Gripping my heart, the things I thought I’d let go, fingers flexed to squeeze out tears and the strangest of fears. I thought I’d forgiven. I guess there’s still work to be done.

I had a strange dream a few weeks ago about someone I haven’t thought about in years. This person happened to be on the short list of two individuals I can think of in my life that I had the hardest time forgiving. I don’t really know what brought about this reminiscence but just before I woke up I heard the Lord speaking to my heart that we were going back until I’d dealt with it once and for all.  I really didn’t think I had any issue with this person whatsoever anymore.

Now the other one on the short list, I can acknowledge, still haunts me from time to time. There are days when, though I’ve forgiven repeatedly, the disgust and anger find a way of coming up and sitting in the back of my throat like bile. My husband is so great at catching these moments and reminding me to get it under control. I’m so thankful for him.

This week, I realized how much more work I need to do in this area. There’s a difference between shoving the feelings aside and dealing with them until they’ve been fully uprooted from the soil of the soul. Maybe true forgiveness is a process in which God is faithful enough to remind us about the roots still clinging tightly at just the right moment when we are strong enough to tug them out. Maybe He works on different sections of the garden of our heart because we can’t handle the pain if He did it all at once. I don’t know. I can only relate my experience and my shortcomings.

My ex-husband was a drug addict (I optimistically choose to use the word “was” there in hopes that he is in fact doing better though the bile of cynicism is attempting to creep up even now as I write). The entirety of our marriage was a roller coaster of issues between drug relapses, outbursts of wrath and malice toward me and our kids, pornography, prostitutes and strippers, finally leaving me no choice but divorce. I am so thankful that God protected me and my children through all of the chaos and that He’s brought us to where we are today. I believe that these experiences have served to make me stronger and prepared me for my life. As Corrie Ten Boom said, “This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see”. Still, there are memories, I’d love to forget.

My husband and I have been helping and counseling a family recently who are dealing with issues very similar to my old life and consequently, I am facing memories of the past that aren’t pleasant. In one situation this week, I found myself paralyzed after flashbacks of certain situations came flooding in. Then all of a sudden, with the anger and pain of the memories, a bizarre fear crept in that maybe someday my perfectly amazing husband, who has restored my faith in mankind, could somehow fall victim to some of these atrocious sins and I could end up right back where I came from dealing with the same issues over again.  In the brain, it makes no sense, but in the realm of the soul where my emotions are being sloshed together with pregnancy hormones it hit me like an avalanche and I realized that maybe I’m not as “over it” as I once thought I was. 

All of this, though painful and raw, causes me to be so thankful! In His infinite mercy, God is allowing me to see the areas that still need tending so now, I can move toward healing. Were it not for these moments, I’d still be pushing aside little annoyances and snide comments every time the ex’s name was mentioned. Were it not for moments like these, I’d be walking around with bitterness in my heart unable to move forward. Once light is shined in darkness, the dim is forced to yield to the brightness! That is so comforting to me. I can rest confidently knowing that God is faithful and just to complete the work He began in my heart long ago and bring me to a place of true freedom. When the tears and fears are squeezed to surface, his living water can come in and refresh my soul.

Thank you Lord for every ache, every pain and every tear as long as they draw me nearer to you!


The Snake in the House

Snake under the Fridge

Snake under the Fridge

I learned an important lesson yesterday. Creepy crawly critters move fast and often unnoticed. I was getting some ribs prepared to go into the oven and needed something from the other fridge, the one on the back porch so I opened the slider, got my ingredients, came back in, closed the door and resumed my work in the kitchen. A few minutes later I heard something fall behind the turtle tank. I looked to see what those crazy turtles were doing in there that could possibly cause the extra filter pack to fall behind their tank and saw nothing but two turtles swimming frantically toward the glass. I shrugged it off as a work of gravity and went back to work. Until something moving caught my eye. Right there in the middle of my dining area, slithering across the tile was a long black snake.

