Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Heart of Christmas- Matthew West- with lyrics


Well, today I am feeling this song...I really feel like most of the time I live in a way that if it was my last moment on Earth I would have no regrets.  However, this past week, I have really been struggling with some decisions and how they have affected me and others.  I have had a crash course in how fragile and short life can be and how everything can change in a moment.  I feel like my whole life I have protected myself from hurt by pushing others away when I feel there is a threat of hurt or rejection....I find reasons to push people away that sound legitimate and maybe sometimes really are...but I guess I am wondering how often I actually push people away or leave a situation that may have possibly worked because I was scared.  I don't know....I just know that my head is swimming...I am second guessing many life choices....this is an awkward time.  I have no clue how things will end up...I just know that this song is resonating with me....

Wherever you are, no matter how far
Come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas
Live while you can, cherish the moment
The ones that you love, make sure they know it
Don't miss it, the heart of Christmas

Monday, October 20, 2014

When Life is a Roller Coaster....

It is funny to me how often a particular Bible story will come up in my daily life during various periods of my life.  When I was first single again and struggling with my sinful past, the story of the woman at the well kept coming up.  When I was going through a really difficult thing with my son, the story of Job kept coming up.  Recently, the story that keeps coming up is the story of Joseph--not Joseph, Jesus' father, but Joseph with the coat of many colors.  He has been mentioned in conversations with friends and pastors, sent to me in email devotions, talked about in sermons, and talked about on the radio.  Usually when this happens, I believe that I am to really dig in and figure out what the message is that I should apply to my here goes.

You can find the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50.  Basically he was a kid who had it all and then was sold into slavery.  He trusted God and ended up with a pretty cushy job in a leader's house.  But, then the leader's wife wanted to basically have an affair with him and when he refused--she lied and had him thrown in jail for false charges.  He remained faithful there and eventually went on to save Egypt and then reunited to his family.  He saved many people.  That never would have happened if his long chain of events had been different.  

I started searching on and found these main points about Joseph's life...

1.  God “broke” Joseph by taking him out of comfortable circumstances and stretching him. God often has to “break” us before He can use us.
I believe God does this with me.  I do not like the "breaking" process at can often be such a painful time for me.  I get really frustrated with myself.  I feel like I should be so much further in my journey than I actually am.  I am just coming out of one of these times.  I have been attending the same church for about 8-9 years.  I have served in so many ways there and called it my home.  I considered the people there family and for the last 3 years I was on staff there.  A few months ago, I was informed that I was being "released" not because of anything I had done wrong, but because of some changes they wanted to make overall to the ministry.  Not all of my thoughts or probably even actions have been pretty.  In my head, I understand the changes and I am sure they will end up ok, but it hurt and not just a little bit.  To be honest, I was completely devastated.  I had moments where I was angry and others where I just sobbed my eyes out.   I heard of rumors going around town that I was being fired because I was not doing my job and that really hurt a lot and was not true.  I take a lot of pride in my work and that really upset me.  I was frustrated with myself for feeling all of these emotions. I definitely felt broken down...and found that I needed to just fully trust God to sort it all out.  In my head, I knew he was still in control and had a plan, but my heart was broken.
2.  Joseph lived a life of integrity and was faithful to God in the midst of prosperity and adversity. He is a great example for us to follow.
I can honestly say that I have really tried to have integrity and be faithful during this transition.  Tried is the key word.  It was not easy...and again, I got really frustrated with myself.  I really think I have made such progress in my faith and then when trials come, I disappoint myself.  I guess maybe often what we know we should do and what we are feeling do not match up.  During those times we need to be especially careful about the actions we choose.  No matter what, our actions are totally within our control even when our emotions are not.  I personally think that is good news.
3.  There is no mistake in where God has you. Allow Him to use you where you are.
Oh this is such good news and at the same time, it is frustrating!  I sometimes think, "God, what are you doing?!?!?!?"  His plans so often make absolutely no sense to me and seem to be exactly the opposite of what I would choose.  But, somehow--eventually most of the time they do make sense.
4.  God is in control even when it seems that your world is spinning madly out of control.
Sometimes life does seem completely out of control!  It is so easy to be consumed by what life here on Earth holds, but this is not home....this is not the final destination.  We must remember that we need to look at eternity not just this time on Earth.  There are things that here seem so unfair and terrible, but I have to remember that this life is temporary and short.  I do not even remotely understand much of what happens here, but I try to remember that God can see the entire picture.   I trust him to sort it all out and make sense for me one day.  
In my recent situation, I did not have to suffer or wait long.  God revealed a new path to me almost immediately upon me learning about the church situation.  I can tell you that I feel totally confident that God has moved me where he needs to use me and that it is going to end up ok for all of the parties involved.  I am thankful that it has worked this way.  Several people I care about have not been so lucky.  I have friends who have lost loved ones, jobs, spouses, children, etc.  It is hard to know what to say to them because I am sure they struggle and ask God, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!"  I don't know how to tell them that this is part of God's plan because it is terrible what they are going through.  It makes my trials seem trivial.  I don't have the answers for these situations and I will admit that these questions are difficult for me.  I have to trust that someday I will know the answers and someday they will too...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why doesn't she just leave him???

