I’m wrapping up our month of May with the last Mother’s Day tribute. But the nuggets in this post about my mom are for ALL parents (yep- ya’ll she’s just that great)! Pray it blesses your heart and those hard days of parenting.
Ever judged someone? Or been judged by another? Or cast judgment on yourself? Have you ever determined the outcome of a mistake? This post from our guest, Jayne Patton, will bring encouragement, hope and inspiration to your heart, sharing what God sees, even in our mistakes.
*a special post from special guest Heather Falana* My husband loves me. It doesn’t matter what kind of a day I am having or if he disagrees with some of my decisions-he just loves me. He has been out of the country for 10 days and he returns tomorrow. To say I am excited is an understatement. While he has been away the Lord has been working some things out of me.
There is always stuff in us that can be worked on, worked in, or worked out. See, the thing is, people say “Jesus loves you” and ask “Did you know how much God just loves you?”
…. “just loves you”.
Yes. I do know that He does love me.
But do I?
Grace means undeserved favor. It means that something is given to you that you do not deserve and it could never be earned, but I believe that over time I have come to slightly believe that I must earn some gifts from God. Today, I realized that the devil has been trying to keep things out of my grasp with this one lie; “Heather, you haven’t done enough.”
I find it very easy to love the Lord. To sing Him praises and talk about His goodness. It is also very easy for me to do that for people too; to brag on them and bring them gifts, but I have a hard time receiving it back. The Lord brought to my attention that I don’t always let Him love me. I’m always thinking about what I didn’t do or what I can do better. Not what He has done and wants to do in me and for me---there are things only my Heavenly Father can do.
I am a mother of three beautiful children. They are not perfect. They fight with each other on occasion. They sometimes lie. They don’t always follow the rules. They get mad at me. You want to know what? Sometimes they irritate me but I LOVE them so deeply that I correct and move forward knowing sure within myself that they love me too and they will improve. So, sitting in my living room today God gave me a dose of much needed unlimited, throw-all-caution-to-the-wind, cry-your-eyes-out LOVE.
Over the past month, while my prayer closet, I was sensing this wall. A wall. Not a wall to keep things in, a wall that was keeping something out. I couldn’t figure it out. I asked the Lord to show me what I was feeling on the inside. One thing I love about having a relationship with God is that He never fails to blow my mind.
I stand on scripture for healing in my body and protection over my family. I receive wisdom from God daily because His Word says in James that all I must do is ask for it and He gives it freely. Freely. God loves freely and He gives grace, mercy, and wisdom freely; however, it is never forced and must be received the same way. Today He spoke to my heart and said “Heather, you cannot earn the things I love to give you. I watch over your children because I love you. I desire to heal your body because I love you. And I gave you Jesus because I love you. Not because you remembered the scripture from last Sunday. Not because you prayed and read my Word four times or two times this week or you forgot. I just love you.”
I cannot explain in a human tongue what this did to me. I know God loves me. I know that He sent Jesus because He loved us (John 3:16). It was different today. It went deeper than “Jesus loves you”. I felt like He took my face in His hands and looked me in the eyes and said “I just love you”.
My husband and I moved last year to the west coast to start a church. People are people everywhere you go. I have come to realize that. Here in my new home I am finding it challenging to explain why we are here. Yes, we came to start a church to tell people about Jesus Christ and what He did but more importantly we came to share the love of Christ with people. I have been asking myself “How? How do I explain all of this extreme fondness I have for my savior?” and “How do I show them what it is like to know My savior?” and “How will they see that this is vital?”
Outside of being an example of Christ and being a sweet fragrance to those around you (II Corinthians 2:14-15), I needed more. How do I put this thing in my heart into words? Wisdom is coming my friends. When you ask Jesus to come into your heart to be your Lord and Savior its more than a prayer. It’s a life changer. He said in II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, all things have become new.”
It’s one thing to knowabout a person, it’s another to hear about who that person is, and it is entirely different to live with that person. Christ desires to live with us because He just loves us. He desires to change our hearts because He knows about every little thing in your life that you need. He desires to lead us. He desires to heal us, protect us, and care for us.