I’m not necessarily afraid of snakes. I think they’re pretty nifty from a distance and when you know they’re there but when they appear suddenly, randomly, in places they should never be, the only appropriate reaction is to scream and run and that’s precisely what I did. My fifteen year old daughter was at the computer desk across the room and heard my screaming “it’s a snake!” and she (being terrified of snakes), screamed even louder and ran. My thirteen year old daughter waited a minute, unsure about what could possibly be going on, before emerging from her room and walking outside. Luckily, my six-year-old was already playing outside. So there we were, the whole family on the porch recovering from the shock.

My neighbor heard us screaming and came over with a stick. Neither of our husbands were home. We ended up with two women, four girls under the age of 15 and one 6-year-old boy, in the house on the lookout for the slithery sinister being to emerge from the fortress he chose underneath my refrigerator. He was not coming out. Eventually, I resumed cooking while watching out one eye for him to fly out at my feet at any given moment. I had to get my ribs in the oven!

After about an hour, he came out and another neighbor had arrived and our efforts to shew him out the door ended with him under the stove instead of the fridge. We removed the drawer under the stove and were poking things in there to coax him out and he was so scared he just wouldn’t come. Finally, my Pastor (also my neighbor) showed up and took over. We tried to get him out in a humane way, but the uncooperative little booger met his demise. Pastor, the hero, killed the snake and freed us ladies from the reign of the little tyrant. It was an adventure.

When my husband got home, he mentioned that we should have killed him last week…Last week, he was on our front porch eating a frog. We all looked at him and tried to get pictures of nature in progress (which I would share, but they are terrible). We thought it was kind of cool. Black snakes are generally good to have around since they eat pests so we’ve let him live comfortably and close to our doors without much resistance. Still, my husband said we may have allowed him to get a little too familiar and comfortable with us making it more comfortable for him to sneak in the house.

Either way, it made me think about the little things in my life that I don’t necessarily bother to deal with right away. I think sometimes we see sin lurking at the door and we don’t bother to totally get rid of it because since it’s not inside it doesn’t bother us that much. We may even think it’s kind of cool sitting out there. We may toy with the idea of looking at it and keep peeking out the door to check on it and see where it is. What we don’t realize is that when we allow it access to the close proximity of the door, it can creep in so fast that we never saw it coming until it’s there, stuck and we can’t get it out because it’s weaved into a crevice somewhere where we can’t even see it anymore other than the occasional moments where it rears its little head out from underneath. Maybe even in this, it takes Pastor with a shovel in hand to bash our little creeper in the head before we can grab it by the tail and get it outside.

I often hear people talk of not opening the door for the enemy of our souls to come in. I contend we should take it a step farther and guard the yard. We should be like Joseph and RUN the second temptation comes along. James says “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:15. I am determined to not even allow sin to be conceived in my heart instead of waiting until it’s in the house and trying to stop it. It’s much easier that way.


When I open my mouth, let your words come out
Let me not be afraid to open my mouth
When I look, may I see through your eyes
Let me not be afraid to open my eyes
When I take a step, calm and guide my wobbly feet
Let me not be afraid to walk
When I pray, may I seek your desires instead of mine
Let me remember to pray
When I sing, be the melody and frequency that carry the song
Let a song be ever present on my tongue.
You be the voice. You be the strength. You be the brain. I’ll give you my throat, my hands, my all. I won’t settle for less.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Deep within the mirror, reflected back the image of who I once thought I was. Something beyond the obvious stares back at me through eyes windowing the soul of the seeker.

More than sharp features, high cheekbones and brown eyes, I am won; wholly purchased by the author of beauty who sees me lovely.

Beyond the broken glass there is a story. Love overcoming the dullest ache and the deepest uncertainty. Surrendered now to its power, I rest in the arms of one who sees more than an image on a glass screen; more than the portrayal of plastic offered by the populace; more than wrappings and trappings adorning the fearful. My lover sees me.

Creator who marked the heavens with unending glory, you who painted the sunset and placed each peak in its wonder to jut from the earth in majesty, reveal to us the wonder you see in each masterpiece you’ve created. Let us look beyond the mirror to the artist who sculpted us with careful, meticulous purpose. Let us see the only the reflection in your eyes as you rest in us and call your creation “good”.

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.” Psalms 139:13-18