I saw a post on Facebook today about the recent football player / wife talked about Tweets from people saying why they couldn't / didn't leave their abusive spouses.  It sparked something in me...I feel like I am someone who came out on the other side of this issue...and I want to share some thoughts....

So, when I was 20 I got married.  Honestly, now I am not sure why I did it...I really wanted to be married and be a mom and have a "normal family"....I thought I loved him.  I don't know, anyway...I did it--I got married.  We were not together very long before things started to change.  The abuse did not happen overnight though.  First, it was little things like I did something wrong, I was dumb about certain things, I wasn't "cultured", he just slowly made me feel stupid.  It was very gradual, but over time I questioned my intelligence, I doubted my worth, I took blame for things that were not really mine.  Then he started getting angry and breaking things or throwing things or hitting things...not me, but things.  I found myself trying not to make him mad...trying to do the right thing, trying to calm him down and then apologizing for making him upset.  By this time, he had me convinced that I could not make it without him...that I would fail at whatever I tried...that I needed him.  I knew that I had made a horrible mistake by this time, but I felt like it was my own fault and that I needed to just deal with it.  I believed that marriage was for life and that I needed to make it work--whatever the cost.  And--I believed that somehow I could fix things so they would not be like this forever--they would get better.  He finally escalated to hitting me after about a year and a half of being married.   He eventually started punching me in the arms and then in the face.  By this time, I knew that he was crazy and that there was no telling what he was capable of.  I thought about leaving, but I was terrified about what he would do.  You see, when you are with someone like this--there are bad times, but there are also good times.  They claim to love you and they often try to make up for what they have done...but when you leave them, they just do the bad stuff and there is no remorse because they want to punish you.  One day he went completely crazy and started screaming and smashing everything in the house...he flipped the furniture, threw everything in his reach, smashed holes in the wall, and smashed the chandelier. That was when it clicked for me...I hid behind a chair waiting for him to get to me.  He didn't, but I honestly was afraid that he was going to seriously harm or even kill me that day.  I remember crying to my friend and saying I didn't know what to do. When I finally did leave, he really got worse.  He stole my car and left me stranded at work.  He chose a day that we had meetings off site--so I was stranded at a strange location.  Then he kept breaking into my house and doing things to make me think I was moving things around and changing my alarm clock from am to pm.  He stole my journals and copied them.  He mailed them to my boss and my friends and my pastor.  He poisoned two of my pets and killed them.  And while he was doing all of this...he wrote me love letters saying how much he missed me and how he wanted to grow old with me.  I had a restraining order--but I could not prove it was him and I had no idea where he was because he was hiding.  I really felt like I was crazy and sometimes I thought about going back just to make him stop.  I finally ended up quitting my job, getting a different car, using a different last name, and moving to a really small town several counties away with a PO Box in a different city.  That was the only way he finally stopped.  He did finally stop and I have not seen or heard from him since--that was 1994.  I looked over my shoulder for years terrified that he would find me.  I still don't know what I would do if I bumped into him somewhere...Thankfully I never had children with him.  I cannot even imagine what that would have been like.  

It is so easy to judge men and women who are abused or mistreated by someone they are in a relationship with....We think "why don't they just leave".  It just isn't that easy sometimes.  It takes a lot of courage to leave an abuser.  And it takes a feeling of self worth that many victims don't have.  Often, people that are in an abusive relationship were abused as children--that lifestyle is all they know.  I believe they want something different but don't know it is possible or even know where to begin.  