We recently got a dog. He is almost a year. We found him at the Humane Society. We walked into this very loud, a bit stinky and crowded animal shelter. My family and I walked into the small dog room. There was this half Corgi half Chihuahua copper dog in the last kennel on the left. My oldest son just melted. The shelter had a name on his kennel and it was Nalu. When we brought him home the kids wanted to change that name so we threw out many ideas until we settled on Cooper.
Cooper has had to learn some new behaviors. He has had to learn that we are safe and how to trust us. When Cooper came out of his old life he received a new one. A better one. He came from a high-kill shelter in Hawaii and this was his last chance at living. He was surviving but he was not living. When God sent Jesus to us it was not to point His nose down at the human race and aim lightning bolts in our direction and yell “Look at all those people screwing everything up! They need a crutch! I’m sending them Jesus." No. He sent Jesus because the enemy has it out for all mankind (I Peter 5:8) and Jesus came to make a way of escape. Just like we were sent to Cooper to make him a way of escape. John 10:10 Jesus says “the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” In other words, Jesus came to bring something worth dying for and not so He could keep it to Himself. He came to give it away to you and me!
It didn’t stop there. We gave the dog a new name and a new life. He also received gifts and a bath! Now everything that belongs to the Falana’s also belongs to Cooper. He is in the family now! He enjoys our couch, our food, our neighborhood streets, and our love. It is the same with the Lord. You can know about Him or you can live in Him.
Picture yourself standing outside of a house and wondering what it holds. Nothing in that house belongs to you, in fact you cannot even see what it has to offer. Now, picture yourself walking through that house. You see all the rooms, the stairs, the fireplace. It is very inviting. You walk right through it and you move on.
Now, imagine you live in that house. Everything in that house belongs to you. It not only brings you the things you need, like a stove, washing machine, and toilets. It shelters you. It keeps you warm. It protects you. It also gives you room. Room to share. That is Christ. He desires for you to be “in Him”. Not to know about Him. Not to visit with Him once and move on. He desires to free you from a negative sentence in life. To change you. Rename you. Feed you. Shelter you. Most importunately, “to just love you.” I John 4:9-10 “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins”.
Don’t just survive this one life you have been given. Live it in Him and let Him just love you.
A Little Thought From Heather...Meadows🤗
I could write a blog post alone about Heather Falana. She is the portrait of Proverbs 27:17 in my life-- "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." We met several years ago in an anatomy class and journeyed through OU College of Nursing together, being referred to by many as Heather Squared.
She and her family are brave for Jesus, bold for Jesus and desire His plans for their life, moving across country, not knowing a soul, to minister His life, His love, His hope and His healing to lives.
Would you pray about and consider blessing their ministry with a love offering? Your tax deductible gift can be sent to: Church Alive ℅ Sam Falana 1339 NW Covey Ct. Silverdale, WA 98383
Also, if you enjoy a good laugh, Heather periodically posts some super funny videos! Click here to look her up on Facebook. Her humor will lift you up, truly making you laugh out loud. She's such a gift to me! ❤ Heather
I pray this post spoke to you. Did you know I’m writing a book?! Crazy, right?! Would you join me in supporting these endeavors by subscribing to our blog and sharing with your friends and family? We can’t grow with out you.
*a special post from a special guest* So I want to start off by introducing myself and saying what an honor it is to share my story with everyone.
My name is Sean Westley, I am a husband to my beautiful wife Jasmine Westley.
My wife is an Aerospace Engineer and I am a Project Superintendent for a construction company. We have been married for almost 5 years and I am a father to 6 amazing children. We have 3 boys and 3 girls, so I guess you could say we are the modern age Brady Bunch. Those who know us, our friends and family, refer to our family as “Team W”. “Team W” because half of our family carries the last name of Westley and the other half last name Woody. Everyone having a last name starting with “W” is just one of God’s many winks for us. Go “Team W”!
Most importantly, I am a child of God! However, this isn’t what my life has always looked like. Matter of fact, it has looked vastly different from this beautiful picture I have painted.
