my laundry
*Clean the floors
*Have a bath
*Sew
*Make cards
*Read
*Blog (more in depth that is)
*Edit photo's
*Put the 300 photos sitting on my desk into albums!
*Play Wii Fit
*Do my devotional and prayer journal
*Read blogs I love
*Watch a movie
*Color in my Anatomy Coloring book (I'm a geek like that)

So you see, there are so many things I'd love to do when my free time comes up, but how do I choose what to do? What usually happens is I spend so much time thinking about what to do that I do none of it and then I end up getting frustrated feeling like I NEVER have any time to do what I want ;)

Gah! I should just go do something and stop thinking so much about it!

Later Gators!

Katie

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beautiful


I'm not sure what's prettier, a beautiful new flower, or my daughters dirty little hands (well yes, I do actually, but that's strictly this Mama's opinion of course!).

This picture is a prime example of a simple little joy this day gave me. It's been a crazy day, a hectic, busy, at times whiny and always noisy day, but in the midst of the chaos, God gives us little gifts of beauty, little moments of serenity. This is one of mine.

Philippians 4:11
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.

Katie