I am so fortunate that I got out.  I am so happy that my kids don't have to live through that life.  I watched the face of the football player's now wife....if you look you can see the pain.  She was probably made to do that conference.  She did not want to be there.  She probably doesn't feel like she has options.  I don't know...but before we judge, how about we show some compassion.  How about praying for her and for him.  How about we not add to her shame and embarrassment?  

Chances are that you know someone who is being abused and maybe you are even frustrated with them because they won't leave....How can you help them???

1.  Don't judge them....they will leave when they are ready.  It takes something clicking in their mind and until that happens...they won't leave--can't leave.
2.  Help them build their self worth...encourage them...point out their them find things they are good at.
3.  Share God with them....teach them to pray and learn about Jesus who is crazy for them...who thinks they are amazing and smart and funny.
4.  Help them come up with an action plan...have them put important documents in a safe location where they can get to papers, bank accounts, birth certificates, marriage license, titles to homes and cars.
5.  Help them set up a PO Box so they can get mail somewhere other than home.
6.  Help them set up a bank account in their own name or maybe even in your name so their spouse cannot get to it.
7.  Help them find a safe place to go...
8.  Help them get things in order to file a restraining order when the time comes.

The biggest thing is to build their self worth so they feel they deserve better and then help them make a plan so they can break free.  People can totally break free and heal and have a healthy life, but they have to believe it first.  Instead of judging and getting frustrated with patient and be that calm voice of reason that says "you deserve better and you can do this".  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Forgiveness....I have struggled with this over the years....Holding grudges, playing the victim card, feeling bitter.  I have prayed and worked for hours, weeks, years to forgive wrongs that have been done in the past.  I am struggling with it once again.  Forgiveness...In the past, I have said that you can forgive someone, but that does not mean you have to let them have a big part in your life or that you have to be chummy with them...But, now...I don't know... Does that philosophy align with God's standards?  I want it to be, because I guess really I don't want to let this person back into my life enough to hurt me again.  I don't want to trust them.  I don't want things like they used to be because frankly i got hurt in a huge way.  But, when I think about God and how he isn't at arms length....when he forgives me, he does it in a close personal way.  He forgives all the way and is a God of second chances.  He forgives me when I mess up on purpose or not.  

  • Psalm 25:11 (NIRV)

    Lord, be true to your name. Forgive my sin, even though it is great.
  • Proverbs 10:12 (NIRV)

    Hate stirs up fights. But love erases all sins by forgiving them.
  • Proverbs 17:9 (NIRV)

    Those who erase a sin by forgiving it show love. But those who talk about it come between close friends.
  • Proverbs 19:11 (NIRV)

    A man's wisdom makes him patient. He will be honored if he forgives someone who sins against him.
    • Exodus 34:7 (NIRV)

      I continue to show my love to thousands of people. I forgive those who do evil. I forgive those who refuse to obey. And I forgive those who sin. But I do not let guilty people go without punishing them. I punish the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for the sin of their parents."
    • Genesis 50:17 (NIRV)

      He said, 'Here's what you must say to Joseph. Tell him, "I'm asking you to forgive your brothers. Forgive the terrible things they did to you. Forgive them for treating you so badly." ' Now then, please forgive our sins. We serve the God of your father." When their message came to Joseph, he sobbed.
    • Deuteronomy 15:1 (NIRV)

      At the end of every seven years you must forgive people what they owe you.
      • Matthew 6:14 (NIRV)

        "Forgive people when they sin against you. If you do, your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you.
      • Mark 11:25 (NIRV)

        And when you stand praying, forgive anyone you have anything against. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your sins." The Authority of Jesus Is Questioned
      • Luke 11:4 (NIRV)

        Forgive us our sins, as we also forgive everyone who sins against us. Keep us from falling into sin when we are tempted.' "
      • Colossians 3:13 (NIRV)

        Put up with each other. Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.
        • Psalm 86:5 (NIRV)

          Lord, you are good. You are forgiving. You are full of love for all who call out to you.
        • Matthew 26:28 (NIRV)

          This is my blood of the new covenant. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many.
        • 2 Corinthians 2:7 (NIRV)