I would like to start from the beginning. My life started out with a lot of hurt and pain. During my formative years there were several men brought into my life that, well let’s just say, were not very nice to me. Two of the men were sexually abusive and put much fear into me. Another was very physically and mentally abusive. When I was about 14 or 15 years old, my mom married the man she is married to today. Although he was an amazing dad, damage had already been done; all I knew to do, was distance myself from him and the rest of the family. At this point I started my own self destruction.
I quit school when I was 15 and started running around with the wrong crowd. I started smoking pot and drinking. I would sneak out at night and really just do whatever I wanted to do. In no time at all I found myself being arrested. I was completely out of control. I started doing meth and whatever I could to support that habit such as stealing from my mom and dad. It went so far that I started using stolen credit cards and that is when it all came to a head. I was arrested and ended up being charged and going to the penitentiary. The State charged me with 5 counts of credit card fraud and forgery for over $250,000 which carried a sentence of 20 to life on each count.
Let that sink in….. I’m 20 years old, facing spending the rest of my life in prison.
That’s when Grace stepped in. I received 5 consecutive 5 year sentences. All said and done, I served 5 years in an Oklahoma prison. What I overcame there in that place is yet another story. Let’s just say it was a very scary time in my life.
After getting out I started working and walking the straight path, but that didn’t last long. I started running around and fell into old habits. During this period of my life I met the mother of my kids. We were married for 13 years and we had 3 children in 3 years. That didn’t keep addiction at bay and I became addicted to several drugs. My main drug of choice was crack cocaine. I remember a time when I sold everything we owned to support my habit. Looking back it was a very low time in my life. The good news is that I made the decision to walk away from that life style. Although I wanted something else, my kid’s mom wasn’t ready to do that, so I made the decision to divorce her and fight for my kids.
And that is when Grace came to me again. Can you believe that? Me. After all I have done I was given Grace once again. The same judge that sentenced me to prison is the same judge that gave me full custody of my children. Now you are thinking, “Wow, he has overcome so much”, and yes, I would say you're right, but that is when my toughest battle to date would come.
After getting custody of my kids I fell back into the drug scene. I also fell into a depression. Let me tell you, those two things do not go together well, at all, not at all. And that’s when it happened, ROCK BOTTOM. Yep, bottom of the barrel into the pit right where Satan wanted me. There I was lost and broken with all this responsibility and nowhere to turn. But, you guessed it, that’s when Grace entered in once again. Grace found me when I was on top of a 6 foot ladder with a noose around my neck. That is the moment when I heard God's voice. Right then, God spoke to me and told me to get down. He said that He had a different plan for me.
In Isaiah 28: 23 NIV it says, "Listen and hear My voice; pay attention and hear what I say." You see, right in scripture, God the Father, tells us that He has given us the ability to hear His voice.
What I have come to understand is that we are too busy and too loud in our own heads to hear. I am a testimony that God speaks to the broken and on that day, I heard the audible voice of the Good Shepherd.
I hear people say that they have never heard the audible voice of God. My question is this: how do you know? If you don’t know what His voice sounds like, how do you know that you haven’t heard it?
Well, here is my opinion on that…..we might not hear a voice out loud, vocally, where it tickles our ear drums; however, I wonder if you have ever felt strongly that God, the Creator of the Universe, spoke directly to your inner most being. Isn’t that hearing Gods voice?
Well, on that day, when that happened for me, everything changed. That is the day that I gave my life to follow Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. That day is what I call, the first day of my life. My real life, my true life, the one that God had purposed me for. That day is when I started living in God’s will. God delivered me from all my addictions and planted me firmly on the rock. On that day, I chose to be ALL in not just half in. I was all in! Every time the church doors were open my kids and I were there. Now you’re thinking “end of story,” right? Not so fast, although life got a lot better for my children and I, I had a lot of growing to do.
At this point I want to mention how extremely important our amazing church family was for my little family. By God’s leading, not out of convenience, we became family to an amazing church family at Coweta Assembly of God. In all my mess and all my failures this body of believers never once judged me, or looked down on me. They received us with open arms and have always loved on us from the very first second we walked in the doors. This was crucially important in my walk. They showed us the true definition of the love of Christ. After attending the church for about a year and going strong, my kids told me that they wanted me to be happy. “Happy?” I asked, I had never been so happy. “No dad, we want you to start dating again” they said. I told them that when it was time, God would send someone. This was when I started praying and asking God for direction, expressing that when He was ready, I was ready. We need to be very specific in our prayers and believe me I was.
I described to God what I would like to have in someone. Someone that would love my kids as her own. Someone that loved God with all her heart. Someone that would love me unconditionally and that didn’t need to depend on me to fulfill all her needs. Someone who could stand on her own two feet. Let me tell you, God loves us and he hears our prayers and it wasn’t but a short time later that I met Jasmine.
This brings me to the next time I heard God’s voice. After only dating Jasmine for a month, I was standing on my parent's porch and God spoke to me again. I heard, “Sean, you prayed and asked Me to send her to you and I sent her. What are you waiting for?”
"Are you kidding me, Lord? There is no way. I can’t do that………"
You know-- that argument we have with the Lord when He asks us to trust Him.
After losing the argument, I reached into my pocket grabbed my phone, YES MY PHONE, and I called Jasmine. When she answered the phone the call went a little like this, “Jasmine, this is going to sound really strange and I am so sorry for doing this to you on the phone, but Jasmine, I am supposed to ask you to marry me.”
Without any hesitation Jasmine said yes!
You see that doesn’t just happen BUT GOD, He had a better plan.
I have stood on the scripture Jerimiah 29:11 from the first day I got saved, because a dear friend of mine was obedient to God’s voice. He approached me and told me that God told him to give me this scripture, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Needless to say, one month later Jasmine and I got married. Now, it hasn’t been a cake walk. We had a lot to figure out such as bringing two families together and everything that comes with that. Wow, what a ride it has been let me tell you. Just when the story should say, "happily ever after," it happened... another test.
I fell into a state of depression again. Yep, that’s right, yet another test, and it almost broke us. But, remember we serve a big God. He says that whatever He brings together let no man separate. This test lasted on for two years and it completely consumed me. I thank the Lord for a wife that prays for her husband and that will stand on God’s Word. That’s exactly what she did.
I will never forget the day that I was set free from the grip of depression. My wife came to me and said, “This family and I are not doing this anymore with you. I refuse to allow you to bring us into the pit with you. It is time for you seek God and rise up and be the MAN that God has called you to be and lead our family as God has instructed you to do.”
That’s when it happened, I started seeking God and He spoke to me saying, "This season has come to an end to never return. You are an overcomer and you are My child and I love you." 2 Timothy 1:9 NIV says this, "He has saved us and called us to a Holy life not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time."
Wow! Did you hear that?! Before the beginning of time, our Father in Heaven purposed our lives! Your life!!! Wow! I’m happy to say, God is true to His word. I have never had a season like that since.
Matter a fact, we are in a great season, and life is good. God is doing so much in our family. I went to Haiti a few years back on a mission trip and this year we as a family went to El Salvador with our church including Heather Meadows and her family. Today, my wife and I are serving our church by leading a marriage class.
I truly believe that God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers. Each of the battles that we face is the exact test we need to make us stronger. It grows us so we can share it with someone to help them along in their struggles.
There is so much more to the story. I gave you the short version. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story. I hope it blesses you. If there are any of you that would like to contact me so I can pray with you, I welcome you contacting me. Or, if you are in a season that just seems never ending and need someone to talk to, my wife and I are always available.
Thank you for the pleasure of sharing with you.