          Now you should forgive him and comfort him. Then he won't be sad more than he can stand.
        • Numbers 14:19 (NIRV)

          "Lord, your love is great. So forgive the sin of these people. Forgive them just as you have done from the time they left Egypt until now."
          • Psalm 130:4 (NIRV)

            But you forgive. So people have respect for you.
          • Matthew 6:15 (NIRV)

            But if you do not forgive people their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Fasting
          • John 20:23 (NIRV)

            If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." Jesus Appears to Thomas
          • 2 Corinthians 2:10 (NIRV)

            Anyone you forgive I also forgive. Was there anything to forgive? If so, I have forgiven it for your benefit, knowing that Christ is watching.
        • I am going to have to keep working on this....I think I am supposed to forgive all the way and embrace this person....I am not sure at all how to do this...but maybe in time my human heart will be able to fully do this...What about you...Who do you need to work on forgiving?  Have you been able to fully forgive those who have hurt you and what does that look like?  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I'm Only Human

Human by Katy Perry  (click here to hear the song)

One of my friends posted a song on Facebook earlier....Human by Katy Perry....I really like that song.  It got me thinking about this whole thing called love and life.  As a single gal, it is proper to say that you are not "looking" for a husband.  If you are looking for makes you desperate and it scares people.  As a single girl, we are supposed to be strong, independent, I can do anything girls.  It is not good to show weakness or complain too much about how things are.  And, seriously--you never admit that you are looking for a husband....Well, guess what...that is just kind of not realistic.   Don't get me wrong--I do not think that every single girl is looking for a husband, but guess what--if they isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I can really only speak for myself, but I know a lot of single women and from what I can tell, many of us feel the same and struggle with the same things.  If I am really REALLY honest, yes I would like to have a husband.   And, at the same time--the thought of having one terrifies me.  I am staring down the barrel of an empty nest and it does kind of scare me sometimes.  I don't want to be alone for the rest of my life.  Do I have a full and rich life--yes I do.  Do I have tons of friends?  Yes, I do. But, there have been years--literally YEARS where I have not been touched, held, or kissed.  YEARS...There are studies that show what that does to babies--they can die from it.  It is no picnic as an adult either.  I have done my share of dating too...and to be honest, sometimes that is even less fun than being alone.  Here is what I know....I am only human.  I do the best I can most of the time.  I want to be loved and desired.  I would like to someday find a man who thinks I am the best thing that he ever stumbled upon.  Someone who would fight to have me in their life and would fly to the moon and back to be with me.  That is a tall order...I seriously do not expect perfection...but I do expect some serious effort.   My nature is to be a fixer and a planner.  But, I have learned that I don't want a fixer upper....and I have learned that although when you are married you should stick with your spouse through hell or high water....that when you are dating you should listen to those red flags.  If you see someone that treats you great, but treats other people impatiently or with disrespect...guess what will happen eventually...You will be on the receiving end of that.  If someone is constantly making negative comments about people...eventually they will do that about you.  Dating is the job interview.  When you are hiring for a job, you do not expect the perfect person, but if you see major red flags or character flaws you are not going to hire that person.  If you are hiring a sales person--you don't pick the guy who is so shy they cannot even introduce themselves.  If you are hiring a nanny--you don't pick the one who cannot stand children...Why is it different when we are dating?  I think being really honest and saying "this is not gonna work" is actually the kindest thing you can do if you find yourself in that situation.  I would rather be alone for the rest of my life than to end up in another bad  relationship.  Guess I am done rambling for now--that is why this blog is called Random Thoughts of a Single Mom...sometimes they are pretty random!  

Monday, January 6, 2014

We've Been Duped!

This morning I made blueberry muffins from scratch.  They were amazing!  And honestly, they did not take any more time to make than if I had used a mix.  We have gotten so used to using boxes of mix to make food items, that we have come to think that it is the only way to cook.  It has been long enough that most of us don't even know how to make things from scratch.  Real food is cheaper, it tastes better, and it is so much healthier!  So how do we get back to cooking?  We need to try some real recipes and cook from scratch.  We need to teach our kids to do it.  I thought I would post links here to some "from scratch" recipes that I like to use.  Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!

Blueberry Muffins--Tip, use frozen blueberries and roll them in flour before adding them to the batter.

Pancakes--I added a little bit of vanilla.