May God bless you and keep you, Sean Westley-- a child of God! (click on Sean's name to contact him through Facebook)
A Little Thought from Heather: I met Sean sitting in my seat at church, listening, as he bravely stood at the pulpit sharing his testimony. We've attended church together with our families for over six years. I've observed Sean Westley. I've watched him worship, with abandonment, holding nothing back. To meet Sean is to know him. He is transparent, genuine and authentic and the gratitude he has for his life restored overflows in his everyday interactions. I'm honored to know this man and his beautiful family. We've all been through some mud and mire. Allowing the Lord to shine through it is a powerful testimony to our world. May you and yours be blessed and encouraged this Christmas season by Sean's story. A story illustrating The Gift we celebrate this time of year-- Jesus wrapped up His hope, His love, His grace to transform our lives when He came to this earth, born in a manger, loving us to the cross and giving us victory in His resurrection. Merry Christmas! Much love, Heather ❤️
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Around our home there is a light-hearted joke that the laundry room is my favorite room in the house. Seems to be a place I am frequently located. Brooklyn still gets a kick out of telling the time I asked her to set the table saying, “We’re eating in the laundry room tonight.” She repeated it back to me in question, with emphasis as given, “We’re eating in the laundry room?” I realized what I had said and corrected, “the dining room, the dining room, we are eating in the dining room tonight.” The girl still gets a good laugh each time she recalls it. I’m so grateful my mode of an overloaded brain brings such joy to the home when it can. Like my brain, which overflows at times with more information than my mouth can accurately articulate, my washing machine did something similar, malfunctioning, releasing all of its water onto the floor. Of course, we were not home when this occurred, [as I’m a big fan of setting the delay button to have the load ready for the dryer when we return], but it was quite evident the moment we arrived, because the laundry room is one of the first rooms we see when walking in the door.
For those who remember some of the posts composed from this past summer’s events and the storms I mentioned in Meadows in Massachusetts, Nurse's Cry, Deflated, and Crummy Mom, you won’t be surprised at all to know that of course, the washer malfunctioned around the same time. Didn’t seem like too big of a deal then. We cleaned up all the water and started toting laundry down to my Mom’s during the interim of having the washer replaced. Let me say, I’ve never been so grateful to have purchased an extended warranty. We had only had the washer fourteen months. We don’t typically go for extended warranties, but as much as we use our washer and as much as a service technician charges, we figured it was worth our while. Evidently, it was.
Unfortunate bummer inconvenience, but simple fix, right? We thought so. That is until our wood floors buckled.
Apparently the water released from the washer that day ran under the laundry room wall which backs up to our dining room and kitchen, flowed completely through the kitchen even reaching into the living room! It was incredible and unbelievable at the same time. Who would’ve thought it could flow that far and who would’ve thought it could cause so much damage?
Disappointingly, this incident marks a first for Brandon and me…our first homeowner’s claim. We’re counting our blessing that in the sixteen years we’ve been married, this is our first, but you people who carry higher deductibles feel our pain. It’s not a fund you plan to dip into, nevertheless, are so grateful it’s there. Occurrences like these emphasize the importance of those annual budget meetings for sure.
Thursday was another first. Movers came to pack up our entire downstairs. Since the wood has to be replaced, it has to be refinished; therefore, so do all the rooms. We’ve never had movers before. I kept trying to help and they were so polite, “It’s okay, we’ll get it Ma’am.” I won’t chase the squirrel of being called “Ma’am.” It’s such a courteous reference, and I receive it as such, I just still feel a bit young for the name, so I’d encourage them, “Oh, please just call me ‘Heather.’” Regardless, I was in the way and needed to let the nice men do their job, so I met my Mom for breakfast.
I continued to run errands for the day and returned home to the demolition in full swing.
I got out the vacuum and started cleaning up what I could. We’re living in the house for the first week of the project, sleeping in Caden’s room; watching TV, folding laundry and working on the computer in Brooklyn’s room; and using our good ole laundry room for coffee, making sandwiches, washing dishes, feeding the dogs, oh yes, and for laundry too. Jaron and Gavin are packed in as well, storing some of our downstairs items in their rooms. Therefore, the floors needed to be relatively clean for our continued stay in the house.
While cleaning up a bit, my mind pondered that question, “Who would’ve thought it could flow that far and who would’ve thought it could cause so much damage?”
My heart became stirred thinking of our words. Thinking about the damage the flow of the water caused, illustrates the damage caused when we allow our words to flow. Like the washing machine releasing the water, sometimes we release our words without first taking into account what it may damage.
Proverbs 11:9 NLT
With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous.
“With their words…” And we’ve all seen it happen. Words can destroy.
Our wood floors and sub-flooring have been removed and we are hanging out in our home without starting any work to replace them for several days. Why? Because the concrete, our home’s foundation, has to have time to dry. Otherwise, we’d be laying new floor over a moist surface providing for substandard results.
Unfortunately, many of you are feeling exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve been wounded by words. Someone felt their opinion was of so much value that they were going to speak it whether it was right, whether it was helpful, and regardless if it was hurtful. Let me share some encouragement with you, The Word says “but knowledge will rescue the righteous.” After you rip out the warped wood, while you’re allowing your foundation to dry, go back to what God’s Word says, and stand firm in who you are in Him.
Perhaps you’re the washing machine. Perhaps you released a flow of words and have seen the damage it’s caused. You know, the beautiful thing about our relationship with the Lord is He knows all so well how human we are and how, despite our progress to grow and mature spiritually, sometimes we find ourselves walking in the flesh. So what do we do? Philippians 2:3-4 “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Lay out your motives before the Lord. Allow Him to search your heart. Forsake pride and humble yourself for the interest of the one you hurt. It’s not for the weak, because you may be rejected, but it will honor God because it’s all about your heart.
Maybe there isn’t any water damage in your life right now. Maybe there haven’t been any words spoken or received in a destructive manner.
First of all, take just a moment and say, “Thank you, Jesus for the peace I have in my relationships. I ask that you wrap your protection around each individual I love and guard our hearts that we may not hurt one another, but continue to love one another as You love us. Unconditionally, faithfully, and genuinely.”
Secondly, take a moment to soak in some of what Proverbs teaches us about our words. You may have heard people say they read a Proverb a day. Since there are 30 to 31 days in a month, and there are 31 Proverbs, it is a great benefit receiving of the wisdom found there daily.
When using our words, choose which side of the Proverb you will stand.
The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.
The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.
The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.
The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.
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Congratulations to our subscriber, Kayla whose name was drawn for the Love Does book giveaway on October 1st
Got to personally deliver the book to her and felt it appropriate to give balloons when giving Bob Goff's book :-)
We had barely departed the experience, the fruition of obedience to God’s calling, when the clouds started rolling, the thunder started rumbling, the lightning hit and the rain poured. Our drive into Boston should have been one of elation and rejoicing, however, we quickly ran into a storm, a storm that started brewing long before we began our trip. No, I’m not speaking of a literal storm. I’m speaking figuratively. I wish we could have pulled under a bridge and wait for it to pass by. I wish we could have stepped into a closet and hid from the winds. Or even better, I wish we could have locked ourselves in our safe room and shut it out entirely. But we all know the storms of life are endured, not avoided. I read several years ago that trees send their roots down deeper due to the storms they withstand. No storms mean a shallow root system. Now I’m no arborist, but I get the illustration, and I don’t want to be shallow or weak, I want to go down deep and be strong. Nevertheless, the storms are unpleasant, unpeaceful, and at times, down right scary.
The storm’s intensity grew when I broke, exposing the darkness that surrounded us. I felt safe, I felt secure, and even more than that, I felt desperate for help. I literally broke, crying uncontrollably and sharing not only my defeat, but pronouncing my shortcomings.
For someone who lives as an open book, it’s imprisoning to hold in my burdens, to retain my brokenness. Burying and hiding are not natural for me. It takes effort. It takes determination. And while I see that sometimes it is necessary, it feels phony. We need a safety net when we are falling. Unfortunately, with the people I would have not wanted to have boundaries with, I should have had boundaries. The integrity and character of our home came under fire. And isn’t that the way the enemy attacks? So sly and creepy, using one attack to generate another.
The point is, if we lay everything out on the table, we’re providing the revelation of our failures. We all have them, and we provide for many more failures when we become parents. If you haven’t failed your children yet, wait, because you will.
You’re probably thinking something like, “Great. So glad I’m reading this today. Nothing like having someone tell me I’m going to fail at the most important role I will ever have!” Or you may be tempted to minimize those failures as you reflect back on your days of raising children. Pause with me please, and join me in asking the Lord to humble us and remove a pride He cannot honor.
Let’s remind ourselves that we all fall short. We are parenting in our humanity. And our humanity is fallen. John and Stasi Eldredge inform us in their book Captivating, “But Adam fell, as did Eve, and the fathers and mothers most of us had continued the sad story. They did not provide the things our hearts needed in order to become lovely, vulnerable, strong, adventurous women.”
Honestly, it’s a thought that never crossed my mind when I was welcoming my precious children into the world. “I’m going to fail this perfect little person. I’m going to wound their heart.”
I was prepared to give away my heart, but not to wound theirs. Big chunks were removed with every baby born. Jaron’s birth brought about our first NICU experience. The team whisked him away from me on the eve of Christmas Eve. I was discharged the next day and felt my heart in two places, neither of which was inside my chest. I was torn to be home with my sweet little girl and to be with my new precious and sick baby boy. It was just the beginning, just the beginning of my heart existing outside my body no longer secure and protected within myself.
“You cannot be alive very long without being wounded,” the Eldredges write. “Broken hearts cannot long be avoided in this beautiful yet dangerous world we live in.” “This is not Eden. Not even close. We are not living in the world our souls were made for.”
As I was caring for my own Mom recovering from an orthopedic surgery this summer, I gave her medication to manage her pain. Some are big pills, hard to swallow. And some of these words are hard to swallow, but can manage the pain of our wounded hearts. Through her own journey, Stasi Eldredge writes, “Yes, she [her mother] failed me. All mothers fail their children to varying degrees. But she also loved me. That was what was most true.”
Every wave and bump, even the wash outs and pot holes, messages are sent, imperfections are highlighted and wounds are created. We hurt our children and our children hurt us. Ephesians 6:12 tells us where the battle comes from, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
And as mothers, we battle. In our flesh, in our humanity, in our fallen, imperfect state, we battle.
“Women are called to join in the Greatest Battle of all time- the battle being waged for the hearts of those around us.” -Captivated
As long as I’m breathing I will go to battle for my children to have God’s best in their life. It is raw, it is real, and it is humbling to recognize our imperfections, and to encourage our children to take what we’ve given them as parents and to be better, to make improvements and be better parents for their children. No blame, no bitterness, but better. Humbling ourselves in believing and battling for God’s best.
So why would I write a post to share about being a crummy mom? Because at times, you feel crummy too. In those times, in those dark moments, and in those attacks, don’t allow the enemy to defeat you, even if he’s using people you love in the attack. Filter through. Sift it out before the Lord. Only He truly knows your heart.
I’m walking in steps of obedience to God’s calling. There is no attack that could possibly stop me than one upon my family, one upon my home. So here it is. The storm. Here I am. Not giving up. Battling the attack, because I know God will prevail. His Plan will succeed. Good will come, a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up (Galatians 6:9).
Through this storm I praise Him and I pray He uses it to encourage you.
“But we don’t wait to offer our lives until we have our acts together. We don’t get that luxury. If we did, would anyone ever feel like offering anything? God asks us to be vulnerable. He invites us to share and give in our weaknesses. He wants us to offer the beauty that He has given us even when we are keenly aware that it is not all that we wish it were. He wants us to trust him.”- Captivating
Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
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Have you ever struggled with the feeling of not being good enough? Has someone taken a highlighter to your shortcomings or magnified your failures?
God's design for women includes a longing for intimacy and adventure with Him, to gain an understanding of how He sees each of us, and to develop a closer relationship with Him.
Please join me, along with the women of my community as we rediscover the joy of belonging to God with a heart that is awakened and restored… a heart in full bloom.
Throughout the weekend you will experience teaching sessions, including testimonies, films, guided periods of personal reflection and worship.
This weekend is based on the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge